Dordt College News

Seniors Leave Mark On Track Program

June 10, 2013

Eleven seniors recently graduated from the Dordt College and completed their careers as track and field athletes.  Three of them completed their careers at the national track and field meet in Marion, Indiana.

"This group of seniors had a tremendous impact on Defender track and field in the four years they were part of the program," said Dordt College track and field coach Craig Heynen.

Briana Vander Woude finished her remarkable career with two All American awards and her second national championship.  Her championship in the heptathlon was followed by a fourth place finish in the high jump at the meet hosted on the Indiana Wesleyan campus.  Ryan Tholen ended with an All American award in the men’s 4 x 800 as they placed 6th in the 4 x 800 relay. Merissa Harkema helped the women’s 4x 800 to a 6th place finish also.  These three seniors played an instrumental role in helping the Defender squad to one of their best national meets ever as the team achieved All American Status in seven events and all 15 national qualifiers were involved in at least one All American award.

This group of seniors will be remembered for their tremendous talent and determination.  They helped elevate the track and field program to new heights, improving the overall caliber of both men’s and women’s teams.  During the four years they participated in the program, the number of national qualifiers increased tremendously, and numerous school records were set.  They currently are record holders in 20 indoor events and 24 outdoor events. 

Vander Woude holds the school record in the 55 hurdles, 55 dash, 4 x 200, high jump, long jump, and pentathlon indoor, and the 100 hurdles, 4 x 100. 4 x 200, sprint medley, high jump, long jump, and pentathlon outdoor.  She also is a conference meet record holder in the 4 x 100 and long jump outdoor.

Nic Pfeifle has records in the 400, 4 x 400, and 4 x 200 indoor, as well as the 100, 200, 400, 4 x 400, and Sprint Medley relay outdoor. 

Aaron Floen contributed to records in the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 indoor, and the 4 x 100 and Sprint Medley Relay outdoor. 

Ryan Tholen holds the 800, 100, and 4 x 800 meter records indoor, and the 1500, 4 x 800, and Sprint Medley outdoor. 

Merissa Harkema was a member of the record holding 4 x800 and distance medley relays, and also the 1000 meter run indoor.  She was also on the record setting distance medley outdoor.

Tara Postma and Kaitlin Troost were both part of the indoor record setting 4 x 400 relay, and Kaitlin also was on the outdoor 4 x 200 relay that holds the school record. 

Joshua Brinkerhoff holds the school record for Pole Vault, both indoor and outdoor.

Trevor Wolterstorff contributed to the school records in the 4 x 200 and sprint medley relays outdoor. 

Jordan Huisman holds the current outdoor record in the hammer throw.

In addition to the significant number of school records, this group was also involved in many trips to the national meet and on those occasions achieved a total of 25 All American performances.  Briana Vander Woude led the way with 9 NAIA  All-American awards in her career.  She also was crowned national champion twice.  Nic Pfeifle achieved All American 5 times.  Ryan Tholen was an NAIA All-American on four occasions.  Merissa Harkema and Aaron Floen both received 2 All American awards.  Tara Postma, Kaitlin Troost, and Trevor Wolterstorff were each named NAIA All-American one time during their careers.

“This group of seniors will clearly be missed, as their leadership, work ethic, and talent was exceptional.  They represented Dordt College well, and consistently demonstrated what it meant to live out their faith through athletic competition,” said Heynen.  “Their influence on the track and field program will be lasting, as they have demonstrated to their teammates how to compete with passion and excellence.”

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