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Bemidji State track and field: Buerkle shines at NSIC championships, advances to nationals

Bemidji State's Kristi Buerkle (left) and Minnesota State University, Mankato's Kelsey Leonard sprint down the home stretch of the 400-meter dash final at the NSIC Indoor Championships Saturday afternoon at BSU. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State sophomore Kristi Buerkle turned in a strong performance in the final day of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championships Saturday afternoon at Gillett Recreation/Fitness Center.

The sprinter from Stacy broke two Bemidji State University indoor track and field records for the second time this season.

Buerkle sprinted to a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.03 seconds and broke her previous personal best time of 57.26.

The race was close with Minnesota State University, Mankato's Kelsey Leonard winning by a margin of .08 of a second.

In the process Buerkle improved on her previous provisional qualifying time for the Division II National Championships and moved into the eleventh spot.

The NCAA D-II Championships will be held March 14-15 in Houston, Tex.

Later in the afternoon Buerkle finished third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.63 seconds.

It broke her previous personal best and school-record time of 25.71 seconds.

Freshman thrower Brian Leonhardt achieved his personal-best performance of the 2009 indoor season in the shot put.

He finished fourth in the shot put with a personal best throw of 51-10.00. It beat his old mark by four feet.

In other competition, Bemidji State distance runner Dominique Trom placed eighth in the mile run with a finishing time of 4:59.01.

Tyler Lange competed in the 600-meter run in Saturday's conference meet and he finished eighth with a time of 1:28.19.

Bemidji State's men's and women's teams each finished in tenth in the final team standings for the NSIC Championship meet.

The women's team trailed ninth-place finisher Winona State University by 28 points, finishing with 15 points.

Minnesota State University, Mankato captured the team NSIC title with 150 points.

BSU's men's team earned 25 points in the final team standings, 34 points shy of ninth-place finisher MSU-Moorhead.

The Minnesota State University men's team also finished in first place, gaining 144.50 points in the total team standings.