SEWARD, Neb. – The highest honor awarded by College Sports Communicators (CSC) to an NAIA women’s track & field athlete has been handed out to Concordia University’s Rachel Battershell. The Wheatland, Wyo., native was announced on Wednesday (June 28) by CSC as the 2022-23 Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year for NAIA women’s track & field/cross country. She was joined with Academic All-America awards by teammates Kylahn Freiberg (second team), Rylee Haecker (second team), Erin Mapson (first team) and Josie Puelz (first team).
The 2022-23 NAIA Academic All-America® Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Teams, selected by CSC, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in athletic competition and in the classroom. The College Sports Communicators Academic All-America® program separately recognizes honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.
The Concordia women’s track program has been responsible for four of the past six NAIA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year awards. Puelz took that honor in 2022 while Samantha Liermann did the same in both 2018 and 2019.
Concordia CSC NAIA Track & Field Academic All-Americans of the Year
· Rachel Battershell (2023)
· Samantha Liermann (2018 and 2019)
· Josiah McAllister (2019)
· Josie Puelz (2022)
The latest award for Battershell caps what was an incredible career as a Concordia student-athlete. She has garnered four career Academic All-America honors from College Sports Communicators and was a 13-time NAIA All-American. Battershell triple-majored in Biology, Chemistry and Exercise Science and claimed two NAIA national titles in the 400 meters. Additional honors for Battershell (and her Academic All-America teammates) are included below.
2022-23 Academic All-Americans, as selected by College Sports Communicators
Rachel Battershell | Wheatland, Wyo. (Academic All-American of the Year/First Team)
2x 400-meter NAIA national champion … 4x CSC First Team Academic All-American/All-District … 13x NAIA All-American … 13 Great Plains Athletic Conference event championships … led Concordia to nine-straight GPAC team titles and to six NAIA top-five team placements … owns school records in the indoor 400 meters (54.77), indoor 4x400m relay (3:47.39), outdoor 4x100m relay (47.40) and outdoor 4x400m relay (3:47.26) … has appeared at nine national championship meets … 3x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Kylahn Freiberg | Nampa, Idaho (Second Team)
T&F: 2x Great Plains Athletic Conference event champion (indoor 1,000m and outdoor 3,000m) … 4x NAIA All-American … five NAIA national meet appearances … 2023 NAIA indoor 1,000-meter national runner up (2:54.87) … member of seven GPAC championship winning teams … 3x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
XC: 2x GPAC All-Conference … qualified for the NAIA national meet in 2019 and 2022 … helped the 2019 team to a GPAC title while placing as the conference individual runner up … 2019 team also placed 12th nationally … 3x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Rylee Haecker | Davenport, Neb. (Second Team)
T&F: 8x NAIA All-American (five in individual events; three in relays) … 6x Great Plains Athletic Conference event champion … school record holder in the outdoor 1,500 meters (4:33.84) and ranks No. 2 in on the program’s all-time indoor 1,000-meter list (2:53.68) … member of teams that have won six GPAC team championships and have placed in the top five nationally four times … 2x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
XC: 2x GPAC All-Conference … 2x NAIA national qualifier … 2x NAIA Scholar-Athlete … member of 2022 national qualifying team.
Erin Mapson | Lincoln, Neb. (First Team)
6x NAIA pole vault All-American … 8x NAIA national qualifier … on program all-time lists, ranks No. 3 for the indoor pole vault (12’ 9 ½”) and No. 4 for the outdoor pole vault (12’ 7 ½”) … won one GPAC pole vault title … 3x CSC Academic All-American/All-District … helped Concordia to nine-straight GPAC team titles and to six NAIA top-five team placements … 3x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Josie Puelz | Lincoln, Neb. (First Team)
5x NAIA pole vault national champion (runner up 2023 outdoor) … 7x NAIA pole vault All-American … 6x Great Plains Athletic Conference pole vault champion … 2021-22 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year award winner … 3x CSC Academic All-American/All-District … 2021 State College Female Athlete of the Year in the state of Nebraska by the Lincoln Journal Star … owns the GPAC conference meet records for both the indoor and outdoor pole vault and holds school records in the indoor (13’ 4 ½”) and outdoor (13’ 7 ¼”) pole vault … has helped the program to seven GPAC team titles and to five NAIA top-five team placements … 3x NAIA Scholar-Athlete.