LINCOLN, Neb. – Reigning NAIA national track athlete of the week Kim Wood continued to blaze on the track and dynamic throwers Cody Boellstorff and Zach Lurz rattled off big performances in the second outing of the season for Concordia University track and field. Friday’s Prairie Wolf Invite hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan inside the Devaney Sports Center saw three school records broken and Bulldogs combine for six event titles.
Twenty-fourth year head coach Kregg Einspahr liked the improvement he saw in his teams in week two of the indoor season.
“Overall it was pretty good,” Einspahr said. “Our throwers had a very good day and some good things happened on the track. We’re making progress and you’d expect that in the second meet out.”
Wood, a six-time GPAC champion, crushed Rachael Geidel’s 16-year-old school record in the one-mile run by speeding to a first-place time of 4:57.78, making her the first female athlete in Bulldog history to leg out a sub five-minute mile. Wood also owns program indoor records in the 800 and 1,000-meter runs and as part of the 4x800 meter relay. In addition, the native of Greeley, Neb., finished a couple seconds off her program record in the 1,000 meters with a second-place time of 2:55.45. She later ran the leadoff leg for the 4x400 meter relay that placed third.
Gargantuan school record-breaking tosses of 64’ 1” by Boellstorff in the weight throw and 59’ 6 ¼” by Lurz in the shot put highlighted another big day for Bulldog throwers. Boellstorff (outdoor hammer) and Lurz (indoor shot put) captured a national title apiece in 2015. Not only did Lurz win the shot put competition on Friday, he also finished third in the weight throw with an automatic national qualifying mark. “He’s getting out there in some pretty advanced territory with that throw,” Einspahr said of Boellstorff. A native of Waverly, Neb., Boellstorff broke the record previously held by James Refenes (63’ 7 ½”). Meanwhile, Lurz bested the school standard that he had already owned.
The Bulldogs were particularly dominant in the women’s shot put, claiming first, second and fourth in the event. Stephanie Coley took first with her mark of 47’ 4 ½”, a measurement that put her less than three inches off her own school record. Kali Robb (45’ 10 ½”) and Samantha Liermann (43’ 9”) fell in line behind Coley with second and fourth-place efforts, respectively. In the weight throw, senior Kattie Cleveland placed runner up with her national qualifying toss of 55’ 11.” Coley (54’ 3 ¾”) finished fourth in the weight throw. On the men’s side, junior Trey Barnes backed up Lurz with a shot put throw of 51’ 6 ¼” that will send him to the national championships.
For the second-straight week, junior CJ Muller, named GPAC track athlete of the week on Wednesday, came in under the national qualifying time in the 600 meter race. On Friday he set a new personal best with a first-place time of 1:20.26. The Omaha native is also getting closer to the automatic mark in the 200 meter dash. He finished third in that event at the Prairie Wolf Invite, clocking in at 22.62.
Muller closed his day by kick starting a first-place finish in the 4x400 meter relay. Muller ran a 50 flat to lead it off before the baton rotated from Jaap van Gaalen to Trevor Bresson to Nathan Matters. They finished with a time of 3:22.91 (less than a second off the national qualifying mark) to beat out the other 11 relays in the competition. Said Einspahr, “They had an excellent race. That was a great way to finish up the meet.”
Though Cynthia Mick and Lucas Wiechman were sidelined, Ryan Gross broke through in the pole vault with a clearance of 14’ 9.” Einspahr noted the work of Emily Sievert and Jordyn Sturms for their respective fourth and fifth place claims in the one mile. The 2015 men’s outdoor national coach of the year also made mention of Coleman Cogswell and Chris Shelton for their progress on the track.
Based on the national leaderboards entering the day, Boellstorff (weight throw), Coley (shot put), Lurz (shot put) and Wood (1,000 meters and one mile) all own NAIA top-ranked marks.
The Bulldogs will play host next week to the annual Concordia Classic. The 2016 event is set for Friday and Saturday (Jan. 29-30) inside the Walz Fieldhouse. A tentative event schedule can be viewed HERE.
Automatic national qualifying marks achieved on Friday