SEWARD, Neb. – Leaders of the nationally-ranked Concordia University Track & Field squads, four Bulldogs were honored on Thursday (May 20) with 2021 outdoor NAIA Midwest Region awards, as selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Concordia regional honorees included coaches Matt Beisel (Women’s Coach of the Year) and Ed McLaughlin (Men’s and Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year) and athletes Rachel Battershell (Women’s Track Athlete of the Year) and Addie Shaw (Women’s Field Athlete of the Year).
The aforementioned group made for a clean sweep of women’s Midwest Region coaches/athletes of the year. The Bulldog women have dominated this outdoor season in the process of winning another GPAC title and holding down the NAIA’s No. 1 ranking for the entire season. Meanwhile, the men’s team placed fourth in the conference and is currently ranked 13th in the NAIA.
Now in his fifth season heading the cross country and track & field programs, Beisel has collected his fifth career Midwest Region Coach of the Year accolade. Not only did Beisel guide the women to a GPAC championship, he also oversees a team that has posted 24 automatic national qualifying marks and is getting set to send 24 women to the NAIA national meet. Concordia has been rated No. 1 in the NAIA in each of the eight rankings releases unveiled by the USTFCCCA. The Bulldog women are coming off a third-place NAIA finish at the 2021 indoor national meet.
These awards have also been common for McLaughlin, who continues to work with an elite throws program. Now in his 24th year as an assistant with the Bulldogs, McLaughlin has run his career totals to 10 Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year awards and six National Assistant Coach of the Year honors. According to the USTFCCCA, Concordia boasts the top 2021 outdoor event squads for women’s shot put, hammer and discus and men’s hammer. McLaughlin has worked with three athletes who currently own NAIA national leading marks: Jacob Cornelio (hammer), Shaw (shot put and hammer) and Elizabeth Stottlemyre (javelin). A school record number of 17 throwers will be headed to Gulf Shores for outdoor nationals.
Battershell has collected her second career Midwest Region award. The native of Wheatland, Wyo., has been impressive again this outdoor season having won GPAC titles in the 400 meter hurdles and as part of the 4x400 meter relay. A two-time 400 meter national champion, Battershell is the current NAIA leader in the 400 with her personal best of 55.05 achieved at the Drake Relays. She also qualified for nationals in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles with her time of 14.25 in the 100 hurdles representing a school record. In her career, Battershell has claimed eight GPAC titles and six All-America awards.
After losing the 2020 outdoor season, Shaw returned this spring and has starred as the top all-around female thrower in the NAIA. That native of Bassett, Neb., currently ranks either first or second in three events: first in shot put (49’ 4 ¼”), first in hammer (188’ 5”) and second in discus (164’ 11”). Shaw won 2021 GPAC outdoor titles in the shot put and hammer while placing second in discus (28 total team points). In her career, Shaw has captured two national titles (both in discus), four GPAC titles and eight All-America plaques. Shaw was also named the 2020 Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year. At the 2020 national indoor meet, she placed second in both the weight throw and discus.
The 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships will complete the season. The national meet will be held May 26-28 in Gulf Shores, Ala.