Abby Marr

Abby Marr won the weight throw Saturday

PELLA — The first step to making a return to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships was taken by Central College women’s track and field thrower Abby Marr (senior, Riceville) Saturday afternoon at the Dutch Athletics Classic with an impressive winning toss.

Central topped the team standings with 253 points.in a field that included Simpson College, Iowa Wesleyan University, Missouri Valley College and Southwestern Community College.

“The biggest thing for me is that the majority of our team came back after break in shape,” coach Brandon Sturman said. "They did the work over break to be able to continue building off what we did first semester.”

Marr reached 56 feet, 3.75 inches in the weight throw on her fourth effort. She was five feet better than anyone else in the field. She also took third in the shot put (39-3.25). Her weight throw currently was top-five nationally.

“That’s a mark that will give her a really good chance to go to nationals,” Sturman said. “Obviously we’ll still focus on improving and solidifying that mark but it definitely takes some pressure off.”

Central took the top-three spots in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes. Emily McMartin (freshman, Pella) won the 60 in 7.94 seconds, trailed by Willa Sickelka (freshman, Primghar, South O’Brien HS) in 7.98 seconds and Mary Gustason (freshman, Marion, Linn-Mar HS) in 8.02 seconds. McMartin also won the 200 in 26.58 seconds, Sickelka was second (26.70) and Abbi Roerdink (junior, Tiffin, Ohio, Hopewell-Loudon HS) was third (27.13)

“That whole group had a good day,” Sturman said. “Emily had a phenomenal day and you can see that she put in the work over break.”

Pole vaulter Amber Vroman (sophomore, Seneca, Ill.) set a new personal-best mark for the second meet in a row by clearing 10 feet, 0 inches to win. Cali Coffman (senior, Leawood, Kan., Blue Valley HS) was second in 9-6.25

“Amber had a lifetime best in December,” Sturman said. “To do it again today coming off a break is special.”

In the distance events, Central won the 800 meters, 1000 meters and 3000 meters. Riley Packer (freshman, Erie, Ill.) won the 800 in 2:35.08, Lauren Coon (senior, Oskaloosa) won the 1000 in 3:18.54 and Caroline McMartin (junior, Pella) won the 3000 meters in 20:21.36

Lauren Brown (junior, Underwood), Abby Gruver (junior, Sully, Lynnville-Sully HS), Hadyn Miller (junior, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS) and Roerdink took the 4x400-meter relay title in 4:22.83. Gruver was also third in the 60-meter hurdles in 9.88 seconds.

Abigail White (sophomore, Centerville) won the high jump at 4-9. MacKenzie Kruse (senior, St. Clair, Minn.) also cleared 4-9 but took second based on number of jump attempts. Winona Van Berkum (freshman, Pella) was third at 4-7.

Central travels to the Prairie Wolf Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska on Friday, starting at 4:15 p.m.

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