Three Cobbers Headed To North Carolina

Matt Bye (L), Jesse Middendorf and Josie Herrmann qualified for the NCAA National Indoor Meet.
Matt Bye (L), Jesse Middendorf and Josie Herrmann qualified for the NCAA National Indoor Meet.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (3/09/20)---It's official. The NCAA released the participant list for the National Indoor Track and Field Championship Meet and Matt Bye, Jesse Middendorf and Josie Herrmann will all represent Concordia in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Bye will compete in the men's indoor heptathlon while Middendorf and Herrmann will both run in the 800 meters. It is the second straight trip to the NCAA National Indoor Meet and fourth overall appearance at a national meet for Bye while Middendorf and Herrmann will be making their first-ever trip to nationals.  

It's the first time since the 2000 season that Concordia has sent more than two athletes to the NCAA National Indoor Meet. The Cobbers had five athletes qualify for indoor nationals that season (Micah Benson, Adam Strainer, Maria DeBoer, Sara Grineski and Karyn Senst.

Bye will be the No.17 seed at his second consecutive national indoor competition. Last year he finished 11th in the heptathlon at the meet in Boston, Mass. Bye will be making his fourth straight trip to a national meet in the multi-events. He qualified for the decathlon at the NCAA National Outdoor Meet in both 2018 and 2019. Last year he earned All-American honors in the decathlon by finishing in eighth place in Geneva, Ohio.

Bye qualified for this year's national indoor by posting a total of 4,779 points at the NDSU Bison Open on Feb. 7. He was just under that mark when he won his second consecutive MIAC heptathlon title at the conference indoor meet on Feb. 28 when he scored 4, 689 points.    

Last year Bye scored 4,783 points at the NCAA Indoor Meet which was 24 points shy of the Top 10 and 160 points away from All-American status. Bye is currently second on the school's all-time heptathlon list. He career point total of 4,856 points came at last year's MIAC Indoor Meet at St. Olaf. The school record in the heptathlon is 4,884 points which was set by Jackson Schepp in 2017.   

Middendorf and Herrmann had very dramatic paths to the national meet. Middendorf qualified for nationals in the very last meet of the "regular season" on Saturday at Wartburg. Knowing that he had to post a time that would break the school record to get into nationals, Middendorf did just that. He crossed the line in a time of 1:53.65 which broke the school record set by Kyle Johnson in 1993. Middendorf's time is tied for the 16th fastest in DIII this year and only .19 of a second inside the mark to make nationals.

While Middendorf's finishing time was the result he wanted, the race to get there was less than ideal. He started at the back of the pack in his heat of the 800M at Wartburg and had to run most of the race in the second lane. The outside lane caused him to run extra distance which put extra strain on Middendorf but true to the moniker as "The Finisher", he found a reserve amount of effort and raced by the competition to post the school record – and national qualifying time.

Herrmann's trek to nationals was just as dramatic but was completely different. She had to play the waiting game, and watched athlete after athlete post faster times on Saturday. Herrmann, who didn't compete at Wartburg, owned the No.14 time in Division III heading into the weekend and needed only to be in the Top 20 to qualify. On Saturday, the results from around the country were being posted and 1-by-1 runners were recording faster times than Hermann's MIAC time of 2:15.55.

In the end, Hermann was the 20th, and final qualifier in the 800 meters.

The Division III National Indoor Meet will take place on Mar. 13-14 at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Bye will begin his national meet on Friday, Mar. 13 at 10 a.m. (cdt) when he competes in the 60-meter dash which is the first of seven events in the heptathlon.

Middendorf and Herrmann will race in the prelims of the 800 meters on Friday, Mar. 13. The men's 800 meters is scheduled to start at 3:35. The women's 800 will follow at 3:50. The final for the 800 is on Saturday, Mar. 14 at 2:50 and 3 p.m.