Wittenberg will send junior Justin Yates and sophomore Laike Wallace to the NCAA Division III track and field championships this week, and they won’t have to go far.
Fellow North Coast Athletic Conference member Ohio Wesleyan hosts the event Thursday through Saturday in Delaware.
Yates, a Bellbrook High School graduate, will compete in the 400-meter dash. His qualifying time of 47.9 seconds ranks 14th of the 20 runners in the field. He gets started with a preliminary race at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
“Justin overcame a strained hamstring which happened in January to qualify for the national meet,” Wittenberg coach Craig Penney said. “That says a lot about his determination.”
Wallace, of Washington Court House, is ranked 13th in the 400-meter hurdles with a qualifying time of 53.19. His preliminary race takes place at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
“Laike has really taken his talents and skill set to the next level,” Penney said.
This will be the first appearance at the national meet for either runner. Wittenberg has had 11 athletes earn 18 All-America honors (indoor and out), most recently sprinter Victor Banjo in 2012.
Yates and Wallace are familiar with Ohio Wesleyan’s track. They earned their qualifying times there: Yates at the All-Ohio Championships on April 12 and Wallace at the Ron Althoff Invitational on May 12. Both won NCAC championships in their events.
“We had the thoughts they could qualify, but you still have to get the job done, and they both have accomplished that goal,” Penney said. “It is a big step to qualify for the national meet. I am thrilled for them. It is another one to get top eight. They both have a shot. It is about who puts the best race on the oval. They are ready.”
Men’s golf: The Tigers finished fifth at the national meet last week in Greensboro, N.C. It’s the second-best finish at the national championships in program history, following a fourth in 1990.
The Tigers finished sixth in 2010 and seventh in 2013. This was their best finish under coach Jeff Roope, who has guided the program to the national event five years in a row.
Junior Alex Andrews was Wittenberg’s top individual finisher, placing 25th