Josh Eisenberg’s first two college track and field meets were less than memorable.
As a freshman, the Richmond-Burton graduate from Spring Grove remembers “no heighting in the high jump, and that was at 5 feet.”
Now as a senior at NCAA Division III Augustana College in Rock Island, Eisenberg’s first-meet failings are long gone.
Last month, Eisenberg set a school record by producing 4,694 points in the men’s heptathlon at the Monmouth College Indoor Invitational. He won six of the seven events to outpace the Augustana record by 70 points.
“One of my biggest goals of the season was to break the school record,” Eisenberg said. “All the work that I’ve put in is really starting to pay off.”
Nowhere is that more evident than in the high jump, the event in which Eisenberg couldn’t clear 5 feet as a freshman. “Now I’m a 6-1 jumper,” he said.
Eisenberg’s impressive showing at Monmouth, he said, is due largely to his summer workouts.
A pre-med student at Augustana, Eisenberg spent the summer working an internship as a cancer researcher at Baylor University College of Medicine. Eisenberg’s housing site was at Rice University in Houston.
Every day, Eisenberg took full advantage of Rice’s track and field facilities.
“My improvement is really a credit to the work I did in the offseason,” he said. “I worked out at Rice every day.”
Eisenberg received a workout schedule from Augustana assistant coach David Gonzalez. Then, the two would tweak his training regularly.
“They had the hurdles out there, so I did a lot of hurdle work,” Eisenberg said.
The results showed at Monmouth, where he dominated the 60-meter hurdles in 8.98 seconds. He also won the shot put by more than 5 feet with a toss of 37-8.
“I had never thrown a shot before I got here,” he said. “I was originally just a pole vaulter.”
The only event Eisenberg did not win at Monmouth was the 60-meter dash. He came in second by a mere 0.06 of a second.
Eisenberg is preparing for his next competition, the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championships Feb. 28, with an eye on qualifying for the D-III indoor nationals.
He said the NCAA takes the top 18 athletes in the event to nationals, and he ranks ninth.
“It’ll be close,” he said.
Eisenberg’s recent success is a far cry, however, from his early days in the heptathlon.
“It’s demoralizing finishing last in every event,” he said. “But over the years, you begin to improve greatly.”
White on target: Joe White, a sophomore forward for D-III Worcester (Mass.) State’s men’s hockey team, scored the deciding goal Feb. 1 in a 3-2 win against first-place Salem State in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup.
The goal was the first of the season for White, a Woodstock grad, to go along with four assists for the Lancers (8-9-1).
Headed west: Johnsburg grad Bruce Carpenter, a former player and assistant football coach at D-II Winona (Minn.) State, has been hired as offensive coordinator at NAIA Montana Western.
After playing quarterback for WSU, Carpenter began his coaching career at the school as a graduate assistant. He spent eight years on the WSU coaching staff, with titles including quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
For the past three seasons, he was the head coach at Cotter High School in Winona.
Montana Western finished 4-6 last season but ranked 16th in NAIA Division I in rushing offense a game (208.1 yards) and 36th in total offense (382.9).
ND speedster: Notre Dame senior track and field athlete Eddy Gibbons placed third at last weekend’s Indiana Relays in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.64.
Gibbons, a Cary-Grove grad, finished just 0.13 behind teammate Grant Koch, who took second in the event.
Sanders sets pace: Sophomore guard Ali Sanders is the second-leading scorer this season for Florida Southern College’s women’s basketball team.
Along with scoring 10.2 points a game, Sanders also is contributing 4.3 rebounds and 2.25 assists. She is the only FSC player to start every game this season for the Mocs (6-14). Last week, Sanders was named to the Capital One/College Sports Information Directors of America’s Academic All-District 5 team. A human movement and performance major, Sanders has a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.
Whitewater winner: Crystal Lake South grad Cam Laktash was named one of D-III Wisconsin-Whitewater’s men’s doubles tennis players of the week Monday.
During a 4-3 victory last week against D-I Detroit Mercy, Laktash and doubles partner Kevin Friend won a 6-3 decision at No. 3 doubles.
Laktash, a junior for the Warhawks, went 10-1 in doubles last season and 6-4 in singles.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com, check out his On Campus blog at McHenryCountySports.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryOnCampus.