MOORHEAD, Minn. (1/28/12)—Concordia opened the 2012 indoor track season by hosting the annual Cobber Open on Saturday. The Cobbers won two events but showed midseason form by finishing second in the team standings in a meet that was made up of NCAA Division II and top NAIA regional teams.
One of the wins on the day came in the 4x400-meter relay where the quartet of Alex Benzegala, Logan Carlson, Ben Vickstrom and John Bye held off a late surge by a pair of teams to win the event by 1.13 seconds. The same group posted a third-place finish in the 4x200-meter relay with a time of 1:34.76. That event was highlighted by the MSU Moorhead team which ran a 1:28.06 to break the Olson Forum record.
Concordia battled incredible talent in the sprints and middle distance events. Competing in his first collegiate meet, Vickstrom posted a solid eighth-place finish in the 60-meter dash which had an outstanding field. The 600 meters had the fans on the edge of their seats. In this event, which is often a little too far for most sprinters and too short for distance runners, the Cobbers had a showdown between the spring group and middle distance group. Running against each other in the second heat, 800-meter specialist Erik Steuck and Benzegala who specializes in the 400 meters. Benzegala made a huge move at the 200-meter mark which put him ahead by 25 meters but was then unable to fend off a late surge by Steuck who went on to win the heat in 1:27.54. Steuck's time was good enough for a third-place finish and he will have a solid chance of MIAC qualification in the event. In a stacked field for the 800 meters, freshman standout John Buckanaga was tripped up near the 400-meter mark but recovered to win the heat and finish eighth overall in a time of 2:05.06.
The other event win for Concordia came in the 1000 meters where Scotty Anderson throttled the field to win by four seconds in a time of 2:44.63.
The Cobber distance was without senior standout Tom Sederquist who was sidelined due to an Achilles tendon injury. Fellow senior Jake Stunek stepped up to carry the torch in Sederquist's absence as he ran an impressive race in the 5000 meters and finished fifth in a personal best time of 16:45. He has already made a tremendous impact as a respected team leader during practice and this race was an indicator that he may be capable of qualifying for the MIAC championships as well. John Amundson was the only CC athlete to break the 5-minute mark in the mile. He finished in eighth place with a time of 4:55.84. David Ohmann placed seventh in the 3000 meters with a mark of 9:56.56
Sophomore Dustin Britten led the Concordia hurdles and jumps athletes. Britten ran his way to a third-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.72 seconds. Also performing well was junior Simon Erlandson who finished in fourth place in the high jump with a height of 6-0.50 in a field that had some outstanding jumpers. The Cobber pole vaulting crew will once again look to make a splash in 2012 and go off to a good start in the opening meet of the year. Junior Erik Olson cleared 13-09.00 and placed eighth behind a group of vaulters from NCAA Division I squad North Dakota State. Charlie Alvarez was 11th in the event with a height of 12-09.00.
The Cobbers will stay at home and host the Cobber Duals on Saturday, Feb. 4 beginning at noon in the Olson Forum.