Meet Preview: 2021 NAIA Indoor National Championships

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 1, 2021 in Track & Field

NAIA T&F Pages: Men | Women

SEWARD, Neb. – Thirty-seven members of the Concordia University Track & Field programs are making their final preparations for the 2021 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Due to changes brought about by COVID-19, the meet will unfold over four days (instead of the usual three). The Ruth Donohoue First Dakota Fieldhouse on the Mount Marty University campus in Yankton, S.D., will serve as the location for action Wednesday through Saturday (March 3-6).

Entering the meet, head coach Matt Beisel’s squads own national rankings of second (women) and sixth (men), according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. NAIA powerhouse Indiana Tech carries the No. 1 ranking on both sides.

Fresh off a fourth-straight GPAC title, the Concordia women’s program has the potential for another trophy finish (top four in the NAIA) at this week’s meet. Junior Rachel Battershell is the reigning NAIA national champion in the 400 meters and enters the championships ranked No. 1 nationally in the event. Battershell is also a key component for a 4x400 meter relay that placed second at the 2020 indoor national meet. Meanwhile, sophomore Josie Puelz will take aim at an individual national title in the pole vault (currently ranked second). The Bulldog women lead the nation with 23 national qualifiers. Those qualifiers have combined for 15 previous All-America awards.

Concordia’s men’s national qualifying roster is 14 athletes strong. Sophomore Chase Berry is a returning All-American in the pole vault. Berry, Cody Williams (three) and Christian Van Cleave (two) have combined for six career All-America awards. Williams will be making his fifth appearance at a national meet after missing out a year ago due to injury. The native of Imperial, Neb., is now a two-time GPAC heptathlon champion and placed as the NAIA heptathlon national runner up in 2019. Williams will compete in three separate events this week, including the pole vault. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified four pole vaulters. The Bulldog men project for a potential top 10 national finish.

As usual, Concordia will take a stellar group of throwers to nationals. Last season then senior Jacob Cornelio won the national title in the weight throw. The Bulldogs are particularly deep in the women’s weight throw with three qualifiers, including GPAC champion Morgan De Jong. As for the pole vault, Concordia ranks No. 1 in the NAIA for both men and women. Puelz is a returning All-American while Erin Mapson is a two-time pole vault All-American.

Due to the change in the meet format, women’s events will be held on days 1 and 3 (Wednesday/Friday) while the men’s events will take place on days 2 and 4 (Thursday/Saturday). As mandated by the NAIA, all coaches and athletes (and those listed on the official travel party) will be tested for COVID-19 prior to competition. Spectators will not allowed to attend the meet.

At the 2020 NAIA indoor championships, the Bulldogs placed fourth on the women’s side and 17th on the men’s side. For the women, that placement represented the best NAIA indoor finish in program history. The women have placed 13th at NAIA indoor eight-straight times. Meanwhile, the men placed second in the NAIA at the 2000 indoor national meet. The top men’s indoor claim during Beisel’s tenure was ninth at the 2019 meet.

A live stream of each of the events will be available for purchase. For more details, check out the NAIA Network home page here: https://www.naianetwork.com/.

2021 Concordia indoor national qualifiers
Anna Baack, Senior (second trip to nationals)
Rachel Battershell, Junior (fourth trip to nationals; four All-America awards; 2020 400m national champion)
Keri Bauer, Junior (first trip to nationals)
Zach Bennetts, Junior (first trip to nationals)
Chase Berry, Sophomore (second trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Jamey Broman, Junior (second trip to nationals)
Olivia Buschow, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Amira Cummings, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Morgan De Jong, Senior (third trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Abby Gerber, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Rylee Haecker, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Kylahn Heritage, Sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Jacob Jennings, Senior (first trip to nationals)
Cade Kleckner, Junior (first trip to nationals)
Sarah Lewis, Junior (four trip to nationals; three All-America awards)
Wyatt Loga, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Emily Loy, Senior (second trip to nationals)
Elle Luehr, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Erin Mapson, Junior (third trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Maccoy Menke, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Colton Meyer, Sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Kennedy Mogul, Senior (third trip to nationals)
Jacee Pfeifer, Junior (fourth trip to nationals; four All-America awards)
Josie Puelz, Sophomore (second trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Sarah Ragland, Senior (third trip to nationals)
Grace Reiman, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Henry Reimer, Senior (fourth trip to nationals)
Amy Richert, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Calvin Rohde, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Sydni Schernikau, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Camden Sesna, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Katie Severt, Sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Christian Van Cleave, Senior (fifth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Lainey Werts, Freshman (first trip to nationals)
Cody Williams, Junior (fifth trip to nationals; three All-America awards; 2019 heptathlon national runner up)
Chris Wren, Sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Zach Zohner, Freshman (first trip to nationals)

Concordia indoor national finishes since 2000
2020: M – 17th | W – 4th
2019: M – 9th | W – 9th
2018: M – 42nd | W – 9th
2017: M – 2nd | W – 7th
2016: M – 3rd | W – 5th
2015: M – 5th | W – 11th
2014: M – 17th | W – 11th
2013: M – 27th | W – 13th
2012: M – 38th | W – 29th
2011: M – 7th | W – 26th
2010: M – 15th | W – 12th
2009: M – 12th | W – 11th
2008: M – 7th | W – 14th
2007: M – 19th | W – 36th
2006: M – 5th | W 29th
2005: M – 26th | W 15th
2004: M – 7th | W – 27th
2003: M – 5th | W – 9th
2002: M – 20th | W – 8th
2001: M – 12th | W – 21st
2000: M – 2nd | W – 12th

Concordia outdoor national finishes since 2005
2019: M – 31st | W – 5th
2018: M – 69th | W – 12th
2017: M – 5th | W – 6th
2016: M – 2nd | W – 1st
2015: M – 1st | W – 5th
2014: M – 11th | W – 9th
2013: M – 42nd | W – 20th
2012: M – 57th | W – 15th
2011: M – 11th | W – 57th
2010: M – 24th | W – 14th
2009: M – 7th | W – 19th
2008: M – 11th | W – 29th
2007: M – 15th | W – 24th
2006: M – 7th | W – 28th
2005: M – 13th | W – 17th