SEWARD, Neb. – Final preparations are being made for the 2018 GPAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The conference meet is set to run Friday and Saturday at Elwood Olsen Stadium on the Morningside College campus in Sioux City, Iowa. Head coach Matt Beisel’s squads are looking to improve upon conference finishes of fourth (men) and fifth (women), respectively, at the 2018 GPAC indoor championships. Nothing will come easy in a conference rated as the best in the NAIA for track and field by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The dynamics of outdoor track and field give the Bulldogs reason to believe they can contend for top three GPAC placements. The addition of throwing events such as the hammer, discus and javelin favors Concordia. The Bulldogs also can expect an increase in individual conference champions. Entering the weekend, Concordia has five GPAC leaders: the women’s 4x400 meter relay, Jessica Deterding (heptathlon), Scott Johnson (long jump), Leah Larson (triple jump) and Samantha Liermann (shot put).
Concordia is coming off a fruitful week that featured five new automatic national qualifying marks. With two meets left before the national championships later this month, Bulldog athletes have combined for 17 ‘A’ and 11 ‘B’ standard national qualifying marks. The latest additions to the national qualifying field were Larson (triple jump), Johanna Ragland (hammer throw), Carley Skorepa (discus and hammer) and Cody Williams (pole vault). Adrianna Shaw tops Concordia with three automatic national qualifying marks (all in the throws).
The program continues to work on balancing out a roster that is strongest in the field events. Liermann is looking to defend her title in the shot put and is potential big point scorer in the hammer. The women’s shot put will be counted upon for big contributions. The group includes stars such as Adrianna Shaw and Ragland, in addition to Liermann. The women’s discus is also loaded with Bulldog athletes currently seeded fourth through ninth on the GPAC list. Both Shaws and Skorepa are qualified for nationals in the event.
The event area with the most depth on the men’s side is the pole vault, which includes national qualifiers Tucker Platt and Williams. Five others also have the ability to place inside the top eight of the GPAC: Simon Brummond, Dalton Berry, Logan Craig, Tyrell Reichert and Sam Sisco. While Johnson in the jumps appears to be the strongest male contender for a GPAC title, Jacob Cornelio (fourth in hammer, seventh in discus) has potential to score in two throwing events.
Just a sophomore, Deterding is establishing herself as one of the top female athletes on the team. Not only does she currently lead the GPAC in the heptathlon, she also ranks third in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump. From a female perspective on the track, Mika Brees (fifth in the 100/200 meters) is the team’s top sprinter. In the hurdles, the likes of Kennedy Mogul and Jamie Nikodym are more than capable of producing all-conference performances.
Elsewhere on the track, junior Josiah McAllister could make a GPAC championship push in the 800 meters if he can put together a personal best. He also figures to be part of a 4x800 meter relay team that clocked a ‘B’ standard time at the Drake Relays. One candidate to emerge as the MVP for the Concordia men is Williams, who is one of the top decathletes in the NAIA and owns additional top eight GPAC seed marks in the pole vault, 110 hurdles and high jump.
Based upon the USTFCCCA rankings released today (May 2), the GPAC championship race could be tight on both sides. The conference boasts four top 25 teams for both men and women. The Bulldogs check in at No. 7 on the women’s side and at No. 23 on the men’s side. In the same USTFCCCA ratings, Concordia is listed as having the top event groups nationally in the women’s shot put, women’s discus, women’s heptathlon and men’s pole vault.
2018 Concordia GPAC indoor champions
Scott Johnson (triple jump)
Samantha Liermann (shot put)
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 – Northwestern
8 – Hastings
23 – Concordia
4 – Hastings
6 – Doane
7 – Concordia
22 – Morningside