Nebraska Wesleyan’s men finished in the top four at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships for the third year in a row and every member of the men’s team who competed is returning home an All-American.
Bret Blake (Sr., Lincoln, Neb., Northeast High School) fell short in his bid to three-peat as national champion in the 55-meter dash, but the Prairie Wolves had many reasons to feel good about how they performed this weekend.
On Saturday, NWU had five more All-America performances, including Blake, who placed fifth in the 55 (6.44) and Ryan Tietjen (Sr., DeWitt, Neb., Tri County High School), who took fifth in the shot put (55 feet, 3/4 inches) to earn his second All-America award in as many days.
Derek Zulkoski (So., Columbus, Neb., Columbus High School) and Tyler Gingery (Sr., Holmesville, Neb., Lewiston High School) both earned All-America status for the first time in their careers. Zulkoski placed eighth in the pole vault (16’1 3/4), and Gingery finished sixth in the triple jump (47’1 3/4).
In the day’s final event, the men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Blake, Jeff Aldrich (Jr., Seward, Neb., Seward High School), Evan Knight (Fr., Ogallala, Neb., Ogallala High School) and Chris Wolf (Fr., Ceresco, Neb., Raymond Central High School) placed fourth in 3:19.63.
“Most of our guys finished higher than they were seeded, so they really exceeded expectations in that sense,” head coach Dr. Ted Bulling said. “We feel very positive about it.”
In the end, NWU’s men finished with 32 team points, behind only the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (52), Lincoln University (38) and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (33).
The Nebraska Wesleyan women finished tied for 31st in the team scoring with six points thanks to Amy Vanderkolk (Jr., Malcolm, Neb., Malcolm High School), who placed third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.27 seconds.