Championship Mettle Down The Stretch

Matt Bye posted the top height in the pole vault in the MIAC heptathlon which helped him earn his second straight conference indoor multi-event crown.
Matt Bye posted the top height in the pole vault in the MIAC heptathlon which helped him earn his second straight conference indoor multi-event crown.

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (2/28/20)--- There's a reason you are the defending champion in any sport – you need to be really good and be able to perform in the final moments of competition.

Senior Matt Bye proved all those points as he successfully defended his title in the MIAC heptathlon at the MIAC Indoor Meet at St. John's.

Bye entered Day 2, and the final three events of the 7-event competition, in second place and trailing the leader by 73 points. He wasted little time in cutting into that margin by running the second fastest time in the 60-meter hurdles and then put up best mark in the pole vault. Those two events completely erased the deficit and gave him the lead for the first time in the competition.

Bye then closed out his back-to-back multi-event titles by running a career-best time of 2:54.79 in the 1000 meters and won the heptathlon by 94 points.

Bye finished the seven events with a total of 4,689 points. He becomes the first Cobber athlete to claim back-to-back MIAC heptathlon championships since 2017 when Jackson Schepp accomplished the same feat. He is the fourth overall back-to-back Concordia champ. Adam Strainer won the title in 2000 and 2001 and former men's soccer player Ryan Williams won it in 1996 and 1997.

Bye struggled through a mediocre first day. His top event of the four on Day 1 came in the shot put where he put up a PR distance of 41-07.75 which earned him 648 points.

Bye started the meet by running a 7.55 in the 60-meter dash which gave him 697 points – his highest point total on Friday.

Bye earned less than 600 points in both the long jump and high jump, traditionally solid events for the 2-sport athlete, and finished Day 1 with 2,515 points which trailed Jordan Johnson of St. Thomas by 73 points.

With all eyes focused on how he would respond on Saturday, Bye made sure everyone knew there was a reason he was the defending champion and an All-American in the decathlon.

He put up 827 points in the 60-meter hurdles which turned out to be his top point total of the seven events. He then won the pole vault competition with a height of 13-03.50 which marked the first time this season he has entered the 4-meter club and tied for his career best.

Staked to the lead, Bye made sure there would be no let down in his most grueling event of the meet. He allowed freshman teammate Wade Rhonemus to pace him around the track and cruised to the PR time of 2:54.79. That was the fifth fastest of any athlete in the race. Rhonemus finished less than two seconds behind at 2:56.65.

Rhonemus wound up with a Top 10 finish in hos very first MIIAC multi-event competition. He placed ninth with a total of 4,073 points. His top point t-total event came in the 1000 meters where he earned 697 points. He was also above the 650-point mark in the 60-meter dash (694) and 60-meter hurdles (656).      

MIAC Heptathlon Final Results
1. Matt Bye - Concordia - 4689
2. Evan Teynor - St. Thomas - 4595
3. Lukas Walton - Bethel (Minn.) - 4545
4. Jordan Johnson - St. Thomas - 4492
5. Tyler Adler - St. Thomas - 4456
6. Evan Braaten - St. Thomas - 4323
7. Drew Probst - St. Thomas - 4219
8. Ryan Thompson - St. John's - 4114
9. Wade Rhonemus - Concordia - 4073
10. Liam Sullivan - Carleton - 3881
11. Micah Smith - Bethel (Minn.) - 3860
12. Mason DeGross - St. John's - 3722
13. Billy Retza - Macalester - 3655
14. Lars Askegaard - St. Olaf - 3533
15. Nick Edwards - St. Olaf - 3498