Wilson returns to defend two indoor titles
Thursday, December 15, 2005
BEMIDJI , Minn. - [PDF] - The Bemidji State men and women’s indoor track and field team is less than a month away from their first competition and are already preparing to make another run at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship.

A predominately young men’s team just a year ago has evolved into a strong mix of under- and upper-classmen that will look to Adam Wilson (Sr.; Forest Lake, Minn.) and Jonathon Hawks (Jr.; Gainsville, Ga.) for leadership.

Both Wilson and Hawks garnered top individual honors in their respective events last season. Wilson walked away with individual championships in the shot put and the weight throw, while Hawks finished with the quickest time in the 200-meter dash.

Wilson, who was also named the NSIC Field Athlete of the Year for the 2005 indoor season, is the reigning school record-holder in the shot put. Last season Wilson broke the record twice. On January 22 he set a new record with his toss of 53-feet, 8-inches before breaking his own record less than a month later at the Beaver Classic on February 18 with his toss of 54 feet.

The men’s team, not too far removed from their last NSIC championship won in 2000, is looking to make up their 19-point deficit to Northern State.

They will also have the three-time NSIC outdoor high jump champion with them this year. Last season Steve Schreiber (Sr.; Forest Lake, Minn.) was forced to sit out due to a foot injury, but, not before he broke the indoor school record at the BSU Alumni Meet on January 15, with his jump of 6-10. Schreiber rebounded from his injury and was able to win his third straight NSIC high jump title during the 2005 outdoor season.

Mark Nordell (Sr.; Apple Valley, Minn.), who is rejoining the team after spending the 2005 indoor season studying in Europe, will also look to make a impact on the team as he holds the school record in the triple jump.

“We get back Schreiber for the indoor season and overall our men have the potential to be even better,” said BSU Head Coach Craig Hougen. “We lost a few guys off of last year’s team but I’m confident that we’ve been able to fill their spots.”

One man looking to fill some empty shoes is Joe Remitz (Soph.; Cass Lake, Minn.). Remitz was a state high school champion in the shot put and has been performing very well up to this point in practice.
“Joe (Remitz) has the capability to do some very good things for us,” Hougen said. “In practice he has been breaking the school record and pushing our seniors to be better.”

The women, who have never won an indoor title, will have to lean on a much younger support frame. Just two of the 30 athletes are seniors. Christa Pribula (East Grand Forks, Minn.) and Erin Hansen (Apple Valley, Minn.) represent the senior class on a roster that contains ten freshmen and 12 sophomores.

On top of being an extremely young team, BSU also suffered a set-back over the summer as the 2005 NSIC Newcomer of the Year, Ashley Spolarich, transfered to Minnesota State University-Moorhead for personal reasons.

Last season, in her first and only season at BSU, Spolarich made a huge impact, accounting for 33 of the teams 59 points. Of her 33 total points, 23 came from her individual efforts in the high jump, triple jump, the 800-meter run, and the indoor pentathlon. Her other ten points came as a member of two relay teams.

“Losing Spolarich is a big loss of us,” Hougen said. “She gave us a lot of points and instead of having one person replace her it may take two or three women to get us the points that she produced.”

Hougen has high hopes for his women throwers, including transfer Sheena Devine (Soph.; Harris, Minn.), who is coming to Bemidji State after starting her collegiate career at Southwest Minnesota State where she played volleyball.

“We have a good group of women throwers,” Hougen said. “We return Sara Olson (Jr.; Fairmont, Minn.) who holds a school record and with the addition of Sheena I look for good things to come.”

Along with Sploarich, the women’s team also graduated Carla Perry who Hougen will miss when he begins to put together his relay teams.

In order for the women’s team to be better than they were last year, Hougen will be looking for some younger individuals to step up and take leadership roles as both of their seniors have missed a lot of practice due to student teaching responsibilities, but, Hougen believes things will work out as the season progresses.

“Initially our leadership on the women’s team is lacking,” Hougen said. “It hurts not having your two seniors at practice 100 percent of the time, but Sadie (Knickrehm), our assistant coach, has been working very hard to lead the team in the right direction.”