Outdoor season opens with six event titles at Viking Relays

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 25, 2023 in Track & Field

Viking Relays Results

DES MOINES, Iowa – A group made up of mostly distance runners and throwers represented Concordia University Track & Field in the program’s first outdoor meet of the 2023 season on Saturday (March 25). The new season kicked off at the Grand View Viking Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Bulldogs emerged with six event championships. Two of those titlists were usual suspects in star performers Rylee Haecker and Calvin Rohde, who gave Concordia a sweep in the 1,500 meter races.

This was the first action for the Bulldogs since wrapping up the 2023 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. It was essentially a soft opening as Concordia held back its sprinters and jumpers while waiting for more favorable weather.

“We were able to outmatch the teams there from a distance perspective,” Beisel said. “It was fun to have each of our guys in the distance events come away as the event champions. It was cool to see Jack Ellis in the 10k, Nate Pennekamp in the steeplechase, Calvin Rohde in the 1,500 and then our men’s 4x8 all win on the track. We had great races as well from Kaia Richmond in the steeplechase and Rylee Haecker in the 1,500. The weather was almost perfect for distance races. Calvin and Rylee put up really solid marks. As far as the throws, some really good things happened. Not everything they wanted happened, but we had some really good personal bests.”

There were 12 institutions represented at the Viking Relays, including nine from the NAIA level. The Bulldogs did not put any automatic national qualifying marks on the board, but they did lay the groundwork for what’s to come this outdoor season. Haecker beat out a field of 20 runners in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:47.50. She was followed by three teammates that also placed in the top five of the 1,500: Keegan Beisel (4:58.68), Rhaya Kaschinske (5:00.60) and Julie McIntyre (5:00.60). It was a thrilling breakthrough for Beisel to crack five minutes. Meanwhile, Rohde clocked in at 3:57.54 on the men’s side and outpaced 27 other runners. The native of Reed City, Mich., ran two seconds off a PR.

Additional individual event champions on the track were Ellis in the 10,000 meters (33:48.91) and Pennekamp in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:01.57). In the 4x800 meter relays, there were only a handful of entries on either side. The top grouping for the Bulldogs on the men’s side featured Rohde, Camden Sesna, Ethan Ideus and Micah Willweber. They combined to run 8:15.45 and place first. On the women’s side, Concordia’s top quartet included Haecker, Kaschinske, Beintema and Beisel. They placed first in 10:02.47.

In the throws, the Bulldogs entered competitors into the discus, hammer and shot put. On the men’s side, Concordia’s top performers were Grant Jansen in discus (150’ 8”; fifth place), Ben Moll in hammer (178’; fifth place) and Connor Asche in shot put (46’ 4”; sixth place). The leaders on the women’s side were Erin Painter in discus (137’ 5”; third place) and Kamryn Pokorney in both hammer (155’ 7”; third place) and shot put (41’ 1”; third place). A past All-American and member of the volleyball team, Sara Huss threw 132’ 10” in discus and placed fourth. Moll’s toss landed roughly 1.75 meters shy of an automatic mark in hammer.

Beisel made mention of several others who got the outdoor season started in stellar fashion. All four Bulldogs in the men’s 10k clocked new personal bests, including third-place finisher Logan Walgate (36:04.28). On the women’s side of the steeplechase, Kaia Richmond finished as the runner up in a time of 12:40.39. Westley Determan was next in line (behind Pennekamp) in the men’s steeplechase in a time of 10:20.09. As one of the team’s only sprinters to compete on Saturday, Isabelle Salters ran the 200 meters in 27.46 and placed third.

Viking Relays Event Champions

·        Men’s 4x800m relay (8:15.45); Rohde, Sesna, Ideus, Willweber

·        Women’s 4x800m relay (10:02.47); Haecker, Kaschinske, Beintema, Beisel

·        Jack Ellis – 10,000 meters (33:48.91)

·        Rylee Hacker – 1,500 meters (4:47.50)

·        Nathan Pennekamp – 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:01.57)

·        Calvin Rohde – 1,500 meters (3:57.54)

The outdoor season will continue next Saturday (April 1) with the Central Nebraska Challenge co-hosted by Hastings and the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The meet is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. CT from Kearney High School. The tentative meet schedule can be found HERE.