Boyer, Wren and Zohner claim GPAC titles on day one of outdoor championships

By Jacob Knabel on May. 3, 2024 in Track & Field


ORANGE CITY, Iowa – A trio of Bulldogs came away with first-place medals on day one at the 2024 GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Northwestern. The titles were seized on Friday (May 3) by Matthew Boyer in the javelin, Chris Wren in the hammer throw and Zach Zohner in the pole vault. Six of the 22 events on both sides were scored on the opening day of the championship event staged at De Valois Stadium in Orange City, Iowa.

In the early stages of the team races, Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads reside in first place on the men’s side (70 points) and in second place on the women’s side (46.5 points). The women’s program is hoping to extend its string of 10-consecutive GPAC championships (dating back to the 2019 indoor season).

The Battle Creek, Neb., native Zohner continues to dominate fellow NAIA competition. He’s now a winner of the GPAC men’s pole vault in three-straight conference meets. Zohner cleared 15’ 9” on Friday while being pushed most closely by teammate Mayson Ostermeyer. The Crofton, Neb., native went over a season best of 15’ 4” as the conference runner up. Freshman Jax Jacobson (14’ 11”) also scored in the event as a fifth-place finisher. Zohner continues to lead the NAIA in the event on the heels of capturing a national title this past indoor season.

Wren now has a GPAC hammer title to go along with the conference indoor championship he won in the weight throw. The Fair Oaks, Calif., native became the fifth athlete in program history to eclipse 200 feet in the hammer as he landed a toss of 203’ 11” on Friday, beating out the runner up by more than 15 feet. The men’s hammer proved to be a fruitful event as Darien Semedo (185’ 2”), Brady Klute (174’ 4”), Connor Asche (172’ 8”), Josiah Edwards (171’) and Austen Rozelle (170’ 6”) placed third through seventh. On the women’s side, three Bulldogs placed in all-conference territory: Abby Gerber (third), Kamryn Pokorney (fifth) and Abi Wohlgemuth (sixth).

Already the school record holder in the javelin, Boyer again hit the 200-feet mark in the process of becoming a GPAC champion for the first time. His mark on Friday came in at 200’ 8,” as he held off the runner up from Northwestern. In the women’s javelin, Gretchen Stottlemyre gave it a run at a conference title of her own. She placed second with a throw of 132’ 3” (NAIA ‘B’ standard), less than two feet shy of the first-place competitor. Emma Kucera placed eighth in the event.

The conference heptathlon list is dominated by Bulldogs. With four of seven events in the books, the Nos. 1 through 6 spots are held down by Concordia athletes: Amy Richert (2,818), Josi Noble (2,754), Zoey Walker (2,659), Faith Espinosa (2,552), Kucera (2,524) and Elena Batenhorst (2,487). Both Richert and Noble entered the weekend ranked amongst the top NAIA top 10 in the heptathlon. As part of the competition, Walker again hit the ‘A’ standard in the high jump (5’ 6”).

School 100-meter hurdles record holder Adrianna Rodencal ran the prelims of the event on day one and clocked in at 13.90 (best in the prelims). Rodencal and teammate Kayla Svoboda (14.55) have both qualified for the finals on Saturday. Elsewhere on the track, Jack Ellis (sixth) and Thomas Gorline (eighth) ran to all-conference placements in the 10,000 meters.

In the long jump, there were three Bulldogs who locked up All-GPAC awards, Kiki Nyanok (third) and Hayley Miles (fourth) on the women’s side and Myles Sadd (seventh) on the men’s side. Nyanok surpassed 18 feet (18’ 3 ¼”). On the women’s side of the pole vault, the Concordia athletes placed top eight: Amira Cummings (third), Sydney Reichert (third) and Svoboda (seventh).

2024 GPAC Outdoor Champions

·        Matthew Boyer – Javelin (200’ 8”)

·        Chris Wren – Hammer Throw (203’ 11”)

·        Zach Zohner – Pole Vault (15’ 9”)

The multi-event competitions will resume at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday while running and field events are set to begin early in the afternoon in Orange City. An awards ceremony will take place at roughly 6 p.m.