Lurz headlines strong Bulldog outing at Loper Invite
By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant
KEARNEY, Neb. – Traveling to Kearney, Neb. for their second outdoor meet of the season, the men’s and women’s track and field programs labored their way through another full-day event, coming away with several impressive performances in spite of cool, windy weather conditions.
“I thought it was another cool, windy day,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “We had some real bright spots. I thought our men’s 4x400 meter relay had a great day. Our 400 meter hurdlers had a good day today. Those were some real bright spots.”
Sophomore Liz King continued her strong coming-out party to the outdoor season with a first place finish for the second straight week in the javelin with a toss of 139’ 4”.
Senior Ben Hinckfoot claimed first in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 54.78. Freshman Zachary Lurz had an impressive day, taking first in the discus with a throw of 177’09” and then placing second in the shot put with a toss of 51’8” 1/4.
Lurz is the first in the history of the program to qualify for nationals in the discus, shot put and hammer throw in the same season.
“Zach Lurz had a very good discus throw today to win the discus,” Einspahr said. “I was really impressed with that. He took advantage of the wind, which always helps. He had a great heave today in that event.”
In the men's hammer throw, Cody Boellstorff out distanced the competition by 17 feet with his throw of 195' 11".
In the women's discus, Kattie Cleveland and Katricia Svoboda tacked six feet onto their personal bests. Svoboda also placed third in the javelin. Both Cleveland and Svoboda automatically qualified for nationals in the discus.
Although the Bulldogs struggled to find a consistent chain of strong performances in every event which was common in the indoor season, Einspahr was quick to point out that the season is still young, and there is time for improvement.
“We’re still struggling a little bit in the distances, but I think that will come around a little bit with more training and rest,” Einspahr said. “We need to keep working hard, be patient and good things will happen as the weather improves. We’ll keep improving our fitness levels and our techniques and take advantage of the good weather when it finally rolls around. Overall, I was pretty pleased. We had some areas we struggled with today, but it was a good day for us.”
Other Bulldogs performing well were sophomore Kim Wood, who took second overall in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:17.
“Kim Wood had an excellent day in the 800,” Einspahr said. “2:17 isn’t a great time for her yet but it was a windy day and that time will come down. She competed well as did Jenean Williams in the 800.”
Senior Jonathon Becker had a strong day of hurdling, taking third in the 110 meter high hurdles with a time of 14.83. Later on he was at it again, this time circling the entire track to take second in the 400 meter hurdles in 55.70.
Senior John Cartier took second in the 400 meter run with a time of 48.37 while sohpmore Jacob Kettner claimed second in the triple jump in 45’5.”
Senior Shelby Yelden took second in the pole vault competition, clearing 12’ and qualifying for the national outdoor meet.
Senior Jamie Crouse claimed third place in the hammer throw with a toss of 167’ 8”, and also qualified for the national meet.
The 4x400 meter relay team of Cartier, Becker, senior Alex Heiden and freshman CJ Muller, finished in second after a close back and forth race, finishing in 3:18.95, just 13 hundredths of a second behind the winners of Nebraska Kearney.
“Overall, I was pleased with today,” Einspahr said. “There are some things that we will have to improve on. We had a few events that we were a little off on and we had some events that we had an extremely good day in. So, another typical early season meet I’d say.”
The Bulldogs will get set to defend their home track next weekend when they host the Concordia Outdoor Invite on Sat. Apr. 12. Field events will begin at 11 a.m. with the 10,000 meter run starting at 12 p.m. to commence the running events.
“We’re looking forward to hosting our home meet next week,” Einspahr said. “Hopefully we’ll get some good weather and a good field of teams there. It should be a great meet.”
6 April 2014