Pole vault crew crushes it at Concordia Classic, Rodencal breaks 60 hurdles record

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 3, 2023 in Track & Field

SEWARD, Neb. – Athletes from 14 different institutions took center stage on Friday (Feb. 3) for wall-to-wall action at the annual Concordia Classic held inside the Walz Fieldhouse. Most significantly, the pole vaulters from Concordia University Track & Field ruled the day as eight athletes in that event area met the automatic national qualifying standard. In addition, freshman Adrianna Rodencal became the new record holder for the women’s program in the 60 meter hurdles. Fresh national qualifiers on Friday included vaulters Erin Boggs, Amira Cummings and Kayla Svoboda, as well as Maddie Robinson in the weight throw.

This marks the fifth weekend of 2022-23 indoor competition for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads, which boast NAIA national ratings of second on the women’s side and fourth on the men’s side. While most Concordia athletes were at home on Friday, there were three Bulldogs who represented the program at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln.

“There were a lot of good things that happened, and it also left a lot of us unsatisfied because we want more,” Beisel said. “There were highlights in every event area but in the chase for automatic standards, some of them were hoping for better. It just didn’t come together. We’ve got two more weeks to get them taken care of. It was exciting to see the new ‘A’ standards for the women’s pole vault and the guys showed they could continue to reach that standard. In middle to long distance, we just crushed it on PR’s. I’m very excited we’re performing that well across the board. I’m also very happy for Adrianna for putting that (school record) together.”

The program’s women’s pole vault crew entered the weekend with a national event squad ranking of No. 2 (according to the USTFCCCA) and may land at No. 1 next week. Five Bulldogs are now qualified in the event after three fresh ‘A’ standards were added on Friday. The usual suspects Josie Puelz (13’ ¼”) and Erin Mapson (12’ ½”) led the way at the top of the pack while Boggs, Cummings and Svoboda each cleared 11’ 6 ½.” Boggs and Svoboda will both be headed to nationals for the first time.

On the men’s side of the vault, three Concordia athletes who had already booked trips to nationals repeated performances that met the ‘A’ standard. Zach Bennetts, Chase Berry and Zach Zohner each rose above 15’ 7” while holding down the two through four placements at the Concordia Classic. A starting corner on the football team, Jayzen Armstrong also tried his hand at vaulting and cleared 13’ 1 ½.”

The four-time national champion Puelz sets the standard for the group. She was relieved to again reach 13 feet and expressed joy for her teammates. Said Puelz, “I am just so proud of each and every one of them. They really have been working hard, and I get to see the hard work they put in during practice. I admire that so much. It’s just so exciting to see people get that reward of qualifying for nationals for the first time. I think it will be a great experience, especially for a freshman like Kayla – and now EB qualifying. I’m super stoked to see how they will continue to progress.”

In competition at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Rodencal shined brightest with a PR of 8.80 in the 60 meter hurdle prelims. Her time bested the previous school standard of 8.81 by current teammate Rachel Battershell. Rodencal narrowly missed out on the finals (ninth place) while competing against a field heavy on NCAA Division I runners. The Lincoln Lutheran alum also ran a 60 meter time of 7.92. At the same venue, Battershell clocked times of 9.23 in the 60 hurdles and 1:00.30 in the 400 meters. On the men’s side, Colton Meyer ran a 49.32 in the 400 meters. He had already qualified for nationals in the event with a 48.57 (converted).

As Rodencal tweeted in response to a social media post about her school record, “All glory to God. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without this team.”

In the distance events, Rylee Haecker and Calvin Rohde continue to perform like stars. Named GPAC Track Athlete of the Week, Rohde ran a new personal best in the 1,000 meters by clocking a Concordia Classic first place time of 2:29.18, also a meet record (converted to 2:27.16 for the national list). Rohde is a national qualifier in three separate events. As for Haecker, she took the crown on the women’s side of the 1,000 meters with her time of 2:59.00. Like Rohde, the Davenport, Neb., native ranks No. 3 in the nation in the event. She was followed again in the 1,000 with successful races from teammates Rhaya Kaschinske (3:07.80) and Hannah Beintema (3:09.32).

Solid marks were recorded in the long jump as Joel Rathe equaled a PR (23’ ¾”) with a ‘B’ standard that put him in third place at the Concordia Classic. On the women’s side, Hayley Miles notched a personal best of her own in landing at 17’ 8,” just out-distancing teammate Amy Richert (17’ 6 ¼”) for second place. (Richert also ran 9.07 in the 60 hurdles). The top Dawgs in the other jumps were Hannah Newton (5’ ½”), Kimberly Schropfer (5 ½”) and Myles Sadd (6’ 5”) in the high jump and Josi Noble (35’ 2 ½”) and Aaron Spivey (44’ 2 ½”) in the triple jump.

Robinson emerged as the highlight performer from a throws standpoint. Her new automatic mark in the weight throw measured in at 54’ 3 ¼” on a day when she also hit the ‘A’ standard again in the shot put (44’ 6”). In a meet loaded with big-time throwers, Robinson placed third in the shot put and seventh in the weight throw. As expected, Chris Wren popped off a national qualifying toss of 57’ 9 ¾” and placed third in the weight throw. He was also the team’s best performer in the shot put while placing 11th (46’). Notably, three men met the ‘B’ standard in the weight throw: Dagne’ Buck (54’ 2”), Darien Semedo (53’ 9 ¾”) and Brady Klute (53’ 7”). So too did Kamryn Pokorney (52’ 1 ¼”) on the women’s side.

For the second home meet in a row, Concordia conducted a 3,000 meter racewalk event. Both Lauren Dawson (19:06.59) and Peyton Gissler (20:08.80) clocked personal bests while placing first and second, respectively, out of a small group. Additional Concordia Classic runners up on the track included Keegan Beisel (5,000 meters), Jenna Esch (600 meters) and Kayla Kirchner (200 meters). Beisel ran a 5,000 meter PR of 19:22.88. Noble led the women’s 400 meter group with a 59.70. In her pursuit of rounding back into form, Jordan Koepke ran 1:38.46 (just behind Esch) in the 600 meters. Both Esch and Koepke met the ‘B’ standard.

Automatic national qualifying standards achieved

·        Zach Bennetts – Pole Vault (15’ 7”)

·        Chase Berry – Pole Vault (15’ 7”)

·        Erin Boggs – *Pole Vault (11’ 6 ½”)

·        Amira Cummings – *Pole Vault (11’ 6 ½”)

·        Rylee Haecker – 1,000 Meters (2:59.00)

·        Erin Mapson – Pole Vault (12’ ½”)

·        Josie Puelz – Pole Vault (13’ ¼”)

·        Maddie Robinson – Shot Put (44’ 6”); *Weight Throw (54’ 3 ¼”)

·        Adrianna Rodencal – 60m Hurdles (8.80); at Husker Invite

·        Calvin Rohde – 1,000 Meters (2:29.18)

·        Kayla Svoboda – *Pole Vault (11’ 6 ½”)

·        Chris Wren – Weight Throw (57’ 9 ¾”)

·        Zach Zohner – Pole Vault (15’ 7”)

*Fresh ‘A’ standard

Concordia Classic event championships

·        Lauren Dawson – 3,000m Racewalk (19:06.59)

·        Rylee Haecker – 1,000 Meters (2:59.00)

·        Calvin Rohde – 1,000 Meters (2:29.18)

The string of home meets will continue next Friday (Feb. 10) as the Bulldogs will host the Concordia Invite. A tentative meet schedule can be found HERE. The Concordia Invite will be the final outing prior to the GPAC Championships slated for Feb. 17-18 inside the Fieldhouse. In addition, a select few Bulldogs will compete on Saturday (Feb. 4) at the Husker invite. More info on that meet can be found HERE.