By Gary Andrews
Bolstered by four all-region efforts, Manchester University, ranked No. 4 on the current United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III Great Lakes regional poll, battled through a strong field at the 2013 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Spartans finished with 109 points, good for third place in the 39-team field gathered at Calvin College’s Gainey Athletic Fields. Senior Curtis Nordmann, fresh off the individual Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship, placed fifth, while seniors Michael Stocker (Yorktown), Jon Cafarelli (Lansing, Ill.) and Chris LaFree (South Bend) joined the Black and Gold’s all-region list with 10th, 21st and 30th-place marks.
With Nordmann earning an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships, the Spartans hoped for more with the national committee meeting to complete the 32-team field. They were rewarded with an at-large spot.
“This is awesome,” Cashdollar said. “We’re going to go and race to the best of our ability at nationals. It’s all you can ask for at this time of year.”
“The guys raced as close to the spots as our coaching staff figured (at regionals),” Cashdollar said. “[Meet champion and host] Calvin and [runner-up] Wabash really put in strong races, too, though. We came away with the most all-region honorees in a single season and our lowest point total at regionals. It was a good day.”
MU competes in its third successive and fourth NCAA Division III national meet in the last five seasons on Saturday, Nov. 23. Fellow Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference member Hanover College is the meet ‘s host.