SIOUX CITY | Special feelings occurred for a pair of athletes Saturday during the final day of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Olsen Stadium.
Morningside senior Michelle Mumm set a new GPAC record, winning the 1,500 in 4:36.47. Briar Cliff’s Robert Iron Shell won the GPAC 400 for the fourth time in his career, clocked in 48.20.
During a day that was lowlighted by a 1-hour, 40-minute lightning delay, Doane’s women won a sixth consecutive GPAC title, piling up 215 points. Doane’s men also won the title for the third straight year with a whopping 237 points, but that didn’t stop the spirit of Mumm and Iron Shell.
Mumm’s first victory saw her defeat the old GPAC 1,500-meter record of 4:37.87 by Northwestern’s Olivia Johnson set in 2008. Mumm, who later won the 800 (2:13.42) for a team that scored a fourth-place 116 points in the final team standings, credited a Northwestern athlete, runner-up Katie Bosch (4:43.98), for pushing her to gain the triumph.
“When I have someone on my heels, it pushes me harder to make sure they don’t pass me,” said Mumm. “Every time I surged (Bosch), surged with me. It just kept getting faster. Having her there really did help because I know what she’s capable of. She beat me in the mile at the (GPAC) Indoor.”
Iron Shell entered the 400 final with the GPAC’s second-best time at 48.69, just off the pace of Mount Marty’s Paul Paul (48.52). Running in the third heat, Iron Shell’s top competition was Northwestern’s Perkins Aiyegbeni and Dordt’s Lucas Van Eps, second and third respectively, each at 48.96.
“I didn’t use anyone to push me today,” said Iron Shell, who redshirted a year ago, but won GPAC 400 titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016. “I wanted to do well and execute in my own race. I wasn’t worried about anybody else. I dropped quite a few tenths off my time. I am really happy to come out with a win here today.”
Iron Shell tuned up for the 400 by anchoring Briar Cliff’s 4x100 relay. The foursome, which also included Chad Blank, Sage Lloyd and A.J. Lefler, was clocked in 41.17.
Then, about half an hour after the meet resumed, Morningside’s Dom Flemister, Friday’s long jump winner, won the 200 (21.51), while Iron Shell was second (21.86).
Northwestern’s men, second in the final team standings with 116 points, received victories from high jumper Calvin Korver (6-8 ¾), Peter Smith in the 3,000 steeplechase (9:39.88) and Tim Rose in the 1,500 (3:58.90).
Rose, incidentally, owns the NAIA’s third-best time in the 1,500 this season at 3:50.49. He lost his lead briefly to Morningside’s Jason Kenny (4:01.29) while Smith credited a friendly rival of his, Doane’s Rostem From (9:48.61), for what he called doing most of the work.
“He’s a great competitor, a super-quick dude,” said Smith. “He did most of the work, so I kind of feel bad for him. The third lap, I started passing him, I started to go for it. If I was behind him, it was two or three steps. I’d say we ran together the whole way, but I was able to overtake him the last lap.”
Dordt’s Caleb Drake was clocked in 15:18.34 while winning the 5,000 meters. The Defenders also won the 4x400, as Lucas Van Eps, Caleb Herman, Matthew Van Eps and Noah Imperial combined for a 3:15.04 clocking.
Morningside’s Allison Higgins led from start to finish while winning the 3,000 steeplechase (11:28.40). Teammate Aurora Arevalo scored 4,703 points while winning the heptathlon.
Another Mustang, 400 winner Eleka Joseph (57.78), plans to use this Friday and Saturday’s Last Chance Meet at Concordia to qualify for the NAIA nationals in the event.
“I need to run a 57.3,” said Joseph, who later finished second in the 200 (25.19). “Hopefully, I’ll get the mark I need. I’ve put in a lot of work since the off-season and I’m really happy to see it paying off. I’ve really been working on my blocks.”
Northwestern’s Sarah Lunn ran past Dordt’s Audrey Brooks just as the last lap of the 5,000 began and was clocked in 18:01.82 while clipping Brooks (2nd, 18:19.52). Dordt’s Danielle Wubben, who on Friday took second in the long jump, was clocked in 15.38 while winning the 100 hurdles.
“I’m not very happy with my time, but I’m glad that I got the win,” said Wubben, who two months ago won the 60 hurdles title at the GPAC Indoor Championships. “I definitely had a bad start and that didn’t help my race. I was a little upset with my start, but I just worked hard the rest of the nine hurdles.”
Hastings’ Alex Wellington, the shot put champ (58-6) and the discus runner-up (165-7), was named the GPAC’s men’s outstanding performer.
Hastings’ Shantinique Cunningham, the winner of the 100 (11.97), the long jump (19-3.50) and a member of the first-place 4x100 (47.74), was named the GPAC’s women’s outstanding performer.