DES MOINES, Iowa – After a spring of 2020 without it, outdoor track and field is back. The Bulldogs began the 2021 season on Friday (March 26) while competing as one of 14 institutions at the Grand View Viking Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The yields for Concordia University Track & Field included four automatic national qualifying marks, five ‘B’ standards and nine event titles.
Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads made their first public appearances since competing at the NAIA Indoor National Championships when the Bulldogs placed third on the women’s side and 12th on the men’s side. This is just a start when it comes to outdoor season.
Thoughts from Coach Beisel: “It felt amazing to stand outside and coach track & field again after so long. We had solid early season performances from our men and women with the highlights of some automatic national qualifying marks. Weather was chilly but mostly favorable, and we had a huge number of personal bests – freshmen and sophomores beating their high school outdoor PRs, and many personal bests from returning juniors and seniors … I had 13 guys and girls do the 3K steeplechase, and only two women had ever done it before. I was pretty happy with how they did. As the mid-and-long distance coach, I am extremely pleased with the efforts of our 10K, steeple, 1500, 800 and 4x800 runners, as well as several of my kids who ran the open 400. Throws and jumps had some good things happen. Amy Richert had a huge long jump, over 18 feet, for the first time. Sarah Lewis won the 100 hurdles and open 400, and her open 400 was an outdoor PR. Everyone was in good spirits, and it was just great to be doing this again after such a long pause. I was praying thanks to God throughout the day.”
The automatic national qualifying marks came courtesy of Erin Mapson (pole vault; 11’ 11 ¾”), Addie Shaw (hammer throw; 170’), Chris Wren (hammer throw; 176’ 3”) and Zach Zohner (pole vault; 15’ 5”). A two-time discus national champion, Shaw has returned to the ring to use up her outdoor eligibility. The eight-time All-American also unleased a ‘B’ standard in the discus (142’ 7”) at the Viking Relays. She placed second in discus and third in hammer.
After qualifying eight combined men’s and women’s athletes for indoor nationals, the pole vault crew has set high standards for itself. Fresh off an All-America award winning performance, Mapson has guaranteed her spot at outdoor nationals. While Mapson won the Viking Relays title, teammate and national champion Josie Puelz placed second (11’ 1 ¾”). Amira Cummings also cleared 11’ 1 ¾.” Meanwhile, Zohner will be aiming at a first career All-America honor this spring. He beat out teammates Zach Bennetts and Chase Berry (both cleared 14’ 11”) at the Viking Relays.
Throwers were responsible for seven of the marks that the Bulldogs put on the national performance list. Wren was also an indoor All-American (weight throw). Additional ‘B’ standards were turned in by Jordyn Anderson (shot put), Dagne’ Buck (hammer throw), Elle Luehr (shot put) and Sarah Ragland (hammer throw).
Concordia women totaled seven event championships. In field events, Taylor Moes (triple jump) and Amy Richert (long jump) emerged with first-place claims. On the track, Sarah Lewis notched wins in the 400 meters (59.38) and in the 100 hurdles (15.88). Winning relay times were recorded by the women’s 4x800 meter relay (10:01.12) and the 4x100 meter relay (49.74).
Noteworthy even runner-up finishes were posted by the likes of Cade Kleckner (200 meters), Jerod Peters (shot put), Camden Sesna (steeplechase) and Cody Williams (high jump). Peters (past national qualifier) has returned for an extra season of outdoor just like Shaw.
The women’s team had a number of its own second-place finishes at the Vikings Relays, such as Anderson (shot put), Sydney Clark (10,000 meters), Lydia Cook (steeplechase), Rylee Haecker (1,500 meters) and Sydni Schernikau (200 meters).
The Bulldogs will return to action next Friday (April 2) for the Hastings College Challenge. The first home meet of the outdoor season is slated for April 9-10 when the Concordia University Invite will take place.
Viking Relays Event Champions
· Women’s 4x100m relay
· Women’s 4x800m relay
· Sarah Lewis (400 meters; 100 hurdles)
· Erin Mapson (pole vault)
· Taylor Moes (triple jump)
· Amy Richert (long jump)
· Chris Wren (hammer throw)
· Zach Zohner (pole vault)
Automatic National Qualifiers
· Erin Mapson – pole vault (11’ 11 ¾”)
· Addie Shaw – hammer throw (170’)
· Chris Wren – hammer throw (176’ 3”)
· Zach Zohner – pole vault (15’ 5”)
--‘B’ Standards: Jordyn Anderson (shot put); Dagne’ Buck (hammer throw); Elle Luehr (shot put); Sarah Ragland (hammer throw); Addie Shaw (discus)