Bulldogs close indoor home schedule, ready for GPAC title push

By Emma Hopfer on Feb. 14, 2014 in Track & Field

Bulldogs close indoor home schedule, ready for GPAC title push

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – The regular season for Bulldog track and field season closed with a bang. With the conference meet just down the road and chances to qualify for the national meet dwindling away, the Bulldogs saw several strong performances from their athletes.

“We had some excellent performances I thought,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “We had some big breakthroughs.”

Sohpomore Kim Wood led the way, qualifying for the national meet with her second place finish in the 600 meter run in 1:36. It is the fourth event that Wood has qualified in as an individual.

Wood wasn’t done yet, however, as she competed alongside freshman Marti Vlasin, sophomore Jessica Klaustermeir and senior Lydia Pomerenke to qualify as a relay team in the 4x400. The squad placed third with a time of 4:00.

“It’s a really cool experience to make it in a relay,” Wood said. “It’s really fun to have your teammates with you and to know you all put forth the effort to make it happen. It gives you a sense of pride in your other teammates knowing they pushed so hard to make it work for everyone.”

“Kim Wood looked real good,” Einspahr said. “She qualified in her fourth event now. Right now she can run anything from the 400 to probably the mile and do well in it at the national level. She’s running real well going into the conference meet.”

Junior Cassandra Starks had another big day in the pole vault, hitting a national qualifying mark of 11’05” and taking second in the competition.

Although she was pleased with her results, Starks commented on areas that need improvement, particularly with her technique.

“(I’ll) be working on my takeoff and getting my swing straight and my trail leg, I’m still pulling it right off my takeoff so I need to get that fixed,” Starks said.

Starks joins junior Rianne Gross and senior Shelby Yelden as pole vaulters who have each qualified for the national meet, upholding Concordia’s rich pole vaulting tradition, something Starks is very proud of.

“I’m really excited to have all our girls go,” Starks said. “We have a couple others who will hopefully get up there and qualify too, but it’s really exciting.”   

Senior Sarah Kortze added herself to the national’s bound roster as she not only qualified in the 300, but set a new meet record with a time of 10:21.

Senior Jenean Williams just missed a national qualifying mark in the 800 meter run, ending with a time of 2:19 and a second place finish.

The men also had several individuals with stellar performances.

Junior Ben Sievert, after two years of narrowly missing qualifying for the national meet in the mile, finally found his peace, and hit the A standard with a first place finish and a time of 4:19.

“I thank God for that one today,” Sievert said. “It was really close, I just leaned at the end, looked up and saw it and it was just really a cool thing to get finally.”

Junior Taiheem Pleasant made a resurgence, finishing in first place in the 400 meter run with a time of 50.70. In the cage, sophomore Cody Boelstorff took care of business once again, claiming first place in the weight throw with a toss of 61’02” ¾.

With the finale of their final regular season meet, all eyes have shifted to the main goal and the primary focus of the 2014 indoor season. As they prepare for the conference meet, a championship or bust mentality is beginning to set in.

“At the conference meet, a lot of things can happen,” Einspahr said. “I’ve just about seen it all. This is my 22nd year indoor conference championship that I’ll be participating in. I’ve seen just about everything at those meets. One thing you can count on is that it’s going to be tremendous competition, great performances, the crowd always gets up for it, the athletes are excited… it’s hard to explain. It’s just an unbelievable environment in our conference, a premier meet in the United States. It’s going to be fun next weekend.”

Sievert voiced a similar opinion.

“At a meet like that, anything can happen,” Sievert said. “A fall in the hurdles or one bad race can totally flip the game around. It’s going to be a lot of fun. This year, our team is really well rounded. We have a lot of guys who can place high in events and score well. Obviously, we’d like to get our first indoor championship for Concordia.”

The final showdown is set to take place at Doane College on Feb. 21-22.