Three Hope athletes achieved All-America distinction at the NCAA Division III track and field championships held May 24-26 in Decatur, Ill.
The performances of seniors Steve Rabuck of Myerstown, Pa. in the 800-meter run, Emily Sowers of Grand Rapids, Mich. in the discus and Joe Veldman of Sawyer, Mich. in the 5,000-meter run gives Hope its most track All-Americans in a single season.
Sowers finished sixth among 20 discus entrants with a throw of 144 feet, 8 inches to become the second Hope track athlete to achieve All-America status three consecutive years. In 1999 she was fifth in the nation and in 2000 ended third. This culminated an unusual final collegiate season for Sowers who was the MIAA champion in the shot put, but was unsuccessful in a bid to win the conference crown in the discus for a fourth consecutive year. She also competed at nationals in the shot put (36 feet, 9 inches), but did not advance to the finals.
Veldman culminated an outstanding senior year in which he qualified for nationals in both cross country and track and field and was chosen the college's outstanding senior male athlete. A strong finish advanced him to sixth in the field of 17 5K runners. He was 12th heading into the final half mile needing to be among the top eight to achieve All-America status. Battling rain and wind, he passed six runners, including three from rival Calvin, to end with a time of 15:02.92. Veldman is Hope's third 5K All-American, joining Dan Bannink (1997) and Marcia Vandersall (1992/1993)
Rabuck finished eighth in the 800-meter in 1:55.08. He is Hope's first male track All-American in a running event under 5,000 meters. He has been a two-sport athlete at Hope, earning conference honors in soccer and track.
Three other Hope athletes competed at nationals. Senior Joe Kattelus of Okemos, Mich. was 11th in the discus (156 feet, 10 inches) and 15th in the shot put (49 feet, 6 inches); freshman Jennifer Price of Battle Creek, Mich., ninth in the 800-meter run (2:12.61) and sophomore Ed Perez of Hopkins, Mich., 14th (:54.28) in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.