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Season Preview: 2024 Concordia Outdoor Track & Field

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 18, 2024 in Track & Field

Head Coach: Matt Beisel (8th year); 11x GPAC Coach of the Year
2024 Indoor Finishes: 3rd (GPAC); 8th (NAIA)
2023 Indoor Finishes: 3rd (GPAC); 31st (NAIA)
2023 Outdoor Finishes: 3rd (GPAC); 26th (NAIA)
Past All-Americans returning (indoor/outdoor): Mayson Ostermeyer (1); Calvin Rohde (1); Austen Rozelle (1); Darien Semedo (1); Chris Wren (4); Zach Zohner (3).
2023 All-Americans lost (indoor/outdoor): Zach Bennetts.
2023 Indoor National Qualifiers returning (indoor/outdoor): Joel Rathe; Calvin Rohde; Austen Rozelle; Darien Semedo; Chris Wren; Zach Zohner.
--NOTE: list of national qualifiers includes athletes who traveled to the 2023 NAIA indoor/outdoor meets.

Head Coach: Matt Beisel (8th year); 11x GPAC Coach of the Year
2024 Indoor Finishes: 1st (GPAC); 3rd (NAIA)
2023 Indoor Finishes: 1st (GPAC); 6th (NAIA)
2023 Outdoor Finishes: 1st (GPAC); 23rd (NAIA)
Past All-Americans returning (indoor/outdoor): Jenna Esch (6); Kylahn Freiberg (6); Abigail Gerber (2); Rylee Haecker (10); Jordan Koepke (6); Julie McIntyre (1); Josi Noble (1); Josie Puelz (8); Amy Richert (3); Trinity Tuls (3); Zoey Walker (1); Abi Wohlgemuth (1).
2023 All-Americans lost (indoor/outdoor): Rachel Battershell; Erin Mapson; Alli Owings; Erin Painter.
2023 National Qualifiers returning (indoor/outdoor): Keegan Beisel; Erin Boggs; Amira Cummings; Lauren Dawson; Jenna Esch; Kylahn Freiberg; Abigail Gerber; Rylee Haecker; Rhaya Kaschinske; Kayla Kirchner; Jordan Koepke; Emma Lloyd; Josi Noble; Kamryn Pokorney; Josie Puelz; Kellie Rhodes; Amy Richert; Adrianna Rodencal; Gretchen Stottlemyre; Kayla Svoboda; Trinity Tuls; Abi Wohlgemuth.
--NOTE: list of national qualifiers includes athletes who traveled to the 2023 NAIA indoor/outdoor meets.


Outdoor season is upon the Concordia University Track & Field program, which wrapped up hosting a largescale indoor high school meet this past weekend. The Bulldogs are looking to build upon a 2024 indoor season that saw them turn in NAIA national top 10 place finishes for both men and women. The powerhouse women’s program keeps on trucking while extending its string of consecutive GPAC titles to 10.

The major thrills at the 2024 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships emerged in the form of national titles won by Zach Zohner in the pole vault and by the women’s 4x800 meter relay. Fifteen Bulldogs took home All-America awards in at least one event.

It would have been difficult for 11-time GPAC Coach of the Year Matt Beisel to have hoped for much more from a group that rose to the occasion at the most opportune moments. Said Beisel at the conclusion of indoor nationals, “Each of our athletes chipped away and helped put the pieces together. It doesn’t matter if they scored or didn’t score. What we achieved is everybody’s because everyone is part of the team dynamic that has made a huge impact for us. I couldn’t ask for a better group of athletes, coaches, staff and athletic trainers. It felt like we were able to go and relax and trust in the training.”

The slate gets wiped clean as the collegiate track & field world shifts to outdoor season. Between now and the end of April, Bulldog athletes are scheduled to make appearances at eight outdoor meets across four Midwest states. The returning outdoor All-Americans from 2023 include Jenna Esch, Rylee Haecker, Josi Noble, Josie Puelz, Austen Rozelle, Darien Semedo, Trinity Tuls and Zohner. For the seniors set to graduate in May, precious little time exists to soak up what’s left of their collegiate careers.

Bulldog fans are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to watch incredible women’s relay teams that include seniors such as Haecker, Tuls, Kylahn Freiberg and Julie McIntyre. The quartet of Esch, Freiberg, Haecker and McIntyre will get a shot at another national championship in the 4x8 this outdoor season. That group broke the school indoor 4x8 record at the national championships. Said Esch soon after winning the national title alongside her 4x8 teammates, “It feels amazing. We’ve been working for it all year. We knew what we wanted to do. It’s great to do it. Coming here and working together, we pulled through. It’s really exciting.”

As always, the outdoor season comes with events that aren’t contested during indoor, such as the 1,500 meters, 10,000 meters, longer hurdle races, the steeplechase, the 4x100 meter relay and the discus, hammer and javelin throws. In the past, those dynamics have typically added a boost for the Bulldogs, who are deep in the throws. During indoor season, Concordia ranked near the top of the USTFCCCA’s event squad ratings in the shot put and weight throw for both women and men. The Davenport, Neb., native Haecker is well-suited for the 1,500 meters, a race that belongs to her when it comes to the school record book. An All-American for the first time this past indoor season, Calvin Rohde is a returning qualifier in the 5,000 meters.

In the pole vault, Zohner is capable of making a run at the outdoor school record of 17’ 6 ¼” set by TJ Kloster in 2002. Zohner cleared a new PR of 17’ 2 ¾” at the indoor national meet and will have his eyes on a sweep of 2024 NAIA pole vault national championships. The vault is a deep crew that includes five-time national champion Josie Puelz, who persevered through a trying indoor season and landed in seventh place at NAIA indoor nationals. On the men’s side, Mayson Ostermeyer also earned a spot on the All-America podium.

Haecker is the GPAC’s defending champion in the 1,500 meters. Other reigning and returning conference champions from a year ago are the women’s 4x100 meter relay, the women’s 4x400 meter relay, Puelz and Zohner in the pole vault and Amy Richert in the heptathlon. Former national champion Rachel Battershell is the lone departure from those relay teams. The 4x1 was made up of returners in Kayla Kirchner, Kellie Rhodes and Adrianna Rodencal while the 4x4 brings back Esch, Kirchner and Tuls. Rodencal is primed for more big things after she broke the school 100 hurdles record (14.00) as a freshman.

At the 2023 NAIA outdoor national meet, Rozelle (sixth in the discus) and Semedo (sixth in the shot put) outperformed their seed marks to become All-Americans for the first time in their careers. Now a four-time All-American after placing as the NAIA national runner up in the weight throw, Chris Wren figures to push for a lofty spot nationally in the hammer. On the women’s side, Abby Gerber and Abi Wohlgemuth have combined for three career All-America awards.

Leading the way for the jumps crew, Zoey Walker picked up 2024 indoor All-America honors in the high jump as just a freshman. The qualifying group that joined Walker in Brookings, S.D., included Hayley Miles and Joel Rathe in the long jump and both Miles and Noble in the triple jump. In addition, Richert starred as a high jump All-American at the 2021 NAIA outdoor meet.

For the second-straight year, the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships will take place on the Indiana Wesleyan University campus in Marion, Ind. At last year’s outdoor national meet, the Bulldogs tied for 23rd on the women’s side and shared 26th on the men’s side. The outdoor national meet took place in Gulf Shores, Ala., from 2014 through 2022 before making a return to Indiana.

There will be two 2024 outdoor home meets: the Concordia Invite (April 5-6) and the Concordia Twilight (May 10). Northwestern is slated to be the host of the 2024 GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The complete 2023-24 Concordia Track & Field outdoor schedule can be found HERE.