Goodbye Conference, Hello National

Sophomore Jesse Middendorf finished second in both the 800 and 600 meters at the NDSU Bison Open and his time in the 800 meters was the seventh fastest in DIII this year.
Sophomore Jesse Middendorf finished second in both the 800 and 600 meters at the NDSU Bison Open and his time in the 800 meters was the seventh fastest in DIII this year.

FARGO, N.D. (2/08/20)--- Concordia sophomores Jesse Middendorf and Cal Wright have joined senior Matt Bye in turning their sights past the MIAC and onto the national stage.

Middendorf and Wright made national splashes in the middle distances and extended sprints while Bye started his trek towards indoor All-American honors in the heptathlon as the trio led the Cobbers at the 2-day NDSU Bison Open.

Middendorf posted the highest national mark of any Cobber at the meet as he continues to drop jaws in the 800 meters. No longer do fans need to find out where he ranks in the MIAC, they can head straight to the NCAA Division III marks to see where he is for the national qualifying list.

Middendorf upstaged the DI athletes from NDSU and the DII athletes from across the area by finishing second in the 800 meters at the Bison Open. He flew past the competition and clocked a 1:53.98 which was good for second place at the meet. His time is No.7 in the nation this year and the third fastest in school history. He was only .31 of a second away from breaking the 27-year old school record. And yes, his time is the fastest in the MIAC this year – by almost 2 full seconds.

Middendorf was also second in the 600 meters in a time of 1:22.45. That time is third best in the MIAC this year and best among non-seniors. It is also the second fastest in school history – 1-second behind the program record.

While Wright didn't have the impressive Top 3 finishes over the weekend he continues to have a stellar sophomore season. Wright has Division III Top 35 times in both the 200 and 400 meters. He finished second in the 200 meters and was fifth in the 400 meters.

He clocked a 22.55 in the 200 meters which is just off his season best of 22.48 which he posted at the season-opening Cobber Open. Wright's season-best time in the 200 meters is No.31 in the country – and yes, best in the MIAC.

Wright's time in the 400 meters vaulted him into national consideration and to the top of the MIAC. He clipped the line in a time of 49.79 which is a personal best mark and the No.18 mark in DIII.

Wright was also seventh in the 600 meters at the meet with a time of 1:24.7 which is a personal best and No.12 in the MIAC this year.

Bye, who earned All-American honors in the decathlon at last spring's national outdoor meet, competed in his first multi-event of the indoor season. He used the Bison Open to fine tune all seven events and get into national qualifying consideration.

He accomplished both goals as he finished sixth among 24 athletes with a score of 4,779 points. That total just shy of his personal best mark he posted at last year's indoor conference meet. More importantly it is the 11st best in Division III this season. And yes, it is the top score in the MIAC this year.

Sophomore Colin Schuller didn't make the national splash like Middendorf or Wright but still recorded a pair of Cobber Top 10 all-time marks. He was sixth in the 300 meters with a time of 36.00 and was 11th in the 200 meters at 23.16. His time in the 300 meters is No.2 in school history and the 200 finishing time is tied for No.9.

Several other Cobber track athletes had solid meet performances. Senior Willie Julkes was sixth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.62. He ran an 8.60 in the prelim heat. His Top 5 finish was made even more impressive by the fact that it came during the heptathlon which he competed in for the first time in three years. He scored a total of 4,059 points which is seventh most in the MIAC this year.      

Dan Wilson, Eric Wicklund and Munir Isahak had the other Top 10 track finishes for CC. Wilson was sixth in the 600 meters with a finishing time of 1:24.60. That mark is 10th fastest in the MIAC this year and the 11th fastest in school history.

Cross Country teammates Wicklund and Isahak posted their Top 10 finishes in the 3000 meters and 800 meters. Wicklund was eighth in the 3000 meters after crossing the line in a season-best time of 8:55.48. That mark is No.13 in the MIAC this year, a personal best and No.13 on the school's all-time list.

Isahak also came up with a personal best time at the meet. He posted a 10th-place finish in the 800 meters. He finished in a time of 1:58.71 which is in the Top 20 in school history and ninth best in the conference this season.

Junior Jake Steiner led the field athletes as he recorded Top 16 finishes in both the shot put and weight throw. Steiner was 10th in the shot put with a season-best distance of 49-07.75. That mark is No.5 in the conference.

Steiner was 16th in the weight throw after posting a distance of 50-04.50. That distance marks the second straight meet he has gone over 50 feet.  

UP NEXT: Concordia will get to size up MIAC competition when they compete against conference schools at the St. John's Invite on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.

Saturday recaps sponsored by Bufffalo Wild Wings: Grab your friends and get to B-Dubs on Sunday nights for College Nights at 9 p.m. 50% off 1 food item with ID and $3 apps at the Buffalo Wild Wings located on Hwy 10 in Moorhead.