LA CROSSE, Wis. - Calvin College senior Jenna Dyksen is headed to the finals of the 100-meter hurdles at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
A native of Hawthorne, New Jersey, Dyksen (Hawthorne High School) posted the sixth-best time in Friday's prelims with a time of 14.62 Friday afternoon at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The finish was a leap forward for Dyksen who placed 11th in the prelims of the same event a year ago at the national meet but did not qualify for the finals.
Dyksen will be one of nine competitors racing for one of eight All-America berths Saturday afternoon.
Dyksen overcame a pair of obstacles in the starting blocks in her heat - the first of three prelim heats Friday afternoon. The prelims took place in a swirling cross-wind. Running in late eight, Dyksen also held her ground as a competitor in lane nine false-started, forcing a restart of her heat.
She then came out of the blocks in clean form on the restart, and cleared every hurdle in strong fashion. Dyksen challenged for the lead during the race before being edged by four-thousands of a second at the wire by Raevyn Fountain of Wheaton College (Mass.) for second place.
Dyksen's time held strong through the next two heats however, vaulting her into Saturday's championship final.
"Jenna showed great poise today," said Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte. "She kept her focus despite the false-start in the adjacent lane and had a good start after the disruption. The top three finishers in her heat swapped the lead a number of times coming down the stretch. It should be an exciting day tomorrow with three Calvin runners competing in the finals."
Scheduled to compete for Calvin tomorrow are sophomore Caleb Ferguson (Naperville Il./Neuqua Valley HS) in the men's steeplechase final at 12:30 p.m. (EST), junior Katie Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) in the women's 1500 meter final at 1:35 p.m. (EST) and Dyksen in the women's 100 meter hurdles final at 2 p.m. (EST).