Calvin Men's Distance Runners Have Big Day at NCAA III Track and Field Championships

Calvin Men's Distance Runners Have Big Day at NCAA III Track and Field Championships

Provided by Calvin

WAVERLY, Ia. - Calvin College junior Zach Nowicki advanced to the finals in the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase while sophomore teammate Andrew Philipose had a superb debut in the men's 10K Thursday afternoon at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Wartburg College.

Philipose (Mount Prospect, IL/John Hersey HS) took 10th in the 10,000 meter with a time of 31:45.14 on a sweltering hot afternoon. Philipose came into the race seeded 12th. A late push by Philipose allowed him to move past several runners and come within 10 seconds of an All-America berth in his first nationals race.

"Andrew ran a tremendous race. He followed the race plan extremely well and he showed that he belongs at this level," said Calvin co-distance coach Brian Diemer. "His race was very important for his confidence and will keep him motivated to get back here next year. This was an important race for our distance running program."

Calvin co-distance coach Al Hoekstra agreed. "I couldn't be prouder of Andrew," said Hoekstra. "He has a big future ahead of him and he took another step forward with his race today."

Meanwhile, Nowicki fought through a difficult steeplechase prelims heat to qualify for Saturday's finals. Nowicki had the seventh-best time (9:17.62) but was one of the four final individuals to grab qualifying spots for the final.

"Zach was in a very tough heat," said Diemer. "There was a lot of bumping and jostling going on. That's the nature of the race but Zach had to find a way to stay in contention for a qualifying time and he did. This is big for him. He's worked very hard this year and continues to improve. I'm excited to see him race on Saturday."

Hoekstra mentioned that Nowicki has taken a big step forward during his junior campaign. "Zach continues to mature both as a runner and as a person and we saw that in his race this afternoon," said Hoekstra. "It was hot and it was difficult but he showed real mental toughness to not fold. I'm proud of that young man and I'm thrilled that he will run again on Saturday."

Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte was pleased with the overall performance of the afternoon. "It was a great day for our team," said Otte. "Zach ran a smart strategic race to advance," said Otte. "Andrew also ran great, moving up from his pre-national ranking. I'm very pleased with the way we represented Calvin College today."

Action continues at Wartburg on Friday.