Women's relays star in restructured weekend at Drake Relays, Doane Invite

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 27, 2024 in Track & Field

RESULTS: Drake Relays | Doane Invite

DES MOINES, Iowa / CRETE, Neb. – Due to storms that have swept the area over the past few days, some audibles were called by Concordia University Track & Field. Fortunately, the weather held up enough for four different Bulldog women’s relays to make their mark at the prestigious Drake Relays held in Des Moines, Iowa (April 25-27). Closer to home, the majority of the team took part in a hastily constructed dual meet with Doane on Saturday (April 27). A couple of highlights from the Doane Invite were new NAIA ‘B’ standards achieved by Emma Lloyd and Addie Reimer.

Head Coach Matt Beisel’s squads made the best of a week that was originally slated to include the Nebraska Wesleyan Invite on Wednesday. However, that meet was canceled due to the threat of storms. Beisel and assistant coach Mark Samuels made their way to the Drake Relays this weekend.

“It’s a critical time of the year to get final marks in for conference and national qualifying,” Beisel said. “Inclement weather was a major factor this week. With God’s grace, we rolled with the punches and we got some good stuff done at Doane today. At Drake, even though there was a constant threat of bad weather, we got all of our events done and had one of the fastest 4x8s we’ve ever had. We also got a school record from the 4x2 and our 4x4 moved up the national list with the second fastest time in outdoor school history.”

The performances of the women’s relays stood out from the weekend of murky weather. It started on Thursday when the 4x800-meter relay group qualified for nationals in a time of 9:12.95. That crew was made up of Jenna Esch, Rylee Haecker, Rhaya Kaschinske and Kylahn Freiberg. Expectations are high for the 4x8 considering it celebrated an NAIA national title this past indoor season. The 4x8 finished fourth out of 15 groups in the college division.

Three more relays took to the Blue Oval in Des Moines on Friday. The women’s 4x100-meter relay began the day by clocking in at 48.08. The group featured Cambria Saunders, Kayla Kirchner, Kellie Rhodes and Adrianna Rodencal. The action continued as the 4x4 blazed to a time of 3:48.16, a figure which would rank No. 3 in the NAIA based on the national list coming into the weekend. The contributing Bulldogs to that time were Esch, Kirchner, Trinity Tuls and Jordan Koepke. Finally, the 4x2 of Esch, Kirchner, Koepke and Rodencal sped to a new school record of 1:40.76 (eclipsing the previous standard by roughly four seconds). The Lincoln Lutheran alum Rodencal also ran the 100-meter hurdles and clocked a time of 14.17 at the Drake Relays.

The Doane Invite did not get fully completed before it was called off due to lightning. The women’s hammer was limited to only one round. In the discus, Lloyd just missed the auto mark with her throw of 143’ 10” in Crete. While there were no new ‘A’ marks from throwers, Coach Ed McLaughlin took a degree of satisfaction from marks that will hopefully put more Bulldogs into next week’s conference meet. Some of the top throwers at Doane included Matthew Boyer in the men’s discus, Brady Klute in the men’s hammer and Kamryn Pokorney in both the women’s hammer and shot put.

A freshman from Lisbon, Wis., Addie Reimer broke through with a high jump of 5’ 5” (‘B’ mark) and was the first-place finisher at the Doane Invite. In the long jump, Kiki Nyanok landed at 17’ 10 ¼” and also ran 25.98 in the 200 meters. Meanwhile, Kayla Svoboda came in under 15.00 (14.96) in the 100-meter hurdles. Elsewhere on the track, Gage Fries ran 15.25 in the 110-meter hurdles, Liam Fagan ran 51.27 in the 400 meters, Isabelle Salters ran 1:00.04 in the 400 meters and Adric Schmitz ran 2:01.21 in the 800 meters.

In the pole vault, Zach Zohner ruled with another first-place claim as he cleared 16’ 10 ¾” at the Doane Invite. He continues to lead the NAIA in the event. The top vaulter on the women’s side was Amira Cummings, who went over 11’ 3 ¾.”

Other solid jumps efforts were turned in by Jonah Paulsen (45’ 2 ½”) and Hayley Miles (35’ 11 ¼”) in the triple jump and by Myles Sadd (6’ 6 ½”) in the high jump.

Automatic National Qualifying Standards Achieved April 25-27

·        Women’s 4x400m Relay (3:48.16)

·        Women’s 4x800m Relay (9:12.95)

·        Zach Zohner – Pole Vault (16’ 10 ¾”)

Bulldogs at the Drake Relays

Thursday, April 25

·        Women’s 4x800-meter relay placed 4th/15 in a time of 9:12.95 and qualified for the NAIA national meet. 4x8 group: Jenna Esch, Rylee Haecker, Rhaya Kaschinske and Kylahn Freiberg.

Friday, April 26

·        Women’s 4x100-meter relay placed 14th/29 in a time of 48.08. 4x1 group: Cambria Saunders, Kayla Kirchner, Kellie Rhodes and Adrianna Rodencal.

·        Adrianna Rodencal placed 20th/25 in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.17.

·        Women’s 4x400-meter relay placed 4th/27 in the first round with a time of 3:48.16, marking the second fastest in program history. 4x4 group: Jenna Esch, Kayla Kirchner, Trinity Tuls and Jordan Koepke.

·        Women’s 4x200-meter relay placed 7th/29 in a time of 1:40.76 for a new school record. 4x2 group: Jenna Esch, Kayla Kirchner, Jordan Koepke and Adrianna Rodencal.

Saturday, April 27

·        Women’s 4x400-meter relay: Did not run in finals due to weather conditions.

Up next will be the 2024 GPAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships (May 3-4) hosted by Northwestern in Orange City, Iowa. Additional meet info, including the schedule, can be found HERE. At the 2024 GPAC indoor meet, the Bulldogs came away with place finishes of first on the women’s side and third on the men’s side.