Bulldog men complete season sweep of GPAC indoor and outdoor titles

Bulldog men complete season sweep of GPAC indoor and outdoor titles

CRETE, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s track and field program entered the 2013-14 season still looking for that first GPAC championship in school history. With the conference outdoor championships in the books, the Bulldog men can now claim a sweep of the 2014 indoor and outdoor titles.

The 2014 outdoor championships, which played out Friday and Saturday at Doane College in Crete, Neb., saw the Concordia men place first with a total of 216 points. The Bulldog women tallied 150 points and finished runner up to host Doane (255 points).

A significant favorite entering the meet, head coach Kregg Einspahr’s group of men simply took care of business.

“When you win a conference championship in this league, it’s just a great feeling,” Einspahr said. “We’ve been knocking on the door for a long time.”

Unlike the indoor title, which remained up for grabs much later into the meet, the Bulldogs secured the outdoor championship without much tension.

“This one was over pretty early for the most part,” Einspahr said. “You worry that something bad can happen early on and things can spiral. A lot of crazy things can happen that you can’t control. Our guys came through with a great day. To win it in this league is really special.”

Freshman Zach Lurz stood out above the rest, taking individual titles in the discus (168’ 1”) and shot put (54’ 4”) to go with a third place finish in the hammer throw (183’ 9”). Lurz racked up 26 team points to earn GPAC Outstanding Performer of the Meet honors on the men’s side. Lurz will be headed to nationals later this month in all three events.

Concordia also got GPAC-winning performances from John Cartier (200 meters, 21.77), Carson Farr (pole vault, 16’ 5 ¼”), Ben Hinckfoot (400 meter hurdles, 53.40) and Lucas Wiechman (decathlon, 6,010 points).

Like usual, Cartier was put to use in several events. He also earned a second-place finish in the 400 meter dash (48.06) and was part of third-place claims for both the 4x100 meter relay (41.48) and the 4x400 meter relay (3:16.73). His efforts were good for a combined 30 team points.

Lurz and the men’s throwers were a big reason why Concordia took home the hardware. The Bulldogs had four of the top seven finishers in the shot put and three of the top four and five of the top eight in the hammer throw (Cody Boellstorff – second, 194’ 9”).

Concordia also scored huge in the decathlon. Not only did Wiechman, a freshman from Pilger, Neb., win it, teammates Brandon Ramos (5,957 points) and Brandon Cook (5,936 points) placed second and third, respectively.

“With two of them being freshmen and one sophomore, the future really looks great,” Einspahr said of the decathletes. “They did an incredible job.”

In the hurdles, Hinckfoot took fourth in the 110 meter event, clocking in at 15.01. Teammate Jonathon Becker placed second with his time of 14.72. Becker was also runner up to Hinckfoot in the 400 meter hurdles, recording a time of 54.02.

Meanwhile, the women duplicated their second-place finish at the indoor championships in February. Liz King’s GPAC record javelin toss of 157’ 8” on Friday provided the biggest highlight from an individual standpoint.

King was one of four GPAC titlists among Bulldog women, joining Jamie Crouse (hammer, 181’ 2”), Kim Wood (1,500 meter run, 4:42.88) and Shelby Yelden (pole vault, 12’ 2”) at the GPAC championships.

Wood, also a GPAC indoor champion in the 1,000 meter and one mile runs, is quickly becoming a top middle distance runner in the conference.

“The 1,500 was not her forte in high school,” Einspahr said. “She has really learned that event. She ran a tactical race today and with her speed she was able to win it. I think it’s just a matter of time before she runs a much faster time. She had a great finish today. It was very impressive.”

The 150 points for the women surpassed the team’s projection on paper.

“We scored out well ahead of the projection on the women’s side,” Einspahr said. “Some years 165 points or even less is good enough to win the conference championship. The women had a very good day.”

The women got great point production from the shot put (three of the top seven), discus (four of the top eight), javelin (four of the top eight) and heptathlon (two of the top three and five of the top eight). Stephanie Coley placed second in the shot put with her mark of 47’ 10.” Junior Sara Simmons was runner up in the heptathlon with her point total of 4,617.

In the relays, the Concordia women were third in the 4x8 (9:27.37), fifth in the 4x4 (3:59.81) and sixth in the 4x1 (50.03).

The Bulldogs will host their annual Concordia Twilight meet on Friday, May 9. It will be the final tune up prior to the 2014 NAIA Outdoor National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 22-24.

3 May 2014

Final GPAC championships results »

On the strength of conference titles in the discus and shot put, Concordia freshman Zach Lurz earned GPAC Male Outstanding Performer of the Meet. Hastings' Courtney Mills took the honor on the women's side.