Men’s, women’s teams win half-marathon championships

Caitlyn Diimig

As he crossed the finish line in second place, he was happy to be done.

But Chris Robertson, junior in industrial engineering, was more concerned with where his teammates would place.

“Right after it finished, I was just basically waiting and looking behind me to see where my teammates were to make sure we won the team title,” Robertson said. “That was when I knew something was wrong because Danny [Ducharme] and Mason [Frank] were nowhere to be seen.”

With four miles to go in the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association Half-Marathon Championships on Saturday, Ducharme and Frank were in third and fifth place. They were supposed to turn left on the hilly course, but a police officer and race volunteer misguided them.

“A little over a half mile later, we realized we’d overshot it, because we hit a major intersection,” said Ducharme, senior in chemical engineering. “We had to turn around and it took us a little over a half mile to get back on pace. It was kind of a bummer.”

Ducharme ended up placing 16th and Mason finished in 23rd.

Members of the Iowa State Running Club were competing at the championships in Bloomington, Ind., and as the defending champs, the men’s team felt the pressure to win again.

After he took the wrong turn, Ducharme wasn’t sure where the men would end up, but the men’s talent is deep.

“We’ve got a really, really strong half-marathon team,” said Frank, senior in mathematics and running club president. “Our [No.] 4 and 5 guys really stepped up.”

Stepping up for the men’s team was Daniel Sevcik, senior in kinesiology and health, and Josh Bernhard, graduate student in statistics, taking fourth and seventh place.

“Once I found out we had won, that overtook the feeling of anger and I was just really happy for our team,” Frank said. “I was just happy that our guys stepped up and took over where we made that mistake.”

The women’s team also took first place at the championships, led by Melanie Holman, sophomore in kinesiology and health, who took third place overall. Holman competed at last year’s race, where the women placed seventh.

Holman said the team has improved during the last year because it has more women competing.

Holman said she was very excited for her teammates.

“They’ve been working so hard,” Holman said. “They’ve worked really hard and they brought it home and I’m really excited for them.”

Holman said she was especially excited for Julie Wiemerslage, sophomore in biology, who placed fifth and knocked nine minutes off her time.