Rachel Boerner Is Double National Titlist At NCAA III Track and Field Championships
Saturday, May 29, 2010
BEREA, OH—Calvin College junior Rachel Boerner became the first athlete in MIAA track and field history to capture two individual national titles on the same day, winning the 400 meter dash and the 400 meter hurdles Saturday afternoon at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College.
Boerner (Bergenfield, NJ/Hillcrest Lutheran Academy) cruised to victories in both events, winning the 400 meters in a time of 54.50 and the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 59.80.
Boerner’s double national title effort helped the Calvin women’s track and field team finish fifth in the final team standings with 35 points, just one point out of fourth and two points out of third place. Illinois Wesleyan won the women’s (team) national title with 54 points with Wisconsin-Oshkosh second with 53 points, MIT third with 37 points and Wartburg fourth with 36 points.
Boerner also increased her career national title haul to three as she captured the 400 meter dash title at the 2010 NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships this past March with a time of 55.95. She joins Megan Pierce as the only individual in Calvin women’s track and field history to capture more than one individual national title as Pierce also won the national title in the 400 meter dash in 1999 and 2000.
Ironically, Pierce captured her first national title in the 400 meters at Baldwin-Wallace College at the 1999 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Pierce is the school record holder in the event with a time of 53.97.
The Baldwin-Wallace College track and field complex has been good to the Calvin track and field program as the Knights have now captured individual national titles at the facility the last four times Calvin has competed at a national meet hosted by the school. In 1991, Rick Lubbers won the men’s national title at Baldwin-Wallace while Angie Feinauer won the long jump title at B-W in 1993 and Pierce the 400 meter title in 1999.
Boerner is also the third individual in Calvin women’s track history to win a national title in the 400 meter hurdles, joining Holly Breuker (1996) and former Calvin teammate Sarah Wittingen (2008) to have done so. Combined, Boerner has now claimed six All-America plaques in her Calvin track and field career - four in outdoor track and field and two indoors.
Boerner had just one hour of rest between her 400 meter dash and subsequent performance in the 400 meter hurdles. According to Boerner, she had plenty of gas left in the tank heading into her second event. “I was still running on adrenaline from the first race when I went into the blocks for the hurdles,” said Boerner. “I took a little time in between to work the lactic acid out but I did not need a warmup for the hurdles. I was ready to go.”
The plan for Boerner to run both events was hatched last weekend when Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte discussed the idea with Boerner shortly before Calvin’s graduation ceremonies. “I was a little nervous about the idea,” admitted Boerner. “But I want to thank Coach Otte and the rest of our coaching staff for having the faith in me to run both races.”
According to Otte, a challenge was all Boerner needed. “Whenever Rachel has been pushed and been presented with a challenge she has thrived as an athlete,” said Otte. “I was confident that she would accept the challenge and rise to the occasion and she did just that. I think everyone in our track and field program is immensely proud of Rachel, not only for what she did this weekend but for the way she carries herself and represents Calvin College.”
Boerner was one of three individuals from the Calvin women’s track and field team to earn All-America berths on Saturday as the Knights scored twice in the discus with junior Sarah Reasoner (Cambridge, MN/Cambridge-Isanti HS) placing third (152-1) and junior Leigha Oberle (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) placing seventh (138-1). The All-America finish by Reasoner bumped her career total to three as she was an All-American in the shot put at last year’s outdoor national meet and second in the shot put at the indoor national meet this past March.
Reasoner boosted her place with her last and final throw as her toss of 152-1 came on her sixth attempt and vaulted her from sixth place up to third.
“I’m real proud of both Sarah and Leigha,” said Calvin throwing coach Norm Zylstra. “They both displayed strong mental focus in a very talented field of throwers. To be an All-American is a huge confidence booster for Leigha. She has a lot of positive throwing days ahead of her still. For Sarah, I was very pleased with how she kept her head in the competition right to her last throw. She was disappointed with her shot put performance yesterday and had not performed as well as what she would have liked going into her final discus throw but she didn’t get down and competed right to the end. That effort made all the difference in the world.”
Also competing for the Calvin women on Saturday was junior Rebekah VanDyk (Bellflower, CA/Valley Christian HS) who placed 17th in the high jump (5-3 3/4). Senior Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, WA/Bellevue Christian HS) also competed in the women’s 5,000 meters, placing 17th with a time of 18:18.50.
On the men’s side, Calvin claimed one All-America berth on Saturday as sophomore Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) tied for eighth place in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:44.03, less than 24 hours after placing fourth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase the night before.
Kramer fought his way back from 11th place in the final lap and into All-America position down the final stretch.
Kramer joins John Lumkes (1989), Geoff VanDragt (1998) and Justin Pfruender (2002) as one of four individuals to earn All-America berths in both the steeplechase and 5K at the same national meet.
Kramer’s All-America performance gave Calvin 5.5 points, good for 55th place in the final team standings.
North Central captured the men’s (team) national title with 53 points.
CALVIN WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Angie Feinauer, Long Jump (1993)
Holly Breuker, 400 Meter Hurdles (1996)
Betsy Haverkamp, 3,000 Meters (1997)
Megan Pierce, 400 Meters (1999)
Megan Pierce, 400 Meters (2000)
Lindsay Mulder, Long Jump (2001)
Annie VanderLaan, Heptathlon (2003)
Christine Hendricks, Heptathlon (2006)
Sarah Wittingen, 400 Meter Hurdles (2008)
Rachel Boerner, 400 Meters (indoor-2010)
Rachel Boerner, 400 Meters (outdoor-2010)
Rachel Boerner, 400 Meter hurdles (outdoor-2010)