Bemidji State Seeks First NSIC Championship
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
BEMIDJI, Minn. - With the end of the school year approaching, the Bemidji State outdoor track and field team is gearing up for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championships taking place on Friday and Saturday in Moorhead, Minn. BSU is in search of its first outdoor championship and with the 2004 men’s and women’s champions, Minnesota Duluth, leaving the conference the title is up for grabs.

Steve Schreiber (Forest Lake, Minn.) is the only defending champion for the Beavers and will look to defend his high jump title for the third straight year. Title hopes for Schreiber are looking good as he currently has the best jump in the NSIC this season, clearing 6-6 3/4.

Including Schreiber’s top spot in the conference, the men’s squad currently sits at the top of six of the NSIC’s 22 recorded events on the season.

Heading into the NSIC championships, Ben Hopkins (Baudette, Minn.) has the quickest time in the 200-meter dash (22.54). Hopkins also holds the seventh fastest time in the 100-meter dash (11.07), just behind teammate Jonathon Hawks (Gainsville, Ga.) who is tied for the second quickest time (10.90).

After competing against each other, Hopkins and Hawks will combine their speed, along with Torry Joubert (Port Arthur, Texas) and Tristan White (Portland, Ore.) to compete in the 400-meter relay. The quartet currently has the fastest time in the conference this season (42.47).

Also leading the conference on the track is James Winsor (Hopkins, Minn.). Winsor leads the NSIC in the 400-meter dash with his time on 49.44.

Throughout most of the outdoor season the men’s throwing squad has been extremely successful and the group will again look to outperform the rest of the competition on Friday and Saturday at that NSIC Championships. Of the four men’s throwing events Bemidji State leads the conference in three of them. Justin Cox (Menahga, Minn.) leads the NSIC in the men’s shot put with his toss of 51-6. Cox also has the fourth best NSIC performance in discus throw (150-1) and the sixth best toss in the hammer throw (137-0).

Sitting just one position behind Cox in the shot put is Adam Wilson (Forest Lake, Minn.). Wilson, who finished third in the shot put and fifth in the discus at last years conference meet, is currently leading the NSIC in the hammer throw with his BSU record-breaking toss of 159-4. Wilson is also sitting second in the shot put (51-1) and has the sixth best toss in the discus (138-3).

Todd Zeidler (Plentywood, Mont.) is the third leader in the throwing events for the men. Zeidler, who is in his first year on the track and field team, is leading the NSIC in the javelin throw with his toss of 177-11, over two feet further than his closest competitor. Zeidler is also performing well on the track for the men’s team with the third-fastest time in the 800-meter run. Besides competing in the javelin throw and the individual 800-meter run, Zeidler will also team up with Scott Anderson (Fergus Falls, Minn.), Richie Babler (Perham, Minn) and Pat Lais (Slayton, Minn.) to compete in the 3,200-meter relay.

Bemidji State will also be looking for a big performance out of Rodney Williams (Inglewood, Calif.). At the end of the regular season, Williams is sitting in third place in the conference in both the long jump (21-10 1/4) and the triple jump (43-3). Williams will also be competing on the track for BSU in the 200-meter dash where he currently has the sixth fastest time in the NSIC (16.15), two spots behind Joubert who sits in fourth with his time of 23.01.

In the hurdle events Bemidji State has received much of its success from Mike Hougen (Bemidji, Minn) and Tyson Kuznia (Argyle, Minn.). Hougen currently has the fourth best time in the 400-meter hurdles (58.81) and the fifth best time in the 110-meter hurdles (15.75) and will be looking to improve on his eighth place finish in the 110-meter hurdles and a seventh place finish in the 400-meter hurdles from a year ago. Kuznia, who holds the fifth and sixth spots in the 110-hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles with his times of 16.10 and 59.13, respectively, had the fastest time after the preliminaries last year in the 400-meter hurdles but finished fourth overall.

The women’s title hopes will depend heavily on the performance of their underclassmen. Ashley Spolarich (Maple Lake, Minn.) and Nicole Friend (International Falls, Minn.) will be asked to provide much of the support for the women’s team. The two have already provided their team with seven points entering the meet after Friend finished fifth and Spolarich finished sixth at the NSIC multi meet on April 24-25, in Aberdeen, S.D.

Friend is slated to compete in four events this weekend and will look for some assistance from Spolarich and veteran leader, Christa Pribula (East Grand Forks, Minn.), who will each compete in three events.

Spolarich has high hopes for capturing her first individual title in the high jump. She is currently tied with Jessica Trautwein of MSU-Moorhead with the best jump in the NSIC and tied the BSU record with her jump of 5-8 1/2. Spolarich is also looking to grab her team some points in the triple jump. Currently Spolarich has the sixth best jump in the conference (34-0).

After finishing fifth in the 400-meter dash in her freshman campaign, Friend will be looking to assist her team even more, competing in the javelin throw and the 400-meter dash. Friend currently has the fourth best time in the NSIC in the 400-meter dash (59.12) and fourth best toss in the javelin throw (107-6).

Friend and Spolarich will combine forces with Pribula and Jaime LeDuc (International Falls, Minn.) to compete in the 3,200-meter relay. Friend will team up with LeDuc again as they join Shanna Anderson (Crane Lake, Minn.) and Carla Perry (Lino Lakes, Minn.) for the 1,600-meter relay. Currently the 1,600-meter relay team has the best mark in the NSIC with their time of 4:00.83.

Running in the distance events for the women will be Pribula. Last year at the conference meet Pribula finished second in the 3,000-meter steeple chase and fifth in the 1,500-meter run. After leading the NSIC for much of the regular season in the 3,000-meter steeple chase, Pribula is currently sitting second in the conference behind Nicole Coleman of Winona State and has the fifth best time in the 1,500-meter run (5:04.79).

Newcomer Leah Grabil (Bagley, Minn.) will be looking to make her mark at her first conference meet. Grabil is slated to compete in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter relay with Anderson, LeDuc and Perry. Grabil finished the regular season with the eighth fastest time in the 100-meter dash (13.32) and has the fourth fastest time recorded this season in the 200-meter dash (26.88) while her relay team has the third best time in the NSIC (50.32).

Also looking to make improvements on their 2004 finishes will be Erin Suhonen (Wright, Minn) and Lindsey Bergeson (Trail, Minn.). In last years meet Suhonen finished 11th in the javelin throw and seventh in the discus throw while Bergeson finished eighth in the shot put. Bergeson currently has the seventh best conference mark in the shot put with her toss of 37-11, followed by Suhonen in ninth place with her throw of 35-5. Suhonen also has the seventh best mark in the javelin throw (101-0).

Bemidji State’s quest for its first outdoor track and field championship begins at 3:00 p.m. on Friday as the men’s long jump and javelin throw along with the women’s high jump, pole vault and hammer throw get things started. The competition resumes on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. as Minnesota State University Moorhead hosts the 2005 NSIC Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.