Rockford Finishes Seventh and Eighth at NACC Outdoor Championships

Joe Werkheiser
Joe Werkheiser

LISLE, Ill. - The Rockford University track and field teams took part in the two-day NACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend. Both the men's and women's teams performed very well as each improved upon their finish from last year. The men went from ninth place up to seventh place this year, and the women went from tenth up to eighth place this year.

The top individual performance of the weekend came from sophomore Joe Werkheiser (Lena, Ill.) Werkheiser placed fifth in the 400 meter race crossing the finish line in a personal best time of 50.66 seconds. He also took tenth in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:05.79. 

Justin Christiansen (Rockford, Ill.)Nathan Alldritt (Winnebago, Ill.) and Nick Thomas (Winslow, Ariz.) all participated in the decathlon. The decathlon consists of ten total events including: the 110 meter hurdles, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump, the 400 meter run, the 100 meter dash, the discus, the pole vault, the javelin throw, and the 1500 meter run. Christiansen had the best overall finish amongst the trio recording a school record 4353 points to place seventh. His two best events were the pole vault where he placed second with a height of 3.75 meters and the high jump where he also finished second with a height of 1.88 meters. Alldritt turned in the next highest overall finish placing ninth with 4226 points even without recording a result in the pole vault event. Alldritt's top three results came in the 100 meter dash, the 1500 meter race and the long jump. The freshman placed second in the 100 meter with a time of 11.55 seconds, third in the 1500 meter race with a time of 5:09.68 and third in the long jump with distance of 6.25 meters. Thomas took tenth in the decathlon scoring 3624 points. His top two efforts came in the javelin and shot put events. Thomas set a new Rockford University school record in the javelin and placed second with a throw of 41.46 meters. He also finished second in the shot put with a distance of 10.67 meters. 

Senior John Finley (Rockford, Ill.) and sophomore Christian Devant (Winnebago, Ill.) led the way for the Regents in the distance events. Finley set a pair of personal bests in both the 10,000 meter and 800 meter races. He placed 12th in the 10,000 meter event crossing the finish line in 36:37.97 and 17th in the 1500 meter race with a time of 4:25.94. Devant placed 11th in the 800 meter race with a time of 2:05.79 and 14th in the 10,000 meter event crossing the finish line in 37:06.74.

The duo of Jared Johnson (Miami, Fla.) and Jonathan Ponce Cuiriz (Kewanee, Ill.) led the charge for Rockford in the throwing events. Johnson placed 10th and set a new personal best in the shot put recording a distance of 12.20 meters. He also took 12th in the hammer with a throw of 33.01 meters. Ponce Cuiriz finished 13th in the hammer with a personal best throw of 32.68 meters and 22nd in the javelin with a distance of 28.14 meters. 

The final two top ten finishes for the men's team came in the 4x400 meter relay and the 4x100 meter relay. The 4x400 meter team of Joe WerkheiserChris Wilson-Poston (Carlock, Ill.)Anders-James Wermuth (Spring Green, Wis.) and Christian Devant placed sixth and set a new Rockford University school record crossing the finish line in 3:32.90. The 4x100 meter team of Nathan Alldritt, Joe Werkheiser, Chris Wilson-Poston and Anders-James Wermuth placed seventh with a time of 45.49 seconds.  

The RU women's team also recorded a pair of top ten finishes and broke a school record in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. The 4x100 meter team of Kayla Barthels (Fort Worth, Tex.)Jamie Buechner (Island Lake, Ill.)Lexie Collins (Earlville, Ill.) and Maddy Pearson (Peru, Ill.) finished sixth and set a new Rockford University school record crossing the finish line in 53.67 seconds. The 4x400 meter relay team featured the same group of runners with the exception of Tracy Wang (Lianyungang) replacing Pearson. That group placed seventh in their relay with a time of 4:35.10. 

Kayla Barthels was the top individual performer on the women's side for the Regents. Barthels placed eighth in the long jump with a personal best leap of 4.99 meters. She also took 11th in the triple jump with a wind-aided distance of 10.10 meters. 

Jamie Buechner and Lexie Collins led the Regents in the running events. Buechner placed 13th in the 200 meter with a time of 27.58 seconds and 15th in the 100 meter with a time of 13.26 seconds. Collins ran in the 400 meter race where she set a new personal best time of 1:04.16. 

Freshman Maddy Person and junior Nicole Melson (Harvard, Ill.) were Rockford's top two performers in the women's throwing events. Pearson set personal bests in the discus, javelin and hammer, while Melson had a season-best throw in the discus. Pearson finished 15th in the shot put with a distance of 8.72 meters and 16th in the discus, javelin and hammer with respective throws of 28.04 meters, 25.11 meters and 31.48 meters. Melson placed 14th in the shot put with a throw of 8.74 meters and 19th in the discus with a distance of 26.78 meters. 

Virginia Reed (Rockford, Ill.) also performed well as she turned in a trio of top twenty finishes in the jumping events. Reed placed 12th and tied her school record in the high jump with a height of 1.36 meters. She then placed 16th in the triple jump with a season-best distance of 9.16 meters and 17th in the long jump with a wind-aided distance of 4.01 meters.

The Rockford University track and field teams return to action next Thursday and Friday at the Dr. Keeler Invite.