Valley thinclads earn three all-America awards
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Missouri Valley College track and field team nabbed three medals during the NAIA Outdoor Championships last week at Louisville, Ky.
The Vikings had one two-time winner, freshman Lynn Dettenwanger of Gulf Breeze, Fla. She came in second in the third flight Thursday with a leap of 5.71 meters -- .07 meters beyond her season high -- and finished fifth when it was all over. That was the same place she had landed during the NAIA indoor meet in March.
Dettenwanger had a crack at a second individual medal in the triple jump, heading into Friday's event ranked 10th at 11.67 meters -- a Valley record she set while winning the Heart of America Conference Championships. If she had hit that mark, Dettenwanger would have tied for seventh -- but she scratched out and didn't score.
That disappointment was assuaged Saturday during the finals of the 400-meter relay. After qualifying in the eighth and final spot during the preliminaries with time of 47.63 seconds -- .52 seconds faster than the Lady Vikings' best time in the season, a victory at William Jewell -- the combo of Dettenwanger, sophomore Shantelle Reynolds of Euless, Texas, senior Shameice Bailey of Mililani, Hawaii, and freshman Linze Leimkuehler of Marshall posted a 47.74 for sixth place.
Leimkuehler was only .03 seconds from her season-best time in the 100-meter dash (12.33 seconds) preliminaries, but that was only good for 19th -- five spots better than her ranking heading into the meet.
The only medallist for the Valley men was junior Tarrence Rhodes of Crystal River, Fla. Although he was qualified to run all three sprints, his only solo race was the 400. After placing sixth in both the prelim (47.96) and semifinal (47.78) -- the second shaving .08 seconds off his standard -- Rhodes arrived seventh in the finals (48.04).
Rhodes also anchored the Vikings' two relay teams. Valley was 10th in the 400 (41.87) -- four-tenths of a second off its top time, which would have made the finals cut -- behind the quartet of Rhodes, sophomore Ben Jacobi and freshmen Javion Jones and Justyn Grant.
The 1,600-meter (3:17.73) combo of Rhodes, Jacobi, Jones and junior Eric Thomas was 13th -- .43 seconds slower than its qualifying mark. Jones, who made the field in the 100 dash with a 10.83 at the HAAC meet, ran 11.10 for 30th in the prelim.
While most the Vikings' eight entries performed better than they were seeded, what is more encouraging is that only one of them graduates -- promising, should first-year head coach John Pickens have a good recruiting campaign -- better times ahead for the program.