CRETE, Neb. – The Concordia University track and field programs, rated sixth nationally on the men’s side and 12th on the women’s side, added nine more first-place claims on the second and final day of the Doane Relays in Crete, Neb., on Saturday. Freshman Zach Lurz totaled two top finishes himself by taking titles in the discus and shot put, helping the Bulldogs complete the meet with 13 first-place marks.
Concordia put forth an impressive display in the men’s 400 meter hurdles, an event in which senior Jonathon Becker (54.61), junior Tai Pleasant (54.96), sophomore Trevor Bresson (55.11) and senior Ben Hinckfoot (55.34) finished 1-2-3-4, respectively. In the 110 meter hurdles, Hinckfoot placed second (14.83, ‘B’ mark) and Becker third (15.00, ‘B’ mark).
“Our 400 hurdlers looked tremendous,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “They really came on towards the end of the race. It was fun to see them finish 1-2-3-4. They had a great day.”
In the women’s shot put, sophomore Stephanie Coley came up with a season best toss of 47’ 3 ½” (roughly eight inches short of a PR) to improve upon her already existing automatic national qualifying figure. Coley ended up with one of seven first-place finishes by Concordia throwers at the Doane Relays. Concordia placed four in the top seven of the women’s shot put.
The Bulldogs also enjoyed a stellar day in the pole vault competitions as seniors Carson Farr (15’ 9”) and junior Shelby Yelden (10’ 11 ¾”) both took first place. Farr’s clearance represented an automatic national qualifying mark. Both Farr and Yelden achieved All-America status at this year’s indoor national championships.
Senior John Cartier continues to be the GPAC’s top open 400 meter runner. He took first on Saturday in that event by clocking in at 48.44, achieving another ‘B’ standard national qualifying mark. Cartier was joined by CJ Muller and Garrett Golke among the top five finishers in the 400 meters.
Also on the track, sophomore Kim Wood outran the competition in the 1,500 meter race. The native of Greeley, Neb., recorded a time of 4:42 to win by a margin of just under a second. In the process, she recorded a ‘B’ mark that was less than two seconds off the automatic time. Wood also placed second in the 800 meter run (2:19.43).
“Kim Wood had a great day with a great time in the 1,500,” Einspahr said. “She’s not far off the school record. She doubled back about an hour later in the 800, which is hard to do. She still had a pretty good time.”
Lurz, a second-place finisher in the hammer throw on Friday, returned Saturday and turned in marks of 175’ 3” in the discus and 52’ 4 ½” in the shot put. The native of Torrington, Wyo., had entered the weekend already qualified for nationals in three events. Lurz and his teammates made up three of the top four in the men’s shot put.
“Our throwers put up some really good marks and had some outstanding competitive performances,” Einspahr said.
Concordia finished the day on the track by placing its men’s 4x400 meter relay A and B teams at the top of the heap. The A quartet finished in 3:19.06 while the runner-up B squad completed the race in 3:23.71.
Friday’s first-place finishers were all in the throws: Boellstorff (hammer, 180’ 11”), Jamie Crouse (hammer, 169’ 3”), Liz King (javelin, 148’ 11”) and Josh Slechta (javelin, 171’ 1”). Crouse added a ‘B’ mark in the shot put on Saturday.
In the multi events, Sara Simmons (4,421 points) placed third in heptathlon, just in front of teammate Lydia Pomerenke (4,409 points). In the men’s decathlon, Lucas Wiechman (6,034 points), Brandon Ramos (5,946 points) and Brandon Cook (5,769 points) finished second, third and fourth, respectively.
Concordia’s talented decathletes are all underclassmen who figure to only get better.
“I thought our multi eventers had a great day,” Einspahr said. “We have some freshmen with great futures.”
The Bulldogs have a busy week ahead with action set to take place every day Wednesday through Saturday. Concordia will take part in three meets during the week: UNL Pre-Drake Invite (Wednesday), Nebraska Wesleyan Dual (Thursday) and the prestigious Drake Relays (Thursday through Saturday).
For the most part, Einspahr likes where his teams stand heading into the stretch run.
“We have to figure some things out with our middle distance and distance runners,” Einspahr said. “That’s been a little bit of a concern for us this year. Overall, we’re on track to get in some great marks in the conference meet in two weeks.”