Sports

Vandenburg runs for fourth place in NCAA championships

Junior Thomas Vandenberg placed fourth in the NCAA Indoor Division III Track and Field Championships this weekend, giving him the first All-American honors of his college career. (credit: Jonathan Leung/Photo Editor) Junior Thomas Vandenberg placed fourth in the NCAA Indoor Division III Track and Field Championships this weekend, giving him the first All-American honors of his college career. (credit: Jonathan Leung/Photo Editor)

Junior Thomas Vandenberg represented Carnegie Mellon University at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Division III Track and Field Championships this weekend, placing fourth in the 800-meter run. “After just missing nationals for the past couple of years, making it this year was my number one goal,” Vandenberg wrote via email.

Vandenberg was the only Tartan to qualify for the trip to Nebraska to face off against the best track and field athletes in the country.

Vandenberg qualified 11th out of 16 to make the event and was in the second heat of the preliminaries. While he did not finish in the top two of his Friday heat to guarantee his spot in the finals, his third place finals finish, as well as the third place overall time with a 1:51.77, was good enough to get him a spot.

“I was really exicted to see how fast I ran on the first day,” Vandenberg wrote. “I’ve always been a competitive runner, so I knew if I raced against the top runners in the country, I would be able to race as fast as them.”

On Saturday, the finals field was slower as a whole, but Vandenberg still shined. “I had made nationals, so I had accomplished my goal, and running well at the meet was sort of the icing on the cake,” he wrote.

His time of 1:52.47 was good enough for his fourth place finish and netted Vandenberg the first All-American honors of his college career. Vandenberg’s finish single-handedly placed Carnegie Mellon in a tie for 42nd in the team scores. This event marks the end of the indoor track and field season, but the outdoor season kicks off this weekend at the Washington and Lee Track and Field Carnival.

“I took a couple of days off after nationals, but now I’m back at it. My goals are definitely to qualify again,” he said.