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'I expect to go faster': Wright having record-setting year for Cobbers entering D-III track championships

Concordia Cobbers senior Cal Wright enters the NCAA Division III Outdoor track championships with a top-15 time in the men's 400 meters.

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Concordia Cobbers senior Cal Wright is set to compete at the NCAA Division III outdoor track championships in the men's 400 meters.
Concordia Sports Information photo
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MOORHEAD — Concordia Cobbers head men’s track coach Garrick Larson remembered last spring when Cal Wright had finished one his best workouts weeks before the conference outdoor meet.

That’s when Wright’s hamstring started causing issues.

“That was pretty much the end of it,” Larson said.

“It felt like I was starting to really hit my groove last year and then pulled my hamstring,” Wright added. “It didn’t have enough time to recover. It was right before the biggest meets of the year.”

This spring, Wright got his groove back and is set to compete at the NCAA Division III Outdoor track and field championships in Geneva, Ohio. He set the school record in the men’s outdoor 400 meters multiple times this spring and also won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crown in that event.

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Concordia Cobbers senior Cal Wright, right, enters the NCAA Division III Outdoor track and field championships with a top-15 time in the men's 400 meters.
Concordia Sports Information photo

The 6-foot-3 Wright has a best time of 47.56 seconds heading into the outdoor championships, the No. 13 best time in the field. The senior is slated to compete in the 400 prelims on Friday, May 27.

“I think it’s a reflection of all the work that’s been put in this year,” said Wright, from Mora, Minn. “It’s great to know that I’m right along there with the top competitors.”

Wright’s goal is to make the 400 finals, which are scheduled for Saturday. He earned All-American honors during the indoor season and would like to double up this weekend with a strong performance.

“Hopefully I can drop (time) even more this weekend,” Wright said. “The big one for me is to make finals. It’s something I did indoors. If I make finals, I will set a new goal. One step at a time is kind of the way I like to look at it.”

Wright credits his coaches and teammates for pushing him, particularly freshman Tommy Kern during the indoor. Wright said Kern’s times in the 400 motivated him to do better. Freshman Trevor Tiongson and senior Hayden Gagnon were also part of a talented group of Concordia 400 runners.

“I really don’t like to lose, so that was a great push for me,” Wright said. “It’s just been a great season. I’ve always held high expectations for myself.”

Wright was a multisport athlete in high school, including football, basketball and baseball. He didn’t go out for the track team until late in his sophomore year at Mora and started to thrive in the 400 as a senior when he made it to the Minnesota state meet.

“I really found my groove senior year,” Wright said.

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Wright initially came to Concordia to play men’s basketball and said he had “no intention” of competing in track and field at college. That changed during his freshman year when he decided to step away from basketball. He then decided to join the Cobbers track team.

“I was kind of curious to see what I could do in track,” Wright said. “My (high school) senior year I kind of just exploded onto the scene. … I love being active. I thought I would give it a try.”

Larson described Wright as an “incredible athlete” and knew the potential was there to excel in the 400.

“It was pretty clear he was going to be good at the 400 meters,” Larson said.

Wright has blossomed this spring, breaking the school record in the 400 three times heading into the NCAA championships. He set the school record in the indoor 400 at 48.25 seconds in February.

Wright plans to come back for another indoor and outdoor season next school year, using an NCAA eligibility waiver. He’s even surprised himself with how successful his track career has been to this point.

“This is beyond what I expected,” Wright said. “Now that I’m here and the bar is high, I expect to go faster this year and continuing into next year, as well.”

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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