SEWARD, Neb. – Sophomores Cody Boellstorff, Liz King and Kim Wood each set new personal and school standards as Concordia University hosted the annual Twilight meet inside and around Bulldog Stadium on Friday. King extended her NAIA-leading javelin mark and Boellstorff became just the third thrower in the NAIA to eclipse 200 feet this season in the hammer throw. On the track, Wood blazed in the 800 meter race.
The meet was the final this season before the 2014 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 22-24.
“Kim Wood – wow, school record,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “And then Elizabeth King and Cody Boellstorff are both getting close to the point where they’re going to be knocking on the door for the US National Championships.
“Those are great marks. We got a lot of things accomplished. We had some guys qualify in the pole vault. Big jumps from Lucas Wiechman and Brandon Ramos. It was a really good meet. Beautiful day. Perfect day.”
With virtually no wind, King flung the javelin an eye-popping 166’ 11,” causing disbelief even for throws coach Ed McLaughlin. That mark surpassed her GPAC meet record of 157’ 8” at last week’s conference championships. The native of Billings, Mont., entered Friday with a lead of almost two feet on Concordia-Portland’s Emma Buchholz (156’) for the nation’s top javelin throw.
King, who won the event by more than 37 feet on Friday, continues to raise the bar every time out.
“It felt farther than my other ones,” King said in reflection upon her gargantuan toss. “I didn’t expect to do that on the first throw at all. That doesn’t usually happen so it was kind of a surprise.”
Boellstorff’s toss of 203’ 4” in the hammer allowed him to place first at the meet and break the previous school record of 198’ 4” by Corbin Jones in 2011. Boellstorff’s measurement also out-distanced his own personal best by roughly seven-and-a-half feet.
Like Boellstorff and King, Wood beefed up her own national qualifying mark. The native of Greeley, Neb., broke Bethany Sutton’s former school record of 2:13.79 in the 800 meter run. Wood came in just under that time by clocking in at 2:13.08, placing second in the event.
The men’s hammer proved fruitful beyond Boellstorff as both sophomore Josh Slechta (175’ 4”) and senior Jordan Larrington (173’ 11”) posted fresh automatic national qualifying throws with personal best performances.
In the women’s hammer, freshman Kali Robb set a new personal record with her throw of 182’ 9” – more than nine feet farther than her previous best. Her mark was second best on the day and third best in the NAIA based on the leaderboard entering the weekend.
Pole vaulters Lucas Wiechman and Brandon Ramos also took advantage of their final opportunities to hit the national qualifying mark. Wiechman placed third and Ramos fourth with their marks of 16’ and 15’ 9,” respectively. They joined GPAC titlist Carson Farr as men’s pole vault qualifiers for the Bulldogs.
“Oh goodness, it was just a relief,” Wiechman said. “I’ve been right there all year. With multis all year it’s a little tiring, but just open vault today – I could do it. It was just such a relief.
“As a freshman it’s a big deal (to make it to nationals).”
Junior Benjamin Hinckfoot grabbed the 400 meter hurdles title with a season best time of 53.16, improving upon his already existing automatic mark. Hinckfoot holds the school record in the event (52.99 at the 2013 outdoor national championships).
In the men’s 800 meter run, sophomore Jaap van Gaalen hit a ‘B’ standard national qualifying mark by finishing in 1:53.99. That was good enough for a third-place claim amongst the field of 28 runners.
In the women’s triple jump, sophomore Katelyn Shoup again surpassed the national qualifying jump with a mark of 38’ 1 ½” (just short of a personal best). She placed first among three participants.
Other notable performances came from John Cartier in the 400 meters (first place, 48.22), Jonathon Becker in the 110 meter hurdles (first place, 14.67), Shelby Yelden in the pole vault (second place, 11’ 11 ¾”), King in the hammer (automatic national qualifying mark of 167’ 8”) and Trey Farmer in the hammer (PR of 176’ 7”).
Freshman Zach Lurz, coming off GPAC performer of the meet recognition, won the shot put competition (56’ 3 ¼”) and placed second in the discus (166’ 4”).
A total of 19 teams were represented at Friday’s meet. Many of those schools sent just a select few competitors to Seward.
Now Concordia will catch a breather before getting revved up for the national championships.
“We’re going to rest up a little bit, sharpen up and get ready to go,” Einspahr said. “We leave already in nine days for the national championships and start the competition in less than two weeks. It will come around. There’s just not a lot left we have to do.”