SEWARD, Neb. – For the first time on the young 2019 indoor season, the Concordia University track and field programs will play the role of meet host when action begins in the afternoon on Saturday. The Bulldogs will welcome visiting men’s and women’s athletes from the following institutions: MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), Nebraska Wesleyan University and Sterling College (Kan.). The first events are scheduled to get started at 1 p.m. CST on Saturday.
Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads kicked off the new season over the weekend with the bulk of Concordia athletes competing exclusively at the Ward Haylett Invite hosted by Doane. A handful of Bulldogs were also in action at the University of Nebraska’s Graduate Classic on Jan. 11. By the time the dust settled, Concordia produced a collective seven ‘A’ and seven ‘B’ standard national qualifying marks.
One of the automatic national qualifiers who emerged from the weekend was senior Leah Larson, who will be headed to a national championship meet for the third time in her career. Larson turned in a triple jump mark of 38’ 1 ¼,” which broke the program record and puts her at No. 2 on the national list. Additional automatic marks were recorded by Jacob Cornelio (weight throw), Sam Liermann (shot put and weight throw), Jacee Pfeifer (pole vault) and Addie Shaw (shot put and weight throw).
Concordia has the potential to add many more automatic national qualifying marks as the season wears on. The Bulldogs return additional 2018 indoor national qualifiers in Anna Baack (pole vault), Jazzy Eickhoff (shot put), Jodi Fry (shot put), McKenzie Gravo (pole vault) and Johanna Ragland (shot put and weight throw) on the women’s side and Josiah McAllister (1,000 meters), Tyrell Reichert (pole vault) and Cody Williams (heptathlon and high jump) on the men’s side.
MidAmerica Nazarene features Concordia alum Jonathon Becker as a member of its coaching staff. The Pioneers got their indoor season started prior to New Year’s and posted one automatic national qualifying mark and six ‘B’ marks. Their men’s 4x400 meter relay churned out a time of 3:21.51 while locking up a spot at the indoor national championships. At the 2018 NAIA Indoor National Championships, MidAmerica Nazarene placed 37th on the women’s side and 39th on the men’s side.
Due to inclement weather, Sterling was unable to make the trip to Doane this past weekend. That means the Warriors hope to get their campaign started in Seward. Meanwhile, Nebraska Wesleyan has competed solely as an NCAA Division III member since leaving the GPAC following the 2015-16 academic year. The Prairie Wolves are coming off a week that resulted in them sweeping both the men’s and women’s America Rivers Conference weekly awards. At the 2018 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (now the ARC) indoor championships, Nebraska Wesleyan placed second on the women’s side and fifth on the men’s side.
The Bulldogs will not have to leave home the rest of January. They will be back home next week to host the Concordia Classic (Jan. 24-25).