COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (5/13/16)—Spurred on by a second-place finish from the 4x800-meter relay team, Concordia is in third place after the first day of the MIAC Outdoor Championship Meet.
The quartet of Race Heitkamp, David Supinski, Nick Solheim and Matthew Lillehaugen clocked a 7:58.87 to earn all-conference honors with a runner-up finish. Their finishing time is the fastest by a Cobber 4x800 relay team since 2011 and was only .04 of a second faster than the third-place team.
It is the highest finish by a Cobber 4x800-meter relay team since 2005.
The 4x800-relay team earned enough points to push Concordia into third place – just .5 points ahead of fourth-place Hamline. The Cobbers finish Day 1 with 28.0 points.
Cobber head coach Garrick Larson recalled the 4x800-meter relay with this description:
"Heitkamp ran a masterful first leg to put the Cobbers into third down the homestretch. Then Supinski came from seventh to second in the last 200 meters of his leg to put the Cobbers about 10 meters down on St. John's. Nick Solheim ran the third leg and made a brazen move and passed St. John's late in the first of 2 laps only to be repassed by 3 teams going into the anchor leg. Matthew Lillehaugen ran against the MIAC best and moved into second place with 200 meters to go and then tormented St. Thomas and Hamline by surging and keeping them wide on the track to secure second. The brutal temps and winds kept all team times slow, but the group put up the No.11 all-time performance."
Concordia also received team points from performances by Josh Murrey in the javelin and Eli Beachy in the pole vault. Murrey put up a distance 161-09 on his third throw of the preliminary round and finished in fifth place. Beachy cleared 14-07.50 in the pole vault and claimed all-conference honorable mention honors for a fourth-place finish. His height of 14-07.50 is a season best by over four inches and the sixth best mark in school history.
Murrey also put up a ninth-place finish in the pole vault by clearing 13-07.75.
Concordia also had a pair of runners qualify for the finals in track events. Supinski cruised to a 50.84 in the 400 meters to finish with the seventh fastest prelim time and qualify for the eight-man finals on Saturday.
Lillehaugen, who earned all-conference honorable mention honors in the 1000 meters at the MIAC Indoor Meet, crossed the finish line in a time of 1:56.99 in the 800 meters. His time was the second fastest of the three preliminary races and a season best mark by a little over a second.
Jackson Schepp narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in the long jump and placed 12th in the event. His best distance of the prelims was 20-09.75 which was 3.75 inches off the final qualifying distance for finals.
Ryan Turner continued to improve in the longest race at the meet. He ran a 34:29.04 in the 10,000 meters and placed 12th. His time is a personal best and the 15th fastest in school history.
CURSE OF FRIDAY THE 13TH or NIGHTMARE ON ABBEY ROAD
Cobber junior Joe Hendrickson felt the full force of the curse of Friday the 13th. Hendrickson entered the meet ranked fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and 11th in the javelin.
Hendrickson started his "Nightmare on Abbey Road" by having the baton knocked out of his hand in the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay – the very first event of the day. At the time the baton was knocked out of his hand the Cobbers were in excellent position to qualify for finals. Hendrickson then runs over to the javelin competition – a 6-minute walk from the track only to hear the official say, "you've got 20 seconds to throw."
Hendrickson pulled on his cleats and ran down runway with his shoes untied for first throw. He then had to make his second and third attempts 1:00 apart per the rules. Unfortunately he was never able to catch his breath and didn't qualify for the finals. Hendrickson then had to jog back to the track – once again a 6-minute walk – to compete in the 110-meter hurdles. Tired and leg weary from his two-event ordeal he smashed into the third hurdle, face planted and finished last.
Concordia will finish off the MIAC Outdoor Championship Meet on Saturday, May 14. The first event of Day 2 is the high jump which starts at 2:00 p.m.