Rohde claims school 5k record, five new auto marks added at Concordia Twilight

By Jacob Knabel on May. 10, 2024 in Track & Field


SEWARD, Neb. – In the final home meet of the 2023-24 athletic year, Concordia University Track & Field competed alongside athletes from 41 institutions while hosting the Concordia Twilight. The highlights at the end of the night on Friday (May 10) included five fresh automatic national qualifying standards, a school record from senior Calvin Rohde and another reset of the women’s program 100-meter hurdles standard by sophomore Adrianna Rodencal.

Head Coach Matt Beisel and the program hosted four indoor and two outdoor meets in 2023-24. For some athletes, the Concordia Twilight put a cap on their seasons and/or careers.

“I’m very pleased with what we got out of today, starting with the weather,” Beisel said. “The wind died down earlier than we thought it would and we ended up having a perfect night with the right temperature. You combine that with lots and lots of teams that brought top-end competitors across event groups, it made for some really fast times and great marks. That always raises the level of competitiveness. We also had the urgency of people trying to hit national marks. We’re very thankful to God for how that came together.”

The newest additions to the NAIA national qualifying field from the Bulldog roster include Jenna Esch in the 800 meters, Kylahn Freiberg in the 1,500 meters, Brady Klute in the hammer throw, Mayson Ostermeyer in the pole vault and Kayla Svoboda in the 100-meter hurdles. Freiberg and Klute (unseeded hammer) won their events at the Concordia Twilight and so too did Jordan Koepke in the 200 meters, Rodencal in the 100 hurdles and Abi Wohlgemuth in the unseeded hammer throw.

As part of her tremendous 2023-24 campaign, Freiberg made a push for the 1,500-meter school record (4:33.84 by Rylee Haecker) and came up just shy while clocking a personal best 4:33.90. Meanwhile, Haecker finished in 4:47.33 (sixth place). On the men’s side of the distance ledger, Rohde accomplished what he set out to do in eclipsing the 5,000-meter record of 14:42.07 by Luka Thor in 2010. On Friday night, Rohde crossed the finish line in 14:39.56 (second place). Teammate Trey Robertson placed fifth in 15:10.50.

A week after winning the GPAC title in the hammer, senior Chris Wren bested his personal best with a massive toss of 213’ 8,” good for No. 2 on the current NAIA national leaderboard. The mark also places Wren third on the program’s all-time list behind only Jacob Cornelio (219’) and Cody Boellstorff (216’ 6”). The feel-good story of the day out of the throws was put forth by the Hampton, Neb., native Klute, who threw 180’ 11” in the hammer and has locked up his first career trip to the national meet, where he’ll be joined by teammates in Wren and Darien Semedo. On the women’s side of the hammer, Abby Gerber improved her auto mark (170’ 3”) and was a fourth-place finisher in the seeded shot put (46’ 8”).

The Lincoln Lutheran alum Rodencal keeps resetting her own hurdles record seemingly every meet. At the Concordia Twilight, she ran 13.65 in the prelims and 13.78 in the finals in a winning effort. A native of Wisner, Neb., Svoboda ran 14.39 in the finals and was the runner up in the event. Said Svoboda immediately afterwards, “I was just overjoyed. It’s kind of unbelievable that I started out the year in the 15s and I just built from there and got it down to the qualifying time. I just made sure I got out fast and got my legs over the hurdles quickly. You just have to go out there and do it.”

Loud noises rang out from the pole vault pit when the sophomore Ostermeyer (Crofton, Neb.) cleared two bars that met the ‘A’ standard – 15’ 9” and 16’ ¾.” Once again, Ostermeyer will join teammate Zach Zohner (the NAIA indoor national champion) at the national championships. Both Bulldogs were All-Americans this past indoor season. On the women’s side of the vault, Sydney Reichert hit the ‘B’ standard and placed seventh at the Concordia Twilight.

A GPAC champion in the javelin, Matthew Boyer has consistently landed throws well beyond the threshold for the ‘A’ standard. He placed fifth in Friday’s competition with a mark of 197’ 9.” Afterwards, he reflected on his GPAC title and school record earlier this season. Said Boyer, “It feels really good (to win a GPAC title). It was kind of my goal this year after last year. I didn’t perform how I wanted to. I made a goal to improve, and I think I exceeded that expectation. It’s more than what I was really expecting.”

The slew of new ‘B’ marks on Friday came courtesy of Freiberg in the 800 meters (2:14.78), Luke Hammang in the 5,000-meter race walk (25:08.53), Reichert in the pole vault (11’ 7 ¾”) and Rohde in the 5,000 meters. Meanwhile, the women’s 4x100-meter relay crew of Cambria Saunders, Kayla Kirchner, Kellie Rhodes and Rodencal boosted their ‘B’ standard to a time of 47.55.

Some of the top performers in the jumps were Hayley Miles in the triple jump (37’ 3 ¾”), Amy Richert in the high jump (5’ 3”), Kiki Nyanok in the long jump (18’ 1 ½”) and Justin Sherman in the triple jump (40’ 8 ¾”).

NAIA Automatic National Qualifying Standards

·        Matthew Boyer – Javelin (197’ 9”)

·        Jenna Esch – 800 Meters (2:12.11)

·        Kylahn Freiberg – 1,500 Meters (4:33.90)

·        Abigail Gerber – Shot Put (46’ 8”); Hammer Throw (170’ 3”)

·        Brady Klute – Hammer Throw (180’ 11”)

·        Mayson Ostermeyer – Pole Vault (16’ ¾”)

·        Adrianna Rodencal – 100m Hurdles (13.65 | 13.78)

·        Darien Semedo – Hammer Throw (181’ 9”)

·        Kayla Svoboda – 100m Hurdles (14.39)

·        Chris Wren – Hammer Throw (213’ 8”)

·        Zach Zohner – Pole Vault (16’ ¾”)

Concordia Twilight Event Champions

·        Kylahn Freiberg – 1,500 Meters (4:33.90)

·        Brady Klute – Hammer Throw Unseeded (180’ 11”)

·        Jordan Koepke – 200 Meters (25.11)

·        Adrianna Rodencal – 100m Hurdles (13.65 | 13.78)

·        Abi Wohlgemuth – Hammer Throw Unseeded (163’ 9”)

Select Bulldogs will be in action on Saturday at the Loper Twilight hosted by the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Further information on that meet can be found HERE. The Loper Twilight will be the final meet prior to the 2024 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships (May 22-24).