ABERDEEN, S.D. -- Bemidji State University track and field athlete Zac Preble needed a rally to capture his third consecutive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference decathlon title Tuesday.
The junior from Coleraine finished in first with a score of 6,223 points.
He entered the second day with a cushion of just 49 points over Concordia-St. Paul's John Pimental. Preble no-heighted in the pole vault and dropped out of the lead early in day two. But the multi-event veteran began to track Pimental in the javelin by placing third in the event with a throw of 163-09. He gained 162 points in the event.
Preble then toed the line in the tenth and final event of the decathlon, the 1,500-meter run, trailing Pimental by a mere four points.
The junior ran an inspired race, placing fifth in a time of 4:49.14. More importantly, he edged the CU standout by over 29 seconds and cruised to a 157-point victory and the 2009 NSIC Decathlon title.
In addition to Preble's impressive comeback down the stretch, his championship run was highlighted by first-place finishes in the shot put(47-09.75) and the discus throw (131-06). He tied for second-place honors in the high jump with a jump of 6-02.
The individual championship earns Preble All-NSIC honors, while his 10 points carry over to the Beavers' team total at the NSIC Outdoor Championships, May 8-9, in Moorhead.
Preble remains as one of the top multi-event athletes in the nation and his performance Tuesday only verified that.
Although he failed to record a score in one of the 10 events, he still scored better than any of his NSIC counterparts. His school record of 6,854 recorded April 14 at the St. John's Multi remains as the fifth-best score posted this outdoor season and has him poised for a run at All-America honors at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, May 21-23 in San Angelo, Tex.
On the women's side, Bemidji State also had student-athletes competing in the conference heptathlon. Pearl Walker earned 12th place with a total of 3,160 points.
The sophomore was 12th after the first day of competition and scored 1,000 in the final three events.
Walker's best individual event total came in the 100-meter hurdles. She clocked a time of 16.83 to score 616 points.
The Beavers will continue their 2009 outdoor season when they travel to St. Peter on Friday to compete in the Gustie Open. A contingent of the team will also make the trip to Moorhead the following day (May 2) to take part in the Ron Masanz Open.