Track and field rewrites school record books on day one of national championships

By Dane Wolfgram on Mar. 6, 2014 in Track & Field

Track and field rewrites school record books on day one of national championships

GENEVA, Ohio – A total of 18 Bulldogs competed on day one of three at the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships, held Thursday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Senior Lydia Pomerenke headlined the action by claiming All-America honors in the pentathlon. She came through with one of four school record-breaking marks on the day.

Program records were also eclipsed by Sarah Kortze (5,000 meter run) and by a pair of Concordia relays – the men’s 4x400 and the women’s 4x800. The bulk of the 35 Bulldog national qualifiers will compete on Saturday.

Seeded seventh nationally entering the meet, Pomerenke put together a career best effort on the way to topping both Doane competitors that finished above her at the GPAC championships two weeks ago. The Seward native broke her own school record for the second-straight meet by piling up 3,401 points.

Pomerenke is now a two-time All-American having also reached those heights in the heptathlon at the 2013 outdoor championships.

“Lydia came through with a tremendous day to finish fourth,” 22nd-year head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “She was not projected to finish anywhere near that. She had a tremendous long jump and a very good 800. It was a great finish to her indoor career.”

Kortze, the 2012-13 State College Female Athlete of the Year, also made herself comfortable inside the SPIRE Institute. Kortze reached the finals of the 5,000 meter run by breaking her own school record that she set at the 2014 GPAC championships. The Rockford, Ill., native shaved roughly eight seconds off the record and finished in 17:30.57, fifth best among all competitors on the day.

“Sarah ran an excellent race,” Einspahr said. “She was in the fast heat and went with that pace. She’s an older runner and a stronger runner. As fast as they ran today, it’s going it out of some of those younger runners. Sarah’s equipped to handle that.”

Concordia’s stable of men’s 400 meter runners later ran a lightning fast time of 3:14.97 to best the former school record (3:15.71) set at last year’s national championships. Friday’s quartet included two holdovers from a year ago in seniors Jonathon Becker and John Cartier, who were joined by senior Alex Heiden and freshman CJ Muller. Their time qualified them for Saturday’s final and placed fifth in the prelims.

Not to be outdone, the women’s 4x800 meter relay of senior Jenean Williams, freshman Marti Vlasin, junior Erika Schroeder and sophomore Kim Wood won its preliminary heat with a time of 9:12.40, a school record by more than a second. The mark broke a record that stood since the 2005 national championships. The finals of the event will be held on Saturday.

Also in the pentathlon, Concordia junior Montana Hayes placed 11th (1,879 points) and sophomore Sara Simmons finished 15th (2,534 points).

Other Thursday competitors included Ben Sievert (5,000 meter run), the men’s 4x800 meter relay and heptathlon athletes Brandon Ramos and Lucas Wiechman. Sievert clocked in at 15:16.03 but did not qualify for Saturday’s final. The 4x800 time of 7:46.53 (season best) also fell short of the finals (by two places). Meanwhile, Ramos sits 14th and Wiechman is 15th with four of seven heptathlon events scored.

The national championships heat up on Saturday with the debut of the field events and a host of additional track events. Concordia’s talented throwers, led by four-time All-American Jamie Crouse, and pole vaulters, among others, will make their first appearances at the meet.

Wood, who ran the anchor for the women’s 4x800, will be busy on Friday as she takes part in the one mile run (1:05 p.m. EST), the 1,000 meter run (3:45 p.m. EST) and the finals of the 4x8 (5:45 p.m. EST).

NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company of 17 select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting all sessions of the national championships. Packages can be purchased for $5.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.