Bulldog men claim third, women fourth at GPAC Championships
By Taylor Muller, Sports Information Assistant
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Concordia men’s and women’s track and field teams fell short in their respective quests to become conference champions, as they wrapped up the indoor season with the GPAC conference meet at the Devaney Sports Center. The men’s squad finished in third place, while the women’s team claimed fourth.
Although the Bulldogs did not claim any team championships, numerous athletes had standout performances, a few even winning conference titles.
Senior Jena Schwalenberg had a busy, but successful day as she won the 3,000 meter race in a time of 10:28 and placed third in the mile with a time of 5:09. Both times qualified Schwalenberg for the NAIA championship meet.
Junior John Cartier coasted to a 400 meter crown in 49.36, while senior Colin Morrissey took first in the 3,000, finishing in 8:39.
In the women’s weight throw, junior Jamie Crouse once again handled the competition easily with a throw of 59’2” to win the event while junior Carson Farr cleared 15’5” in the pole vault to take first place. Both Crouse and Farr qualified for the NAIA championships in Geneva, OH.
"We had some tremendous competitive efforts with John Cartier winning the 400 meters and Carson Farr winning the pole vault,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “Colin Morrissey finished in second in the 5,000 meters in what was really a great race. After running what he might have thought was a subpar mile, he came back with an excellent race in the 3,000 meters. That's a very difficult three events to race in one meet. He scored 22 points and had a great day. He just missed the Most Valuable Athlete of the Meet."
The men’s 4x400 meter relay team of sophomore Taiheem Pleasant, junior Ben Hinckfoot, junior Jonathon Becker and Cartier won a thrilling race in 3:18, which will send them to the NAIA championship meet.
Einspahr was pleased with the way the 4x400 meter relay team competed.
"The men's 4x400 had a very good race - extremely exciting. Cartier anchored us to a win in what was a great finish. It's always uplifts your spirits when you can win that last race in the meet."
After leading the 5,000 meter race with just 50 meters to go, Morrissey took second, finishing just .38 seconds behind the winner, with a time of 15:28. Sophomore Ben Sievert placed third in 15:36.
The women’s 4x800 meter relay team of freshman Kim Wood, junior Jenean Williams, sophomore Erika Schroeder and junior Megan Letts qualified for the NAIA national meet with their second place finishing time of 9:30.
Becker placed second in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.29, while senior Jared Hoffman took second in the men’s 800 meter run with a time of 1.55.
Wood took second in the women’s 600 meter run with a time of 1:35, as she was just edged out by the winner at the finish line.
Freshman Cynthia Mick had an impressive performance in the women’s pole vault as she cleared 11’7” to take third place. Mick’s jump earned her a trip to Ohio.
Several throwers had solid performances as well.
Sophomore Brittany Erdmann took third in the shot put with a throw of 45’4” ¼, which qualified her for the national championships. Freshman Stephanie Coley also qualified for nationals with a throw of 45’ ¼” , as did Crouse who threw the shot put 42’10 ¼”.
On the men’s side, sophomore Jose Rojas also qualified for a trip to Geneva with his throw of 52’ in the shot put, with which he claimed fourth place.
Although they just narrowly missed qualifying for the national meet, the women’s 4x400 meter relay team of Wood, freshmen Jessica Klaustermeier, Quriosity Young, and Shelby Stolze placed fourth with a time of 4:04, improving their relay time by five seconds.
"On the women's side, our competitors in the 4x400 put together a great race. We improved by about five seconds and were just off the national qualifying time,” Einspahr said. “All four are freshman so that certainly bodes well for the future. A lot of our young athletes got to find out what the intensity of the GPAC Championships is like."
Einspahr added his final comments on the conference championship meet, and added a little of what he is looking forward to.
"Overall I'm pleased with our individual performances,” Einspahr said. “I'm happy with finishing third on the men's side and fourth on the women's side, but our expectations are to finish higher. We'll gear up for the outdoor season and hope to improve our finish."
The NAIA championship track and field meet will be Feb. 28 – March 2 in Geneva, Ohio.
NOTE: The top eight placeholders in each event are recognized as GPAC all-conference.
17 February 2013