Central College

Central's distance medley relay took fifth to earn All-American status

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Racing to a fifth-place finish in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday night, the Central College women’s track and field team added its first track event All-Americans since 2015.

Megan Johnson (junior, Parkersburg, Aplington-Parkersburg HS), Abbi Roerdink (junior, Tiffin, Ohio, Hopewell-Loudon HS), Peyton Steffen (freshman, Marion) and Caroline McMartin (junior, Pella) dropped another 10 seconds off of the school record that they set a few weeks ago, finishing in 11 minutes, 44.98 seconds to place fifth. They qualified in the No. 10 spot, outperforming their seed by five positions.

“It was an amazing effort,” coach Brandon Sturman said. “All of them had PRs. We couldn’t be any prouder of them. It’s a special accomplishment and it was a great way to end the first day here.”

It’s the first All-American accolades for Johnson, Roerdink and Steffen. McMartin had previously earned All-American honors in the 2022 cross country season. Central’s women’s team had not scored at an indoor meet since 2016.

A second Dutch school record fell earlier in the day when Adam Sylvia (senior, Rochester, Mass., Old Rochester HS) took over the program standard in the men’s mile with a time of 4:08.77. He missed qualifying for the final, placing 12th overall.

“He had two goals: break the school record and make the finals,” Sturman said. “I’m sure he would have rather made the finals, but we’re super proud of what he did to get here. I think he’ll be able to take this experience and build on it outdoors.”

Women’s weight thrower Abby Marr (senior, Riceville) finished in 20th with a mark of 49 feet, 8.25 inches. She fouled her first attempt and couldn’t find the mark she needed to get to the final in consecutive seasons.

“She’s disappointed but we’re glad she was able to get here and have the experience again,” Sturman said. “Hopefully she can move past it and start focusing on the outdoor season and finish her senior year strong.”

Lucas Heitz (senior, Adel, ADM HS) is in 18th at the halfway point of the men’s heptathlon. He’s totaled 2,475 points so far and has some of his best events coming tomorrow.

“He finished strong in the high jump,” Sturman said. “He’ll try to use that to build some momentum into tomorrow with the hurdles, pole vault and 1000 meters.”

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