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Six Vikings set to chase titles at NCAA Championships

Augustana College
Augustana College

Sioux Falls, SD (KWSN)- Six Augustana athletes will head to Pueblo, Colo. to compete in the NCAA Track and Field Championships on May 23-25. Runa Falch and Kristin Brondbo will represent the Viking women while Travis Beniak, Henrik Holmberg, Aaron Jung, and Harald Karbo each qualified for the national meet.  

Four of the six Vikings are making a return appearance to the NCAA Championships while Karbo and Jung are making their national debut.  Falch has an individual title to her name, winning the women’s 1,500-meter run at the 2011 outdoor championships.  The Steinkjer, Norway native has tallied five All-American finishes combined between indoor and outdoor seasons. 

Beniak is the other Viking with the taste for the top of the NCAA Championships podium.  The senior from Mazeppa, Minn. ran the 1,200-meter leg on Augustana’s 2012 distance medley relay national championship squad.  Beniak has twice qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finished in ninth at the NCAA Championships on both occasions. 

Making return trips as well are Norwegian natives Brondbo and Holmberg.  Brondbo has four All-American performances already on her resume including two individual top-six finishes at the national championship meet.  The junior distance runner won the NSIC 10,000-meter championship and punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships with her winning time. Holmberg was the runner-up at the NSIC Multi-Event Championships in the men’s decathlon.  The Vik, Norway native tallied 6,823 points to assure himself a spot at the national meet. 

Holmberg earned his first All-American honors in the indoor season when he finished in eighth in the men’s heptathlon. 

Karbo may be a freshman, but he showed he belonged with the elite runners this season.  The younger brother of former Augustana track standout Tom Karbo held the top time in the NSIC during the regular season and proved how he recorded the top time as the winning member of a 1-2-3 Viking sweep in the men’s steeplechase at the conference championships. 

From the start of his senior season, Jung was on a path to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the shot put for the first time in his career. Jung had clear knowledge of power after four years of manning the trenches as a defensive lineman for the Augustana football team.  He opened the season with such force that a few records fell in the process. 

Jung won three of the first four events and broke the school record at the Sioux City Relays.  His heave of 17.30 meters (56-9.25) gave him the event win and a 12th-plce mark in Division II.  Jung finished second at the NSIC Championships and will compete as the lone field-only athlete for the Vikings at the NCAA Championships. 

Eight Vikings earn All-Central Region honors

Six men and two women earned all-region honors by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in a release last week.  Runa Falch and Kristin Brondbo each earned the honors in three separate events, while Travis Beniak grabbed three separate event honors as well.  Henrik Holmberg, Aaron Jung, Adam Braun, Harald Karbo, and John Klecker were each named All-Central Region in one event. 

To qualify for all-region honors, an athlete must own a time or mark that ranks in the top five of his/her region at the completion of the conference championships.  The Vikings and the NSIC are joined in the Central Region by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Great American Conference. 

Falch and Brondbo each earned three honors in the 1,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-meter runs. Beniak earned the accolades for his 3,000-meter steeplechase performance as well as 1,500- and 10,000-meter events.  Braun and Karbo join Beniak in the top five of the steeplechase performers to earn all-region honors. 

Holmberg and Jung’s NCAA-qualifying events each earned them all-region honors.  Klecker was named all-region for his 5,000-meter performance.

Courtesy: Augustana College