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Waldorf finishes strong in Dennis Young Classic

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

STORM LAKE – Strong performances capped a promising finish for the Waldorf College men’s track and field team during this weekend’s Dennis Young Classic.
The Warriors fielded competitors in 16 of the 20 events and managed to break seven school records in the two-day meet, which concluded on Saturday.
“Our men’s program had a very solid weekend,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said. “The men’s events this weekend were stacked and very competitive.”
Waldorf’s Isaiah Craig improved upon his own school records in the triple jump and high jump. The freshman from Apple Valley, Minnesota was the collegiate triple jump champion with a distance of 12.66 meters (41 feet, 6.5 inches). Craig’s high jump performance of 1.95 meters (6 feet, 4.75 inches) secured a second-place finish.
In the long jump, Craig turned in a personal record to lock up fourth with a mark of 6.34 meters (20 feet, 9.5 inches).
“Isaiah jumped very, very well across the board,” Riggins said. “He has made some big adjustments to his approach in all three events and now that he is getting comfortable in those changes, things are starting to pay off.”
“Isaiah wants to do his best every time he steps on the track, comes to practice or walks into the weight room,” Riggins added. “I am very proud of how much work he puts in and I am glad he is reaping the benefits.”
Freshman Alvyns Alcenord topped his own school record in the 200-meter dash, racing to a time of 23.66 seconds for the Warriors. The Pompano Beach, Florida native followed the 60-meter dash and 4×200 relay with a 200 performance that was quick enough for a 13th-place finish.
“The short sprints field was extremely competitive this weekend and Alvyns held his own,” Riggins said. The 60 and 200 dash indoors are pretty quick races without much room for error and he does a great job for us.”
Freshman Mark Ahlers ran to a school record in the 1,000 as he earned 11th with a time of 2 minutes, 39.44 seconds.
“Mark ran a great opening leg for us in the 4×800 relay and then came back to run the 1,000, reestablishing the school record,” Riggins said. “The 1,000 field was stacked and Mark went out to run a nice race.”
Freshman Jimmy Blankenship recorded a personal record in the 800, finishing in 2:18.2.
“Jimmy ran a wonderful 800 for us,” Riggins said. “It was the strongest we have seen Jimmy look and he was very competitive.”
Freshman Justin Jacobi and sophomore Caleb Gilbertson each represented Waldorf in the heptathlon.
Gilbertson brought home first place in both the 60-meter dash and long jump portions of the heptathlon. The Hayfield, Minn. native clocked a time of 7.38 seconds in the 60-meter dash for 752 points. Gilbertson also hit a distance of 6.41 meters (21 feet, 0.25 inches) to score 677 points in the long jump. His performances were a promising sign with the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Indoor Championships & Multi approaching on Feb. 14-15 at Jamestown, North Dakota.
“It was Caleb’s first time in the multi, so it was a learning experience,” Riggins said. “We now know what events we need to work on before the NSAA conference multi in two weeks.”
Jacobi used the pole-vault portion of the heptathlon to raise the barrier in the school record book to a height of 2.65 meters (8 feet, 8.25 inches). In addition to the pole vault, Jacobi bested his personal record in the high-jump portion of the heptathlon, clearing a height of 1.74 meters (5 feet, 8.5 inches).
“Justin saw some major improvement in the high jump and pole vault, which was great,” Riggins said.
Both Gilberston and Jacobi also competed in the open portion of the pole vault to finish first and second, respectively. Gilberston won with a height of 2.64 meters (8 feet, 8 inches).
“It was a great weekend for them in the vault, they will only continue to get better,” Riggins said.
Following a week that focused on recovery, several sprinters went to work in multiple events for the Warriors.
Junior Korey Beaman clocked personal records in the 200 and 600 with times of 25.64 seconds and 1:31.2, respectively. Junior Austin Anderson ran to times of 24.96 seconds in the 200 and 1:40.83 in the 600. Freshman Eithan Esensee recorded a time of 25.97 seconds in the 200. Andre Davis sprinted to a time of 9.12 seconds in the 60-meter high hurdles prelims and the freshman improved to 9.01 seconds during the finals.
“Austin, Andre, Korey and Eithan were each loaded up with races over the weekend,” Riggins said. “They came into the weekend knowing this would be more of a workout than a competition for them. However, they killed it.”
Alcenord, Anderson, freshman Jonah Remker and Gilbertson guided the Warriors to a third-place finish in the 4×200 relay, setting a school record with a finish of 1:36.44.
Ahlers, Jacobi, junior Aaron Ward and sophomore Chasen Selsor teamed up in the 4×800 relay and clocked a school record in 8:52.05.
Waldorf placed sixth in the team standings despite not having competitors in every event.
“Our men were very competitive in a tough field and it should be a big confidence boost for them,” Riggins said. “We were looking more for some individual performances rather than team performance over the weekend.”
The Warriors return to Storm Lake for next Saturday’s Buena Vista University Invitational. Events start at 10 a.m. It’s the final competition for Waldorf, which then prepares for the NSAA indoor championship meets.
“The next few weekends will be more focused on team performance as we approach our postseason meets,” Riggins said.