Buerkle, Gelo and Juell accepted to NCAA Championship field
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Buerkle, Gelo and Juell accepted to NCAA Championship field
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University track and field athletes Kristi Buerkle (Sr., Stacy, Minn.), Raphael Gelo (So., Kabetogama, Minn.) and Tandy Juell (So., Redwood Falls, Minn.) today officially had their tickets punched to participate in the 2011 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  The championships are set for May 26-27 at the California State University, Stanisaus Al Brenda Track Facility in Turlock, Calif.

Buerkle accepted her invitation to compete in the 200- and 400-meter dash events, while Gelo will participate in the pole vault and Juell is among the championship field in the decathlon.

Buerkle, who automatically qualified to compete in the 400-meter dash by posting a sub-55.00 race (54.66) April 28, also accepted an invitation to compete at the 200-meter distance.  After provisionally qualifying on several occasions over the course of the outdoor season, she posted a school-record time of 24.22 seconds en route to winning the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) title in the event last weekend, to gain the invitation.  

The 2011 conference champion at both distances, Buerkle enters the championship meet ranked fourth in the country with a season-best 54.66 in the 400-meter dash and heads to Turlock, Calif. 20th in the 200-meter field (24.22).

The outdoor invitation is the third of its kind for Buerkle and marks the sixth time she has competed at an NCAA Track and Field Championships.  The five-time All-America performer was second in the 400-meters and 19th in the 200 at the 2010 outdoor championships, while she also placed in the 400 at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 indoor national championships.

Buerkle begins her quest for a national championship at 6:10 p.m. (PST) May 26 in the preliminary rounds of the 400-meter dash with the finals set for 6:45 p.m. (PST) May 28.  May 27, she will attempt to make the finals in the 200 when she participates in the event prelims beginning at 6 p.m. (PST).  The finals for that event are scheduled for 8:15 p.m. (PST) May 28.

A first-time NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championship participant, Gelo opens competition May 28 at 5 p.m. (PST).  The sophomore’s school-record height of 16 feet, 5 1/2 inches placed him ninth among the championship field.

Gelo got a taste of the national stage in March when he was among the competitors at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.  The native of Kabetogama, Minn. cleared 15 feet, 11 inches in his final attempt at the mark to earn 11th place.

Juell enters the NCAA Division II Championships after capturing the NSIC decathlon title May 2--a meet at which he also set a new personal-best (6,531).  The sophomore’s score in the ten-discipline event was tops in the NSIC and ranked 11th in the nation this outdoor season.

Juell gets his first trip to the outdoor national championships underway at 10:30 a.m. (PST) May 26, when the decathlon field will compete in the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump before wrapping up day one with the 400-meter dash. May 27, Juell and the rest of the decathlon field will compete in the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run beginning at 10 a.m. (PST).

Since 2005, the Bemidji State track and field teams, under the direction of head coach Craig Hougan, have produced 19 All-America performers and three individual national champions.