The NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee announced Sunday the participants in the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships set to take place on May 24-26. Three Gustavus Adolphus student-athletes have qualified for this year’s competition, they include senior Steve Groskreutz (Faribault, Minn.), junior Josh Owens (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), and junior Allyson Voss (Wausau, Wis.).
For each men’s individual event contested, including the decathlon, the top 20 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. For each women’s individual event contested, including the heptathlon, the top 22 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested, the top 16 declared relay teams, one per institution, were accepted into the competition.
The 2012 NCAA DIII Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held at Fritz B. Burns Stadium located on the campus of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Claremont, Calif. The Fritz B. Burns Stadium has capacity of 3000. The Track offers 9.42-inch polyurethane lanes, multiple runways and throwing areas.
Senior hurdle specialist Steve Groskreutz will cap his four-year career by running in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships. Groskreutz is currently ranked 20th in NCAA Division III with a qualifying time of 53.41. The Faribault native captured one of Gustavus’ three gold medals at the 2012 MIAC Championships held on May 11-12 in Moorhead, winning the 400-meter hurdles after crossing the finish line in 53.51. The next weekend at the UW-La Crosse Last Chance Meet, he topped his career-best time with a 53.41, moving into the nation’s top-20.
Groskreutz will run in lane seven in the opening heat of the prelims on Thursday, May 24, at 5:25 p.m. Kevin Cunningham of McMurry is the favorite with a time of 51.02 entering the weekend.
Gustavus’ other male competitor Josh Owens will participate in the pole vault where he is in prime position to make the podium at his first NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A ninth place finisher at the NCAA Indoor Championships in early March, Owens enters the weekend with the fifth-best height in the nation. At the Hamline Meet of the UnSaintly on May 5, the junior sailed over the bar at 16-feet 6.5-inches, breaking the MIAC and his own school record. Owens placed second at the MIAC Championships after clearing 15-feet 5-inches.
The men’s pole vault competition will begin on Saturday, May 26 at 3:55 p.m. Daniel Drewek of UW-Stout is the top-seeded pole vaulter heading into Saturday, coming in with a mark of 17-feet 5-inches.
The Gustie women will be represented by Allyson Voss in the pole vault. Voss was the Black and Gold’s top performer in the field events at the MIAC Championships, winning the pole vault after clearing 11-feet 11.75-inches. The Wausau, Wis. native will also compete on Saturday with the women’s pole vault beginning at 12:30 p.m. Voss is ranked 10th with a qualifying mark of 12-feet 4.5-inches.
The women’s pole vaulter to beat is Abigail Schaffer of Moravian. She enters with a height of 13-feet 10-inches.
In all, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has 39 entries in the NCAA Championships, which is the seventh-most among all conference in the nation. There are 24 women’s entries, which ranks sixth in Division III, and 15 men’s entries, which ranks ninth. The University of St. Thomas leads the way with 10 total entries, and Hamline is right behind with nine quality entrants.