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Track and field successful at first indoor track nationals
By Jeff Febus

track and field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first-ever trip to the NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships for the Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams produced four All-American performances and a top-10 national finish.

The Calvin women’s track and field team completed the two-day meet tied for 10th place with 14 points as the Knights recorded three All-American efforts. Meanwhile, the Calvin men’s track and field team tied for 32nd place with six points behind the All-American performance of senior Jed Christiansen (Greenville, Pa.) in the 5,000 meter run.

Christiansen took third in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:34.25. The All-American performance by Christiansen was the sixth of his collegiate racing career. A four-time All-American in cross country, Christiansen also has an All-American performance in outdoor track and field, placing fifth in the 10,000 meters at last year’s national meet.

On the women’s side, Calvin came up with three All-American performances during the meet as senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, Minn.) took fourth in the mile run. The race was the third consecutive mile for Bergstrom in a span of 24 hours as she competed in the mile prelims the previous afternoon and then ran the distance again in the distance medley relay finals the previous night. Bergstrom’s relay performance helped the Calvin distance medley relay finish sixth. Bergstrom was joined on the distance medley relay team by juniors Elizabeth Smit (Kirlkland, Wash.), Nicole Farr (Warrenville, Ill.) and Heather Koning (Kalamazoo, Mich.).

Calvin’s final All-American performance came from its 4x400-meter relay team of seniors Kristen Van Sickel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Sarah Wittingen (East Grand Rapids, Mich), sophomore Rachel Boerner (Bergenfield, N.J.) and Koning. The relay came in seeded 10th and was the final squad to make the field when the national field was announced. The Knights moved up seven spots from their previous seed, however, finishing third with a season-best time of 3:53.44.

The relay performance concluded the racing career of Wittingen who ran in Saturday’s race as a fifth-year senior while competing at the indoor nationals for the first time. Combined, Wittingen recorded 11 All-American berths in her Calvin track and field career—10 as an outdoor track and field athlete.