GENEVA, Oh. - Three members of the Calvin men's track and field team competed at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Spire Institute.
Senior Brendan VanHouten (Comstock Park, Mich./Calvin Christian HS) had a solid day in the discus, placing 11th with a throw of 155-0. VanHouten entered the competition seeded 13th. He tossed his best effort of the day with his final toss of the prelims. He missed advancing to the finals by just three feet.
"Brendan had a very strong performance in his first appearance at nationals," said Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte. "He was very close to qualifying for the finals. He is off to a good start though and after getting his feet wet, we are hoping for an even better performance on Saturday."
VanHouten is scheduled to compete in the hammer throw on Saturday.
In the distance events, junior Caleb Ferguson (Naperville, Il./Neuqua Valley HS) took 17th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:34.12) while sophomore Jonathan Ellis (Baltimore, Md./Towson HS) was 19th in the 10,000 meter run (33:07.11). Thursday's race marked the third straight trip to the national meet in the steeplechase for Ferguson.
"It was good to keep that (steeplechase) streak going for Caleb," said Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer. "He had to work hard over the last two weeks to qualify and because of that, his legs were not as fresh. I think that caught up to him a bit today but I'm proud of his effort and his season. He has his senior year ahead of him and I know he will be hungry for more."
Ellis made his first appearance at the national meet on Thursday. He entered the race seeded 20th and moved up one spot. "It was great for Jonathan to get this kind of experience," said Diemer. "He ran well and learned what it takes from a tactical standpoint to succeed in a race like this. There were a few points in the race where he needed to be a little more patient but he will learn from this race and be better for it moving forward. He has two more years of distance racing ahead of him and I know he is hungry and eager to get back here again."
Action continues on Friday and will conclude on Saturday.