Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week
Female: Leah Larson, Track & Field
Larson, a senior from Norfolk, Neb., opened the track season up by breaking the school record in the indoor triple jump. Her mark of 38 1 ¼” automatically qualified her for the national championships and placed her at No. 2 nationally in the triple jump. Larson is a returning national qualifier.
Male: Brevin Sloup, Basketball
Just named the GPAC Player of the Week, Sloup powered the Bulldogs to a pair of GPAC wins last week. In the 102-92 win over No. 7 Briar Cliff, Sloup poured in a career high 33 points while dishing out five assists. Sloup is the team’s leading scorer with an average of 16.5 points per game.
Previous Athletes of the Week
Jan. 8 – Zack Moistner (wrestling) / Mackenzie Koepke (basketball)
Dec. 31 – Brevin Sloup (basketball) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Dec. 18 – Taylor Cockerill (basketball) / Michael Stann (wrestling)
Dec. 11 – Deandre Chery (wrestling) / Philly Lammers (basketball)
Dec. 4 – Tanner Shuck (basketball) / Taylor Grove (track & field)
NOVEMBER Athletes of the month: Alberto Garcia (wrestling) / Quinn Wragge (basketball)
Nov. 27 – Alberto Garcia (wrestling) / Taylor Grove (cross country) / Quinn Wragge (basketball)
Nov. 13 – Zac Walter (football) / Grace Barry (basketball)
Nov. 6 – Jack Bennett (soccer) / Tori Cera (soccer)
OCTOBER Athletes of the Month: Carlos Ferrer (soccer) / Maria Deeter (soccer)
Oct. 30 – Carlos Ferrer (soccer) / Taylor Cockerill (basketball)
Oct. 23 – Josiah McAllister (cross country) / Jenna Habegger (volleyball)
Oct. 16 – Carlos Ferrer (soccer) / Maria Deeter (soccer)
Oct. 9 – Kordell Glause (football) / Brynn Suddeth (soccer)
Oct. 2 – Zac Walter (football) / Maria Deeter (soccer)
SEPTEMBER Athletes of the Month: Ryan Durdon (football) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
Sept. 25 – Roger de la Villa (soccer) / Erin Lokke (shooting sports)
Sept. 18 – Lane Napier (football) / Emmie Noyd (volleyball)
Sept. 11 – Ryan Durdon (football) / Marissa Hoerman (volleyball)
Sept. 4 – JP Verissimo (soccer) / Lauren Martin (soccer)
Aug. 28 – Garrett Perry (soccer) / Jenna Habegger (volleyball)
News and notes:
Buy passes for the 68th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament: The 68th Concordia Invitational Tournament is set to get underway just one week from this Friday (Jan. 25-26). This year’s host will be Concordia University, Ann Arbor. Advanced tournament passes can be bought for $15 via THIS LINK. On the opening day of the event, the Bulldog basketball teams will play at 12 and 2 p.m. CST (1 and 3 p.m. EST). Both squads will go against Concordia University, Wisconsin.
Crete softball pipeline is the gift that keeps on giving: When Camry Moore decided to make Concordia her college home, she became the third Crete High School alum on the current Bulldog softball roster. Crete has also funneled Jamie Lefebure and MacKinsey Schmidt to Seward. All three figure to play key roles on head coach Shawn Semler’s 2019 squad. For more on the trio of Crete High alums, click HERE.
GPAC preseason polls released for baseball and softball: The spring seasons are just around the corner. With that in mind, the GPAC unveiled its 2019 preseason coaches’ polls for baseball and softball last week. Head coach Ryan Dupic’s baseball team and head coach Shawn Semler’s softball squad were both pegged to finish fifth. The Concordia baseball team even garnered a first-place vote. The most recent conference championships for the two programs was 2017 in baseball (regular season) and 2015 in softball (tournament). For more details on the preseason polls, check out the following links: baseball | softball.
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fourth year of existence. The show airs live for a half hour every Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on KTMX-FM 104.9 Max Country. The weekly feature can also be heard live via 104.9 Max Country’s website or by downloading the Max Country app. Throughout the 2018-19 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Tyler Cavalli serves as the host of the coaches’ show as well as the play-by-play voice for football and basketball. Frank Greene is in his fourth season calling Concordia volleyball.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting http://www.cune.edu/csn at game time. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
- What a week it was on the hardwood for the Bulldogs, who said goodbye to a seven-game skid within conference play. Led by Tanner Shuck, Concordia rallied for a thrilling 87-84 win at Hastings on Jan. 9. Three days later, the Bulldogs shot the lights out while shocking seventh-ranked Briar Cliff, 102-92, inside Walz Arena. Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has pulled back to .500 overall (10-10) and is 3-9 in GPAC action. For more information on Concordia men’s basketball, click HERE.
- Offensive execution has been lacking for much of the season, but things clicked nicely last week with Shuck and Brevin Sloup forming a dynamic duo. Following seven games in a row with shooting percentages south of 45.0, the Bulldogs shot 47.2 percent at Hastings and then a season high 58.2 percent versus Briar Cliff. Also during last week’s action, Concordia went 22-for-48 (.458) from 3-point range and 35-for-42 (.833) from the free throw line. The Bulldogs had entered the week ranked 10th out of 11 GPAC teams in field goal percentage offense.
- Sloup played out of his mind while helping his team to the upset of Briar Cliff. He poured in 26 of his career high 33 points in the second half. During a breathtaking surge in the second half that put Concordia up by as many as 14 points, Sloup beat the Chargers, off the ball, off the dribble and from beyond the arc. He finished up 13-for-23 from the floor while putting up the program’s highest single-game point total since Chandler Folkerts had 37 in the 109-106 overtime win at No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan on Feb. 12, 2017.
- Shuck has gotten his groove back. He supplied a combined 37 points over the two wins last week. His stat line for the week included 15 rebounds and six assists, 11-for-21 (.524) shooting from the floor, 7-for-15 (.467) shooting from 3-point range and perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the foul line. With the Bulldogs trailing 84-82 with the clock ticking under five seconds at Hastings, Shuck buried the game-winning triple. Fittingly, Shuck reached 1,000 career points in the win over Briar Cliff on a 3-point field goal. He is the 30th member of the program’s 1,000-point club.
- Freshman Carter Kent was overshadowed a bit by Sloup in the latest victory, but he put together a fine performance of his own. He tallied a career best 26 points while going 6-for-9 (.667) from the field and 12-for-16 (.750) from the free throw line. Kent helped get Concordia off to a big start versus Briar Cliff. He notched 10 points in the opening five-and-a-half minutes as the Bulldogs built a 21-4 lead. Kent (9.6 points/game) has been the team’s third scoring option all season behind Shuck and Sloup.
- At the end of play last Wednesday, the Bulldogs’ only two GPAC wins were both over Hastings. The Broncos, who checked in just outside of last week’s top 25 poll, have struggled against Concordia in recent years. The Bulldogs have now won six-straight series meetings with Hastings, who was ranked fifth in the most recent official GPAC poll. In that same poll, Briar Cliff sat at No. 2 behind Morningside.
- It’s fair to say that things have been up-and-down for this team, which has shown an ability at times to compete with top teams. Not only does Concordia own two wins over a “receiving votes” Hastings team, it also boasts the victory over No. 7 Briar Cliff and a road triumph over No. 20 Peru State College (NAIA Division I). The Bulldogs also trailed by just four points in the final two minutes versus Morningside, currently ranked fourth in NAIA Division II. On the flip side, Concordia has suffered losses to Doane (3-9 GPAC), Midland (4-7 GPAC) and Mount Marty (2-10 GPAC), squads that are jockeying to get into the conference tournament.
- Kent is not the only freshman to earn Limback’s trust. Justin Wiersema has now started two of the last three games and has come on strong. Last week he put up 11 points, three rebounds and three assists at Hastings and then followed with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds versus Briar Cliff. Each of those numbers in the Briar Cliff game represented a career high. Tanner Wubbels is another rookie who has seen consistent playing time. He recorded seven points in both of last week’s victories.
- Now Concordia will try to keep the momentum rolling as GPAC play continues this week. The Bulldogs will host Midland (9-11, 4-7 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CST on Wednesday before making the long journey to No. 21 Jamestown (18-4, 8-4 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. CST tipoff on Saturday. Both opponents defeated Concordia in their first meetings of the season.
Track & Field
- Indoor track and field season is officially underway for a program guided by head coach Matt Beisel, who begins his third season in Seward. Concordia took the bulk of its team to the Ward Haylett Invite at Doane on Jan. 12 when Bulldog athletes combined for seven automatic national qualifying marks and seven event titles. Five Concordia male competitors also took part in the University of Nebraska’s Graduate Classic on Jan. 11. The indoor season will span from now until the NAIA national championships (Feb. 28 – March 2). For more on Bulldog track and field, click HERE.
- Of course Leah Larson’s school record mark of 38’ 1 ¼” in the triple jump highlighted the opening weekend for Concordia. She is currently ranked No. 2 nationally in that event. In addition to the seven automatic standards met by the Bulldogs, members of the team also produced a collective seven ‘B’ standard qualifying marks. The list below includes all Concordia ‘A’ and ‘B’ marks achieved so far in 2019.
- Women’s 4x400m relay (B, 4:03.48)
- Rachel Battershell – 400 meters (B, 59.15)
- Jacob Cornelio – weight throw (A, 61’ 10 ½”)
- Leah Larson – triple jump (A, 38’ 1 ¼”)
- Samantha Liermann – shot put (A, 44’ 11 ¾”); weight throw (A, 53’ 2 ¼”)
- Nathan Matters – 600 meters (B, 1:22.31)
- Jacee Pfeifer – pole vault (A, 11’ 6 ½”); 400 meters (B, 59.22)
- Ben Pratt – high jump (B, 6’ 6 ¼”)
- Johanna Ragland – weight throw (B, 52’ ½”)
- Addie Shaw – shot put (A, 44’ 8”); weight throw (A, 57’ 11 ¼”)
- Cody Williams – 60 meter hurdles (B, 8.38)
- Larson added 3.5 inches to her previous personal best while breaking the school indoor triple jump record formerly held by Charista Zehnder, whose program standard of 38’ ¼” was achieved at the 2010 NAIA indoor national championships. Now a senior, Larson appears primed for her best season yet. She qualified for nationals in 2018 for both the indoor and outdoor triple jump. The native of Norfolk, Neb., is looking to improve upon her 2018 GPAC triple jump meet finishes of fourth in indoor and fifth in outdoor.
- Based on her career to date, senior Samantha Liermann is just getting warmed up. She enters her final collegiate track season as the most decorated performer currently in the program. Her list of accomplishments includes two shot put national titles and three GPAC shot put championships. She was also a member of the 2016 NAIA outdoor national championship team. As it stands right now, Liermann sports national rankings of sixth in the shot put and seventh in the weight throw.
- Addie Shaw is also a returning national titlist having won the discus championship at the 2018 NAIA outdoor meet. The junior from Bassett, Neb., turned in a personal best of more than three feet in the weight throw and currently ranks third nationally in the event. Her mark of 57’ 11 ¼” moved her up to No. 7 on the program’s all-time weight throw list. Shaw is also capable of contending for a national title in the shot put. She has two career top-three national placements in the shot put.
- Beisel will expect more national qualifiers in the pole vault for both men and women as the season carries on. The first vaulter to punch a ticket to nationals is Jacee Pfeifer, who is a sophomore academically but a redshirt freshman athletically. Pfeifer won the pole vault competition at the Ward Haylett Invite and also placed second to teammate Rachel Battershell in the 400 meter dash. The women’s pole vault should be particularly strong with past All-Americans Allie Brooks and McKenzie Gravo returning from redshirt seasons.
- On the men’s side, the two most notable returners, in terms of accolades, are thrower Jacob Cornelio and multi-event athlete Cody Williams. Cornelio earned All-America honors for both indoor and outdoor in 2018 while Williams was an indoor All-American in the heptathlon. Cornelio has already locked up a spot at the 2019 indoor national championships in the weight throw, an event in which he ranks fourth nationally. Williams is capable of hitting ‘A’ standards in multiple events. He began his season with a ‘B’ time in the 60 meter hurdles at the Devaney Center.
- From a team perspective, expectations are high for 2019. The women are coming off 2018 national finishes of ninth (indoor) and 12th (outdoor), respectively, and appear primed to rise higher this winter and spring. On the men’s side, the Bulldogs believe they can regain status as a top 25 national team. The most recent GPAC titles were 2015 (outdoor) for the men and 2012 (outdoor) for the women.
- Concordia track and field will not have to leave home for the rest of the month of January. The Bulldogs are getting set to host the Polar Dog Invite inside the Fieldhouse on Saturday. Based on the current tentative schedule, the meet should last from 1 p.m. until roughly 6:30 p.m. To view the tentative meet schedule, click HERE.
- Two wins by comfortable margins were turned in last week by the second-ranked Bulldogs, who have kept pace a game behind Dakota Wesleyan at the top of the GPAC standings. The latest victories came by scores of 102-85 at No. 21 Hastings and 87-58 at home versus Briar Cliff. Concordia earned regular-season sweeps of both teams. Thirteenth-year head coach Drew Olson’s squad has pushed its records to 17-2 overall and to 11-2 inside conference play. For more information on Bulldog women’s basketball, click HERE.
- Both of last week’s games were well in hand by halftime. At the break, Concordia led Hastings, 62-38, and Briar Cliff, 40-20. Dominant victories are not exactly a new thing for Olson’s program. Fifteen of the 17 Bulldog wins this season have come by double-digit margins. The only two single-digit margin triumphs both came by exactly eight points – versus No. 2 Southeastern University (Fla.) and No. 5 Northwestern. Especially impressive is Concordia’s per game scoring margin of plus-22.8 when considering it has played the nation’s most challenging schedule, according to Massey Ratings.
- The depth of talent in the program makes it exceedingly difficult on the opposition. The two points scored by All-American Philly Lammers versus Briar Cliff were a single-game career low. It didn’t really matter that the Chargers excelled at limiting her post touches. The Bulldogs still won handily while forcing 42 turnovers and making 15 3-point field goals. Four Concordia players scored in double figures, including Delani Fahey (12) and Taryn Schuette (10) off the bench.
- Fahey has been incredibly efficient with her offensive opportunities. After missing her four tries from 3-point range at Hastings, Fahey heated back up and went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc versus Briar Cliff. The native of Ord, Neb., has knocked down 18-of-36 attempts from that distance on the season. As just a freshman, Fahey has averaged 4.9 points per game. Her career high so far was 14 points in the win at Doane.
- Every week requires a new turnover update – because the Bulldogs keep forcing so many. Junior guard Riley Sibbel has been on a tear in the steal department. She plucked six thefts in both of last week’s outings and has had at least three steals in four-straight games. Concordia boasts each of the top three steals leaders in the GPAC – Grace Barry (3.74), Sibbel (2.68) and Lammers (2.53). The team’s two other starters, Quinn Wragge (2.05) and Taylor Cockerill (1.95), rank seventh and 11th, respectively, among GPAC players in steals per game.
- While Wragge (ninth; 1,598) and Lammers (17th; 1,278) continue to rise up the program’s all-time scoring list, Cockerill appears to be the next Bulldog on track to reach 1,000 career points. She pushed her career total to 626 after recording 12 points at Hastings and 15 versus Briar Cliff. The Waverly High School product has increased her scoring average from 9.0 as a freshman to 15.4 as a sophomore. In the right circumstances, she may sometime push the program single-game scoring record of 45 by Bailey Morris. Cockerill piled up 40 points in the season opening win over Indiana Wesleyan.
- The success of Concordia’s press is due, at least in part, to having fresh bodies to throw at the opponent. The team’s frenetic style has resulted in an average of 32.0 turnovers per game by its foes. That figure is even significantly better than comparative turnover averages caused by Olson’s recent national semifinalist teams of 2017-18 (24.4), 2016-17 (26.3) and 2014-15 (26.7). On the current team, 11 Bulldogs average more than 10 minutes played per game.
- The ability to wreak havoc with defensive tenacity has obviously been a hallmark of the program, but the Bulldogs are also quite lethal on the offensive end. According to Massey Ratings, Concordia is the top offensive team in the entire NAIA. Among NAIA Division II teams, the Bulldogs rank fourth in scoring offense (88.6), 13th in 3-point field goals per game (8.8), 17th in field goal percentage (.435) and 18th in assist-to-turnover ratio.
- The GPAC grind continues this week with Concordia aiming for regular-season sweeps of Midland and Jamestown. The Warriors (11-8, 6-7 GPAC) will be in Seward for a 6 p.m. CST tipoff on Wednesday. The Bulldogs will then hit the road to take on the Jimmies (11-10, 5-8 GPAC) at 2 p.m. CST on Saturday. Although Jamestown is new to the GPAC this season, Concordia played at Jamestown last season and came away with a 91-83 overtime win.
- Following action at the Cusatis Open hosted by Hastings on Jan. 5, the Bulldogs enjoyed a break in the schedule with last week off from competition. Eleven wrestlers represented Concordia and combined for 19 wins and two place finishes at the Cusatis Open, which included competitors from NCAA Division I and II schools. The event marked the fifth tournament this season for head coach Levi Calhoun’s squad. In dual action, the Bulldogs are 4-3 overall (2-0 GPAC). For more on Concordia wrestling, click HERE.
- Just prior to New Year’s Day, the NAIA released a new set of rankings. As a team, the Bulldogs checked in just outside of the NAIA coaches’ top 20, sitting third among the squads listed as “receiving votes.” Individually, four Concordia grapplers sport national rankings: No. 18 Maria Ybarra (125), No. 9 Alberto Garcia (133), No. 4 Deandre Chery (174) and No. 18 Michael Stann (285). At the conference level, nine Bulldogs are rated in the top six of their respective weight classes. Chery and Stann are both listed No. 1 in the GPAC.
- At 133 pounds, junior Zack Moistner of Fallbrook, Calif., turned in his first place finish of the season while scrapping in Hastings. He took fourth in the bracket as part of a 3-2 day, which included a 5-2 decision over an opponent from the University of Nebraska. Moistner also chalked up a victory by major decision to vault himself into the third-place bout, which resulted in an 8-4 defeat at the hands of Colin Poynter of the Air Force Academy. Moistner also competed at the Dan Harris Open and the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open and is now 9-9 overall on the season.
- Chery has set the standard all season for Concordia wrestlers. Chery rattled off three more pins at the Cusatis Open on his way to a fourth-place finish. In the third-place tussle, Chery got upset by No. 8 Chase Vincent of Oklahoma City University. Chery is now 25-6 overall with 13 pins this season. He has succeeded in placing at every tournament this season: first at the Dan Harris Open, third at the Dakota Wesleyan Open, fifth at the UNK Open, second at the Doane Open and fourth at the Cusatis Open.
- Junior Cam Devers (141) and senior Josh Nelsen (184) equaled Chery and Moistner with three wins apiece in Hastings. In the two prior tournaments that Devers had competed in, he wrestled at 149 pounds. He moved to his more natural 141 weight on Jan. 5 and produced his best results so far this season. Of Devers’ two losses, one came against an NCAA Division I foe and another came versus an NCAA Division II opponent. Meanwhile, Nelsen notched a pin before his run ended with a loss by sudden victory.
- A trio of Bulldogs picked up exactly two wins on the day: Walker Fisher (174), Tyler Jorgensen (197) and Stann (285). Darrin Miller (184) recorded one victory. Additional Concordia reps in Hastings included Ybarra (125), Kyle Carey (141) and Jason Watkins (157). It was a rare 0-2 day for Ybarra, who entered the Cusatis Open with a 17-5 record while cracking the NAIA national rankings.
- The Bulldogs will get back to action this weekend at the Missouri Valley College Invite, which will play out Friday and Saturday in Marshall, Mo. Many top NAIA programs and wrestlers will be present. The next duals on the slate will be the GPAC Duals on Jan. 26 when Concordia will host Briar Cliff, Doane, Hastings and Jamestown. That day will go a long ways towards determining whether the Bulldogs can climb back to the top of the conference. Concordia put together GPAC championship seasons three-straight years from 2014-15 through 2016-17.