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May 15, 2009

2009 Season - Twilight meet nets four NCAA qualifiers despite bad weather

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The weather conditions certainly weren’t cooperating on Friday, May 15 at the Augustana Twilight qualifiers but the Vikings men’s track & field team didn’t seem to notice. Veteran head coach Paul Olsen’s charges hit the NCAA Division III qualifying standard in four events and freshman Phil Christensen (Kaneland HS, Maple Park, Ill.) took down the school record in the discus. There were no team scores kept in the event, which was held at Paul V. Olsen Track.

Lightning delayed the meet five times but it certainly didn’t slow the Vikings, who are currently ranked number one in NCAA Division III. The Vikings won four events in the meet and added to their growing list of NCAA Division III national meet qualifiers.

Christensen provided one of the biggest highlights when he released his discus and it soared 170’ 8”. Although that toss was only good for third place, it was pretty significant in that it was a new Augustana school record. He flirted with the record on Thursday night at the Gregory Invitational in Naperville but on this day, throwing under adverse conditions, he erased the name of one of the all-time greats in Viking history. He threw 168’11” on Thursday but less than 24 hours later he unleashed a toss of 170’ 8” which was good for third place in the meet.

What that throw also did, was take down the named of Dave Lingner from the record books. Lingner was a three time College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin champion from 1979-81 and placed second at the NCAA Division III national meet in 1981. His old mark of 170’4” was set before Christensen was born and stood for 28 years. It is now history as Christensen is now the Augustana school record holder.

His throw in the discus was one of four events where the Vikings met the NCAA Division III national qualifying standard on the night. The 1600 relay team of Nick Borchert (Ankeny HS, Ankeny, Iowa), Greg Davis (Carlinville HS, Carlinville, Ill.), James Wood (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.) and Kyle Ekberg (Rockford Christian HS, Rockford, Ill.) won with a time of 3:15.32, which is under the NCAA standard. Sophomore Pat Zeunik (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill.) won the triple jump with a leap of 46’ 8 ¼” and qualified for nationals as well. The other national meet qualifier came in the pole vault when senior Steve Sulfridge (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.) finished second with a leap of 15’ 4 ¼”.

Augustana won four events on the night. Besides the 1600 relay and Zeunik in the triple jump, the Vikings also won the 400 with Ekberg running :48.96 and the 5,000 with Zook recording a time of 15:40.70.

Senior Mike Tisza (Sherrard HS, Milan, Ill.) finished second in the 1500 in 4:01.70 while Brandon Gittleman (Naperville Central HS, Naperville, Ill.) took second in the 500 in 16:12.88. Andy Kubiak (Bloomington HS, Bloomington, Ill.) was third in the 1500 in 4:02.68 and Brian Hart (University City HS, St. Louis, Missouri) was fourth in 4:03.72. Davis placed third in the 110 high hurdles (:15.30) and Alex Hartz (Princeton HS, Princeton, Ill.) was third in the long jump (20’ 5”).

Greg Weigand (Wheaton Warrenville South HS, Wheaton, Ill.) ran :51.50 in the 400 to take fourth and Brendan Bradley (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.) was fourth in the 400 intermediate hurdles in :57.29. Marty King (Oswego HS, Oswego, Ill.) placed fifth in the 110 high hurdles (:15.70) and fifth in the 400 intermediate hurdles (:57.33). Markbryan Baron (Plainfield Central HS, Lockport, Ill.) was fifth in the high jump with a leap of 6’ 2 ¾” and the 400 relay team of Max Petersen (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.), Wood, King and Ekberg took fifth in :42.70.