SEWARD, Neb. – Members of the Concordia University Track & Field program showcased their talents at both the Concordia Classic and the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational on Friday (Feb. 4) and emerged with five fresh ‘B’ standard national qualifying performances. In one of the day’s biggest highlights, Erin Mapson cleared a personal best in the pole vault while winning the competition at the Concordia Classic. She was one of many Bulldogs to post PR’s as the indoor season begins to near the finish line.
Head Coach Matt Beisel walked away with plenty to be pleased with considering the high level of competition seen at both the Concordia Classic and Husker Invite. There were athletes from 14 different collegiate institutions on hand inside the Walz Fieldhouse for a meet that finished up at 9:45 p.m.
“As I looked through the results initially, I saw quite a few personal bests in a number of different event areas, including the four new ‘B’ marks,” Beisel said. “A large percentage of our middle and long distance runners had personal bests or big season bests. That tells me we’re doing the right things and putting out good marks. The competition tonight was deep and strong, and it was helpful to everybody. Even though there were a few disappointments, there was a lot more good to take away from this that will help us plan and prepare for next week.”
Mapson has put together an impressive three-week run that has included pole vault event titles at the Polar Dog Invite, Beile Classic and Concordia Classic. On Friday, the four-time All-American cleared 12’ 9 ½” and moved up to third on the program’s all-time women’s indoor pole vault list behind only Josie Puelz (13’ 4 ½”) and Allie Brooks (13’ 4 ¼”). Meanwhile, Puelz placed second at the Concordia Classic after having sat out the previous two weeks. Puelz eclipsed 12’ 2 ½” and placed second to Mapson. On the men’s side, Chase Berry found himself in a battle with three University of Nebraska-Kearney competitors and came away with a season best ‘B’ standard of 15’ 3.”
Ten Bulldogs were present at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., where the annual Husker Invite featured a wealth of NCAA Division I competitors. There were no new ‘A’ standards, although reliable standouts Morgan De Jong, Sarah Ragland and Chris Wren each eclipsed the auto mark in the weight throw, as they have consistently this indoor season. Wren placed 16th out of 29 competitors while De Jong and Ragland landed at 13th and 15th, respectively, out of 21 throwers.
On the Devaney track, all three Concordia runners in the 400 meters clocked in under a minute: Rachel Battershell (58.26), Trinity Tuls (59.71) and Jordan Koepke (59.91). Battershell just missed the ‘B’ standard as she continues to strive for the NAIA auto time of 57.63. Elsewhere, Brittney Aitken ran 8.11 in the 60 meters, Amy Richert finished in 9.63 in the 60 meter hurdles and Jacee Pfeifer clocked a 600 meters of 1:37.73.
The top-rated weight throw crew in the NAIA also got a new ‘B’ standard thanks to Abi Wohlgemuth’s toss of 52’ 10 ¼.” Between the Concordia men and women, the program has piled up 10 weight throw marks that have met at least the ‘B’ standard this season. On the NAIA national leaderboard entering the weekend, Ragland and De Jong ranked second and third, respectively, on the women’s side and Wren ranked fourth on the men’s side. In the shot put, the most significant toss was turned in by Abigail Gerber. She achieved a ‘B’ mark of 42’ 9.”
Hoping to close the night out with an automatic national qualifying time, the Bulldog men’s 4x400 meter relay came up a couple seconds short of that goal. It finished in 3:23.31 in an entertaining race that saw Mount Marty, Doane and Nebraska Wesleyan claim the top three finishes. Concordia’s 4x4 of Cade Kleckner, Jacob Jennings, Xavier Ross and Mark Cooke will get another shot at a qualifying time in Lincoln on Saturday.
Once a GPAC cross country runner up, Kylahn Heritage continues to trend positively. She came in under the ‘B’ standard in the one mile with her time of 5:14.17 (converted to 5:11.10 on the national list) – good for second place at the Classic. Beisel lauded Heritage for her determination in fighting through injury that plagued her in cross country as well. Heritage now has the top mile among Concordia women this season. In the women’s 1,000 meters, Grace Reiman led a pack of six Bulldogs by finishing in 3:06.28 (fourth place). Beisel referred to Reiman’s effort as a “mentally tough race.”
In the men’s 4x800 meter relay, the top three groups all broke the previous meet record. Concordia’s foursome of Calvin Rohde, Camden Sesna, Sam Plante and Charlie Hayden paced the track in 8:03.01. Plante ran a 1:57 split for the 4x8 and ran a personal best in the 600 meters. Rohde and Sesna will get back to work in individual events in Lincoln on Saturday.
In the jumps, Jacob Glines has continued to be one of the top dawgs. He placed sixth in the high jump while clearing 6’ 3 ¼.” In the women’s long jump, senior Gabby Diamond came close to the ‘B’ standard with her mark of 17’ 9.” Joel Rathe long jumped 21’ 4” and placed sixth in the men’s competition.
Action will continue on Saturday for Bulldogs who have been entered into the Husker Invite. Heat sheets can be found HERE. Following this weekend, Concordia will look ahead to its own Concordia Indoor Invite on Feb. 12. The tentative schedule for that meet can be found HERE.
Said Beisel, “Some of today was about getting marks that could move them up in the seedings for conference. We had some compete in events for the first time this season that they didn’t have a mark in. It was an assessment on how we’re going to do relays. Any time you take kids to UNL, it’s about getting them on a big stage and getting them mentally ready for an atmosphere similar to nationals. Having them compete on back-to-back days gets them ready for competing in prelims and finals (at nationals).”
Automatic National Qualifying Standards
· Morgan De Jong – weight throw (55’)
· Erin Mapson – pole vault (12’ 9 ½”)
· Josie Puelz – pole vault (12’ 2 ½”)
· Sarah Ragland – weight throw (54’ 4”)
· Chris Wren – weight throw (60’ 3 ¼”)
New ‘B’ standards: Rachel Battershell (400 meters; 58.26); Chase Berry (pole vault; 15’ 3”); Abigail Gerber (shot put; 42’ 9”); Kylahn Heritage (mile; 5:14.17); Abi Wohlgemuth (weight throw; 52’ 10 ¼”).