Men’s Track has an All-American Saturday at NCAA Championships

Men’s Track has an All-American Saturday at NCAA Championships

GENEVA, Ohio – The Calvin men's track & field team had two runners compete on the final day of the Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Knights finished the competition with 13 points in 20th place. The 13 points are the most at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships since 2012 when Calvin finished in 17th place with 15 points.

"Good people can do great things together," said Calvin head coach Bret Otte. "This group has learned to adapt to its opposition and find creative and successful solutions to succeed. I am really proud of both of our runners and the team this season."

Ethan Valentine earned All-America honors on Saturday afternoon. A junior from Mason, Ohio, Valentine recorded a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash at 47.17. Senior Ross Denman of Wisconsin-La Crosse edged Valentine at the end to cross the finish line at 46.89.

"Being ranked third coming into the meet was a confidence booster," said Valentine. "But the 400 meter race is so variable that you never really know what is going to happen. The prelim on Friday went great though. I ended up running a new personal record, school record, and stadium record. That set me up well for finals the next day. I went after the final race with everything that I had and ended up being a national runner-up to a great opponent. Turns out that I still ran the fastest indoor and then outdoor 400m this year in Division III, so I am already looking forward to next year. It was incredible to have so much support from both the large Calvin group at the meet as well as the community back home sending messages and prayers and watching the live video. I am constantly reminded that I am running not just for myself but also for them, and above all to praise God who made it all possible. I feel very blessed and thankful to have had yet another successful season at Calvin."

Valentine earned All-America honors for the third-straight year. He placed seventh at the 2016 NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Waverly, Iowa. The second-place finish is the best in school history in the 400-meter dash. Phil Sikkenga finished third in 2001.

Andrew Philipose finished the championships with a sixth-place finish in the 5000-meter race. A junior from Mount Prospect, Illinois, Philipose earned All-America honors with a time of 14:29.61. On Thursday, Philipose earned All-America honors in the 10,000-meter race with a seventh-place finish.

"It is an amazing feeling," said Philipose. "To be honest, I am just excited for next season. I have established myself as one of the best runners in the nation. The best part of this weekend was seeing and hearing the excitement of my teammates. I have been blessed, and I am honored to be the one that gets them fired up!"

Philipose is the eighth Calvin runner to earn All-America honors in the 5000-meter and 10000-meter race in the same year.

Saturday marked the 23rd time that a Knight earned All-America honors in the men's 5000-meter race.

"Andrew ran a fantastic race today," said Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer. "The initial pace of the race was deliberate but once the pace picked up, Andrew knew when to make his move. To be an All-American in the 10,000 and 5,000 in the same meet is amazing."

The key point of the race came at its midpoint according to Philipose. "The pack made a move in the middle of the race and I had a decision to make," said Philipose. "I had seven guys in front of me and a pack of wolves behind me. I knew my only choice to be an All-American was to move into that front pack of seven. Once I did that I hung with that pack and gave it everything I had over the final lap."

2017 was another strong season for the Knights. Calvin finished the year with both the MIAA indoor and Outdoor crowns. The Maroon and Gold scored at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships and the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships.