Three of four Bulldog relay teams qualify for finals at NAIA indoor championships
The 2013 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships got underway Thursday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. A quartet of relay teams (three men’s and one women’s) represented Concordia on the event’s first of three days. Three of the four advanced to the finals.
The Bulldog women’s 4x800 meter relay team of junior Megan Letts, senior Jena Schwalenberg, freshman Kim Wood and junior Jenean Williams got Concordia started in the 2013 championships with an exciting first-place finish in heat three of the preliminaries. The Bulldog quartet rallied after a fall on the first leg and clocked in at 9:23.73 to advance to the finals of the event on Friday.
“The big story came in the women's 4x800 meter relay where Jena Schwalenberg had the lead-off leg and in the first lap, was tripped and fell hard to the track,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “I have rarely seen a team have someone fall so hard and catch up from so far behind in a relay. That was just a great, gutsy competitive effort. Frankly I was shocked that they were able to get back into it and win their heat.”
The Concordia men’s 4x400 meter relay team of sophomore Taiheem Pleasant and juniors Benjamin Hinckfoot, Jonathon Becker and John Cartier nearly toppled a school record on the way to qualifying for the finals, which will take place on Saturday. The foursome combined on a time of 3:15.97 to finish third in its heat and only one-hundredth of a second off the Bulldog all-time record.
“Taiheem got us in good position (third) with his lead-off leg,” Einspahr said. “We maintained that position throughout the race with two very good 48-second legs from Jonathon Becker (third leg) and John Cartier with the anchor leg.”
Einspahr’s group of men’s 4x800 runners also came through with another time that qualified for the finals. Sophomore Ben Sievert, junior Adam Prahlow, junior Andrew Malan and senior Jared Hoffman clocked in at 7:41.88, finishing roughly two seconds away from the school record. Einspahr noted Hoffman for his outstanding anchor leg (1:53) of the race and Malan for his rapid improvement throughout this season. Malan checked in at 1:54 on the third leg.
The men’s distance medley team of Hoffman, junior Alex Heiden, Prahlow and Colin Morrissey came up just short of a finals qualifying time amongst a particularly loaded field. The group’s mark of 10:07.15 also came close to a school record. That time would typically be plenty good enough to propel a distance medley relay team to the finals.
Action in Geneva continues on Friday at 9 a.m. CST. A total of 17 Bulldogs will compete on day two, including junior Jamie Crouse in the weight throw, junior John Cartier in the 400 meter dash and senior Colin Morrissey in the 3,000 meter run. Crouse will take aim at her third career All-America performance. Both men’s and women’s 4x800 meter relay teams will also take part in the finals of their events early in the evening on Friday.
“We’ve got a lot going on tomorrow,” Einspahr said. “We’re excited to get going again. We’re looking forward to the throws and we’re anxious to see how we do in the finals of both 4x800s. We hope to have some more good performances.”
The national championships can be streamed online for free via the NAIA. To register, click HERE.
Here’s the Friday schedule for Concordia athletes (all times are CST):
- 12 p.m. – men’s weight throw: Nathan Ernstmeyer
- 12:20 p.m. – 60 meter hurdles: Jonathon Becker
- 2:10 p.m. – 400 meter dash: John Cartier
- 2:25 p.m. – 600 meter run: Kim Wood
- 2:30 p.m. – women’s pole vault: Ashlee Brown, Cynthia Mick and Shelby Yelden
- 3 p.m. – women’s weight throw: Stephanie Coley and Jamie Crouse
- 4:45 p.m. – 3,000 meter run: Colin Morrissey
- 5:45 p.m. – finals of women’s 4x800 meter relay: Letts, Schwalenberg, Wood and J. Williams
- 6 p.m. – finals of men’s 4x800 meter relay: Sievert, Prahlow, Malan and Hoffman
28 February 2013
The Concordia women's 4x800 meter relay team of (left to right) Kim Wood, Jenean Williams, Jena Schwalenberg and Megan Letts rallied back to win their heat in a gutsy performance at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.