Track and field closes indoor season with 15 All-Americans, pair of top-20 team finishes
GENEVA, Ohio – With a combined 16 All-America performances by 15 different individuals, both of head coach Kregg Einspahr’s Bulldog track and field squads posted top-20 finishes at the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. The meet played out over three days beginning on Thursday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
On the strength of eight All-Americans, the Bulldog women placed in a tie for 11th (20 points) among the 49 teams that scored at least one point at the meet. Meanwhile, Concordia’s men finished 17th (14 points) out of 49 teams that put up one point or more at the championships.
“It’s great to get in the top 20 for both teams,” Einspahr said. “We had a good meet. We had some disappointments but we had plenty of highs that balanced it out. We had more positives than disappointments. We ran some season bests in some cases against really good competition.”
Concordia saved perhaps its best performance of the weekend for the final event of the championships – the men’s 4x400 meter relay. The Bulldogs again trotted out their four horses in seniors Jonathon Becker (second leg), John Cartier (anchor) and Alex Heiden (third) and freshman CJ Muller (leadoff). All four received All-America status by galloping to a third-place finish in a time of 3:14.10. That mark broke the school record the same quartet eclipsed two days earlier in the prelims.
“We came in fresh and that really helped out,” Einspahr said. “CJ got us off to a great start. He’s just getting better and better. Cartier did a great job of keeping his poise on the anchor leg. He got bumped around pretty good but kept his cool and never tried to retaliate. It was a really impressive race.”
Also on Saturday, the Bulldogs placed one competitor in All-America territory in the shot put on both sides. Sophomore Stephanie Coley finished sixth for her second-straight indoor shot put All-America award. On the other hand, freshman Zachary Lurz claimed eighth place in his first taste of the national championships.
In the pole vault, senior Carson Farr, a national qualifier for the third time, notched his first career All-America finish. He cleared a height of 16’ ¾” to earn five of Concordia’s 14 team points on the men’s side.
On the track, sophomore Kim Wood completed a whirlwind of a weekend by taking eighth place with her time of 3:07.91 in the 1,000 meters. That effort made Wood the only Bulldog to collect All-America honors in more than one event (4x800 meter relay).
“Kim ran so many races,” Einspahr said. “It was a really good experience for her. It was my decision to make her run three different events. I think if she had focused on just one she may have been capable of a top-two finish. You just don’t quite know how things are going to stack up.”
The national championships third and final day also brought some near misses as senior Sarah Kortze (5,000 meters) and junior Ben Sievert (one mile) both placed ninth in their respective events. In addition, senior Hayden Hohnholt came in 10th in the 3,000 meter run.
All in all, it was another successful national championships meet for a program that has made a habit of going toe-to-toe with the nation’s best. Since 1997, the Bulldog men have placed inside the top 25 on 14 occasions, including six top 10 finishes. During that same time period, the women have finished in the top 25 a total of 12 times with three top 10 placements.
Concordia All-America tracker:
- Jonathon Becker: 3rd in 4x400 meter relay (3:14.10)
- Cody Boellstorff: 7th place in weight throw (59’ 8 ¼”)
- John Cartier: 3rd in 4x400 meter relay (3:14.10)
- Stephanie Coley: 6th place in shot put (46’ 1 ¼”)
- Jamie Crouse: 3rd place in weight throw (59’ 1 ¼”)
- Carson Farr: 4th in pole vault (16’ ¾”)
- Alex Heiden: 3rd in 4x400 meter relay (3:14.10)
- Zachary Lurz: 8th in shot put (53’ 1 ¾”)
- CJ Muller: 3rd in 4x400 meter relay (3:14.10)
- Lydia Pomerenke: 4th place in pentathlon (3,401 points)
- Erika Schroeder: 8th place in 4x800 meter relay (9:25.70)
- Marti Vlasin: 8th place in 4x800 meter relay (9:25.70)
- Jenean Williams: 8th place in 4x800 meter relay (9:25.70)
- Kim Wood: 8th place in 4x800 meter relay (9:25.70); 8th place in the 1,000 meter run (3:07.91)
- Shelby Yelden: 5th place in pole vault (11’ 10 ¾”)
Top 20 women’s teams
1) Oklahoma Baptist - 133
2) Indiana Tech - 123
3) College of Idaho - 55
4) Cornerstone - 49.50
5) Embry-Riddle - 32
6) Doane - 29
7) Wayland Baptist - 27
8) Carroll - 24
9) Missouri Baptist - 23
10) Biola - 21
11) Hastings - 20
11) Bethel (Ind.) - 20
11) Concordia (Neb.) - 20
14) Westmont - 18.50
15) Olivet Nazarene - 18
15) Cumberlands - 18
15) Eastern Oregon - 18
18) Dordt - 17
19) Grand View - 12
20) Morningside - 10
20) Baker – 10
Top 20 men’s teams
1) Indiana Tech - 82
2) Wayland Baptist - 69
3) Concordia (Ore.)- 67
4) Oklahoma Baptist – 57
5) Siena Heights – 47
6) Eastern Oregon – 36
7) Missouri Baptist – 34
7) Oklahoma City – 34
9) Carroll – 31
10) Dickinson St. - 29
10) Aquinas – 29
12) Cornerstone - 24
13) Olivet Nazarene - 23
14) Doane – 21
15) Lewis-Clark – 18
16) Hastings - 15
17) Concordia (Neb.) – 14
18) Briar Cliff - 13
19) William Woods – 12
19) Vanguard - 12
8 March 2014
*Make sure to check the Bulldog T&F YouTube channel for videos from the national championships.
Concordia's 4x400 meter relay (L to R) of John Cartier, Jonathon Becker, CJ Muller and Alex Heiden finished in third place in school record time on Saturday.