2018 Meet Results

INDOOR

Finishes: Men 5th in GPAC, 42nd in NAIA | Women 4th in GPAC, 9th in NAIA

Doane Nisely Invite (Jan. 13) | Results

Polar Dog Invite (Jan. 19) | Results

Concordia Indoor Classic (Jan. 26-27) | Results

Sevigne Husker Invite (Feb. 2) | Results

Doane Fred Beile Invite (Feb. 3) | Results

Concordia Indoor Invite (Feb. 10) | Results

GPAC Indoor Championships (Feb. 16-17) | Crete, Neb. | Results

NAIA Indoor National Championships (March 1-3) | Results

OUTDOOR

Finishes: Men 6th in GPAC, 69th in NAIA | Women 3rd in GPAC, 12th in NAIA

Wayne State Wildcat Classic (March 22) | Results

Fort Hays State Alex Francis Classic (March 30) | Results

Concordia Outdoor Invite (April 5) | Results

Grand View University Quad (April 12) | Results

Kansas Relays (April 20) | Results

Doane Jim Dutcher Memorial (April 22-23) | Results

Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (April 26) | Results

Drake Relays (April 27) | Results

Concordia Blizzard Buster (April 28) | Results

GPAC Outdoor Championships (May 4-5) | Sioux City, Iowa | Results

Concordia Twilight Meet (May 11) | Results

NAIA Outdoor National Championships (May 24-26) | Results

Liermann enters 2018 as program's headlining thrower

Last season’s senior class included some of the top athletes in the history of the Concordia track and field programs. Gone are multiple national championship winners Cody Boellstorff, Zach Lurz and Lucas Wiechman and 10-time All-American Kali Robb. That doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare. Junior Samantha Liermann is ready to take the lead for this year’s group of throwers.

Though mostly calm and mild mannered, Liermann’s competitive fire ranks right up there with the many all-time greats that nationally acclaimed throws coach Ed McLaughlin has tutored over two decades with the Bulldogs.

“The big thing you can see is the competitiveness,” McLaughlin said. “She hates getting second. She despises getting second. She knows how to turn it on. (Former national champion) Liz (King) was the same way. Liz could mentally prepare herself by practicing at 60 to 70 percent and then when it mattered, could turn it on. Sam has the exact same ability. When it comes down to it, she’s going to find a way. She’s always going to find a way. She did it in high school. She’s done it in every meet in college that matters.”

One of many recent Bulldogs to hail from the tiny town of Wisner, Neb., Liermann already owns four All-America awards, an individual national title and was a member of the 2016 squad that became Concordia’s first female edition in any sport to capture a team national championship. In all likelihood, Liermann will enter both the 2018 indoor and outdoor national championship meets as one of the favorites in the shot put.

Given her accomplishments, it’s hard to imagine that Liermann ever had to take a backseat to anyone, but it can be hard to stand out amongst a group of many national champions. She can hide no longer after two years of Bulldog brilliance. Says Liermann, “I really didn’t expect all that to happen right away. It’s really exciting. I’m glad I’m here for the ride.”

The ride Liermann speaks of has sometimes hit bumps in the road and took a meandering road before stopping at 800 North Columbia Avenue. An all-class champion in the shot put, Liermann had a chance to realize a dream by being the small town girl that hit it big in a much larger pond. The product of Wisner-Pilger High School accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Nebraska where she hoped to one day bask in Big Ten glory.

“I think I chose Nebraska because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do,” Liermann said. “It’s not every day that someone from a small town gets that type of opportunity. When I was there it just didn’t feel like home and I wasn’t happy. I thought maybe Concordia was the place for me all along.”

McLaughlin recalls seeing Liermann at a meet not long after she informed him of her college decision. Liermann essentially hoped that McLaughlin wouldn’t even notice her. She felt bad that she had to tell him she wouldn’t be coming to Concordia. McLaughlin greeted her warmly all the same.

Things like that left an impression upon Liermann. It turned out, what’s best for her wasn’t necessarily the big school atmosphere. McLaughlin had no trouble welcoming her as a transfer. No bitterness existed on either side. McLaughlin completely understood her initial decision.

“Her high school coach had heard things from her parents that things weren’t going well,” McLaughlin said. “Eventually her parents contacted me. That’s when we reached out to Nebraska to ask for a release. It didn’t take long. A couple weeks later she decided it was time to switch it. She just felt like it wasn’t the right place for her. I was ecstatic.”

The euphoria continued in Liermann’s first season in navy and white. She earned All-America status in her first career national championship meet. She repeated that feat at the 2016 outdoor national meet, where the Bulldogs raised the national championship banner and trophy.

Her first real adversity at Concordia came that offseason when Liermann found out she needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in her throwing shoulder. Even those unfortunate circumstances failed to derail the 2017 season for Liermann. Another indoor All-America award led into her breakthrough outdoor season that included a GPAC title and the aforementioned national title.

A dream career continues. Said Liermann of winning the shot put national championship, “Later that night it kind of occurred to me how big it was. I was upset right away because I wanted to throw a little bit farther, but once I took it all in it hit me later that night. It was just a really good feeling.”

The scary thing for the Bulldog opposition: Liermann has two full seasons of eligibility remaining in both indoor and outdoor track – and she intends to use them despite her senior academic status. Her experiences with the highs and lows of being a collegiate athlete will be invaluable for a program undertaking a youth movement.

While continuing to hone and master the technical aspects of the shot put as well as additional throwing events, Liermann wants to help grow a large freshman class. Meanwhile, she carries on the program’s tradition of featuring bona fide national throwing stars. Led by Liermann, McLaughlin’s group in the women’s shot put figures to be dominant once again.

“The whole team wants to get better every day and push each other,” Liermann said. “We not only want ourselves to get better, but we have a common goal for everyone to be successful. It’s a little bit of pressure, but I enjoy it. I like watching other people get better. I really like that dynamic.”

If Liermann has ever felt any pressure, it sure hasn’t shown in the results. Cool in the most nerve-racking of moments, it’s easy to envision her accomplishing more big things as the program’s most decorated returning thrower.

Says McLaughlin, “She has that competitive edge where she’ll find a way to step up when it’s time. She will give her best at the big moments.”

SEASON PREVIEW: 2018 Indoor Track & Field

MEN
Head coach: Matt Beisel (2nd year)
2017 indoor finishes: 2nd (GPAC); 2nd (NAIA)
2017 outdoor finishes: 2nd (GPAC); 5th (NAIA)
2017 All-Americans returning: Nathan Matters (4x400m relay); Jake Rodgers (4x400m relay).
2017 All-Americans lost: Cody Boellstorff (*weight throw, *hammer, discus); Philip Kreutzer (hammer); Zach Lurz (*shot put-2, weight throw, hammer, discus); CJ Muller (600 meters, 4x400m relay); Lucas Wiechman (*heptathlon, *pole vault, 60 meter hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4x400m relay).
*National champion 

WOMEN
Head coach: Matt Beisel (2nd year)
2017 indoor finishes: 4th (GPAC); 7th (NAIA)
2017 outdoor finishes: 3rd (GPAC); 6th (NAIA)
2017 All-Americans returning: Allie Brooks (pole vault); McKenzie Gravo (pole vault); Samantha Liermann (*shot put-2); Adrianna Shaw (shot put); Bethany Shaw (discus).
2017 All-Americans lost: Sydney Meyer (weight throw, hammer); Kali Robb (weight throw, shot put, hammer); Tricia Svoboda (javelin, discus).

Outlook
Perhaps the most accomplished senior class in the history of Concordia track and field has moved on. Meanwhile, the work of second-year head coach Matt Beisel and his staff on the recruiting trail led to a school record incoming recruiting class that numbers 74 athletes strong. With so many new faces, Beisel and company had no time to waste during a fall season that saw the distance groups make strides on the cross country paths.

The newcomers will be given every opportunity to make an immediate impact. They will be counted upon to help lessen the sting that comes from the losses of multiple national championship winners in throwers Cody Boellstorff and Zach Lurz and all-around phenomenal athlete Lucas Wiechman. On the women’s side, 10-time All-American thrower Kali Robb has graduated.

Beisel doesn’t want those departures to be used as excuses. Others will be expected to pick up the slack. Says Beisel, “You can hash and dash all the results and all the points we lost from our seniors, but we have a tradition of doing everything possible to position us to be a conference champion and to go onto nationals and place highly there. I don’t think we talk with them about anything different. We’re in it to win it.”

The women bring back the most firepower with returning All-Americans in the pole vault (Allie Brooks and McKenzie Gravo) and in the throws (Samantha Liermann, Adrianna Shaw and Bethany Shaw). On the men’s side, the only returners to taste All-American glory in 2017 were Nathan Matters and Jake Rodgers, both members of the 4x400 meter relay that placed sixth at last season’s indoor national championships.

Assistant coach Ed McLaughlin has been careful to remind himself to exercise patience with his group of throwers. He admits he’s been “spoiled” in recent years by the run of conference and national champions. No need to take pity. The Bulldogs appear to be loaded in the women’s shot put where Liermann is the defending outdoor national champion. One of her biggest competitors for another shot put national title could be sophomore teammate Adrianna Shaw, a national runner up in the 2017 indoor shot put. Junior Johanna Ragland is also a returning national qualifier in the event.

Other returning throwers with experience at the national championships include senior Jan Steinbrueck and juniors Jazzy Eickhoff, Jacy Embray and Carley Skopera on the women’s side and the lone men’s national qualifying holdover in the throws, sophomore JC Cornelio. A native of Elk Grove, Calif., Cornelio excites McLaughlin with his tantalizing potential. He qualified for outdoor nationals in the hammer and discus.

Said McLaughlin, “He actually threw farther with a college hammer than a high school hammer. The big thing with him is trying to get hammer consistency and to keep getting stronger, which he did. He worked hard this summer. He worked hard this fall. He’s definitely taken a massive leadership role on the team. He’s done some amazing things for us. He had a great intrasquad meet.”

McLaughlin also likes what he sees from several freshmen such as Zach Christensen (Hastings, Neb.), Jake Dack (Parker, Colo.), Morgan De Jong (Orange City, Iowa), Jodi Fry (Ewing, Neb.), Joe Gomez (Laredo, Texas), Madison Holt (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Sarah Ragland (Rocky River, Ohio), among others. The talent exists. Now it’s about development and refining of technique.

Said Liermann of the female throwers, “I think we should be pretty good this year. It’s kind of been a slow start in the beginning. I think half this year’s squad is freshmen so it took some adjusting. At the intrasquad meet we had some pretty good marks from people. I’m excited to see how some of the underclassmen step up.”

Like the women’s shot put, the pole vault figures to be an area of strength. Though All-American Allie Brooks is redshirting in order preserve eligibility for a fifth year, Concordia will feature another All-American in McKenzie Gravo, a two-time GPAC titlist, as well as national qualifiers in sophomore Tristen Mosier and junior Tyrell Reichert. Pole vault coach Jason Berry and the staff also like the progress of the incoming class that includes hometown Seward natives in the form of Jason’s son Dalton and Anna Baack, the daughter of Concordia head athletic trainer Randy Baack.

One of the best pure athletes on the men’s side is Ben Hulett, a national qualifier last season in the 110 meter hurdles and the 60 meter hurdles. With Wiechman gone, Hulett will have his opportunity to be the star. The top returning hurdler on the women’s side is junior Jamie Nikodym. Concordia has earned a reputation for producing excellent hurdlers under the guidance of assistant coach Mark Samuels. Hulett expects that tradition to continue.

“We have a good freshman class in the hurdles,” Hulett said. “Cody (Williams) and a few other guys are putting up pretty good times for where they started off at. A lot of them didn’t have a lot of experience in the hurdles, but Coach Samuels is bringing them along pretty well. I feel like we’ll stack up a lot of points. On my end, I expect to do well. I expect to lead the GPAC and go compete at nationals, just like Concordia hurdlers do every year.”

Beisel also believes the addition of another full-time staff member, Wayne Earney (previously an assistant at the University of Sioux Falls), will provide a boost. Earney works specifically with horizontal jumpers and also coordinates speed development for athletes in other event areas such as the high jumps and pole vault. Earney should help improve the performances of athletes like senior Scott Johnson, a 2017 indoor national qualifier in the long jump. Earney’s work will extend to multi-event performers. One multi-eventer already drawing rave reviews is Williams, a freshman from Imperial, Neb., who could make a push for nationals as a rookie.

Undeniably, there are plenty of unknowns for a program with so many freshmen. However, the Blue-White intrasquad back on Dec. 2 enhanced the confidence of Beisel’s young teams. He gushes about what those youthful Bulldogs bring to the table. That group includes Seward High School product Mika Brees, a two-time state gold medalist, among other Bluejay alums.

“We had an amazing recruiting year last year,” Beisel said. “These are awesome young men and women. These are kids that are going to be impact players. These are kids who were state champions and state runner-ups who come in as leaders who care about other people. They fit right in with our upperclassmen. We’ve already seen some amazing things happen. We brought in some good throwers to begin to replace the ones that we lost. We also brought in good pole vaulters, good sprinters, good middle distance runners, good distance runners and good hurdlers.”

On the track, Beisel continues to work on progressing a distance group that seeks a return to glory. The school’s top cross country runners this season were Emily Deschaine for the women and Thomas Taylor for the men. Additionally, the program has a strong tradition in the relays. The 2017 All-America men’s 4x4 must replace CJ Muller and Wiechman.

From a conference perspective, there’s hope that Concordia will begin to have more balanced scoring across event groupings while still featuring top-of-the-line athletes on a national scale. At the 2017 GPAC indoor championships, the Bulldogs finished second on the men’s side and fourth on the women’s side. Though some big names are gone, Beisel and company have their sights set on getting back to the top of the conference.

Said Beisel, “Our expectation is we win conference – or die trying. The most important thing in our program is that our focus is on Christ and that we work on the relationships within our team. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win every year, but we’re not going to be satisfied unless we do. There has been a lot of sacrifice made in the last three months of cross country and fall track to position ourselves to do that. We have such great competitors in the GPAC. The stakes are always high and we always push hard.”

The indoor season is set to officially get started the weekend of Jan. 12-13 with the University of Nebraska Holiday Inn Invite (Jan. 12-13) and the Nisely Invite (Jan. 13) hosted by Doane. The conference indoor championships will be staged by Doane on Feb. 16-17. The NAIA indoor national championships shift this season to Pittsburg, Kan. (March 1-3).

Liermann shines as track teams make 2018 debut

CRETE, Neb. – As evidenced by Saturday’s action in Crete, Neb., junior Samantha Liermann is ready to take on the role of the program’s most high profile thrower. The returning shot put national champion led the way as the Concordia University track and field squads made their 2018 indoor season debuts inside the Fuhrer Fieldhouse as part of Doane’s Scott Nisely Memorial Classic.

This marks the second year that the Bulldog programs have been headed by Matt Beisel. His first season at the helm saw Concordia turn in four top 10 national finishes, including an indoor runner-up claim by the men. Though the 2017 teams were highlighted by an accomplished senior class, this season’s first meet provided plenty of positive indicators.

“We are pretty satisfied with what happened. It was kind of what we expected,” Beisel said. “You have that many freshmen and you’re standing there and everyone’s watching. They get a little jittery. Afterwards some of the athletes were like, ‘I can do better than that.’ That’s just an experience thing, but overall they had some great performances. We had three NAIA ‘A’ standard qualifiers.”

It certainly appears that Liermann is in for another big year. She took home the shot put title at the Nisely Classic with a mark of 46’ 3 ¼.” Based on the national leaderboard entering the weekend, Liermann would rank No. 1 amongst NAIA competitors. She then proved she’s more than just a shot put specialist by turning in an automatic national qualifying weight throw toss of 54’ 4 ½,” good for third place on the day.

The women’s shot put should be an area of strength all year for the Bulldogs. Adrianna Shaw, a 2017 indoor national runner up, placed right behind Liermann on Saturday with her national qualifying mark of 45’ 9 ¼.” Johanna Ragland (42’ 8 ¾”; 8th) and Jazzy Eickhoff (39’ 2 ½”; 13th) also represented Concordia in the event. Shaw also checked in with a ‘B’ standard qualifying measurement in the weight throw.

Liermann was one of three Bulldogs to pick up event titles at the Nisely Classic. The other winners were Tyrell Reichert in the pole vault (14’ 7 ¼”) and Josiah McAllister in the 1,000 meter run (2:34.90). Runner-up finishes came from Simon Brummond in the pole vault (14’ 7 ¼”), Jessica Deterding in the triple jump (35’ 11 ½”), McKenzie Gravo in the pole vault (11’ 4 ½”), Shaw in the shot put, Cody Williams in the high jump and the men’s 4x800 meter relay team (8:12.44) of McAllister, Thomas Taylor, Christian Van Cleave and Patrick Wortmann (placed fourth in the 1,000 meter run).

One newcomer with loads of potential is freshman Cody Williams (Imperial, Neb.). Williams recorded marks of 6’ 6” in the high jump (‘B’ standard) and 20’ 6 ¼” in the long jump (11th place). He also ran a leg for Concordia’s 4x400 meter relay and competed in the 60 meter hurdles. In the jumps, Williams has senior Scott Johnson to look up to. Johnson began his season by placing third in the triple jump (45’ 10 ½”) and fifth in the long jump (22’ 1”).

The program’s vaunted throws group will have a different look to it after graduating the likes of national champions Cody Boellstorff and Zach Lurz and another big point scorer in Kali Robb. While Liermann set the standard for the women on Saturday, the men were topped by sophomore JC Cornelio in the weight throw (50’ ¾”; 8th) and by freshman Jake Dack in the shot put (47’ 7 ¾”; 6th).

Seward High School alum Mika Brees put her sole focus on the 200 meter dash on Saturday. Her time of 26.68 placed her fourth in a field of 37 and represented a career best. Brees was a two-time state gold medalist during her career as a Bluejay. She was one of several Seward High products to compete at the college level for the first time.

“We would expect things to really start clicking by our Concordia Indoor Invite, which is two weekends away,” Beisel said of the team as a whole. “That gives them a week or two to get their legs back under them coming off of Christmas. We’re working them really hard right now. If they felt great today, then they didn’t work out hard enough this week. We really needed to get some work done coming off the break. We knew there was going be some fatigue and soreness. The kids still competed very well.”

The Bulldogs will now get ready to play the role of host for the first time in 2018. The Polar Dog Invite will get started at 4 p.m. CT inside the Fieldhouse this coming Friday (Jan. 19). It will be the first of three Concordia home meets during the indoor season.

Home opening Polar Dog Meet set to run Friday

Polar Dog Meet Schedule | PDF

SEWARD, Neb. – After opening the season as one of 19 programs at last week’s Scott Nisely Memorial Classic, the Concordia University track and field squads now shift their focus to a smaller scale meet. The home opening Polar Dog Dual hosted by the Bulldogs is set to get underway inside the Fieldhouse at 3:30 p.m. CT on Friday (Jan. 19). The quad event will feature Concordia in competition with fellow NAIA members Friends University, MidAmerica Nazarene University and Sterling College.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads turned in three automatic national qualifying marks and won three event titles at the Nisely Classic. Two of the three national marks were produced by returning outdoor shot put national champion Samantha Liermann. The junior from Wisner, Neb., won the shot put competition with a national best toss of 46’ 3 ¼.” She also qualified for nationals in the weight throw. Liermann is the leader of a talented women’s shot put group that also features national qualifier Adrianna Shaw and Johanna Ragland (ranked 16th nationally in the shot put).

The early returns also show Concordia to be strong in the pole vault. The Bulldogs boast two top-20 nationally ranked vaulters for both men and women. The list includes Anna Baack (17th), Simon Brummond (14th), McKenzie Gravo (seventh) and Tyrell Reichert (14th). There’s a lot to like in this area despite the graduation of national champion Lucas Wiechman and with All-American Allie Brooks planning to redshirt the entire 2018 indoor and outdoor seasons.

Friends will bring in one of the nation’s top female athletes in Chelsea Baker, who already owns automatic national qualifying marks in the 60 meter hurdles, the high jump and the long jump (ranked in the top five nationally in all three) and currently sits atop the NAIA leaderboard in the pentathlon. The Falcons, a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, also boast national qualifying marks in the 200 meters from Natali Engle, in the 400 and 600 meters from Shelby Hundley, in the 600 and 800 meters from Isaac Clark, in the 800 meters from Jacob Clark, in the triple jump from Laruen Doll and in the women’s 4x400 meter relay.

MidAmerica Nazarene, affiliated with the Heart of America Athletic Conference, includes Concordia alums Jonathan Becker and Kim Wood (graduate assistant) on its coaching staff. The Pioneers own a national qualifying time in the men’s 4x400 meter relay. Meanwhile, Sterling’s men’s 4x800 meter relay currently sits third in the NAIA.

The Bulldogs will also host two additional meets this indoor season – the Concordia Classic (Jan. 26-27) and the Concordia Indoor Invite (Feb. 10).

Concordia top 20 national marks
Men’s 4x800 meter relay – 2nd (8:12.44)
Women’s 4x800 meter relay – 4th (10:17.66)
Anna Baack – 17th in pole vault (10’ 4 ¾”)
Simon Brummond – 14th in pole vault (14’ 7 ¼”)
Jessica Deterding – 13th in triple jump (35’ 11 ½”)
McKenzie Gravo – 7th in pole vault (11’ 4 ½”)
Ben Hulett – 15th in 60 meter hurdles (8.44)
Scott Johnson – 12th in triple jump (45’ 10 ½”)
Leah Larson – 18th in triple jump (35’ 6 ¾”)
Samantha Liermann – 1st in shot put (46’ 3 ¼”); 3rd in weight throw (54’ 4 ½”)
Josiah McAllister – 11th in 1,000 meters (2:34.90)
Johanna Ragland – 16th in shot put (42’ 8 ¾”)
Tyrell Reichert – 14th in pole vault (14’ 7 ¼”)
Adrianna Shaw – 3rd in shot put (45’ 9 ¼”); 16th in weight throw (52’ 5 ½”)
Patrick Wortmann – 18th in 1,000 meters (2:37.45)

Bulldogs turn in 11 event titles at first home meet of 2018

SEWARD, Neb. – While enjoying their first opportunity of the new year to compete in front of the home crowd, the Concordia University track and field squads took advantage by claiming 11 victories on Friday night (Jan. 19). A winner in the weight throw, sophomore Jacob Cornelio broke loose with a national qualifying mark as one of the day’s highlight performances. Cornelio and company went up against competitors from three other schools: Friends University, MidAmerica Nazarene University and Sterling College.

This marked the second time out for head coach Matt Beisel’s teams, which also took part in last week’s Scott Nisely Memorial Classic at Doane. Through two weeks of indoor action, the Bulldogs have produced a total of six automatic national qualifying marks. McKenzie Gravo (pole vault) and Johanna Ragland (shot put) joined Cornelio with fresh ‘A’ standard performances.

“Almost everybody had improvements and some of them were pretty amazing improvements,” Beisel said. “Others showed they had made progress mentally and physically in the last week. We ended up knocking off a few more national qualifiers and improved our times for conference seed marks. It was overall a nice day.”

An outdoor national qualifier last season in the hammer throw, Cornelio is just beginning to realize his vast potential. The native of Elk Grove, Calif., Cornelio ensured himself a spot in the 2018 indoor national championships with his toss of 56’ 6 ½” in the weight throw. He won the event by nearly five feet.

“It feels really good,” Cornelio said. “Last year I was three feet off. It feels really good to have made it (to nationals) early on this year. Now I have more to reach for. The next step is 60 (feet). Right after I hit it, I was like, ‘All right, the next one is 60.’”

Through two meets, junior Samantha Liermann has stolen the show. She again eclipsed two national qualifying marks while boosting her already top-ranked NAIA measurement in the shot put. She checked in at 46’ 10 ¼” in her latest effort, barely holding off teammate Adrianna Shaw (46’ 4 ¾”). Bulldogs landed in each of the top five spots in the women’s shot put. Ragland ended up third with her automatic mark of 44’ 3 ½.”

It was simply a matter of time before Gravo qualified for nationals in the pole vault. She finished runner up in the event, vaulting 11’ 6 ½.” Gravo also produced a long jump of 17’ 4 ¾” to beat out a field of 14 in the event. Also in the pole vault, the likes of Simon Brummond (14’ 7 ¼”), Tristen Mosier (10’ 10 ¾”) and Tyrell Reichert (14’ 7 ¼”) were within striking distance of qualifying for nationals.

On the track, Beisel was happy to see the return of junior Taylor Grove, who sat out during cross country season. She won the 5,000 meter race by clocking in at 19:20.89, more than 25 seconds better than the next best competitor. Said Beisel, “That is proof that she is definitely on the comeback. She is getting back and we’re so excited about that.”

Seward High School product Mika Brees ran both the 60 (8.07) and 200 meter dashes (26.75), turning in place finishes of fifth and third, respectively. The early returns show that the freshman has an immediate opportunity to score points in a variety of events at the conference level. She relished the chance to run in a collegiate home meet for the first time, right in her hometown.

“I was super excited. It was such a blessing to run today,” Brees said. “It’s been kind of on and off for a while now. With the atmosphere here being able to run for a new school in my hometown was super awesome.”

All Concordia event champions from Friday are listed at the bottom. That group includes junior Josiah McAllister, who was coming off a first-place claim in the 1,000 meters at last week’s Nisely Classic. The Atkinson, Neb., native paced the field of 11 one-mile runners with his time of 4:28.92. Another top distance runner in the program, senior Emily Deschaine made her 2018 debut and placed seventh in the 5,000 meter race.

Beisel was pleased with the competition his athletes faced at the Polar Dog Invite. Said Beisel, “It was fun. All three of the head coaches have had a good relationship with our coaches over the years. We know them pretty well from the national level. They’re really good people and do a great job with their teams. One of the connections was Jonathon Becker, who’s been coaching at MidAmerica Nazarene. He’s a valued alum – as is Kim Wood (also assists at MidAmerica Nazarene). It was fun to see them. It was a small meet, but it had some high caliber competition.”

The indoor season will continue next week with another home meet for the Bulldogs, who will host the Concordia Classic, Jan. 26-27. Multi events will take place on the opening day of the meet. The Bulldogs are also scheduled to put on the Concordia Indoor Invitational on Feb. 10.

Polar Dog event champions

  • Tori Beran (600 meters)
  • Jacob Cornelio (weight throw)
  • Jacob Dack (shot put)
  • McKenzie Gravo (long jump)
  • Taylor Grove (5,000 meters)
  • Ben Hulett (60 meter hurdles)
  • Samantha Liermann (shot put; weight throw)
  • Josiah McAllister (one mile)
  • Kara Stark (high jump)
  • Thomas Taylor (800 meters)

Meet preview: Concordia Classic

Concordia Classic schedule | PDF

Links: Live meet video | live results | Post-meet video

SEWARD, Neb. – For the second week in a row, head coach Matt Beisel’s squads will remain within the friendly confines of the Walz Fieldhouse. After hosting the Polar Dog Invite on Jan. 19, the Bulldogs are now set to put on the Concordia Classic this Friday and Saturday. This week’s meet will be much larger than the four-team gathering that took place at the Polar Dog Invite. Thirteen teams will be on hand this weekend.

This season’s first set of NAIA national ratings were released today (Jan. 24) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The rankings are based upon national seed listings from results that have occurred so far this indoor season. With the help of five automatic national qualifying marks, the Concordia women checked in at No. 12 in the NAIA national rankings.

Eight different Bulldogs have combined to produce a total of 10 marks that meet either the ‘A’ or ‘B’ national qualifying standard. The likes of Jacob Cornelio (weight throw), McKenzie Gravo (pole vault), Samantha Liermann (shot put and weight throw), Johanna Ragland (shot put) and Adrianna Shaw (shot put) have guaranteed themselves spots in the NAIA indoor national championships. Concordia has been exceptionally strong in the women’s shot put, where Liermann (2nd), Shaw (4th) and Ragland (10th) all rank in the top 10 nationally.

The Concordia Classic will feature seven nationally-ranked teams: Concordia women (12th), Doane men (2nd) and women (4th), Hastings men (4th) and women (3rd), Midland men (23rd) and Nebraska Wesleyan women (24th).

The indoor season continues next week with the Fred Beile Invite hosted by Doane on Saturday, Feb. 3. The Bulldogs will return home to host the Concordia Indoor Invitational on Feb. 10.

Competing teams at Concordia Classic
Concordia University
Creighton University
Doane University
Graceland University
Hastings College
Kansas Wesleyan University
Midland University
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Northwest Missouri State University
Pratt Community College
Sterling College
Tabor College
York College

Bulldogs on NAIA indoor qualifying list

‘A’ standards
Jacob Cornelio – weight throw (56’ 6 ½”)
McKenzie Gravo – pole vault (11’ 6 ½”)
Samantha Liermann – shot put (46’ 10 ¼”); weight throw (54’ 4 ½”)
Johanna Ragland – shot put (44’ 3 ½”)
Adriana Shaw – shot put (46’ 4 ¾”)

‘B’ standards
Jazzy Eickhoff – shot put (43’ 6”)
Leah Larson – triple jump (36’ 9 ½”)
Adrianna Shaw – weight throw (52’ 6 ½”)
Cody Williams – high jump (6’ 6”)

Baack among new national qualifiers at Concordia Classic

SEWARD, Neb. – Ranked 12th in the first NAIA national indoor ratings released by the coaches association, the Concordia University women’s track and field team built upon a strong start by posting three new automatic national qualifying marks on the weekend. The Bulldogs also turned in a national qualifying mark via Cody Williams while hosting the two-day Concordia Classic this weekend (Jan. 26-27).

Head coach Matt Beisel’s program has now hosted two of its first three meets of the 2018 indoor season. The program has now tallied 10 total national qualifying marks in 2018.

“It was a big day. We have a lot of really good things happening in every event area,” Beisel said. “The coaches are in a pretty good mood tonight.”

In addition to Williams, the latest national qualifying marks came from Anna Baack (pole vault), Jazzy Eickhoff (shot put) and Adrianna Shaw (weight throw). A freshman and product of Seward High School, Baack wasn’t necessarily expected to qualify for nationals this soon. Not far removed from an ACL tear, Baack vaulted 11’ 6 ½” to eclipse the ‘A’ standard measurement. In the same event, teammate McKenzie Gravo took first place while pushing her season best clearance to 12’ 4 ½.”

Said Beisel of Baack, “A year ago at this meet she was helping out and in crutches coming off an ACL repair from a basketball injury in high school.”

The Bulldogs continue to dominate in the women’s shot put. Not only did Eickhoff turn in a fresh qualifying mark, Adrianna Shaw (46’ 11”), Samantha Liermann (45’ 6 ¼”) and Johanna Ragland (45’ 1 ½”) were the top three place finishers at the Concordia Classic. A ninth-place finisher, freshman Jodi Fry achieved a ‘B’ standard mark in the shot put.

One of the nation’s top shot putters, Shaw has now leapfrogged Liermann on the national list. Shaw also placed third in the weight throw behind Liermann. Shaw’s mark checked in at 53’ 1 ¾.” Concordia put three in the top five of the event.

A standout as a freshman, Williams (Imperial, Neb.) leapt a national qualifying height of 6’ 7” in the high jump as part of the heptathlon. Based on his point total in the heptathlon, Williams would rank No. 2 nationally (pending results of other meets this weekend).

On the track, junior Josiah McAllister earned another win in the 1,000 meter race with a ‘B’ standard time of 2:33.58. He also joined the distance medley team and collaborated on a time of 10:25.56, less than two seconds off the national qualifying time. The group placed second while in a dead heat with first place York. In separate 3,000 meter races, Evan Asche produced a career best (9:16.93) while Taylor Grove (11:03.09) chopped off 30 seconds from her figure from two weeks ago.

Among other highlights, Simon Brummond came in as a runner up in the pole vault (15’ 1”), placing just ahead of teammate Tyrell Reichert (15’ 1”). In the triple jump, Leah Larson (36’ 11”) bumped up her ‘B’ mark.

The Concordia Classic featured 13 teams, including GPAC rivals Doane, Hastings and Midland. Beisel liked the way his athletes competed.

“In most events we did pretty well,” Beisel said. “A lot of our multi-eventers are very good in other events that we didn’t put them in. They did plenty enough in the multis. There are still a couple of other areas where we are going to need improvements. I think we competed well against our competition. You see a lot of top three placings on our side. If we’re putting a lot of kids up there in a 13-team meet, we’re doing all right.”

The Bulldogs will be headed to Doane for the Fred Beile Invite next Saturday (Feb. 3). Concordia also traveled to the Nisely Invite hosted by Doane back on Jan. 13.

Shaw collects GPAC weekly award

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – A 2017 indoor shot put national runner up, sophomore Adrianna Shaw appears poised for another run at a top placement at the national championships. Thanks to a season best toss at last week’s Concordia Classic, Shaw earned GPAC Hauff Mid-America Sports Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week accolades, as announced by the conference on Wednesday (Jan. 31).

Shaw is the first Bulldog to reel in a weekly award in 2018. During the 2017 indoor and outdoor seasons, head coach Matt Beisel’s squads combined for a 16 GPAC weekly honors and seven national weekly awards.

While winning the shot put competition at the Concordia Classic, Shaw turned in a mark of 46’ 11,” just short of her personal best 47’ 1 ¼” achieved at last year’s indoor national championships. The native of Bassett, Neb., currently ranks third on the national shot put leaderboard. On the other hand, Shaw managed to eclipse her previous PR in the weight throw with an automatic national qualifying measurement of 53’ 1 ¾” (17th on the national list). Shaw ranks fourth on the program’s all-time indoor shot put list.

Shaw and the Bulldogs will be in action at Saturday’s Fred Beile Invitational hosted by Doane. It will be the second time this season that Concordia has competed inside Fuhrer Field House.

2017 Concordia track & field GPAC athletes of the week
May 3 – Allie Brooks (field)
April 19 – *Cody Boellstorff (field)
April 12 – Cody Boellstorff (field); *Kali Robb (field); *Lucas Wiechman (track)
April 5 – *Zach Lurz (field); *Kali Robb (field)
March 29 – Cody Boellstorff (field); Allie Brooks (field)
Feb. 15 – Kali Robb (field); Lucas Wiechman (track)
Feb. 8 – *Allie Brooks (field); CJ Muller (field); Lucas Wiechman (track)
Jan. 25 – *Cody Boellstorff (field); Lucas Wiechman (track)
Jan. 18 – CJ Muller (track)
*NAIA National Athlete of the Week

Bulldogs soar in latest track national rankings

USTFCCA NAIA rankings

SEWARD, Neb. – Both Concordia University track and field teams rose in this week’s NAIA national rankings released on Wednesday (Jan. 31) by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The men made a meteoric rise, moving from 27th all the way up to No. 13 in the national rankings. Meanwhile, the women have leapt to ninth by bumping up three spots.

The USTFCCCA’s national rankings are based upon marks that have been turned in so far this indoor season. Entering this week, the Bulldog women have recorded eight automatic national qualifying marks and three ‘B’ standard marks. Meanwhile, the men have put two automatic marks and three ‘B’ standard marks on the board. Additionally, Cody Williams, a qualifier in the high jump, ranks third nationally in the heptathlon.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s women’s squad carries a top 10 national ranking thanks in large part to its impressive group in the shot put. Four Bulldogs rank inside the top 12 on the shot put national list: Adrianna Shaw (third), Samantha Liermann (fourth), Johanna Ragland (seventh) and Jazzy Eickhoff (12th). Additionally, both McKenzie Gravo (second) and Anna Baack (seventh) have qualified for nationals in the pole vault. Shaw collected GPAC field athlete of the week accolades.

Lofty national rankings are nothing new for the Concordia track and field programs. At the 2017 indoor national championships, the Bulldogs were the runner up on the men’s side and placed seventh on the women’s side. They went on to place fifth and sixth, respectively, at the 2017 outdoor national championships.

The indoor campaign will continue on Saturday when Concordia is set to compete at the Fred Beile Invitational hosted by Doane inside the Fuhrer Field House.

Bulldogs on national qualifying list

‘A’ standard
Anna Baack – pole vault (11’ 6 ½”)
Jacob Cornelio – weight throw (56’ 6 ½”)
Jazzy Eickhoff – shot put (44’ 7 ½”)
McKenzie Gravo – pole vault (12’ 4 ½”)
Samantha Liermann – shot put (46’ 10 ¼”); weight throw (54’ 9 ½”)
Johanna Ragland – shot put (45’ 1 ½”)
Adrianna Shaw – shot put (46’ 11”); weight throw (53’ 1 ¾”)
Cody Williams – high jump (6’ 7”)

‘B’ standard
Men’s distance medley (10:25.56)
Simon Brummond – pole vault (15’ 1”)
Jodi Fry – shot put (43’ 3 ¾”)
Leah Larson – triple jump (36’ 11”)
Josiah McAllister – 1,000 meters (2:33.58)
Tyrell Reichert – pole vault (15’ 1”)

Mutli events
Blake Becher ranks 15th in the heptathlon (4,314)
Jessica Deterding ranks 14th in the pentathlon (3,020)
Cody Williams ranks 3rd in heptathlon (4,723)

Gravo, Liermann turn in titles at Beile Invite

CRETE, Neb. – McKenzie Gravo and Samantha Liermann turned in event titles while leading the nationally-ranked Concordia University track and field programs at the Fred Beile Classic hosted by Doane on Saturday (Feb. 3). Among the highlights, senior Ben Hulett recorded a personal best ‘B’ standard qualifying time in the 60-meter hurdles and freshman Kara Stark achieved a ‘B’ mark in the high jump.

Second-year head coach Matt Beisel’s squads were mostly concentrated at the Fuhrer Field House. Hulett (60 hurdles), Josiah McAllister (one mile), Jake Rodgers (400 meters) and Thomas Taylor (800 meters) also took to the track at this weekend’s Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational.

“We had an overall good meet,” Beisel said. “In some event areas there were fantastic performances. We weren’t across-the-board great like we were last week. That could be for any number of reasons. If there’s any week not to be firing on all cylinders, it’s a couple weeks out from conference. We come back home next week with the home crowd and that’s going to be a really good venue for us to perform well.”

A native of Gary, Ind., Hulett appears to stand a strong chance of making a return to nationals in the hurdles. Although his time of 8.32 at Doane put him just shy of the automatic standard (8.27), he would rank in the top 10 nationally based on the NAIA leaderboard entering Saturday. Hulett finished second at the Beile Classic following a 15th-place finish (8.41) at the Bob Devaney Sports Complex.

In the women’s shot put, Liermann continues to compete like a national title contender each week. In her latest outing, she bested the field of 18 throwers with a season best mark of 46’ 11 ½,” placing her just in front of teammate Adrianna Shaw (46’ ¾”), the reigning GPAC field athlete of the week. Teammate Johanna Ragland (44’ 10 ¼”) also checked in at No. 6 in the event.

First-place finishes are also nothing new for Gravo, who vaulted 12’ ½” at the Beile Classic. She came into the weekend ranked third nationally in the pole vault, an event in which freshman Anna Baack has also qualified for nationals.

Stark, also a member of the volleyball team, leapt a PR of 5’ 5,” exactly equaling the threshold for a ‘B’ mark in the event. Stark’s contribution helps bolster the résumé of a women’s team that garnered a No. 9 national ranking this week. Collectively, the Concordia women have put up eight automatic national qualifying marks and another four ‘B’ standard marks.

McAllister continues to shine as one of the top runners in the program. He came up with a time of 4:21.58 on the banked track at the Husker Invite. With the conversion, McAllister’s time will come up shy of the ‘B’ standard of 4:22. Also in Lincoln, Taylor completed the 800-meter race in 1:57.93, an indoor personal best (19th place).

Other notables:

  • Seward High School product Mika Brees placed third in the 200 meter dash (26.48) and fifth in the 60 meter dash (8.02).
  • Jacob Cornelio again eclipsed an automatic national qualifying mark in the weight throw (56’ 5 ¾”) and placed fourth.
  • Jessica Deterding PR’d in the long jump (17 6 ¼”) and placed fourth.
  • Rebekah Hinrichs turned in a season best in the mile (5:40.80) and was the runner up.
  • Ragland tossed a personal best in the weight throw (51’ 3”) and placed sixth. She was 18 centimeters off a ‘B’ mark.
  • Miranda Rathjen just missed a ‘B’ standard in the 600 meters (1:41.55) while finishing fourth.

Next week’s Concordia Indoor Invitational (Feb. 10) will serve as the final tune up prior to the GPAC indoor championships, set to take place Feb. 16-17 at Doane. The Concordia Invite will mark the third home meet of 2018 for the Bulldogs.

“I’m real proud of our kids,” Beisel said. “I think we’ve got bigger things to do. Overall, it was a good meet but definitely signs that we have some higher marks to hit going into the next two weeks.”

Meet preview: Concordia Indoor Invitational

Concordia Indoor Invite Schedule | PDF

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University track and field programs are getting set to host an indoor meet for the third time already in 2018. The Concordia Indoor Invitational will play out Saturday inside the Fieldhouse. Field events are slated to get started at 11 a.m. with running events to get underway at 12:30 p.m. A live webcast will be provided by the Concordia Sports Network.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads remained ranked in the top 25 of the NAIA computer ratings released on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The women checked in at No. 10 while the men appeared at 24th. The Bulldogs hope to add to their totals of 10 automatic national qualifying marks and eight ‘B’ standard marks. The women maintained a top 10 national ranking on the strength of a women’s shot put group that boasts individuals with national standings of fourth, fifth, ninth, 13th and 18th.

Concordia will welcome athletes from nine competing institutions to campus on Saturday. The field includes sister school Concordia University Irvine, a former NAIA member now affiliated with NCAA Division II. Another NCAA DII attendee at the Concordia Classic will be Fort Hays State University (Kan.), ranked 19th nationally on the men’s side. The competition will also feature GPAC rivals Doane, Hastings and Midland.

The Concordia Indoor Invitational serves as the final tune up prior to next week’s GPAC championships (Feb. 16-17) hosted by Doane. The Bulldogs have already been at Doane for the Nisely Invite (Jan. 13) and the Fred Beile Classic (Feb. 3).

Competing teams at Concordia Invite

*National rankings in parentheses)
Bethel College (Kan.)
Concordia University Irvine
Concordia University, Nebraska (M: 24 | W: 10)
Doane University (M: 3 | W: 5)
Fort Hays State University (Kan.) (M: 19, NCAA DII)
Hastings College (M: 6 | W: 6)
Midland University
University of Nebraska-Kearney
Tabor College (Kan.)
York College

Bulldogs on NAIA indoor qualifying list

Men’s distance medley – B (10:25.56)
Anna Baack – A; pole vault (11’ 6 ½”)
Blake Becher – ranked 22nd in the heptathlon (4,314)
Simon Brummond – B; pole vault (15’ 1”)
Jacob Cornelio – A; weight throw (56’ 6 ½”)
Jessica Deterding – ranked 15th in the pentathlon (3,020)
Jazzy Eickhoff – A; shot put (44’ 7 ½”)
Jodi Fry – B; shot put (44’ 7 ½”)
McKenzie Gravo – A; pole vault (12’ 4 ½”)
Ben Hulett – B; 60 hurdles (8.32)
Leah Larson – B; triple jump (36’ 11”)
Samantha Liermann – A; shot put (46’ 11 ½”); A; weight throw (54’ 9 ½”)
Josiah McAllister – B; 1,000 meters (2:33.58)
Johanna Ragland – A; shot put (45’ 1 ½”)
Tyrell Reichert – B; pole vault (15’ 1”)
Adrianna Shaw – A; shot put (46’ 11”); A; weight throw (53’ 1 ¾”)
Kara Stark – B; high jump (5’ 5”)
Cody Williams – A; high jump (6’ 7”); ranked seventh in the heptathlon (4,723)

Bulldogs make gains heading into GPAC meet

SEWARD, Neb. – One week out from the GPAC indoor championships, the Concordia University track and field programs moved closer to the across-the-board performances they hope to have in the season’s most significant meets. While hosting for the third and final time this indoor campaign, the Bulldogs got big efforts from several of their most high profile performers and added an automatic national qualifying mark from senior Scott Johnson at Saturday’s (Feb. 10) Concordia Indoor Invitational.

With one meet left prior to the indoor national championships, head coach Matt Beisel’s squads have accumulated 11 automatic national qualifying marks. Among the highlights, senior Ben Hulett just missed the ‘A’ standard in the 60-meter hurdles in another career best performance.

“You’re not going to have perfection at any meet, but I’d definitely say it was a huge improvement in a lot of different events from last week (at the Fred Beile Classic),” Beisel said. “Some people moved up the conference rankings. We have kids that are ready to go to GPAC and do some damage. I’m excited to see what can happen.”

A 2017 indoor national qualifier in the long jump, Johnson will make his way to nationals this March in the triple jump. The Kansas City, Kan., native busted loose with a personal best of 46’ 7 ½” in the triple jump, placing him third in the meet. Johnson also turned in a runner-up finish in the long jump with a mark of 22’ 7 ¼.” With the indoor season winding down, now was the time for Johnson to make his move.

“It’s good to get that monkey off your back. That’s been the goal all season to get that ‘A’ standard,” Johnson said. “It’s good to say that you’re for sure going and not have to worry about it going into conference. You can just be relaxed and put on a good jump next week.”

Based on the national leaderboard entering the weekend, junior Samantha Liermann is now one of only three female shot put tossers in the NAIA to hit 48 feet. A consistent performer each week, Liermann came within an inch of the school indoor shot put record with her winning mark of 48’ ¾.” She also again hit the ‘A’ standard in the weight throw.

The defending outdoor shot put national champ, Liermann will vie for a GPAC title next week.

“Just trying to stay healthy is my biggest thing right now,” Liermann said. “I’ve been dealing with some issues with my feet. Also I’m trying to keep consistency with my form and fix what needs to be fixed.”

Adrianna Shaw also improved her mark in the shot put, an event that saw four Bulldogs hit the ‘A’ standard (Jazzy Eickhoff and Johanna Ragland included). The women’s shot put has been the team’s biggest area of strength all indoor season.

A two-time GPAC champion, McKenzie Gravo will enter next week’s conference championships as a favorite. She cleared a personal best of 12’ 6 ¼” and gave solid attempts at a school record height while winning Saturday’s competition. Gravo came into the made listed inside the top three nationally in the pole vault.

Hulett could be primed to appear inside the top 10 on the national list in the 60 hurdles after shaving 0.04 off his previous personal best. He finished in 8.30 in the prelims and then 8.28 in the finals, good for third place in the field.

Also on the track, Blake Becher (7.01 in 60 meters), Josiah McAllister (4:25.37 in mile) and Thomas Taylor (1:57.63 in 800 meters) all placed second in their respective events. On the women’s side of the jumps, both Leah Larson (triple) and Kara Stark (high) continue to try to chase down national qualifying marks that have narrowly eluded them to this point in the season. Additionally, Beisel made special mention of freshman Tucker Platt, who has improved tremendously in the pole vault. He jumped 14’ 11” at the Concordia Invite.

Any conversation about the men’s throws group starts with sophomore Jacob Cornelio. On Saturday, he bumped up his personal best in the weight throw by more than three feet, checking in at 59’ 7 ½.” He finished fourth at the Concordia Invite while giving himself a shot of moving into the top 10 of the NAIA.

The Bulldogs will now focus their attention on next week’s GPAC Championships (Feb. 16-17) hosted by Doane. At last year’s indoor conference meet, Concordia finished second on the men’s side and fourth on the women’s side. The most recent GPAC championship for the program came from the men during the 2015 outdoor season.

Meet preview: 2018 GPAC indoor championships

GPAC meet info | View GPAC seed markings

Live coverage: Video | Results

Concordia 2017 GPAC finishes
Men: 2nd indoor | 2nd outdoor
Women: 4th indoor | 3rd outdoor

SEWARD, Neb. – The women will lean upon the likes of conference leaders McKenzie Gravo and Samantha Liermann while the men look for new waves of stars to make their marks as another GPAC championship week has arrived. The Concordia University track and field squads, under second-year head coach Matt Beisel, enter the conference indoor championship meet having compiled 11 automatic national qualifying marks and an additional eight ‘B’ standard marks.

The 2018 GPAC Indoor Track and Field Championships will unfold Friday and Saturday inside the Fuhrer Field House on the Doane campus. Only portions of the multi events will be contested on Friday. The bulk of the meet will take place Saturday when field events get started at 12 p.m. and track events follow beginning at 1 p.m.

For this weekend, the national seed marks are briefly ignored with the emphasis placed upon placing as high as possible among GPAC competitors. Of the Bulldogs set to compete this weekend, only Gravo and Liermann boast past individual conference championships. Gravo swept GPAC indoor and outdoor pole vault titles during her freshman season in 2016. Meanwhile, Liermann captured the conference’s 2017 outdoor shot put crown after teammate Kali Robb, a 2017 senior, did the same at the GPAC indoor meet.

The women’s shot put is a good place to start. Liermann tops the GPAC with a mark of 48’ ¾” while teammates Adrianna Shaw (47’ 1 ¾”), Johanna Ragland (45’ 1 ½”), Jazzy Eickhoff (44’ 10 ¾”) and Jodi Fry (43’ 9 ¾”) rank third, sixth, ninth and 10th, respectively, among conference throwers. Liermann is still hoping to push past 50 feet, which would give her the indoor school record in the event. The competition between Bulldogs has only made her better.

“I’d say we have a healthy competition,” Liermann said following last week’s Concordia Indoor Invitational. “All of us want to be the best but we also love to see each other succeed. I think it’s a good balance.”

Gravo is the headliner for a women’s pole vault group that includes potential all-conference performers such as Anna Baack (fourth in the GPAC) and Tristen Mosier (10th in the GPAC). The men’s pole vault also shapes up favorably with three Bulldogs currently among the conference’s top five: Tyrell Reichert (tie for third), Simon Brummond (tie for third) and Tucker Platt (fifth).

Also on the men’s side, senior Ben Hulett has been one of the GPAC’s top two hurdlers all indoor season. His personal best of 8.28 last week in the 60 hurdles put him just 0.01 off the automatic national qualifying time. Meanwhile in the jumps, senior Scott Johnson broke through last week, locking up a trip to indoor nationals via a triple jump of 46’ 7 ½.” On the conference list, Johnson appears at No. 2 in the long jump and No. 4 in the triple.

Said Johnson after the Concordia Invite, “This week will be light (in terms of physical exertion). I didn’t take all my jumps after I qualified just because you have to decrease the impact on your legs and be ready to jump and compete for a conference title this week.”

The lone Concordia male with a GPAC best in any event category is freshman Cody Williams (Imperial, Neb.), who appears primed to put together an impressive career as a Bulldog. His 4,723 points in the heptathlon put him at No. 1 in the conference. He’s also sitting third in the high jump with his national qualifying mark of 6’ 7.” Another male athlete to keep an eye on is junior Josiah McAllister, who is projected to score in the 1,000 meters, the mile and as part of the 4x400 meter relay.

Seward High School product Mika Brees expects to be an immediate contributor on the women’s side. She appears at No. 5 in the 200 meters and No. 7 in the 60 meters on the current conference lists. In the triple jump, junior Leah Larson has the ability to compete for a conference title. Sophomore Jessica Deterding, also a strong competitor in the pentathlon, is not far off Larson in the triple. On the track, junior Taylor Grove has scoring potential in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races.

Based upon the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings released today (Feb. 14), Concordia is ranked fourth in the GPAC for both men and women (full ratings below). The Bulldogs men will seek their first team conference title since the 2015 outdoor season. The last Concordia women’s GPAC championship occurred at the 2012 outdoor meet.

2017 Concordia GPAC champions
Men’s indoor/outdoor 4x400m relay
Cody Boellstorff (weight throw)
Allie Brooks (indoor pole vault)
Samantha Liermann (outdoor shot put)
Zach Lurz (indoor shot put; hammer throw; discus)
CJ Muller (600 meters)
Kali Robb (indoor shot put; hammer throw)
Tricia Svoboda (discus)
Lucas Wiechman (55 hurdles; heptathlon; indoor/outdoor pole vault; long jump; 110 hurdles; 400 hurdles)

 

Concordia all-time conference titles
MEN – indoor: 2014 | outdoor: 2014, 2015
WOMEN – indoor: 2010 | outdoor: 1998, 2010, 2012

Concordia all-time conference runner-up finishes
MEN – indoor: 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 | outdoor: 2002, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017
WOMEN – indoor: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 | outdoor: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

GPAC teams in national top 25 rankings

*According to USTFCCCA

MEN
3 – Doane
6 – Hastings
12 – Northwestern
24 – Concordia

WOMEN
5 – Doane
6 – Hastings
8 – Northwestern
10 – Concordia
16 – Morningside
24 – Dordt

Johnson, Liermann collect conference titles

CRETE, Neb. – Scott Johnson and Samantha Liermann delivered individual conference titles while pacing the Concordia University track and field programs at this weekend’s (Feb. 16-17) GPAC Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Doane. From a team perspective, the Bulldogs placed in a tie for fourth on the men’s side (71 points) and fifth on the women’s side (83 points).

Had things broke more favorably, Concordia realistically could have placed in the top three or four on both sides. The women were just two points behind fourth-place Morningside.

“It was just kind of up and down,” said head coach Matt Beisel. “You can’t put us not getting third or whatever on any one person. With a team with as many moving parts as we have, if you have four or five people one point short of their projection, all of the sudden you’re in fourth or fifth instead of second or third. It shows me that we have a lot of work to do.”

Liermann came into the meet with the expectation of capturing a championship, but that wasn’t necessarily the case for Johnson, who was seeded behind a pair of Doane athletes in the triple jump. The event produced a great deal of tension with Johnson falling from first to third on the final set of jumps. On that final jump, Johnson leapfrogged both De’Andre Miller and Henry Arnold for the title. The winning mark checked in at 47’ 2 ½,” representing a personal best.

While some things may not have gone as planned, it seems Beisel and his staff can always count on their group of women in the shot put. Liermann notched her second career GPAC shot put title by throwing 48 feet. Concordia went 1-3-5-7 in the event with teammates Adrianna Shaw (46’ ½”), Johanna Ragland (44’ 6”) and Jodi Fry (43’ ¼”) coming in after Liermann. More than a quarter of the women’s team points came from this event alone.

In the men’s heptathlon, the present and the future is promising for freshmen Cody Williams and Blake Becher. Williams placed third with 4,667 points, just ahead of fourth-place Becher (4,560). Williams and Becher are now listed ninth and 16th, respectively, on the national leaderboard in the heptathlon.

Several Bulldogs placed in all-conference territory (top eight) in multiple events, including Liermann (shot put, weight throw) and Johnson (triple jump, long jump). Jessica Deterding, who has a shot to go to nationals as a multi-event athlete, placed fourth in the pentathlon and sixth in the triple jump. On the track, Josiah McAllister (third in the mile, seventh in the 1,000 meters) and Mika Brees (fifth in the 60 and 200 meter races) were two of the brightest standouts.

Of course there were some frustrations. Two-time GPAC pole vault champion McKenzie Gravo came into the meet as a favorite, but no-heighted on Saturday. In the 60-meter hurdles, Ben Hulett made the finals but false started and did not earn any points. Though Gravo missed the mark in the pole vault, the event yielded three Concordia all-conference performances on the men’s side and two on the women’s side.

Nothing comes easy in the throwing events in the GPAC. The lone Bulldog all-conference thrower on the men’s side was Jacob Cornelio, who finished sixth in the weight throw.

Both women’s relay teams (4x4 and 4x8) clocked in fourth. Other not previously mentioned top-four placements were claimed by the men’s 4x800 meter relay (second), Leah Larson (fourth in the triple jump) and Thomas Taylor (fourth in the 800 meters).

For the athletes who have qualified, the focus now shifts to the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, held in Pittsburg, Kan., March 1-3. More details on the national meet can be found HERE.

Said Beisel, “Our kids need to continue to grow and we need to continue to mentor and coach them and help them get there. It wasn’t the meet that we hoped for, but we have to have the attitude that we’ll do better at the outdoor conference championships.”

Thirty-six Bulldogs officially named indoor All-GPAC honorees

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – A total of 36 Concordia University track and field athletes who contributed to team scoring at last week’s GPAC indoor championships have officially been named all-conference honorees. The list includes 19 women and 17 men who helped the Bulldogs place fourth on the men’s side and fifth on the women’s side at the GPAC championship meet hosted by Doane.

Among the all-conference performers for head coach Matt Beisel’s squads, eight posted multiple top eight finishes in individual events: Mika Brees (60 meters, 200 meters), Jessica Deterding (pentathlon, triple jump), Scott Johnson (triple jump, long jump), Samantha Liermann (shot put, weight throw), Josiah McAllister (one mile, 1,000 meters), Kennedy Mogul (60 hurdles, pentathlon), Tyrell Reichert (pole vault, triple jump) and Adrianna Shaw (shot put, weight throw).

The highest point scorers on either side were Johnson (15 points) for the men and Liermann (15 points) for the women. Johnson became a GPAC titlist for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Liermann took home a shot put GPAC title for the second time as a Bulldog. The program’s lone runner-up placement was turned in by the men’s 4x800 meter relay quartet of Thomas Taylor, Patrick Wortmann, JP Reynolds and McAllister.

Freshmen Cody Williams (Imperial, Neb.) and Blake Becher placed third and fourth, respectively, in the heptathlon and were officially named NAIA national qualifiers in the event on Monday (Feb. 19). Other official qualifiers will be announced later this week by the NAIA. The 2018 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships will be held in Pittsburg, Kan., March 1-3.

2018 Concordia GPAC Indoor All-Conference performers

MEN

  • Blake Becher (4th in heptathlon)
  • Simon Brummond (5th in pole vault)
  • Jacob Cornelio (6th in weight throw)
  • Scott Johnson (*1st in triple jump; 4th in long jump)
  • Michael Leapley (7th in 600 meters)
  • Jordan Lorenz (8th in 5,000 meters)
  • Nathan Matters (8th in 4x400 meter relay)
  • Josiah McAllister (2nd in 4x800 meter relay; 3rd in one mile; 7th in 1,000 meters; 8th in 4x400 meter relay)
  • Tucker Platt (7th in pole vault)
  • Benjamin Pratt (6th in high jump)
  • Tyrell Reichert (5th in pole vault; 7th in triple jump)
  • Henry Reimer (8th in 4x400 meter relay)
  • JP Reynolds (2nd in 4x800 meter relay)
  • Thomas Taylor (2nd in 4x800 meter relay; 4th in 800 meters)
  • Christian Van Cleave (6th in 800 meters)
  • Cody Williams (3rd in heptathlon; 8th in 4x400 meter relay)
  • Patrick Wortmann (2nd in 4x800 meter relay)

WOMEN

  • Andrea Anderson (8th in pole vault)
  • Anna Baack (7th in pole vault)
  • Tori Beran (4th in 4x400 meter relay; 4th in 4x800 meter relay; 8th in 600 meters)
  • Mika Brees (5th in 60 meters; 5th in 200 meters)
  • Lydia Cook (4th in 4x800 meter relay)
  • Jessica Deterding (4th in pentathlon; 4th in 4x400 meter relay; 6th in triple jump)
  • Jodi Fry (7th in shot put)
  • McKenzie Gravo (8th in long jump)
  • Taylor Grove (7th in 5,000 meters)
  • Rebekah Hinrichs (4th in 4x800 meter relay)
  • Leah Larson (4th in triple jump)
  • Samantha Liermann (*1st in shot put; 4th in weight throw)
  • Kennedy Mogul (4th in 4x400 meter relay; 5th in 60 hurdles; 8th in pentathlon)
  • Jamie Nikodym (7th in 60 hurdles)
  • Johanna Ragland (5th in shot put)
  • Miranda Rathjen (4th in 4x400 meter relay; 4th in 4x800 meter relay; 5th in 600 meters)
  • Jill Schroeder (7th in long jump)
  • Adrianna Shaw (3rd in shot put; 7th in weight throw)
  • Kara Stark (6th in high jump)

Bulldogs set to travel 17 athletes to indoor nationals

NAIA release

SEWARD, Neb. – In conjunction with the NAIA release of official national qualifiers, the Concordia University track and field programs have announced their list of 17 athletes who will be traveling to the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. The championship meet will play out March 1-3 inside the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s qualifying field includes six individuals who also competed at the 2017 indoor national championships. That group is headlined by junior Samantha Liermann, fresh off the second GPAC shot put title of her career. She is the reigning NAIA outdoor shot put national champion. Liermann is one of five Bulldogs who will compete in the women’s shot put. Liermann and teammate Adrianna Shaw, (ranked second and fifth nationally in the shot put, respectively) both have hopes of competing for a national title.

On paper, redshirt sophomore McKenzie Gravo may also have a shot at winning a championship. The two-time All-American is ready to make amends for no heighting at the GPAC championships. She is one of four pole vaulters heading to Kansas. The others are Anna Baack, Simon Brummond and Tyrell Reichert.

While many of the program’s qualifiers compete in field events, Ben Hulett (60 hurdles) and Josiah McAllister (1,000 meters) will represented Concordia on the track. Hulett is making a return trip to indoor nationals. He qualified as hurdler for both indoor and outdoor in 2018.

Baack and four other freshmen secured berths at nationals. She will be joined by fellow rookies Blake Becher (heptathlon), Jodi Fry (shot put), Kara Stark (high jump) and Cody Williams (heptathlon, high jump). GPAC champion Scott Johnson and Hulett are the lone seniors headed to the national championships.

The Bulldog track and field programs have put together an impressive run of success at the national championships. The men own an active streak of six-straight national meets with top-five finishes. Meanwhile, the women have placed 13th or better at each of the past five indoor national championships. Both programs reached the highest of highs recently with a team outdoor national title for the men in 2015 and the women in 2016.

Stretch Internet, the NAIA’s official video streaming company, will be broadcasting all sessions of the national championships. Packages can be purchased for $14.95. For more information, click here.

2018 Concordia indoor national qualifiers

(Current national ranking in parentheses)
*2017 NAIA indoor national qualifier

MEN

  • Blake Becher, freshman
    -Heptathlon (16th, 4560)
  • Simon Brummond, junior
    -Pole vault (18th, 15’ 1”)
  • Jacob Cornelio, sophomore
    -Weight throw (8th, 59’ 7 ½”)
  • *Ben Hulett, senior
    -60 meter hurdles (14th, 8.28)
  • *Scott Johnson, senior
    -Triple jump (10th, 47’ 2 ½”)
  • Josiah McAllister, junior
    -1,000 meters (33rd, 2:33.58)
  • *Tyrell Reichert, junior
    -Pole vault (18th, 15’ 1”)
  • Cody Williams, freshman
    -Heptathlon (9th, 4723)
    -High jump (15th, 6’ 7”)

WOMEN

  • Anna Baack, freshman
    -Pole vault (12th, 11’ 6 ½”)
  • Jazzy Eickhoff, junior
    -Shot put (16th, 44’ 10 ¾”)
  • Jodi Fry, freshman
    -Shot put (20th, 43’ 9 ¾”)
  • McKenzie Gravo, sophomore
    -Pole vault (3rd, 12’ 6 ¼”)
  • Leah Larson, junior
    -Triple jump (20th, 36’ 11”)
  • *Samantha Liermann, junior
    -Shot put (2nd, 48’ ¾”)
    -Weight throw (14th, 54’ 9 ½”)
  • *Johanna Ragland, junior
    -Shot put (11th, 45’ 1 ½”)
    -Weight throw (30th, 51’ 11”)
  • *Adrianna Shaw, sophomore
    -Shot put (5th, 47’ 1 ¾”)
    -Weight throw (16th, 54’ 3 ¾”)
  • Kara Stark, freshman
    -High jump (12th, 5’ 5”)

Meet Preview: Bulldogs set for journey to Pittsburg

NAIA track & field info

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s national championships week for NAIA track and field programs around the country. Seventeen Bulldog athletes will be present for the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, which will unfold Thursday through Saturday inside the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan. The schedule of events can be viewed HERE.

NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video streaming platform powered by Stretch Internet, will be broadcasting all sessions of the national championships. Packages can be purchased for $14.95. For more information, go to NAIANetwork.com.

The last time head coach Matt Beisel’s squads were in action, they placed fourth on the men’s side and fifth on the women’s side at the GPAC indoor championships. On a national scale, Concordia will enter this weekend with NAIA rankings of 10th (women) and 24th (men), according to computer ratings released by the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The bar has been set high in recent seasons in regards to what the Bulldogs can accomplish on the national stage. While several past national champions have graduated, Beisel has hopes of seeing his athletes outperform their seeding.

“We’ve been very good traditionally at getting our kids to perform their best at nationals,” Beisel said. “There are always going to be kids who aren’t ranked in the top 12 or 14 that have the day of their life and suddenly they’re scoring for us. That happens every year. Anything can happen. You have to be prepared to perform at your best and not be focused on the opposing athletes. You just never know. It makes it both exciting and nerve wracking.”

On paper, Concordia has potentially big point scorers on the women’s side with Samantha Liermann (second in shot put), McKenzie Gravo (third in pole vault) and Adrianna Shaw (fifth in shot put) each holding down a top five national mark. Liermann has placed in All-America territory in each of the four national meets she’s appeared at as a Bulldog. That run has included a 2017 outdoor shot put national title. She was also an All-American on the 2016 outdoor national championship team. Gravo is a three-time All-American in the pole vault while Shaw posted a national runner-up claim in the shot put at last year’s NAIA indoor meet.

Liermann has the most national championships experience of anyone on the roster. She’s making her fifth trip to a national meet. This weekend’s meet will mark the fourth nationals appearance for Gravo and Tyrell Reichert. Ten of the 17 Bulldog national qualifiers have competed in at least one national championship. The seven newcomers to the national scene include five freshmen as well as juniors Simon Brummond and Leah Larson.

“It’s difficult to get to nationals,” Beisel said. “For our kids who are going for the first time, it’s a testament to the training they’ve put in for months and months. To be able to make it as a freshmen shows potential for future accomplishments. It’s a big stage and it’s important to get that first national meet done so that you can relax. At the same time, our conference is one of the most competitive in the nation at many events. We’re going to see a lot of the same athletes we competed against at the GPAC meet. We’re glad our conference is so competitive. It helps us out at the national level.”

At the 2017 indoor national championships, the Concordia men placed second behind national champions Cody Boellstorff (weight throw), Zach Lurz (shot put) and Lucas Wiechman (heptathlon). The women placed seventh with national runner-up finishes from Kali Robb (weight throw) and Shaw (shot put).

The first Bulldogs to compete this week will be freshmen Blake Becher and Cody Williams in four heptathlon events on Thursday. Ten Concordia athletes will be in action on Friday and as many as 11 could be active on Saturday, depending upon whether Ben Hulett (60 hurdles) and Josiah McAllister (1,000 meters) reach the finals of their respective events.

2018 Concordia indoor national qualifiers

Anna Baack, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Blake Becher
, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Simon Brummond, Junior (first trip to nationals)
Jacob Cornelio, Sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Jazzy Eickhoff, Junior (second trip to nationals)
Jodi Fry, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
McKenzie Gravo, Sophomore (three-time All-American; fourth trip to nationals)
Ben Hulett
, Senior (third trip to nationals)
Scott Johnson, Senior (second trip to nationals)
Leah Larson, Junior (first trip to nationals)
Samantha Liermann, Junior (All-America awards: 4; 2017 outdoor shot put national champ)
Josiah McAllister, Junior (second trip to nationals)
Johanna Ragland, Junior (third trip to nationals)
Tyrell Reichert, Junior (fourth trip to nationals)
Adrianna Shaw, Sophomore (third trip to nationals; 2017 indoor shot put national runner up)
Kara Stark, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Cody Williams, Freshman (first trip to nationals) 

Concordia indoor national finishes since 2000
2017: M – 2nd | W – 7th
2016: M – 3rd | W – 5th
2015: M – 5th | W – 11th
2014: – 17th |  11th
2013: – 27th |  13th
2012:  38th |  29th
2011:  7th |  26th
2010:  15th |  12th
2009:  12th |  11th
2008:  7th |  14th
2007:  19th |  36th
2006:  5th |  29th
2005:  26th |  15th
2004:  7th |  27th
2003:  5th |  9th
2002:  20th  8th
2001:  12th | – 21st
2000:  2nd |  12th

Concordia outdoor national finishes since 2005
2017: M – 5th | W – 6th
2016: – 2nd | – 1st
2015: M – 1st | W – 5th
2014: M – 11th | W – 9th
2013: M – 42nd | W – 20th
2012: M – 57th | W – 15th
2011: M – 11th | W – 57th
2010: M – 24th | W – 14th
2009: M – 7th | W – 19th
2008: M – 11th | W – 29th
2007: M – 15th | W – 24th
2006: M – 7th | W – 28th
2005: M – 13th | W – 17th

Three Bulldogs record All-America finishes on indoor nationals day two

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Three Bulldogs who earned All-America honors on Friday (March 2) at the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships each placed above their seeds as part of day two of the meet. Eleven athletes represented the Concordia University track and field programs on Friday while competing at the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s program traveled 17 athletes to the meet that began on Thursday. Freshmen Blake Becher and Cody Williams in the heptathlon were the team’s only competitors on the opening day. The Bulldog men’s and women’s teams have totaled four points apiece.

“Overall it was something we can all be proud of,” Beisel said. “Our two multi-eventers had never been to nationals before. They handled the pressure really well. I think Blake Becher saw what he’s capable of. He could be an All-American by next year. Then Cody scored the highest he’s ever scored. He went from 14’ 1” to 15’ 1” in the pole vault and he’s our best freshman vaulter now. That was exciting.”

Junior Samantha Liermann especially outdid herself with a personal best of nearly three feet in the weight throw. Listed 14th on the national list, Liermann earned four team points by way of her fifth-place finish and toss of 57’ 5 ½.” Teammates Adrianna Shaw (54’ 6 ¾”) and Johanna Ragland (49’ 11 ¾”) placed 12th and 26th, respectively, in the event. All three Bulldogs will also be in action on Saturday in the shot put.

A national qualifier for the first time at the 2017 NAIA outdoor championships, sophomore Jacob Cornelio has claimed his first career All-America honor. He also put forth a personal record of nearly three feet with a hurl of 62’ 7 ¼” in the weight throw, good for seventh place and two team points. Cornelio came into the weekend ranked eighth nationally in the event.

Williams racked up 4,915 points (personal best) in the heptathlon for a seventh-place finish in his first career appearance on the national stage. Becher wound up with 4,445 points (14th place). Broken down by events, Williams’ best finish was second in the pole vault.

In the women’s pole vault, McKenzie Gravo missed out on a chance to add to her three career All-America plaques. She no-heighted. Meanwhile, freshman teammate Anna Baack tied for 13th place (11’ 1 ¾”).

Said Beisel, “Anna had a good day. She cleared the opening height and it was the second highest collegiate vault she’s ever had. She just missed the next height so she did really well. McKenzie no-heighted. It’s one of those frustrating things that happens. She’s proven herself many times before and I know she will again.”

On the track, senior Ben Hulett (60 meter hurdles) and sophomore Josiah McAllister (1,000 meters) fell short of making the finals in their respective events. Hulett placed 25th (8.57) while McAllister clocked in 14th (2:32.10).

Concordia will close the national championships on Saturday with 10 athletes set to compete in field events. The highest potential for scoring will come in the women’s shot put (10 a.m.), which features five Bulldogs. That group includes Liermann, the 2017 outdoor shot put national champion, and Shaw, the 2017 indoor shot put national runner up. Concordia athletes will also take part in the men’s pole vault (Simon Brummond and Tyrell Reichert), the men’s triple jump (Scott Johnson), the women’s triple jump (Leah Larson) and the women’s high jump (Kara Stark). The meet will conclude with the awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

All of the national championship action will be video-streamed live on NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video-streaming platform provided by Stretch Internet. Fans can catch all the action for a subscription fee. For more information, visit naianetwork.com.

“I think everybody that we’ve got in tomorrow could potentially put points on the board for us,” Beisel said. “You just never know what it’s going to be. I’m curious to see how we pan out. Our kids are in great spirits and it’s been a lot of fun.”

2018 Indoor All-Americans

  • Jacob Cornelio: 7th place weight throw
  • Samantha Liermann: 5th place weight throw
  • Cody Williams: 7th place heptathlon

Liermann's title pushes women's track to top 10 national finish

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Nothing is ever guaranteed in a sport with many variables, but Samantha Liermann and the women’s shot put group never let the Bulldogs down during the entire 2018 indoor season. Liermann broke a school record while winning the shot put national title and serving as a catalyst for a top 10 women’s team finish at the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Liermann was one of five Concordia athletes to earn All-America honors on the weekend (March 1-3).

Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads departed from the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan., after having totaled 22 team points on the women’s side and four team points on the men’s side (42nd place).

“Almost all of our All-Americans were top eight with fantastic personal best performances,” Beisel said. “You had Samantha come back and set a school record in the shot put and win it. Then we had some under-the-radar stuff where they didn’t score for us but had gigantic performance improvements. I’m really pleased with how our kids handled it.

Also the GPAC indoor shot put champion and the 2017 NAIA outdoor shot put titlist, Liermann nearly hit 50 feet with her standard setting performance on Saturday. Her toss of 49’ 5” won the competition by more than a foot-and-a-half. Teammates Adrianna Shaw (47’ 1”) and Johanna Ragland (45’ 1 ¾”) placed third and seventh, respectively, to also earn All-America accolades in the event. Eighteen team points came from the women’s shot put alone, which also featured Jazzy Eickhoff (15th) and Jodi Fry (16th).

Five other Bulldogs were in action on Saturday. Leah Larson tied for 10th place in the triple jump (37’ 8 ¾”). Kara Stark placed 12th in the high jump (5’ 3”). Simon Brummond and Tyrell Reichert both cleared 14’ 9” in the pole vault and were credited with placements of 14th. Johnson jumped 47’ 10 ½” in the triple, sharing 11th place.

The marks for Johnson and Larson were personal bests. With her triple jump measurement, Larson moved all the way up to No. 2 on the program’s all-time list. Johnson also leapfrogged a program alum and is second in school history in the men’s triple jump.

Liermann was undoubtedly the team’s MVP of the meet. She also turned in a personal best of 57’ 5 ½” in the weight throw and placed fifth on Friday. Her 14 team points were a team high. Liermann became the first female thrower in program history to win an indoor national title. She, Kathy Gottberg (shot put) and Liz King (javelin, hammer throw) are the three female outdoor throwing national champions in school history.

Concordia will have three weeks before beginning the outdoor season March 23-24 at the Wildcat Outdoor Classic hosted by Wayne State College.

Said Beisel, “I think when we get to outdoor we’ve got other events we’re strong in and we’re going to put more points on the board. Next year as these freshmen grow up and turn into sophomores and we bring in another good class, I think we’re going to be right up where we’ve been the last few years.”

2018 Indoor All-Americans

  • Jacob Cornelio (weight throw – 7th)
  • Samantha Liermann (shot put – 1st; weight throw – 5th)
  • Johanna Ragland (shot put – 7th)
  • Adrianna Shaw (shot put – 3rd)
  • Cody Williams (heptathlon – 7th)

SEASON PREVIEW: 2018 outdoor track and field

MEN
Head coach
: Matt Beisel (2nd year)
2018 indoor finishes: T-4th GPAC; T-42nd NAIA
2017 indoor finishes
: 2nd GPAC; 2nd NAIA
2017 outdoor finishes: 2nd GPAC; 5th NAIA
2018 indoor All-Americans: Jacob Cornelio (weight throw); Cody Williams (heptathlon).
2017 All-Americans returning: Nathan Matters (4x400m relay); Jake Rodgers (4x400m relay).
2017 All-Americans lost: Cody Boellstorff (*weight throw, *hammer, discus); Philip Kreutzer (hammer); Zach Lurz (*shot put-2, weight throw, hammer, discus); CJ Muller (600 meters, 4x400m relay); Lucas Wiechman (*heptathlon, *pole vault, 60 meter hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4x400m relay).
*National champion 

WOMEN
Head coach
: Matt Beisel (2nd year)
2018 indoor finishes: 5th GPAC; 9th NAIA
2017 indoor finishes
: 4th GPAC; 7th NAIA
2017 outdoor finishes: 3rd GPAC; 6th NAIA
2018 indoor All-Americans: Samantha Liermann (*shot put, weight throw); Johanna Ragland (shot put); Adrianna Shaw (shot put).
2017 All-Americans returning: Allie Brooks (pole vault); McKenzie Gravo (pole vault); Samantha Liermann (*shot put-2); Adrianna Shaw (shot put); Bethany Shaw (discus).
2017 All-Americans lost: Sydney Meyer (weight throw, hammer); Kali Robb (weight throw, shot put, hammer); Tricia Svoboda (javelin, discus).
*National champion

Outlook
Three weeks removed from the 2018 NAIA indoor national championships, the Concordia University track and field teams are on the cusp of opening up the outdoor season. In recent years, the additional throwing events at outdoor meets have favored the Bulldogs, who captured national championship banners at the 2015 (men) and 2016 (women) NAIA outdoor national events.

In his second season leading Concordia track and field, head coach Matt Beisel is looking for the next wave of stars to emerge in order to maintain the program’s GPAC and national prestige. Seven of the Bulldogs’ 17 indoor national qualifiers this March were new to the national stage.

“We had a lot of great performances both at conference and indoor nationals,” Beisel said. “We did have some disappointments. With some of the those kids, we’re going to be helping them figure out how to get better. On the other hand, we had a lot of spectacular performances. Across the board, we had good things happen. The fact that we’re redshirting a lot of kids that are going to be heavy hitters provides a good outlook for next year but outdoor this season will be huge for our throwers. The added events are huge scoring events for us on both the men’s and women’s sides.”

The program’s unquestioned MVP of the indoor season was Samantha Liermann, who made another big splash by earning the second shot put national title of her career. Her toss at the national championships broke the school record. That effort capped off a remarkable indoor season for Liermann, who excelled at a consistently elite level from meet to meet. She also won the GPAC title in the shot put.

Liermann and company placed ninth nationally at the indoor national championships and have the potential to place higher this coming May. The strong stable of throwers in the shot put includes indoor All-Americans Johanna Ragland and Adrianna Shaw. At least year’s outdoor national meet, returners McKenzie Gravo (pole vault) and Bethany Shaw (discus) also took home All-America recognition. In Gravo’s case, she will be redshirting in order to preserve eligibility for a fifth year of college.

On the men’s side, Jacob Cornelio (weight throw) and Cody Williams (heptathlon) are coming off indoor All-America performances and are leaders of a group of up-and-comers that includes multi-event athlete Blake Becher. Meanwhile, senior Scott Johnson, indoor GPAC titlist in the triple jump, will take one last aim at an All-America plaque.

The team’s 42nd-place indoor national finish was a departure from an extended run of top-five NAIA finishes. Concordia is working on developing the next round of point producing stars. Williams is at the top of that list.

“Cody is a person who realizes he’s not even close to his potential,” Beisel said. “He’s very excited coming off indoor season and his motivation has been awesome. He’s a guy that could potentially make it to nationals in the pole vault, the high jump and the decathlon. We try to balance that with his age and knowing that it’s a lot of stuff for a freshman to do at one meet. Who knows what can happen at outdoor, but we just want to keep him healthy and continue to train him at all of the events.”

While the women’s shot put will be a strength again for outdoor, so too will be the women’s discus, at least on paper. Four returners qualified for last season’s outdoor national championships in the event: Adrianna Shaw, Bethany Shaw, Carley Skopera and Jan Steinbrueck (Jacy Embray will not compete due to injury). Current teammates who reached the 2017 NAIA outdoor nationals in individual events include Cornelio (hammer and discus), Ben Hulett (110 hurdles) and Tyrell Reichert (pole vault) on the men’s side and Taylor Grove (half marathon), Liermann (shot put and hammer) and Tristen Mosier (pole vault) on the women’s side.

“We should definitely place higher at conference,” Beisel said. “With those new events added in there we should put additional points on the board and place higher. I think we can shoot for a top-three position for sure on both sides. It’s within our reach. With nationals, I do think we have more guys who can score for us. Anything can happen at nationals, but I think our women should place top 10 and our guys hopefully can put a few more points on the board, especially in the throws.”

Due to expected inclement weather this weekend, Wayne State College moved its Wildcat Classic to Thursday (March 22). That schedule change means that only Concordia’s 5,000 and 10,000 meter runners will open up their outdoor seasons this week. The next meet on the schedule is the Fort Hays State University Invitational next Friday (March 30). The Bulldogs are set to host the Concordia Outdoor Invite April 6-7.

Other schedule highlights include the Drake Relays (April 26-28), the GPAC outdoor championships (May 4-5) in Sioux City, Iowa, and the NAIA outdoor championships (May 24-26) in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Deterding wins triple jump; throwers post seven automatic marks

HAYS, Kan. – The outdoor season typically favors Concordia University track and field programs known for having some of the nation’s top throwers. In a meet that marked the opening of outdoor track for most Bulldogs, the long tossers in navy and white produced seven automatic national qualifying marks on Friday (March 30). NCAA Division II Fort Hays State University served as host of the meet dubbed the Alex Francis Track & Field Classic.

Head coach Matt Beisel, now in his second season as head coach at Concordia, enjoyed watching his athletes put marks on the national leaderboard on a nice spring day in Hays, Kan.

“We always want to get some early marks,” Beisel said. “Being able to nail those down is the reason why we did this. You never know how the weather is going to be going forward so every single meet is important. We went down here to try to catch some warmer weather. The throwers came through with a lot of good marks. We had some really good jumps with a lot of improvement from a lot of kids. Jessica Deterding had the biggest jump of her life in the triple.”

The women’s shot put will continue to be a strength into the outdoor season. On Friday, Samantha Liermann (47’ 7”), Adrianna Shaw (44’ 10 ¾”) and Johanna Ragland (44’ 8”) each locked in their trips to the national championships and placed second, fifth and sixth, respectively, at the meet. Adrianna Shaw also doubled up with a national mark in the discus (149’ 1”). She was second on the team in the event to Bethany Shaw (150’ 8”).

Elsewhere in the throws, sophomore Jacob Cornelio will head to the outdoor national championships for the second year in a row. He qualified in the hammer throw with a mark of 184’ 4” (fourth place). The Elk Grove, Calif., native also just missed the auto mark in the discus (160’ 5”). An additional national qualifier was a first timer in freshman Madison Holt, who threw 165’ 3” in the hammer. Meanwhile, fellow freshman Morgan De Jong hit a ‘B’ standard in the discus (142’ 2”).

As mentioned by Beisel, Bulldog jumpers also produced a number of highlights. Sophomore Jessica Deterding emerged with the first event title of her collegiate career via her personal best of 37’ 5” in the triple jump (‘B’ standard). On the men’s side, senior Scott Johnson continues to be one of the program’s most consistent performers. He turned in ‘B’ marks in the long jump (23’ 5 ¼”) and the triple jump (47’ 1 ¾”).

A Steady wind coming from the south for the entire meet negatively impacted the times of runners in races covering greater than 200 meters. In the sprints, freshman Mika Brees placed sixth in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, posting times of 12.43 and 26.04, respectively. Brees also competed on 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. The women’s 4x4 finished in 4:19.74 (third place).

It was also a busy day for Kennedy Mogul, who had a huge personal best in long jump. She also ran the 100 and 400 meter hurdles and as part of the 4x100 meter relay. Among other items, Leah Larson (11.26m) finished runner up to Deterding in the triple jump and Kara Stark placed third in the high jump (1.60m).

Outdoor track brings the additional throwing events and races like the steeplechase and 4x100 meter relay. Those dynamics should make for stronger placements this spring from a Bulldog perspective.

“The number and type of events is the biggest game changer for us,” Beisel said. “We go from two throwing events to four and we’re really good in all of them so that ramps things up as far as our ability to qualify for nationals and score points at conference. Outdoor has been better for Concordia with where we’re at as a team right now.”

Next up is the Concordia Outdoor Invitational (April 6-7) that the Bulldogs will host next week. A tentative meet schedule can be viewed HERE.

Concordia Invite moved to Thursday

The track and field programs have announced a change to this week's Concordia Outdoor Invite. Instead of taking place Friday and Saturday, the meet will be held on Thursday (April 5) only. Throws are now set to begin at 2 p.m. CT with all other events following at 4 p.m. A revised meet schedule can be viewed HERE. The change was made due to the unfavorable weekend weather forecast.

Meet preview: Concordia Outdoor Invite

LIVE RESULTS

SEWARD, Neb. – A modified Concordia Outdoor Invite will now take place on Thursday (April 5) inside and around Bulldog Stadium. An unfavorable weekend weather forecast caused the Concordia University track and field staff to alter the meet to a one-day gathering in the middle of the week. Thursday’s Concordia Invite is set to start at 2 p.m. CT with throwing events. Other events will begin at 4 p.m. The meet schedule can be viewedHERE.

Due to the change in plans, the meet will be smaller in scope. The Bulldogs will be joined on Thursday by GPAC rivals Doane, Hastings and Midland, by former GPAC member Nebraska Wesleyan, by nearby York College and by NCAA Division II Wayne State College. This is the second time already this spring that head coach Matt Beisel’s programs have dealt with a scaled down meet. Wayne State’s Wildcat Classic (March 22) also had to be shortened and placed in the middle of the week.

The majority of Concordia athletes did not open the outdoor season until last week’s Alex Francis Classic hosted by Fort Hays State University. The highlights were a win in the triple jump for sophomore Jessica Deterding and seven combined automatic national qualifying marks turned in by a throws group led by Samantha Liermann, now a two-time national titlist in the shot put.

In addition to Liermann, the list of Bulldog national qualifiers currently includes Jacob Cornelio (hammer throw), Madison Holt (hammer throw), Johanna Ragland (shot put), Adrianna Shaw (shot put, discus), Bethany Shaw (discus). ‘B’ standard marks are also possessed by Evan Asche (half marathon), Cornelio (discus), Morgan De Jong (discus), Deterding (triple jump) and Scott Johnson (long jump, triple jump). With 13 marks on the national board, both Concordia programs stand a strong chance of appearing in the national top 25 ratings set to be released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Wednesday.

Competing teams at Concordia Invite
*2018 indoor national finish in parentheses

Concordia (NAIA: M – 42nd; W – 9th)
Doane (NAIA: M – 15th; W – 28th)
Hastings (NAIA: M – 4th; W – 7th)
Midland (NAIA: M – 32nd; W – no qualifiers)
Nebraska Wesleyan (NCAA D-III: M – 51st; W – 4th)
Wayne State (NCAA DII: M – no points; W – 16th)
York (NAIA: M – 15th; W – no qualifiers)

The next scheduled meet following this week is the Grand View University Quad in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 14. Bulldog athletes will be scattered throughout many events over the upcoming April weeks. The Drake Relays loom April 26-28.

Bulldogs make strides on the track in outdoor home opener

SEWARD, Neb. – In a meet moved up to beat the wintry-like weekend forecast, the Concordia University track and field program played the role of host for the first time this outdoor season. Temperatures soared into the 60s for the annual Concordia Outdoor Invite, which featured athletes from seven different institutions that converged on Thursday (April 5). Samantha Liermann starred once again and two Bulldogs earned event titles.

Head coach Matt Beisel saw room for improvement, but he liked what was accomplished on the track from many of his middle distance and long distance runners.

“Our distance and middle distance kids had phenomenal days,” Beisel said. “We had personal bests and a lot of huge breakthroughs. I’m really proud of them. Cody Williams ran 15.1 in the 110 hurdles which was huge. There was a lot of progress made from last week in the running events. It makes sense with not having to deal with 20 mile-per-hour winds. We had some good stuff in the field events, too. Jessica Deterding went over 37 feet in the triple jump.”

Meet-to-meet, no Bulldog has been more reliable in 2018 than Liermann, who boosted her NAIA best mark in the shot put to 48’ 9 ½.” She placed second behind only a NCAA Division II competitor. Liermann also added a fresh automatic national qualifying mark with her throw of 166 feet in the hammer and put up a ‘B’ standard in the discus (140’ 3”) as part of an all-around impressive day. Also in the women’s shot put, Adrianna Shaw moved her season best to 45’ 10 ½” (fifth best nationally).

An All-American at the indoor national championships, Cody Williams placed as the runner up in the 110 meter hurdles. His 15.12 allowed him to creep closer to the ‘B’ standard (14.95). He also took part in the 400 hurdles and the pole vault as part of a busy day.

Elsewhere on the track, Josiah McAllister finished second in the 800 meters while clocking in at 1:57.49, just in front of a rival from Doane. In longer distances, Rebekah Hinrichs placed third in a personal best of 5:02.72 in the 1,500 meters and Taylor Grove finished third with a time of 19:08.95 in the 5,000 meters. Beisel was also pleased with improvements in the 5k on the men’s side where Jordan Lorenz (16:22.46) paced the team.

Deterding put herself on the board with a ‘B’ standard in the triple jump last week. She jumped beyond 37 feet for the second week in a row and placed third. Just behind her was teammate Leah Larson (36’ 5 ¾”).

Seward High School product Mika Brees claimed a win in the 200 meters with a time of 26.31. She placed fifth in the 100 meters, finishing in 12.87. Another first-place finish went to Benjamin Pratt, who cleared 6’ 4 ¾” in the high jump.

Up next for the Bulldogs is the Grand View University Quad in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 14. At this point, Concordia is roughly a month out from the GPAC outdoor championships that will take place in Sioux City, Iowa.

Liermann snags GPAC weekly honor

GPAC release

SEWARD, Neb. – For the second time in 2018, a thrower from the Concordia University track and field programs has been tabbed winner of a GPAC weekly award. On Wednesday (April 11), the conference named junior Samantha Liermann the GPAC Hauff Mid-America Sports Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week. Teammate Adrianna Shaw earned the same award on Jan. 31 as part of the indoor season.

Each of the three marks Liermann turned in at last week’s Concordia Outdoor Invite were either season or personal bests. She placed second in the shot put, fifth in the hammer throw and sixth in the discus at the meet. She pushed her NAIA best shot put mark to 48’ 9 ½”, added a fresh automatic national qualifying toss in the hammer (166’) and achieved a personal best ‘B’ standard in the discus (140’ 3”). The Wisner, Neb., native currently ranks in the top 10 nationally in all three events.

Liermann captured shot put national titles at the 2017 outdoor and 2018 indoor NAIA championships. She has six career All-America awards to her credit, including five in the shot put.

Select members of the program will be in action on Thursday at the NAIA Midwest Quad hosted in Des Moines, Iowa by Grand View University. The first events are slated to begin at 10 a.m. CT.

Johnson, Shaw break through with fresh national marks

DES MOINES, Iowa – Senior Scott Johnson continues to climb the school’s all-time list in the triple jump. One of a select number of athletes able to compete at the NAIA Midwest Quad on Thursday, Johnson busted out an automatic national qualifying mark in a breakthrough performance. His efforts highlighted the meet for the Concordia University track and field athletes who appeared at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads turned in 14 event titles and Adrianna Shaw (hammer throw) joined Johnson with a fresh automatic mark. The quad meet also featured athletes from Baker University (Kan.), host Grand View and St. Ambrose University (Iowa).

“There were some events where the competition was slim in terms of number of competitors,” Beisel said. “Maybe from one perspective when you’re just competing against some of your teammates it might help you relax. It’s like practice like it was with the men’s pole vault. On the other hand, I think having really good competitors to go against helps. Typically the bigger meets are going to help us have better overall performances.”

Johnson bumped his way up to No. 2 in program history with his personal best triple jump of 47’ 6 3/5” in a winning performance on Thursday. He bested a smaller field of five competitors in Des Moines. He also took first in the long jump by coming in at 22’ 1/10.” Johnson has now locked up his first trip to the outdoor national championships. He’s a two-time indoor qualifier.

The Bulldog women’s shot put dominated once again. The five Concordia competitors went 1-2-3-4-5 amongst a field of 15 throwers. Samantha Liermann claimed yet another event title with her toss of 47’ 6 3/5. Next in line were Shaw, Johanna Ragland, Jodi Fry and Jazzy Eickhoff. Shaw popped off a hammer throw of nearly 170 feet and placed second out of nine athletes. Shaw now owns automatic national qualifying marks in three events.

It was a solid day for York native Kennedy Mogul. She finished the 400 hurdles in a first-place time of 1:05.06, roughly six seconds better than her time at the beginning of outdoor season. Additionally, she finished third in the 100 meter hurdles (15.80) and collaborated with an improving 4x400 meter relay group that took first place.

Elsewhere in the field events, Jacob Daack creeped closer to a ‘B’ standard in the shot put with a personal best. He also turned in a PR in the discus. For the second meet in a row, Ben Pratt won the high jump. His PR on Thursday measured almost 6 ½ feet. Meanwhile, freshman Joe Gomez eclipsed personal bests in three throwing events and Eickhoff won the javelin competition with a 'B' standard throw.

On the track, Pat Wortmann checked in under two minutes (1:59.20) in the 800 meters and placed fifth. Concordia also ran off a women’s 4x800 meter relay that clocked in at 10:14.46. The quartet featured Miranda Rathjen, Rebekah Hinrichs, Lydia Cook and Alyssa Fye.

Most Bulldogs will be in action next week at Doane’s Jim Dutcher Invite (April 20-21) in Crete, Neb. Members of the team could also compete at the Kansas Relays (April 19-20) hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Nine Bulldogs showcase talents at Kansas Relays

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A group of nine athletes representing the Concordia University track and field programs, mostly discus throwers, competed on Friday (April 20) at the Kansas Relays hosted by the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Friday marked the lone day for Bulldogs to appear at KU. They were accompanied by assistant coaches Wayne Earney and Ed McLaughlin.

Concordia loaded up in the women’s discus, entering six competitors into the event. Junior Samantha Liermann led the way with a sixth-place finish thanks to a personal best of 143’ 8.” She was joined in the discus by teammates Carley Skorepa (140’ 2,” 11th), Adrianna Shaw (140’ 1,” 12th), Bethany Shaw (137’ 6,” 13th), Morgan De Jong (132,’ 16th) and Jan Steinbrueck. On the men’s side, Jacob Cornelio, placed 19th in the discus (138’).

Standout triple jumpers Scott Johnson and Leah Larson also made up the field of athletes at the Kansas Relays. Larson turned in a mark of 36’ 2 ¼” and placed eighth. Meanwhile, Johnson checked in at 45’ 9 ¼,” placing 13th. Johnson has qualified for nationals in the triple jump.

Most of Concordia’s competitors at the Kansas Relays came from the NCAA Division II, NAIA and junior college levels.

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Sunday at the Jim Dutcher Invite hosted by Doane. The meet was originally scheduled to run Friday and Saturday but was pushed back due to the threat of rain showers. A revised schedule for the meet can be viewed HERE.

Grove, Platt turn in new 'A' standards

CRETE, Neb. – While competing in locations nearly 200 miles apart, junior Taylor Grove and freshman Tucker Platt turned in fresh automatic national qualifying performances. Their efforts were major highlights on a rare busy Sunday (April 22) of action for the Concordia University track and field programs. Grove ran the half marathon at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, while her teammates were in Crete, Neb., for the Jim Dutcher Memorial hosted by Doane.

The Dutcher Memorial was essentially the fourth time out this outdoor season for the bulk of head coach Matt Beisel’s athletes.

“Each meet that we have we have a few more performances that jump out and get us the national marks that we need and improve our seedings going into conference,” Beisel said. “Last year we had a couple of meets during the outdoor season where a big percentage of our team just knocked it out of the park in every event area. We really haven’t had that this year. Today it was the running events that really had a great day. We would love to have that all come together at conference.”

Grove will be headed to the NAIA outdoor national championships for the second year in a row. The native of Billings, Mont., clocked a personal best of 1:28.07 in the half marathon. Grove ran the race early in the morning on Sunday after spending Saturday night in Des Moines. She has overcome unforeseen circumstances that held her out of cross country season.

Platt, who hails from Stromsburg, Neb., has improved immensely since beginning his college career. The freshman cleared 15’ 5” in the pole vault, exactly meeting the ‘A’ standard in the event. Meanwhile, teammate Simon Brummond hit a ‘B’ mark by vaulting 15’ 1.” Four Bulldog men’s pole vaulters cleared 14 feet on Sunday.

The Dutcher Memorial provided an opportunity for multi-event athletes. Concordia holds down the top two spots in the women’s heptathlon (Kennedy Mogul and Jessica Deterding) and in the men’s decathlon (Blake Becher and Cody Williams) with those competitions set to conclude on Monday. All four aforementioned Bulldogs have turned in a wealth of personal bests within specific events.

Among other noteworthy accomplishments on the women’s side, freshman Mika Brees turned in a personal best in the 200 meters (25.96) and helped the 4x400 meter relay to a season best. In the 1,500 meter race, Rebekah Hinrichs and Alyssa Fye both recorded personal bests while placing second and fifth, respectively.

On the men’s side, Josiah McAllister ran a season best in the 800 meters (1:55) and finished second. He also ran a 49.2 split for the 4x400 meter relay that finished fourth in 3:24.08. In the same 800 meter race, Thomas Taylor clocked a season best. Elsewhere, Nathan Elbert claimed a PR in the javelin (163’ 1”) and Jordan Lorenz made his debut in the 10,000 meters with a team season best of 34:19.71.

In the women’s shot put, star Samantha Liermann put up a throw of 48’ 9,” just off her mark that leads the NAIA. Already qualified for nationals in the hammer throw, Jacob Cornelio continues to see the ‘A’ standard in the discus. He threw 151’ 4” on Sunday.

The Dutcher Memorial will conclude on Monday with the remainder of the multi-events. They are scheduled to get started at 2 p.m. in Crete.

Deterding, Williams cap Dutcher Memorial with wins

CRETE, Neb. – The only action to take place at the Jim Dutcher Memorial on Monday (April 23) came in the multi-events, which are shaping up to be a significant strength for the Concordia University track and field programs. Jessica Deterding and Cody Williams capped off wins in performances that rank them among the top 10 athletes in the NAIA in their respective events.

A sophomore from Eustis, Neb., Deterding has essentially locked up a spot at the NAIA outdoor national championships courtesy of her efforts that had head coach Matt Beisel beaming with pride. Williams also appears to stand a great chance of making his way to Gulf Shores, Ala., at the end of May. A day earlier, Taylor Grove (marathon) and Tucker Platt (pole vault) clinched national championships berths.

Deterding finished the heptathlon with 4,392 points (No. 3 on the national leaderboard) to hold off runner up Maitlyn Thomsen from Doane. Deterding went over 18 feet in the long jump while also turning in solid marks in the javelin and the 800 meters on Monday. Meanwhile, teammate Kennedy Mogul finished third at the Dutcher Memorial with 4,185 points. Mogul’s total meets the minimum standard required to be placed on the national leaderboard (currently No. 16).

A 2018 indoor national qualifier, Williams piled up 6,317 points in the decathlon while outperforming six competitors in the field. He now ranks ninth in the nationally in the event. A fourth-place finisher at the Dutcher Memorial, freshman Blake Becher checks in at No. 14 nationally in the decathlon (6,146 points).

Several meets are listed on this week’s schedule. Select Bulldogs will be at the prestigious Drake Relays (April 26-28) in Des Moines, Iowa. Other upcoming meets are the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (April 26) and the recently added Concordia Blizzard Buster (April 28). The Blizzard Buster will be a small meet with two other institutions joining the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Track and field athletes prepare to finish pre-GPAC slate

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia University track and field athletes will represent the program at three different meets Thursday through Saturday (April 26-28) as they continue to ready themselves for the upcoming GPAC championships that will be hosted by Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa, May 4-5. This week’s slate includes the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite (Thursday), the Drake Relays (Friday) and the recently added Concordia Blizzard Buster (Saturday).

Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads enter the week having produced a combined 12 ‘A’ standard and nine ‘B’ standard national qualifying marks. Nine different individuals have clinched spots at the outdoor national championships, including the newest members of the national qualifying field – Taylor Grove (marathon) and Tucker Platt (pole vault). Adrianna Shaw leads the team with three automatic marks (shot put, discus, hammer throw) while Samantha Liermann continues to top the nation in the shot put (48’ 9 ½”).

In addition, four Bulldogs possess top 16 national rankings in multi-events. Jessica Deterding moved all the way to No. 3 on the NAIA national list in the heptathlon (4,392) after winning the event at the Dutcher Memorial last week. On the men’s side, Cody Williams took first in the decathlon with a point total that ranks ninth nationally (6,317). Blake Becher (6,146 points in the decathlon) and Kennedy Mogul (4,185 points in heptathlon) also met the minimum standard for national championships consideration.

Grove became the first Bulldog to compete at the Drake Relays this spring. She placed third among women in the half marathon by finishing in one hour, 28 minutes and seven seconds on April 22, locking up a berth to the national championships for the second year in a row. At the Drake Relays on Friday, Concordia will display a women’s 4x400 meter relay, a men’s 4x800 meter relay, Scott Johnson in the triple jump and Liermann in the shot put.

Select members of the team will head to Lincoln for the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite on Thursday. The bulk of the team is zeroing in on Saturday’s Blizzard Buster, a meet that was not included on the original schedule. Athletes from Doane and Hastings will be present on Saturday.

Bulldogs at Drake Relays

Friday, April 27

9:04 a.m. – men’s 4x800 meter relay (Nathan Matters, Josiah McAllister, Thomas Taylor, Christian Van Cleave)

12:28 p.m. – women’s 4x400 meter relay (Tori Beran, Kennedy Mogul, Jamie Nikodym, Miranda Rathjen)

1:30 p.m. – Scott Johnson (triple jump)

5:30 p.m. – Samantha Liermann (shot put)

Bulldogs begin busy stretch at Prairie Wolf Invite

LINCOLN, Neb. – A group of 40 athletes from the Concordia University track and field team competed in the Prairie Wolf Invite hosted on Thursday (April 26) by Nebraska Wesleyan University. Junior Carley Skorepa posted a new ‘A’ standard national qualifying mark in the discus while fellow Bulldogs Mika Brees (200 meters) and Jacob Cornelio (hammer throw) placed as runners up in their respective events.

Head coach Matt Beisel and his staff have strategically splintered the team into meets throughout the weekend. Concordia is just over a week out before the start of the GPAC outdoor championship meet.

Skorepa became the 10th different Bulldog to officially qualify for nationals in at least one event. She threw the discus more than 146 feet in an effort that put her in fifth place in a competitive meet that included several of the top track and field programs in the state of Nebraska. She also came up just short of a ‘B’ standard in the hammer throw.

Brees, a Seward High School product, continues to make gains as the top sprinter on the women’s side. She turned in a personal best of 25.78 in the 200 meters. In that same event, Hayley Stazak also achieved a PR (26.89). On the men’s side, Wyatt Woodman’s time of 24.21 in the 200 represented an all-time best. In the 400 meter hurdles, Sam Ferguson clocked a PR of 1:01.01. Another notable effort came from Tristen Mosier, who cleared 11 feet in the pole vault for the first time this year.

Cornelio eclipsed the ‘A’ standard once again in the hammer by surpassing 174 feet. Cornelio continues to come up just off the ‘A’ mark in the discus. Also in the hammer, teammate Ryan Sanchez hit the ‘B’ mark with a toss of more than 165 feet. Sanchez placed fifth. In the men’s shot put, Jacob Daack came in just under a ‘B’ mark and placed sixth.

Select members of the program will be at the Drake Relays on Friday. A rundown of competing Bulldogs can be found HERE. Concordia is also getting ready to host the Concordia Blizzard Buster, a newly added meet, on Saturday. An event scheduled is available HERE.

Four fresh 'A' marks achieved at Blizzard Buster

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University track and field programs picked an opportune time for a late addition to the outdoor schedule. The recently added Bulldog Blizzard Buster accomplished exactly what the coaching staff had hoped for. While taking advantage of beautiful sunny and mild weather, Leah Larson, Johanna Ragland, Carley Skorepa and Cody Williams all turned in fresh automatic national qualifying marks on Saturday (April 28).

Head coach Matt Beisel’s programs have racked up a combined 17 ‘A’ standard marks so far this outdoor season. Two meets remain before the national championships in late May. Said Beisel, “I think a lot of our kids can feel really good about what they did, not just today but over the last three days.”

If it wasn’t already obvious, Williams (Imperial, Neb.) is a budding star. A national qualifier during indoor season, Williams will get his first taste of outdoor nationals next month. He already held a top five national mark in the decathlon and now has locked up a spot in the pole vault thanks to his personal best of 15’ 5” on Saturday. He wound up winning the high jump (PR of 6’ 5 ½”) and placing second in the 110 meter hurdles (15.00) in a small-ish meet that put Concordia up against rivals Doane and Hastings.

Williams is part of one of the top men’s pole vault groups in the nation. Fellow freshman Tucker Platt also cleared 15’ 5,” meeting the ‘A’ standard for the second time this season. The likes of Sam Sisco (14’ 7 ¼”), Dalton Berry (14’ 7 ¼”) and Simon Brummond (14’ 7 ¼”) give the Bulldogs plenty of depth in the event.

A junior from Norfolk, Neb., Larson has been flirting with the ‘A’ mark in the triple jump all year. At long last, Larson went over 38 feet while punching a ticket to nationals and winning the competition that included Concordia athletes exclusively. Jessica Deterding (37’ 7 ¼”) wasn’t far behind. Deterding also turned in a PR in the 100 meter hurdles.

In the throws, Ragland and Skorepa added marks to the qualifying field with their efforts in the hammer. Two days earlier, Skorepa qualified for nationals in the discus at the Prairie Wolf Invite. Skorepa (165’ 2”) and Ragland (164’ 10”) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the hammer. In the same event, national shot put leader Samantha Liermann popped off a personal best of 172’ 11.” That mark could move her into the top five on the NAIA national list.

This was the third day in a row that Concordia athletes competed in a meet. Select members of the team were also at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. The Bulldog men’s 4x800 meter relay quartet of Christian Van Cleave, Thomas Taylor, Nathan Matters and Josiah McAllister clocked a ‘B’ standard of 7:45.84 on the blue oval. Concordia also entered a women’s 4x400 meter relay that finished in 4:00.88 (Kennedy Mogul, Miranda Rathjen, Tori Beran and Jamie Nikodym).

All of those athletes returned to action on Saturday. Matters (50.14) and McAllister (50.15) were neck-and-neck for the top two spots in the 400 meters. Also on the track, Taylor won the 800 meter race with a time of 1:56.54.

There were plenty of other noteworthy efforts. Adrianna Shaw turned in a PR in the discus (155’ 7”) and took first place. Sarah Allen had a personal best in the triple jump (34’ 1 ½”). Jodi Fry achieved a PR in the hammer throw and an outdoor PR in the shot put. Bethany Shaw again eclipsed the ‘A’ standard in the discus and had a PR in the hammer. Tyrell Reichert alleviated some of his disappointment in the pole vault with a personal best in the triple jump.

The GPAC outdoor championships are coming up next week (May 4-5). They will be hosted in Sioux City, Iowa, by Morningside. More information about the meet can be found HERE.