posted May 26, 2009

Gold Medalist Highlights NCAA Track Performances

Hope crowned three All-Americans, including a national champion, at the NCAA Division III track and field championships held at Marietta, Ohio from May 21-23.

Senior Nora Kuiper captured the gold in the 100-meter dash and finished second in the 200-meter dash to account for all of Hope's points in the women's championship. Hope and rival Calvin tied for 13th place with 18 points. The women's champion was Wartburg, Iowa with 52 points. In the men's meet, sophomore John Donkersloot won the bronze medal in the high jump to account for Hope's six points and 49th place finish. UW-Oshkosh won the men's championship with 46 points.

Senior Nora Kuiper of Parchment (Parchment HS) won a national championship with a gold medal performance on Saturday in the 100-meter dash. She becomes the first Hope female track and field athlete to win a national championship and the second in school history joining high jumper Rob Appell (1985). In the finals Kuiper set a stadium and Hope record time of :11.84. She was an All-American in the 100 a year ago by finishing fifth in the finals.

With just over an hour to regroup before competing again, Kuiper came back with a silver medal performance in the 200-meter dash finishing second with a school record time of :24.35. The event was won by Brooke Bell of UW-Whitewater in :24.25. She becomes Hope's first All-American in the 200 and the first Hope female athlete in 16 years to medal twice in the same year at the national meet. The only other athlete to accomplish that fete was Marcia VanderSall who was sixth in both the 5,000 and 10,000 in 1993.

Sophomore John Donkersloot of Zeeland (Zeeland East HS) won the bronze medal with a third place finish in the high jump on Saturday. He was one of five jumpers to go out at 6 feet, 10 1/4 inches, but gained third place on the basis of fewest misses in the competition. He cleared six feet, nine inches. The national champion is John Kimmel of Manchester, Ind. who cleared six feet, 11 1/2 inches. Donkersloot was competing at the national meet for the second year in-a-row. He was ninth as a freshman. He entered this year's competition seeded sixth with a qualifying jump of 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches. He becomes Hope's third All-American high jumper, the first in nearly a quarter-of-a-century. Rob Appell was the national champion in 1985 clearing seven feet, a mark that remains the alltime Hope record. Jim Wildgen was an All-American high jumper twice, finishing sixth in 1974 (6-5) and fourth in 1976 (6-6).

Kara VandeGuchte of Hamilton (Hamilton HS) can chalk up her first appearance on a national stage in the heptathlon as a learning experience. The sophomore ended 20th in a field of 20 competitors at the NCAA Division III championships. The seven-event heptathlon concluded Friday. She ended with 3,964 points. The national champion is Ashley Huston of Hardin-Simmons, Tex. with 5,242 points. VandeGuchte's performances were: eighth in the 200-meter dash (:26.85), ninth in the 100-meter hurdles (:15.47), 14th in the high jump (4-10 1/2), 16th in the shotput (29-9 1/4) and javelin (86-7), 18th in the 800-meter run (2:42.0), and 19th in the long jump (14-8).

Senior Rob Bailey of Ogden Dunes, Ind. (Portage, Ind. HS) finished 16th (9:51.86) in a field of 16 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday. He came into the race seeded ninth. The national champion is Peter Kosgei of Hamilton, N.Y. (8:56.67).