FARGO, N.D. (2/02/19)--- It took a pair of Concordia athletes only three meets into the 2019 season to get comfortable and start making runs at records. Junior Matt Bye and freshman Cal Wright each posted top marks in the MIAC this season as they led the Cobbers to a fourth-place finish at the Bison Open held at NDSU.
Bye started competing in multi-events last season and barely cracked the Top 10 in the heptathlon at the MIAC Indoor Meet. He continued to get better in the event and rode that confidence to a spot in the decathlon at the NCAA National Outdoor Meet. On Saturday he took one more step as he posted the top score in the MIAC, and 11th best total in all of Division III, in the heptathlon.
Wright came close to breaking school records in the first two meets of the season but then finally knocked the door down in the 300 meters at the Bison Open. He raced to a time of 35.41 to become the first Cobber athlete to ever break the 36-second barrier in the event. His time bettered the school record of 36.02 set by David Supinski set last year at the same meet.
Bye finished seventh in the heptathlon at the Bison Open which featured NCAA Division I and II athletes in the Top 6 spots. He ended the event with a total of 4,677 points which is 268 points clear of the next highest total by an MIAC athlete this season. Bye's total is also the third best in school history. The Cobber record in the heptathlon is held by Jackson Schepp who scored 4,884 points at the MIAC Meet in 2017.
Wright's time at the Bison Open was good for fourth place as he beat out 14 Division I or II athletes. Wright also finished fourth in the 200 meters as he clocked a 22.60 which is the fastest time in the MIAC this season and second fastest in school history.
While Bye and Wright continue to get better and better each week, the performance of freshman Jesse Middendorf started out at a high level and has stayed that way in each of the first three meets of the year. Middendorf earned the only event win for the Cobbers at the meet and has now won an event in each of the first three meets of the season. He claimed first place in the 600 meters at the year-opening Cobber Open. He then went on and won the mile at the UND Open last week and he completed the trifecta by running to the title in the 1000 meters at the Bison Open. He crossed the line in a time of 2:38.33 which is No.8 in the MIAC this season.
Middendorf also posted a career-best time in the mile over the weekend as he paced himself to a finishing time of 4:28.49 which is seventh fastest in the MIAC this year.
Junior Eric Wicklund continues to have his best collegiate indoor season as he was the only other Cobber to post a Top 3 finish at the meet. Wicklund clocked a career-best time of 8:58.74 in the 3000 meters and finished in third place. That mark is also in the Top 15 of the MIAC this year and on the school's all-time list as well.
Jake Steiner continued his breakout season in the throw events. Steiner finished ninth in the shot put at the Bison Open with a career-best mark of 50-06.75. He is only the seventh Cobber athlete to eclipse the 50-foot mark in the event and he is now seventh in the MIAC this season.
UP NEXT: Concordia will finally to get the chance to face MIAC competition when they compete in the St. John's Invite on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m.
Final Bison Open Team Standings
1) North Dakota State - 260
2) U-Mary - 91.50
3) MSU-Moorhead - 62
4) Concordia-Moorhead - 54
5) Black Hills St. - 42
6) SW Minnesota St. - 37.50
7) Dickinson St. - 35
8) Minot State - 29
9) Valley City State - 28
10) Team Nodak - 9
11) Northern State - 7
Cobber All-Time Top 25 @ NDSU Bison Open
200 - Cal Wright, 22.60, #2
300 - Cal Wright, 35.41, #1
300 - Hayden Gagnon, #16
300 - Logan Heinecke, #22
3K - Eric Wicklund, 8:58.74, #15
SP - Jake Steiner, 15.41 (50-6.75), #5
WT - Ben Schelske, 14.25 (46-9), #11
Hept - Matt Bye, 4701o (4677), #3
Hept - Dan Wilson, 3862o (3837), #11
Hept - Zach Paustian, 3196o (3173), #22
Indoor Personal Records @ NDSU Bison Open
200 - Hayden Gagnon, 24.01
400 - Logan Heinecke, 56.25
800 - Connor Haugrud, 2:03.66; Justin Kringler, 2:03.81; Tom Froland, 2:14.75
1000 - Connor Haugrud, 2:41.15; Olsen Pancoast, 2:51.61; Tom Froland, 2:59.09
Mile - Jesse Middendorf, 4:28.49
3K - Eric Wicklund, 8:58.74; Noah Kneeskern, 9:21.15; Olsen Pancoast, 9:37.80
TJ - Jake Probst, 12.72 (41-8.75)
SP - Jake Steiner, 15.41 (50-6.75); Hunter Berggren, 11.84 (38-10.25)
WT - Ben Schelske, 14.25 (46-9); Hunter Berggren, 11.94 (39-2.25); Zach Synstelien, 10.02 (32-10.5); Howard Arias-Zuniga, 8.68 (28-5.75)
Hept - Matt Bye, 4677