June 1, 2002
2002 MEN'S OUTDOOR TRACK REVIEW
BRANDON VAHL & TONY BONUCCI SHARE MOST VALUABLE PERFORMER HONORS FOR AUGUSTANA'S TRACK & FIELD TEAM
Senior pole vaulter Tony Bonucci (Princeton HS, Princeton, IL) and middle distance runner Brandon Vahl (Waukegan HS, Lindenhurst, IL) won the top awards for the 2002 Augustana Vikings men's track & field team. Bonucci, who won the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title in the pole vault with a clearance of 15' 11", was named the Most Valuable Field Athlete while Vahl, who turned in a best time of 1:54.63 in the 800, was selected as the Most Valuable Track Athlete.
It was another solid year for veteran head coach Paul Olsen and the Vikings. The Blue & Gold won the Early Spring Opener (eight teams) on March 23, the Norsemen Relays (nine teams) on April 6 and the Vikings Olympics (12 teams) on April 13, placed third in the Midwest Intercollegiate Championships (37 teams) on May 17 and fourth in the Meet of Champions (10 teams) on April 20. In addition, the Vikings were second in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin on May 3-4 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A year ago Augustana had been third in the CCIW, the first time since 1963 that it had not finished either first or second in the league championship meet. Also in 2001 the Vikings did not have an individual conference champion for the first time since 1958. That was rectified as well in 2002 as Bonucci won the pole vault and Adam Talbot (Kewanee HS, Kewanee, IL) took first in the decathlon with a score of 6,289 points.
Doug Cochrane (Kirksville HS, Kirksville, MO) was named the Most Valuable Freshman for the field events while Nick Johnson (Lincoln Way HS, New Lenox, IL) and Ammon Paquette (United Township HS, Hampton, IL) shared the Most Valuable Freshman honor for track events. Cochrane had a best throw of 47' 7 3/4" in the shot put and 119' 3" in the discus. Johnson ran 9:21.5 in the 3000 steeplechase and Paquette recorded a time of 1:55.49 in the 800.
The Most Improved Athlete went to senior Creston Fenn (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, IA), an 800 runner who survived a career filled with injuries to run 1:55.26 this spring. Craig Lawrence (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, IL) was named the Most Inspirational Athlete.
Captains for 2003 will be Brad Blake (Kewanee Wethersfield HS, Kewanee, IL), Talbot, Steve Schulz (Galva HS, Galva, IL), David Gonzalez (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, IL) and Vahl.
During the 2002 season four athletes met NCAA Division III provisional qualifying standards a total of 10 times with Bonucci leading the way with five times in the pole vault. Talbot three times met the provisional mark in the decathlon while Randy Bill (Bureau Valley HS, Buda, IL) made it once in the 10,000 and Jeff Lindeman (Grayslake HS, Antioch, IL) cleared qualifying height once in the pole vault.
Gonzalez set the only new school record this year when he tossed the hammer 143' 2" at the CCIW meet on May 4, breaking the old mark of 116' 5" previously held by Joe Sipich in 1996.
Javelin thrower Todd Baldwin (Aledo HS, Aledo, IL), distance runner Rudy Kovachevich (Carl Sandburg HS, Orland Park, IL) and intermediate hurdler Joel Wietfeldt (Auburn HS, Auburn, IL) were all named to the Verizon Academic All-District team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
2002 AUGUSTANA VIKINGS SUPERLATIVES
MOST VALUABLE FIELD ATHLETE - Tony Bonucci
MOST VALUABLE TRACK ATHLETE - Brandon Vahl
MOST IMPROVED ATHLETE - Creston Fenn
MOST INSPIRATIONAL ATHLETE - Craig Lawrence
MOST VALUABLE FRESHMAN FIELD ATHLETE - Doug Cochrane
MOST VALUABLE FRESHMAN TRACK ATHLETE - Nick Johnson & Ammon Paquette
2003 CAPTAINS-ELECT - Brad Blake, Adam Talbot, Steve Schulz, David Gonzalez & Brandon Vahl
2002 CCIW INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS - Tony Bonucci (pole vault) & Adam Talbot (decathlon)
2002 NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL QUALIFIERS - Adam Talbot (decathlon), Jeff Lindeman (pole vault), Tony Bonucci (pole vault) & Randy Bill (10,000)
2002 AUGUSTANA SCHOOL RECORD - David Gonzalez (hammer throw)
2002 VERIZON ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT - Todd Baldwin, Rudy Kovachevich & Joel Wietfeldt