SEWARD, Neb. – Following six weekends of indoor competition, Concordia University Track & Field is ready to host the 2023 GPAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Walz Fieldhouse will serve as the venue for the conference indoor meet for the first time since 2019. The ’23 meet will get started on Friday afternoon with the women’s pentathlon and the men’s heptathlon. Then on Saturday, action will heat up until closing with the 4x400 meter relays around 8 p.m. CT. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
2023 GPAC Indoor Track & Field Championships
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 17-18 | Walz Fieldhouse
--Admission: $10 for adults/senior citizens, $3 for K-12; only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.
--Meet Program (includes heat sheets) | PDF
--Meet Schedule (PDF) | Live Results (field events will update mark-by-mark)
· Running Events: https://www.youtube.com/c/BulldogTrackandField
· Men’s & Women’s High Jump: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCnWh95Lz6dW3OUosomZyoA
· Women’s Jumps (north runway): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChWMXJ0G97vIWXuBqGS3Iww
· Men’s & Women’s Throwing Events: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqn-dBHnX9YmlOunOX9cweA
· Men’s & Women’s Pole Vault: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIerIQe-tQv53fnpGwp_wTQ
· Men’s Jumps (infield jumping events): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIerIQe-tQv53fnpGwp_wTQ
Each of the streaming links shown above are included on the “Watch the Bulldogs” page here: https://www.cune.edu/athletics/watch-bulldogs.
Entering the weekend, the Concordia women’s program has emerged as the winner of each of the past seven GPAC championship meets. At the 2022 conference indoor meet hosted by Doane, the Bulldog women racked up 194.5 points while outperforming second place Hastings (163). On the men’s side, Concordia placed fourth while totaling 67 points. Doane is the reigning GPAC men’s indoor champion. The most recent GPAC team title for the Bulldog men came at the 2015 conference outdoor meet hosted by Dordt. Below is a list of GPAC teams currently boasting NAIA top 25 ratings (based on last week’s calculations from the USTFCCCA).
GPAC nationally ranked teams (USTFCCCA – Feb. 8)
25. Mount Marty
Concordia’s returning GPAC individual champions from the 2022 indoor meet include Zach Bennetts (pole vault), Rylee Haecker (mile and 1,000 meters), Jordan Koepke (600 meters) and Josie Puelz (pole vault). Puelz broke the GPAC indoor meet pole vault record last year by clearing 13’ 5” in Crete. Among current Bulldogs, 10 have won at least one GPAC event championship in their careers (see list below). Fifth-year athlete Rachel Battershell owns eight career conference championships to her credit. In addition, Puelz has won four and Haecker has captured three. The work of Bennetts and Puelz in 2022 allowed Concordia to sweep GPAC indoor/outdoor pole vault titles.
Heading into the 2023 meet, the following Bulldogs own marks that pace the conference: women’s 4x400 meter relay, women’s distance medley relay, Rachel Battershell (400 meters), Zach Bennetts (pole vault), Rylee Haecker (1,000 meters and mile), Hannah Newton (high jump), Josie Puelz (pole vault) and Adrianna Rodencal (60 hurdles). A freshman out of Lincoln Lutheran High School, Rodencal broke her own school record last week when she ran a Concordia Invite winning time of 8.76 in the 60 hurdles. Breakthroughs at the Concordia Invite came in the form of five new automatic national qualifying standards, courtesy of Battershell (400 meters), Dagne’ Buck (weight throw), Jenna Esch (600 meters), Newton (high jump) and Camden Sesna (mile).
The program tally after six weekends of indoor competition includes 25 ‘A’ standards and 25 ‘B’ standards. In addition, four Bulldog pentathletes have eclipsed the minimum national reporting standard of 2,950 points. Amy Richert currently ranks No. 4 nationally in the pentathlon (and No. 2 in the GPAC). Other Concordia athletes who rank in the top five of the NAIA are Bennetts (No. 5 in the pole vault), Haecker (No. 3 in 1,000 meters), Newton (No. 4 in the high jump), Puelz (No. 3 in the pole vault), Calvin Rohde (No. 5 in 1,000 meters) and Chris Wren (No. 5 in the weight throw).
Head Coach Matt Beisel is in his seventh season leading both the cross country and track programs. He’s been named a GPAC Coach of the Year eight times (once for cross country). All eight of his conference championships have come on the women’s side. The men are looking to break through after having placed second in the GPAC three times in track during Beisel’s tenure. This past fall was a strong one for Concordia Cross Country as the men placed second in the GPAC and the women earned an at-large bid to the national meet.
The GPAC meet will be a final chance to post national qualifying marks. Those who qualify will continue their indoor seasons at the 2023 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Brookings, S.D., March 2-4. More details on the national meet can be found HERE.
Current Bulldogs with GPAC event titles
Rachel Battershell – 8 (2021 outdoor 400 hurdles; 2021 outdoor 4x400m relay; 2021 indoor 400 meters; 2020 indoor 60 hurdles; 2020 indoor 400 meters; 2020 indoor 4x400m relay; 2019 indoor 4x400m relay; 2019 outdoor 400 meters)
Zach Bennetts – 2 (2022 outdoor pole vault; 2022 indoor pole vault)
Rylee Haecker – 3 (2022 outdoor 1,500 meters; 2022 indoor mile; 2022 indoor 1,000 meters)
Kylahn Heritage – 2 (2021 indoor 1,000 meters); 2020 indoor 3,000 meters)
Jordan Koepke – 2 (2022 outdoor 400 hurdles; 2022 indoor 600 meters)
Erin Mapson – 1 (2019 outdoor pole vault)
Colton Meyer – 1 (2021 outdoor 4x100m relay)
Josie Puelz – 4 (2022 outdoor pole vault; 2022 indoor pole vault; 2021 outdoor pole vault; 2020 indoor pole vault)
Joel Rathe – 1 (2021 outdoor 4x100m relay)
Camden Sesna – 1 (2022 outdoor 5,000 meters)
Concordia all-time conference titles
MEN – indoor: 2014 | outdoor: 2014, 2015
WOMEN – indoor: 2010, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 | outdoor: 1998, 2010, 2012, 2019, 2021, 2022
Concordia all-time conference runner-up finishes
MEN – indoor: 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 | outdoor: 2002, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017
WOMEN – indoor: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 | outdoor: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016