Indoor track and field season preview
At a glance:
2011-12 Finishes: Second in GPAC; 38th at NAIA National Championships
Head Coach: Kregg Einspahr (21st year)
Key Returners: Johathon Becker, John Cartier, Nate Ernstmeyer, Carson Farr, Alex Heiden, Ben Hinckfoot, Jared Hoffman, Colin Morrissey, Adam Prahlow, Jose Rojas, Ben Sievert, Noah Smith
Key Losses: Adam Dannehl, David Eads, Derek Rodine
Key Newcomers: Cody Boellstorf, Cole Dickes, Thomas Hinrichs, Zachary Lurz
2011-12 GPAC All-Conference: Noah Smith (60 meter dash); Jonathon Becker (60 meter hurdles, 400 meter dash); John Cartier (200 & 400 meter dash); David Eads (600 & 800 meter run); Jared Hoffman (800 meter run); Matt Trampe (800 meter run, 1 mile run); Adam Prahlow (1000 meter run; 1 mile run); Hayden Hohnholt (1 mile run, 3000 meter run); Ben Sievert (5000 meter run); 4x400 meter relay (Jonathon Becker, Benjamin Hinckfoot, David Eads, John Cartier); 4x800 meter relay (Charlie Bloomfield, Matthew Chapa, Spencer Zysset, Andrew Malan); Nate Mann (high jump); Derek Rodine (shot put, weight throw); Dustin Johns (weight throw); Adam Dannehl (heptathlon); Marcus Ruhl (heptathlon)
2011-12 All-Americans (*denotes returnee): 4x400 meter relay (*Jonathon Becker, *Benjamin Hinckfoot, *Alex Heiden, *John Cartier); 4x800 meter relay (*Jared Hoffman, Matt Trampe, *Adam Prahlow, David Eads)
2011-12 Finishes: Fifth in GPAC; 29th at NAIA National Championships
Head Coach: Kregg Einspahr (21st year)
Key Returners: Ashlee Brown, Jamie Crouse, Brittany Erdmann, Kellie Fegter, Sarah Kortze, Lydia Pomerenke, Jena Schwalenberg
Key Losses: Lauren Eickemeyer, Martha Meineke, Sara Retzlaff
Key Newcomers: Stephanie Coley, Amanda Dechant, Jessica Klaustermeier, Kim Wood, Quriosity Young
2011-12 GPAC All-Conference: Lydia Pomerenke (60 meter hurdles, pentathlon); Jena Schwalenberg (1000 meter run, 1 mile run); Martha Meineke (1 mile run, 3000 meter run); 4x400 meter relay (Erika Schroeder, Montana Hayes, Megan Letts, Christina Tomka); 4x800 meter relay (Jenean Williams, Erika Schroeder, Toni Hulinsky, Christina Tomka); Kellie Fegter (pole vault); Ashlee Brown (pole vault); Brittany Erdmann (shot put); Lauren Eickemeyer (shot put, weight throw); Jamie Crouse (shot put, weight throw); Sara Retzlaff (weight throw); Myria Knapp (pentathlon)
2011-12 All-Americans (*denotes returnee): *Jamie Crouse (weight throw); *Brittany Erdmann (shot put); Martha Meineke (one-mile run)
Concordia head track and field coach Kregg Einspahr enters his 21st season at the helm of the men’s and women’s programs fresh off a 2012 GPAC women’s outdoor championship. The Bulldogs hope to build off that momentum as they enter the 2012-13 indoor season.
Fourteen of the 25 Concordia individuals who qualified for last season’s NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships are back in the fold for the upcoming campaign. That list includes returning All-Americans Jamie Crouse (weight throw) and Brittany Erdmann (shot put) on the women’s side and the complete men’s 4x400 meter relay team and half of the men’s 4x800 meter relay quartet.
Individually, a seasoned and supremely talented men’s squad features junior John Cartier, whose name is littered all over Concordia record books amongst the school’s all-time great runners, and sophomore Jose Rojas, a thrower with big potential.
“I think our men’s team this year might be one of the best conference teams that we’ve ever had,” Einspahr said. “You never know until you get into the season just how things are going to shape up as far as what other teams have and don’t have, but I think our men’s team is extremely talented – probably the most balanced team we’ve ever had.”
The Bulldog men finished last season in second at the GPAC indoor meet with 19 individuals who earned all-conference in a total of 23 events. Cartier, a Las Vegas native, grabbed all-GPAC recognition in the 200 and 400 meters and as part of the loaded 4x400 meter relay team. Junior Jonathan Becker (60 meter hurdles, 400 meter dash, 4x400 meter relay), junior Adam Prahlow (1,000 meter run, one mile run) and junior Hayden Hohnholt (one mile run, 3,000 meter run) are other returners who garnered all-conference mention in multiple categories.
“Our men’s 4x400 relay is going to be a very good team this year,” Einspahr said. “I think that’s important. We’ve got 400 meter guys that are running well. That adds a lot to your squad because they can move down and do shorter sprints and some can move up and do longer sprints like the 600. I’ve always felt that if you have a strong 4x4, that adds a lot to your team.”
According to Einspahr, the team’s biggest areas of strength are in the long sprints and hurdles. He also added that he is excited about the squad’s group of throwers, which includes Rojas. Junior Ben Hinckfoot and Becker will team to give Concordia a great duo of hurdlers, while senior Colin Morrissey and sophomore Ben Sievert provide a pair of terrific distance runners. The two powered the Bulldog cross country squad to a GPAC championship this past fall.
The Concordia women, who bounced back from a fifth-place indoor finish at the conference meet to claim the GPAC outdoor title, appear to have particularly strong throwers with Crouse (two-time All-American) and Erdmann leading the way. Both were all-conference honorees in the shot put and the weight throw.
They are complemented by a solid unit of pole vaulters. Concordia brings back national qualifiers Ashlee Brown and Kellie Fegter (finished first and third, respectively, in the event at last year’s GPAC meet) to form an outstanding nucleus along with junior Cassandra Starks among others.
“On the women’s side, we’re a pretty balanced team,” Einspahr said. “We filled some areas where we were a little bit weaker last year – the sprints and the hurdles. I think that’s actually going to be a strength of ours this year. We’re very good in the pole vault and in the throws with Jamie Crouse and Brittany Erdmann leading that group.”
The Bulldog women also boast a stable of accomplished distance runners. Two-time cross country All-American in senior Sarah Kortze and senior Jena Schwalenberg, an all-conference performer in the 1,000 meter and one-mile runs last season, head a nice group of distance runners.
Of the 16 competitors who claimed GPAC all-conference honors on the women’s side last season, 12 return this season. That group includes junior Lydia Pomerenke, all-conference in the 60-meter hurdles and pentathlon, as well as five Bulldogs who qualified for nationals.
The depth of talent that permeates the 127 members of the Concordia track and field teams has led Einspahr to bestow some lofty preseason praise upon his squads.
“I would say that these are two of the best conference level track and field teams that we’ve ever had in terms of having the numbers of men and women that can fill just about all of the events,” Einspahr said. “We have scoring potential in just about all of them to do well at the conference meet. In our conference you have to have a balanced squad to be able to compete for the conference championship.”
The Bulldogs will need their quality depth if they want to rise to the top of the loaded GPAC.
“There are too many good athletes and too many teams that are pretty balanced in our conference,” Einspahr said. “It’s a great track conference. If not the best small college track conference in the country, then it’s got to be right up there. That’s exciting.”
However, stiff competition won’t change consistently high expectations for Bulldog track and field.
“Every year we like to think that we can challenge for the conference championship,” Einspahr said.
Concordia begins the season on Friday and Saturday when it hosts the Polardog Multi-Events in the Field House. The Bulldogs will compete against Hastings College on both days. Friday’s action begins at 5 p.m., while the first events get underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday. To view the complete weekend schedule of events, click HERE.
12 December 2012