Bemidji State track and field teams take a final shot at NCAA qualification
Saturday, May 15, 2010
WINONA, Minn. -- A handful of Bemidji State University track and field athletes with aspirations of participating the 2010 NCAA Division II Championships took one last crack and making the qualification lists Saturday at the Warrior Open in Winona, Minn.

Kristi Buerkle (So., Stacy, Minn.), who already owned an automatically qualifying time in the 400-meter dash, posted the fifth-fastest 400 time of the 2010 Division II outdoor season, claiming first place at the meet.  Her time of 54.76 broke her own school record (54.83) set at the 2009 national championship meet, where she finished fourth and garnered All-America accolades.  Her time improved her position to fifth on the NCAA outdoor performance list, while it stands as the fastest time a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) student-athlete has posted this season.

Brian Leonhardt (So., Blaine, Minn.) also fared well at the meet garnering top-four finishes in two throwing events, recording a pair of season-best marks along the way.  He placed second in the shot put with a distance of 51-07.00 before posting a fourth-place finish in the discus by stretching the tape to 153-10.  

Both stood as 2010-bests for the BSU men’s track and field team.

The duo of Zac Preble (Sr., Coleraine, Minn.) and Raphael Gelo (Fr., Kabetogama, Minn.) finished second and third, respectively, in the pole vault as each cleared 14-10.25.

Next on the agenda for the BSU track and field teams is the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, N.C.  In addition to Buerkle, who will compete in the 400-meter dash, BSU’s multi-event standout Preble will contend for the decathlon title.  He enters the meet ranked second in the ten-event competition and is in search of his third consecutive multi-event All-America performance.