SEWARD, Neb. – Consider Amy Ahlers, Chandler Folkerts and Kali Robb members of the club. Based on a vote by athletic department staff members, Ahlers and Robb have been named 2016-17 Concordia co-Senior Female Athletes of the Year while Folkerts has been chosen as the 2016-17 Concordia Senior Male Athlete of the Year. Senior athletes of the year are selected based upon the athletic department vision components of Christian character, academic achievement and competitive greatness.
Said Director of Athletics Devin Smith, “Amy, Chandler and Kali represent what is best about Concordia athletics. These exceptional student-athletes exemplify positive character traits in terms of leadership, citizenship, commitment and work ethic that fully exhibit the ideals and core values of our university and athletic department. They are the epitome of competitors who have influenced their coaches, teammates, peers and opponents in a positive manner.”
A rare golfer to receive the senior athlete honor, Amy Ahlers put together a career that ranks her as the greatest player in Concordia women’s golf history. She broke program single-season (80.79) and career (81.89) records for 18-hole average and reached the pinnacle by claiming the individual GPAC title as a senior. Named the 2016-17 GPAC golfer of the year, Ahlers qualified for nationals individually during a final season in which she won three events. College Sports Information Directors of America chose her as both an Academic All-District and Academic All-America selection in 2017.
A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Ahlers placed inside the top five on the conference leaderboard each year of her career, allowing her to earn four All-GPAC awards. Her year-by-year GPAC place finishes were fourth, second, third and first. Also a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete, Ahlers recorded 32 top-10 tournament placements during her time as a Bulldog. The native of Albion, Neb., owns women’s course records at Whispering Creek and Green Valley, both in Sioux City, Iowa. Ahlers collected seven GPAC player of the week awards in her career.
“During Amy’s playing career at Concordia, she rewrote the golf record book,” Muller said. “Through Amy’s hard work and dedication, she became the face of Bulldog women’s golf for the past four years. That is only a small part of what defines Amy Ahlers. Amy continued to grow in her faith during her time at Concordia. She was our team captain for the past three years, our team leader in the classroom and the glue of the team. Anyone who met Amy quickly found out that Amy is one of the nicest and kindhearted people they will meet. I am so thankful for Amy’s decision to attend Concordia, the impact she made while she was here and the legacy she left.”
Folkerts is the complete package in terms of fully representing each of the vision components emphasized by Concordia athletics. Tabbed a NAIA second team All-American as a senior, the native of Milford, Neb., garnered the prestigious NAIA Emil S. Liston award following his junior season. The list of honors go on and on. The Omaha World-Herald named Folkerts the honorary captain of its All-Nebraska team. Folkerts also reeled in GPAC defensive player of the year, CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, first team All-GPAC, CIT MVP and NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards as a senior. His final collegiate season saw him average 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks to go along with a 68.6 field goal percentage.
Folkerts concluded his run as a Bulldog with program all-time ranks of second in rebounds (868), third in points scored (1,963) and fourth in blocked shots (142). He collected three first team All-GPAC awards and was twice named a NAIA All-American. CoSIDA placed Folkerts on its Academic All-America teams three-straight seasons. Also a four-time Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska honoree, Folkerts nabbed two NAIA-Scholar Athlete and two CIT MVP awards. The Concordia men’s basketball team improved its record each season while Folkerts starred inside Walz Arena.
Said Limback of Folkerts, “He’s lived up to everything you could ask for in a player and as a person. He’s just one of the best guys I’ve ever coached. I don’t think it’s sunk in the type of career he’s had. He played at a very high level for a number of years. This year I thought he expanded as a leader and you could see that amongst our team. His unselfishness and his work ethic was something he brought every day. I think we’ll look back at him as one of the all-time greats here. Some things you don’t even realize what he was doing. There’s all the off-court stuff, the academics and his character. It was a spectacular career that he had at Concordia.”
Robb compiled a résumé that ranks right up there with the best female track and field athletes in school history. The native of Sidney, Neb., capped her collegiate career with a senior season that included three All-America awards, including a national runner-up finish in the weight throw, and two individual GPAC titles (indoor shot put, hammer). Robb earned consecutive NAIA national field athlete of the week awards while shining this past April.
A member of the 2016 outdoor national championship team (the first women’s team champion in any sport in Concordia history), Robb owns school records in the weight throw and hammer and ranks second in the shot put and top 10 in the discus. Over her four years, Robb racked up 10 All-America awards and turned in three NAIA national runner-up claims. A 20-time all-conference honoree, Robb won five individual GPAC championships and was a three-time national field athlete of the week. Robb starred as a key figure for teams that recorded six top-10 national finishes.
“Kali is a great sister, daughter, student and athlete,” said throws coach Ed McLaughlin. “You always knew where her priorities were. She is a Christ-centered, family-first student-athlete that was always willing to tell you like it was. She is as fiery as they come and that is one of the things I loved about working with her. She was always trying to be the best at everything. It didn’t matter if she enjoyed doing it, like throwing discus, she still wanted to win. She came in right away as a national competitor in five events, which is pretty rare to do as a freshman. Her attitude, desire and effort are going to be missed.”
Ahlers, Folkerts and Robb are invited to attend the annual Concordia Athletics Hall of Fame banquet. All three will be recognized at this fall’s ceremony, which will take place in conjunction with homecoming week on the night of Friday, Sept. 22 in the Cattle Conference room inside the Janzow Campus Center.
Concordia Male Senior Athletes of the Year (since 2000)
2016-17: Chandler Folkerts, Basketball
2015-16: Josh Slechta, Football / Track & Field
2014-15: Enrique Barajas, Wrestling; Von Thomas, Football
2013-14: Ben Hinckfoot, Track & Field
2012-13: Colin Morrissey, Cross Country / Track & Field
2011-12: Zak Goodrich, Baseball
2010-11: Dana Schmidt, Cross Country / Track & Field
2009-10: Zach Meineke, Cross Country / Track & Field
2008-09: Michael Saalfeld, Track & Field
2007-08: JaMaine Lewis, Football
2006-07: Jon Ziegler, Basketball
2005-06: Andrew Walquist, Cross Country / Track & Field
2004-05: Jason Jisa, Basketball
2003-04: Rick Dietz, Basketball
2002-03: Drew Olson, Basketball / Tennis
2001-02: TJ Kloster, Track & Field; Jarrod Pimentel, Baseball / Football
2000-01: Quinton Furr, Track & Field
Concordia Female Senior Athletes of the Year (since 2000)
2016-17: Amy Ahlers, Golf / Kali Robb, Track & Field
2015-16: Liz King, Track & Field
2014-15: Bailey Morris, Basketball
2013-14: Sarah Kortze, Cross Country / Track & Field
2012-13: Katie Rich, Basketball / Track & Field
2011-12: Amber Kistler, Basketball
2010-11: Beth Sutton, Track & Field
2009-10: Charista Zehnder, Track & Field
2008-09: Whitney Stichka, Basketball
2007-08: Katie Werner, Volleyball / Track & Field
2006-07: Gentri Brown, Soccer
2005-06: Jennifer Davis, Soccer / Softball
2004-05: Molly Engel, Cross Country / Track & Field; Kari Saving, Basketball
2003-04: Stephanie Beberniss, Track & Field
2002-03: Sara Schuelke, Cross Country / Track & Field
2001-02: Rachel Kirchner, Volleyball / Basketball
2000-01: Rachael Geidel, Cross Country / Track & Field