Calvin - Strohbehn Strolls Through Heat to Claim All-America Berth in 10K at NCAA III Championships
Provided by Calvin
WAVERLY, Ia. - When the track heated up Thursday afternoon at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Wartburg College, Calvin College sophomore Lauren Strohbehn kept her cool. In doing so, the Calvin distance standout claimed the first NCAA III All-America berth of her career.
The 5-2 Strohbehn motored her way to a third place finish in the 10,000 meters Thursday afternoon in an NCAA III All-America time of 36:30.91. Strohbehn is the eighth individual in Calvin women's track and field history to claim All-America honors in the 10K. It also marks the fourth straight year Calvin has posted an All-America runner in the women's 10,000 meters.
With temperatures hovering in the high 80's and the humidity high, conditions were not ideal for distance running during the late afternoon hours on Thursday. The race was originally scheduled for Thursday evening but was moved to the afternoon because of anticipated severe weather conditions in Waverly during the evening hours.
Seeded seventh heading into the race, Strohbehn stuck to her game plan by sticking with a front-running pack and then finding a final burst over the final 200 meters to move from fourth and into third while holding off another hard-charging opponent at the finish line.
Amy Regan of Stevens Institute of Technology won the race in 35:46.27 with defending national champion Abrah Masterson of Cornell College taking second (36:16.87).
"Lauren ran a perfect race," said Calvin co-distance coach Brian Diemer. "She stayed right in a bubble of six runners to keep a steady pace. That helped her deal with the heat and stay out of trouble. Then she started making a move with three laps to go and finished with flying colors."
According to Strohbehn, the instruction of her coaches and the cheering of her teammates made all the difference. "Coach (Al) Hoekstra and Coach (Brian) Diemer gave me a great race plan for dealing with the heat and the competition. All I had to do was follow the directions," said Strohbehn. "I felt good through the first 5,000 meters but with about seven or eight laps left I started to feel the fatigue. Then my Calvin teammates in the stands started cheering 'Calvin,' 'Calvin," over and over and that gave me a huge boost. I could not have finished the way I did without that kind of support. To finish as an All-American is an incredible feeling. I still can't believe it has happened."
Calvin co-distance coach Al Hoekstra was a believer from the outset. "Lauren Strohbehn has a huge heart and she has learned how to be a decisive tactical runner," said Hoekstra. "Today we saw her heart with the way she pushed through those final three laps and we saw her intelligence with the race tactics she used. We are so proud of her. Everyone on the Calvin track and field team was cheering for her today."
Strohbehn was one of two big highlights for the Calvin women's track and field team on Thursday as senior McKenzie Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) advanced to the finals in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase. With the top five finishers in each of the two heats automatically advancing to Saturday's finals, Diemer pushed for a top-five finish in her (second) heat and did just that, finishing fifth with a time of 10:57.41.
Diemer let the lead pack of five runners break away early but then began to methodically move her way back into contention, exploding over barrier after barrier and in the final 100 meters, running down a competitor for fifth place in her heat.
"I have to admit I have a little tear in my eye," said Brian Diemer of his daughter who he has coached the last four years. "McKenzie ran a very smart race and made the move at the right time. She needed a race like this for her confidence. It should give her a strong boost for Saturday's finals."
Hoekstra stated that Diemer's hurdling technique was a key to her success. "McKenzie was near-perfect hurdling the barriers," said Hoekstra. "Because of that she had very little wasted energy and it allowed her to run the race she did. We are very pleased to see her advance and we look forward to another race on Saturday."
Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte was thrilled with the overall performance of the distance runners on Thursday.
"It was a great day for Calvin," said Otte. "McKenzie ran a smart strategic race and we are excited to see her race Saturday. Lauren showed without a doubt that she is a national caliber distance runner today. She ran so tough in the last quarter of the race when things started to break apart for the rest of the field. We are all thrilled to see her achieve All-America honors."
Action continues on Friday at Wartburg College.
CALVIN COLLEGE WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD 10,000 METER ALL-AMERICANS
1993 – Renea Bluekamp – 4th place
1994 - Renea Bluekamp – 2nd place
1994 – Amy Kuipers – 5th place
1995 – Renea Bluekamp – 4th place
1995 – Amy Kuipers – 8th place
1996 – Amy Kuipers – 5th place
1998 – Andrea Clark – 8th place
2007 – Christina Overbeck – 5th place
2009 – Jessica Koster – 5th place
2010 – Jessica Koster – 6th place
2013 – Nicole Michmerhuizen – 1st place
2014 – Nicole Michmerhuizen – 2nd place
2015 – Sarah Danner – 8th place
2016 - Lauren Strohbehn - 3rd place