BURNSVILLE, Minn. – Bemidji State University senior Vanessa Rae Lopez has been selected as a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Cross Country Athlete to Watch as a part of the league’s 2016 preseason coaches’ poll. The Beavers were picked to finish 12th.
Lopez, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio College (Calif.), arrived at BSU with one year of collegiate eligibility. As the fastest miler on one of the best distance teams in the nation, the Huntington, Calif. native also competed for Adams State University in 2014-15, where she placed 13th in the 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a personal-best time of 4:32. She is a sport management major and will also compete on the Beavers’ indoor and outdoor track and field teams.
Sasha Hovind, a two-time USTFCCCA Division II All-American and 2014 NSIC Individual Champion from Northern State University, was selected as the NSIC Preseason Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. The senior placed third at the NSIC Championship last fall, fifth at the NCAA Central Regional and 13th at the NCAA Division II Championship.
The Beavers received 47 points to hold down the 12th spot in the poll, led by defending NSIC Champion University of Minnesota Duluth, which garnered 185 points and five first place votes. University of Mary and Augustana University also each picked up five first place votes to finish tied for second in the poll with 181 points. Winona State University settled into the fourth spot with 154 points.
Under the direction of second year head coach Kevin Kean, the Bemidji State cross country team lifts the lid on its 2016 campaign Sept. 9 when it travels to Moorhead, Minn., to compete in the Dragon Twilight Meet. The race is slated to begin at 8:15 p.m.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).