Irvin ends Tiger track career by making history

Tamika Irvin from DWU.

Tamika Irvin became the first female track athlete in DWU history to earn All-American honors at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships last week. (Photo by Melissa Wintemute)

MITCHELL, S.D. – To call Tamika Irvin’s career with the Dakota Wesleyan University track and field team successful would be something of an understatement.

The senior sprinter from Denver, Colo., has earned All-GPAC honors on 10 times, been to five national meets and set school records in 10 events. Her name is all over the Tiger track and field record books, as she also recorded five other times or marks that are in the top 10 in school history.

Last week, she ended her career with the biggest accomplishment of her career. Irvin became the first female track athlete in Dakota Wesleyan history to earn All-American honors thanks to a pair of top-five finishes at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships, held May 24-26 in Marion, Ind. She finished fifth in the nation 100-meter dash and took third and set another school record in the 200.

In the 100-meter dash preliminary race, Irvin took fifth and qualified for the semifinals with a time of 12.22 seconds. She took eighth in the semis with a time of 12.05 seconds, but that was good enough to qualify for the finals, where she finished in fifth with a time of 11.94 seconds. That time was just shy of her school record of 11.92 seconds, which she set earlier this year. Oklahoma Baptist’s Jura Levy won the race in 11.35 seconds – a new NAIA Outdoor Nationals record.

In the 200-meter dash, Irvin recorded the second-best time in the field in the preliminary race with a time of 24.76 seconds. She finished fourth in the semifinals, but improved on her prelim time with a 24.48 second run, and in the final race of her career, she finished third and set a school record with a time of 24.26 seconds. The previous school record was 24.33 seconds, which she set earlier this year. Levy also won the 200-meter dash in a time of 23.26 seconds.

Irvin’s two top-five times mark the 20th and 21st All-American honors in Tiger track and field history, but the first honors earned by a female track athlete. She also becomes the fifth track and field athlete in DWU history to earn multiple All-American honors, and the first to earn multiple honors at the same national meet in the same year.

Irvin wraps up her career with a pair of All-American honors, five Great Plains Athletic Conference titles – four individual and one relay title – and 10 total All-GPAC awards. She holds the school’s outdoor records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and is a part of the record-holding 400-, 800- and 1600-meter relay squads. She also holds some of the school’s top times or marks in the long jump and 400-meter relay. Irvin also holds the school’s indoor records in the 55-, 60- and 200-meter dashes, the long jump and was part of the record holding 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams. She was also a part of the 400- and 1,600-meter relay squads that hold one of the best times in school history.

Fifth-year senior Derik Fossum also competed at the national meet this past weekend. He finished just outside of All-American honors with a 12th-place finish in the triple jump. He recorded a leap of 47-feet-5 inches, which is the third-best mark in school history. He wraps up his career with several trips to nationals and six All-GPAC honors under his belt, including the 2010 GPAC indoor triple jump title.

Fossum holds the second-best indoor and outdoor triple jump marks in school history, and he earned his third straight Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honor this year, it was announced last week. He is a triple major in public service and leadership, business administration and religion, with a legal studies and coaching double minor.