Dyksen and Diekema Power Calvin Women's Track and Field to All-American Saturday at NCAA III Championships

Dyksen and Diekema Power Calvin Women's Track and Field to All-American Saturday at NCAA III Championships

LA CROSSE, Wisc. - Katie Diekema and Jenna Dyksen claimed All-America honors Saturday at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) finished fourth in the 1500 meter run with a career-best time of 4:29.60. Dyksen (Hawthorne, NJ/Hawthorne HS) placed seventh in the 100 meter hurdles with a career-best time of 14.37.

Diekema started out the All-America afternoon with her race in the 1500 meters. She broke free of the trail pack after one lap and remained on the trail of leader Emily Richards of Ohio Northern and Gabrielle Stravac of Emory. Diekema remained in third place until the final 25 meters when Kaelia Neal of Linfield edged by her to finish five-tenths of a second in front for third.

Diekema became the third individual in Calvin women's track and field history to claim All-America honors in the 1500 meter run, joining Sarah Gritter (1999) and Lauren Bergstrom (2008). She also joined her father Doug Diekema and aunt Melissa (Dykstra) Diekema as Calvin All-Americans with her father Doug claiming All-America accolades in cross country in 1978 and 1979 while her aunt Melissa was an outdoor track and field All-American in 1992 and 1994.

Katie Diekema entered the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships seeded fifth in the 1500 meters but rose to the occasion when called upon said Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer. "Katie ran with aggressive mindset all weekend but she also ran smartly," said Diemer. "Her tactics today were brilliant. She gave it everything she had and that's all you can ask for as a coach. I am thrilled to see her reach this goal."

Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte was also thrilled with Diekema's performance. "Katie ran with a lot of courage today," said Otte. "She did not sit back but went for it early in the race. She realizes that she does not have the finishing kick of some of her competitors so she stretched the distance between them right away. That took courage but she was up to the challenge. I am extremely proud of her."

Diekema's All-America run culminated a series of steps as she placed 15th in the 1500 meters at the national meet in 2017 and then finished 11th in the mile run at the 2018 NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Dyksen also completed a steady climb to the All-America stand on Saturday. She competed in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2017 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, finishing 12th.

She entered the 2018 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships seeded 15th but surprised the field in the Friday prelims with a sixth place finish to advance to Saturday's championship final.

In Saturday's race, Dyksen exploded out of the blocks, clipped a pair of hurdles early in the race but then pushed hard over the final 25 meters to outlean two competitors for seventh place.

Dyksen finished two-tenths of a second ahead of Darielle Cross of Rowan (8th place) and Raevyn Fontaine of Wheaton (9th place). She also finished just three-hundreths of a second behind Gabrielle Brown of Hamline who placed sixth.

"Jenna was very positive all week," said Otte. "She had an excellent start out of the blocks, then hit a few hurdles and finished strong. I am extremely pleased to see her conclude her career as an All-American."

Dyksen was not sure at first that she had grabbed one of the top eight spots upon completing her race. "I wasn't sure if I had finished in the top eight at first," said Dyksen. "I knew it was close and I just leaned as much as I could at the finish line. I had to wait to see what the times were on the board and when I saw I was seventh it was pretty amazing. I want to thank Coach (Bret) Otte for helping me get to this point. He has been a great coach and has been a big parrt of helping me reach this (All-America) goal. When I came to Calvin, one of my goals was to be an All-American. It feels great to finish my track and field career reaching that goal."

The All-America finishes by Dyksen and Diekema helped the Calvin women's track and field team finish 41st in the final team standings with seven points. George Fox and UMass-Boston shared the national team title with 44 points apiece.


1999 – Sarah Gritter – 3rd place
2008 – Lauren Bergstrom – 7th place
2018 - Katie Diekema - 4th place

2003 – Annie VanderLaan – 6th place
2007 – Sarah Wittingen – 6th place
2008 – Sarah Wittingen – 7th place
2018 - Jenna Dyksen - 7th place