Blazing men’s 4x4 headlines busy weekend for Bulldog track and field
By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant
It was a busy weekend for the track and field programs, with a handful of athletes squaring off against top collegiate competition from around the country in the Frank Sevigne Husker Invite, while the rest of the team headed to Doane College to compete in the Fred Beile Classic.
Competing against the likes of Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Auburn and USC to name a few, not to mention a handful of Olympic athletes and world champions who were present at the meet, Concordia athletes were in for a meet they likely will never forget.
Freshman Cody Boellstorff, who threw at both the Devaney Center in Lincoln and at Doane, placed ninth at the Sevigne Husker Invite with a toss of 58’01”3/4. The next day, he crushed the competition at Doane with a throw of 59’04” ¾ to win the event.
Senior Jamie Crouse placed eighth in the women’s weight throw, finishing with a mark of 58’07” despite fouling on her last four attempts.
Despite their performances among some of the best athletes in the nation, several Concordia athletes were not able to match or top their season bests.
“I didn't think our kids relaxed as much as they need to,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “We didn't have any collapses but most of them were not real close to their season bests.”
On the track, junior Ben Sievert paired up with senior Hayden Hohnholt to compete in the 3000 meter run. It was Hohnholt who just nabbed Sievert at the finish line, to take seventh in the event with a time of 8:30.25. Sievert finished in eighth with a time of 8:30.27.
It was the men’s 4x400 meter relay who gave Concordia their brightest moment, however, when they scorched their way to a second place finish and a national qualifying time of 3:16. Seniors John Cartier, Jonathon Becker, Alex Heiden and freshman CJ Muller were able to top the likes of the University of Nebraska, Iowa, Auburn and Colorado State.
Einspahr was pleased with the performances that followed on Saturday at the Devaney Center and commented on the success of his athletes.
“Today we competed really well at the Husker Invite,” Einspahr said. “Hayden and Ben both had PR's in the 3,000 meters. Those were excellent marks. Then our men's 4x4 had an outstanding race to win their heat. That's probably the fastest time by far that we've had from a 4x4 before the national championships. We have a lot of 400 runners that can get up and go.”
Just 34 minutes away, the rest of the Concordia squad was competing at Doane College, where several athletes were having monster performances.
Sophomore Stephanie Coley had a terrific day, finishing second in the weight throw with a mark of 55’01” ½ and third in the shot put with a toss of 45’07”, both of which are national qualifying marks.
The women’s 4x800 meter relay team of senior Jenean Williams, junior Erika Schroeder, sophomore Kim Wood and freshman Marti Vlasin took first place in 9:38, a time that will take them to Geneva, Ohio for the national meet.
Wood went solo for an 800 meter run and took second in 2:16. Junior Rianne Gross burst onto the scene for the Bulldogs with her clearance of 11’05” in the pole vault competition which earned her second place.
On the men’s side, senior Noah Smith took first in the 400 meter run with his time of 50.71. Junior Trey Farmer claimed first in the shot put with his toss of 51’01” and senior Carson Farr crushed the competition with a mark of 16’00” ¾ which was good enough for first place as well.
Hoping to qualify for the national meet, the 4x800 meter relay team of sophomore Jaap Van Gaalen, junior Charlie Bloomfield, and seniors Adam Prahlow and Ben Hinckfoot came just three seconds short of meeting the national qualifying mark with a time of 8:00. The time won them first place in the event.
As the season winds down, the dreams, goals and visions of a first ever GPAC title are starting to come into focus. There is still room to improve, however, and Einspahr is aware of what needs to be accomplished if the Bulldogs are to claim a title.
“Closing in on the GPAC Championships, we're figuring out where we stack up,” Einspahr said. “We have some guys in the middle distances that need to get in position to compete near the top. We'll see how we develop in the last 10-14 days before the GPAC meet. We think we have a good chance to finish in the top two on both the men's and women's sides, which is our goal. We'll have to put together a good meet.”
The Bulldogs have one regular season meet left, which will take place on Friday, Feb. 14 when they host the Concordia Indoor Invitational inside Bulldog Fieldhouse. Throwing events begin at 1 p.m. with running events following at 2 p.m.
“We always perform well on our home track,” Einspahr said. “There's definitely a home field advantage - not unlike you see from other sports. It's a familiar venue. There's a comfort level there and you have the fans cheering for you. It does make a difference.”