SEWARD, Neb. – A sweep of NAIA indoor/outdoor pole vault national championships has led to another major award for star Concordia University Track & Field student-athlete Josie Puelz. On Monday (July 5), the Lincoln Journal Star announced that it had named Puelz its 2021 state college women’s athlete of the year. Puelz was chosen out of a pool of athletes who compete for Nebraska colleges at the NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III levels.
Puelz is the fifth Concordia female athlete to earn this award over the past nine years. Puelz told the Journal Star, “I think I kind of have to look beyond just winning the titles and kind of look at how I can improve myself. I don't ever want to settle for what I'm jumping. Every time I have a practice session, I'm nitpicking apart, 'OK, what can I do better? There's always something out there for me to chase. Also, staying humble and knowing that just because I won two national championships doesn't guarantee me anything in the future.”
A former all-class state champion at Lincoln Lutheran High School, Puelz rose to the top of the school indoor and outdoor pole vault records in 2021. Her current program standards are 13’ 4 ½” for indoor and 13’ 7 ¼” for outdoor. Puelz joined Concordia Athletic Hall of Famer Stephanie Beberniss as the second Bulldog in program history to sweep NAIA pole vault national titles. Also in 2021, Puelz won the GPAC outdoor pole vault title with a meet record clearance of 13’ 7 ¼.” That effort led to Puelz being honored with the GPAC Women’s Field Performance of the Meet. Puelz played a large role in helping the Bulldogs win team GPAC indoor and outdoor titles while also placing third in the NAIA at the indoor and outdoor national championships.
Puelz is the fifth Concordia Track & Field athlete to be named the state college athlete of the year since the Lincoln Journal Star began handing out the award in 1987. The others are Liz King (2016), Sarah Kortze (2013), Molly Engel (2005) and Carol Bailey (1990).
Puelz 2021 accomplishments
· NAIA Indoor National Champion
· NAIA Outdoor National Champion
· GPAC Outdoor Champion (GPAC meet record)
· GPAC Outdoor Field Performance of the Meet
· GPAC Indoor Runner Up
· School records for indoor (13’ 4 ½”) and outdoor (13’ 7 ¼”) pole vault
Concordia State College Women’s Athletes of the Year
2021 – Josie Puelz, Track & Field
2020 – Philly Lammers, Basketball
2016 – Liz King, Track & Field
2015 – Bailey Morris, Basketball
2013 – Sarah Kortze, Cross Country/Track & Field
2005 – Molly Engel, Cross Country/Track & Field
1998 – Stephanie Schilke, Basketball
1990 – Carol Bailey, Track & Field