On Thursday, May 26 through Saturday, May 28, the NAIA held the outdoor track and field national championship in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The midwest region was well represented by a local college athlete. Kale Wolken, a 2012 graduate from Johnson-Brock High School, is the grandson of Jim and Deanne Gerking. Jim and Deanne own and operate EnTire Recycling located on highway 136, just west of Rock Port, and have been familiar faces to the Atchison County community for years. Going for his third-straight national title in the decathlon, Wolken had a remarkable lead after totaling 4,003 points after day one. He won the 100 meter, long jump, shot put 400 meters, discus, pole vault and javelin portions of the decathlon. He placed 2nd in the high jump and 110m hurdles and 5th in the 1500 meters. Wolken, now a three-time national champion in the decathlon,amassed 7,830 points – 12 points better than the previous national meet standard set by Alper Kasapoglu of Western Oregon in 1996. Wolken totaled nearly 1,000 points more than the runner up Lucas Wiechman of Concordia. He was also awarded the men’s most outstanding performance trophy and definitely earned a place on the NAIA list of outdoor track and field All-Americans. At this moment Wolken ranks No. 4 on the 2016 U.S. list and 18th in the world in the decathlon.
Kale attends Doane College, Crete, Neb., and has received many awards and recognition over his collegiate track career. The college senior has been given the Male Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year and earned the male track and field Most Valuable Player award. This year he was also able to beat his college record, previously set by himself, by 90 points. Wolken’s most impressive accomplishments, however, are his acknowledgements at the national level. He was a five-time national champion in the multi-events and topped six NCAA Division I athletes. Recently Wolken also participated in the Drake Relays finishing with 7,504 points, which leads the NAIA. This point total is also ninth best in all collegiate athletics this season. Up next for Wolken, the Olympic trial in Oregon!