Following top performances at Indoor Nationals, Coach Matt Beisel and the Track and Field Team look forward to Outdoor Nationals.
Photo by Laura VonKampen
By Morgan Consier
After finishing the indoor season with a bang, Concordia’s track and field teams have taken their events outside as the outdoor season has begun in full swing.
Concordia finished the indoor season with conference finishes of second place for the men and a conference championship for the women.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams placed ninth in the nation out of hundreds of teams competing at nationals in Brookings, South Dakota.
Head Track and Field Coach Matthew Beisel said the team took a five-to-six week break once the indoor season was finished to train for the transition to outdoor competition. However, their first meet was cancelled due to flooding and then the next meet was postponed a day due to cold weather.
Beisel said that the team started out strong even though the weather was still cold during their first outdoor meet of the season and even gained some outdoor national qualifiers.
As the team works its way towards nationals, Beisel noted that some of the members who have played large roles on team will be graduating. One of these seniors is Samantha Liermann, a two-time national champion and school record holder in the shotput and an All-American in hammer, weight throw and discus.
Tori Beran, a 400-meter hurdler and part of both the 4×4 and 4×8 relays, and Jamie Nikodym, who is also a 400-meter hurdler and a member of the women’s 4×4 team that recently broke Concordia’s school record, will also be graduating.
Another senior is Taylor Grove, who qualified for nationals in the marathon and was the conference champion in the 3,000-meter indoor and 10,000-meter outdoor runs last year.
Leah Larsen, two-time holder of Concordia’s indoor school record in the triple jump and an All-American at indoor nationals, will also be a loss to the team after graduation.
On the men’s side, Nathan Matters, an All-American in the 4×8 who also qualified for nationals in the 600-meter run, as well as Josiah McAllister, an All-American in the 1,000-meter indoor run and part of the 4×8 relay team will also be graduating.
Ryan Sanchez, one of the team’s throwers, has been working on his hammer throw since freshman year, finally reaching the national qualifying mark his senior year.
While Beisel said he and the teams were happy about their finishes at indoor nationals, they hope to do even better at the outdoor nationals in May.
“One of the big goals is that we’ve always wanted to do well at nationals, and so that’s been a target of our recruiting,” Beisel said. “Then the other side of me is like, ‘Why can’t we be national champions again but also be consistently in the hunt for first place in GPAC’, which is a big deal at this school. I feel like after three years of recruiting, we’re finally getting there.”