The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

April 12, 2014

Hammack helps relay set NCAA Div. III meet record

OTTUMWA — Former Ottumwa track and field standout Spencer Hammack continues to enjoy success at the college level.

Hammack, a sophomore at Central College, teamed up with Eli Horton, Drew Jackson and Austin O’Brien to set a meet record in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships at Lincoln, Neb., with a time of 9 minutes, 54.8 seconds.

“It was awesome,” Hammack, who ran the 400 leg of the race, said. “I’ve never been on that high of a level competitively. It was just a good atmosphere to be in, let alone winning.”

The time smashed the previous meet mark of 9:59.58 set the previous year, while it shattered the previous school record set earlier in the season by more than four seconds.

“We thought we had a good chance at it, but we had no idea we would win by three seconds,” said Hammack, who qualified for Class 4A state in a potpourri of events on multiple occasions while running for Ottumwa.

“It was an incredible effort,” coach Joe Dunham added. “It was the true story of four runners each doing something special for the good of the group. Austin ran smart and handed off near the lead. Spencer ran an unbelievable split, as did Drew. Then Eli had the challenge of running alone the entire leg, which is hard with teams chasing. But he did it and they did it.

“You can never take away a national championship and they are now the best distance medley relay team to ever run at the national meet. I’m really proud of them.”

Hammack and company’s triumph marked the fifth NCAA Division III Indoor Championship in program history — the other four came in fields and multi-events.

To follow Andy Heintz’s Twitter feed, go to @CourierAndy

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