Blair Riegel – February Male Student-Athlete of the Month – Sophomore, Track and Field
The Gustavus men’s indoor track and field team took to the field houses each weekend in the month of February and continuously set impressive times, distances and heights. The Gustie men have many strong individuals, but one in particular has proven his high value in each of his competitions. Sophomore Blair Riegel has dominated in each of his four events, winning 9-of-14 competitions during the month and never placing lower than third. For his outstanding performances, the Office of Sports Information has named Riegel Male Student-Athlete of the Month for February, presented by Thrivent Financial.
“Looking at Blair, he couldn’t be a better selection for this honor,” head coach Dale Bahr said. “He works his butt off every day and he’s one of those kids that knows how to run given the indoor surfaces. It’s different on an indoor surface because you have the sharp turns. He lowers his center of gravity but still keeps the high knee drive and the turnover going. It’s a whole different type of running and that’s what makes him successful on that indoor surface.”
A Lakeville, Minn. native, Riegel started the month with a pair of second place finishes and one first place finish at the Ted Nelson Classic in Mankato, Minn. He took second in both the 200-meter dash (22.61) and triple jump (43-0.25 feet). In the long jump, the sophomore jumper cleared a distance of 21-9.50 feet for first place.
The following weekend at the Van Nelson Classic in St. Cloud, Minn., Riegel claimed each spot on the podium with first, second and third place finishes in his events. He took third in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.06, second in the long jump with a distance of 21-7.25 feet and won the 200-meter in 22.55.
The Gusties returned to central Minnesota on Feb. 18 for the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Quadrangular in Collegeville, Minn. Riegel posted his most impressive showing in terms of placing as he won all four of his events. The Lakeville South product took the podium in the 60-meter in 7.02, 200-meter in 22.26, long jump with a distance of 22-3.0 feet and the triple jump, clearing 45-7.75 feet. His time of 22.26 in the 200 was his fastest of the month and good enough for first place on the MIAC performance list.
Riegel capped the month with his best time and distances in three of four events at the Pre-MIAC Meet hosted by Macalester on Feb. 24 in St. Paul. He posted his quickest time in the 60-meter in 7.01 for second place. He also cleared his longest distances in both the long and triple jumps. He took first in each event with distances of 22-5.0 feet in the long jump and 46-3.25 feet in the triple. To round out the day, Riegel took the podium in the 200-meter with a time of 22.34.
“As far as the long jump and triple jump, he lost some football weight from last year,” Bahr acknowledged. “He’s back down to his optimal jumping weight given his strength and he just does what he needs to do. He’s in the weight room lifting. Lifting is a huge part of what he does, which makes him very successful.”
Heading into the MIAC Championships this weekend, Riegel ranks in the top three on the MIAC performance list in all four of his events. He ranks third in the 60-meter (7.01), second in the triple jump (46-3.25 feet) and first in both the 200-meter (22.26) and long jump (22-5.0 feet).
Riegel and the rest of the Gustie men look to build on their third place finish from last season at the conference championships this weekend hosted by Macalester College. The first competitions begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.
“Blair is a competitor and he’s going to step up and give us everything he has come conference time,” Bahr added. “He just does, it’s the kind of kid that he is. And the nice thing is, academically, too, he does what needs to do in the classroom. He’s not just a jock; he’s a very well rounded person and an unbelievable addition to this team.”