Calvin Claims All-America Berths in Men’s/Women’s Steeplechase at NCAA III Championships
Friday, May 27, 2011
DELAWARE, OH - The steeplechase was once again a signature event for the Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams at the NCAA III Championships. On Friday night at Ohio Wesleyan University, junior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) repeated as an All-American in the men’s steeplechase, placing third with a blistering time of 8:56.04. The finish came on the heels of a fourth place performance at last year’s national meet and marked the fourth All-America certificate of his track and field career and the fifth of his Calvin running career. On the women’s side, the third time proved to be the charm for senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) as she placed seventh with a time of 10:39.15 to claim All-America honors for the first time in her Calvin running carer.
The All-America finish by Braymer came on her third crack at the steeplechase at the national meet. A year ago, she placed 15th in the even at the NCAA III Championships after placing 16th at the 2009 national meet.
Kramer is one of nine individuals in Calvin men’s track and field history to earn All-America plaudits in the steeplechase and he is just the second individual to do so twice. Only Pat McNamara - a three-time All-American (1987-1989) - has more All-America finishes in the event than Kramer.
Kramer ran a masterful race, maintaining a spot in the top five through the first half of the race and then moving into the top four with just over a lap to go. Kramer then fought off top-seeded Brian Lang of Rochester University for third place, becoming just the second individual in Calvin’s men’s track and field history to run a steeplechase run under nine minutes with John Lumkes, the 1990 national champion, the only other Calvin runner to do so. Lumkes holds the school record with a 1990 time of 8:51.30.
Braymer is the third individual in Calvin’s women’s track and field history to garner All-America accolades, doing so on the heels of former teammate Elizabeth Smit who was fifth a year ago and Sarah Hastings who was fifth in 2005.
Braymer’s race was a remarkable comeback effort as she slipped back into 17th and then 18th place midway through the race. The Pennsylvania native then began to reel runners in and with a lap-and-a-half to go, moved into 10th place. Inside the final lap, Braymer surged into the top eight and nearly took sixth place before settling for seventh at the finish line.
Kramer and Braymer were part of three All-America efforts by Calvin on Friday as senior Sarah Reasoner (Cambridge, MN/Isanti HS) was sixth in the women’s shot put with a throw of 45-5 1/4, marking the second time she has claimedAll-America plaudits outdoors and the fourth time in her career. Reasoner is also a two-time shot put All-American indoors.
Also competing for Calvin on Friday in the steeplechase but not scoring in the top eight were senior Ben Van Wyk (Sussex, NJ/High Point HS) and sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS). Van Wyk was 17th in the men’s race with a time of 9:33.48. while Penning was 14th (10:55.43) in the women’s race.
Also competing but not advancing to Saturday’s finals was defending national champion Rachel Boerner (Bergenfield, NJ/Hillcrest Lutheran Academy) in the 400 meter dash. Boerner just missed claiming one of the top two spots in her heat and finished with a time of 56.74 that would go on to be the 12th-best time of the prelims.
Boerner will compete in the finals of the 400 meter hurdles on Saturday where she is seeded fifth.
Also scheduled to compete for Calvin on Saturday will be Reasoner in the women’s discus, sophomore Carissa Verkaik in the women’s high jump, junior Jodi Hoekstra in the women’s 5,000 meters and senior Alex Wrobel and sophomore Greg Whittle in the men’s 1,500 meters and Kramer in the men’s 5,000 meters.