St. Paul, Minn. -- The 2008 Minnesota Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference (MIAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships
will take place March 6-8 at the Donald McNeely Spectrum on the
campus of Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn.
St. Thomas will once again be the favorites coming into the 2008 Championships. The Tommies have won every team title in the 23 years the MIAC has held the Indoor Championships. Host team Saint John's should contend with a strong group of returning athletes. Hamline, Bethel, and Carleton will also feature many talented individuals, but each will need to find more depth to compete for the team title.
Gustavus, St. Olaf, Concordia, and Macalester were all middle of
the pack teams in 2007. They will all look to make a move up in the
final standings. Saint Mary's and Augsburg have had strong
performers during the indoor season and hope to peak at this
Coach: Dennis Barker (14th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 11th
|Augsburg Athletes to Watch|
Haglund (So., Fridley, Minn.)
Nick Ward (Fy., Coon
Strand (So., Brainerd, Minn.)
Groll (So., Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale
Shane Pantila (Fy., St.
Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville)
Adam Horkey (So., Windom, Minn.)
|Augsburg Championships Preview|
The 2008 indoor season has been one of constant improvement for the young Augsburg College men’s track and field team. The indoor squad features 18 underclassmen (seven first-year students, 11 sophomores) and just two juniors.
Brent Haglund (SO, Fridley, Minn.) has shined this season in the distance events, setting school records twice in the 3,000-meter run (best time 8:44.94), the 13th-best time run in the MIAC this season. He also ran a 15:41.96 time in the 5,000-meter run, currently the 14th-fastest time in the MIAC.
Newcomer Nick Ward (FY, Coon Rapids, Minn.) has been a strong competitor in the sprints, as he currently has the seventh-fastest time in the MIAC in the 55-meter dash (6.62 seconds). He also has a team-high 6.08-meter (19-feet, 9.75-inch) effort in the long jump and has a season-best 23.67-second time in the 200-meter dash. D.J. Wendell (JR,Princeton, Minn./Charles M. Russell (Mont.) HS) has also been a strong sprinter this season, ranking 18th in the league in the 55-meter dash (6.75 seconds).
James Strand (SO, Brainerd, Minn.) has the 13th-fastest time in the MIAC in the 400-meter dash (51.28 seconds), while also recording a team-best 23.45-second effort in the 200-meter dash. Adam Horkey (SO, Windom, Minn.) and David Nestrud (SO, Braham, Minn.) have been strong competitors in the 55-meter hurdles, with both ranking among the top 20 in the conference in the event.
Josh Groll (SO, Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) has shown continued improvement in the weight events, entering this weekend’s MIAC meet with the 14th-best effort in the league in the shot put (13.33 meters/43-feet, 8.75-inches) and 15th-best effort in the 35-pound weight throw (14.89 meters/48-feet, 10.25-inches). Shane Pantila (FY, St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville HS) has also shown improvement in both weights and jumps. He ranks 13th among MIAC competitors in the triple jump (12.61 meters/41-feet, 4.25-inches).
Coach: Jim Timp (3rd season)
2007 Championships Finish: 4th
|Bethel Athletes to Watch|
|Bethel Championships Preview|
The 2008 season looks to be a good opportunity to continue with the success that was experienced last year with the men's and women's squads, both coached by Jim Timp. Assistant coach Doug Novak, who has been with the program for about 20 years, will continue his work with the pole vaulters while Bob Jones returns for his fourth year with the program as the throws coach. Kyle Leaf is back for his fifth year as the jumps coach. Mike Fregeau joins the coaching staff as the sprint and hurdle coach. Mike adds an energy and excitement that will make a dramatic impact on these talented athletes. Also on the coaching staff this year are Nick Jones as the middle distance coach and Kaela Schramm as the hurdles coach.
The men's squad welcomes back a very talented group of returning
runners, who will provide leadership. Included in that group are
Josh Otto, a team captain and 2007 All American in the indoor 400m;
Lucas Blodgett, team captain and national meet competitor in the
hammer throw; Taylor Ferda, who made a provisional mark last spring
in the 400m hurdles; and a talented middle distance and distance
squad that includes cross country All Americans, Dan Greeno and
Carl Gladitsch. The team will look for good leadership this year,
as there are a lot of new faces on the team which will add the
depth needed to compete with the rest of the conference. Along with
Otto and Blodgett as captains are Chad Anderson and Nate
Coach: Dave Ricks (3rd season)
2007 Championships Finish: 5th
|Carleton Athletes to Watch|
Tom Ballinger (Jr., Plymouth,
|Carleton Championships Preview|
The Knights placed fifth in the team competition a year ago and feature a balanced team this season.
Tom Ballinger (Jr./Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) was third in the 400-meter and 600-meter dashes last year, while adding a fourth-place showing in the 55-meter hurdles. He is among the conference’s top performers in each event again this year and figures to be a factor in at least one relay as well.
Nick Cesarek (Jr./Eagan, Minn./Eastview) was heavily involved in the relay competition at last year’s meet. He’s posted top 30 times in the 55-, 200- and 400-meter dashes this season.
Jack Delehanty (Jr./Madison, Wis./Monona Grove) was sixth in the 400-meter dash a year ago, 10th in the 800-meter run and factored on Carleton’s 4x400-meter relay. He’s recorded top 20 times in both the 600 and 800 meter events this season.
Quentin Kennedy (Sr./Chariton, Iowa) and Joe Sepe (Sr./Fargo, N.D./South) should be factors in the long-distance races again this year. Sepe is coming off a third-place finish in the 3000-meter run last year and owns a top 5 times in both the 3000 and 5000 this season, while Kennedy ranks among the top 10 in both races.
Michael Sanders (So./Cedar Falls, Iowa) notched a top 10 time in the 600-yard dash after finishing ninth in the event at last year’s championships. He is expected to run a leg on at least one relay.
Coach: Garrick Larson (15th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 8th
|Concordia Athletes to Watch|
Josh Smith (Sr., Staples,
Olejnicak (Sr., Brainerd, Minn.)
Billy Oehlers (Jr., North
Paul Westmark (Jr., Appleton, Wis.)
|Concordia Championships Preview|
Concordia enters the 2007-08 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championship Meet on the heels of one of their most successful indoor seasons in recent history. The Cobbers had success on the individual and team levels as they broke several records and beat NCAA DII foe MSU Moorhead in a dual meet. All the success could add up to the best finish in the MIAC for Concordia since they placed third in the 2000-01 conference meet.
The optimism coming from the Cobber camp is rooted in a pair of seniors and a pair of juniors. Leading the way for Concordia at the indoor meet will be senior Josh Smith (Staples, Minn./Staples-Motley HS). Smith, the defending MIAC champion in the 600-yard dash, has already broken the school record in the 300 and 400 meters. Smith broke the 400-meter record at the St. Olaf Invite on Mar. 1 by clocking a time of 50.45. That time broke the old school mark of 50.67 in 1995 and is the third fastest time in the MIAC this year. He will be counted on to score points in multiple individual events as well as helping the Concordia 4x400-meter relay team finish in the top three.
Dusten Olejnicak (Brainerd, Minn.), the other senior leader on the team, will be one of the top field athletes for the Cobbers this season. He was named the MIAC Field Athlete of the Week on Jan. 28 for his personal-best distance in the long jump. Olejnicak has a season-best mark 22-1.50 in the event, which places him third in the conference and is less than nine inches from provisionally qualifying for the national meet. Olejnicak is also a key member of the CC 4x400-meter relay team.
Juniors Billy Oehlers (North Branch, Minn.) and Paul Westmark (Appleton, Wis.) have produced top-flight results as well in the first two months of the season. Oehlers is the top thrower on the team for Concordia and has posted a distance of 49-8.50 in the shot put. That mark is ranked fourth in the MIAC and puts him within two feet of provisionally qualifying for nationals. Westmark is one of the favorites in the MIAC Heptathlon. Last year he finished sixth at the conference meet and has improved on his marks from last year. He has upped his proficiency in the running events in 2008 and even broke the school record in the 60-meter hurdles. His time of 8.58 clocked at the Bison Classic is the fourth best in the conference. He is also a member of the record-seeking 4x400-meter relay team.
The Cobber 4x400-meter relay team of Smith, Olejnicak, Westmark and freshman Michael Dunn (Fargo, N.D./Oak Grove HS) have been steadily creeping up on the school record in the event. They have recorded several times within one second of the Cobber record and are currently seeded fourth in the event with a time of 3:25.25.
Coach: Tom Thorkelson (9th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 6th
|Gustavus Athletes to Watch|
Chris deLaubenfels (Sr., Mount
Tyler Geyen (Sr., Watertown, Minn.)
|Gustavus Championships Preview|
The Gustavus men’s indoor track and field team is looking forward to the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships after spending the month of February participating in four meets in preparation for the conference meet.
The Gusties currently have five different performers ranked in
the top eight of the MIAC Performance lists and two of those five
are listed in multiple events. Senior Chris deLaubenfels (Mount
Vernon, Iowa) will lead the team as he is currently ranked first in
the 5,000 meters (14:48.33), fourth in the 3,000 meters (8:37.41),
and 11th in the mile (4:22.94).
The Gusties will also enter a solid 4x400 relay team of Matt Leeb (Fy., Kasota, Minn.), Tyler Geyen, Ben Treichel (Sr., Webster, Wis.), and Cole Carlson (So., Mora, Minn.). This group currently ranks sixth with a time of 3:26.70.
Coach: Lynden Reder (2nd season)
2007 Championships Finish: 3rd
|Hamline Athletes to Watch|
|Hamline Championships Preview|
Coach: Martin Peper (15th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 9th
|Macalester Athletes to Watch|
Andrew Yokom (Jr., Arden
Hills, Minn. / Mounds View)
Martin Mudry (Jr., University
Matt Wegmann (Sr., North
Oaks, Minn. / Mounds View)
Martin Stenman Anderson (So., Uppsala, Sweden)
|Macalester Championships Preview|
Macalester was ninth at last year’s conference indoor meet has enough potential point-scorers to move up in the standings at this year’s meet at Collegeville under 15th-year head coach Martin Peper. The team’s top returning finisher from last winter’s championships is Martin Stenman Andersson (So., Uppsala, Sweden / IT Gymnasiet Uppsala), who was fourth in the heptathlon.
All-MIAC cross country performer Martin Mudry (Jr., University Heights, Ohio) heads the team’s long-distance runners, along with Matt Wegmann (Sr., North Oaks, Minn. / Mounds View), who was fifth last year in the 3K. Mudry won the 5K at the St. Cloud State Open. The Scots should be represented strongly in the middle distances by veterans Tyson Morgan (Jr., Lewiston, Me.), Josh Springer (Sr., Portland, Ore. / Cleveland) and Will Kennedy (Sr., San Anselmo, Calif. /Branson School). Morgan won the 1000-meter run at Carleton’s Meet of the Hearts.
Andrew Yokom (Jr., Arden Hills, Minn. / Mounds View) reached the 400-meter hurdle finals at last spring’s NCAA Division III championships and is a top contender in the indoor sprints, along with teammate Kevin Williams (Jr.,Jamaica). Two-time MIAC outdoor javelin champion Evan Mitchell (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn. / South) doesn’t have his specialty event indoors, but could still score points in the weight throw shot put. Alex Rosselli (So., Columbus, Ind. / North) is a contender to make the finals in the 55-meter high hurdles.
Coach: Tim Miles (29th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 2nd
|Saint John's Athletes to Watch|
Erichsen (Sr., Spring Valley, Minn./Kingsland)
|Saint John's Championships Preview|
After an impressive finish to the 2007 season, the 2008 Saint John’s University track and field team is poised to make another championship run.
The Johnnies finished 2007 with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships and their fourth MIAC outdoor championship in 11 years.
The Johnnies return four All-Americans, including the 2007 MIAC Men’s Outstanding Track Athlete of the Year and U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association Central Region Track Athlete of the Year senior Chris Erichsen (Spring Valley, Minn./Kingsland). Erichsen earned All-America honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (second) and 5,000-meter run (fourth) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and earned All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Prior to the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Erichsen earned the MIAC titles in both the 1,500- and 5,000-meter runs.
Senior Mike Leither (St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) returns as the leading hurdler for SJU after taking the title in the 400-meter hurdles at the MIAC Championships and finishing runner-up at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors last season.
The Johnnie jumpers are led by senior Erik Diley (Prescott, Wis.) and junior Eric Buss (Coon Rapids, Minn.). At the 2007 MIAC Championships, Diley took first in the long jump and second in the triple jump, while Buss finished first in the triple jump and second in the high jump. At the national meet, Diley earned All-American honors with a fifth-place finish in the long jump and Buss earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the triple jump.
Senior Kelly Fermoyle (Mendota Heights, Minn./Henry Sibley), junior Mitch Gesell (Alexandria, Minn.) and senior Darren Larson (Alexandria, Minn.) will add strength to the distance events. All three runners earned All-Conference honors at the 2007 MIAC Championships after Fermoyle finished first in the 10,000- and second in the 5000-meter run, Gesell finished third in the 800-meter run and Larson finished sixth in the 1500-meter run.
SJU will also be bolstered by a number of returning All-MIAC performers in the field events from a year ago. Senior Justin Wilkes (Sartell, Minn./Sartell-St. Stephen) finished second in the javelin, while juniors Nick Gunderson (Woodbury,Minn.) and Brayden Wagner (Englevale, N.D./Lisbon) finished fourth in the discus and pole vault, respectively.
The Johnnies will need to replace two key athletes from last year’s team, Jeff Doll and Matt Mogensen. Doll claimed the MIAC crown in the decathlon and was a member of the MIAC-champion 4x400-meter relay team, while Mogensen finished third in the MIAC decathlon.
Tim Miles, a 1976 graduate of Saint John’s, enters his 29th season as head coach of the Johnnies in 2008. Miles won MIAC Coach of the Year honors in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and has successfully coached his teams to the top two spots in the MIAC in 19 of the last 28 seasons. Of those finishes, SJU has won MIAC Outdoor Championships in 1997, 1999, 2005 and 2007.
Coach: Shawn McMahon (1st season)
2007 Championships Finish: 10th
|Saint Mary's Athletes to Watch|
Fisette (Jr., Elmhurst, Ill.)
|Saint Mary's Championships Preview|
Shawn McMahon understands college athletics — every
year, there’s turnover, veteran athletes graduate, and new
faces enter the picture to take their place.
Coach: Bill Thornton (38th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 7th
|St. Olaf Athletes to Watch|
|St. Olaf Championships Preview|
The St. Olaf men’s track and field team will look to two NCAA provisional qualifiers and distance and mid-distance depth at this years’ MIAC meet. In the sprinting events this season, the Dan Monroe has led the Oles in the 200m and 400m dashes. Zach Dahl and first-years Adrian Hawkins and Isaac Tut have also contributed, with Hawkins in the top-ten of the MIAC honor roll. In mid-distance, the trio Dan Varley, David Green, and Cullen O’Neill are strong. Varley could contribute in the 600 or 800m, while Green and O’Neill both rank in the MIAC top-five in the 800 and 100m runs. Adding more depth to the Oles is first-year Doboul Ruon, who has had strong performances in both the 1000m run and the mile this year.
St. Olaf’s distance team is particularly strong with the contributions of senior David Swanson, whose 5K time of 14:49.66 at the St. John’s Quadrangular qualifies provisionally for the NCAA meet. Swanson has also run a St. Olaf best time in the 3K this season, while teammates Green, Ruon, and first-year Jonathan Lambert have all contributed. In addition to Swanson, Ruon and Jake Marotz, a sophomore, are also considerations in the 5K.
Finally, in the field, John Schantzen, Bobby Anderson, and Ryan Doyle are the Oles to watch. Schantzen, who leads the MIAC in the shot-put, is also a provisional qualifier for the NCAA meet in the event, throwing 15.92m.
Schantzen is the teams’ leading man in the weight throw as well, where teammate Zeke Heydenreich could also contribute. Anderson, a senior, has performed consistently well in the triple jump, where he ranks in the MIAC top-five. Rounding out the Oles’ fielders is high-jumper Ryan Doyle, a junior. Doyle leads the MIAC with a jump of 1.98m, and could also be the teams’ go-to man in the 55m hurdles.
Coach: Steve Mathre (13th season)
2007 Championships Finish: 1st
|St. Thomas Athletes to Watch|
Neil Atzinger (Sr.)
Matt Boumeester (Jr.)
James Ewer (Jr.)
Derek Marks (Sr.)
P.J. Theisen (Sr.)
|St. Thomas Championships Preview|
St. Thomas has won the MIAC men's indoor team championship all 23 seasons it has been held. The 23 consecutive team titles is the longest team championship streak in MIAC history. In their 23-year streak, the Toms' average winning margin is 87 points. They've won by 30 or more points and scored at least 179 points in 21 of the 23 championships.
The Toms have also captured the MIAC outdoor team title 21 of the last 25 seasons.
The 2008 Tommies have a conference-best 10 automatic or provisional qualifiers thus far and are ranked in the top 10 nationally in Division III power rankings.
In MIAC season bests, the Toms are ranked first in 11 events, second in six, third in six, and fourth in five. On the national D-III season performance list, junior James Ewer is ranked fifth in the long jump (23-6 3/4) and sixth in the 55 dash (6.37); junior Brian Sames is ranked fourth in the 800 (1:53.38); Derek Marks is ranked 11th in the weight throw (56-5 1/4); the Toms' 4x400 relay is ranked fifth in 3:18.95 with Phil Bastron, Joe DeFrance, Ewer and P.J. Theisen; and the UST distance-medley relay ranks eighth in 10:03 with Matt Boumeester, Theisen, Sames and Neil Atzinger.
In six career MIAC championship meets (indoor/outdoor), Theisen has scored 163 individual points and contributed to 48 relay points -- an average of 27 individual and eight relay points per competition. He has 23 career top-five MIAC meet finishes (12 relay or individuals victories). He missed 2007 with an injury, but in the 2006 conference indoor meet Theisen scored an unprecedented 46 individual points and had a hand in five victories, including the long jump and triple jump.
Three other 2007 relay All-Americans will help the sprints -- Bastron, Chris Bradford and Sam Moen.
At the 2007 MIAC Indoor meet, St. Thomas got victories from seven different athletes and scored in 17 of 20 events to compile 205 points and pull away from closest pursuers St. John's (124) and Hamline (104) in the 11-team field.