Vikings use strength in the field events to pave way to victory at Sol Butler Invitational to open the 2017 season. As is usually the case with Paul Olsen-coached Augustana teams the depth of the entire team was evident in the victory but the field events took center stage this time.

Utilizing great depth in the field events proved advantageous on Saturday, January 14 for the Augustana men’s track & field team at the Sol Butler Invitational in Dubuque, Iowa. The Vikings won the 12-team event with 103 points to edge past William Penn (90.5), Loras (77.5) and Dubuque (75). St. Ambrose (59), Cornell (41), Indian Hills (40), Monmouth (39), Coe (27), North Iowa Area (26), Clarke (24) and Mount Mercy (18) rounded out the field.

As is usually the case with Paul Olsen-coached Augustana teams the depth of the entire team was evident in the victory but the field events took center stage this time. There were just six field events in the meet (compared to 10 running events) and the Vikings scored 49.5 points and they did it usually 12 different athletes. Nobody in the field events was a multiple scorer.

Freshman Arthur Atwell (Geneseo HS, Geneseo, Ill.) took second in the pole vault with a leap of 14’ 00” and he led the way as Augustana had four place winners in the event. Senior Eric DeMattia (Pontiac HS, Pontiac, Ill.) took fourth (13’ 6 ¼’), sophomore Mark Vanderheyden (Mercer County HS, Aledo, Ill.) was sixth (12’ 11 ¾”) and freshman Shane Huffaker (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) finished seventh at 12’ 6”.

Junior Travon Aldridge (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) uncorked a leap of 44’ 9 ¾” in the triple jump to take second. Senior Marckus Simmons (Downers Grove North HS, Westmont, Ill.) was second in the weight toss with a heave of 57’ 8 ¼”.

Sophomore Gage Sears (Geneseo HS, Geneseo, Ill.) cleared 6’ 2” in the high jump to place fourth. Sophomores Clayton Sommers (Saydel HS, Des Moines, Iowa) and Tyler Burns (Washington HS, Washington, Ill.) tied for sixth place as each cleared 6’ 0”.

Junior Kevin Barbian (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) was fifth in the shot put (50’ 4 ½”) and junior Keith King (Peoria Richwoods HS, Peoria, Ill.) took sixth (49’ 7 ¾”). Senior Rashaun DeBord (Wethersfield HS, Kewanee, Ill.) placed eighth in the long jump with a leap of 20’ 7”.

The only event the Vikings won was the 4x200 relay as Aldridge, junior Alec Lidinsky (Sandwich HS, Sandwich, Ill.), senior Camilo Duarte (Kimberly HS, Kaukauna, Wis.) and junior Kyle Hucker (Wauconda HS, Wauconda, Ill.) sped to victory with a time of 1:31.61.

Junior Mitchell Johnson (Pleasant Plains HS, New Berlin, Ill.) was second in the 3000 in 8:59.03 and his junior teammate Kevin Claus (Riverdale HS, Port Byron, Ill.) was right behind him in third place at 9:00.18. Senior Stephen Lavelle (Maine South HS, Park Ridge, Ill.) placed fifth in 9:09.59.

Freshman Nick Harvey (Elgin HS, Elgin, Ill.) took fourth in the 600 in 1:25.30 and senior Mitch Sand (Riverdale HS, Port Byron, Ill.) was eighth in 1:28.35.

Sophomore Brandon Wilkerson (Tri-Point HS, Stelle, Ill.) finished fifth in the mile (4:32.97) and senior Nathan Wendt (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) was sixth (4:33.32). Junior Tyler Rubarts (Paxton-Buckley-Loda HS, Paxton, Ill.) was sixth in the 55 hurdles with a time of :08.09.

The 4x400 relay team of DeBord, junior Josh Yamamoto (Fremd HS, Palatine, Ill.), junior Jeffrey Swanson (Winnebago HS, Winnebago, Ill.) and junior Kyle Hucker (Wauconda HS, Wauconda, Ill.) finished third in 3:28.35. The all-freshmen 4x800 relay team of Mike Mankowski (Gardner-South Wilmington HS, Gardner, Ill.), Brad Lathrop (Plainfield South HS, Plainfield, Ill.), Robert Hengst (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) and Ehren Braun (Crystal Lake Central HS, Crystal Lake, Ill.) was sixth in 8:42.18.

Augustana will be in competition again on Saturday, January 21 at the Midwest Invitational in Monmouth, Illinois.