BSU men look to improve on last years second place finish
Thursday, February 23, 2006
BEMIDJI, Minn. - With the regular season complete for the Bemidji State University track and field teams, they have shifted their focus to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's Indoor Track and Field Championships being held on Friday and Saturday at the Gillett Recreation Fitness Center on the campus of BSU.

The men are looking to avenge a 2005 second place finish in the conference as they fell to Northern State University by 19 points in the overall standings last year.

Since their 2005 second place finish during the indoor season, the men's team collected the 2005 NSIC Outdoor Track and Field Championship and have regrouped behind a solid throwing corp in hopes to win their first indoor championship since 2000.

Leading the way for the Beavers throughout the season has been Adam Wilson, Justin Cox and newcomer Joe Remitz. All three athletes have provisionally qualified to participate in the NCAA Division II National Championships, but are not guaranteed a trip the the championships.

Wilson is reigning individual indoor champion in the weight throw and the shot put. Last year he won both events in a convincing style, claiming victory in the weight throw by over 11 1/2 inches and clinching a win in the shot put with his toss of 51-2 1/4, 9 3/4 inches further than the rest of the field.

Twice this season Wilson has broken his own school record in the weight throw. On Jan. 21 Wilson garnered a first place finish in the event with his throw of 54-8 3/4, adding 8 3/4 inches to his own school record. Three weeks later, on Feb. 10, Wilson shattered his record again, adding over 16 inches to his previous best toss. His throw at the Husky Open measured 56-11 1/2 and currently ranks him first in the NSIC and 14th in the nation among NCAA Division II athletes as he heads into the conference championships.

"Adam is a good example of a person who has been with us and worked hard for four years," said BSU head coach Craig Hougen. "Both him and I know that he is capable of throwing even further and I look for him to do just that this weekend."

This year, Wilson has been presented with some tough competition, the toughest coming from his own teammates.

Cox has competed well in both the weight throw and the shot put for BSU this season. Currently, Cox holds the second best distances in the NSIC in both events. Nationally, he is ranked 14th in the shot put and 24th in the weight throw with his best throw of 53-3 1/2 and 55-6 1/2, respectively.

The biggest change for the men's throwing team has been the addition of Joe Remitz. In just his first competition in a BSU uniform, Remitz broke Wilson's school record in the shot put. His toss of 52-2 3/4 on Jan. 7 in Minneapolis was good enough to edge Wilson's former record of 51-6 1/2, but did not satisfy Remitz as since then he has add another 4 feet 8 3/4 inches to his record.

His best toss of 56-9 1/2 came on Jan. 21 as Remitz was competing at the Super 8 Open in the Gillett Recreation Fitness Center, the same place he will compete for the conference championship in the weight throw on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.

Along with Cox, Remitz and Wilson, Sheena Devine of the women's team has also provisionally qualified to compete in the national championships, bringing BSU's total to four.

"This is the most athletes our program has ever had provisionally qualified," Hougen said. "The most we've ever take was two in 2003 when we took Caesare Stimson and Steve Schreiber."

Stimson graduated in 2004 and and Schreiber is the three-time outdoor conference champion in the high jump, but, has missed much of this season due to injury. Schreiber will compete in the high jump on Friday at 4 p.m. in what could be his last competition in a BSU uniform. Schreiber currently holds the school record after clearing the 6-10 mark on Jan. 15, 2005.

"We've added some key individuals to the team make-up that are going to make us better," Hougen said. "We're going to get some stiff competition from the other teams. We have a good chance to finish in first place overall for the men and other teams are going to giving their best efforts against us."

With small numbers and an extremely young team, the women finishes fifth last year, but, Hougen said he believes the women can finish in the middle of the pack.

"The women's competition is so close together," Hougen said. "We could compete at our best and finish sixth or we could finish third. That's how close the team competition will be."

Although the women's team is still very young, they have added numbers and will look to Devine, Leah Grabil and M'Kelle Tomberlin.

Devine currently holds the school record in the weight throw (46-10 1/4) and is ranked second in the conference in the shot put. Her put of 45-7 3/4 on Feb. 10 at the Husky Open in St. Cloud, Minn., is currently the 14th best put in the nation.

Grabil and Tomberlin have taken a leadership role on the track for the women's team this year. Grabil is ranked in the top-10 in the NSIC in the 55-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. In the 200-meter dash, Grabil has recorded the fastest time in the conference this season with her mark of 26.54.

For Tomberlin, she is also ranked in the NSIC in the 55-meter dash and but has jumped out to a NSIC season-best in the long jump. Her mark of 17-6 1/2 leads the conference while her time of 7.61 in the 55-meter dash is eighth best.

Overall, Hougen said he is proud of the efforts his team has put in this season and knows they will continue to give it their best as they enter the conference championships.

"Track is an individual-team sport," Hougen said. "You're always looking for individuals to step up and we've had that this year. When those athletes excel at something it only brings the team spirit up and gives the entire team a sense of pride."

With the conference championships the last chance to qualify individuals for the national championships, Hougen said he thinks the competition should be very close with individuals from all the schools having a shot a qualify a few more athletes.

The competition is set to get started at 2 p.m. on Friday with the men's long jump and pole vault and the women's high jump and shot put. Action on the track begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday with the semifinals of the 55-meter hurdles for both the men and the women.

Saturday's action begins at 9 a.m. with the men's weight throw and triple jump while the women get Day 2 underway with the pole vault.

For more information about the NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships, visit the Bemidji State Athletics web site.