Preble; Friend capture NSIC Outdoor Multi Event titles
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
ABERDEEN, S.D. -- The Bemidji State University men's and women's track and field teams will enter the 2007 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, May 11-12, with a jump on the rest of the field. Freshman Zac Preble (Coleraine, Minn.) maintained his day one lead in the decathlon and Nicole Friend (Sr., International Falls, Minn.) rallied during the last three events of the heptathlon to battle back from eighth place to gain NSIC multi event championships Monday in Aberdeen, S.D. For their outstanding athletic achievements, the conference has selected the pair as this week's male and female field athletes of the week.

The individual multi-event titles in addition to Michael Hougen's (Sr., Bemidji, Minn.) third place finish in the decathlon give BSU an early jump towards NSIC outdoor team tiles. Garnering 16 points in the decathlon, BSU sits in first while Friend's 10 points in the heptathlon puts the Beavers in second place behind Minnesota State University Moorhead which had athletes finish second and fourth to garner 13 team points.

Preble entered Monday's final five events with a 275-point lead over the rest of the field and did not look back. The 2007 NSIC Indoor Multi-event Champion took first place in three events on day two en route 6,672 points, a 2007 conference outdoor decathlon title, new BSU and NSIC records in the event and a ninth place ranking on the NCAA Division II performance list.

On day two, Preble gained 244 points over the field in the discus throw with a 148-11, out distancing his nearest competition by nearly 40 feet while he tied two others for first place in the pole vault after clearing 13-05.75. Preble capped the competition with a season-best mark in the javelin (157-03).

Preble also finished third in the 110-meter hurdles (15-87) and his 5:12.97 was good for fifth place in the 1,500-meter run.

In all Preble earned the best result in six of the 10 events earning a 591-point lead over MSU-Moorhead's Dan Fetzer who finished the decathlon in second place (6,081).

Friend took the opposite road to her championship. Instead of entering day two in the lead, she was in eighth place after four events and barrelled her way to the top of the heap using three top-three finishes, including a javelin throw in which she stretched the tape thirty feet beyond any of her competitors, to gain 175 points on the field.

Friend piled up a total of 4,338 points in the seven events to edge the defending champion, MSU-Moorhead's Jessica Troutwein, for the 2007 title.

In addition to her day two performance, Friend earned a first place finish in the 200-meter dash Sunday. Her time of 26.15 was her best of 2007 and the fastest time at BSU this outdoor season.

Preble becomes the fifth NSIC Outdoor Decathlon champion at Bemidji State since 1996 but the first to win the multi-event title since Dan Frette claimed the top spot in 2001.

Friend is the sixth woman at BSU to win an NSIC heptathlon title since 1996 and the fifth in the last six years.

This weekend, the squads will travel to Moorhead, Minn. for the Ron Masanz Open in their final tune up before the 2007 NSIC Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for Moorhead, Minn. May 11-12.