Track and Field: Jade Rypkema earns All-American honors at Nike Nationals
The Nevis distance runner finishes 4th in the 5,000 meters against the nation's best.
EUGENE, Oregon – At the state girls track and field meet, Nevis’ Jade Rypkema proved to be the best Class A distance runner in Minnesota by winning the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter races.
At the Nike Outdoor High School Nationals at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon on June 16, Rypkema proved to be one of the top female high school distance runners in the country.
Rypkema concluded her junior season by earning All-American honors after placing fourth in the 5,000-meter race in 17:07.33 among a field of 20 of the top runners in the nation. Liesel Kehoe of Edmond, Oklahoma, took first in 16:38.47 with Charlotte Richman of Portland, Oregon, taking second in 16:46.45 and Lani Bloom of Ithaca, Michigan, placing third in 16:59.67.
Rypekma opened the 5K race with a 39:36 split on the first 200 meters before posting 400-meter splits of 1:22.639, 1:21.443, 1:22.617, 1:23.384, 1:22.714, 1:33.096, 1:23.479, 1:23.753, 1:23.077, 1:23.411, 1:23.095 and 1:15.253.
“For this race, you have to qualify based on your in-season times. Since it was a 5,000-meter race, my 3,200-meter time qualified me for the race,” said Rypkema, who won the state title in the 3,200 in 10:36.99. “My original goal was to try to break 17 minutes and get on the podium. I was not sure what was exactly possible as it was my first 5K on the track, but I know I can always go out and compete to the best of my ability. My race went very well. I went out and ran even splits with a nice kick. With state just a week ago, this result is the best I could ask for.”
“Nike Outdoor High School Nationals has qualifying standards for each event. You can qualify for the championship flights by hitting very difficult standards or the emerging elite flights, which are still difficult standards. Jade was entered in the 2 mile and 5,000. Standard for championship flight was 10:44. Two heats in both the 2 mile and 5,000: fast and faster. There are no slow heats,” said Nevis head cross country coach Tom Stambaugh. “She got in the fast heat for the 5,000 but not the 2 mile, so we scratched out of the 2 mile. In the 5,000 there were 12 in each heat with 17:24 winning Heat 1. I was hoping sub-17:30 for Jade. I actually was just hoping she wouldn't get last in the fast heat. These girls are the best in the U.S. She was at a disadvantage as most state track meets were 2 to 4 weeks ago while Jade only got a 5-day recovery after state, which is very challenging. Jade really wanted to podium finish (top 6), which is All-American. She went out very smart and stuck with a pack of four in 4th to 7th place. She kicked well to beat those four and finish fourth. She definitely could have run 16:50ish if our state meet was earlier. I could not be more impressed with her race. Jade showed herself that she can compete with the top girls in the U.S. Two of the three in front of her were seniors, so she has a chance to contend next year if she stays healthy.”
After winning two state titles and being an All-American to cap off her junior season, Rypkema will start focusing on winning the state cross country title, defending her state track championships, returning to Eugene to repeat as an All-American and selecting a major college to continue her running career.
“She is done racing for the season. She'll go back to putting in the summer miles and get ready for cross country,” said Stambaugh. “She is also starting the process of figuring out where she'd like to go to school. Her race in Eugene definitely attracted a lot of attention from some of the top distance schools in the country. It will be a fun process for her taking visits in the fall to find the right fit.”