(Irwin Belk Track Complex) -- The Bemidji State University women's track and field program has another All-America performer to its credit. In the final day of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Irwin Belk Track Complex in Charlotte, N.C., Kristi Buerkle
(Jr., Stacy, Minn.) captured second place in the 400-meter dash and became the first woman in BSU history to post a sub-54-second time at the 400-meter distance.
The junior gained All-America status clocking a time of 53.85 to finish runner up at this year's championship to Angelo State University's Celethia Byrd, who broke the tape in a time of 53.02.
Buerkle was the first of four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) student-athletes to finish the race. Winona State University's Kelly Shaw was right on Buerkle's heels in third (54.14), Kelsey Leonard of Minnesota State University, Mankato finished fifth (54.37) and Nicketa Combs of the University of Mary rounded out the league contingent in eighth (55.33).
Buerkle, who qualified for the 200-meter dash and finish 19th in addition to automatically qualifying for the championships in the 400, opened the weekend ranked fifth in all of NCAA Division II. Thursday she finished the preliminary round in third after recording a then-school-record time of 54.31.
Now a four-time All-America performer in the 400-meter dash, Buerkle entered the championships owning a second-place finish and All-America award earned at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, she also garnered All-America honors with a fourth place finish at the 2009 outdoor championships and took seventh and captured her first All-America accolade at the 2009 NCAA indoor meet.
The 2010 NSIC Indoor Female Track Athlete of the Year and 2009-10 Student-Athlete of the Year is equally as talented in the classroom. She is a regular on the BSU Dean's List, is an eight-time NSIC All-Academic selection, has been a USTFCCCA Academic honoree and is a regular on the BSU Athletic Department's 3.0 Club.
The 400-meter finals and Buerkle's runner-up finish also signals the end of the 2009-10 athletic season at Bemidji State and yet another successful track and field campaign for Head Coach Craig Hougen and his men's and women's squads. In addition to Buerkle's success, teammate Zac Preble (Sr., Coleraine, Minn.) gained All-America accolades Friday when he finished second in the decathlon and established a new school record in the event (7,193.)