GENEVA, Oh. - Calvin senior Katie Diekema closed out her collegiate career in grand slam fashion Saturday at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Diekema (Kenmore, Washington/Ingelmoor HS) took third in the 1500 meters Saturday afternoon to post the fourth All-America racing performance of her Calvin career.
The quartet of All-America honors began at the 2018 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships as she placed fourth in the 1500 meter run. She then claimed All-America honors in cross country this past fall by placing 16th at the NCAA III Championships. In March, she was an All-American at the 2019 NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships, placing third in the mile run. On Saturday she concluded the grand slam with a well-executed race in the 1500 meters as she posted a time of 4:30.84.
Diekema is just the second runner in Calvin women's cross country/track and field history to achieve All-America honors in four successive seasons. Lauren Bergstrom also achieved the feat in the same order from 2008-to-2009.
In her 1500 meter race on Saturday, Diekema became wedged behind a pack of runners in the opening 100 meters. She was able to hold her position and then make a strong move inside the final lap, moving past five runners with a strong finishing kick.
"Katie was amazing today," said Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer. "She really ran a mature race which was fun to see. It was such a tough field with the runners so bottled up. In years past she would have tried to bolt to the outside and been inneficient. Today she maturely stayed with it and bided her time. She trusted it, opened things up with about 330 meters to go and she was able to post her best 300 meter quarter. She even had a little pop at the end. Very well done. Fun to see the maturity.
Diekema nearly pulled off a second All-America performance late in the meet on Saturday as she placed ninth in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 17:41.63, missing an All-America berth by just one spot.
"She ran a very gutsy 5,000 meters," said Diemer. "She didn't give up and nearly cracked the top eight. The temps on the track were in the high 80s and it was humid and windy. She didn't back down though and gave it everything she had. It was an impressive afternoon and we are all very proud of her. Amazing how far she has come in her four years here."
Diekema's finish in the 1500 meters allowed Calvin to finish tied for 40th place in the final team standings with six points. The NCAA III Championships were held at the Spire Institute. Loras won the team championship with 53 points.