ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The MIAC Indoor Track and Field
Championships will be held in St. Paul for the second-straight
year, with the 2012 event taking place at the Leonard Center on the
Macalester College campus. The conference meet starts Thursday with
the multi-event competitions and the rest of the action will be
spread out over Friday and Saturday.
Another St. Paul school, St. Thomas, has won every single MIAC Men's Indoor Track and Field Championship, a streak that reached 27 in all last year when the Tommies hosted the event across town. However, UST beat Hamline in a memorable back-and-forth battle to win the 2011 title by just eight points, 166 to 158. Gustavus (75.5) was third a year ago, with Saint John's and St. Olaf tying for fourth with 72 points apiece.
Bethel finished sixth in 2011 with a total of 68.3 with Augsburg (58) just behind in seventh and Concordia (55.5) in eighth place. Carleton (31.8), Saint Mary's (19) and Macalester (four) rounded out the final three spots in the field a year ago.
It would appear that the Tommies are the favorites to win consecutive title No. 28 this weekend, led by a trio of stars who have been among the top performers at the few MIAC Championships. Mike Hutton, Ben Sathre and Eyo Epko have each won at least two individual event conference titles, and all three are poised to add to their illustrious careers this weekend at Macalester. Hutton and Epko were named the Outstanding Men's Track and Field Athletes of the meet, respectively, a year ago.
Hutton is the defending champion and seeded first in both the 600- and 800-meter runs and he's also seeded first and the 2010 champ in the 1,000-yard run. Sathre - the 2011 Division III cross country national champion - is the top seed and defending champion in both the 3,000- and 5,000-yard meter runs, and Epko enters looking for his third-straight title in the triple jump. He's seeded first in both the triple and the high jump heading into the meet.
In addition, UST has the top seed in the heptathlon, as Gavin Yseth is looking to capture the multi-event title after finishing as the runner-up a year ago. Cody Jerabek also boosts the Tommies' title hopes as the top seed in the 55-meter dash.
The Gustavus men hope for another top-three finish with Blair Riegel and Josh Owens bolstering the Gusties' hopes. Riegel had a pair of top-three individual finishes a year ago, and looks for an even better showing this year as the top seed in the 200-meter dash and the long jump. Meanwhile, Owens set an all-time MIAC record in the pole vault last weekend, clearing 5.00 meters (16-04.75 feet), and if he wants to claim the conference title, he'll have to knock off two-time defending champ Shaise Schuette of Hamline.
Speaking of the Pipers, they return a strong team yet again and certainly could give the Tommies another battle throughout the weekend. In addition to Schuette, the Pipers have big hopes for thrower Brennan McKeag, who is the top-ranked competitor in both the shot put and the weight throw thus far in 2012.
Bethel brings a pair of top-seeded individuals and a No. 1-ranked relay into the conference championships. Jordon Spronk is seeded first in the 400-meter run and Mark Rice is ranked No. 1 in the 60-meter hurdles, while the Royals 4x400-meter relay team also enters with the MIAC's best time this season.
St. Olaf distance runner Brian Saksa was third in the mile a year ago, and this season he'll look to move up to the top spot as the No. 1- seeded runner in the event. St. Olaf also has the top-seeded team in the distance medley relay team. Augsburg's 4x200-meter relay team, which set a school record last weekend, will enter as the favorite in that event.
The conference has set up a home page for the 2012 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with complete information and links about the event, including links to live scoring that will be updated as the meet progresses each day. Webcast America is also filming the event for the MIAC, and on-demand video will be available shortly following the meet on Webcast's America's site.
Thursday's women's pentathlon final and men's first day of heptathlon events starts at 2 p.m. The men's heptathlon finished Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., with Friday's field events starting at 3:30 p.m. and track events beginning at 5:15 p.m. Saturday's field events start at 11:30 a.m. with track events starting at 2 p.m. Saturday's final event begins at 5:15 p.m., and there will be a short awards ceremony following the conclusion of the meet to honor the team champions.
Admission for the event is $7 for adults and $3 for students per day, with children ages 5 and under admitted free. MIAC passes will be honored. Macalester is offering free parking for spectators in the Leonard Center lot and other campus lots, with street parking available near the facility as well. Visit Macalester's event page for complete details.
2011 Championship Finish: 7th (58 points)
|Augsburg Championship Preview|
Coming off of a seventh-place team finish at last year’s conference meet, the Augsburg College men's track and field team enters the 2012 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships looking to build on the program's recent success. The conference meet will be held this weekend at Macalester College.
Leading the Auggies at the championship meet this season will be sprinter Rick Wolke (SR, Belle Plaine, Minn.). A 2010 NCAA outdoor championships qualifier, Wolke has been a dominant force on the indoor scene this season, as he has collected two first-place finishes and one MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week award. Wolke currently owns three top-six times in the conference this season, as he is ranked second in the 200-meter dash (22.54 seconds), third in the 60-meter dash (7.02 seconds), and sixth in the 400-meter dash (51.15 seconds).
Another Augsburg veteran who will look to pad the Auggie point total at this year’s championship is sprinter Joe Arnold (SR, Grand Rapids, Minn.). A fifth-place finisher at the MIAC Championships a season ago, Arnold is currently ranked 10th in the conference with a time of 51.44 seconds in the 400-meter dash. Arnold will also compete in the 600-meter run, where he currently holds the eighth-best time in the conference (1:24.10).
In the distances races, Micheale Tesema (SO, Burnsville, Minn.) will compete in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs. Tesema recently clocked a season-best time of 8:55.65 to finish in first place in the 3,000 at the St. Olaf College Tostrud Invitational. Tesema’s season-best time of 15:40.92 in the 5,000 currently ranks eighth in the MIAC this season.
In the field events, the Augsburg high jumping duo of Mike Harley (FY, Sugar Hill, Ga./Stillwater (Minn.) HS) and John Spray (FY, Mount Dora, Fla./Mount Dora Bible HS) will look to continue their specatular first-year campaigns. Harley and Spray each burst onto the indoor scene for the Auggies this season, as each student-athlete broke the school record during their first competition of the season at the Warren Bowlus Invitational to earn MIAC Co-Athlete of the Week honors. Harley broke the record a second time two weeks ago at the St. Olaf Tosturd Invitational, as he recorded a height of 1.90 meters (6-feet-2.75). Harley will enter the conference meet ranked fourth in the high jump, while Spray is just behind him, ranked sixth with a height of 1.89 meters (6-feet-2.25).
Another first-year member of the Augsburg team who will be looking to make his mark at the conference meet is Dan Wolfson (FY, Edina, Minn.) Wolfson is currently ranked eighth in the conference with a distance of 6.34 meters (20-feet-9.75) in the long jump. In addition to competing in the long jump, Wolfson will also look to make his mark in the 60-meter dash, where he recorded a season-best time of 7.32 seconds at the Bethel Indoor Invitational on Feb. 4
Other notable Augsburg participants include sprinters Fabien Dubbe (FY, New Prauge, Minn.) and Alex Obanor (FY, Fischers, Ind./Marian Catholic (Ill.) HS). Dubbe currently holds top-20 times in the 60-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes, while Obanor will look to qualify in the 60-meter dash.
Middle-distance runners Luke Iverson (FY, Maple Grove, Minn.) and Tony Fremling (SR, Brookston, Minn./AlBrook HS) could be factors as well, as Iverson will compete in the 600- and 800-meter runs, while Fremling will look to qualify in the mile run.
In the relays, the Augsburg 1,600-meter relay squad of Dubbe, Arnold, Iverson and Wolke will enter the conference meet with a season-best time of 3:27.04, which is ranked fifth in the conference.
Coach: Jim Timp (7th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 6th (68.3 points)
|Bethel Championship Preview|
Bethel University comes into the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with a plethora of excitement, as several student-athletes have made great strides throughout the early goings of the 2012 campaign. The Royals look to be competitive in a number of different events, as previous competitions have encouraged both runners and field participants of its capabilities amongst its competitors.
Jordon Spronk (Sr., Pipestone, Minn.) has built momentum from last year’s appearance in the NCAA Division III national meet, by decreasing his time in both the 400-meter dash and 4x400 relay. Spronk has smashed the BU record books with his current 400-time of 50.12 that ranks him No. 1 in the conference. The 4x400 relay team composed of Spronk, Anthony Puckett (So., Waconia, Minn.) , Zac Schlegel (Sr., Woodbury, Minn.), and Rob LeMay (Jr., Maplewood, Minn.) clocked a total time of 3:19.2 in the University of Minnesota Snowshoe Open that placed the quartet No. 1 in the conference and No. 5 nationwide.
Matt Schafer (Jr., New Brighton, Minn.) brought down a 12-year record at Bethel University a few weeks ago with his time of 1:54.87 in the 800-meter run. Currently, his sub 1:55 time ranks him among the top 12 in the nation and the No. 2 time in the MIAC.
The 60-meter hurdles has belonged to Mark Rice (So., Maple Grove, Minn.), who continues to improve his time each week. Thus far his 8.61 mark in the event has him at the top of the field heading into the conference competition.
Zach Haskins (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) is coming off a successful bout in the 2011 cross country season, in which he advance to the Division III national meet in Oshkosh, Wis., and has carried the same mentality into the track and field campaign. Haskins has been consistently improving and sits among the top four in the MIAC with his best time in the 1-Mile race being 4:19.64.
Bethel will also look to showcase Bucky Dixon (Jr., Hayward, Wis.), who was a participant in the Division III national meet one year ago. Dixon, who has been battling injuries early in the season, comes into the championship meet with a weight toss of 13.76.
There is no doubt the Royals have much to be excited about heading into the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championship. BU has a great deal of talent and the men’s squad is eager to perform.
Coach: David Ricks (7th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 9th (31.8 points)
|Carleton Championship Preview|
After finishing ninth at last year’s MIAC Indoor Championships, Carleton will look to move up in the team standings at this year’s event.
Bobby Davis (Jr./Eden Prairie, Minn.) holds the second-fastest 5,000-meter run time in the MIAC at 15:23.06 as he seeks to improve on his fifth-place finish in the event at last year’s MIAC Championships. He could be joined in that race by Jacob Hoerger (So./Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill), Kian Flynn (Sr./Otis, Ore./Taft), and Guthrie Cunningham (So./Finland, Minn./East) all of whom rank in the top ten in the conference. Davis, Flynn, and Hoerger also rank among the top 15 at the 3K distance.
Marcus Huderle (So./Eden Prairie, Minn.) owns a top-10 time in both the mile and the 3,000-meter run.
Also posting a fifth-place finish last season was Adrian Carpenter, (So./Menlo Park, Calif.) who will look to score again in the hurdles, following up a first-place result at the Tostrud Invitational.
Rounding out the fifth-place results for Carleton at the last MIAC championships was Dylan Cheever (Jr./Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest) in the high jump. Cheever, Lobo James (So./Redmond, Wash.), and Chris Williams (Fy./Chicago, Ill./Rowe-Clark Academy) could enter into the scoring in the event with solid performances as they currently tie for the eighth seed in the conference.
The Knights hope for strong showings from a number of newcomers as well. Noah Laack-Veeder (Fy./Madison, Wis./LaFollette) holds top-10 times for the 600-, 800-, and 1000-meter distances, while Colby Seyferth (Fy./Banks, Ore./Banks) ranks in the top five in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes and the top 10 at the 400-meter distance. Isaac Schrantz (Fy./Owatonna, Minn.) ranks fourth in the 400-meter dash.
Coach: Garrick Larson (19th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 8th (55.5 points)
|Concordia Championship Preview|
The Concordia-Moorhead men’s indoor track and field team
will be looking to break their streak of eighth-place finishes at
the MIAC Championship Meet. The Cobbers have finished eighth in
five of the last six seasons at the conference meet.
Coach: Dale Bahr (3rd season)
2011 Championship Finish: 3rd (75.5 points)
|Gustavus Championship Preview|
The Gustavus men’s indoor track and field team will look to build on its third place finish from last season at the 2012 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Macalester College in St. Paul on March 2-3.
The Gusties have eight individuals in 11 different events ranked in the top ten on the MIAC performance list heading into the meet. Sophomore Blair Riegel (Lakeville, Minn.) and junior Josh Owens (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) rank first in their respective events. Riegel has posted the top time in the 200-meter dash (22.26) and the longest jump in the long jump (22-5.0 feet). The Lakeville South product isn’t done there, though, as he ranks third in the 60-meter dash (7.01) and second in the triple jump (46-3.25 feet). Owens ranks first in the pole vault and set the MIAC Indoor record, clearing a height of 16-4.75 feet last weekend at Macalester.
Senior Matt Dvorak has been part of a one-two punch in the sprints with Riegel. A Burnsville, Minn. native, Dvorak ranks second in the 60-meter dash (6.97) and sixth in the 200-meter dash (22.93). Junior Phillip Butler also cracks the top ten in the 60-meter with a time of 7.20, while senior Steve Groskreutz ranks third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.64.
In the mid-distance races, Eric Jorgenson has the third best time in the 800-meter run (1:55.27), while sophomore Tanner Davenport ranks 10th with a time of 1:57.54. Jorgenson also ranks fourth in the 600-meter with a time of 1:22.96.
In the field events, sophomore Ryan Obele posted the seventh best throw in the weight throw at 52’ 4.75” and eighth best toss in the shot put at 45’ 11.75”.
The MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships begin on Friday, March 2 with the first competitions at 3:30 p.m.
Coach: Paul Schmaedeke (11th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 2nd (158 points)
|Hamline Championship Preview|
A year ago, Hamline came within an eyelash of ending St. Thomas’ 27-year reign as MIAC Indoor Track and Field Champions, losing out by eight points.
In 2012, the Pipers will send a veteran contingent that a strong field team and a rapidly improving track side in an effort to oivertake the Tommies.
In the Weight Throw, seniors Brennan McKeag and Andrew Schlicting have been sitting 1-2 all year … exactly where they finished in last year’s meet. Both have been MIAC Field Athletes Of The Week.
Mckeag and Joe Morelli also stand 1-2 in conference in the Shot Put going into this meet. They have overshadowed soph Ben Dvorak, who has also been in the Top ten this year.
Shaise Schuette, who was also a MIAC Field AOTW, ranks second in the Pole Vault. (Mark Volker, a freshman, also ranks in the Top Ten.)
But the Pipers are more than just top heavy in the field events. They have some real depth as exhibited by Travis Latzke and Amani Lee, who come into this meet third and fifth respectively in the Triple Jump. Latzke and teammate Derrick Mora also rank in the Top Ten in The Long Jump.
As one would expect (considering their Cross Country pedigree), there is a slew of talented distance runners. Devin Monson has been rated second most of the winter in the 3000 Meter Run. Fellow senior Ellis Richardson has also had a good season and is expected to seriously contend for a top five finish.
Another senior, Jack Deichert, has been terrific in the 1000 Meter Run, coming in with the second best time recorded (2:29.47), two and half seconds off the best time recorded. Deichert also ranks third in the Mile Run but his top time of 4:12.46 is only two seconds off the top time recorded this winter. The talented senior sits fourth in the 800 Meter Run.
In the sprints, Christian Willman has been solidly consistent in the 200 and 400 Meter Dashes. Mora is in the Top 10 for the 60 Meter Dash . A pair of freshmen – Arthur Moore and Eric Hanson – have been consistent contenders in the 55 Meter Hurdles. Moore’s time of 8.05 seconds in a mere .03 away from being the best time noted this year. More has also been solid in the 60 Meter Hurdles, coming in a mere .06 short of the best time of the year.
Coach: Martin Peper (19th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 11th (4 points)
|Macalester Championship Preview|
The Scots are looking to move up this season on their home track after consecutive 11th-place finishes and are hoping that the home-track advantage will help the cause.
Macalester’s top-ranked athlete on the MIAC honor roll is Dan Voss (So., Willmar, Minn.). Going into the final prep for the MIAC’s, Voss is 14th in the mile run and 17th in the 1000-meter run.
Auburn Jimenez (So., East Los Angeles, Calif. / St. John Bosco) will lead the Scot distance runners in the 3-meters. In the sprints and endurance sprints, look for Brent Campbell (Jr., St. Catherine, Jamaica / Glenmuir) in the 60-meter dash and Sebastian Roemer (Fy., Kimberton, Pa. / Kimberton Waldorf) in the 600. Macalester pole vaulters looking to continue their improvement are Mason Kriegel (Fy., Danbury, Wis. / Webster) and Neehar Thanker (Fy., Cerrita, Calif.).
The Scots are looking to get points from their relay teams.
Coach: Tim Miles (33rd season)
2011 Championship Finish: T4th (72 points)
|Saint John's Championship Preview|
Last year’s fourth-place finish at the MIAC Indoor Championships inspired the Johnnies to return to the outdoor season and bring home the conference title. Although the Johnnies graduated some of its talent from last season, they return several of their key student-athletes.
Sophomore Brian Vargason (Owatonna, Minn.) returns after winning the MIAC Indoor title in the shot put with a throw of 15.10 meters. Senior Wade Powers (Hawick, Minn./New London-Spicer) finished third in the shot put last year and currently boasts the fourth-best throw in the MIAC (14.38 meters). He is also ninth in the weight throw, while Vargason is 11th.
Senior Dustin Franta (La Crescent, Minn.) returns after a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters and fourth-place in the 3,000 meters. Franta is currently ranked seventh behind teammate Ruairi Moynihan (Fargo, N.D./South) in the 3,000. Moynihan is also seventh in the mile run with a time of 4:20.65.
Junior Collin Hager (Miltona, Minn./Parkers Prairie) returns after his third-place finish in last year’s 600-yard dash. Senior Logan Schwinghammer (Sartell, Minn./Sartell-St. Stephen) finished fourth in the 55-meter hurdles and is ranked ninth with time of 8.82 seconds this season.
Sophomore Brady O’Brien (Minneapolis, Minn./Holy Angels) also returns to the triple jump pit after placing eighth last year. He has the sixth-best mark with a jump of 12.85 meters.
Coach: Shawn McMahon (5th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 10th (19 points)
|Saint Mary's Championship Preview|
With the graduation two-time All-American Andrew Brueggen and national-qualifier Sara Harstad, center stage — and the spotlight that goes with it — is vacant for the Saint Mary’s University men’s and women’s track and field teams.
For now — and not for long.
“As is the case every year, great athletes leave us,” SMU coach Shawn McMahon said. “And as is the case every year, returning athletes dig in and rise to the top of their own game — and I don’t think this year will be any different.
“When someone re-writes the record books — especially at the MIAC level — you don’t replace them. I think Andrew’s example and his commitment to improve still very much exists among our returning athletes,” McMahon added. “People like Andrew, Brittany Kuehn and Sara Harstad are virtually impossible to replace, but we will be saying that about some of our current athletes once they move on, too.
“We’ve got some real talent ready to step forward.”
And step forward they have.
Peter Borash (Bowlus, Minn.) heads into the MIAC Indoor Championships coming off a school-record performance in the 1,000 at the St. Olaf Ole Qualifier, while Coco Booker (St. Paul, Minn.) and Kassondra Burtis (Fairmont, Minn.) have been among the top throwers in the conference this season. Booker just won the shot put at the Ole Qualifier, while Burtis was fourth in the weight throw and eighth in the shot.
“I’m very encouraged by the potential on both our men’s and women’s teams,” McMahon said. “There’s some real top-end talent on both squads.”
On the men’s side, the Cardinal distance runners are ready to steal the show, according to McMahon.
“A formerly young group, our distance and middle-distance runners have matured and I think those guys should expect to do some damage this year,” said McMahon. “David Feather and Robby McGuire are All-MIAC level competitors that have the experience and talent to get it done, and (juniors) Peter Borash (Bowlus, Minn.) and Jake Traxler (Le Center, Minn.) had great years last year and are coming off real solid cross country seasons.
“The distance squad is possibly the deepest Saint Mary’s has ever had — the work of cross country coach (Ward) Berndt and assistant Brett Ayers is very evident.”
On the women’s side, McMahon expects Burtis and Booker to continue to pick up a bit of the slack left by the graduation of Harstad, while Stephanie Sturges and Regina Quandt lead a talented group of runners.
“Kassondra and Coco had strong off-seasons and are on pace to be All-MIAC caliber performers,” McMahon said. “We’ll be looking for Steph and Regina to provide some points (at the conference championships), while Bethany Schmidt really started coming on last year as a great runner and I expect some good things from her this year.”
Add to that the emergence of distance runners Amy Spitzmueller and Katie Stolz on the women’s side, and Aaron Haley on the men’s side — all three coming off exceptional cross country seasons — and it’s no wonder McMahon is walking around campus with a permanent smile on his face.
“It’s always exciting this time of year,” said McMahon. “The potential is certainly there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for both squads.”
Coach: Phil Lundin (4th season)
2011 Championship Finish: T4th (72 points)
|St. Olaf Championship Preview|
St. Olaf will look to return to the top half of the conference this year and build on its fourth place finish from last season.
The Oles will rely heavily on their middle distance runners. Brian Saksa holds the fastest time in the mile (4:10.37) and fourth fastest in the 1,000 (2:30.39). Tim Erickson, Brian Tomlinson, Reid Gilbertson and Evan Olson also hold top ten seed times in various middle distance events.
In the distance events, the Oles will look to Grant Wintheiser, Tim Lillehaugen, John Christian and Pat Boland, who were all members of the national qualifying cross country team last fall.
Sprinters Reggie Woods, Karl Bourner and Kevin Foss all look to place in the 60 meter dash.
The freshman pair of Aaron Dunphy and Brandon Berger are both seeded in the top ten of the 60 meter hurdles. Berger also holds the fourth best triple jump mark this season.
Cameron Smith holds the fourth best mark in the long jump and JB Tut has the sixth highest jump in the high jump.
John Bennett and Ethan Smith will look to place in the weight throw. They hold the fourth and fifth best marks, respectively.
Coach: Steve Mathre (17th season)
2011 Championship Finish: 1st (166 points)
|St. Thomas Championship Preview|
With three elite athletes leading the way, St. Thomas is ready for another busy weekend at the 2012 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The three-day meet will be held at Macalester, starting Thursday with mullti-events for men and women. The rest of the events will be contested starting at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and on 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The Toms have captured 51 of the last 55 MIAC team championships contested indoors and outdoors since 1983, including all 27 indoor titles contested. St. Thomas men's and women's squads have won 107 all-time MIAC team titles in indoor and outdoor track and field.
Coach Steve Mathre expects his Tommie men to come in hungry and ready to compete. They'll need that focus over 21 events as they battle a 10-team field of competitors led by Hamline.
UST edged the Pipers by just seven points for the 2010 conference indoor crown (163-156), and again by only eight points last winter (166-158). Those are the two closest men’s team finish in the 27-year history of the event.
The Tommies have three elite athletes to build around:
--Senior All-American Mike Hutton is ranked second nationally in the 800 and is seeded first in the MIAC in the 600, 800 and 1000;
--Senior All-American distance runner Ben Sathre, the NCAA cross country national champion last November, is ranked in the top 12 nationally in both the 5,000 and mile.
--Junior All-American Eyo Ekpo is expected to challenge for titles in the long jump, triple jump and high jump; Ekpo is ranked in the top 12 nationally in the high jump and triple jump.
In the MIAC season-best list, St. Thomas has 10 performances ranked first in the MIAC and 10 others ranked second or third.