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Matt Beisel

Athletics

Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach

Matt Beisel Athletics

Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach

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Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

Matt Beisel officially began his duties as head coach of the Concordia University cross country and track and field programs in June 2016. Beisel is a 1992 graduate of Concordia.

In five seasons as head coach, Beisel has led his programs to considerable heights. Most recently, the Bulldog women's track program swept 2021 GPAC indoor and outdoor titles and placed third in the NAIA in both indoor and outdoor behind national champions in Rachel Battershell, Josie Puelz and Elizabeth Stottlemyre. Beisel is now a six-time GPAC Coach of the Year (2019 women's indoor/outdoor, 2019 women's cross country, 2020 women's indoor and 2021 women's indoor/outdoor) and a five-time NAIA Midwest Region Women's Track & Field Coach of the Year. The women's track and field program has won five-straight GPAC titles while the 2019 women's cross country team broke through with a conference title and 12th-place national claim. Meanwhile, the Concordia men also placed as the 2019 GPAC indoor runners up. Other recent accomplishments on the men's side have included national place finishes of ninth at the 2019 NAIA indoor championships and 12th at the 2021 NAIA indoor championships.

In his first season leading the track and field programs, Beisel helped guide the Bulldogs to men's national finishes of second for indoor and fifth for outdoor. Meanwhile, the Concordia women turned in national finishes of seventh for indoor and sixth for outdoor. Concordia athletes produced a total of 29 All-America awards, six national titles and 19 GPAC event championships. The men placed as the runner up at both the 2017 indoor and outdoor GPAC championships. The Bulldogs then claimed 11 All-America honors and two individual national titles in 2018. The All-America count rose to 37 in 2019 as both programs took a step forward (12 All-Americans at the 2020 indoor meet). Beisel also coached Emily Sievert to national championships appearances in cross country in 2016 and 2017. Another distance performer, Taylor Grove won the GPAC 10,000 meter (2018) and 3,000 meter (2019) titles and qualified for nationals in the marathon in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Beisel, who spent six years (2008 – 2013) as head track and field coach at Concordia University-Chicago (CUC), where he also served four years as assistant cross country coach, possesses 21 years of coaching experience. He shifted back to the collegiate ranks after having been the head track and field and cross country coach as well as a science teacher at Valley Lutheran High School in Phoenix, Ariz., since 2014.

A former all-district runner and national qualifier as a Bulldog, Beisel represents an ideal fit at Concordia. In each of his previous coaching stops he built Christ-centered programs that improved tremendously under his guidance. Beisel inherited an NCAA Division III CUC track program of just 12 athletes. That number grew to 65 (largest roster in school history) by the end of his tenure. The three-time Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) Coach of the Year guided the Cougar women to league titles in 2010 and 2012 and a runner-up finish at the 2012 outdoor conference meet. He coached 56 conference champions at CUC.

While at CUC, Beisel helped develop Antwon James into an All-American long jumper. As head coach of the Cougars, Beisel worked specifically with sprinters and relays groups and as high jump coach. He’s spent many years avidly studying and coaching speed and power development of athletes, as well as mechanics.

Prior to his time at CUC, Beisel won three cross country state championships as head coach from 2000 – 2007 at Lutheran High School in Little Rock, Ark. His boys and girls teams swept Arkansas cross country state titles in 2003. Beisel’s Lutheran High cross country and track programs recorded a total of seven top-five state championships finishes.

Everywhere he’s been, Beisel has increased participation in cross country and track. At his most recent position at Valley Lutheran, he more than doubled the boys and girls numbers in two years. In his first season leading girls cross country in Phoenix, Beisel took the team to its first-ever state championships appearance in 2014. It then placed 10th in the state in 2015.

Beisel graduated from Concordia with a B.S. in education. He went on to earn his M.S. in science education from the University of Iowa in 1997. Matt and his wife Jill have a daughter, Keegan, and son, Jonah.

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Ed McLaughlin

Athletics

Assistant Track and Field Coach - Throws

Ed McLaughlin Athletics

Assistant Track and Field Coach - Throws

402-643-7397 Email Walz 106E

Hometown: Seward, Neb.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

Ed McLaughlin completed his 24th year as a member of the Concordia University track and field coaching staff in 2020-21, serving as an assistant coach and working with the throwers. He also assists with the multi-event athletes and works as game event manager for home football.

McLaughlin has tutored 19 individual national champions, 229 individual national qualifiers, 165 All-Americans, 61 GPAC champions and 24 national champion runners up. National titles have been captured by Jacob Cornelio (2020 weight throw, 2021 hammer throw), Samantha Liermann (2017, 2018 and 2019 shot put), Adrianna Shaw (2018 and 2019 discus), Zach Lurz (four times in the shot put), Liz King (2016 hammer, 2014 javelin), Cody Boellstorff (2015/2017 hammer, 2016/2017 weight), Josh Slechta (2015 weight throw) and Elizabeth Stottlemyre (2021 javelin). In addition, school throwing records have been broken more than 30 times in McLaughlin's tenure as coach. McLaughlin has earned plenty of recognition during while leading the nationally respected Bulldog throws program. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has named McLaughlin an NAIA National Assistant Coach of the Year six times and an NAIA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year eight times.

Concordia throwers have been particularly dominant in recent years, leading the Bulldogs to outdoor team national titles in 2015 (men) and 2016 (women), along with National Champion Runner up finishes for the men's team for outdoor (2016) and indoor (2017). The 2017 group combined for four national titles, seven GPAC titles and 20 All-Americans. The 2016 group of throwers combined for four national titles, nine GPAC titles and 34 total All-America awards.  The men's team was led by two of the greatest throwers in school history, Lurz and Boellstorff. Lurz's accomplishments included 17 All-America awards, four national titles, school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, the 2014 GPAC Outdoor Athlete of the year honor, the 2015 NAIA Most Valuable performer award at the 2015 NAIA outdoor national championship and recognition as the 2016 USTFCCCA NAIA National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and the 2017 USTFCCCA NAIA National Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. Not to be outdone, Boellstorff was an eight-time All-American with four national titles, the school record holder in the weight throw and hammer throw and four times he received NAIA Field athlete of the week and the 2016 performance of the meet winner for the Indoor National championships. Cornelio broke Boellstorff's hammer school record in 2021.

On the women's side, a trio of throwers took over the reins from King. Kali Robb, Tricia Svoboda and Samantha Liermann garnered numerous awards. Robb finished as one of the most decorated female throwers in school history, collecting 10 All-Americans, three national runner-up finishes, four GPAC titles and three NAIA national field athlete of the week awards. She is also No. 2 all time in school history in the shot put and No. 5 in the discus.  Svoboda, was a four-time All-American in javelin and discus (national champion runner up in 2016) and a national qualifying hammer and weight thrower. She also won the GPAC title in discus. Liermann, a senior in 2019, concluded her career as a 10-time All-American and four-time GPAC champion, in addition to the three individual national titles. Shaw collected 11 All-America awards throughout her standout career.

McLaughlin was a four-year letter winner in both football and track at Concordia. He was the NIAC shot put champion in 1996, a six-time competitor in the NAIA Championship meet and he broke the school record in discus as a freshman. 

In football, McLaughlin played on the offensive line and earned All-NIAC honors twice for the Bulldogs. He also was a two-time All-Nebraska selection and earned NAIA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1996. 

McLaughlin completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Biology at Concordia University in 1998. He resides in Seward with his wife Tasha, their daughter Clara and son Derek.

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Mark Samuels

Athletics

Assistant Track and Field/Cross Country Coach

Mark Samuels Athletics

Assistant Track and Field/Cross Country Coach

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Hometown: Littleton, Colo.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

Mark Samuels completed his 14th season as an assistant coach for the Concordia University track and field and cross country programs in 2020-21. Samuels works primarily with sprints, hurdles, middle distance and relays. He has helped the Bulldogs win team national titles in 2015 (men's outdoor) and 2016 (women's outdoor) and to a combined 11 GPAC team championships. He also works with the cross country teams.

During his tenure, Samuels has worked with numerous GPAC champions, All-Americans and national champions. Some of the latest examples include multi-event GPAC champions Lucas Wiechman (2017) and Cody Williams (2018, 2019, 2021). Wiechman earned GPAC Performer of the Year for both indoor and outdoor in 2017. Williams did the same at the 2019 GPAC outdoor championships. In addition, Samuels helped tutor Jessica Deterding (pentathlon, heptathlon) and the women's 4x400 meter relays to school records in 2019. Then in 2020, Samuels aided in sophomore Rachel Battershell becoming the GPAC Female Athlete of the Year and the 400 meter national champion. Battershell repeated as national champion in the 400 at the 2021 NAIA indoor meet. New school records were turned in during the 2021 outdoor season by the women's 4x100 meter relay and by Emily Loy in the heptathlon.

Samuels has been on staff for an unprecedented run of success for a program that's roster has grown significantly in recent seasons. Since Samuels joined the staff, Concordia has posted 22 combined top 10 national team finishes and 41 total top 25 national team finishes, in addition to the two team national championships.

Samuels competed at Concordia from 2001-04. He was a four-time NAIA All-American and a four-time GPAC Champion. Samuels was the 2002 National Runner-Up in the 400 meter dash at the Indoor National Meet. For his efforts, Samuels was named 2002 GPAC Indoor Men’s Athlete-of-the-Year. He holds five school records including individual indoor records in the 200 meter dash and 400 meter dash. He was also a member of record setting 4x400 meter relay teams in both indoor and outdoor seasons (relay records have since been broken).

Mark resides in Seward with his wife Kari, daughter Jordyn, son Landon and daughter Aspen. In his spare time, Mark enjoys fishing, cycling and running.

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Benjamin Hinckfoot

Athletics

Assistant Track & Field Coach

Benjamin Hinckfoot Athletics

Assistant Track & Field Coach

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Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

Alum Benjamin Hinckfoot officially joined the Concordia Track & Field staff in January 2021. Previously an assistant coach at Concordia University, Irvine (CUI), Hinckfoot returned to serve the program that helped make him a seven-time All-American during his time as a Bulldog student-athlete.

Hinckfoot earned high praise for his work at CUI, where he began his service as a graduate assistant in 2017 before being promoted to a full-time role. At CUI, Hinckfoot worked under Head Coach Keegan Bloomfield, another CUNE alum. In his time with the Eagles, Hinckfoot coached athletes who combined for 14 school records and two All-America awards. In a release on the CUI website, Bloomfield described Hinckfoot as an “amazing coach and an even better person.” In his first semester with the Bulldogs, Hinckfoot helped the women's program win a GPAC title and place third at the NAIA outdoor national meet.

Not only did Hinckfoot collect seven All-America honors as a Bulldog athlete, he also racked up four GPAC event titles, 17 all-conference finishes and two CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team selections. He continues to own the program record in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 52.14. At the time of graduation, Hinckfoot also stood at No. 1 on the school’s all-time list as part of an outdoor 4x400 meter relay team (now No. 2). Hinckfoot earned his All-America plaques in the 110 hurdles (twice), 400 hurdles (twice) and 4x4 (three times). With Hinckfoot leading the way, the Concordia men swept GPAC indoor/outdoor team titles in 2014. Hinckfoot was coached most closely by Samuels. Dr. Kregg Einspahr served as head coach during Hinckfoot’s athletic career (2011-14).

Hinckfoot graduated from Concordia University, Nebraska in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. He earned his Master of Science in Coaching and Exercise Science from Concordia University, Irvine in 2019.

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Jason Berry

Athletics

Assistant Track and Field Coach - pole vault

Jason Berry Athletics

Assistant Track and Field Coach - pole vault

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Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

Jason Berry has helped with the Concordia track and field program for many years, working primarily with pole vault. Berry helped the Bulldogs win team national titles in 2015 (outdoor men) and 2016 (outdoor women).

Jason attended Concordia University from 1989-1994. He was a three-time conference champion and a two-time District 11 champion in the pole vault. He qualified for nationals three times and earned Booster Club Athlete-of-the-Week honors three times during the 1993 season.

Since returning to Concordia in 2008, Berry has coached 98 NAIA National Qualifiers, 39 NAIA All-Americans, three national champions, 19 GPAC champions and school record holder Josie Puelz (indoor/outdoor pole vault). Concordia women's pole vaulters went on a recent run during which they won six conference titles in a row. That dominance resumed in 2019 with Brooks (indoor) and Erin Mapson (outdoor) winning conference titles. Then freshman Josie Puelz took the 2020 GPAC indoor title and 2021 GPAC outdoor title. Puelz has become a major star having swept NAIA indoor/outdoor national titles in 2021 while also breaking the GPAC meet record at the 2021 outdoor conference championships. Lucas Wiechman broke through with a pole vault national title at the 2017 outdoor national championships. In the final NAIA event squad ratings for 2019, the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the pole vault for both men and women. 

From 1999-2007, Jason was a volunteer assistant coach and meet official at Concordia University. During those years, he helped coach seven NAIA National Champions and dozens of All-Americans and conference champions.

From 1995-1998, Jason was an assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University. During that time, he helped with the pole vault and decathlon. He coached six NCAA Division III national qualifiers and three D-III All-Americans in the pole vault.
 
Beginning in 2001, Berry served as volunteer pole vault coach at Seward High School. He coached two state champions, including his youngest son Chase (2017), 15 state medalists and 24 state qualifiers during that time.

Berry also organizes the Annual 4th of July Street Pole Vault competition that has been a fixture in the City of Seward’s holiday activities since 1991. He has also helped with the Concordia University Pole Vault Camps since 1999. Additionally, Berry is the Vice President of Bottle Rocket Brewing LLC.

Jason lives in Seward with his wife Julie. They have three sons: Cole, Dalton and Chase. Cole lives in Omaha with his wife Hannah while Dalton and Chase are members of the Concordia track team.

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Samantha Liermann

Athletics

Graduate Assistant Track & Field Coach

Samantha Liermann Athletics

Graduate Assistant Track & Field Coach

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Hometown: Wisner, Neb.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska

An alum of the program, Samantha Liermann made her way back to Concordia University after serving the coaching staff for one year at NAIA MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). Liermann joined the Bulldogs prior to the 2021-22 academic year as a graduate assistant.

Liermann put together a collegiate career that ranks among the very best ever for Concordia throwers. Over her four years, the native of Wisner, Neb., totaled three shot put national titles (two-time national runner up), 10 NAIA All-America awards, four GPAC shot put championships and 14 all-conference accolades. Liermann owns school records for both the indoor and outdoor shot put. Named the 2018-19 Concordia Senior Female Athlete of the Year, Liermann was recognized as the 2018 Academic All-American of the Year for track & field (as selected by CoSIDA). She helped the Bulldogs to a team national championship in 2016 and was part of seven NAIA top 10 teams.

In addition to her time as a graduate assistant at MNU, Liermann lent her services to Concordia as a volunteer coach from August 2019 through October 2020. She earned degrees in Recreation and Sport Management and Business Administration from Concordia. Liermann is currently pursuing her master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration.

Samantha is the daughter of Doug and Joan Liermann and has two siblings, Trenton and Hilary.

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Sophie Harano

Athletics

Graduate Assistant Track & Field Coach

Sophie Harano Athletics

Graduate Assistant Track & Field Coach

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Hometown: Lincoln, Neb.
Alma Mater: University of Sioux Falls

Sophie Harano returned near her hometown of Lincoln, Neb., while joining the Concordia University Track & Field staff at Concordia University.

Previously, Harano served as a graduate assistant coach at NCAA Division II Concordia University, Irvine, where she helped coach the men’s pole vault PacWest Conference champion as part of a crew that set new school standards in the event. After graduating from the University of Sioux Falls in 2016, Harano transitioned to a coaching role at USF and worked with a successful pole vault group. Furthermore, she served as a volunteer coach at the National Pole Vault Summit and is USTFCCCA certified as a jumps specialist.

As an athlete at USF, Harano earned All-America honors in 2016 and was a three-time national qualifier and a four-time all-conference place finisher. In addition, she garnered academic all-conference and USTFCCCA All-Academic awards.

Harano earned BA’s in Psychology, Sociology and Social Sciences from USF. She then obtained her master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia-Irvine. Harano is currently pursuing her master’s in School Counseling.