Gustavus head track and field coach Dale Bahr said that his Gusties competed with an agenda on the final day of competition at the 2012 MIAC Indoor Championships held March 1-3, in the Leonard Center on the campus of Macalester College. The Gusties were locked in a back-and-forth battle with Bethel for the third spot on the podium throughout the afternoon. At the end of the day, the Royals were able to edge out the Black and Gold by 3.5 points to take third with 104.5 points. Gustavus finished fourth with 101 points in the three-day event – the program’s highest point-total since scoring 134.5 points in a second place finish in 2003.
“It was a seesaw battle all day and it was great to be involved in that kind of competition because it motivates everyone on the team to keep stepping up. Having a team like Bethel being with us every step of the way made our guys want to compete that much harder,” said Head Coach Dale Bahr following the meet.
For the second day in a row, it was sophomore Blair Riegel (Lakeville, Minn.) leading the charge. Riegel provided two more finishes on the podium, winning the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.39, and placing second in the triple jump with a mark of 45’ 8”. Riegel is the school’s first champion in the 200-meter since Jerry Washington took the crown in 2002.
There is a reason why Blair was the Athlete-of-the-Month, he’s just a flat out competitor and that is his greatest attribute,” said Bahr about his second-year standout. “Going in to the finals of the long jump, he was sitting in fifth. When the pressure was on, he rose to the occasion and popped a good one. In the 200, he was actually behind coming entering the second turn. He was able to feel that, react to it, and do what he does – finding that extra gear to edge out the victory.”
Junior Josh Owens (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) entered the MIAC meet with one mission in mind as well, to win an MIAC Championship in the pole vault. Owens did just that, earning gold in the pole vault after clearing 16’ 0.75”. Owens is Gustavus’ first pole vault champion since Drew Hood took the title back in 2008.
“Josh was pretty poised throughout the whole thing. He sits around and watches all these competitors then actually ended up missing one of his early jumps. That was sort of a wake-up call him,” said Bahr about his junior pole vaulter. “Going in to the second to last vault, there was still a kid from Bethel challenging him and it was pretty cool to see Josh go out there and make that height when he needed to.”
Another top performer in the field events was sophomore Ryan Obele (Le Sueur, Minn.). Obele registered a toss of 44’ 8.75” in the shot put to take ninth place.
Back on the track, it was sophomore Eric Jorgenson (Maple Grove, Minn.), senior Matt Dvorak (Burnsville, Minn.), and sophomore Tanner Davenport (Ham Lake, Minn.) having big days. Jorgenson ran a season-best 1:21.19 to finish runner-up in the 600-meter dash, moving up one spot from his third place pre-meet ranking. Dvorak crossed the finish line in 23.10 to finish sixth in the 200-meter dash, and Davenport improved his season-best by nearly two seconds to take tenth in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:34.67.
“Eric Jorgenson was another who stepped up on Saturday after seeming a little flat on Friday despite placing fourth. The next day he came out with a little fire under him and he goes on to challenge last champion Mike Hutton. He wasn’t afraid, he didn’t back down, and he was with him every step of way,” commented Bahr.
The Gusties also earned crucial points through both relay events on Saturday. The 4×200-meter relay team of Dvorak, senior David Johnson (Libertyville, Ill.), sophomore Pillip Butler (St. Paul, Minn.), and Riegel teamed up to finish second after crossing the finish line in 1:31.48. Rounding out the meet was the 4×400-meter relay team of Jorgenson, Davenport, Johnson, and senior Steve Groskreutz (Faribault, Minn.) taking fourth place with a time of 3:26.45.
Coach Bahr said after the meet that, “All these guys believe in their training and it was really fun to see them go out and improve their cuts every time on the track.”
Throughout the entire championship meet, the top three finishers in each individual event and each winning relay team earn automatic MIAC All-Conference honors. All-Conference Honorable Mention is awarded to places 4-6 in each individual event, and 2-6 in the relays.
The conference has a home page for the 2012 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with complete information and links about the event, including results, recaps and more. Webcast America is also filming the event for the MIAC, and on-demand video will be available shortly following the meet on Webcast’s America’s site.