SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia University track and field will play host for the final time during the indoor season when it welcomes a dozen teams to the Walz Field House on Friday for the Concordia Indoor Invitational. It will be the final indoor home meet for a group of 28 Bulldogs on Valentine’s Day.
“We always perform well on our home track,” Einspahr said. “There's definitely a home field advantage - not unlike you see from other sports. It's a familiar venue. There's a comfort level there and you have the fans cheering for you. It does make a difference.”
Ranked sixth nationally on both the men’s and women’s sides (according to USTFCCA computer rankings), the Bulldogs enter the meet with 29 combined NAIA ‘A’ standard national qualifying marks. The Concordia Invite and next week’s GPAC championships will provide the final opportunities to qualify for the national championships to be held March 6-8.
It’s also one last chance to jockey for positioning prior to the GPAC meet. According to the season results thus far, Concordia scores out as the top GPAC team on the men’s side and the runner up to Doane in the women’s race.
“Closing in on the GPAC Championships, we're figuring out where we stack up,” Einspahr said after last week’s Fred Beile Classic. “We have some guys in the middle distances that need to get in position to compete near the top. We'll see how we develop in the last 10-14 days before the GPAC meet. We think we have a good chance to finish in the top two on both the men's and women's sides, which is our goal. We'll have to put together a good meet.”
Concordia currently leads the conference in a total of seven events and has the balanced roster to make a big push on the conference and national stages. The men boast an abundance of 400 meter runners as well as accomplished hurdlers (Jonathon Becker and Benjamin Hinckfoot), distance runners (Hayden Hohnholt and Ben Sievert) and throwers (led by sophomore Cody Boellstorff). They also have the GPAC’s top pole vaulter in Carson Farr.
The women have plenty of scoring potential as well with four-time All-American Jamie Crouse serving as a potential national champion in the weight throw. The Bulldogs also have budding star Kim Wood (national qualifier in three individual events), a stable of national-qualifying pole vaulters, the reigning Lincoln Journal Star Female State College Athlete of the Year (Sarah Kortze) and a deep pool of throwers. There’s also school pentathlon record holder Lydia Pomerenke.
This impressive group will make Concordia more than competitive against the strong field at the Concordia Invite. The list of competing teams includes NAIA-ranked teams Doane (No. 10 men, No. 3 women) and Hastings (No. 14 men, No. 7 women), NCAA Division II-ranked Nebraska Kearney (No. 8 men, No. 16 women) and NCAA Division III-ranked Nebraska Wesleyan (No. 18 men).
The Concordia Invite will also include Bethany College, Cloud County Community College, Fort Hays State University, Kansas Wesleyan University, Mount Marty, Northwest Missouri State University, Sterling College, Wayne State College and York College.
The meet will begin at 1 p.m. with the field events. Running events get started at 2:30 p.m. View the order of events HERE. A live webcast will be available via the Concordia Sports Network beginning at 2:30 p.m.
List of Concordia national qualifiers:
The following 28 Bulldog athletes will be honored on Friday in their final indoor meet of their careers:
Early Childhood Education
English & History
Las Vegas, Nev.
Exercise Science (Pre-Physical Therapy)
Biology & Chemistry
TESOL; World & Intercultural Studies
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Secondary Education – History & ESL
Middle Level Education
North Platte, Neb.
Elementary Education (Special Ed.)
Biology & Physical Science
Elm Creek, Neb.
Marketing, Journalism & Graphic Design
Sports Management & Marketing
North Mankato, Minn.
Elementary Education – Early Childhood
Middle Level Education – Math & Art
Middle Level Education