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January 8, 2010

2009-2010 Season - Vikings excited to kick-off 2010 campaign

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Legendary head coach Paul Olsen prepares to begin his 42nd year at the helm and has a stable of talented performers on his roster this season.  Olsen is also receiving a major assist from Ron Standley, who will handle the head coaching duties before Olsen returns from an academic trip at the end of January.

The Vikings completed the 2009 season as the No. 2 ranked team in the final United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association Power Rankings.  The Blue & Gold held down the No. 1 slot for much of the outdoor campaign before finishing a strong second.  Augustana won two indoor meets and three outdoor meets during another successful season.  The team also placed second in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin at the indoor and outdoor conference championship meets.

Seniors Dan Bailey (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Ill.), Nick Borchert (Ankeny HS, Ankeny, Iowa), Darin Decker (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.), Nathan Maass (Naperville Central HS, Naperville, Ill.), Max Petersen (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.), and Chris Zook (Normal Community HS, Normal, Ill.) will lead the talented and deep squad as captains this spring.

EVENTS BREAKDOWN

SPRINTS – Petersen, junior Matt Somers (Naperville Central HS, Naperville, Ill.), and sophomore James Wood (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.) return as key performers in the sprints.  Petersen was named an ESPN – The Magazine Academic All-America selection last season after a superb year on the oval.  He won the 100 and 200 individual titles at the CCIW outdoor meet and also anchored the 4 X 100 team to victory.  Petersen was also honored as the squad’s “Most Improved Performer.”  Wood was a part of the winning 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relay teams while Somers ran on the top distance medley squad last season.  Freshmen Alex Rindone (Marmion Academy, Geneva, Ill.) and Kyle Williams (Lake Zurich HS, Lake Zurich, Ill.) bring in impressive high resumes and should contribute this season.

HURDLES – Junior Brendan Bradley (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.) and sophomores Greg Davis (Carlinville HS, Carlinville, Ill.) and Marty King (Oswego HS, Oswego, Ill.) should all play major roles in the hurdle events, as the Vikings hope to use depth to help replace former national champion Ted McMillan.  Davis was honored as the “Most Valuable Freshman” in track events last year after winning several hurdles titles at invitational meets, including a first place finish in the 400 intermediate hurdles at the CCIW outdoor championships.  King was third in the 400 intermediate hurdles and also part of the winning 4 X 100 relay squad.  Bradley placed fifth in the 400 intermediate hurdles at the CCIW meet.  Freshman Patrick Callan (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) is also expected to add help as well.

MIDDLE DISTANCE – Borchert was a part of the winning 4 X 400 relay at the CCIW outdoor meet, along with Davis and Wood.  Both Wood and Borchert placed in the top four in the 400 at the same meet, finishing third and fourth respectively.  Senior Greg Weigand (Wheaton Warrenville South HS, Wheaton, Ill.) took fourth in the 800 at the Lee Calhoun Relays and will also by a key contributor.  Junior Kris Hinchley (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) and sophomore Mike Tisza (Hersey HS, Prospect Heights, Ill.) should also be strong performers.  Hinchley held the top indoor time on the squad in the 800 last year while Tisza was a solid runner in the 3000.

DISTANCE – Bailey, Zook, and sophomores Billy Wisser (Hersey HS, Mount Prospect, Ill.) and Billy TenBusch (Prairie Ridge HS, Cary, Ill.) should lead the charge in the distance events.  Bailey won titles in the 3000 and 4 X 800 relay at outdoor meets while also qualifying for nationals in the 10,000.  Zook is coming off of an impressive cross country season where he qualified for the national meet.  Wisser held the top indoor time on the squad a year ago in the 5000.  TenBusch is the top returner in the 3000 and the 3000 steeplechase.  Seniors Brian Hart (University City HS, St. Louis, Mo.) and Tom Ries (Iowa City Regina HS, Iowa City, Iowa) join juniors Matt Bowman (Geneva HS, Elburn, Ill.), Sean Carmody (Winnebago HS, Winnebago, Ill.), and Brad Keating (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) to make for a strong distance group.  The cross country team was ranked in the top 10 nationally for much of the fall season and will help the track program this spring.

FIELD EVENTS – Decker and sophomore Phil Christensen (Kaneland HS, Maple Park, Ill.) form a tremendous 1-2 punch in the throwing events.  Decker won the hammer and discus events while taking second in the shot put en route to being selected “Most Outstanding Field Event Performer” at the CCIW outdoor meet.  Christensen came on late in the year in his first season with the Vikings, finishing sixth at the national meet in the discus to earn All-America honors.  He also broke the school record in the discus that had stood since 1981 and was named the “Most Valuable Freshman” by his teammates in the field events.

Junior Alex Stake (Williamsville HS, Sherman, Ill.) returns as a versatile performer who will be used in the vault and long jump as well as the decathlon.  He was a national qualifier in the decathlon a year ago.  Maass, juniors Pat Zeunik (Bloomington Central HS, Bloomington, Ill.) and Eric Chalus (Rochelle HS, Rochelle, Ill.), and sophomore Andrew Nice (Christian Life HS, Caledonia, Ill.) will also be key contributors.  Maass was fifth in the triple jump and seventh in the javelin at the CCIW outdoor meet.  Zeunik qualified for the national meet in the triple jump last season.  Chalus was the pole vault champion at the Early Spring Opener.  Chalus and Nice took sixth and seventh respectively in the pole vault at the CCIW outdoor meet.  Freshman Chad Collins (Thornridge HS, Dolton, Ill.) is also capable of adding depth in the jumping events.

Story written by Assistant Sports Information Director Adam Strand