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May 9, 2009

2009 Season - Two event winners and two NCAA qualifiers

CHICAGO, Ill. - It has been a frustrating spring for Augustana senior pole vaulter Steve Sulfridge (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.). After earning NCAA Division III all-American honors as a junior in 2008, he has been hampered by back problems this year. All that may have changed with his performance on Saturday, May 9 at the Chicago Penultimate Invitational on the University of Chicago campus.

Sulfridge cleared a season’s best 15’ 0 ¾” to win the pole vault. That is five inches shy of the NCAA Division III qualifying mark and he will have one more chance to reach his goal of getting back to the national meet. That will come in the Augustana Twilight Qualifier, which will be held at Paul V. Olsen Track on Friday, May 15.

Sulfridge was one of two event winners for the Vikings, who are currently ranked first in the latest NCAA Division III national ranking. The other winner was junior Darin Decker (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) with a toss of 182’ 5” to capture the hammer throw. That is the second longest throw in Augustana history, just 3’ 2” shy of Tom McIntyre’s school record set in 2005. Decker’s performance on Saturday is also better than the NCAA Division III qualifying standard.

The Vikings did notch another NCAA qualifying mark on Saturday and that came in the discus where freshman Phil Christensen (Kaneland HS, Maple Park, Ill.) placed fourth with a toss of 155’ 0”. He now has the 10th best throw on the school’s all-time list.

This is the time of the year when veteran head coach Paul Olsen traditionally splits his squad and sends individuals to different meets depending on the type of competition each venue has to offer. A group of Vikings competed in Naperville, Illinois on Thursday, May 8 and Friday, May 9 so the team was not at full strength on Saturday. There were still some pretty good performances for the Blue & Gold.

Freshman Jimmy Zars (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) took second in the high jump with a clearance of 5’ 10 ¾”. The 1600 relay team placed third in 3:25.85 and the 400 relay unit was fourth in :44.48. Junior Max Petersen (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.), who just last week won both the 100 and 200 at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship, was fourth in a very good 100 field with a time of :11.03. Lucas Westblade (Will Carleton Academy, Hillsdale, Mich.) placed fourth in the 3000 steeplechase in 10:34.23.

Junior David Zeko (Somonauk HS, Sheridan, Ill.) was a busy man on Saturday. He was fifth in the 400 intermediate hurdles (1:07.77), and seventh in both the 110 high hurdles (:20.05) and triple jump (38’ 4”). Sophomore Alex Stake (Williamsville HS, Sherman, Ill.) took fifth in the pole vault with a clearance of 14’ 0 ¾” and sophomore Pat Hoefle (Lena-Winslow HS, Lena, Ill.) was fifth in the discus with a toss of 151’ 0”.

Senior Ian Cox (Durand HS, Durand, Ill.) took sixth in the pole vault with a height of 14’ 0 ¾” and freshman Brian Benning (Winnebago HS, Winnebago, Ill.) was sixth in the shot put with a heave of 46’ 8”. Freshman Mike Tisza (Hersey HS, Prospect Heights, Ill.) ran 4:05.50 to place sixth in the 1500.

Senior Alex Hartz (Princeton HS, Princeton, Ill.) was seventh in the long jump with a leap of 19’ 3 ½” and senior Ryan Kelley (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.) placed seventh in the javelin with a toss of 149’ 0”. Sophomore Jason Langslet (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.) placed eighth in the 800 with a time of 1:59.66. Freshman Bryn Sabadosa (Richards HS, Oak Lawn, Ill.) finished eighth in the long jump with a leap of 18’ 11 ¾” and sophomore Mark Constantine (Waubonsie Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) took eighth in the shot put with a throw of 41’ 10”.