SEWARD, Neb. – It’s another sign of what a powerhouse the Concordia University Track & Field program continues to be. Pole vault national champion Josie Puelz earned one of the highest honors given out by College Sports Information Directors of the Year. As announced on Tuesday (June 21), Puelz has been named winner of the 2021-22 Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year award in the NAIA. She was joined with 2021-22 Academic All-America® women’s track & field/cross country first team selection by teammates Rachel Battershell and Erin Mapson.
The 2021-22 Academic All-America® Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Teams, selected by CoSIDA, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in athletic competition and in the classroom. The CoSIDA Academic All-America® program separately recognizes honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.
Puelz is the third Concordia track athlete to ever be named as the NAIA’s Academic All-American of the Year. She has made her mark as the top female pole vaulter in program history. At the 2022 outdoor national meet, Puelz claimed her fourth NAIA pole vault national title in a row. She’s one of only two female athletes in school history to have won at least four individual national titles. The Lincoln Lutheran alum also sports a perfect 4.0 GPA while studying Elementary Education. Puelz owns the GPAC conference meet records for both the indoor and outdoor pole vault and holds school records in the indoor (13’ 4 ½”) and outdoor (13’ 7 ¼”) pole vault. Also a four-time GPAC champion, Puelz was named the 2021 State College Female Athlete of the Year in the state of Nebraska by the Lincoln Journal Star. She earned 2021 and 2022 CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-America First Team accolades.
Battershell, a senior academically and a junior athletically in 2021-22, has been named both Academic All-District and First Team Academic All-America three times in her career. The native of Wheatland, Wyo., claimed her 10th career All-America award this past outdoor season and is a two-time 400 meter national champion. In addition, Battershell has won eight career individual GPAC titles (five in individual events), owns six school records and was named the 2021 NAIA Midwest Region Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. Battershell’s program records are in the indoor 400 meters (54.77), indoor 60 hurdles (8.81), indoor 4x400m relay (3:47.39), outdoor 100 hurdles (14.25), outdoor 4x100m relay (47.66) and outdoor 4x400m relay (3:47.26). Battershell has majored in Exercise Science, Chemistry and Biology while maintaining a near spotless cumulative grade-point average of 3.99.
Mapson, a Lincoln native and Lincoln East High School alum, sports a perfect 4.0 GPA as an Exercise Science major. She’s a five-time NAIA All-American in the pole vault and has made six career appearances at NAIA national meets. Mapson was honored as a 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-America Second Team selection. She was a 2019 GPAC pole vault champion with a personal best of 12’ 7 ½” in the pole vault. Mapson has contributed to six team GPAC titles during her collegiate career.
Previous Academic All-America Team Member of the Year award winners from Concordia were Chandler Folkerts (basketball) in 2017, Samantha Liermann (track & field) in 2018 and 2019, Josiah McAllister (track & field) in 2019 and Grace Barry (basketball) in 2020.
As an All-American of the Year choices, Puelz is automatically placed on the ballot for consideration for the 2021-22 overall Academic All-America Team Member of the Year across all 12 CoSIDA All-America sport programs within the NAIA.