Kip Janvrin Open to draw strong athletes


by Zach Jevne/Staff Writer

Participants from over 40 colleges and universities, across all levels and divisions, will descend on Bill Buxton Stadium next week for the fourth annual Kip Janvrin Open.

The yearly event, named for 1988 Simpson graduate and All-American decathlete Kip Janvrin, will be held April 22-23. This event provides quality competition for all participants. 

“The biggest thing is it gives us a chance to compete against outstanding competition,” assistant track coach Brad Hofer said. “I think that’s what people like about this meet. The quality of competition is what they’re looking for.”

Other schools like what is being offered at the Kip Janvrin Open, according to the participation numbers. It has become such a well-attended meet that limits have been put on how many entries a school can have for each event. Over 1,200 athletes are expected to participate. 

“It’s great exposure for our college and campus to people all over the country,” Athletic Director John Sirianni said. “From our perspective, it’s one of the highlighted meets each spring.”

For Simpson athletes, the Open is the one chance they get to run at home.

“It’s nice to be able to run on your home track where you’ve been practicing all year,” senior distance runner Casey Dunning of Marion said. “I love the Kip Janvrin meet. It gives you the opportunity to compete against the highest caliber of athletes from a lot of different states.”

Dunning will run the 10,000-meter run, an event he won at the Open two years ago. Because it is the only home event, Simpson uses the meet to host Senior Night, where Dunning and 21 others seniors on the men’s and women’s teams will be honored for their hard work and dedication to the program.

The Open coincides with the Drake Relays, which take place April 22-24 in Des Moines. The Janvrin Open allows many athletes to compete in events that are difficult to get entered in at the Drake Relays. Having both meets so close, coaches and schools can be present at both meets on the same weekend. Athletes who don’t qualify for Drake, which features elite athletes from around the country, can still face quality competition.

“The Drake Relays, at the college level, is very difficult to get into,” Hofer said. “A lot of teams want their other athletes, who may have just missed getting into Drake, to still compete. They send them down here, where the competition is outstanding.”

Four years ago Simpson decided to name the meet after Janvrin to recognize his accomplishments at Simpson and post-college. Janvrin won three NCAA Division III titles in the decathlon, and also individual titles in the pole vault and 400-meter hurdles. Janvrin earned the bronze medal at the 1994 Goodwill Games and won the 1995 Pan American Games in the decathlon. He qualified for and participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Janvrin is currently co-head track and field coach at Central Missouri University.