Posted: Nov 30, 2002
Kristen Mumper won the NCAC indoor and outdoor triple jump competitions.
Setting the Scene:The Wittenberg men's and women's track and field and cross country teams had an outstanding 2002-03 school year, highlighted by some of the best individual finishes in school history. In terms of team accomplishments, men's track and field team finished second in the North Coast Athletic Conference indoor and outdoor meets and nine in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship. The women's track and field team finished fourth in the conference indoor and outdoor competitions with a roster primarly outfitted with underclassmen.
Junior Skip Ivery (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport-Madison) was the story of the year as he won Wittenberg's first individual national championship in nearly 40 years. After finishing second in the 55-meter high hurdles in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship meet, Ivery captured runner-up honors in the NCAA Division III Indoor meet at DePauw in March, missing out on the gold medal by just a fraction of a second. Then in May, Ivery won his third straight 110-meter high hurdle title at the NCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship meet and capped his year with a thrilling national title in the event at the NCAA Division III Outdoor meet at St. Lawrence.
That was hardly the only thing to cheer about in 2002-03. Junior Tim Gaal (Amanda, Ohio/Clearcreek) improved nine spots on his 2002 finish in the javelin in the NCAA Division III Championship, capturing second place in the 2003 event after winning the NCAC title for a third straight year. He was named NCAC Field Events Athlete of the Year after scoring team points in four events at the meet.
Demetrius Ellison (Cleveland, Ohio/Garfield Heights Trinity) was named NCAC Indoor Track and Field Sprinter/Hurdler of the Year for his tremendous performance in the conference meet at Denison. In leading the Tigers to a second-place finish in the meet for a second consecutive year, Ellison finished first in the 200- and 400-meter races, placed second in the 55-meter race and anchored the Tigers' winning 800-meter relay.
In cross country, senior Abi Gerstle (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) finished 54th in the NCAA Division III National Championship meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. She ran the course in a time of 22:49, and she moved up more than 30 spots from last year. It was the third consecutive year in which Gerstle qualified for the national meet, adding to her long list of accomplishments.
Gerstle was the first Wittenberg female to make the national meet when she advanced in 2000, the first Tiger runner to make it two times when she qualified in 2001 and, of course, broke new ground when she advanced to the 2002 meet. In addition, Gerstle was the first Wittenberg runner, male or female, to earn NCAC Runner of the Year honors after capturing first place in the conference cross country championship meet each of the last two years.
All-NCAC (Indoor Track and Field):Demetrius Ellison was NCAC Indoor Track and Field Sprinter/Hurdler of the Year as he led the Tigers to a second-place finish in the meet. Ellison finished first in the 200- and 400-meter races, placed second in the 55-meter race and anchored the Tigers' winning 800-meter relay.
Ellison was one of four Tiger men's track athletes to claim first place in the meet, not including the four individuals on the relay. Also claiming blue ribbons were sophomore Joe Rumschlag (Maumee, Ohio/Toledo Christian), who was first in the long jump, senior Joel Drake (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee), who captured top honors in the shot put, and Skip Ivery, who defended his 55-meter hurdles title.
Track and field athletes earn All-NCAC honors with a top-three finish in an individual event. Along with the aforementioned individuals, freshman Matt Locke (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) and senior Mark Trempe (Springfield, Ohio/St. Paris Graham) were members of the victorious relay, and sophomoreClyde Mayer (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) placed third in the shot put.
On the women's side, the Tigers were led to a fourth-place finish by junior Kristen Mumper (Cincinnati, Ohio/Purcell Marian), who placed second in the long jump, triple jump and 400-meter race, senior Amanda Young (London, Ohio/London), who tied for second in the high jump, and freshman Anna Finkelstein (Whitehall, Mich./Reeths-Puffer), sophomore Marissa Davoll (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson)and sophomore Tina Valerius (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame), who joined Mumper on the first-place 1600-meter relay team. In addition, junior Kelly Zilli (Dayton, Ohio/Kettering Alter) earned all-conference honors as she finished third in the 800 meters.
Joe Rumschlag won the NCAC indoor and outdoor triple jump competitions.
All-NCAC (Outdoor Track and Field):The men's and women's track and field teams both turned in strong finishes at the NCAC meet. The men, the defending team champion, finished second, just 17 points behind Allegheny. The women were one of four teams that separated from the pack and wound up fourth, just five points out of third place.
The highlights of the meet were many as eight Wittenberg athletes claimed individual championships. Eight different men earned All-NCAC finishes, not including relays, and five different women were named All-NCAC, again not including relays.
Track athletes earn All-NCAC recognition with a top-three finish in the NCAC meet.Tim Gaal was the biggest individual story for Wittenberg as he earned NCAC Field Events Athlete of the Year for finishing first in the decathlon and javelin, third in the long jump, sixth in the high jump and eighth in the pole vault. Skip Ivery extended his dominance in the high hurdles events, winning his second straight NCAC outdoor 110-meter hurdles championship.
Other individual champions on the men's side were senior Curtis Lundgren (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) in the 800 meters, Joel Drake in the discus and Joe Rumschlag in the long jump. Making All-NCAC were Drake with second place in the shot put, freshman Jered Glover (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) with third-place finishes in the 200 meters and triple jump, Clyde Mayer with a third in the discus and sophomore Jason Toman (Greenville, Ohio/Greenville) with a second in the 400-meter hurdles.
In addition, the 400-meter relay quartet of freshman David Bazzel (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe), Demetrius Ellison, Mark Trempe and Ivery finished second and the 1600-meter relay foursome of Lundgren, Trempe, Ellison and sophomore Chad Kresser (Findlay, Ohio/Findlay) finished third.
On the women's side, Kristen Mumper finished first in the triple jump with a school-record mark and third in the long jump to claim a pair of All-NCAC awards. JuniorGeri Woessner (Dayton, Ohio/Oakwood) claimed second in the heptathlon and third in the javelin, Amanda Young finished first in the high jump, Abi Gerstleturned in a school-record time of 11:40.19 in finishing second in the 3000-meter steeplechase, Kelly Zilli finished first in the 800 meters and sophomore Ayisha Kinamore (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) was second in the 400-meter hurdles.
In addition, the 400-meter relay quartet of Tina Valerius, sophomore Marissa Davoll (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson), Mumper and Kinamore took third place to gain All-NCAC honors. The 1600-meter relay foursome of Anna Finkelstein, Davoll, Valerius and Zilli finished second.
All-NCAC (Cross Country):At the NCAC Cross Country Championship Meet, Abi Gerstle took home the individual women's title for a second straight year with a 5K-time of 18:46, which was five seconds faster than the rest of the field and 23 seconds better than her winning time in 2001. Already the first Wittenberg runner, male or female, to gain an individual cross country championship and Runner of the Year honors, she duplicated the feat in 2003.
Abi Gerstle won the NCAC Women's Cross Country Championship in 2001 and 2002.
Cross Country Regional/National:It was a fine conclusion to a fine career, the finest, in fact, that any Wittenberg female cross country runner has ever put together.
Abi Gerstle finished 54th in the NCAA Division III National Championship meet at St. Olaf College. It was the third consecutive year in which Gerstle qualified for the national meet, adding to her long list of accomplishments.
Gerstle advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship meet for a third straight year by finishing ninth in the region and grabbing one of five individual berths in the national meet. In order to do this, Gerstle had to run a personal best and 6K-school record time of 22:37 and pass a runner from Mount Union with about 200 meters to go. Other female runners to finish with personal best times at the regional meet were freshman Tracy Butler (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Homestead) in 24:03, junior Becky Barnes (Williamsport, Ohio/Westfall) in 24:17, Marissa Davoll in 25:49, junior Lindsay Veit (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota) in 26:09 and junior Nikki Norcia (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) in 26:33. Wittenberg finished 16th in the 33-team field.
On the men's side, senior Nick Dewald (Mansfield, Ohio/Senior) led the way with a 94th-place finish in a season-best 27:29. Junior Tim Damopoulos (London, Ohio/London) had a season-best in 28:13 and freshman Caleb Arnold (Enon, Ohio/Greenon) had a personal best in 28:28. The Tigers finished 26th among men's teams.
Track National:A banner sports season was capped off in dramatic fashion as Skip Ivery won the 110-meter high hurdles at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship Meet at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. Ivery became the second individual NCAA champion in Wittenberg sports history, following in the footsteps of Bob Cherry '64, who won a track and field individual championship his senior year.
Despite persistent rain and chilly temperatures, Ivery set a track record at St. Lawrence University's Merrick-Pinkard track with a time of 14.63. His win came on the heels of his second-place finish in the 55-meter high hurdles at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at DePauw University in March.
Ivery was joined in earning All-America honors by Tim Gaal, the NCAC Outdoor Field Events Athlete of the Year at the 2003 meet. Gaal, who was also a provisional NCAA qualifier in the decathlon but did not compete in the event, posted a throw of 197-1 in the javelin, earning him a second-place finish at the national meet.
Ivery's and Gaal's combined scores totaled 18 team points, placing Wittenberg in ninth place as a team in the nation, the program's highest finish ever in the men's outdoor track and field championships. It was the first outdoor track and field All-America designation for either athlete in their Wittenberg careers.
The Coach:Steve Shutt (Allegheny '94) took over the coaching reins of the Wittenberg University men's and women's cross country and track & field teams in 1999. Since then he has put the teams in position for North Coast Athletic Conference championships.
Under Shutt, Wittenberg's track & field teams have nearly 30 men's and women's school records. More than 20 athletes have been NCAC champions in track and one in cross country (two times), more than 70 have earned All-NCAC honors, nine have been NCAA Division III national qualifiers (six different individuals), 10 have been Coaches Association All-Academic honors, and six (five different individuals) have been named NCAC Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
In addition, Shutt has one NCAC Coach of the Year honor to his credit for leading the 2002 men's outdoor track and field team to the conference title.