Day 2 Recap: Esch, women’s 4x4 emerge as finalists

By Jacob Knabel on May. 23, 2024 in Track & Field

LIVE RESULTS | Day 1 Recap | Concordia T&F YouTube

MARION, Ind. – Jenna Esch and her women’s 4x400-meter relay teammates made noise on Thursday (May 23) while leading the way for Concordia University Track & Field at the 2024 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships. Esch qualified for the finals of the 800 meters early in the afternoon before leading off the 4x4 amidst the twilight of the Marion, Ind., skies. The 4x4 that included Kayla Kirchner, Trinity Tuls and Jordan Koepke won its heat in the prelims while reserving a spot in Friday’s finals. Those were the major highlights on a busy day for the Bulldogs on the track and in the throws.

The Hastings, Neb., native Esch kicked her day off at 2:30 p.m. local time by galloping to a personal best of 2:11.81 in the 800 meters, good for second in her heat and eighth overall in the prelims. As the sun set on day two, Esch then put Concordia in a lead it would not relinquish as part of the 4x4. By the time Koepke raced across the finish line, the Bulldogs clocked in at 3:48.81 for the second fastest outdoor 4x4 in program history. This exact same 4x4 group placed sixth nationally for indoor. It will be its mission to wrap up the championship meet in style on Friday evening.

There’s been heartbreak for the accomplished sophomore Adrianna Rodencal at both the 2024 indoor and outdoor national meets. The Lincoln Lutheran alum missed another final by .01 seconds as she completed the 100-meter hurdles in 14.43 on Thursday. Rodencal placed 10th while teammate Kayla Svoboda (14.73) ran another sub 15-second time and placed 18th. During this outdoor season, Rodencal repeatedly set a new 100 hurdles school standard (13.65) and was the GPAC champion in the event.

The heptathlon concluded on Thursday as the long jump, javelin and 800 meters were contested. Senior Amy Richert put together a solid meet in placing 10th with 4,647 points. She turned in the fourth best javelin (115’ 11”) among the 16 heptathletes. The GPAC heptathlon champion, sophomore Josi Noble wound up in 15th place with 4,341 points. Noble ranked fifth best in the shot put (37’ 1 ¾”).

In the women’s shot put, junior Abby Gerber (two-time All-American) made a strong push for a spot on the podium. The Columbus, Neb., native reached the finals of the event with her mark of 46’ 1.” She put herself in a three-way tie for seventh place but officially earned ninth after next best throws were factored in. In the same competition, senior Kamryn Pokorney placed 15th with a toss of 44’ 7.”

A 2024 indoor All-American in the mile, Calvin Rohde (Reed City, Mich.) put a bow on his career while running the 5,000 meters on Thursday. The 5k school record holder Rohde paced the Indiana Wesleyan track in a time of 15:29.01 and finished 36th.

Hoping to earn discus All-America status for a second year in a row, junior Austen Rozelle (Wauneta, Neb.) fell just short of reaching the finals. His best toss on Thursday landed at 160’ 9,” putting him in 11th place. A year ago, Rozelle placed sixth in the discus. Emma Lloyd will be in action on the women’s side of the discus on Friday.

The day marked the first nationals experience for freshman Luke Hammang, who competed in the 5,000-meter race walk. Hammang was unable to complete the race. He stood in 16th place at the time he was pulled out of the competition.

The Concordia schedule for the third and final day of the meet can be found below. Through two days, hammer throw national champion Chris Wren and javelin All-American Gretchen Stottlemyre have been the program’s two point scorers. In Friday’s festivities, Esch, Koepke and Kylahn Freiberg will each run in the finals of individual races. In the men’s pole vault, Zach Zohner will take his shot at claiming a second pole vault national title in 2024.

2024 NAIA Outdoor All-Americans

·        Gretchen Stottlemyre – Javelin (8th; 136’ 6”)

·        Chris Wren – Hammer Throw (1st; 208’ 5”)

Friday (May 24) Concordia Schedule

All times EDT

·        Women’s Discus Throw (1:00 p.m.) – Emma Lloyd

·        Men’s Pole Vault (1:00 p.m.) – Mason Ostermeyer, Zach Zohner

·        Women’s High Jump (2:00 p.m.) – Zoey Walker

·        Women’s 1,500m-Final (2:00 p.m.) – Kylahn Freiberg

·        Men’s Shot Put (3:00 p.m.) – Carson Fehlhafer, Darien Semedo

·        Women’s 400m Hurdle-Final (3:10 p.m.) – Jordan Koepke

·        Women’s 800m-Final (3:50 p.m.) – Jenna Esch

·        Women’s 4x400m Relay-Final (5:15 p.m.) – Jenna Esch, Kayla Kirchner, Trinity Tuls, Jordan Koepke