Nate DeHaan Claims All-America Berth in 3,000 Meter Steeplechase at Nationals
Friday, May 22, 2009
MARIETTA, OH—One year after enduring an agonizing national meet, Calvin College senior Nate DeHaan was able to emerge with all smiles. On Friday night, the Grand Rapids South Christian High School graduate claimed an All-America berth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, finishing sixth at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a career-best time of 9:06.00. A year ago, DeHaan competed in the event at the national meet but lost one of his shoes after being spiked on the opening lap. DeHaan ran the rest of the way with one shoe on and one shoe off and courageously ran near the top of the pack for all but the final lap-and-a-half when he faded back to 12th place because of fatigue and pounding on his bare foot.
On Friday, DeHaan stayed out of trouble and ran a strong race from start-to-finish to become the eighth individual in Calvin men’s track and field history to earn All-America honors in the steeplechase including the first since Andy Yazzie did so in 2003.
“I could not be any prouder than I am right now of Nate DeHaan,” said Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer - himself a Grand Rapids South Christian High School graduate and a three-time U.S. Olympian in the steeplechase. “Nate runs with so much heart and passion that you just can’t help root for him. Everyone in our entire track and field program is proud of Nate, especially after what happened last year.”
DeHaan shrugged off the circumstances of last year’s race at the national meet. “The steeplechase is kind of a crazy race where anything can happen,” said DeHaan in an interview earlier this week. “Sometimes you catch a bad break but the only thing to do is forget about it and move on to the next race. Our primary goal as runners at Calvin is to glorify God in all that we do including our running on the track. If we go out, give it our best shot and give God all the glory, then we’ve done what we’re supposed to do.”
DeHaan also thanked Diemer and fellow Calvin distance coach Al Hoekstra for their instruction. “I could not have accomplished what I have at Calvin without Brian and Al. Brian was the one who encouraged me to give the steeplechase a try and obviously he knows a thing or two about the race. Al has given me motivation and courage to give it my best. I owe a lot to both of my distance coaches.”
The All-America berth was the second of DeHaan’s racing career at Calvin as he also garnered All-America honors as a sophomore at the 2006 NCAA III Cross Country Championships. Peter Kosgei of Hamilton won the race with a time of 8:56.67.
DeHaan was one of two Calvin runners in the men’s steeplechase on Friday night as junior Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, WI) was 10th in a time of 9:16.65. The race marked Goodman’s first ever experience at an NCAA III Championship event.
“Aaron ran great, particularly for his first race at nationals,” said Diemer. “Tonight’s race featured a very powerful field of runners but Aaron did not back down and showed he belonged. He has a chance to do even bigger things for us next year, both in cross country and in track.”
The All-America performance by DeHaan was the second of the meet for the Calvin men as senior Jed Christiansen was fourth in the 10,000 meters the night before. The Knights currently have eight points and are tied for 12th place with one day of competition left.
On the women’s side, Calvin had two individuals compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase Friday night as junior Elizabeth Smit (Kirlkland, WA) placed 15th (11:00.15) and sophomore Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA) placed 16th (11:01.37).
In prelim events on Friday, senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, MN) advanced to Saturday’s finals in the 800 meters with a time of 2:12.41. Bergstrom is seeded seventh for Saturday’s finals.
Junior Heather Koning (Kalamazoo Christian HS) competed in the 400 meter prelims and just missed advancing to the finals, clocking in with a time of 56.88 that was the 10th-best time of the day.
Finally, sophomore Sarah Reasoner (Cambridge, MN) competed in the discus on Friday but did not advance to the finals. Her best throw was a toss of 133-3.
Scheduled to compete for the Calvin women on Saturday are senior Julie Bratt (Lynden, WA) in the triple jump, sophomore Rachel Boerner (Bergenfield, NJ) in the 400 meter hurdles, Reasoner in the shot put and Bergstrom in the 800 meters. On the men’s side, Christiansen is scheduled to compete in the 5,000 meters.
3,000 METER STEEPLECHASE – CALVIN MEN’S ALL-AMERICANS
1987 – Pat McNamara – 7th place
1989 – Pat McNamara – 1st place
1990 - John Lumkes – 1st place
1993 – Matt Schellenberg – 3rd place
1995 – Jason Washler – 7th place
1998 – Geoff Van Dragt – 3rd place
2002 – Justin Pfruender – 3rd place
2003 – Andy Yazzie – 7th place
2009 – Nate DeHaan – 6th place