PREVIEW: Track and field set for NAIA Indoor National Championships

By on Feb. 29, 2016 in Track & Field

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia men’s and women’s track teams, both ranked fourth in the country, will be traveling to Johnson City, Tenn. for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Thirty-one total Bulldogs will compete at the meet that will take place March 3-5 at the David E. Walker Track at Gentry Field.

2016 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships
Thursday-Saturday, March 3-5
Site: Johnson City, Tenn. | David E. Walker Track
Webcast: Stretch Internet | $14.95 
Schedule of Events: Click HERE

The men
Zach Lurz (shot put) and Josh Slechta (weight throw) are the most recent NAIA Indoor National Champions after taking the titles last season. The Bulldog men look to join an elite list of 19 Concordia National Champions. Lurz and Slechta were the first athletes since Michael Saalfeld won the 800 meter title in 2008.

In the past 10 years, Concordia has finished in the top 10 at the NAIA Indoor Championships four times, including a fifth place finish last season. Seven of the competitors on the men’s squad finished as All-Americans. Five of those seven are returning to nationals this week.

2016 National Qualifiers (current national rankings in parentheses)
Trey Barnes, sophomore
-Shot put (7th, 54’ 3 ¾”)

Cody Boellstorff, junior
-Shot put (17th, 51’ 7”)
-Weight throw (1st, 68’ 10 ½”)

Trevor Bresson, senior
-4x400 meter relay (10th, 3:21.54)

Samuel Ferguson, freshman
-4x800 meter relay (16th, 7:59.94)

Philip Kreutzer, junior
-Shot put (23rd, 50’ 7 ½”)
-Weight throw (8th, 59’ 2”)

Zach Lurz, junior
-Shot put (1st, 59’ 6 ¼”)
-Weight throw (2nd, 63’ 4 ¾”)

Nathan Matters, freshman
-4x400 meter relay (10th, 3:21.54)

Josiah McCallister, freshman
-4x800 meter relay (16th, 7:59.94)

CJ Muller, junior
-600 meter run (11th, 1:20.71)
-4x400 meter relay (10th, 3:21.54)

Jose Rojas, senior
-Shot put (5th, 55’ 1 ½”)
-Weight throw (5th, 59’ 9 ½”)

Austin Schafer, sophomore
-Pole vault (11th, 15’ 5”)

Ben Schulteis, senior
-Weight throw (18th, 56’ 8 ¾”)

Josh Slechta, senior
-Weight throw (10th, 58’ 10 ¼”)

Thomas Taylor, freshman
-4x800 meter relay (16th, 7:59.94)

Jaap Van Gaalen, senior
-4x400 meter relay (10th, 3:21.54)

Lucas Wiechman, junior
-Pole vault (6th, 16’ ¾”)
-Heptathlon (3rd, 4922)

Patrick Wortmann, sophomore
-4x800 meter relay (16th, 7:59.94)

Men's Qualifiers - by School | click here
Men's Qualifiers - by Event | click here

The women
The women’s team has not had an indoor national champion since 2003 when Stephanie Beberniss claimed the pole vault title. Two other titles have been won by the Bulldog women in the 400 meters in 1990 and the 4x800 meter relay in 1999.

Over the past 10 years, the women’s squad has placed in the top 20 six different times, including three top 15 finishes in the past three years. In 2015 and 2014, the team finished 11th. This year, three of the four All-Americans are returning to the national meet from last season.

2016 National Qualifiers (current national rankings in parentheses)
Tori Beran, freshman
-4x400 meter relay (11th, 3:59.99)

Christine Beune, junior
-4x400 meter relay (11th, 3:59.99)

Allison Brooks, freshman
-Pole vault (22nd, 11’ 5”)

Kattie Cleveland, senior
-Weight throw (7th, 57’ 6 ½”)

Stephanie Coley, senior
-Shot put (1st, 48’ 1 ¾”)
-Weight throw (6th, 57’ 11 ¾”)

Alayna Daberkow, sophomore
-4x400 meter relay (11th, 3:59.99)
-Pentathlon (14th, 3116)

McKenzie Gravo, freshman
-Pole vault (7th, 12’ 2 ¾”)

Liz King, junior
-Weight throw (13th, 53’ 8 ¼”)

Samantha Liermann, freshman
-Shot put (6th, 64’ 10”)

Cynthia Mick, junior
-Pole vault (22nd, 11’ 5”)

Kali Robb, junior
-Shot put (2nd, 47’ 2 ¼”)
-Weight throw (3rd, 62’ 1 ¾”)

Emily Sievert, sophomore
-5,000 meter run (8th, 18:07.90)

Marti Vlasin, junior
-4x400 meter relay (11th, 3:59.99)

Kim Wood, senior
-1,000 meter run (4th, 2:55.95)
-1 mile run (2nd, 4:52.01)
-4x400 meter relay (11th, 3:59.99)

Women's Qualifiers - by School | click here
Women's Qualifiers - by Event | click here

Thoughts on qualifying
“We’ve had a really good season, we finished toward the top of our conference. Thirty one is one of the largest we’ve taken to a national championship over the years. It’s right amongst the most that we’ve ever taken. This is a very large and very talented group.”
-Head coach Kregg Einspahr

 “What do I see? I’m not very good at foretelling the future. I hope it’s really good. We are practicing hard and giving it all we’ve got. I think we’ll do awesome at nationals if we just relax and do what we know how to do… This team is very blessed. We want to continue in the tradition.”
-Stephanie Coley

“It has been a thought recently in my mind. It gets me really excited. It’s definitely my goal. Last year getting runner up in the 1,000 was tough. I was so close. This year it would be really great. To go out on top would be a really good feeling. It’s something that I think about and a goal that I have. I use it to motivate me during the hard workouts.”
-Kim Wood

 “We have a couple of dark horses in the shot put…They’ve got a big peak coming. Nationals is going to be a great competition between us. I see us placing a lot of people at the podium.”
-Zach Lurz