Simpson has recently announced the renaming of the track meet traditionally held on the last Friday of April. In honor of former Simpson track star Kip Janvrin, the meet formerly known as the Twilight Open, will now be the Kip Janvrin Open.
Janvrin said he was honored that Simpson chose to rename the meet after him.
“It is a great honor and I appreciate the [Simpson] administration for keeping my name alive,” Janvrin said. “I hope some of the athletes who compete in the meet will [find] out who I am and [I hope] it helps motivate them to greater success.”
Janvrin, a 1988 Simpson graduate and native of Panora, Iowa, is one of the most prominent athletes in the history of NCAA Division III track and field. During his time at Simpson, Janvrin won three consecutive national titles from 1986 to 1988 in the decathlon, and also won national titles in the pole vault and 400-meter hurdles in 1988.
His three titles at the 1988 national meet marked the first time any Division III athlete had done so. He set national records for Division III with his decathlon score of 7,528 points and his pole vault performance of 16’5 1/2″. He then placed eighth in the Division I national decathlon.
Dave Cleveland, men’s and women’s track and field coach, said Janvrin is a worthy candidate for the renaming of the upcoming meet.
“This is a very well-deserved honor,” Cleveland said. “We are so fortunate to have someone of his stature to have represented Simpson College.”
Named an All-American 10 times, Janvrin won 12 Iowa Conference titles in six different events; 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 400-meter run, javelin, pole vault and triple jump. He was also named MVP of the Iowa Conference three consecutive years, from 1986 to 1988.
At the Iowa Conference Outdoor Championship in 1988, Janvrin competed in a remarkable 11 events, scoring in 10 and winning five individual events and one relay. He still holds school records at Simpson for the indoor and outdoor pole vault, the 400-meter hurdles and for points in a decathlon.
When he graduated in 1988, Janvrin took his skills to the national and international stages. He has won the Drake Relays decathlon a record 15 times and set the event record with 8,198 points in 1996.
Sports Information Director Matt Turk said Janvrin wasn’t only successful at Simpson, but well after his graduation as an athlete and coach.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet and spend some time with Kip,” Turk said. “And it’s easy to see how he was able to transfer his accomplishments into a very successful coaching career. He’s very charismatic and has a positive effect on the people around him.”
In 1992, Janvrin placed eighth in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials. In 1996, he was the United States’ decathlon alternate and in 2000, he competed in the Olympics in Sydney, Australia and placed 20th. He narrowly missed the Olympics again in 2004.
Janvrin is a two-time member of the U.S. Pan American Team and won the event’s decathlon in 1995, setting the meet’s record. He also won the 2001 U.S. Track and Field Decathlon National Championship.
As if these accomplishments do not say enough about the legendary career of Janvrin, he also is the world record holder for the 2005 Masters decathlon in the “40 and Above” category and for the double decathlon in 2002. He has won a world- best 40 decathlons, posting a world-best 78 scores over 7,000 and a world-best 26 scores over 8,000. His personal best of 8,462 points is the seventh best score in U.S. Track and Field History.
Janvrin has also had a very impressive coaching career at Central Missouri State, where he has been a part of the staff along with fellow former Simpson star Kirk Pedersen.
Janvrin and Pedersen’s teams at Central Missouri State have won 10 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association indoor championships and five outdoor championships. Janvrin has been named the conference’s coach of the year four times for the indoor season and three times for the outdoor season.
Although Janvrin has already made a name for himself worldwide, Simpson has now made sure that his accomplishments will continue to inspire Simpson athletes for years to come. Janvrin is grateful to his alma mater for the recognition he has received.
Recognized as one of the best decathletes in the United States, Janvrin and Simpson are very proud to represent one another.
“Being such a diplomat of the sport at the collegiate, professional and world level,” Cleveland said. “This will ensure that his name will never be forgotten.”