CRETE, Neb. – The list of national qualifiers continues to grow for Concordia University Track & Field. The Bulldogs added three fresh automatic national qualifying performances on Saturday (Jan. 29) while in action at the Fred Beile Classic hosted by Doane. The new auto marks were turned in by Concordia’s men’s distance medley relay and by Abigail Gerber and Wyatt Loga. In addition, Bulldog athletes combined for eight Beile Classic event championships.
Through four weekends of indoor competition, Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads (ranked No. 2 in the NAIA on the women’s side and No. 18 on the men’s side) have collected 16 ‘A’ standards. Fortunately, there’s still time for those still on the hunt for berths to the national meet.
“There were a lot of personal bests,” Beisel said. “We get midway through the season and this is when we want to see the times begin to drop and the marks get bigger. We began to see some of that today, as compared to last week. I had a lot of fun seeing progress being made. We’re not yet where we think we’re going to be, but it was a good day. There are kids who won’t get the spotlight but did some great things and had personal bests.” Beisel went on to laud the efforts of the three new national qualifying performances.
One of the day’s biggest thrills came early in the afternoon when the quartet of Camden Sesna, Grant Lammers, Sam Plante and Calvin Rohde blazed to a distance medley relay time of 10:19.32 (converted to 10:11.03 for the national list). That time put the group in first place and broke the Fuhrer Field House record. Sesna ran a 3:12 split in the 1,200 meters, Lammers galloped 400 meters in 50.98, Plante paced 800 meters in 1:59.34 and Rohde polished it off with a 4:16 in the 1,600 meters. Rohde is also an individual national qualifier in the mile.
It could be argued that the weight throw has been Concordia’s most consistently excellent event area this season. The usual suspects again hit the ‘A’ standard at Doane: Andy Amos (4th place; 56’ 6 ¾”), Morgan De Jong (2nd place; 55’ 9”), Sarah Ragland (event champ; season best of 57’) and Chris Wren (2nd place; 63’ 7”). This time around, Gerber also broke through by sending the weight throw sailing 53’ 4 ¼” (fourth place) for a personal best. On the men’s side of things, Dagne’ Buck notched a ‘B’ standard of 53’ 8 ¼.” In the shot put, Jordyn Anderson eclipsed the ‘B’ standard and Amos was the top Bulldog for the men.
In the high jump, Loga will be headed to nationals for the third time in his career. In a strong competition at the Beile Classic, the Bee, Neb., native cleared 6’ 8 ¼” and placed third (based on the sequence of successful jumps). Teammate Jacob Glines got over the bar at 6’ 5.” On the women’s side of the high jump, Concordia’s Hannah Newton, Grace Reimer and Amy Richert all eclipsed 5’ 3.”
Elsewhere on the track, sophomore Rylee Haecker just keeps doing her thing. She clocked another ‘A’ standard in the 1,000 meters, finishing in a first-place time of 2:58.37 (No. 1 in the NAIA). The Bulldog women claimed a series of Beile Classic titles courtesy of the women’s 4x400 meter relay, Keri Bauer (800 meters) and Jacee Pfeifer (600 meters). The 4x4 team was made up of Rachel Battershell, Trinity Tuls, Jordan Koepke and Emily Loseke and clocked a ‘B’ standard of 4:02.99. In the open 400 meters, Sarah Lewis, Battershell, Tuls and Koepke placed second through fifth while all finishing in under 1:01. Battershell is still working her way towards the ‘A’ standard. Also noteworthy, Kylahn Heritage made her return and placed third in the 1,000 meters (3:07.46).
The Concordia men’s 4x4 wrapped up the meet by outrunning groups from Doane, Bethany and York. The Bulldog foursome of Cade Kleckner, Jacob Jennings, Xavier Ross and Mark Cooke recorded a time of 3:24.21, just shy of the ‘B’ standard. Jennings placed third in the open 400 in a time of 50.94. A runner-up finish on the track was turned in by Micah Willweber in the mile (4:42.21). Grace Reiman placed second in the women’s 3,000 meters (11:13.43).
In the pole vault, Erin Mapson took home a meet title for the second week in a row. The four-time NAIA All-American cleared a season best of 12’ 1 ½” at the Beile Classic. On the men’s side, Chase Berry (14’ 9”) and Zach Bennetts (14’ 3 ¼”) are hoping to add themselves to the national qualifying field in the coming weeks. Berry came close in his attempts at the ‘B’ standard on Saturday. Bennetts and Berry were both indoor All-Americans a year ago.
The Bulldogs will be back inside their own Fieldhouse next Friday (Feb. 4) to host the Concordia Classic. The meet will mark the third of four home meets this indoor season. Select Concordia athletes will also compete at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational (Feb. 4-5) hosted by the University of Nebraska. Only two weekends of indoor season remain prior to the GPAC Championships.
Automatic National Qualifying Standards
· *Men’s Distance Medley Relay (10:19.32); Sesna, Lammers, Plante, Rohde
· Andy Amos – Weight Throw (56’ 6 ¾”)
· Morgan De Jong – Weight Throw (55’ 9”)
· *Abigail Gerber – Weight Throw (53’ 4 ¼”)
· Rylee Haecker – 1,000 Meters (2:58.37)
· *Wyatt Loga – High Jump (6’ 8 ¼”)
· Erin Mapson – Pole Vault (12’ 1 ½”)
· Sarah Ragland – Weight Throw (57’)
· Chris Wren – Weight Throw (63’ 7”)
*Fresh auto mark
· Men’s Distance Medley Relay (10:19.32); Sesna, Lammers, Plante, Rohde
· Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay (3:24.21); Kleckner, Jennings, Ross, Cooke
· Women’s 4x400 Meter Relay (4:02.99); Battershell, Tuls, Koepke, Loseke
· Keri Bauer – 800 meters (2:22.94)
· Rylee Haecker – 1,000 meters (2:58.37)
· Erin Mapson – Pole Vault (12’ 1 ½”)
· Jacee Pfeifer – 600 meters (1:40.61)
· Sarah Ragland – weight throw (57’)