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Five school records fall at Minnesota Open

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

MINNEAPOLIS – The Waldorf College men’s track and field team broke five school records in Saturday’s Minnesota Open and two performances set the bar for the top times in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) so far this season.

It marked the first competition of the second semester for the Warriors, who last competed in the Chuck Petersen Open on Dec. 5.

“Coming into the meet this weekend I knew that all of them would be sore,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said. “We are coming off winter break. They all started a new practice, lifting and class schedule this week. That can be a lot on your body.”

Isaiah Craig competed in the high jump, triple jump, long jump and 4×400-meter relay. The freshman from Apple Valley, Minn. placed fifth in the high jump at 1.9 meters (6 feet, 2.75 inches) to improve upon his own school record. He currently leads all other high jump performances in the NSAA this season.

Craig took home third place in the triple jump, leaping to a distance of 12.51 meters (41 feet, 0.5 inches). He also posted a 5.73-meter (18-foot-9.75-inch) mark in the long jump.

“Isaiah had a solid day all around,” Riggins said. “He also ran a very aggressive leg in the 4×400.”

Freshman Mark Ahlers chased down a school record as he clocked a time of 2 minutes, 4.08 seconds to win his heat of the 800. Ahlers now tops the NSAA in the event.

“Mark ran a very nice 800,” Riggins said. “He was battling some foot pain and showed his mental toughness. Mark also came back and ran a nice opening leg for us in the 4×400 as well.”

Freshman Andre Davis advanced to finals in the 60 high hurdles after setting a school of 8.98 seconds. Davis then rewrote the school record books once again by turning in a time of 8.95 seconds in the finals, which ranks second in the NSAA.

“Andre ran great races in both prelims and finals,” Riggins said. “Breaking nine seconds is a big milestone for Andre. I am proud of his performances and it was special for our program to have an athlete in the finals of the 60 hurdles.”

Junior Aaron Ward (4:52.06) and senior Cody Clark (4:53.18) eclipsed the previous school record in the one-mile run set by Boaz Kipkemei (4:54.42) in 2014.

Freshman Demetrius Baker tossed a distance of 11.4 meters (37 feet, 5 inches) in the weight throw to improve upon his own school record by more than a meter.

Returning to action for the first time in more than a month presented challenges for the Warriors, who continued to work hard throughout the day.

“Some lessons were learned across the board in mental toughness,” Riggins said. “Track and field is a lot more than just going out and running when you are feeling at your best. Sometimes you have to fight through the sore legs and get over your ego.”

Waldorf’s young team looks to keep improving while using each competition as preparation for the NSAA Championships during both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

“I wanted them to go out and perform to the best of their abilities and view this meet as an opportunity to get some additional races in,” Riggins said. “They will not come into every meet with fresh legs and feeling 100 percent. The goal is to feel at their best for the indoor and outdoor NSAA conference meets.”

Waldorf continues the season in next weekend’s Minnesota State University Open at Mankato, Minnesota. The two-day meet starts at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Freshman Justin Jacobi will become the first-ever heptathlete for the Warriors during the MSU Open. He goes to work in four events on Friday and closes out the meet with three more events on Saturday. Jacobi and his teammates strive to continue the upward trend as they compete in Mankato for the second time this season.

“Each day, the coaching staff and I are seeing improvements from the men,” Riggins said. “Next weekend we head back to Minnesota State. It will be another weekend with some tough competition.”