Tigers Sweep 2013 GPAC Titles
The Tiger track and field teams claimed the 2013 GPAC Outdoor Championships on Saturday afternoon in Seward as each team posted 198.5 points. Concordia took runner-up honors on both the men's and women's side.
Weather conditions were less than ideal on the first weekend of May. Temperatures were in the low 40s with wind chills in the 30s and occasional rain.
"The weather made it a very tough day for all of the athletes," Doane Coach Ed Fye said. "Our kids battled and competed for every point out there. When we competed head-to-head this season with teams we claimed team victories but were not able to reach marks that we were hoping for due to the weather. When we knew the weather was going to be like it has been most of the year, we told the kids to treat it like we have through the spring... beat the individuals you are going against head-to-head rather than try to get a (national qualifying) mark."
The women had 43 All-GPAC performances on the day while the men posted 38 All-GPAC performances. An individual or relay team earns All-GPAC honors by placing in the Top 8 of an event.
On the women's side, the Tigers had three event champions. Erin DeVries set a GPAC record in the heptathlon with 4,482 points in the meet. Shelbi Bittinger won the high jump on her final attempt at 5-06.00 and Sandrae Farquharson took the 400m title with a time of 56.74.
Ashton Henderson earned a pair of runner-up performances in the javelin and discus. She posted a throw of 139-04 in the javelin and 146-09 in the discus, both NAIA automatic qualifying marks.
Allycia Myers placed second in the triple jump with an "A" standard mark of 38-02.75. Jillian Ourada took second in the 100m hurdles with an "A" time of 14.35 and Jessa Sughroue was second in the 800m run with a time of 2:17.46.
Ourada and Sughroue teamed with Sydney Holtmeier and Lacey Wright to take second in the 4x400m relay with a time of 4:01.18. Ourada and Holtmeier placed in four events apiece for the Tigers while six athletes placed in three events. For Ourada, it was the culmination of year trying to rebound from a serious leg injury suffered last indoor season.
"Jillian placed in four events and had to preserver through the year, coming back from an awful injury last year," Fye said. "At the beginning of the year, we wondered where she would be able to get to but she remained confident and showed a lot of character. Her leadership was seen by the team and they followed their captain."
In men's competition, Zack Lindsley won three events and was the high individual scorer in the meet. He was recognized following the meet as the GPAC Male Performer-of-the-Meet, the conference's Athlete-of-the-Year honor.
"Zack has had a great year, starting with indoors," Fye commented. "Last week at the Drake Relays he gained a lot of confidence and that showed today with his efforts."
Lindsley set the GPAC record in the discus with a throw of 189-09. He won the shot put with a throw of 56-10.00 and the hammer throw with a mark of 174-08. All three marks were "A" standard qualifying marks.
Rob Keeney placed in four events for the Tigers. Five Tiger athletes placed in three events.
Fye said of his athletes' view of the team goal, "On both sides, we had to make individual sacrifices as there were athletes that could maybe win one or two events or score in three to five. Our kids are very unselfish and do what is best for the team. We have a very close-knit team and it was going to take a lot to prevent them from winning the championship on both sides."