Niemeier wins NAIA medal for Valley

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

GENEVA, Ohio -- Junior Sarah Niemeier of Lohne, Germany, claimed the only All-America medal won by the Missouri Valley College track and field team last week during the NAIA Championships at Geneva, Ohio.

Niemeier easily made the finals by placing fifth (5:03.12) in Friday's preliminary run of the standard mile. She followed that up Saturday by setting a school record in the event, although finishing sixth (4:48.58), becoming the Lady Vikings' first national medalist since 2007.

She was the only competitor for the women's squad, but the Valley men had four entries -- one reaching the finals. Freshman Spencer Head of Camas, Wash., came in eighth (1:58.01) on the second day after a fifth-place 800-meter run (1:52.65) in the prelim.

Head also anchored the Vikings' 3,200-meter relay (7:46.80) behind senior Kenneth Kipng'etich, sophomore Ignacio Franco and freshman Nolan Ryan -- which missed the finals cut by 4.17 seconds to place 11th.

Senior Byron Evans was 13th in the triple jump (13.78 meters) and freshman Phillip Cheriuyot came in 15th in the 5,000 (15:01.94).

The MVC women tallied three points due to Niemeier's performance, while the men got the one point won by Head. Oklahoma Baptist (133 points) repeated as national champion on the women's side, while Indiana Tech (82) claimed its first men's title.

Men's Volleyball

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The ninth-ranked Valley men's volleyball team won three of four matches over the weekend in the St. Ambrose Tournament at Davenport, Iowa.

The Vikings opened Friday with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 over Culver-Stockton behind the 16 kills and nine digs of senior Jacob Pederson. They followed that up later in the day by defeating Emmanuel (Ga.), 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 25-11, as senior Jacob Haar knocked down 16 shots and Pederson added 15 spikes and 11 saves.

Junior Chris MacFayden had 16 kills and sophomore Ding Hui recorded 15 digs during Valley's 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 25-18 victory Saturday over Graceland. However, the tournament ended for the Vikings with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 loss to No. 1 Concordia-Irvine (Calif.), with freshman Thomas Brandstetter leading them in kills with eight.

Next up for Valley (18-10) will be a March 18 home tilt with MAMVIC South rival Hannibal-LaGrange.

Men's Lacrosse

The MVC men's lacrosse team remained unbeaten Saturday with a 30-6 romp over Wheaton (Ill.) at Gregg-Mitchell Field.

Junior Doug Brown connected for the Vikings only 47 seconds into the contest, but junior Kai Libby came back with two goals within a minute's span for the Thunder.

Valley reeled off nine straight goals, three from sophomore Tim Setree, to close the first quarter. The next two periods were much the same, with the Vikings blanking Wheaton 7-0 in the second and going on a 9-1 run in the third.

Setree finished with eight goals and two assists, Brown made six shots and junior J.J. Licata connected five times for Valley -- which got 14 saves in 16 attempts from freshman goalkeeper Brandon Minshall.

The Vikings (4-0), one spot away from being listed in the MCLA Division II Top 25 rankings, will play Thursday at Robert Morris (Ill.).

Contact Chris Allen at callen@marshallnews.com

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