Athletes sign to join Cross-Country and Track and Field programs


May 29, 2013

Five athletes have signed this month to compete in the Cross-Country and Track and Field programs at Trinity Lutheran College.

Joining the highly anticipated throws program that will be coached by former NCAA D1 All-American and US Olympic Trials competitor Mary Parker are Tavaita Ruth Bulai and Hunter Hammer.

From Hawaii, Colton Austria has signed to join the sprints squad.

And, signing to compete for both the cross-country and track programs for the Eagles are Amie Torkelson and Camilla Flores.

“We’re bringing in some really fantastic athletes who are also great people, and I really owe a debt of gratitude to distance coach Tiffany Elias who really helped to put this group together. She’s been the lead on much of the recruiting and it has been successful because of the work she has done in finding right people for our program,” said head coach and athletic director Matt Koenigs.

In the next few months, the Eagles will continue to sign athletes from the 2013 senior class, looking to increase the number of quality athletes who will compete for the program in the fall.

“While we have a lot to be happy about with the number of quality athletes who will be here in the fall, we are by no means done. Our greatest area of need remains female athletes, but we’re still looking to add depth in every event group regardless of gender,” Koenigs said.

Read more about our new athletes:

Colton AustriaColton Austria: Out of Hawaii’s Waiakea High School located on the big island in Hilo, Colton has enjoyed a very successful prep career. At the 2013 Big Island Championships as a senior he placed 2nd in both the 100m and 200m events in PR times of 11.04 and 22.49. At the HHSAAA State Championships, Colton placed 9th in the 100m and 15th in the 200m events. Coach Koenigs had this to say about Colton, “we are excited to have someone heading in who can contribute in a major way both on relays and in individual events. Colton is the kind of athlete we need as we build our sprints program and more importantly he is a great fit as a person for Trinity.” While he is an avid fisherman, with his raw speed he will be looked upon instead to reel in his competition for the next four years as an anchor leg for the Eagle’s 4x100m relay teams. 

Tavaita BulaiTavaita Ruth Bulai: Originally from Fiji, Bulai graduated from St. Joseph’s Secondary Academy where she participated on the volleyball and rugby teams. Bulai did not begin throwing until she enrolled at San Jose City College and quickly took to the sport. In her first year throwing the hammer she posted a #3 all-time mark in the event for SJCC with an impressive 40.72m (130’ 7”) throw. Bulai also threw the shot, disc and javelin for the Jaguars. “Coach Parker looks not just for PR marks, but for raw athleticism and with a background in rugby and volleyball, Tavaita certainly has what we’re looking for. Her 40.72m mark is already very good, so she is by no means a project and happens to be one of the better throwers to ever come out of Fiji,” Koenigs said. Bulai has already thrown further than the Fijian national record (39.74m) in the hammer. Next year, Koenigs plans to make certain the proper paperwork is filed so that she will get credit when she betters that mark again in the spring. (Photo by Fiji Sun/NCSA)

Camilla FloresCamilla Flores: From Lompoc California’s Cabrillo High School, Flores is a middle distance runner on the track who will also contribute to the Eagles Cross Country program. Posting a PR time during her senior year on the track of 2:41 in the 800m and a time of 21:53 in the 3 mile during the XC season, Flores comes to Trinity to study Communications. Coach Koenigs was very happy with the addition of Flores. “This is a huge day for our program not just because we’ve added a wonderful young lady who is going to work hard in the classroom and as a runner, but also because we can now say that we have five women on the Cross Country team for the fall when we effectively had none when we took over the program last August. We’re just thrilled to have a scoring women’s team and even more excited to have Camilla joining us next year,” Koenigs said.

Hunter HammerHunter Hammer: At 6’7” Hunter Hammer will be easy to spot on campus in the fall. He comes to Trinity after two years at Everett Community College where he threw for Coach Parker after matriculating to EvCC from Coupeville High School. While at Coupeville, Hammer posted personal records in the shot of 51’3.75” and Disc of 150’ 2.00” placing 6th and 8th respectively at the 1A State Track and Field Championships in 2011. Moving up to the College weighted implements (16lb shot and 2kg disc) and competing for the Trojans at EvCC in 2012, Hammer placed 6th at the NWAACC Championship in the Disc earning All-NWAACC honors. At that meet he was also 10th in the hammer and 11th in the shot. He posted PR marks as a freshman at EvCC of 12.98m (42’ 7”) in the shot and 43.29m (142’ 0”) in the disc. Bearing the last name Hammer, Hunter would really like to continue to cultivate his hammer throwing ability where in his redshirt season this spring at EvCC he posted an impressive 41.78m (137’ 0.88”) mark. On choosing Trinity, Hammer explained, “I won’t throw for anyone other than Mary. She’s the best.” 

Amie TorkelsonAmie Torkelson (Zachman): Torkelson comes to Trinity to study Early Childhood Education after graduating from Cheney High School where she was her class valedictorian and a leader for the Blackhawks on both the Cross-Country and Track teams. On the track, Torkelson placed 12th at the 2011 WIAA 2A State Championship as a junior in the 3200m where she posted a PR time of 11:43.01. Her 19th place finish and 19:23 performance during her senior year of Cross-Country at the 2011 WIAA 2A State Cross-Country meet helped lead her team to a State Title – a narrow victory over 2A powerhouse Sehome High School. “We are so happy to have Amie joining our distance running family. She is just a wonderful person, a great teammate and the kind of student-athlete that we can’t have too many of – certainly our team GPA will be improved with her here,” Koenigs said.