Meet preview: 2018 GPAC indoor championships

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 14, 2018 in Track & Field

GPAC meet info | View GPAC seed markings

Live coverage: Video | Results

Concordia 2017 GPAC finishes
Men: 2nd indoor | 2nd outdoor
Women: 4th indoor | 3rd outdoor

SEWARD, Neb. – The women will lean upon the likes of conference leaders McKenzie Gravo and Samantha Liermann while the men look for new waves of stars to make their marks as another GPAC championship week has arrived. The Concordia University track and field squads, under second-year head coach Matt Beisel, enter the conference indoor championship meet having compiled 11 automatic national qualifying marks and an additional eight ‘B’ standard marks.

The 2018 GPAC Indoor Track and Field Championships will unfold Friday and Saturday inside the Fuhrer Field House on the Doane campus. Only portions of the multi events will be contested on Friday. The bulk of the meet will take place Saturday when field events get started at 12 p.m. and track events follow beginning at 1 p.m.

For this weekend, the national seed marks are briefly ignored with the emphasis placed upon placing as high as possible among GPAC competitors. Of the Bulldogs set to compete this weekend, only Gravo and Liermann boast past individual conference championships. Gravo swept GPAC indoor and outdoor pole vault titles during her freshman season in 2016. Meanwhile, Liermann captured the conference’s 2017 outdoor shot put crown after teammate Kali Robb, a 2017 senior, did the same at the GPAC indoor meet.

The women’s shot put is a good place to start. Liermann tops the GPAC with a mark of 48’ ¾” while teammates Adrianna Shaw (47’ 1 ¾”), Johanna Ragland (45’ 1 ½”), Jazzy Eickhoff (44’ 10 ¾”) and Jodi Fry (43’ 9 ¾”) rank third, sixth, ninth and 10th, respectively, among conference throwers. Liermann is still hoping to push past 50 feet, which would give her the indoor school record in the event. The competition between Bulldogs has only made her better.

“I’d say we have a healthy competition,” Liermann said following last week’s Concordia Indoor Invitational. “All of us want to be the best but we also love to see each other succeed. I think it’s a good balance.”

Gravo is the headliner for a women’s pole vault group that includes potential all-conference performers such as Anna Baack (fourth in the GPAC) and Tristen Mosier (10th in the GPAC). The men’s pole vault also shapes up favorably with three Bulldogs currently among the conference’s top five: Tyrell Reichert (tie for third), Simon Brummond (tie for third) and Tucker Platt (fifth).

Also on the men’s side, senior Ben Hulett has been one of the GPAC’s top two hurdlers all indoor season. His personal best of 8.28 last week in the 60 hurdles put him just 0.01 off the automatic national qualifying time. Meanwhile in the jumps, senior Scott Johnson broke through last week, locking up a trip to indoor nationals via a triple jump of 46’ 7 ½.” On the conference list, Johnson appears at No. 2 in the long jump and No. 4 in the triple.

Said Johnson after the Concordia Invite, “This week will be light (in terms of physical exertion). I didn’t take all my jumps after I qualified just because you have to decrease the impact on your legs and be ready to jump and compete for a conference title this week.”

The lone Concordia male with a GPAC best in any event category is freshman Cody Williams (Imperial, Neb.), who appears primed to put together an impressive career as a Bulldog. His 4,723 points in the heptathlon put him at No. 1 in the conference. He’s also sitting third in the high jump with his national qualifying mark of 6’ 7.” Another male athlete to keep an eye on is junior Josiah McAllister, who is projected to score in the 1,000 meters, the mile and as part of the 4x400 meter relay.

Seward High School product Mika Brees expects to be an immediate contributor on the women’s side. She appears at No. 5 in the 200 meters and No. 7 in the 60 meters on the current conference lists. In the triple jump, junior Leah Larson has the ability to compete for a conference title. Sophomore Jessica Deterding, also a strong competitor in the pentathlon, is not far off Larson in the triple. On the track, junior Taylor Grove has scoring potential in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races.

Based upon the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings released today (Feb. 14), Concordia is ranked fourth in the GPAC for both men and women (full ratings below). The Bulldogs men will seek their first team conference title since the 2015 outdoor season. The last Concordia women’s GPAC championship occurred at the 2012 outdoor meet.

2017 Concordia GPAC champions
Men’s indoor/outdoor 4x400m relay
Cody Boellstorff (weight throw)
Allie Brooks (indoor pole vault)
Samantha Liermann (outdoor shot put)
Zach Lurz (indoor shot put; hammer throw; discus)
CJ Muller (600 meters)
Kali Robb (indoor shot put; hammer throw)
Tricia Svoboda (discus)
Lucas Wiechman (55 hurdles; heptathlon; indoor/outdoor pole vault; long jump; 110 hurdles; 400 hurdles)


Concordia all-time conference titles
MEN – indoor: 2014 | outdoor: 2014, 2015
WOMEN – indoor: 2010 | outdoor: 1998, 2010, 2012

Concordia all-time conference runner-up finishes
MEN – indoor: 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 | outdoor: 2002, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017
WOMEN – indoor: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 | outdoor: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

GPAC teams in national top 25 rankings

*According to USTFCCCA

3 – Doane
6 – Hastings
12 – Northwestern
24 – Concordia

5 – Doane
6 – Hastings
8 – Northwestern
10 – Concordia
16 – Morningside
24 – Dordt