LINCOLN, Neb. – If it wasn’t clear a week ago, it is now. Allie Brooks will be a force in her sophomore season for the Concordia University track and field program. On Friday, she took first place in the pole vault for the second-straight outing while setting another new indoor personal best. Brooks recorded one of six Bulldog event titles at the Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational hosted inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center by Nebraska Wesleyan.
The meet marked the second week of the indoor season for first-year head coach Matt Beisel’s teams. Concordia made positive strides as compared to last week’s Nisely Memorial Classic.
“Our women got 25 personal bests and eight season bests. Our men had 34 personal bests and five season bests,” Beisel said. “That’s better than last week. There was a lot of good stuff.
“If you look at the distance group we had them change things up. A lot of them did shorter events like the 800 so they wouldn’t get into a mental rut with longer events. I also wanted to work on their speed. Almost all of them ran personal bests or very near personal bests. I was very proud of them.”
Brooks topped the field of 19 vaulters with her clearance of 11’ 10 ¾.” That effort came six days after the Seward native put up national qualifying marks in both the pole vault and the high jump at the season-opening Nisely Invite held at Doane. Brooks qualified for nationals in the indoor and outdoor pole vault as a freshman in 2016.
Scott Johnson turned in the breakout performance of the meet from a Concordia perspective. The Kansas City native busted loose with a long jump of 23’ 5 ½,” a mark that automatically qualified him for nationals and gave him the event win at the Prairie Wolf Invite. Johnson is in his first season as solely a track athlete after having also been a member of the Concordia basketball team.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Beisel said of Johnson’s mark. “He’s been showing signs of it in practice. He is a very focused individual, very intelligent. He processes things well and is very strong. We didn’t expect to see the mark come this early in the season, but we both felt like it was there.”
Six-time All-American Lucas Wiechman gave the Bulldogs a clean sweep of the pole vault titles at Devaney. Wiechman equaled an indoor PR by clearing 16’ 2 ¾”, putting him in front of second place Bailey Stapleman (15’ 11”) of the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Wiechman also qualified for nationals in the 60-meter hurdles by clocking in at 8.25.
Three-time shot put national champion Zach Lurz also claimed an event title. After a runner-up finish last week at Doane, Lurz pushed himself to the top spot with his toss of 53’ 5 ½” in the shot put. Lurz is the school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor shot put. Fellow national titlist Cody Boellstorff also came out on top in the weight throw (65’ 5”).
After posting a national qualifying mark at the UNL Holiday Inn Invitational six days ago, the Concordia men’s 4x400 meter relay beat out the other 13 relays at the Devaney Center on Friday. The combination of Jake Rodgers, Wiechman, Nathan Matters and CJ Muller completed the race in 3:21.48. That time also comes in under the automatic qualifying threshold of 3:22. Concordia entered the weekend ranked second nationally (3:20.59) in the event.
Several Bulldogs were runners up in their events, including Kali Robb (weight throw; 54’ 4 ¾”, and shot put; 44’), Muller (800 meters; 1:56.05) and Wiechman (60 meter hurdles; 8.25). Robb’s weight throw mark was a new qualifying mark.
Muller garnered GPAC track athlete of the week honors after qualifying for nationals last week in the 600 meters and as part of the 4x400 meter relay. For the second-straight week, Matters came up within striking distance of an automatic mark in the 600. He finished race in 1:23.06 on Friday.
The Bulldogs will make their first home appearance of 2017 next Sunday (Jan. 29) when the annual Concordia Indoor Classic is held inside the Fieldhouse. The meet is slated to get underway at 2 p.m. CT.
“It’s nice because we have a couple extra days to rest,” Beisel said. “We’ve got from Saturday to Saturday. We have a full eight days to train properly and give them a break from competition. I think we’ll be at the top of our game with a home meet in front of the home crowd.”
Prairie Wolf Invite event winners