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Bemidji St. track: Preble takes fourth in decathlon at NCAAs

Bemidji State decathlete Zac Preble ended his track and field season Friday, finishing fourth in the decathlon at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in San Angelo, Tex.

The junior from Coleraine became the first BSU athlete to eclipse the 7,000-point mark, finishing with a total of 7,085 points.

Seated in fifth place after the first day of competition, Preble put together a solid final five events on Day 2 to complete the multi-event championship. He scored 231 points to roll past his previous record of 6,854 points that he set earlier this season.

Preble's final day of competition was highlighted by back-to-back top three finishes in the field events. He stretched the tape 137-feet, seven-inches (137-07) on his final attempt in the javelin throw to place second among the field.

The Coleraine native followed that up by clearing 15-01.00 in the pole vault to climb into third place overall.

Preble placed fifth in the javelin with a throw of 167-11 to enter the 1,500-meter run, the tenth event, seated in third place. He clocked a 5:02.90 in the final event but was bumped out of the top three by Wayne Durham of Adams State.

Durham recorded a 1,500-meter time of 4:37.42 to finish the decathlon with 7,086 points to sneak ahead of Preble.

Abilene Christian University's Camille Vandendriessche captured the title of being collegiate sports best all-around athlete winning the championship with 7,674 points. He overtook the Day 1 leader, Ryan McWilliams (7,297) of Angelo State after the discus throw, the seventh event, and did not look back, cruising to the 377-point victory.

Including Preble's most recent accomplishment, BSU Head Coach Craig Hougen's track and field programs have produced 14 All-Americans since 2005.

Bemidji State sophomore Kristi Buerkle, a 2009 indoor All-America honoree who broke the school record in yesterday's 400-meter dash preliminaries, toes the line in the 400-meter finals Saturday at 6:45 p.m. for a chance at becoming the Beavers' next All-American. She enters the race ranked sixth with a time of 54.83.