The Loras College men's track and field team finished in third place at this year's Iowa Conference Outdoor Championships inside the Rock Bowl with 127.5 points. Loras' performances were highlighted by three conference titles and seven more All-Iowa Conference efforts.
The headline of the weekend for Loras was the three championships Josh Goerdt brought home, including the effort he made on the anchor leg of the meet's final race in the 4x400 relay to help secure the third place slot for the Duhawks.
The first race the Dyersville, Iowa native won was the one he defended from a year ago in the 400 Meter event. It was the start of a two-hour stretch that pushed Goerdt into the MVP slot. On Friday, he qualified for both individual races (200, 400) in the top four slots of either race.
He entered the blocks for the 400 race at 2:45 PM. He finished the race moments later as the only finalist to break 49 seconds. He ran a 48.38 to defend his 2012 title. The junior is currently 16th on the NCAA Division III list with the 48.08 he ran earlier this month at Monmouth.
Goerdt then took a short rest before warming up for the 200 meter race. He was fourth in the race a year ago and this year second fastest prelim time. The gun went off an hour after he crossed the finish line in the 400, and this time he was .11 seconds faster than the runner up Phillip Jones of Dubuque to win his second title of the day.
The 5K races were sandwiched between the final 4x400 events – the final races of the meet.
Stedman Foster, Sean Lewis, and Zach Frey did their parts in positioning Loras for an All-IIAC spot on the podium ahead of the anchor leg by Goerdt. That's when the junior took the baton on the home track and did the rest. Trailing much of the first 200 meters, he hit the final turn and took off for the finish line, passing three runners from three other schools on his way to the finish line.
The result of the three first place finishes was being voted the meet's Men's Track Most Valuable athlete. From 1989-1993, the Duhawks had five straight MVPs, and Josh became Loras' sixth.
In addition to Goerdt's wins, the Duhawks added seven other All-IIAC performances, including another relay Goerdt ran on earlier on Saturday.
On the track, the Duhawks performed well in the distance events. Sophomores Rob Howe and Steve Loran were third in the 5,000 (Howe) and in the 10,000 (Loran). Senior Austin Steil was third in the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase – an event he won a year ago. He ran a 9:39.
Senior Tim Derr was .12 seconds behind the winner in the 110 Hurdles. He ran a 15.17 for All-IIAC honors in second place. The 4x100 team of Kyle Ward, Goerdt, Nick Ball, and Zac Gassman were just .23 seconds off a winning time and .39 seconds ahead of third.
In the field events, Blade Westaby was runner-up in the Pole Vault. He reached 14'-1.75" on his fourth attempt of the day to secure that spot and win a tiebreaker. Michael Meersman's second toss of the day in the Javelin Throw was his best, an even 182-feet. The third round throw from the Simpson entrant was exactly one foot further, pushing Meersman into second place.
Loras will now spend the week trying to qualify a handful of athletes for nationals at last chance meets in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, Rock Island, Illinois, and Naperville, Illinois.
Watch the final 300 meters of Goerdt's finish HERE.