CRETE, Neb. – Standout throwers Cody Boellstorff and Sydney Meyer turned in fresh automatic national qualifying marks in performances that highlighted another solid weekend for Concordia University’s nationally third-ranked track and field programs. Bulldog athletes combined for eight event titles over the two-day Jim Dutcher Memorial hosted in Crete, Neb., by Doane.
Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads have now totaled 26 automatic national qualifying marks. They entered the weekend with five marks that ranked No. 1 in the NAIA. In this weekend’s meets alone, Concordia athletes put forth 19 performances that met the national qualifying standard.
Not only did Boellstorff qualify for nationals in the discus (162’ 1”), he also competed on Thursday at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan. Boellstorff won the hammer throw at the Kansas Relays by again eclipsing 200 feet, outdistancing a strong field of nearly 30 throwers. Boellstorff, the nation’s leader in the hammer, took Friday off before returning to action on Saturday.
Currently No. 2 in the nation in the pole vault, Allie Brooks had a busy weekend that included a trip to the Sioux City Relays on Friday when both she and teammate McKenzie Gravo cleared 12’ 8.” Brooks got back to the runway on Saturday and jumped 12’ 1 ½,” earning a first-place finish at Doane. For Gravo, her performance on Friday marked a significant personal best.
Meyer is the first amongst Concordia’s well-stocked stable of throwers to qualify for nationals in the javelin. She placed first at the Dutcher Memorial in a tight competition. She whirled the javelin 134’ 6,” a mark that is listed at No. 10 in the NAIA. Meyer is also the nation’s third-ranked hammer thrower.
The Dutcher Memorial provided the first opportunity this season for Bulldog multi-event athletes to compete in the decathlon and the heptathlon. Freshman Jessica Deterding piled up 4,176 points for a runner-up claim. Deterding well exceeded the minimum needed for representation on the national list, where she ranks 11th. Teammate Anna Beune tallied 3,895 points. In the decathlon, Jake Rodgers (5,944) and Thomas Matik (5,859) placed third and fourth, respectively, and have put themselves in the discussion for national championship bids.
Other event winners not previously mentioned were the women’s 4x400 meter relay, Taylor Grove (5,000 meters), Zach Lurz (hammer throw), Taylor Mueller (steeplechase), Tricia Svoboda (hammer throw) and Lucas Wiechman (110 meter hurdles). In sum, Concordia throwers combined for three of the event titles. Svoboda turned in a mark of 171’ 8” in the hammer and moved up to seventh on the national leaderboard in the event. Svoboda was a runner up at Doane in the discus (147’ 3”).
Beisel made special mention of the distance runners that included the likes of Grove and Mueller. Said Beisel, “Distance runners had a great meet overall, with almost everyone running personal or season bests.” In shorter distances on the track, CJ Muller ran both a 200 (22.48) and a 400 (49.18). In the 110 meter hurdles, Ben Hulett creeped closer to the automatic time by clocking in at 14.85. Hulett placed second in the 400 meter hurdles and third in the 110 meter hurdles.
The Drake Relays (April 27-29) are next on the docket for several star Bulldog athletes. The prestigious event takes place annually in Des Moines, Iowa, on the campus of Drake University. The GPAC championships (May 5-6) are looming in the background.