MANKATO -- The Bemidji State University men's and women's track and field teams began competition at the 2010 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday at Minnesota State University's Myers Fieldhouse.
On a day full of preliminary races, distance run finals and field events, its was the Beavers' throwers that led the way for the teams.
At the conclusion of the first day for competition, the BSU women sit in 10th place, while the men hold down the fifth spot.
"We are going into tomorrow about where we thought we'd be," BSU head coach Craig Hougen said. "We may not be in the upper echelon of the NSIC, but everybody is competing well, maybe not scoring, but we are really competing. Many of our athletes are running faster and having their best performances of the year, so we have to be happy."
"The strength of the NSIC this year is unbelievable. In the men's 3,000-meter run alone, seven athletes broke the conference record. In the pole vault to have four gentleman go 16 feet...well that's pretty good and in the 400-meter dash, four sprinters qualified for the national meet during prelims.
Hougen went on to say, "We are competing in a pretty darn good conference."
Brian Leonhardt posted the Beavers' best performance of the day placing third in the shot put. His mark of 53-01.50 surpassed his previous career-best by an inch and half and improved his standing on the NCAA Division II championships performance list.
Senior multi-event athlete Zac Preble also placed in the shot, stretching the tape to 48-04.50 to grab the No. 8 spot and a point for the BSU men's team.
Preble also fared well in the pole vault. The Coleraine native came just an inch short of matching an 11-year-old BSU indoor record clearing a season-best 16-00.00 to place fourth.
In women's competition, Missy Graber was the only student-athlete to garner points for the team. The senior placed eighth in the weight throw with a distance of 49-09.75--a toss that bested her previous career-long by nearly 17 inches.
The 2010 NSIC Indoor Track and Field Championships will conclude tomorrow at the Myers Fieldhouse. The Beavers' have student-athletes participating in nine events Saturday, including the men's and women's 4x400-meter relay races, but their best chance of scoring will come in the women's 200- and 400-meter dashes. Standout junior sprinter Kristi Buerkle is the owner of the NSIC's second-fastest time of 2010 in both races. Competition begins at 10 a.m.