Spring sports rewind: top moments and performers
Spring sports highlights
TOP MOMENT: Hinckfoot breaks own school record twice at nationals, notches three All-America performances
No Bulldog shined brighter on the big stage than junior Benjamin Hinckfoot, who ended up as an All-American in three different events at the 2013 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Hinckfoot was most impressive in the 400 meter hurdles in which he posted times of 53.54 in the preliminaries and 52.99 in the finals – both breaking the school record he had already held. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native also placed in the top eight in the 110 meter hurdles and as part of the 4x400 meter relay to give him a trifecta of All-America honors. Hinckfoot, also a standout in the classroom as evidenced by his being named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, came into his own as a junior. He ranked as the top 110 meter hurdler in the GPAC this season and second in the 400 meter hurdles to only Morningside’s Monte Larson among conference athletes.
Rodehorst breaks school record for lowest average round
Shawn Rodehorst enjoyed perhaps the best spring of any Bulldog athlete as he broke numerous school records – most impressively the mark for lowest season average. The sophomore from Kearney, Neb., posted an average of 75.2 through 13 rounds in 2012-13. He set the new school standard thanks mostly to a spring that saw him shoot an average of 71.8 in five rounds and move from 40th in the GPAC standings to eighth. Rodehorst also reached unchartered territory by becoming the first Bulldog to win the Blue River Invite (April 12-13) with his school record two-day total of 71-73–144.
Rodehorst: “To be able to do it over the course of a season feels pretty good. We had one or two meets canceled throughout the year. It’s nice to see that I can play solid consistently. I had one round that I feel like I kind of let get away in the fall. Besides that I feel like I really grinded it out throughout all the rounds and got the best score I could out of it, so it’s nice to see a result through that.”
Frank Greene eclipses 300 career victories
Frank Greene helped make Bulldog softball a well-respected program over his 11 seasons as head coach. Already the program’s winningest coach, Greene reached 300 career victories with Concordia’s doubleheader sweep over Mount Marty on April 20. Greene ends his run as head coach with a career mark of 303-189 (.616). He led the Bulldogs to conference regular-season titles in 2005 and 2008 and to a GPAC tournament title in 2007. He received NAIA Region IV Coach of the Year and GPAC Co-Coach of the Year honors in 2005.
Greene: “I appreciate all that Concordia has done for me and all that the kids have done for me. Someday it’s got to end and I think now is a good time for me. I will move on, but my heart will still be here.”
Crouse, Kortze and Pomerenke shatter school records
Decorated Bulldog track and field performers Jamie Crouse and Sarah Kortze continued to raise the bar higher and higher throughout the outdoor season. Kortze, the 2012 GPAC Cross Country Runner of the Year, already held the school 10,000 meter record entering this season. She then smashed the record twice with her best time of 36:33.47 at the Drake Relays. Crouse enjoyed a similar run in the hammer throw. She broke former Bulldog Sara Retzlaff’s previous record of toss of 179’ 3” by recording a mark of 183’ on April 6. A week later Crouse landed a hammer throw of 190’ 5” to shatter her own record. Not to be outdone, junior Lydia Pomerenke twice broke Katie Rich’s former school record for points in the heptathlon. Pomerenke set the current Bulldog mark of 4,485 points at the national championships. Crouse, Kortze and Pomerenke each put forth All-America efforts at the outdoor national championships.
Women’s tennis runs GPAC record to 41-14 over last seven years
Bulldog women’s tennis upheld its status in 2013 as a dominant program within the GPAC. Concordia finished third in the conference race with a GPAC record of 5-2. Over the last seven seasons, Bulldog women’s tennis is 41-14 (.745). Concordia has finished above .500 in each of those seasons except for one, while placing in the top three of the GPAC in six of seven years. Amy Harms, who served as head coach for five-plus years, led the Bulldog women to an overall record of 53-33 during her tenure at the helm of the program. She was named GPAC Coach of the Year in 2008. New head coach Sam Nelson, who took over mid-season on March 4, looks to continue the tradition. He will have top player Katelyn Koll and several others back in 2014.
2013 record: 13-26, 6-14 GPAC (10th)
Top performer: Center fielder Camaren Gause emerged as Concordia’s most consistent performer in 2013. The junior native of Tucson, Ariz., who transferred in this past fall by way of Eastern Arizona Community College, batted .288 with a team-leading .372 on-base percentage while starting all 39 games in centerfield. He provided steady defensive play and speed on the bases (nine steals). Gause was especially hot early in the season. He carried a batting average of .375 after the month of March.
Season highlights: Consistently inclement weather played a role in Concordia’s lack of consistency on the diamond. The Bulldogs failed to win more than two games in a row at any point in the season and struggled down the stretch in conference play. However, head coach Jeremy Geidel’s squad showed an ability to play tight with the top teams in the conference. Concordia went 6-8 in one-run games, meaning 35.9 percent of the team’s games were decided by just a single run. The most impressive win, at least on paper, came on March 27 when four Bulldog pitchers combined to shut out then No. 23 Sterling (Kan.), an eventual NAIA World Series qualifier, by the score of 4-0 in game one of a road doubleheader.
GPAC all-conference: Tyler Harris (second team); Ray Finley (honorable mention); Camaren Gause (honorable mention); Kyle Ivanoff (honorable mention); Luke Parish-Ward (honorable mention); Nick Thill (honorable mention); Andrew Yerrell (honorable mention)
Thoughts from Coach Jeremy Geidel: It was a season of adversity and challenges. The weather was the most obvious challenge as we were constantly adjusting schedules and practices. Despite this, the guys handled things in stride and continued to battle and compete. We had a lot of new faces this year and the experience they got this year is very valuable for 2014. Recruiting has gone very well and I’m very excited about the new Bulldogs that will join us next fall.
2012-13 men’s GPAC finish: 10th (338-335-325-319–1,317)
2012-13 women’s GPAC finish: 11th (415-392-398-401–1,606)
Top performers: Sophomore Shawn Rodehorst emerged as the clear-cut top performer for Concordia golf. The Kearney, Neb., native set a school record for lowest season average (75.2), won the Blue River Invite and earned all-conference honors by finishing eighth in the GPAC. Rodehorst shined especially bright in the spring with his average of 71.8 through five rounds. On the women’s side, senior Mackenzie Deutschman led the way in the fall with her 88.43 average in seven rounds. Deutschman then missed the spring season to student teach, leaving fellow senior Chelsea Peck as the Bulldogs’ No. 1. Peck posted a season average of 94.7 in 12 rounds and had the team’s top individual finish through four GPAC qualifiers. However, she carded a season high 104 at the last GPAC qualifier and placed well outside all-conference territory.
Season highlights: Rodehorst produced most of the season highlights with his individual efforts and numerous school records. From a team perspective, the Bulldogs did show improvement from the fall to the spring seasons, particularly the men, who lowered their scores throughout GPAC qualifier action. Their team total of 319 at GPAC Qualifier No. 4 marked a season low in conference action. That number came in just above the 317 the Bulldog men carded on day two at the Blue River Invite. Individually, junior Sam DeFreece (32nd place in GPAC) and Sam Simonson (34th place) came on strong down the stretch to provide promise for next season. The positive on the women’s side is that three of the five varsity golfers this spring will return in the fall with significantly more experience. Sophomores Jenelle Hallaert and Melissa McIntosh played much better in the spring than they had in the fall.
GPAC all-conference: Shawn Rodehorst (finished eighth in the GPAC)
Thoughts from Coach Brett Muller: The women's season was disappointing. With all five varsity players back from a year ago, we anticipated a higher finish. The men's team improved the second semester and is looking for bigger things to come in 2013-14. Shawn Rodehorst was outstanding the second half of the year, finishing eighth in the GPAC and picking up two tournament wins.
2013 record: 14-25, 8-12 GPAC (T-7th)
Top performer: The title of top performer is a close call between each of Concordia’s All-GPAC honorees: junior Amanda Beeson, senior Nicole Mapes and junior Amber Topil. Beeson established herself as one of the league’s top pitchers, ranking second in strikeouts (141) while posting a record of 8-12 and an ERA of 3.69. Mapes, who played both left field and shortstop in 2013, batted .305 and topped the team in hits (36), runs (21), doubles (7) and total bases (48). Topil served as one of the GPAC’s top catchers. She batted a career high .290 with five doubles and 14 RBIs while playing error-free in 38 games behind the plate.
Season highlights: Head coach Frank Greene’s 11-year run at the helm of Bulldog softball came to an end, but not before he picked up career victory No. 300 with a doubleheader sweep of Mount Marty on April 20. While there were bright spots along the way, Concordia fell short of a berth in the GPAC tournament and struggled to string several quality games together. The team’s best stretch came from March 20 to April 2 when it won six of seven while dominating several non-conference opponents. The Bulldogs also showed promise by capturing a road win apiece over the league’s top-two finishers. The team’s three all-league recipients formed the backbone of the club. Two of the three return next season.
GPAC all-conference: Nicole Mapes (second team); Amber Topil (second team); Amanda Beeson (honorable mention)
Thoughts from Coach Frank Greene: We had many opportunities to qualify for the conference tournament and were unable to get key runs in key situations. Our lack of team speed was definitely a factor. I feel next year’s team has a good nucleus of talent returning, if they can stay healthy. The speed that will come with the new recruits should be extremely valuable to the Bulldogs’ success next season. Many of the new players should add depth and challenge for playing time. The new coach’s ability to organize and build team chemistry will be important to the future success of the program.
2013 men’s record: 5-11, 1-4 GPAC (5th)
2013 women’s record: 12-7, 5-2 GPAC (3rd)
Top performers: No. 1 singles and doubles player Katelyn Koll came through with another fine season as she went 5-2 in GPAC singles matches during the regular season. Koll then powered the Bulldogs to the GPAC semifinals, avenging one of her regular-season losses in postseason play by defeating the GPAC Playher of the Year. The junior from Wilber, Neb., went 10-6 overall in singles and teamed with senior Lindsea Vaudt on an 11-8 doubles mark. Koll is now 20-12 over the last two seasons at the top singles spot. On the men’s side, sophomore Jonathon Douglas turned in the best season record-wise. The native of Fenton, Mo., went 8-8 while playing at Nos. 4 and 5 singles in his first season as a Bulldog. He also paired with junior Joe Vanderveld on a 10-6 mark at No. 3 doubles.
Season highlights: Sam Nelson smoothly transitioned into the role of head coach on March 4, taking over for Amy Harms (Concordia’s director of strength and conditioning). The Bulldog women kept on rolling upon Nelson’s arrival and advanced to the semifinals of the GPAC tournament. Concordia won three matches in a row against GPAC opponents until falling to Morningside in the semifinals. The Bulldog women’s program has compiled an impressive GPAC record of 41-14 over the last seven seasons. On the other hand, the men struggled down the stretch after defeating Concordia-Seminary 7-1 as part of the St. Louis trip. The Bulldogs got their only GPAC victory on April 4 by defeating Midland 6-3. In addition, the No. 1 doubles team of Nathan Wingfield and Cole Egger competed favorably all season and finished with a record of 7-9. Concordia will welcome in key recruits for next season that Nelson and assistant James Ingrahm believe will make immediate impacts.
-WOMEN – Mikaela Barz (honorable mention singles / doubles); Chelsea Haack (No. 2 singles / honorable mention doubles); Grace Hollenbeck (honorable mention singles / doubles); Katelyn Koll (No. 1 singles / No. 1 doubles); Liz Kjellsen (honorable mention doubles); Lindsea Vaudt (No. 3 singles / No. 1 doubles)
-MEN – Jonathan Douglas (honorable mention doubles); Cole Egger (honorable mention singles); Joe Vanderveld (honorable mention doubles)
Thoughts from Coach Sam Nelson: We had a respectable season that we can build from in regards to both men and women's teams. The preseason development of current players and players joining us next year – aided by Coach (James) Ingraham and I – will be essential to success in the upcoming year. The men's team will be losing two players from this team and will be adding five, possibly six, new players and we anticipate three of them playing in the top or middle of our lineup. The women's team will return the top two players, but will be losing two players due to graduation as well. We currently have two recruits set to join us in the fall. It has been a privilege working with each and every one of our seniors.
Outdoor Track and Field
2013 men’s finishes: 2nd in GPAC, T-42nd at nationals
2013 women’s finishes: 2nd in GPAC, 20th at nationals
Top performers: Four Bulldogs won individual GPAC titles, 45 athletes earned all-conference recognition in one or more events and nine achieved All-America status as part of a successful outdoor track and field season. Junior Benjamin Hinckfoot (top moment above) headlined the outdoor season by garnering All-America and All-GPAC honors in three events each. He won the conference title in the 110 meter hurdles and broke the school record time in the 400 meter hurdles on three separate occasions. On the women’s side, junior Jamie Crouse reeled in her fourth career All-America performance and senior Sarah Kortze, the school record holder in the 10,000 meter run, came through with an additional All-America effort.
Season highlights: After the men placed third and the women fourth at the GPAC indoor championships, both squads moved up to second at the outdoor meet. Both Bulldog teams proved to have considerable depth, making for strong squads in perhaps the NAIA’s top track and field conference. The season ended on a particularly high note with an All-America finish by the men's 4x400 meter relay, which recorded the two fastest times in school history at the national championships. In addition to the consistently superb meets from Crouse, Hinckfoot and Kortze, Concordia saw the emergence of several underclassmen. Freshman javelin thrower Elizabeth King got on a roll and won four of five competitions at one point and then capped an outstanding rookie campaign with an All-America finish at nationals. Freshman thrower Cody Boellstorff burst onto the scene as one of the NAIA’s top throwers on the men’s side. He ended up an All-American in the hammer throw. First-year collegiate athlete Cynthia Mick captured a GPAC title in the pole vault. The promise shown by several young Bulldogs bodes well for the future of Concordia track and field.
NAIA All-Americans: Cody Boellstorff (hammer throw); John Cartier (4x400 meter relay); Alex Heiden (4x400 meter relay); Benjamin Hinckfoot (110 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles, 4x400 meter relay); Elizabeth King (javelin); Sarah Kortze (10,000 meter run); Lydia Pomerenke (heptathlon); Jaap van Gaalen (4x400 meter relay).
Thoughts from Coach Kregg Einspahr: Obviously we would like to finish higher in the team standings. In general we’re a fairly young team. The future certainly looks bright, and our competitive effort at the national championships was very good. We finished better than we projected out on paper. My expectation year-to-year is top 15 finishes. It’s not unusual for us to have teams in the top 10. We’ll keep working at it and get those team scores up. We had a real good conference team but we just did not have the real big horses at the top. We had lots of people seeded between eight and 18 in their events so they had to work hard to get into that top eight to score a point. It was a good meet overall.
--On conference finish: We always want to be in the hunt for the conference championship and top two in this conference is an outstanding finish.
28 May 2013
TOP MOMENT: Ben Hinckfoot earns All-America honors in three events, breaks school 400 meter hurdle mark.
Shawn Rodehorst emerged as one of the top golfers in the GPAC this spring.
Frank Greene, who completed his career as Bulldog head softball coach in 2013, won his 300th career game on April 20.
Junior Lydia Pomerenke rewrote Concordia record books with her performance in the heptathlon this season.
Freshman Chelsea Haack served as an important piece for another solid Bulldog women's tennis team in 2013.
Junior Camaren Gause transferred to Concordia for the start of the 2012-13 school year and established as the top all-around performer for Bulldog baseball this past season.