Meet Preview: 2022 NAIA Outdoor National Championships

By Jacob Knabel on May. 23, 2022 in Track & Field

NAIA T&F Pages: Men | Women

SEWARD, Neb. – Thirty-five members of the Concordia University Track & Field program have departed for Gulf Shores, Ala., location of the 2022 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships. Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores has served as the site for outdoor nationals since 2014. The Bulldogs have fond memories of coastal Alabama, where they celebrated team national titles for the men in 2015 and for the women in 2016. The three-day national championship meet will run Wednesday through Friday. A full list of national qualifiers can be found at bottom.

Entering the meet, head coach Matt Beisel’s GPAC championship women’s squad is ranked No. 4 in the NAIA, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rating index. NAIA powerhouse Indiana Tech carries the No. 1 ranking on both sides.

Fresh off a seventh-straight GPAC title, the Concordia women’s program has placed third at each of the past three national meets and has its sights set on another trophy finish (top four in the NAIA). The team’s 23 outdoor qualifiers have combined for 50 career All-America awards and five individual national titles. Josie Puelz (three-time pole vault national champion) will be aiming for a sweep of NAIA indoor and outdoor pole vault championships for the second year in a row. The other past national champion on the roster is Rachel Battershell, who has twice taken home NAIA titles in the 400 meters. Bulldogs with at least three career All-America awards include Battershell (nine), Sarah Lewis (seven), Jacee Pfeifer (six), Erin Mapson (five), Rylee Haecker (four), Puelz (four), Morgan De Jong (three) and Amy Richert (three).

The men’s national qualifying roster is 12 deep. That group has combined for 14 career All-America awards. The Concordia men will attempt to outperform their seed markings and improve upon last year’s tie for 28th place at the outdoor national meet. Past men’s All-Americans are Zach Bennetts (one), Chase Berry (two), Jacob Jennings (two), Cade Kleckner (two), Wyatt Loga (two), Colton Meyer (two), Xavier Ross (one) and Chris Wren (two). At the 2022 indoor national meet, the Bulldogs picked up All-America honors thanks to the 4x4 (Jennings, Kleckner, Meyer and Maccoy Menke), Loga in the high jump and Wren in the weight throw.

According to the USTFCCCA, the Bulldogs boast many of the top event groupings in the NAIA. Based on the coaches association’s event squad rankings, Concordia owns the nation’s top men’s hammer, women’s pole vault, women’s shot put, women’s discus and women’s hammer groups in the NAIA. The Bulldogs also rank No. 2 nationally in the women’s heptathlon and third in the NAIA in the women’s high jump and women’s 800 meters. As a result of his work with the women’s throws group, Ed McLaughlin was named the 2022 NAIA Midwest Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA on May 20.

Current top five national marks are held by Puelz (No. 1 in the pole vault), Jordan Koepke (No. 2 in the 400 hurdles), the women’s 4x800 meter relay (No. 2) and De Jong (No. 5 in the hammer). Others just outside of the top five of the NAIA are Berry (No. 6 in the pole vault), Lewis (No. 6 in the 400 hurdles), Alli Owings (No. 6 in the discus), the women’s 4x400 meter relay (No. 6) and Ragland (No. 7 in the hammer).

Past Bulldog teams have set the bar high for what the program is capable of attaining. The 2015 Concordia men’s squad became the first team national champion (any sport) in school history. The women followed it up with a team national title in 2016 (while the men were the national runners up). The red banners that came from those performances are hung proudly in the Walz Fieldhouse.

A live stream of each of the events will be available for purchase. For more details, check out the NAIA Network home page here: The link for live results can be found HERE.

2022 Concordia Outdoor National Qualifiers
Brittney Aitken, freshman (first trip to nationals)
Andy Amos, junior (third trip to nationals)
Rachel Battershell, junior (seventh trip to nationals; nine All-America awards; two-time 400 meter national champ)
Keri Bauer, senior (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Zach Bennetts, junior (third trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Chase Berry, junior (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Amira Cummings, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals)
Morgan De Jong, senior (sixth trip to nationals; three All-America awards)
Jenna Esch, freshman (first trip to nationals)
Abigail Gerber, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals)
Rylee Haecker, sophomore (third trip to nationals; four All-America awards)
Kylahn Heritage, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Sara Huss, sophomore (second trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Jacob Jennings, senior (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Rhaya Kaschinske, freshman (first trip to nationals)
Cade Kleckner, senior (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Jordan Koepke, freshman (second trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Sarah Lewis, junior (seventh trip to nationals; seven All-America awards)
Wyatt Loga, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Emily Loseke, freshman (first trip to nationals)
Erin Mapson, junior (sixth trip to nationals; five All-America awards)
Colton Meyer, sophomore (fifth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Cora Olson, junior (third trip to nationals)
Alli Owings, sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Erin Painter, sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Jacee Pfeifer, senior (seventh trip to nationals; six All-America awards)
Kamryn Pokorney, sophomore (first trip to nationals)
Josie Puelz, sophomore (fifth trip to nationals; four All-America awards; three-time pole vault national champ)
Sarah Ragland, senior (sixth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Joel Rathe, sophomore (second trip to nationals)
Amy Richert, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals; three All-America awards)
Xavier Ross, junior (fourth trip to nationals; one All-America award)
Camden Sesna, sophomore (third trip to nationals)
Chris Wren, sophomore (fourth trip to nationals; two All-America awards)
Zach Zohner, sophomore (second trip to nationals)

Concordia Event Schedule – 2022 NAIA Outdoor T&F National Championships

Wednesday, May 25

·        10:30 a.m. – Heptathlon: Amy Richert

·        1 p.m. – Women’s Hammer: Morgan De Jong, Abigail Gerber, Alli Owings, Kamryn Pokorney, Sarah Ragland

·        3:40 p.m. – Women’s 4x100m Relay: Rachel Battershell, Brittney Aitken, Sarah Lewis, Cora Olson (Alternate: Emily Loseke)

·        4 p.m. – Men’s Hammer: Andy Amos, Chris Wren

·        4:10 p.m. – Men’s 4x100m Relay: Cade Kleckner, Xavier Ross, Jacob Jennings, Joel Rathe (Alternate: Colton Meyer)

·        4:30 p.m. – Women’s Pole Vault: Amira Cummings, Erin Mapson, Josie Puelz

·        4:30 p.m. – Women’s 1500m: Rylee Haecker

·        4:50 p.m. – Men’s 1500m: Camden Sesna

·        5:10 p.m. – Women’s 400m Hurdles: Jordan Koepke, Sarah Lewis

·        6:15 p.m. – Men’s 200m: Cade Kleckner

·        7 p.m. – Women’s 4x800m Relay: Rylee Haecker, Kylahn Heritage, Jenna Esch, Keri Bauer (Alternates: Rhaya Kaschinske, Jordan Koepke)

Thursday, May 26

·        10:30 a.m. – Heptathlon: Amy Richert

·        2:30 p.m. – Women’s Shot Put: Abigail Gerber

·        3:30 p.m. – Women’s 800m: Keri Bauer

·        4:30 p.m. – Men’s High Jump: Wyatt Loga

·        5:20 p.m. – Men’s 400m: Xavier Ross

·        7:10 p.m. – Women’s 4x800m Relay Finals

·        9:15 p.m. – Women’s 4x400m Relay: Sarah Lewis, Jordan Koepke, Jacee Pfeifer, Rachel Battershell (Alternates: Keri Bauer, Jenna Esch)

·        9:45 p.m. – Men’s 4x400m Relay: Jacob Jennings, Cade Kleckner, Colton Meyer, Xavier Ross (Alternate: Joel Rathe)

Friday, May 27

·        1 p.m. – Women’s Discus Throw: Sara Huss, Alli Owings, Erin Painter

·        1 p.m. – Men’s Pole Vault: Zach Bennetts, Chase Berry, Zach Zohner

·        2 p.m. – Women’s High Jump: Amy Richert

·        2:40 p.m. – Women’s 4x100m Relay Finals

·        2:50 p.m. – Men’s 4x100m Relay Finals

·        3 p.m. – Women’s 1500m Finals

·        3:10 p.m. – Men’s 1500m Finals

·        4:10 p.m. – Women’s 400m Hurdles Finals

·        4:40 p.m. – Men’s 400m Finals

·        5:20 p.m. – Men’s 200m Finals

·        6:15 p.m. – Women’s 4x400m Relay Finals

·        6:25 p.m. – Men’s 4x400m Relay Finals

Concordia indoor national finishes since 2000
2022:M– 36th |W– 3rd
2021: M– 12th | W– 3rd
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|W11th
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
2021: M – 28th | W – 3rd
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