SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldog men’s hammer throw ruled the competition while the men’s 4x400 meter relay helped put a satisfying wrap on the Concordia Twilight Meet hosted by Concordia University Track & Field on Friday (May 14). Between those two events, the Bulldogs came away with three new automatic national qualifying marks in what served as a last chance outing. Collectively, Concordia athletes combined for 16 performances that met the ‘A’ standard during Twilight action.
This marked the lead in to the upcoming national championships. Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads carry NAIA national ratings of No. 1 on the women’s side and No. 13 on the men’s side. In this particular meet, Addie Shaw (discus) and Liz Stottlemyre (javelin) claimed event titles.
“We always want to sharpen what we’ve already done for those who have already qualified and we always have some people who are on the bubble of getting in to nationals,” Beisel said. “To be able to walk away from this meet with some additional qualifiers is always the goal, and we were able to accomplish that with Andy Amos and Ben Moll in the hammer. Then our men’s 4x4 ran a very solid ‘A’ mark with an outstanding effort. We also got some ‘B’ marks that we hadn’t had before. We had some good things happen.”
It’s been a spring of eye-opening performances for the throws crew. While Shaw and the women have cleaned up in just about every throwing event, the men boast the deepest squad of hammer throwers in the NAIA. Six of the eight Bulldogs who competed in hammer on Friday turned in personal bests and five of them surpassed the automatic mark. Amos (182’ 10”) and Moll (174’ 10”) became the latest names to be added to the national qualifying field. Once again, Jacob Cornelio broke 200 feet in the hammer.
The men’s 4x4 managed to put together the type of performance it had been waiting for. The group of Cade Kleckner, Jacob Jennings, Henry Reimer and Colton Meyer sped around the track in 3:15.76 while clocking in under the auto time of 3:16. The Twilight 4x4 event was loaded with some of the nation’s best – three other squads also achieved the ‘A’ standard on Friday.
On the women’s side of the hammer, Sarah Ragland popped off a personal best toss of 183 feet (second place in the meet), which would rank No. 3 in the NAIA based on the current national leaderboard (and due to a first-place Twilight mark turned in by an opposing NAIA competitor). Shaw did not achieve any PR’s, but she still hit ‘A’ marks in each of her events while making her final home appearance. Other ‘A’ standards were attained by Sarah Huss in the discus and Stottlemyre in the javelin.
Rachel Battershell ran times of 56.58 in the 400 meter dash and 1:02.91 in the 400 meter hurdles while notching two second-place finishes at the Twilight Meet. Both Battershell and Sarah Lewis (1:03.12) again produced auto times in the hurdles. Battershell has qualified for nationals in three separate individual events.
Other athletes not previously mentioned to place either second or third in an event included Jordyn Anderson (third in shot put), Amira Cummings (third in pole vault), Rylee Haecker (third in 1,500 meters), Mackenzie Koepke (third in high jump), Emily Loy (second in long jump), Erin Mapson (second in pole vault), Cora Olson (second in 200 meters; third in long jump).
Bulldogs with ‘B’ standards recorded at the Twilight Meet included Anderson (shot put), Cornelio (discus), Cummings (pole vault), Abigail Gerber (shot put), Brady Klute (hammer), Koepke (high jump), Taylor Moes (triple jump), Jerod Peters (hammer), Kamryn Pokorney (shot put), Amy Richert (high jump), Darien Semedo (hammer) and Bethany Shaw (hammer). In addition, Beisel pointed out the strong showing of Camden Sesna in his first career 1,500 meter race (finished in 3:59.10).
For some seniors, this was the last meet of their college careers. Said Beisel, “We had some seniors making their last attempts. Anna Baack is one that I think of – she’s been a phenomenal leader and athlete for us over the last four years. She gave it her best shot tonight and came up short (of qualifying for nationals). I couldn’t be happier to have had her as part of the team.”
Athletes from the following visiting schools were present on Friday: Baker (Kan.), Benedictine (Kan.), Bethel (Kan.), Central Methodist (Mo.), Chadron State, Dakota Wesleyan, Doane, Dordt, Friends (Kan.), Grand View (Iowa), Hastings, Jamestown, Kansas Wesleyan, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Midland, Mount Marty, Northwestern, Ottawa (Kan.), Saint Mary (Kan.), South Dakota School of Mines, Southwestern (Kan.) and William Penn (Iowa).
For Concordia’s national qualifiers, the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships are up next. The national meet will be held at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 26-28. At the most recent NAIA outdoor national championship (2019), the Bulldogs placed fifth on the women’s side and 31st on the men’s side.
Currently, Beisel and his staff believe they will take at least 34 athletes to nationals. Said Beisel, “I think we have a great arsenal to draw from as we head down to Gulf Shores to do battle with some really great teams.”
‘A’ standards achieved at Twilight Meet
*New automatic mark/time
· *Men’s 4x400 meter relay (3:15.76)
· Andy Amos – *hammer (182’ 10”)
· Rachel Battershell – 400 meters (56.58); 400 hurdles (1:02.91)
· Dagne’ Buck – hammer (178’ 9”)
· Jacob Cornelio – hammer (202’ 1”)
· Sarah Huss – discus (146’ 9”)
· Sarah Lewis – 400 hurdles (1:03.12)
· Erin Mapson – pole vault (11’ 11 ¾”)
· Ben Moll – *hammer (174’ 10”)
· Sarah Ragland – hammer (183’)
· Addie Shaw – discus (157’ 10”); hammer (182’ 7”); shot put (46’ 5 ½”)
· Liz Stottlemyre – javelin (147’ 8”)
· Chris Wren – hammer (182’ 2”)