Fifteen auto standards met, 12 event titles captured at Dutcher Memorial

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 18, 2021 in Track & Field

CRETE, Neb. – If it hadn’t been clear already this outdoor season, it should be now. The Concordia University Track & Field program has built quite a power on the women’s side of things, as the men continue to make progress of their own. The yields from the two-day Jim Dutcher Memorial (April 17-18) hosted by Doane included 15 automatic national qualifying performances, 12 event championships and four multi-event performances that met the minimum national reporting standard. In addition, Rachel Battershell broke her own school record in the 100 meter hurdles.

Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads entered the weekend with NAIA national rankings of No. 1 on the women’s side and No. 8 on the men’s side (according to the USTFCCCA). With still more than a month to go before outdoor nationals, the Bulldogs are padding their list of qualifiers.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” Beisel said. “Nobody likes to change all their plans and move a meet to different days, but this was the right choice. It really benefited all the athletes from the teams involved. It was warm and extremely beneficial to our runners, sprinters and jumpers. As the distance coach, I was so pleased with Camden Sesna in the 5k and Sydney Clark in the 10k. Every single athlete who ran the 10k had a PR, except for two. Hurdlers on the women’s side really knocked it out of the park. There were a lot of confidence building performances.”

Battershell and teammate Sarah Lewis have been pushing each other to bigger and better things ever since arriving at Concordia. They went 1-2 in the 400 hurdles with automatic national qualifying times and personal bests – 1:02.18 for Battershell and 1:02.77 for Lewis. The incredible Battershell is now qualified for nationals in both hurdles events. Her time of 14.55 in the 100 hurdles came in just under the 14.59 she ran a week earlier at the Concordia Invite. It’s a school record that Lewis also held for a brief time.

The throws are again a huge strength, especially for the women. Starting with the men, Jacob Cornelio is creeping closer to the school record of 216’ 6” by Cody Boellstorff in the hammer. Cornelio pushed his personal best in the event to 211’ 3” on Saturday. No one else in the NAIA has reached 200 feet this season. Also in the hammer, Chris Wren fired off a PR of 182’ 8” and placed fifth (Dagne’ Buck achieved a ‘B’ standard).

The women’s throws group now has three new automatic marks thanks to Jordyn Anderson in the shot put (45’ ½”), Abigail Gerber in the shot put (44’ 6 ¾”) and Bethany Shaw in the discus (147’ 3”). On the season, Coach Ed McLaughlin’s women’s crew has qualified six individuals in the discus, four in the shot put, two in the hammer and one in the javelin. Standout Addie Shaw hit the ‘A’ standard twice more this weekend. In the javelin, former NCAA Division II competitor Liz Stottlemyre turned in a new PR with a winning toss of 155’ 2” on Saturday. She is the national leader in the event.

Also a member of the women’s basketball program, Mackenzie Koepke has qualified for nationals for the second time in her career. She won the Dutcher Memorial high jump competition by equaling a personal best of 5’ 5 ¾.” In the men’s high jump, indoor All-American Wyatt Loga cleared 6’ 8 ¾” (second place), which is just below the ‘A’ standard. There were also some solid efforts in the women’s long jump via Katie Severt (17’ 9 ½”), Jamey Broman (17’ 9”) and Cora Olson (17’ 5 ¼”).

In the pole vault, it’s become an expectation that stars Josie Puelz and Erin Mapson reach the auto standard. Neither individual posted a PR this weekend, but both managed to vault 12 feet or higher. In the men’s pole vault, Zach Bennetts (14’ 11”) took first place while several competitors no-heighted.

Beisel hopes more big breakthrough in the relays (in terms of the national landscape) are yet to come. However, the women’s 4x800 meter relay came out on top at the Dutcher Memorial on Saturday with a time of 9:42.14. That group included Rylee Haecker, Grace Reiman, Keri Bauer and Lainey Werts. Concordia did not run a women’s 4x4 this weekend (already qualified for nationals), but the men’s 4x4 did sprint to a finish in 3:18.04 (second place – ‘B’ standard). The relay team featured Jacob Jennings, Cade Kleckner, Henry Reimer and Colton Meyer. A Lincoln Lutheran alum (just like Koepke and Puelz), Meyer won the open 400 in 49.44 (just in front of Jennings at 49.74). Kleckner, Jennings and Meyer were also part of a 4x1 that was just shy of a ‘B’ standard (42.06).

In other noteworthy performances, three Bulldog women’s heptathletes met the provisional standard for nationals: Amy Richert (second place; 4,683 points), Emily Loy (fifth place) and Kennedy Mogual (eighth place). Jeremiah Reeser met the minimum national reporting standard in the decathlon with 5,701 points. In the women’s 10,000 meters, Sydney Clark clocked a personal best and won the event. Cade Klecker (100 meters) and Camden Sesa (5,000 meters) also took first in their events.

Next up for a select group of athletes will be the prestigious Drake Relays (April 22-24) in Des Moines, Iowa. A large portion of the roster will also be at the Nebraska Wesleyan University Invite this coming Thursday. These meets will serve as the final outings prior to the GPAC Championships (April 30 – May 1). Said Beisel, “I’m really proud of our team and our coaches and excited to see what will happen at Wesleyan and Drake leading into conference.”

Automatic national qualifying standards at Dutcher Memorial

·        Jordyn Anderson – shot put (45’ ½”)

·        Rachel Battershell – 100 hurdles (14.55); 400 hurdles (1:02.18)

·        Jacob Cornelio – hammer (211’ 3”)

·        Abigail Gerber – shot put (44’ 6 ¾”)

·        Mackenzie Koepke – high jump (5’ 5 ¾”)

·        Sarah Lewis – 400 hurdles (1:02.77)

·        Erin Mapson – pole vault (12’ 4”)

·        Josie Puelz – pole vault (12’)

·        Sarah Ragland – hammer (167’ 8”)

·        Addie Shaw – hammer (170’); shot put (44’ 9 ¾”)

·        Bethany Shaw – discus (147’ 3”)

·        Liz Stottlemyre – javelin (155’ 2”)

·        Chris Wren – hammer (182’ 8”)

Dutcher Memorial event titles

·        Women’s 4x800 meter relay (9:42.14)

·        Jordyn Anderson – shot put (45’ ½”)

·        Rachel Battershell – 400 hurdles (1:02.18)

·        Zach Bennetts – pole vault (14’ 11”)

·        Sydney Clark – 10,000 meters (38:38.03)

·        Jacob Cornelio – hammer (211’ 3”)

·        Cade Kleckner – 100 meters (10.96)

·        Mackenzie Koepke – high jump (5’ 5 ¾”)

·        Colton Meyer – 400 meters (49.44)

·        Camden Sesna – 5,000 meters (15:36.30)

·        Bethany Shaw – discus (147’ 3”)

·        Liz Stottlemyre – javelin (155’ 2”)