HAYS, Kan. – The outdoor season typically favors Concordia University track and field programs known for having some of the nation’s top throwers. In a meet that marked the opening of outdoor track for most Bulldogs, the long tossers in navy and white produced seven automatic national qualifying marks on Friday (March 30). NCAA Division II Fort Hays State University served as host of the meet dubbed the Alex Francis Track & Field Classic.
Head coach Matt Beisel, now in his second season as head coach at Concordia, enjoyed watching his athletes put marks on the national leaderboard on a nice spring day in Hays, Kan.
“We always want to get some early marks,” Beisel said. “Being able to nail those down is the reason why we did this. You never know how the weather is going to be going forward so every single meet is important. We went down here to try to catch some warmer weather. The throwers came through with a lot of good marks. We had some really good jumps with a lot of improvement from a lot of kids. Jessica Deterding had the biggest jump of her life in the triple.”
The women’s shot put will continue to be a strength into the outdoor season. On Friday, Samantha Liermann (47’ 7”), Adrianna Shaw (44’ 10 ¾”) and Johanna Ragland (44’ 8”) each locked in their trips to the national championships and placed second, fifth and sixth, respectively, at the meet. Adrianna Shaw also doubled up with a national mark in the discus (149’ 1”). She was second on the team in the event to Bethany Shaw (150’ 8”).
Elsewhere in the throws, sophomore Jacob Cornelio will head to the outdoor national championships for the second year in a row. He qualified in the hammer throw with a mark of 184’ 4” (fourth place). The Elk Grove, Calif., native also just missed the auto mark in the discus (160’ 5”). An additional national qualifier was a first timer in freshman Madison Holt, who threw 165’ 3” in the hammer. Meanwhile, fellow freshman Morgan De Jong hit a ‘B’ standard in the discus (142’ 2”).
As mentioned by Beisel, Bulldog jumpers also produced a number of highlights. Sophomore Jessica Deterding emerged with the first event title of her collegiate career via her personal best of 37’ 5” in the triple jump (‘B’ standard). On the men’s side, senior Scott Johnson continues to be one of the program’s most consistent performers. He turned in ‘B’ marks in the long jump (23’ 5 ¼”) and the triple jump (47’ 1 ¾”).
A Steady wind coming from the south for the entire meet negatively impacted the times of runners in races covering greater than 200 meters. In the sprints, freshman Mika Brees placed sixth in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, posting times of 12.43 and 26.04, respectively. Brees also competed on 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. The women’s 4x4 finished in 4:19.74 (third place).
It was also a busy day for Kennedy Mogul, who had a huge personal best in long jump. She also ran the 100 and 400 meter hurdles and as part of the 4x100 meter relay. Among other items, Leah Larson (11.26m) finished runner up to Deterding in the triple jump and Kara Stark placed third in the high jump (1.60m).
Outdoor track brings the additional throwing events and races like the steeplechase and 4x100 meter relay. Those dynamics should make for stronger placements this spring from a Bulldog perspective.
“The number and type of events is the biggest game changer for us,” Beisel said. “We go from two throwing events to four and we’re really good in all of them so that ramps things up as far as our ability to qualify for nationals and score points at conference. Outdoor has been better for Concordia with where we’re at as a team right now.”
Next up is the Concordia Outdoor Invitational (April 6-7) that the Bulldogs will host next week. A tentative meet schedule can be viewed HERE.