BROOKINGS, S.D. – Like many Concordia University track and field throwing stars before him, senior Jacob Cornelio has reached the top of the podium. Cornelio notched the 17th Bulldog throws NAIA title since 2014 while claiming the top spot in the weight throw. Four additional Concordia athletes also achieved All-America status on Friday (March 6), the second day of the 2020 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships staged in Brookings, S.D.
With two days in the books, head coach Matt Beisel’s squads reside in first place on the women’s side (24 points) and in a tie for seventh place on the men’s side (10 points). Seniors Addie Shaw (weight throw) and Allie Brooks (pole vault) turned in national runner up placements.
“Our athletes were hungry and they went after it,” Beisel said. “We knew we had a lot of people capable of great stuff and things went the right way. Xavier (Ross) and Rachel (Battershell) won their heats of the 400 to get to finals. In the weight throw everyone had their ‘A’ game today. With the pole vault it was one of the most exciting competitions I’ve ever seen.”
The 2019 NAIA weight throw national runner up, Cornelio (five time All-American) entered the weekend as the favorite and will exit it as a national champion. The native of Elk Grove, Calif., had been the top weight thrower in the NAIA all season, so it made sense for him to cap his indoor career in such fashion. Cornelio’s winning toss measured in at 64’ 7 ¼.” He was also the GPAC champion in the event.
The women’s weight throw also produced 10 team points. While making her own bid for a title, Shaw came up a few inches shy of Grand View University (Iowa)’s LaVon Davis. Shaw placed second and produced a mark of 64’ 4” that broke her own weight throw school record. It was Shaw’s seventh career All-America award. In that same event, junior Morgan De Jong placed seventh (57’ 9 ¾”) in the process of adding two more team points. Junior Sarah Ragland placed outside of scoring range, but tossed a PR of 54’ 5 ½.”
Brooks and the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked women’s pole vault group backed up its billing on Friday. Brooks cleared 13 feet for the third time this indoor season. She ultimately eclipsed 13’ 4 ¼” in re-setting her own school standard. In almost any other year, that mark would have been plenty good enough to win a national title. Meanwhile, teammate and GPAC champion Josie Puelz vaulted over the bar at 12’ 10 ¼” and placed third. The efforts of Brooks and Puelz resulted in 14 combined team points.
GPAC Athlete of the Year Rachel Battershell helped propel the Bulldog women’s 4x400 meter relay to the finals of the event during Thursday’s action. Then on Friday, Battershell blazed to a personal best of 55.93 in the 400 meters, which put her second in the preliminary round and moved her to Saturday’s finals. She came up short of the finals in the 60 meter hurdles despite a solid time of 8.95.
Additional Concordia competitors on Friday included sophomore Xavier Ross (400 meters) and freshman Colton Meyer (60 meter hurdles). Ross won his heat of the prelims by burning around the track in 48.62 (personal best). Meanwhile, Meyer placed 16th (8.31) and missed the finals. As part of the large field in the women’s long jump, freshman Katie Severt (17th; 17’ 4 ¼”), sophomore Cora Olson (18th, 17’ 2 ¾”) and sophomore Jamey Broman (26th; 16’ 9 ½”) each had their first taste of a national meet.
The meet will wrap up on Saturday. Thirteen Bulldogs will be in action on the final day of the meet (see the schedule below). The vast majority of running events are scored on day three of the NAIA championships. Said Beisel, “We have some great scoring opportunities. We’re feeling pretty good about today and ready to go for tomorrow.”
· Allie Brooks – pole vault (2nd)
· Jacob Cornelio – weight throw (1st)
· Morgan De Jong – weight throw (7th)
· Josie Puelz – pole vault (3rd)
· Addie Shaw – weight throw (2nd)
· 10 a.m. – Women’s Shot Put (Shaw)
· 1 p.m. – Men’s Shot Put (Hennessy, Peters)
· 1:05 p.m. – Women’s 400 Meter Finals (Battershell)
· 1:15 p.m. – Men’s 400 Meter Finals (Ross)
· 1:15 p.m. – Men’s Pole Vault (Berry, DeHaai, Platt, Sisco)
· 1:30 p.m. – Men’s Triple Jump (Taylor Beck)
· 4:55 p.m. – Women’s 4x400 Meter Relay