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Vikings qualify six for NCAA Outdoor Championships

Augustana College
Augustana College

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (KWSN)- Six Augustana track and field athletes earned an invitation to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Pueblo, Colo. on May 23-25.  Travis Beniak, Henrik Holmberg, Aaron Jung, and Harald Karbo will represent the men and Kristin Brondbo and Runa Falch earned bids for the women. “The coaching staff is excited that these athletes have qualified for the NCAA Championships in Pueblo,” head coach Tracy Hellman said upon hearing the news of six of his athletes being invited to the national meet. Beniak and Karbo both punched their tickets in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase while Holmberg earned a bid to the decathlon competition and Jung will compete in the men’s shot put.

For the women, Brondbo and Falch will compete in the 10,00-meter run after finishing as the top two at the NSIC Championships. “I feel every one of these athletes are hitting their peak and have a great opportunity to place very high [at the meet].” Hellman said.  “Another positive thing about this group is that many of these athletes are returning qualifiers, and hopefully that will help as they prepare to finish their season on a high note”  

How these athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships and brief biographies can be found below. 

Travis Beniak  - 3,000-meter steeplechase, Mazeppa, Minn. - Sr.

Beniak recorded a provisional-qualifying time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase twice during the season, but his9:08.61 at the 55th Mt. SAC Relays earned him an invite to the NCAA Championships.  Beniak is coming off a big weekend in which he won two events and placed second in a third at the NSIC Championships.  The Mazeppa, Minn. native won the 10,000-meter run on day one before doubling up on day two with a 5,000-meter run victory and a runner-up finish in the steeplechase. In his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Beniak placed ninth at the NCAA Championships in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  His junior season, Beniak helped the Vikings to a national championship in the men's distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships.  This past fall, Beniak placed 10th in the men's cross country national championships and helped the Vikings to a program-best fourth place finish.

 Henrik Holmberg - Decathlon

Vik, Norway - Sr.Holmberg is making his second straight appearance in the multi-event championships at the NCAA Championships.  Holmberg grabbed All-America honors at the indoor championships in the heptathlon with an eighth-place finish.  The Vik, Norway native qualified for this year's outdoor championships with a 6,823-point performance, narrowly missing the automatic qualifying standard.  Holmberg's point total ranks eighth in the country this season.  Holmberg is also carrying a lot of momentum into the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the NSIC Multi-Event Championships on April 27 and 28 to qualify for the national meet. On top of his runner-up finish, Holmberg placed second in the long jump and third in the high jump at the NSIC Championships.  Holmberg's 2.05-meter mark at the NSIC Championships was also a provisional-qualifying mark, but not high enough to earn a trip in two events.

Aaron Jung - Shot Put Watertown, S.D. - Sr.

Jung won three shot put events and finished seven events with a provisional-qualifying mark in the 2013 season.  Jung earned his bid to Pueblo with a 17.30-meter (59-6.25) heave at the Sioux City relays on April 12.  Jung's toss also broke the school record for shot put.  This will be Jung's first trip to the NCAA Championships after nearly qualifying on several occasions the past three years.  Jung took second at the NSIC Championships on May 10-11 in the shot put.  Heading into the national meet, Jung's record-breaking mark ranks as the 12th-farthest throw in Division II this season. 

Harald Karbo - 3,000-meter steeplechaseStord, Norway - Fr.

Karbo enters the NCAA Championships hot off a 3000-meter steeplechase win at the NSIC Championships.  However, Karbo clocked his qualifying time of 9:05.59 at the Drake Relays on April 25.  Also at the NSIC Championships, Karbo placed seventh in the men's 5,000-meter run after a big kick to get into the top eight. Karbo's time at the Drake Relays ranks 16th in Division II this season. Karbo, a freshman, will be making his first NCAA Track and Field Championships appearance, but he helped the Vikings to a program-best fourth-place finish at the men's NCAA Cross Country Championships in November, coming in 58th at the meet.

Kristin Brondbo - 10,000-meter runSteinkjer, Norway - Jr.

Brondbo punched her ticket to the NCAA championships with a dominating performance at the NSIC Championships in the 10,000-meter run. Brondbo, and teammate Runa Falch, lapped the field as she went on to clock a 35:39.22 to win by over 30 seconds.  Brondbo's winning time ranks 16th in Division II this season and earns her a bid to the NCAA Championships. Brondbo also provisionally qualified in the 1,500- and 5,000-meter runs, but did not place high enough to advance to the national meet. Brondbo qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the winter and helped the Vikings to an eighth-place finish in the women's distance medley relay.  Brondbo is making her third consecutive appearance at the NCAA outdoor championships including an All-American performance in the 1,500-meter run in 2011. As a member of the Vikings' cross country team, Brondbo finished 10th at this fall's NCAA Championships and 15th in 2011 as the Vikings earned the national title. 

Runa Falch - 10,000-meter run Steinkjer, Norway - Sr.

Falch posted the second-best time in the country in the women's 10k at the 55th Mt. SAC relays on April 18.  Falch had a productive weekend at the NSIC Championships with three top-three finishes.  After her runner-up time in the 10k, Falch recorded the third-best 1,500-meter time at the NSIC meet before winning the women's 5,000-meter run. Falch also provisionally-qualified in those two events, but didn't rank high enough to garner an invite.  Falch will be making her third appearance at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships and ahs quite the history at the event.  In 2011 Falch won the 1,500-meter title and grabbed a second All-America finish in the 5,000-meter run by placing fourth. At this year's NCAA indoor championships, Falch came off an injury to finish third in the women's 5,000-meter run. In other NCAA competition, Falch finished eighth at this past fall's cross country championship and in 2011, Falch finished 13th and the Vikings won the national title.

Courtesy: Augustana College