SEWARD, Neb. – Come lightning delays or looming darkness, Concordia University Track & Field was determined to host a (mostly) complete home meet. Nearly 40 institutions were represented at the annual Concordia Twilight meet that unfolded on Friday (May 12) inside Bulldog Stadium. Concordia throwers seized the opportunity and put four new automatic national qualifying standards on the board, courtesy of Emma Lloyd, Alli Owings, Austen Rozelle and Abi Wohlgemuth. In addition, Lauren Dawson broke her own school record in the 5,000-meter race walk.
The Concordia Twilight provided one more chance for the program’s seniors to compete on the home turf. Because the Concordia Invite in mid-April had to be condensed, Head Coach Matt Beisel and company did not want to let go of this home meet. Afternoon lightning caused a delay of nearly four hours before action resumed at 6:15 p.m.
This is the final weekend of action prior to the upcoming NAIA outdoor national meet (May 24-26). Down to the wire, Coach Ed McLaughlin’s throws crew came through with the clutch performances they had been working towards. In the women’s hammer throw, Kamryn Pokorney (Shelby, Neb.) led the way with a toss of 172’ 6.” Already a hammer national qualifier, Pokorney will have company in Marion, Ind., later this month. Owings won the hammer in the Twilight’s “college” breakdown of the event with a toss of 169 feet. Wohlgemuth came in second by throwing 165’ 11” for another automatic national qualifying standard.
The discus supplied similar thrills as Rozelle of Wauneta, Neb., whirled the discus a personal best 162’ 7,” booking his trip to the national meet (while also placing first in the college division). Not long after, Lloyd (former Nebraska Cornhusker) popped a throw of 145’ 6” in the discus for another feel-good moment. Heading into Saturday, the throws crew now has seven individuals officially qualified for the national championships (five in the hammer). In the javelin competition on Friday, Matthew Boyer again hit a ‘B’ mark and won the college breakdown with a throw of 181’ 1” (in addition to placing second to Rozelle in the discus). Brady Klute also hit a ‘B’ mark of 178 feet in the hammer. The team’s best shot put performers were Darien Semedo (51’ 9”) and Pokorney (43’ 6”).
It was a light day for GPAC Women’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year Adrianna Rodencal. While taking on the 100-meter hurdles, Rodencal approached her own school record by clocking in at 14.04 in the prelims. She wound up second in the event at the Twilight. Afterwards, the freshman reflected on her efforts at last week’s GPAC Championships. Said Rodencal, “Whether we, as a team, won GPAC or not, which was an amazing thing, it’s just so fun to be out there with all those people. Having gotten to know my teammates the entire school year, it’s fun to cheer for them. It was a joy – a lot of amazing events. All of us wanted to grind and go.”
In the pole vault, Zach Zohner continues to achieve remarkable consistency. He went up and over 16 feet again (16’ 4 ¾”) and was the third-place finisher in a loaded competition on the men’s side. On the women’s side, both Kayla Svoboda and Erin Boggs cleared 11’ 7 ¾” for a ‘B’ standard. Based on the results entering the day, that mark would be good enough to rank in a tie for 16th nationally. Josie Puelz and Erin Mapson are qualified with ‘A’ standards.
A Cedar Falls, Iowa, native, Dawson has hopes of competing at the national meet in the race walk. She shaved roughly a second off her personal best and clocked in at 28:33.68 (outpacing her former school standard of 28:34.84). Dawson entered the weekend ranked 10th nationally in the event (top 16 become automatic qualifiers).
The Twilight included a women’s heptathlon competition that featured Bulldogs Amy Richert and Josi Noble. Both athletes improved upon previous point totals as Richert accumulated 4,336 points and Noble notched 4,241 points. Both Richert and Noble ran the 800 meters after darkness had set upon Bulldog Stadium. GPAC champion of the heptathlon, Richert is one of 12 NAIA athletes this season to total 4,300+ points in the heptathlon (based on the national list entering the day). The top 16 will qualify for nationals.
From a jumps perspective, Hayley Miles and Joel Rathe continue to star in the long jump. Both Bulldogs just missed out on ‘B’ standards on Friday. Miles placed second (18’ 3 ¼”) on the women’s side and Rathe placed fourth (23’ 4”) on the men’s side. Miles was also a third-place finisher in the triple jump (36’ 10 ½”). In the high jump, GPAC champion Hannah Newton placed third (5’ 3”) on the women’s side and Wyatt Loga finished eighth (6’ 4 ¾”) among men.
On the track, several top women’s 400-meter runners gave it their best shot. GPAC champion Rachel Battershell ran 57.54 (third place) and was followed by teammate Trinity Tuls (59.48; seventh). In the men’s 1,500 meters, Micah Willweber ran 4:09.14 and placed third.
This was the swan song for several of the seniors who have wrapped up their collegiate careers. For fifth-year members of the program like Battershell and Mapson, the season will continue with a trip to nationals. On the women’s side, the seniors have contributed to GPAC title after GPAC title (nine in a row) while the men have consistently placed in the top three or four of the conference.
Select Bulldogs will also be in action on Saturday at the UNK Loper Twilight. The University of Nebraska-Kearney will host the meet at Kearney High School. For more information on the meet, click HERE. Black Squirrel Timing will provide live results.
‘A’ standards achieved at Concordia Twilight
· Emma Lloyd – Discus (145’ 6”)
· Alli Owings – Hammer Throw (169’)
· Kamryn Pokorney – Hammer Throw (172’ 6”)
· Adrianna Rodencal – 100 Hurdles (14.04)
· Austen Rozelle – Discus (162’ 7”)
· Abi Wohlgemuth – Hammer Throw (165’ 11”)
· Zach Zohner – Pole Vault (16’ 4 ¾”)