SEWARD, Neb. – In a final chance outing prior to the upcoming national championships, junior Kim Wood broke her own school record in the 800 meter run as the Bulldogs hosted the annual Twilight Meet on Friday. Others such as Concordia sophomore Philip Kreutzer and junior Katelyn Shoup also took advantage of final opportunities by recording fresh automatic national qualifying marks.
In addition, most of the stars of head coach Kregg Einspahr’s top-five nationally-ranked teams competed on Friday in a meet the 23rd-year Bulldog leader sees as an important way to prep for nationals.
“It just wraps the year up for us,” Einspahr said. “It gives us one more chance to get ready for the national championships. It’s still almost two weeks away. It would be a long time to go without a meet. It gives you one more chance to get some additional national qualifying marks.”
Already the 800 meter school record holder entering the meet, Wood blazed to a time of 2:09.66 to top the field of 24 runners. That effort bested her season best of 2:13.64 and her personal best of 2:12.58. It was the lone individual race of the night for the native of Greeley, Neb., who has qualified for nationals in both the 800 and 1,500 meter runs.
Kreutzer is now the seventh Bulldog men’s hammer thrower to qualify for the national meet thanks to his toss of 175’ 9” on Friday. Concordia has the top two men’s hammer throwers (Cody Boellstorff and Zach Lurz) in the NAIA and seven of the top 12 overall in the event. Boellstorff picked up another title with his mark of 193’ 11” at the Twilight meet.
Fresh off a GPAC title in the shot put, Lurz earned first-place claims on Friday in the shot put (55’ 6 ½”) and the discus (167’ 3”). He continues to lead all NAIA throwers in the shot put following an indoor national championship in the event.
In the triple jump, Shoup broke loose with a first-place mark of 38’ 1 ¼” to punch her ticket to the national meet. She will make her fourth career appearance at the national championships in the event.
Elsewhere on the track, sophomore Alayna Daberkow put up a personal best time of 1:04.79 in the 400 meter hurdles for a third-place finish. That performance put her .79 off the automatic national qualifying time. In the men’s 400 meter hurdles, senior Tai Pleasant clocked in at 53.97 (second place) in his final appearance on the home track as a Bulldog.
The men’s 400 meter dash saw Bulldogs place third (CJ Muller), fifth (Jaap van Gaalen) and sixth (Matthew Chapa) in a field of 13 runners. In the women’s javelin, sophomore Katricia Svoboda was just off her personal best with a winning mark of 135’ 2.”
The season will culminate at the 2015 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, held in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 21-23.
“You don’t know what to expect when you get to the national championships,” Einspahr said. “You go out and compete as hard as you can, but there are no guarantees. There’s going to be really good competition. Looking at some of the fields, the quality and the depth is as good or better than it’s ever been in the NAIA. It’s going to be really tough.”