SEWARD, Neb. – Not only were 52 Concordia University track and field athletes officially named all-conference on Thursday, the Bulldogs also dominated the prestigious individual awards. Freshman Zach Lurz was named Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year and both senior Carson Farr and sophomore Liz King were recognized for “Top Performances of the Meet” at the GPAC Championships. In addition, Kregg Einspahr again received coach of the year honors on the men’s side.
“We had a tremendous men’s and women’s team this year and these awards certainly reflect that,” Einspahr said. “We had a great GPAC outdoor conference championship meet and we are very proud of Zach, Elizabeth and Carson.”
Einspahr, also the 2014 men’s indoor coach of the year, guided the men’s program to its first two GPAC track and field titles in school history this season. Einspahr has been named conference or regional coach of the year for track or cross country more than 30 times during his career at Concordia.
Recently, he was named 2008, 2009 and 2012 GPAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year, 2009 and 2010 GPAC Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year, 2009 GPAC Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year and 2009, 2010 and 2012 GPAC Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year.
“The coach of the year award is a nice honor that means much since it is an honor voted on by the other conference coaches,” Einspahr said. “The award reflects the hard work and high quality of our Concordia track and field student-athletes and our tremendous assistant coaches – Coach Mark Samuels, Coach Ed McLaughlin, Coach Jason Berry and Coach Nick Mann.”
Lurz (Torrington, Wyo.), also the men’s GPAC outdoor outstanding performer of the meet, won GPAC outdoor titles in the discus (168’ 1”) and shot put (54’ 4”) at the conference championships. He also placed third in the hammer throw (183’ 9”) on the way to piling up 26 team points – more than any other men’s performer at the meet.
King (Billings, Mont.) broke personal, school and GPAC javelin records with her mammoth toss of 157’ 8” at the conference championships. That throw outdistanced the previous conference record by more than 16 feet. The runner-up finisher at the GPAC championships was more than 27 feet shy of King’s mark, which ranks No. 1 in the NAIA.
Farr (Cambridge, Neb.) appeared headed for a third-place finish in the pole vault before he came up with the men’s top performance of the meet. He set a new personal best by clearing 16’ 5 ¼” to win the GPAC title. An indoor All-American, Farr ranks No. 3 on the national pole vault list.
“All three had outstanding performances at the GPAC conference championship,” Einspahr said. “It is certainly notable that Zach and Elizabeth are so early in their college careers. Carson had a tremendous competitive effort to win the conference pole vault championship in dramatic fashion. It was one of the most dramatic pole vault wins I have seen in the past number of years.”
Ranked No. 5 nationally on the men’s side and sixth on the women’s side, the Bulldogs return to action on Friday when they host the annual Twilight meet inside Bulldog Stadium.