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Craig captures high jump title, Warriors show fight in Norse Relays

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Matt Oliver

DECORAH – Six outdoor school records were brought down by the Waldorf University men’s track and field team in a strong showing during Saturday’s Norse Relays.

“This was the first relay meet we have competed in with a team this size and overall, it was a really fun day,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said. “It was great to see them all working together, making adjustments as a group and supporting one another.”

Isaiah Craig captured the high jump title for the Warriors as the freshman from Apple Valley, Minnesota cleared the bar at 1.85 meters (6 feet, 0.75 inches) to set a new school record.

“We are finally getting Isaiah back from a hamstring issue, and it was great to see him getting back into a rhythm this weekend,” Riggins said.

Freshman Justin Jacobi battled to third in the 110-meter hurdles, clocking a time of 16.19 seconds immediately after a relay race.

“He ran that hurdle race right after competing in the 4×1600 relay and actually ran a very smooth race,” Riggins said. “He competed very well for us.”

Freshman Andre Davis made his debut in the 400 hurdles and crossed the finish line in eighth (1:03.75).

“The 400-meter hurdles is a promising race for Andre,” Riggins said. “I am looking forward to seeing him compete in upcoming meets now that he has a race under his belt and knows what to expect.”

Injuries forced Waldorf to shuffle its relay lineups, but the Warriors didn’t let the changes slow them down.

“We had some last-minute injuries and relay order changes,” Riggins said. “They handled them in stride and did what they needed to do.”

The 4×100 relay team of sophomore Caleb Gilbertson, freshman Jonah Remker, Craig and freshman Alvyns Alcenord chased down second (44.85) while trimming a second off their previous-best time to rewrite the school record books.

“Alvyns rolled his ankle earlier in the day and we had to make a last-minute switch from first [leg] to fourth to get him off the curve,” Riggins said. “The men really just went with the flow, made the exchanges and ran a very nice race.”

Running through discomfort, Alcenord persevered through his relay leg.

“I was very impressed with his toughness,” Riggins said. “Myself and his teammates could tell he was in a lot of pain, but he wanted to run for the team, and we made the adjustments and they paid off for us.”

Junior Austin Anderson, Remker, junior Korey Beaman and freshman Mark Ahlers set a school-record time in the 1,600 sprint medley relay, placing seventh (3:47.57). Anderson led off the first 200-meter leg, Remker replaced Alcenord in the second 200-meter stretch, Beaman ran the 400 leg and Ahlers closed out the final 800.

“Jonah really stepped up to the plate and ran a very nice 200-meter split for us,” Riggins said. “Austin and Korey ran nice legs as well, and Mark finished up with a very solid 800 for us.”

Juniors Aaron Ward, Nathan Meiners, Ovan Garcia and sophomore Chasen Selsor set a new school mark in the 4×1600 relay as they worked to seventh (19:38.63). The Warriors also fielded a second 4×1600 relay team consisting of Jacobi, junior Cassidy Warson, freshmen Jesse Vega and Jimmy Blankenship.

“One of the great things about relay meets is that some of the distance athletes who normally don’t get to be a part of a relay, just due to the nature of their events, get to participate,” Riggins said.

Aside from the seven distance athletes competing in the 4×1600 relay, Jacobi took advantage of the event to help prepare for the decathlon in two weeks.

Craig, Gilbertson, Remker and Anderson broke a school record as they locked up fourth (1:35.35) in the 4×200 relay. Anderson stepped in for Alcenord to anchor the event.

Ahlers, Selsor, Garcia and senior Cody Clark turned in a new school record in the 4×800 relay, finishing in 8:48.70.

Freshman Demetrius Baker recorded a personal-best performance in the javelin at 32.90 meters (107 feet, 11 inches).

Waldorf competes in next Saturday’s Lee Krough Invitational at St. Peter, Minnesota, beginning at 9 a.m. It’s the first of six meets for the Warriors before hosting the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Outdoor Championships on May 11-13.

“We have a lot of athletes battling the typical mid- to late-season injuries,” Riggins said. “These men have been competing since August, and I have been very impressed with the way they are stepping up for themselves, their teammates and the school each weekend. We are hopefully heading into some warmer weather and plan to really get after it heading into the final weeks before the conference meet.”