Hougen picked as a Athlete to Watch in the NSIC; BSU tabbed 10th
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Hougen picked as a Athlete to Watch in the NSIC; BSU tabbed 10th
BURNSVILLE, Minn. --  The Bemidji State University women’s cross country team has been picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) head coaches, announced today by league officials.  Junior Allison Hougen (Bemidji, Minn.) was announced as a “2010 Athlete to Watch” in the same release.

The Beavers, who garnered 17 points in the voting, return 13 student-athletes from a 2009 roster that placed 10th at the 2009 NSIC Championships and finished 20th at the NCAA Division II Central Regional.  

Hougen, back for a third year of collegiate competition, is poised for a successful season this fall.  As a sophomore the Bemidji, Minn. native was among the Beavers’ top two finishers in two of five events in 2009, which included the team’s top time, 25th overall, at the Jimmie Invitational.  In addition, head coach Craig Hougen looks to Kristi Buerkle (Sr., Stacy, Minn.), the team’s lone senior this season, for leadership.  Buerkle, who is an All-America sprinter for the BSU indoor and outdoor track and field teams, was one of BSU’s top two finishers at all five events last fall.

Defending conference champion Augustana College picked up seven first-place votes and 97 points to take top honors in the preseason poll.  University of Mary and University of Minnesota Duluth finished each secured two first-place votes and tied for second with 88 points apiece.

Morgan Pace, a two-time All-America runner from Minnesota Duluth was voted as the NSIC’s 2010 Preseason Athlete of the Year laurels, marking the second straight year she has wrapped up the honor.

The Bemidji State cross country team breaks the season on the 2010 campaign Aug. 28, when they compete in their own alumni meet--the Babe Run.  The Beavers then set their sights on Valley City, N.D. where the team will compete in the Valley City State University Run Sept. 3.

2010 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1.    Augustana (7)    97
t-2.    U-Mary (2)    88
t-2.    Minnesota Duluth (2)    88
4.    Minnesota State    70
5.    Winona State    54
6.    St. Cloud State    48
7.    MSU Moorhead    44
8.    Wayne State (Neb.)    41
9.    Northern State    36
10.    Bemidji State    17
11.    Concordia-St. Paul    12