Women's DMR, 4x4 stride to national qualifying time as Bulldogs return to action

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 14, 2023 in Track & Field

CRETE / LINCOLN, Neb. – While spread out between meets in Crete and Lincoln, Concordia University Track & Field returned from the break this weekend (Jan. 13-14). Major highlights emerged in the form of two automatic national qualifying times produced by Bulldog women’s relays at the Graduate Classic hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Meanwhile at the Scott Nisely Memorial Classic hosted by Doane, Josi Noble and Amy Richert came away with event titles in the horizontal jumps. In addition, the incredible Josie Puelz took her best shot at another 13-foot vault.

The action marked the second weekend of indoor competition this 2022-23 season for Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squad. Concordia resumed the campaign roughly a month after it hosted the Bulldog Early Bird meet in December.

“We tell our kids after the break that some of them will have great days, and some will have days that they would consider just mediocre – and it’s perfectly normal,” Beisel said. “You don’t want to overthink it. We ended up getting some good things, a lot of personal bests. There were still some disappointments, but that’s perfectly okay. As we get back into the groove of things, we should really see things popping probably two weeks from now. The Polar Dog (next week) should see improvement.”

Counting field event performances from Puelz (pole vault) and Chris Wren (weight throw), Bulldog athletes eclipsed four automatic national qualifying standards. ‘B’ standards also came from Rachel Battershell (400 meters) and Zach Bennetts (pole vault) as part of the Graduate Classic. However, most thrilling were the new automatic qualifiers delivered on the track. In the distance medley relay held at the Devaney Center, Rylee Haecker, Kayla Kirchner, Rhaya Kaschinske and Kylahn Freiberg combined to run a time of 12:20.68, making for the first ‘A’ standard DMR in the NAIA this season. To add to the excitement, the group won the race in Lincoln, beating out a field that included NCAA Division I and II relays.

Beisel noted that Haecker “crushed” the 1,200 meters of the DMR while putting Concordia in first place. Some confusion led to a frantic final baton exchange before Heritage ran a “blistering” first 200 meters of her 1,600 meters. Her split came in at 5:12.

The women’s 4x4 group capped the two-day Graduate Classic by speeding to a time of 3:55.92, currently the second fastest in the NAIA. The quartet included Jenna Esch, Jordan Koepke, Trinity Tuls and Battershell. The Bulldogs placed seventh out of 16 relays in a loaded competition won by NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State (3:44.37). On the men’s side of the relays in Lincoln, Concordia’s DMR of Camden Sesna, Kameron Farmer, Ethan Ideus and Calvin Rohde placed second (out of four) in a time of 10:24.57. The men’s 4x4 team of Liam Fagan, Mark Cooke, Gage Fries and Colton Meyer placed ninth out of 19 relays while finishing in 3:24.43.

Many of the program’s top distance runners put themselves to the test at the Graduate Classic on Friday. Notably, Haecker ran 3:04.83 in the 1,000 meters (fourth place), Rohde ran 2:32.11 in the 1,000 (ninth place), Julie McIntyre clocked in at 11:04.48 in the 3,000 meters (18th place) and Sesna finished in 8:38.78 on the men’s side of the 3,000 (10th place). In the 400 meters, Battershell led a talented group with her ‘B’ standard time of 58.04 (fourth place). In the sprints, freshman Adrianna Rodencal clocked times of 8.02 in the 60 meters, 9.20 in the 60 hurdles and 26.53 in the 200 meters.

Beisel also made mention of the fine work in the 60 meters from Mark Cooke and Amira Cummings. Cooke ran times of 7.02 and 6.95 at Devaney. The latter ranks seventh best on the program’s all-time indoor list. As for Cummings, she clocked in at 8.07 in the 60 meters and placed sixth in the finals at the Nisely Classic.

Five Bulldogs competed in the pole vault at the Devaney Center. Puelz made a push for a meet title before settling for second place and a season best clearance of 12’ 9 ½.” She came up short in her three tries to get over 13’ 1 ½.” On the men’s side, Bennetts soared over 15’ 3” for a ‘B’ standard. Chase Berry is already qualified for nationals courtesy of his efforts at the Early Bird.

The Nisely Classic winning triple jump for the freshman Noble came in at 35’ 8 ½” while Richert outperformed her counterparts with a long jump of 17’ 8 ¼.” At the same meet, Kimberly Schropfer placed second in the high jump (5’ 2 ½”) and Wyatt Loga and Myles Sadd shared sixth place on the men’s side of the high jump (6’ 5”). In the triple jump, Aaron Spivey placed third (45’ 8”) at the Nisely Classic and wasn’t far off the ‘B’ standard. In action in Lincoln, Joel Rathe landed at 21’ 2” in the long jump.

Wren was again the headlining performer from a throws standpoint. He placed 12th in the weight throw at the Graduate Classic with a toss of 57’ 6 ½.” Wren also just missed a ‘B’ standard in the shot put at the Nisely Classic with a throw of 49’ 11 ¼.” In the women’s shot put at the Graduate Classic, Maddie Robinson placed 12th (40’ 7 ¾”). The team’s top weight throwers in Crete were Dagne’ Buck (52’ 1 ¼”) on the men’s side and Kamryn Pokorney (51’ ¾”) on the women’s side. Pokorney also threw 41’ 1 ½” in the shot put.

The Bulldogs will be back at home next weekend to host the Concordia Polar Dog Invite on Jan. 21. The tentative meet schedule can be found HERE. The Polar Dog will be the second of five home meets for Concordia this indoor season.

Automatic national qualifying standards achieved this weekend

·        Women’s 4x400m Relay (3:55.92); Esch, Koepke, Tuls, Battershell

·        Women’s Distance Medley Relay (12:20.68); Haecker, Kirchner, Kaschinske, Freiberg

·        Josie Puelz – Pole Vault (12’ 9 ½”)

·        Chris Wren – Weight Throw (57’ 6 ½”)

Graduate Classic/Nisely Classic Event Championships

·        Women’s Distance Medley Relay (12:20.68); Haecker, Kirchner, Kaschinske, Freiberg

·        Josi Noble – Triple Jump (35’ 8 ½”)

·        Amy Richert – Long Jump (17’ 8 ¼”)