Distance runners pace Storm at Rhodes Open
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Jess Christensen (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) recorded the second-fastest 5,000-meter time in Simpson history to lead a strong showing by distance runners at the Rhodes College Open Saturday.
In the first outdoor meet of the season, Simpson saw stout competition from 20 teams spanning NCAA Divisions I, II and III. Among those in attendance were Division I programs Ole Miss., Middle Tennessee State and Mississippi State. No team scores were kept.
Christensen took second in the 5k with a 17:58.34, besting her previous top effort by more than 44 seconds while recording the fastest time by a Simpson runner since Sarah Cross set the school record in 1990 (17:44.28.
Fellow women's distance runners Kristin Simpson (Jefferson, Iowa/Jefferson-Scranton) and Tricia Davis (Ft. Madison, Iowa/Ft. Madison) also turned in strong performances. Simpson set a personal-best in the 10,000 meters with a 43:23.42 to place 12th. Davis put forth one of her better efforts in the 5k, placing 19th (19:14.36).
On the men's side, Casey Dunning (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar) set a personal record in the 5k, placing 16th with a time of 15:52.13.
Scott Danielson (Dayton, Iowa/SE Webster-Grand) provided Simpson's highest finish with a fourth-place effort in the shot put (46-11 3/4). Marty Rounds (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Jefferson) added a sixth-place finish in the 110-meter high hurdles (15.56).
Two women's athletes provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in Saturday's opener. Fresh off of All-American performances at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Kinsey Bak (Hinton, Iowa/Hinton) and Lauren Bucklin (Bondurant, Iowa/Bondurant-Farrar) provisionally qualified in the high jump and 100-meter hurdles, respectively. Bak placed second in the high jump (5-5 3/4) and Bucklin took fourth in the 100 hurdles (14.62). Bak's effort ties a personal best, which is second on Simpson's all-time list while Bucklin's time also puts her in second in the Simpson record book.
Bucklin also took eighth in the 400 hurdles (1:05.72). Sarah Hammell (Dorchester, Iowa/Waukon) tied Christensen and Bak for the team's best finish of the day, taking second in the 800 meters (2:15.59). Chelsey Degen (Algona, Iowa/Algona) led the throwers with an eighth-place effort in the discuss (127-6).
Simpson returns to action Saturday, April 3 when it travels to Waverly for the Wartburg Select. The meet is set to start at 11:30 a.m.