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Six individual titles propel men and women to top-three finishes at NSIC Championships‏

Augustana College
Augustana College

WINONA, MN (KWSN) - Augustana's men's and women's track and field teams set themselves up for strong finishes at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Championships after day one, and they used five more individual titles to propel them to top-three team finishes. The men came in second and the women finished third to finish as the top combined program. "Both teams finished the outdoor season with great performances this weekend," head coach Tracy Hellman said. "We always have high goals with our program and we felt that today went very well. We had a number of individual champions and more provisional marks for nationals which made it all the sweeter." Kelsey Kaufmann recorded the first of six individual titles on day one when she won the women's high jump to complete the season sweep of the indoor and outdoor titles. Two former All-Americans then added to their total by breaking NSIC meet records and a third was broken in dominating fashion Kyle Blakeslee notched the next title for the Vikings with a dominating win in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, breaking her own record. The Cannon Falls, Minn. native posted a 10:27.52 time which was nearly 30 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Blakeslee finishes her career undefeated in her signature event, winning the previous titles in 2010-12. Henrik Hansson led a four-Viking charge in the men's 1,500-meter run that featured three in the top four. Hansson's 3:50.12 was three seconds faster than the previous NSIC record and the winning time. Harald Karbo (3:50.78) was second and Jordan Slusser (3:52.54) fourth, which were both fast enough to break the record. John Klecker added two more points for the Vikings when he finished seventh in 3:57.83. Aduo Omot is rounding into postseason form and he brought home the third title, taking down his own facility record and a conference record that stood for over two decades. The Augustana senior was a second faster than the runner-up athlete with his 1:50.45 time. Justin Cook came in sixth with a 1:55.66 and Hansson took eighth in 2:07.21 shortly after his 1,500-meter win. Kayla Mescher narrowly missed a fourth NSIC record for the Vikings when she repeated as 400-meter hurdle champion on Saturday. Her 1:00.46 is the new Paul Giel Field record and ranks 18th in the country to qualify her for the NCAA Championships. Kristin Brondbo collected the final title for the Vikings when she combined with two other Vikings to score 16 points for the women. Brondbo's winning time of 4:30.69 is the 13th-fastest in Division II this season and was followed by Kaitlyn Yoerg (4:37.19) in fourth and Cassidy Soli (4:46.30) in eighth. While Carina Hofmeister finished second in the 400-meter dash, the Hamburg, Germany native continued her assault on the Augustana record books. Hofmeister posted a runner-up time of 56.17 seconds to take down Andrea Harens 1995 time by 0.36 seconds. Colleen Everson continued her strong NSIC Championships with a sixth-place finish in 56.64 seconds, a personal-best. Augustana's sprint duo teamed up again in the 200-meter dash, adding eight points to the team score. Everson took third in 24.89 seconds and Hofmeister placed seventh in 25.43. Laura Popanz was the third different female sprinter to score for the Vikings, taking sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.33 seconds. Helping the Vikings to another runner-up finish, Everson combined with Anne Parsley, Charissa Etrheim, and Mescher for a 3:49.06 in the women's 4x400-meter relay, falling 0.30 seconds short of winning. The men's quartet of Skyler Kuil, Omot, Jeremy Botzet, and Zach Jones took fourth with a 3:17.76 time. The Vikings again scored big in distance events for the men and women, totaling six top-eight finishes in the 5,000-meter run and adding two more in the men's steeplechase. Kyle Blakeslee (17:08.74) and Meritxell Delgado (17:11.58) finished secon and third, respectively, in the women's 5k. Harald Karbo led four men in the top-eight of the men's 5k with his 14:50.23. Jordan Slusser took fourth in 14:50.52 while John Klecker (14:55.78) and Nathan Hauge (14:56.95) finished seventh and eighth. Adam Braun hit his third qualifying time of the season in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase when he finished as the runner-up at the NSIC Championships. Braun clocked a 9:16.39 for second and was followed by Paul Yak's 9:29.26 in third. Augustana's men's hurdlers scored big for the Vikings with Ryan Heuer and Zach Jones scoring in both distances. Heuer led the way in both events, placing third in the 400-meter hurdles in a provisional 53.92 seconds and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.23 seconds. Jones was right behind his teammate in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.46 seconds after he took eighth in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.85. Jason Greenway clocked a 54.96-second run in the 400-meter hurdles for sixth place. Kristi Porter was the highest field finisher for the Vikings after she took fourth in the women's javelin throw with a best toss of 36.63 meters (120-02)). Kuil notched another point for the Vikings in the men's javelin with an eighth-place throw of 49.81 meters (163-05). Anthony Huber made his conference debut for the Vikings and took fifth in the men's discus with a 45.04-meter (147-09) toss. Katie Tonner ended her career on a high note when she placed fifth in the women's triple jump with a best mark of 11.16 meters (36-7 ½). The men's and women's 4x100-meter relay teams scored the final points for the Vikings. The men's team of Malik Glass, Justin Greenway, Jason Greenway, and Trevor DeSchepper took seventh in 42.71 seconds. The women's team of Kyerra Titus-Baer, Popanz, Kirsten Nyberg, and Karmen Nyberg placed eighth in 48.53 seconds. The men's 129-point total was second to Minnesota State's 177 and the women's third-place sum of 110 points fell short of champion U-Mary's 169.3 points and Minnesota Duluth's 127.83. The men's and women's combined finish was better than Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth who each totaled seven in combined places. Augustana now awaits the NCAA release of national-meet qualifiers as the Vikings have hit 21 qualifying marks on the season. The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will take place in Allendale, Mich. on May 22-24.

Courtesy: Augustana College