Bulldog Athletic Association Athletes of the Week: Due to the absence of the weekly BAAM meetings, Athletes of the Week will not be announced. When it is determined that BAAM meetings can resume, members will be notified.
News and notes:
Cheer and dance teams open up competition seasons: The 2021 season is underway for Concordia Cheer and Dance. Both teams were in action twice last week in duals against GPAC opponents. In competition at Mount Marty on Jan. 13, the Bulldogs won by scores of 59.2 to 52.5 in cheer and 61.3 to 52.1 in dance. Three days later, Concordia appeared at home for the first time and the cheer squad moved to 2-0 via a 67.75 to 67.25 victory over Morningside. Meanwhile, dance lost, 71 to 68.15, but improved its score significantly from the season opener. Head Coach Mandi Maser is in her fifth season leading the Bulldogs. Both teams will return to action this Saturday at the Friends University Day of Duals in Wichita, Kan. For more information on the cheer and dance programs, click the following links: Cheer | Dance. Full season previews can be read via these links.
Playing through the pandemic: There has never been a more unique or more awkward time for athletics at Concordia University, Nebraska, but athletes and coaches are finding the “educational journey” worth the hassle. Said Athletic Trainer Eric Lundberg, “I think it’s really cool that we have stepped out as leaders in the collegiate athletic world as an institution that has been able to compete in a safe manner. We’ve taken the steps to mitigate the risk and show that we can do this thing in a safe way.” For more on how Concordia Athletics has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, click HERE.
Fall sports teams announce spring schedule additions: It will be a unique two-part season for Concordia’s men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball teams. All three squads completed their conference regular-season schedules in the fall. Now they look forward to resuming their 2020-21 seasons this spring. Concordia has announced regular-season additions for these sports leading into GPAC tournaments slated for April. To review schedule updates, visit the sport schedule pages on our athletics website.
Softball to open 2021 receiving votes nationally: Head Coach Shawn Semler’s softball squad has begun preseason preparation as the 2021 season opener rapidly approaches. The Bulldogs will enter the campaign with high expectations after appearing at No. 2 in the GPAC preseason ranking while also receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. A team led by stars such as Hhana Haro, Tori Homolka, Camry Moore and Kylee Nixon hopes to help the program crack the NAIA top 25 for the first time since 1998. For more details on the preseason rankings, click HERE.
Update to fan attendance policy (enacted in late December): As of late December 2020, the fan attendance policy regarding indoor sporting events has changed at CUNE. In accordance with Directed Health Measures released by the state of Nebraska, Concordia has increased fan attendance in indoor facilities to 50 percent capacity. Please note that spectators will not be permitted to attend indoor track and field meets (per GPAC policy). For additional details on how to purchase tickets to Bulldog Athletic events, see the paragraph below regarding HomeTown ticketing.
HomeTown Ticketing and Fan protocols for home events: Fans who plan to attend Concordia Athletics home events are advised to read through our protocols HERE. All fans are expected to self-screen and are required to wear masks while viewing contests in either Bulldog Stadium or Walz Arena. Non-family members are welcome to be present on our campus during these contests. Fans are also encouraged to order advance tickets through HomeTown Ticketing. By purchasing tickets online, fans are guaranteed entrance on game days. Concordia is allowing 75 percent capacity in outdoor venues and 50 percent capacity in indoor venues.
Bulldog Coaches Show airs every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT: The Bulldog Coaches Show is underway in its fifth 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 2020-21 season, Bulldog football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball contests will be aired live on Max Country. Evan Jones 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 sixth season calling Concordia volleyball.
Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs at game time. Beginning in 2019-20, Concordia Athletics partnered with PrestoSports for live video and statistical streaming. For more details on this change, click HERE. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.
Track & Field
· After more than a month between meets (due to the semester break), the Bulldogs resumed the 2020-21 indoor season this past Saturday while competing at the Scott Nisely Memorial Classic hosted by Doane. Athletes from five different GPAC institutions were on hand for the meet at Fuhrer Fieldhouse in Crete. Head Coach Matt Beisel’s athletes combined for 12 event titles while putting up a large number of marks that rank among the top 10 nationally. Concordia had last competed when it hosted the Bulldog Early Bird Meet back on Dec. 4-5. For more information on Concordia Track & Field, click HERE.
· Before going any further, it’s worth noting that for the remainder of the indoor season, the NAIA will not recognize any performances as automatic national qualifying marks. In order to limit the field to comply with COVID-19 protocols, the top 16 NAIA athletes in each event will earn berths to the indoor national championship meet. In another recent announcement, the NAIA revealed that the site of the 2021 indoor national meet will take place at Mount Marty and be held over four days (March 3-6).
· At the Early Bird meet, Concordia athletes combined for what were classified at the time as nine automatic national marks, nine ‘B’ standard national marks and five marks that met the minimum national standard in the heptathlon/pentathlon. Due to the adjustment to the national qualifying arrangement, Bulldogs who are currently in the top 10 nationally (as of Sunday) of their respective events are listed below.
o Men’s 4x400 meter relay, 2nd (3:19.01)
o Women’s 4x400 meter relay, 3rd (3:58.93)
o Men’s 4x800 meter relay, 1st (8:07.06)
o Women’s 4x800 meter relay, 3rd (9:47.71)
o Anna Baack – pole vault, 4th (11’ 6 ½”)
o Rachel Battershell – 400 meters, 2nd (56.71); 600 meters, 4th (1:36.49)
o Zach Bennetts – pole vault, 4th (14’ 9 ½”)
o Chase Berry – pole vault, 1st (15’ 3”)
o Jamey Broman – long jump, 5th (18’ 5”)
o Amira Cummings – pole vault, 6th (11’ 3”)
o Morgan De Jong – weight throw, 1st (56’ 8 ¾”)
o Rylee Haecker – 600 meters, 9th (1:41.30); 800 meters, 9th (2:24.57); mile, 9th (5:24.77)
o Kylahn Heritage – 1,000 meters, 7th (3:06.04), mile, 7th (5:21.87)
o Sarah Lewis – 60 hurdles, 2nd (8.93); 400 meters, 7th (58.31)
o Wyatt Loga – high jump, 4th (6’ 8”)
o Emily Loy – pentathlon, 4th (3,167)
o Elle Luehr – shot put, 2nd (42’ 6 ¼”)
o Colton Meyer – 60 hurdles, 4th (8.17); 400 meters, 6th (48.91)
o Taylor Moes – triple jump, 10th (35’ 4”)
o Kennedy Mogul – pentathlon, 7th (3,133)
o Cora Olson – 200 meters, 8th (25.94); long jump, 9th (18’ 1”)
o Jacee Pfeifer – 600 meters, 5th (1:36.75)
o Josie Puelz – pole vault, 1st (12’ 6 ¾”)
o Sarah Ragland – weight throw, 4th (54’ 1 ¾”)
o Jeremiah Reeser – heptathlon, 6th (4,473)
o Grace Reiman – 1,000 meters, 10th (3:08.45)
o Amy Richert – high jump, 2nd (5’ 5 ¼”); pentathlon, 6th (3,158)
o Calvin Rohde – mile, 8th (4:27.51)
o Xavier Ross – 400 meters, 3rd (48.09)
o Camden Sesna – mile, 10th (4:28.11)
o Katie Severt – long jump, 4th (18’ 7 ¼”)
o Christian Van Cleave – 600 meters, 7th (1:23.04)
o Cody Williams – pole vault, 1st (15’ 3”); heptathlon, 1st (5,030)
o Zach Zohner – pole vault, 8th (14’ 3 ½”)
· Kylahn Heritage (mile and 3,000 meters) and Sarah Lewis (400 meters and 60 meter hurdles) both won two event titles at the Nisely Memorial. The other eight event championships won by Bulldogs were claimed by Rachel Battershell (600 meters), Morgan De Jong (weight throw), Jacob Jennings (400 meters), Elle Luehr (shot put), Taylor Moes (triple jump), Josie Puelz (pole vault), Amy Richert (high jump) and Calvin Rohde (mile). Both De Jong and Puelz expanded upon marks that continue to rank No. 1 nationally.
· Concordia athletes combine for a total of 43 marks that rank inside the top 10 on the NAIA national list (as shown above). It’s early – and nothing is quite normal about this indoor season – but the Bulldogs can currently boast of five NAIA No. 1 marks thanks to their men’s 4x800 meter relay, Chase Berry and Cody Williams in the men’s pole vault, Puelz in the women’s pole vault, De Jong in the women’s weight throw and Williams in the heptathlon. In addition, freshman Rylee Haecker currently holds down three top 10 placements on the track.
· The Bulldogs got fine results in the women’s throws at the Nisely Classic as De Jong and Luehr swept event titles. De Jong approached her personal best in the weight throw with a first-place toss of 56’ 8 ¾” that currently ranks No. 1 nationally. Also in the weight throw, Sarah Ragland turned in a mark of 54’ 1 ¾” and placed third. Jordyn Anderson and Luehr have also eclipsed 50 feet this season in the weight throw. Meanwhile, Luehr’s winning shot put throw measured in at 42’ 6 ¼” (good for No. 2 in the NAIA).
· Battershell and Lewis will compete closely throughout the season in a variety of events. Battershell placed second to Lewis in the 60 meter hurdles at the Nisely Memorial. Battershell ranks in the top four nationally in the 400 and 600 meters. She ran the 600 in 1:37.67 this past Saturday, just holding off teammate Jacee Pfeifer (1:37.93). Beisel was happy to see Pfeifer back in action after she missed the Concordia Early Bird meet in December. On the men’s side of the 600, Christian Van Cleave (1:24.28) placed second.
· A Lincoln Lutheran High School alum, Puelz is a special athlete. She bumped up her season best in the pole vault to 12’ 6 ¾” in another winning effort. In that same event, freshman Amira Cummings cleared 11 feet for the first time in a college meet. Zach Bennetts (14’ 9 ½”) was Concordia’s top men’s pole vaulter at the meet. Puelz is coming off a GPAC title and All-America claim during the 2020 indoor season.
· For the first time since the Early Bird meet, the Bulldogs will stage a meet inside the friendly confines of the Fieldhouse. The Concordia Polar Dog Invite will get started at 4 p.m. CT on Friday. Up until the GPAC Championships (Feb. 19-20), the Bulldogs will either be at home or at Doane for each meet. Check out the tentative Polar Dog meet schedule HERE.
· The season is back in full swing with Concordia having competed on back-to-back Saturdays. In action at Northwestern in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 16, the Bulldogs went head-to-head with three opponents. Concordia fell in a conference matchup with Northwestern, 28-16, was then dealt a 22-15 defeat by Dickinson State University (N.D.) and wrapped up the day with a 42-18 win over Waldorf University (Iowa). The 1-2 day puts third-year Head Coach Levi Calhoun’s squad at 4-7 overall (2-2 GPAC). The Bulldogs have also participated in four tournaments. For more information on Concordia Wrestling, click HERE.
· The dual with Northwestern carried the most significance considering it counted towards the GPAC regular-season standings. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs made the trip north a bit short-handed. They had openings at three weights (both teams were open at 125). After trailing 15-0 in the team score, Concordia got on the board thanks to Issiah Burks’ pin of Chase Peterson at 157. Senior Gabe Crawford (165) and Jacob Telles (285) also earned wins by decision while continuing strong seasons. The Bulldogs dropped contested bouts to the Red Raiders (4-2, 1-1 GPAC) at 141, 174, 184 and 197.
· Concordia (2-2) and Midland (0-4) have competed in more GPAC duals than the rest of the conference to this point in the season. Three conference teams are unbeaten in GPAC duals: Morningside (3-0), Doane (2-0) and Hastings (1-0). As a program, the Bulldogs have been used to reigning atop the league (nine combined regular season/postseason championships since 2014). Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, Concordia has gone 43-6 in conference duals. Last season Calhoun led the team to 13-2 overall dual record.
· On another day, the Bulldogs may have knocked off Dickinson State, but the lineup absences were a limiting factor. Concordia actually won four of the seven contested matches via Jeaven Scdoris (major decision at 141), Jose Sanchez (decision at 157), Crawford (decision at 165) and Mason Garcia (technical fall at 197). The Bulldogs still had a shot at the team win going into the heavyweight match, where the Blue Hawks squeaked out a 4-2 decision. Dickinson State (3-2) is a member of the North Star Athletic Conference.
· Anyone who blinked may have missed the dual with Waldorf, which was full of pins and forfeits. Concordia won handily as pins were secured by Sanchez (157), TJ Huber (184) and Telles (285). The only Warrior victories occurred via forfeit. By the time the dual versus Waldorf concluded, the Bulldogs had claimed wins in 14 individual matches on the day as a whole. The Warriors (0-5) call Forest City, Iowa, their home.
· Named the GPAC Wrestler of the Week on Dec. 16, Burks has risen to stardom as a junior. The native of Hemet, Calif., went 2-0 in Orange City to move his personal win streak to seven while improving his season record to 19-6. Burks ranks No. 1 on the team in pins (11) and No. 2 in wins. Those statistics represent a significant improvement from records of 5-5 as a freshman and 19-20 as a sophomore. Burks appears to be a strong challenger for his first appearance at the national tournament.
· Meanwhile, Telles has made the largest impact of any newcomer. His record stands at 23-8 and includes 10 pins out of the heavyweight position. The native of Albuquerque, N.M., has been ranked nationally in each of the last two rankings releases and is currently pegged as the No. 18 heavyweight in the NAIA. Telles went 2-1 at Northwestern. His season ledger also features tournament place finishes of third at the York Open, second at the Dakota Wesleyan Open and fifth at the Doane Open.
· Six Concordia wrestlers have accumulated 10 or more wins this season: Telles (23-8), Burks (19-6), Garcia (15-9), Mario Ybarra (12-1) and Scdoris (12-12) and Huber (10-16). Ybarra was a late scratch from the lineup last weekend. Ybarra is ranked seventh in the NAIA at 133 and owns an active 12-match win streak. The native of Scottsbluff, Neb., has not wrestled since the Concordia Bulldog Duals.
· The Bulldogs were originally scheduled to compete this weekend (Jan. 22-23) at the Missouri Valley Invite, but that event has been canceled. That means Concordia will now look forward to the GPAC Duals in Jamestown, N.D., on Saturday, Jan. 30. On that date, the Bulldogs will dual four GPAC opponents while finishing their conference dual schedule.
· Last week was a mixed bag for Concordia, which put together a solid road performance before a rough defensive outing at home. The Bulldogs got a career high point total from Carter Kent in the 86-76 win at Mount Marty on Jan. 13. Then on Jan. 16, Concordia had no answer for 15th-ranked Morningside’s high-powered attack in a 95-77 home defeat. That loss likely doomed what hopes Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad still had of winning the GPAC regular-season title. The Bulldogs sport records of 13-7 overall and 10-5 in the GPAC (fourth place). For more information on Concordia Men’s Basketball, click HERE.
· The Bulldogs had carried a 12-game home win streak into last week, but the strong Morningside program is like kryptonite for Concordia. The Mustangs are now responsible for the last two Bulldog home losses. In fact, Concordia is 15-2 over its past 17 home games. Each of the last 11 Concordia-Morningside matchups have gone in favor of the Mustangs, who have not fallen victim to the Bulldogs since Feb. 6, 2016. To be fair, very few GPAC teams have beaten Morningside (three-straight GPAC regular-season titles) the last three seasons.
· On the plus side, junior Justin Wiersema may be as good as any guard in the league this season. It’s hard not to continually marvel at his consistency. The native of Loveland, Colo., has now made it 22 games in a row with at least 10 points. Last week he put up a combined 38 points while making 13-of-25 (.520) shots from the floor. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and swiped four steals. Among GPAC players, Wiersema ranks fourth in scoring (17.3), fourth in steals per game (1.70) and fifth in field goal percentage (.578).
· It was a tale of two very different games for Kent, who became the program’s 32nd member of the 1,000 point club last week. The Crete High School product torched the Lancers for 20 of his 29 points in the second half of that victory. The 29 points (on 10-for-17 shooting) eclipsed Kent’s previous career high of 28 achieved against Midland last season. Kent then struggled versus Morningside, going 1-for-11 from the floor with five points. He remains an important part of this team even when the ball isn’t going through the net. Kent averages the second most minutes on the team at 31.7 per game.
· Gage Smith put together a big scoring week, totaling 34 points while going 12-for-13 from the foul line. The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 when Smith scores 15 or more points with the victory at Mount Marty (exactly 15 points). However, that perfect mark was snapped when Smith posted 19 points in the loss to Morningside. The Elizabeth, Colo., native remains one of the GPAC’s top rebounders (No. 3) with an average of 9.0 rebounds per game.
· The game against Morningside wound up being Concordia’s roughest of the season from a defensive perspective. The Mustangs knocked down their first seven 3-point field goal attempts of the game and shot 60.7 percent from the floor for the afternoon. Morningside’s shooting percentage and number of points scored (95) were season highs for a Bulldog opponent. Concordia has slipped to seventh in the GPAC in field goal percentage defense (.455). The Bulldogs last held a team to below 45 percent shooting in the Dec. 9 win over Mount Marty.
· Concordia has been competitive (or even better than) with everyone in the league other than Morningside. In the updated GPAC rankings released last week on the NAIA website, the Bulldogs appeared at No. 4 behind Dakota Wesleyan, Morningside and Jamestown. Concordia has gone a combined 1-4 against those three squads with the lone victory coming at home over the Jimmies. However, the Bulldogs lost close games on the road at Dakota Wesleyan (70-64) and at Jamestown (89-87 in overtime).
· An announcement from the NAIA last week means it will be a larger challenge for Concordia to qualify for nationals for a second season in a row. The National Administrative Council (NAC) voted to reduce the field size of both the men’s and women’s basketball championships from 64 to 48 teams in response to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The adjustment will directly affect NAIA National Championship Opening Rounds, which will change from 16, four-team tournaments per gender to eight, six-team (three-team pod) tournaments per gender. For more on this change, click HERE.
· Concordia has a mid-week bye while looking ahead to Saturday’s home game versus Briar Cliff (11-8, 8-6 GPAC). Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT from Friedrich Arena. The Bulldogs will attempt to avenge their 89-75 loss at Briar Cliff from Dec. 5. The Chargers drained 18-of-36 3-point attempts in that contest in Sioux City, Iowa.
· Concordia just missed out on a 2-0 week that featured a comfortable win at Mount Marty and a nail-biter with No. 11 Morningside. Thirteen different Bulldogs scored in the 94-62 win over the Lancers on Jan. 13. In a return home, Concordia let a late six-point lead get away in a 66-64 loss at the hands of the first-place Mustangs. Those results leave Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad at 12-7 overall and at 11-5 in the league (third place). The Bulldogs are narrowly behind second-place Briar Cliff (11-4 GPAC). For more information on Concordia Women’s Basketball, click HERE.
· Morningside (13-1 GPAC) has a clear leg up in the race for the GPAC regular-season title. The latest meeting with the Mustangs was another memorable battle in a series that has been tight during the time that Olson has gone up against Head Coach Jamie Sale. Those coaches have nearly 1,000 wins between them with Sale at 601 and Olson at 397. Olson is 15-18 all-time when coaching against Sale. Entering this season, the Bulldogs had won eight of the previous nine meetings.
· In the two matchups this season with Mount Marty, Concordia has blitzed the Lancers right from tipoff. In the meeting in Seward, the Bulldogs made their first seven 3-point tries and built a 35-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second time around, Concordia allowed Mount Marty just one field goal the first 10 minutes and constructed a 23-3 advantage. Three Bulldogs scored in double figures (eight with eight or more points) in Yankton, S.D. – Rebecca Higgins (12), Taylor Cockerill (11) and Kayla Luebbe (10).
· It was a fine week for Luebbe, a Seward High School alum. She has shown an ability to use her size (6-foot-1) to score in the post. Over 28 minutes last week, Luebbe totaled 23 points and 12 rebounds while making 9-of-12 shots from the field and all five attempts from the foul line. Luebbe’s skillset has worked wonders against Morningside’s zone. Luebbe scored 20 points at Morningside and then had 13 last week against the Mustangs. She’s now averaging 5.5 points over the 12 games she’s played in this season.
· Luebbe worked well in tandem with junior Chloe Schumacher (Malcom High School) in the paint. Schumacher enjoyed a similarly efficient week, going 6-for-6 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free throw line while putting up a combined 19 points in the Mount Marty/Morningside games. Her 11 points against Morningside were two off a career high. Schumacher is averaging 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 14 games this season.
· In some of the team’s more lopsided wins, Cockerill has taken a backseat from a scoring perspective. However, over the past four games she has averaged 18.8 points per game. The Waverly High School product came through with two clutch treys in the fourth quarter versus Morningside – both of which put Concordia up by six at the time. She finished with a game high 17 points. Cockerill will be a strong candidate for first team All-GPAC accolades. Among conference players, she ranks fourth in scoring (15.0) and eighth in rebounding (6.6).
· After going a combined 63-1 at home during the 2016-17 through 2019-20 seasons, the Bulldogs are just 4-4 at home this season. However, Concordia has made up for it, to some degree, by going 8-3 on the road. The marquee road wins have come against three teams with records above .500 in GPAC play: Northwestern (9-5), Jamestown (8-6) and Midland (9-7). Morningside (8-2 on the road) is the only other GPAC team with at least eight road wins.
· Those road victories just might give the Bulldogs a shot in the arm in terms of their chances of qualifying for the national tournament (field reduced from 64 to 48 last week). In the new rankings last week, Concordia moved up to No. 3 in the GPAC while receiving votes in the NAIA national poll. The Bulldogs hope that the RPI rankings (when released) will look more like Massey Ratings (which has Concordia No. 11) than the coaches’ poll. It’s worth noting that two of the three opponents the Bulldogs faced out of conference (No. 7 Carroll and No. 24 Dakota State) are included in the NAIA top 25.
· A win Saturday over Briar Cliff (13-5, 11-4 GPAC) would look good on the resume. Tipoff from Friedrich Arena is slated for 2 p.m. CT. The Chargers got the best of Concordia, 69-59, in this season’s first meeting. While the Bulldogs have a bye in the middle of the week, Briar Cliff will be at Northwestern on Wednesday.