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Bemidji State track: Buerkle, Preble gain All-America honors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Bemidji State's Kristi Buerkle and Zac Preble placed second in their respective events in the final day of competition Saturday to earn All-American honors at the 20101 NCAA Indoor Track and field Championships.

Preble, who began the day in third place in the heptathlon after four events, performed well enough to enter the final event with the national title within range, but was out legged in the 1,000-meter run and finished in second--83 points behind Darius Walker of Central Missouri who finished first with a total score of 5,377.

First on the day two docket for the senior was the 60-meter hurdles.

Preble clocked a 8.66 to finish second in his heat and eighth overall but failed to gain any ground on the top competitors, leaving two events for him to make his move.

Looking to the pole vault as a difference maker from the beginning, Preble cleared 15-9 in the sixth event, posting the second-best height and moving to within a point of the top spot with just one event to go.

The final event of the competition was the 1,000-meter dash. Preble ran a 2:58.16 to cross the finish line seventh, just over nine seconds behind Walker. His finish netted him 682 points, 93 points less than Walker, which would allow the athlete from Central Missouri to move ahead and claim the individual championship by a mere 83 points.

Despite coming up short in the competition, Preble's total score of 5,294 stands as his best performance in the heptathlon and breaks his own school record of 5,245 set at the NSIC Multis earlier this season.

Buerkle capped the Beavers' 2010 championships appearance off with a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash. The junior posted the fastest time of the preliminary round, a BSU record of 54.76 seconds, Friday to enter the finals as the No. 1 contender. Buerkle clocked a time of 55.00 today to finish second to Steph Tinney of Ashland, who won the individual championship with a time of 54.73.

Buerkle, Preble and the rest of the BSU men's and women's track and field teams now turn their focus to the outdoor season which is set to begin April 3 in St. Paul at the Hamline Invitational.