2003 Outdoor Track and Field Outlook
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
With Bemidji State taking second at the 2003 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Indoor Championships in February, BSU is using that momentum to have a successful outdoor season.

"What I really hope for is second place," said head coach Craig Hougen. "We have added some firepower to overtake Duluth. It is going to be tough but we are going to be gunning for them."

Much of that firepower will come in the form of senior Steve Leuer (Maple Grove, Minn.), who returns as the champion in the 10,000m set in last year's conference meet. A school record-holder in the 3,000m indoor event, Leuer, along with junior Corey White (Winthrop, Minn.), are expected to be "the workhorses that get the job done," according to Hougen.

The multi-faceted Leuer, who competed in the 600m, 1,000m, mile and 3,000m for the indoor season, placed first three times and second on five occasions. Meanwhile, White took second twice in the indoor campaign - once in the 1,000m and once in the 600m.

Veterans of the outdoor season that will be counted upon include: senior Drew Peterson (Rice, Minn.), junior Jason Carlson (Milaca, Minn.) and sophomore Jeff Spotts (Overland Park, Kan.).

Peterson, who has completed his indoor eligibility, was an all-conference performer a season ago in the sprints. Carlson was hampered by an injury in the winter but still had the fastest 400m time on the club.

Two events are added for the outdoor season (javelin & discus) as BSU welcomes back 2002 NSIC Outdoor Javelin Champion, Jeff Spotts. Spotts joined Carlson on the All-NSIC team in 2002.

"We have some frontrunners in Peterson, Carlson and Spotts that should make us better outdoors," said Hougen. "Then add in the people who did well in indoors (Leuer, Nordell, Schreiber) and we should be awfully tough."

Sophomore Mark Nordell (Apple Valley, Minn.) is the school record-holder in the triple jump (46'1 1/4") as he placed second at the 2003 NSIC Indoor Championships. Sophomore Steve Schreiber (Chisago Lake, Minn.) won the high jump indoor title in February with a mark of 6' 6".

Hougen also feels that freshman Matt Bischof (Fergus Falls, Minn.) "will add some points in the distance events." Bischof did not compete in the indoor season.

"I think that our distance and middle distance events will be our strong suit," said Hougen. "But overall, we will be quite balanced in each event - hopefully more balanced than the other teams in the league."
BSU placed third in last year's league championships, just 17 points behind Northern State for the second spot. Minnesota-Duluth swiped its 20th title and ninth in 10 tries.

Besides Leuer and Spotts returning as individual champions, the 4x100m relay squad of Drew Peterson, Jason Schultz, Jason Carlson and Jason Leden took home the plaque last season. They won it in a time of 41.90.


The outdoor season not only brings a change of weather but a different look to the roster for the Beaver women.

One difference from the indoor roster is the addition of junior Caesare Stimson (Chisago Lakes, Minn.). Stimson did not compete in the winter because she participated on the women's ice hockey team. She totaled the fourth-most points among her teammates, including two game-winners.

" What we are adding is Stimson," said Hougen. "She is the heptathlon champion last year, All-NSIC and BSU record holder in the high jump. She adds a lot of points and makes us look better immediately."

Three other performers that Hougen believes to be strong assets are senior Melanie Hoheisel (Pengilly, Minn.), freshman Shauna McInerney (Rainy River, Ont.) and senior Martha Miltich (Cohasset, Minn.).

Hoheisel, who narrowly missed competing at the national indoor meet in March, is the school record-holder in the indoor 55m hurdles and pentathlon. She took first in the hurdles on four occasions including the league championships.

"Hoheisel will continue to get better this outdoor season," said Hougen. "She will also continue to be All-NSIC and one of the best performers in the region."

McInerney came to BSU in the second semester. She took third at the Bison Classic (2/21/03) in the 200m and had the fifth-best time in the 200m at the indoor conference championships.

" McInerney came in second semester and has only one semester of training under her belt," said Hougen. "Now with more training, she will get more confidence. I look forward to see much better things from her."

Miltich was the fastest runner at the Super 8 Open (1/25/03) in the 3,000m and the SCSU Open (2/22/03) in the mile for the indoor season. She returns as the outdoor league record-holder in the 10,000m (39:14.51) set last season.

" I think that Miltich is better outdoors by far," said Hougen. "She will be the top runner for us in a lot of events."

Hougen believes his long-sprint crew (400m) of McInerney, Stimson and Hoheisel are a "pretty good three-some right there." Also, he points to his distance runners of Miltich and freshman Christa Pribula (East Grand Forks, Minn.) to do well for the Beavers.

Pribula had a season best second-place finish in the mile at the St. Cloud State Open (2/22/03). She ran it in a time of 5:37.16. Also, she was sixth in the mile and the 1,000m at the NSIC Indoor Championships.

Another performer to watch is sophomore Erin Suhonen (Wright, Minn.). Suhonen set the Beaver record in the weight throw with a toss of 40'5 1/2" this past winter.

UM-Duluth, which is looking to extend its title run to 10 years, could be challenged by MSU Moorhead this season.

" I feel that the MSU Moorhead women could be in it with Duluth because they are pretty solid in the throwing events," said Hougen. "I hope that we can move up a notch this year to maybe fourth or third."
The Beavers placed fifth at the 2002 outdoor event, just three points behind the Dragons for fourth.

Depending on the weather, both the men and women are scheduled to participate in the Hamline Invite, Saturday, Apr. 5 to open the 2003 season. That begins a stretch of nine days in which the program will compete in four invites.

There were five school records established in the 2003 indoor season: Melanie Hoheisel in the 60m hurdles (9.01) and pentathlon (3,049 points), Steve Leuer in the 3,000m (8:44.99), Mark Nordell in the triple jump (46'1 1/4") and Erin Suhonen in the weight throw (40'5 1/2")...Hoheisel was two one-hundredths of a second away from qualifying in the 55m hurdles at the indoor national meet in 2003 - she finished 15th in NCAA Division II with the top 13 runners selected to compete...Leuer and Hoheisel were conference indoor athletes of the week for their efforts at the Cobber Duals, Feb. 1st - Leuer set the facility record in the 1,000m and Hoheisel provisionally qualified in the 55m hurdles.