Day 1 Recap: Relays steal show in leading off 2024 indoor nationals

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 29, 2024 in Track & Field

LIVE RESULTS | Concordia T&F YouTube

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A pair of women’s relays positioned themselves for All-America awards as part of day one at the 2024 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. A total of 13 Bulldogs represented Concordia University Track & Field on Thursday (Feb. 29) with action taking place at the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex in Brookings, S.D. Two full days of track & field are yet to come in Brookings.

Head Coach Matt Beisel’s nationally ranked programs combined for 32 national qualifiers. The first Concordia competitors of the weekend have made a strong first impression.

While taking the track first among Concordia’s national qualifying relays, the 4x8 flirted with the school record, finishing in 9:13.76 for first place in heat four of the preliminaries (fourth overall). The group of Jenna Esch, Kylahn Freiberg, Julie McIntyre and Rylee Haecker will get another shot at the school record of 9:12.94 when they run in the finals on Friday evening. Beisel commended the 4x8 crew on running a perfect strategic race in the prelims. The goal will be to knock several seconds off their time in the finals and make a run at a national title.

In the span of roughly an hour, Esch ran two separate relays while continuing a stellar indoor season. Esch ran the leadoff leg for the 4x4 before handing off to Kayla Kirchner, Trinity Tuls and Jordan Koepke. When Koepke crossed the finish line, 3:48.65 had elapsed. That time was good enough for fourth place overall in the prelims. By comparison, the school record in the event stands at 3:47.39. That same 4x4 also ran 3:59.23 to win the GPAC title at Mount Marty. The finals of the 4x4 will go off at 4:55 p.m. on Saturday.

The evening concluded with Concordia’s men’s distance medley relay running the first of three heats on Mark Steinborn Memorial Track. The Bulldog DMR was made up of Trey Robertson (1,200 meters), Colby Sugden (400 meters), Trevor Kuncl (800 meters) and Calvin Rohde (1,600 meters). That crew clocked a time of 10:23.48 and placed 16th in the prelims. Beisel noted that Robertson knocked seven seconds off his PR in the 1,200 meters, Sugden ran a PR of 49.10 in the 400 meters and Kuncl set a new personal best in the 800 meters at 1:57. Rohde will be back to run the mile on Friday.

The national championship meet got underway late Thursday morning when 60-meter hurdles portion of the women’s pentathlon unfolded. Concordia had two competitors in the women’s pentathlon: Josi Noble (12th place) and Zoey Walker (14th place). Both rising standouts were competing in the pentathlon at a national meet for the first time and came close to their PR's. Noble (triple jump) and Walker (high jump) have events yet to come this weekend.

Things will get more hectic on Friday as field events and individual races enter the fray. The first action from the Bulldogs’ perspective will come in the men’s weight throw and women’s mile – both at 12 p.m. CT. The schedule of Concordia competitors for day two can be viewed below. Select races can be viewed later via the Concordia Track & Field YouTube channel (linked above).

Concordia Day 2 schedule:

Men’s Weight Throw (Friday, 12:00 p.m.) – Brady Klute, Darien Semedo, Chris Wren

Women’s Mile Run (Friday, 12:00 p.m.) – Kylahn Freiberg

Men’s Mile Run (Friday, 12:20 p.m.) – Calvin Rohde

Women’s 60m Hurdles (Friday, 12:35 p.m.) – Adrianna Rodencal          

Women’s Long Jump (Friday, 1:00 p.m.) – Hayley Miles

Women’s 600m Run (Friday, 1:45 p.m.) – Jordan Koepke

Women’s 800m Run (Friday, 2:45 p.m.) – Jenna Esch

Women’s Pole Vault (Friday, 3:00 p.m.) – Erin Boggs, Amira Cummings, Josie Puelz, Sydney Reichert

Women’s Weight Throw (Friday, 3:00 p.m.) – Abigail Gerber, Kamryn Pokorney, Abi Wohlgemuth

Women’s 1000m Run (Friday, 3:15 p.m.) – Rylee Haecker, Rhaya Kaschinske

Men’s Long Jump (Friday, 4:00 p.m.) – Joel Rathe

Finals of Women’s 4x800m Relay (Friday, 5:20 p.m.) – Jenna Esch, Kylahn Freiberg, Julie McIntyre, Rylee Haecker (Rhaya Kaschinske)