Buerkle and Preble set to showcase talents on national stage
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Buerkle and Preble set to showcase talents on national stage
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Two Bemidji State University track and field athletes officially had their tickets punched today to participate in the 2010 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for May 27-29 at Irwin Belk Track Complex in Charlotte, N.C. Junior Kristi Buerkle (Stacy, Minn.) qualified for the 200- and 400-meter dash events, while senior Zac Preble (Coleraine, Minn.) accepted an invitation to compete in the decathlon.

Buerkle, who automatically qualified to compete in the 400 by posting a pair of sub-55.00 races, also accepted an invitation to compete in the 200-meter dash after provisionally qualifying on several occasions over the course of the outdoor season.  

The 2010 NSIC 400-meter outdoor champion and NSIC record-holder (54.99) enters the championship meet ranked fifth in the country after breaking her own school record in the event last weekend with a personal-best 54.76.  The junior also owns the BSU record in the 200-meter dash and heads to Charlotte, N.C. 25th in the field with a season-best time of 24.65.

The outdoor invitation is the second of its kind for Buerkle and marks the fourth time she has competed at an NCAA National Track and Field Championship.  The three-time All-America performer placed fourth in the 400-meters at last spring’s outdoor championships, while she also placed in the event at the 2009 and 2010 indoor national championships.

Buerkle begins her quest for a national championship at 6:10 p.m. (EST) May 27 with the preliminary rounds of the 400-meter dash with the finals to be run May 29.  May 28, she will attempt to make the finals in the 200 when she participates in the event prelims beginning at 6:00 p.m. (EST).

Preble enters the NCAA Division II Championships after capturing an unprecedented fourth consecutive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) decathlon title at the 2010 league championships--a meet at which he also a new league standard (6,957).  The senior enters the national championship meet ranked second in the nation after he scored 7,026 in the 10-event competition early in the season.

Already a two-time All-America performer, Preble takes his third crack at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  After pulling out early in 2008 due to injury, the Coleraine, Minn. native broke through last spring earning All-America honors with a fourth-place finish and new school record of 7,085 in the event.  In addition, the multi-event standout also placed second in the heptathlon at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Preble is slated to begin competition May 27 at 10:30 a.m. (EST).  The first day of decathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter dash.  May 28, participants open with the 110-meter hurdles at 10:00 a.m. (EST) and will compete in the discus throw, pole vault and javelin throw before closing the 10-event competition with the 1,500-meter run.

Since 2005, the Bemidji State track and field teams, under the direction of head coach Craig Hougen, have produced 16 All-American performers and three individual national champions.