SEWARD, Neb. – A trio of new automatic national qualifying marks poured in on Friday as the Bulldog track and field program ran off the Concordia Twilight Meet, which serves as a last chance opportunity for hopeful qualifiers. Samantha Liermann, Sarah Ragland and Sam Sisco made the most of it by each turning in new ‘A’ standards. Eighteen different institutions were represented at the meet, which played out in and around Bulldog Stadium amidst sunny and pleasant weather conditions.
This was the third and final home meet of the outdoor season for Beisel’s squads, which also hosted the Concordia Invite (April 5-6) and the Concordia Blizzard Buster (April 27).
“I was very satisfied with the weather, which was great after the bad weather we’ve had this spring,” Beisel said. “Any time we hit new ‘A’ marks and kids know they now get to travel and compete at nationals is always a highlight for me. I love how our kids will throw the best throws, jump the best jumps and run the best runs of their lives and still be disappointed because they didn’t hit the ‘A’ standard. That’s what makes our teams great – that culture of super high expectations that our kids always have.”
A roar rang up from the pole vault pit when Sisco cleared 15’ 7” in the pole vault and booked his trip to the national meet. He joins fellow Bulldogs Gavin DeHaai and Cody Williams with automatic standards in the vault. Sisco ended up in second place at the Twilight Meet. It was an overall good day for the men’s pole vault, which also had Tucker Platt (15’ 3”) and Zach Bennetts (15’ 3”) clear the ‘B’ standard for the first time this season. On the women’s side of the pole vault, freshman Erin Mapson (11’ 9 ¾”) was also took second place while again clearing an ‘A’ mark.
Fresh off a GPAC title in the shot put, Liermann is now an automatic national qualifier in three throwing events after she whirled the discus 148 feet – more than six feet better than her previous season best. Not only that, teammate Addie Shaw improved in the discus and won the competition with a toss of 158’ 11” that currently ranks No. 1 in the NAIA. Moving to the women’s hammer, the Ragland sisters starred. Johanna placed second with a throw of 174’ 10” while Sarah qualified for nationals for the first time in her career by way of her mark of 167’ 6.” Finally, Jazzy Eickhoff won the javelin competition (128’ 1”).
The men’s throw group also made some waves. Fresh ‘B’ standards came from Dagne’ Buck (167’ 3” in hammer), Bret Keeler (166’ 8”) and Jerod Peters (50’ 9 ¼” in the shot put and 167’ 5” in hammer). Also in the hammer, Renato Oyarzun posted a PR of 171’ 7.”
The highlight of the meet on the track was produced by freshman Sarah Lewis, who achieved a ‘B’ standard in the 400 meter hurdles by clocking in with a first-place time of 1:04.42. In addition, several Concordia men delivered solid results in the 800 meters with senior Josiah McAllister’s ‘B’ time of 1:53.78 leading the way. McAllister (third), Thomas Taylor (fourth) and Nathan Matters (eighth) placed in the top 10 of an 800 meter competition that had three heats with 23 total runners. In that same race, freshman Brayden Adams broke the two-minute barrier for the first time in his career.
The Bulldogs entered only one relay into Friday’s meet. The women’s 4x4 clocked a ‘B’ time of 3:56.46 despite a botched handoff. The group included Rachel Battershell, Lewis, Jamie Nikodym and Jacee Pfeifer. Entering the day, the Concordia women’s 4x4 ranked 12th nationally with an automatic qualifying time of 3:54.44 that came at the Drake Relays.
The only thing left this outdoor season are the 2019 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships held in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 23-25. The NAIA will officially announce the qualifying field next Friday (May 17). With the three additional automatic qualifiers at the Twilight Meet, Concordia athletes have now combined for 28 ‘A’ standards this outdoor season.