Senior Sam & Four Fast Freshmen

Senior Sam Haley sails over the bar in the pole vault at a career-best height of 14-06 on his way to a second-place finish at the MIAC Indoor Meet. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Lodermeier)
Senior Sam Haley sails over the bar in the pole vault at a career-best height of 14-06 on his way to a second-place finish at the MIAC Indoor Meet. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Lodermeier)

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (2/23/19)--- Concordia used the legs of an all-freshmen relay team and the vaulting ability of Sam Haley to finish sixth at the MIAC Indoor Championship Meet. The Cobbers finished with 53.50 points which was tied with Hamline and only 14.50 points out of a Top 5 finish.

The sixth-place finish is the highest at a conference indoor meet since the 2015 season when they also finished sixth.

The Cobbers entered the final event of the meet chasing both St. Olaf and Hamline in the team standings and needed a huge performance to jump into the Top 6. Head Coach Garrick Larson turned to four first-year athletes to provide the performance needed and Cal Wright, Jake Svenby, Jesse Middendorf and Hayden Gagnon made like the United States Postal Service and delivered the goods in the 4x400-meter relay.

Wright jumped out to a fast first leg and was tucked behind the leaders Bethel and St. John's and opened up a gap in front of St. Thomas. Svenby then stayed in touch with the leaders and kept the Tommies at a distance. Middendorf then pushed the pace faster before handing off to Gagnon who finished off the race in a solid third place.

The Cobbers' finishing time of 3:24.06 broke the school record and pushed them into third place in multi-heat event to give the team six team points which six more than Hamline and five more than St. Olaf and gave them the overall sixth-place finish.

The old school mark in the 4x400 relay was 3:24.86 and set back in 2007.  

The other big performance on Day 2 at the MIAC Meet came from senior Haley in the pole vault. Haley was seeded fifth in the event headed into the weekend with a season-best height of 13-11.25. Haley passed at the first two heights and then cleared 12-08.25 in his first attempt. He then made 13-02.25 on his next vault before missing at 13-08.25 in his first attempt. Haley would clear that height on his next run and then made it over a personal best height of 14-02 in his very first try. Haley also came through with the miss one-make one scenario at 14-06 before missing three times at 14-10.

Haley's final height of 14-06 was a career best and the same height as the event winner but Haley placed second due to misses at the lower heights. The second-place finish is Haley's best at an MIAC Meet.     

Concordia received team points from three other individuals. Wright, who was suffering from a cold during the weekend, came away with his second fourth-place finish of the meet. He clocked a 22.54 in the 200 meters which was good for five more team points. Wright was only .02 of a second behind third place and .09 away from a Top 2 finish.

A pair of eighth-place finishes rounded out the individual event scoring. Middendorf capped off his first conference meet by running a 2:34.73 in the 1000 meters. His time was a season best by almost three full seconds.

Sophomore Jake Steiner had his second straight eighth-place finish of the meet. On Friday he placed eighth in the weight throw and he followed that up with an eighth-place finish in the shot put on Saturday. Steiner posted a mark of 51-0.75 on his second try in the prelims which qualified him for the finals and turned out to be his best attempt of the day.

UP NEXT: Concordia will extend the indoor season by participating in NCAA qualifier event at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa on Saturday, Mar. 2. The Cobbers will be hoping more athletes will join heptathlete Matt Bye at the NCAA National Meet on Mar. 8-9 in Boston, Mass.

MIAC All-Conference (1st-3rd, except relays 1st only)
Hept - 1st - Matt Bye J- 4856
800 - 2nd - Jesse Middendorf - 1:56.73
PV - 2nd - Sam Haley - 4.42m

MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention (4th-6th, relays 2nd-6th)
4x4 - 3rd - Cal Wright, Jesse Middendorf, Jake Svenby, Hayden Gagnon
200 - 4th - Cal Wright - 22.54
400 - 4th - Cal Wright - 50.34
60HH - 5th - Willie Julkes - 8.74
4x2 - 5th - Tom Whiting, Cal Wright, Hayden Gagnon, Jake Svenby

MIAC 7th & 8th Place Scorers
1000 - 8th - Jesse Middendorf - 2:34.73
HJ - 8th - Hayden Gagnon - 1.85m
SP - 8th- Jake Steiner - 15.56m
WT - 8th - Jake Steiner - 15.66m

Indoor Personal Records @ MIAC Heptathlon
60 - Matt Bye - 7.46; Dan Wilson - 7.60; Zach Paustian - 7.63
LJ - Matt Bye - 6.43 (21-1.25)
SP - Matt Bye - 12.10 (39-8.5); Dan Wilson - 10.10 (33-1.75)
HJ - Matt Bye - 1.90 (6-2.75)
PV - Dan Wilson - 3.50 (11-5.75)
1K - Matt Bye - 2:55.47; Dan Wilson - 2:40.82; Zach Paustian - 3:18.61
Hept - Matt Bye - 4856; Dan Wilson - 4084; Zach Paustian - 3317

Indoor Personal Records @ MIAC Indoor Championship
200 - Cal Wright - 22.54
600 - Dan Wilson - 1:25.16
800 - Jesse Middendorf - 1:56.73; Connor Haugrud - 2:01.65
1000 - Jesse Middendorf - 2:34.73; Connor Haugrud - 2:38.32
5K - Eric Wicklund - 15:43.68; Noah Kneeskern - 15:56.81
60H - Jake Probst - 9.38
HJ - Hayden Gagnon - 1.85 (=6-0.75)
PV - Sam Haley - 4.42 (14-6); Cole Guzman - 3.72 (12-2.25)

Cobber All-Time Top 25 @ MIAC Indoor Championship
600 - Dan Wilson - 1:25.16, #15
800 - Jesse Middendorf - 1:56.73, #9
1000 - Jesse Middendorf - 2:34.73, #17
5K - Eric Wicklund - 15:43.68, #8
5K - Noah Kneeskern - 15:56.81, #13
PV - Sam Haley - 4.42 (14-6), #8
Hept - Matt Bye - 4856, #2
Hept - Dan Wilson - 4084, #10
Hept - Zach Paustian, 3317, #19
4x200 - Tom Whiting, Cal Wright, Hayden Gagnon, Jake Svenby - 1:31.61, #3
4x400 - Cal Wright, Hayden Gagnon, Jake Svenby, Jesse Middendorf - 3:24.06, #1
DMR - Munir Isahak, Jake Svenby, Justin Kringler, Nolan Christenson - 11:01.90, #25