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Bemidji State track: Buerkle, Preble named athletes of the week

The Bemidji State University men's and women's track and field programs are the focus of this week's Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week selections.

Junior sprinter Kristi Buerkle has been named female athlete of the week, and multi-event athlete Zac Preble has been named the male athlete of the week after outstanding athletic accomplishments during the week of April 19-25.

Buerkle again solidified her place among the nation's top NCAA Division II sprinters Friday at Simpson College's Kip Janvrin Open in Indianola, Iowa.

The junior took top honors in the 400-meter dash. In an event field stacked with some of the nation's top Division II student-athletes, along with Division I sprinters sprinkled in, Buerkle was first to cross the finish line.

Not only did she edge the competition, she clocked a meet-record time of 55.22. The previous Kip Janvrin Open mark of 56.08 was set in 2008 by Rikita Butler.

Although it was not Buerkle's fastest time of the season, it still stands as the ninth-fastest NCAA Division II 400 time of 2010.

Preble captured his fourth consecutive NSIC decathlon crown and established a new conference record scoring 6,957 points Sunday and Monday at the 2010 NSIC Multi-Event Championships in Aberdeen, S.D.

The 2009 All-America decathlete, moved into first place after four events and did not relinquish the lead. He topped his own league record (6,627) by 330 points, set in 2006.

Preble now owns two of the nation's top three decathlon performances this outdoor season. He automatically qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, N.C. in May.

Preble was also named the NSIC Male Athlete of the Week for his performance.

The league honor is the fifth of the 2009-10 athletic year and the second of this outdoor campaign for Preble. He was also named NSIC Field Athlete of the Week three times during the 2010 indoor season.

The Bemidji State men's and women's track and field teams will be back in action May 1 when they travel to Moorhead, Minn. to participate in the Ron Masanz Open.