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Eric Peterson, Published May 11 2012

Concordia's Johnson wins conference championship in javelin

MOORHEAD – Connor Johnson decided to throw the javelin this spring for the “cool” factor.

“I thought it would be kind of cool to chuck a spear,” Johnson said with a smile Friday.

A conference championship was pretty neat, too. The Concordia sophomore won the men’s javelin at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

Johnson won the event with a personal-best toss of 178 feet, 11 inches, capping an improbable rise to the top of the MIAC.

“In early April if you would have told he would be ranked No. 1, let alone win, I would have been shocked,” said Cobbers men’s coach Garrick Larson. “The first couple meets were a little rough, but it turned out great.”

Johnson became the first Concordia men’s athlete to win a conference javelin title since 1993.

“I really am surprised,” said Johnson, who went to Richland High School in Colfax, N.D. “I did not expect to be here by the end.”

Johnson didn’t seriously start throwing the javelin until this spring.

“I threw it once in high school, but I wasn’t very good at it so I stopped,” said Johnson, who also plays football at Concordia.

Johnson went out for the Cobbers baseball team as a freshman. He didn’t join the track team until just prior to the start of this outdoor season. In Johnson’s first javelin competition at the end of March, he placed 11th with a toss of 125-1.

“It’s quite a range, I know,” said Johnson, who improved by more than 50 feet this spring.

“The first meets he threw just kind of average, but you could tell that he was learning,” Larson said.

Johnson gradually got better this season. He said he threw personal bests at nearly every meet. In the last three weeks, Johnson said his technique really started to click.

“It’s a little different than a baseball throw and at first he was kind of side-arming it with his elbow,” Larson said. “With the javelin you’ve got to get over the top. So it was just him adapting to a long spear instead of a ball.”

Cobber women’s relay sets school mark

A blend of adrenaline and excitement helped fuel Morgan Christian and her 3,200-meter relay teammates to a Concordia record.

“A lot of us had this goal in mind,” said Christian, who is a sophomore from Moorhead. “Being able to break the school record on our home track is really big for us.”

Kris Sather, Callie Christianson and Paige Rygg joined Christian to place second in the women’s 3,200 relay with a time of 9 minutes, 19.22 seconds. Carleton ran a 9:16.81 to win the event, also setting an Irv Christenson track record.

“You always think you can go faster … but I was happy with how it went. I was happy to break the school record,” Christian said.

Concordia’s previous school record in the relay was a 9:20.11 a mark that had stood since 1997.


Concordia is in third place in the women’s team race through one day of the two-day meet with 40½ points. Gustavus leads with 48. … The Cobbers men are in fifth place with 28 points. St. Thomas leads the men’s race with 77. … The Cobbers took third and fourth place in the women’s long jump. Sophomore Hilary Thompson was third with a leap of 18-1. Junior Kaari Jensen placed fourth with a jump of 17-11. Both performances were personal bests. … Hamline freshman Shawny Kramer set a meet record in the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 172-11. … St. Thomas junior Eyo Ekpo set a track record in the men’s high jump, clearing 6-10¾ to win the event. … Carleton senior Alison Smith set a track record in the women’s 10,000 meters with a time of 36:19.47.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com