By Taylor Mueller, Athletic Communications Assistant
LINCOLN, Neb. – There was plenty of excitement and action at a packed Bob Devaney Center, the sight of the Prairie Wolf Invite in Lincoln on Friday. In just their second meet into the young season, the Concordia University track and field teams came through with a few notable performances and were able to punch several more tickets to the national meet.
Though head coach Kregg Einspahr noted that there were “a few rough areas,” he remained optimistic.
“We made some progress in some events and overall we had a good day,” Einspahr said. “It’s still a little early in the season but we made some strides today.”
Junior Kim Wood was the sole female athlete to hit a qualifying mark for the first time this season at the meet. Wood cruised past the national qualifying mark by four seconds with her second place overall finish in 2:14 in the 800 meter run.
Freshman standout Emily Sievert finished just shy of the national qualifying mark in the mile run with her final time of 5:15 and third place overall finish.
The women’s 4x400 meter relay put together a solid effort of their own, shaving off four seconds from their time a week ago to move within national qualifying range. The relay team of Wood and sophomores Marielle Plunk, Randi Janzen and Marti Vlasin finished just .19 seconds away from the automatic qualifying time.
Sophomore Kali Robb continued her strong start to the season with a second place finish in the weight throw with a toss of 54’ ½”. Likewise, senior Cassandra Starks was impressive with her first place finish in the pole vault, clearing 11’ 8”.
On the men’s side, it was more of the same with strong showings from several throwers.
Sophomore Zach Lurz qualified in both the shot put and weight throw with tosses of 53’ 7 ½” and 55’ 6 ¼”, respectively. Lurz took first in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw.
Junior Joshua Slechta and senior Trey Farmer came up just short of automatic national qualifying marks in the weight throw with tosses of 56’ 1 ¾” and 53’ 10 ¼”. Slechta took third in the event while Farmer placed fifth.
The men’s 4x400 meter relay team placed second to end the long day, as they were unable to pull off another come-from-behind victory, this time falling short by .02 seconds to Hastings College. The relay team of senior Matt Chapa, juniors Trevor Bresson and Jaap Van Gaalen and sophomore CJ Muller finished in 3:22.
As the Bulldogs prepare to host their first meet of the season, Einspahr noted that there is room to improve, though he remains hopeful.
“We need to get some consistency in our practices,” Einspahr said. “Having some good practices this week and getting into a few more meets will help. We’ll be alright.”
Concordia will be back at it on Jan. 30-31 when it hosts the Concordia Classic in the Walz Fieldhouse.