Thursday, April 7, 2005
BEMIDJI , Minn.- After a competitive indoor season in which Bemidji State broke several records, head coach Craig Hougen is hoping that a group of fresh faces and some warmer than usual temperatures will boost his team as they head outside to open the 2005 outdoor track & field season.

With a relatively young team Hougen is looking for some leadership in his three returning school record holders.

“The older guys know what to expect during the long duration of the indoor and outdoor season,” Hougen said. “Sometimes keeping the younger kids focused can be a challenge.”

Senior Steve Screiber (Forest Lake, Minn.), the two-time NSIC defending champion in the high jump, set the current school record in 2003 with his jump of 6-10 3/4. Screiber also broke the schools indoor record earlier this year before sitting out a good majority of the competitive season.

BSU will look to juniors Christa Pribula (East Grand Forks, Minn.) and Adam Wilson (Forest Lake, Minn.) for leadership and support as the two helped pave the way last season on their way to breaking school records in the 3000-meter steeple chase and the shot put, respectively.

Wilson also broke two indoor records earlier this year in both the shot put and the weight throw and looks to improve on his third place finish in the shot put and fifth place finish in the discus during last season’s NSIC outdoor championships.

Pribula’s record setting season was capped off by a second place finish in the conference 3000-meter steeple chase and fifth place in the 1500-meter run.

Backing Wilson in the throwing events for the men will be sophomore Justin Cox (Menahga, Minn.) and junior Phil McCollam (Idaho Falls, Idaho) who are both returning after fifth place finishes at the conference meet in their respective events, shot put and discus.

Newcomer sophomore Todd Zeidler (Plentywood, Mont.) will provide a fresh arm for BSU in the javelin. Zeidler is coming off of a strong indoor season where he finished fifth in the 800-meter run at the conference meet and will look to carry his success outside.

Junior Tristan White (Portland, Ore.) will also carry some leadership in the sprints this season after finishing fourth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash just one year ago.

Sophomore Nicole Friend (International Falls, Minn.), and senior Carla Perry (Lino Lakes, Minn.) teamed up with former team mates Lindsey Gregg and Shelby McCardy to form last years BSU record-breaking relay team in the 4x400-meter relay.

Friend, who also played in 24 of the 27 games for the BSU women’s basketball team this winter, will anchor a young women’s team in the 400-meter dash, the 1600-meter relay, the javelin, and the long jump.

Another two-sport athlete in freshman Jaime LeDuc (International Falls, Minn.), who also plays women’s ice hockey for Bemidji State, will join BSU for the outdoor season.

LeDuc will make an immediate impact on the women’s team participating in the 200-meter dash and several relays.

Hougen hopes that the competitive nature of these athletes will carry over into the track and field season.

“Friend is going to do great for us again this season,” Hougen said. “Her (Friend) and LeDuc will bring their competitive nature straight from their respective indoor sports.”

Aslo joining the roster will be indoor sensation freshman Ashley Spolarich (Maple Lake, Minn.). Spolarich made a huge impact on the indoor team this season and will look to do the same as she completes in the high jump where she placed second in the conference during the winter. In addition, Spolarich will also compete in several relays.

Another young addition to the women’s team is freshmen Leah Grabill (Bagley, Minn.) Grabill will primarily focus on sprints and several relays.

Overall Hougen expects both teams to perform very well with his men’s team competing amoung conference leaders after a second place finish at the indoor championships in February.
“The new members will definatly make an immediate impact,” Hougen said. “Both teams have made great strides since the indoor season.”

The only home appearance for Bemidji State will come on April 23, as they host the annual Beaver Relays at the Chet Anderson Stadium on the campus of BSU.