CRETE/LINCOLN, Neb. – The indoor track season is in full swing once again as Concordia University Track and Field opened the calendar year 2022 at two separate weekend meets: the Graduate Classic (Jan. 14-15) hosted by the University of Nebraska and the Scott Nisely Memorial Classic (Jan. 15) hosted by Doane. When the dust settled, Bulldog athletes had combined for nine event championships, six performances that met the automatic national qualifying standard and another seven marks that were recognized as ‘B’ standards. Fresh automatic national qualifying marks were turned in this weekend by Rylee Haecker and Sarah Ragland.
Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads had most recently competed at the Concordia Early Bird Meet back on Dec. 10-11. Concordia’s season total for NAIA auto marks now stands at 10.
“After a really great start at the Early Bird, we had four weeks until we saw the athletes again,” Beisel said. “They trained on their own, and they did a great job of it. When you’re out of it that long, you get a little rusty. We told them they were going to work hard this week and it might only be a few people that have amazing days. Most of them are going to look at this and know they have better things in them down the road. We had some really good performances and a lot of mostly solid efforts from the rest of our team. We give thanks to God for the blessings He gave us these last two days.”
It was a fine weekend for Haecker (Davenport, Neb.), who on Friday ran a national qualifying time of 2:58.77 in the 1,000 meters and placed second at the Graduate Classic. She returned to Lincoln on Saturday and joined Grace Reiman, Keri Bauer and Kylahn Heritage for a distance medley relay finish in 12:28.44 (‘B’ standard). That time put the group above relays from NCAA Division I Nebraska-Omaha and Saint Louis.
Haecker is a returning indoor All-American with potential for even better in 2022. Said Beisel, “Rylee had a set of incredible performances. As her coach, I’m really, really happy for her. She was able to come back today and be a key part of our DMR, which ran faster than they did all of last year. Her 1,600 leg of 5:08.6 was incredible. One of the things I love about her is how earnest she is in her faith in Christ.”
Throws coach Ed McLaughlin is rounding together a nice collection of national qualifiers in the weight throw. At the Nisely Classic, Andy Amos, Morgan De Jong and Chris Wren again hit the ‘A’ standard in the event while Ragland threw 55’ 5” for a fresh auto mark. De Jong turned in a season best of 55’ 10 ½” and won the women’s weight throw and Wren was the men’s runner up with his PR of 64’ 1 ¾.” Meanwhile, Brady Klute popped off a ‘B’ mark in the weight throw. In the shot put, Jordyn Anderson notched a ‘B’ standard of 43’ 7 ¾” and placed third at the Nisely Classic.
Haecker and many other of the program’s top runners were at the Devaney Center for the Graduate Classic. Calvin Rohde starred on the men’s side by clocking a ‘B’ standard and personal best of 2:30.21 in the 1,000 meters (seventh place out of 22). He came back on Saturday and won the mile at Doane in 4:24.48. Also at Nebraska, Cade Kleckner (22.84) and Jacob Jennings (23.04) recorded solid times in the 200 meters.
Shifting back to the women’s side, the Graduate Classic saw the season debut of two-time national champion Rachel Battershell, who clocked in at 58.91 in the 400 meters and helped lead the 4x400 meter relay to a finish in 3:58.70. That group included Jacee Pfeifer, Sarah Lewis and Trinity Tuls. The athletes represented the Bulldogs in the women’s 200 at the Devaney Center: Emily Loseke (26.82), Brittney Aitken (26.94) and Hannah Mulligan (27.07). At the Nisely Classic, Cora Olson won the 200 meters in a time of 26.67.
Between the men’s and women's high jumps, Concordia came away with three ‘B’ standards thanks to the efforts of Wyatt Loga, Hannah Newton and Amy Richert. A Crete native, Newton won the contest on the women’s side. As for the long jump, Olson led the way by placing third (17’ 8 ¾”).
Each of the event champions is listed below. Among other noteworthy performances, Josie Puelz cleared the automatic qualifying standard in the pole vault on Friday. In addition, Beisel made special mention of senior Grant Lammers, who ran personal bests in the 400 and 600 meter races this weekend. In the women’s 600 meters, Lainey Werts clocked a strong time of 1:44.56 and was the Nisely Classic winner.
The Bulldogs will be back at home next Saturday (Jan. 22) to host the Concordia Polar Dog Invite. It will be one of four home indoor meets this season.
Automatic National Qualifying Marks
· Andy Amos – Weight Throw (56’ 10 ¼”)
· Morgan De Jong – Weight Throw (55’ 10 ½”)
· Rylee Haecker – 1,000 Meters (2:58.77)
· Josie Puelz – Pole Vault (12’ 5 ½”)
· Sarah Ragland – Weight Throw (55’ 5”)
· Chris Wren – Weight Throw (64’ 1 ¾”)
Event Champions (all at Nisely Classic)
· Elena Batenhorst – 400 Meters (1:04.34)
· Morgan De Jong – Weight Throw (55’ 10 ½”)
· Jack Ellis – 3,000 Meters (9:33.28)
· Wyatt Loga – High Jump (6’ 7”)
· Hannah Newton – High Jump (5’ 5”)
· Cora Olson – 200 Meters (26.67)
· Sam Plante – 800 Meters (2:03.42)
· Calvin Rohde – Mile (4:24.48)
· Lainey Werts – 600 Meters (1:44.56)