DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Simpson track and field teams took home a combined eight championships and one monster personal best at the Loras Midweek Invitational on Wednesday.
The men's team crowned five champions and the women three as 24 athletes placed in the top three in their events.
No team scores were kept at the meet, which is a departure from a typical meet. The team had only three days of rest from Saturday's Central Invitational rather than the six days it normally gets.
"Our main focus is to give our athletes the weekend off for Easter," head coach Dave Cleveland said. "We use this meet as one in which we can get people in lots of different events in competitive situations. We don't look at it as a "high caliber meet," but we usually get some good performances from it because kids are more relaxed."
Ryan Edwardson may have gotten the most out of the "relaxed" setting. A senior, Edwardson set a personal-best by 27 seconds in the 5,000-meter run, winning the event in 14:46.88. He set a Rock Bowl stadium record with the effort and now has the No. 4 time in the nation.
"The season is young, but it's a good position to be in this early," Cleveland said.
After posting his best collegiate performance in the 100-meter dash on Saturday, Brad Vogel followed up with another sub-11 second effort by winning the event in 10.95 seconds.
"Brad won the race but wasn't feeling great," Cleveland said. "He ran a controlled race but didn't force anything."
Vogel's time of 10.88 at the Central Invitational is ranked 11th in Division III.
Ben Coy won the 400 meters for the second meet in a row, finishing in 49.87 seconds. He added a second-place showing in the 200 meters (22.85).
Senior Kinsey Bak stole the show on the women's side, winning the triple jump (36-feet, 4 inches) and javelin throw (111-feet, 7 inches) while placing second in the high jump (5-feet, 4 ½ inches) and third in the 100-meter hurdles (15.74 seconds).
Bak's effort in the high jump puts her at No. 9 in the nation while her triple jump was good for 17th. Her long jump of 17-feet, 9 ½ inches at last Saturday's Central Invitational sits at No. 14 in Division III.
Freshman hurdler Bayley Fleshner won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.26 seconds, but set a personal best with a 15.15 in the preliminaries, which ranks 20th in the nation.
Simpson athletes are currently ranked in the top 20 in the nation in seven events, with three falling in the top 10. Catie Ellingson didn't compete Wednesday, but her 4:38.84 mile at the Central Invitational last Saturday is seventh in the nation.
Simpson will enjoy the holiday weekend before hitting the track Friday, April 13 for day one of the Jim Duncan Invitational at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.