Host Tommies aim for 18-straight at Women's Indoor T&F meet

Host Tommies aim for 18-straight at Women's Indoor T&F meet

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2017 MIAC WOMEN'S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 2017 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships begin Thursday at the University of St. Thomas, with the host school aiming to continue an impressive streak of excellence and the rest of the league eyeing outstanding performances and a shot at knocking the Tommies off their perch.

UST and Head Coach Joe Sweeney are seeking an 18th-conseuctive MIAC women's indoor championship, after winning each of the last 17 from 2000 through last spring's impressive victory. The host Tommies – who will welcome teams and fans to their Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex in St. Paul, Minn. – are seeking MIAC title No. 30 in the 33-year history of the meet, with only Concordia interrupting their dominance as the Cobbers won in 1988, 1998 and 1999.

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St. Thomas' last title was definitely impressive, as the Tommies nearly doubled up the rest of the field with 182.4 points at the 2016 MIAC Indoor meet. Saint Benedict finished second, also hitting triple digits with 101.2 points, and Concordia rounded out a strong top three with a score of 92.9. Bethel finished fourth with 78.9 points, and St. Olaf (69.5) edged rival Carleton (63.9) for fifth. Hamline scored 52 to finish seventh, just ahead of Gustavus and its total of 48.5. St. Catherine (29.9) came out just ahead of Augsburg (26) and Macalester (23) for ninth, with Saint Mary's (11) rounding out the standings.

On their home track, the Tommies will again be considered the favorite, with tough, experienced competitors in each discipline. UST will be led by a senior trio – Alex Fossum will lead the team in the distance events, Kayla Janto enters as the top seed in the 800, and talented thrower Allison Mellin leads UST in the field events.

Saint Benedict has tons of talent back, and has performed exceptionally well this fall as the Blazers aim to be the Tommies' top competition again in 2017. Senior runner Allison Kosobud is among the MIAC's best in the middle distance events, versatile junior Megan Sundstrom leads CSB in the multi-events and triple jump, and senior London Stelten aims for her fourth MIAC pole vault title, with two outdoor titles and the 2016 indoor title already in her trophy case.

Concordia is another team coming off a great regular season, as the Cobbers saw senior Emma Peterson break the school high jump record, standout junior Hannah Lundstrom leads the way on the track, and senior Mandy Mercil is back in the throwing events to give Concordia talent across the board. Bethel has enjoyed a breakout season from rookie sprinter Delia Labatt, with top-two seeds in the 200 and 400. Junior distance star Annika Halverosn also returns in the mile, and the Royals are excited about their potential in the relay races as well.

St. Olaf hopes for another top-five finish, with its hopes bolstered by the return of talented junior runners Abby Stets (200, 400) and Jordan Lutz (600, middle distance), with senior Josefine Brekke also back on the track in the mile and middle-distance events. Carleton just missed out on the top five last year, and hopes to rise in the ranks behind the return of standout jumper Damali Britton and senior distance runners Claire Trujillo and Emma Grisanzio.

Hamline has talent back on the field and on the track in 2017, with senior thrower Gabby Koel back in the shot put and weight throw, sophomore Gabrielle Brown looking to carry the Piper torch in the hurdles, and junior Izzy Shafer leading in the running events. Gustavus is looking to improve behind a breakout season for sophomore sprinter Kayal Stowell, senior Sadie Novak-Klug leads in the middle-distance events, and rookie Siri Olson leads the way for the Gusties in the throwing events.

St. Catherine's high hopes start with star senior sprinter Shakeela Wells-Johnson, as the All-Region and All-MIAC sprinter looks to finish strong. Fellow seniors Megan Pholmann and Katelyn Byers-Carter give the Wildcats additional optimism in the throwing events. Augsburg's runners look strong, with senior sprinter Callie Jones back, along with distance expert Taybri Irving, who won the MIAC cross country title in October. Fellow senior Kali Kuusisto gives the Auggies experience in the throwing events as well.

Macalester hopes for an improved performance behind some decorated upperclassmen, led by star All-American distance runner Kimber Meyer and All-MIAC sprinter Hannah Sonsalla. Senior Anik Regan also looks for conference glory after breaking the school pole vault record. Saint Mary's also has plenty of athletes to watch, led by All-MIAC pole vault specialist Maria Missurelli, who holds the indoor and outdoor school records. Sophomore Becca Dup long-jumped her way into the Cardinal record books and is the team's top sprinter, and junior Natalie King leads the Saint Mary's throwers into the conference meet.
The 2017 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships begin Thursday with the multi-event competitions. The women's pentathlon starts at 2 p.m. with the men's heptathlon beginning 20 minutes later. The heptathlon finishes up Friday morning at 10 a.m., with Friday's field events set to start at 4 p.m. and track to follow at 4:30 p.m. Saturday's final session starts with 10:15 a.m. field events and 1 p.m. track events.

Saturday's final event begins at 4:05 p.m., and there will be a short awards ceremony following the conclusion of the meet to honor both team champions. The top three individuals in each event and the first-place relay team will automatically earn All-Conference honors, and the 4th-through-6th place finishers in each open event and 2nd-through-6th place relay teams will all be named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

The MIAC has a home page dedicated to the 2017 Indoor Championships, complete with venue and admission information, the event schedule, and it will be updated with entries, heat sheets and links to follow the results live as they become available. Results, recaps, and multimedia coverage of the championships will be available throughout the event. There will be live results available for all events, and fans can also find entries and heat sheets on the MIAC's event page as they become available. Also, connect to the conference on its FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube pages throughout the Championships using the hashtag #MIACITF.

Admission for the event is $8 for adults and $3 for students per day, with children ages 5 and under admitted free. MIAC passes will be honored. The MIAC would like to thank the University of St. Thomas coaches and staff for their efforts to host the event.


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AUGSBURG  | Auggies' women's track and field home page | 

Head Coach
• Emily Hackert (2nd year)

A Year Ago
• 10th place | 26 points
 
Athletes to Watch
• Callie Jones (SR | Ranked No. 6 among MIAC athletes in the 60-meter dash (7.96 seconds) and No. 5 in the long jump (5.18m/17-feet-0); 2015 and 2016 MIAC indoor 60m champion; 6th in 2016 MIAC indoor 200m; USTFCCCA All-Central Region in 60m dash and long jump in 2016.)
• Taybri Irving (SR | Ranked No. 8 in MIAC in the 5,000-meter run (18:45.17); 2016 MIAC cross country individual champion; 2nd in 2016 MIAC indoor 5,000m run)
• Kali Kuusisto (SR | Ranked fourth in the MIAC in the weight throw (14.92/48-feet-11.5); 5th in 2016 MIAC indoor weight throw.)
 
Did You Know?
• Seven Augsburg women's track and field student-athletes earned Academic All-MIAC honors in 2016 -- Emma Blom (indoor/outdoor), Mary Cornelius (indoor/outdoor), Rachel Frantz (indoor), Taybri Irving (indoor/outdoor), Callie Jones (indoor/outdoor), Kali Kuusisto (indoor) and Blair Stewig (indoor/outdoor). 

BETHEL | Royals' women's track and field home page | 

Head coach
• Andrew Rock (5th season)

A Year Ago
• 4th place | 78.9 points

In the 2016 NCAA Championships
• Mollie Gillberg (Graduated), 5,000-meter run, 11th place  

Athletes to Watch
• Delia Labatt (Fr. | MIAC #1 400m, MIAC #2 200m, NCAA #5 400m)
• Annika Halverson (Jr. | MIAC #2 Mile, MIAC #2 1,000m)
• 4x200m relay (MIAC #1, Delia Labatt, AddieKay Johnson, Jill Krier, Hanna Frekot)

Did You Know?
• The 42 women on the Royals' roster come from nine different states (Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas).

CARLETON | Knights' women's track and field home page | 

Head coach
• Laura Albares (interim head coach while Donna Ricks is on sabbatical)

A Year Ago
• 6th place | 63.9 points

Athletes to Watch
• Damali Britton (Jr. | All-MIAC in the indoor/outdoor triple jump in 2015 and honorable mention last year; All-MIAC Honorable Mention in indoor and outdoor long jump in 2015; ranks 2nd in the MIAC this season for the triple jump [school-record 11.12m] and is 13th in the long jump [4.93m])
• Claire Trujillo (Sr. | ranked 10th in the MIAC this season for the mile [5:15.09] and 3000m distances [10:34.37])
• Emma Grisanzio (Sr. | Indoor All-American for DMR in 2015; All-MIAC honorable mention eight times in her career)

Did You Know?
• The Carleton College women's track and field team tied for the third-highest team GPA in NCAA Division III at 3.63.

CONCORDIA | Cobbers' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Marv Roeske (22nd season)

A Year Ago
• 3rd place | 92.9 points

Athletes to Watch
• Hannah Lundstrom (Jr. | Won the 200 and 400 meters and was third in the 55 meters at the 2016 MIAC Indoor Meet; ranked fifth in the 200 meters heading into this year's meet)
• Mandy Mercil (Sr. | Finished third in the shot put and ninth in the weight throw at last year's MIAC Meet; ranked third in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw heading into this year's meet)
• Emma Peterson (Sr. | Broke the school record in the high jump at the Bison Open; won the high jump and was third in the triple jump at the 2016 MIAC Indoor Meet; ranked first in the high jump and first in the triple jump heading into this year's meet)

Did You Know?
• Concordia has three sets of sisters (Kara and Marissa Anderson, Mikayla and Miriah Forness and Colleen and Elizabeth Vought) on this year's roster.  

GUSTAVUS | Gusties' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Dale Bahr (Eighth season)

A Year Ago
• 8th place | 48.5 points

In the 2016 NCAA Championships
• Sarah Swanson took 17th place in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Swanson posted a mark of 40-0.75 on her third toss after fouling on both the first and second throws. 

Athletes to Watch
• Kayla Stowell (So. | First on the MIAC Performance list in the 60 with a time of 7.88 and 16th in the 200 at 27.23)
• Sadie Novak-Klug (Sr. | Ninth on the MIAC Performance list in the 1000 with a time of 3:06.93 and 13th in the mile at 5:19.52)
• Siri Olson (Fy. | Ninth on the MIAC Performance list in the shot put with a throw of 35-6.5)

Did You Know?
• The Gustie women will rely mostly on underclassmen to gain points at the MIAC meet with 18 first-years and 12 sophomores on the roster.

HAMLINE l Pipers' women's track and field home page l

Head coach
• Shawn Johnson-Hipp (21st season)

A Year Ago
• 7th place | 52 points

In the 2016 NCAA Championships
• Carolyn Saulsberry 8.87 seconds in 60 Meters at NCAA D-III meet -- missed finals by .04

Athletes to Watch
• Gabby Koel (Sr., 2nd in MIAC in Shot Put and ninth in Weight Throw)
• Gabrielle Brown (So., top time among all MIACers in 60 Hurdles )
• Izzy Shafer (Jr., 400 Meters -- sixth best time in MIAC)

Did You Know?
• The women have finished first in three meets in the indoor season.

MACALESTER | Scots' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Margaret Gehring (3rd season)

A Year Ago
• 11th place | 23 points

Athletes to Watch
• Kimber Meyer (SR | All-American in indoor, outdoor, cross country; 2nd on MIAC list for 3000m and 5000m)
• Hannah Sonsalla (JR | School record holder in 400m; 2-time All-MIAC indoors)
• Anik Regan (SR | School-record holder in PV and 4x400; first Mac woman over 10 feet in PV)

Did You Know?
• Macalester's 4x400 relay team broke the school record with a time of 4:00.97 at the St. Thomas Showcase on Feb. 10. The time leads the MIAC and is 30th nationally.

SAINT BENEDICT | Blazers women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Robin Balder-Lanoue (18th season)

A Year Ago
• 2nd place | 101.2 points

Athletes to Watch
• Allison Kosobud (Sr. | All-MIAC in 1K, Honorable Mention in 800 as junior)
• Megan Sundstrom (Jr. | All-MIAC in pent, honorable mention in triple jump, 400 as sophomore)
• London Stelten (Sr. | Three-time pole vault champ (2015 and 2016 outdoor, 2016 indoor)

Did You Know?
• Last year's MIAC Indoor Championships marked the third top-three finish in the last four seasons for CSB, and marked just the third time in school history CSB has scored 100 or more points at the conference indoor meet.

ST. CATHERINE | Wildcats' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Shannon Houlihan (6th season)

A Year Ago
• 9th place | 29.9 points

Athletes to Watch
• Shakeela Wells-Johnson (Sr. | 2x All-MIAC in 60 meter dash (2014, 2015), All-MIAC in 60 meter hurdles 2016, USTFCCCA All-Region 60 meter hurdles 2016; All-MIAC Honorable mention in 4x200 meter relay in 2014; school record holder in 60 meter dash (7.80), 60 meter hurdles (9.09) and 200 meter dash (26.51); No. 2 time in the MIAC in 60 meter dash (7.89), No. 4 in 60 meter hurdles (9.37))
• Megan Pohlmann (Sr. | Ranks No. 5 in the MIAC in weight throw this season (14.47m); No. 2 all-time in St. Kate's history in weight throw (14.47m))
• Katelyn Byers-Carter (Sr. | Ranks No. 5 in MIAC in shot put (11.75m), T-20 in weight throw (12.52m); No. 5 all-time in St. Kate's history in shot put (11.75M))

Did You Know?
• St. Kate's Cross Country team received the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA)2015  All-Academic Team honor earlier this winter for their academic success throughout the cross country season. The team ended the season with a cumulative 3.56 GPA, and several of those cross country runners are on the track and field team. 

SAINT MARY'S | Cardinals' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Niels Anderson (4th season)

A Year Ago
• 12th place 11 points

Athletes to Watch
• Maria Missurelli (Junior | First-Team All-MIAC in indoor and outdoor pole vault in 2016 … First-Team All-MIAC in outdoor pole vault and honorable-mention All-MIAC in indoor pole vault in 2015. … Set school record in both indoor and outdoor pole vault in 2016, clearing 3.35m (indoor) and 3.49m outdoor) … Top vault of 3.15m in 2017 ranks fourth in MIAC)
• Becca Dup (Sophomore | 2016 honorable-mention All-MIAC in the long jump … Broke school's long jump record for the second year in a row with leap of 5.53m … Long jump mark of 5.53m is tops in the MIAC. … Has also been the team's top sprinter all season, with her 8.19 in the 60 ranking 15th in the MIAC)
• Natalie King (Junior | Has been the team's top weight thrower all season and currently ranks sixth MIAC with throw of 14.36 meters)

Did You Know?
• Maria Missurelli has placed second in each of the last three MIAC pole vault competitions—the 2016 Indoor and outdoor MIAC Championships, and the 2015 outdoor championships.

ST. OLAF | Oles' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Katie Bretscher (2nd season)

A Year Ago
• 5th place | 69.5 points

Athletes to Watch
• Abby Stets (Junior | 4th in the 200 meter dash and 3rd in the 400 meter dash at the 2016 MIAC Indoor Championships… Has run 58.93 and 26.44 for the 400 and 200 this season respectively.)
• Jordan Lutz (Junior | This season, has run 1:40.60 for the 600, and has been the top mid-distance runner for the Oles this season.)
• Josefine Brekke (Senior | 10th in the MIAC mile last spring… Has run 5:17.56 for the mile and 3:07.66 for the 1,000 in the 2017 season.)

Did You Know?
• The St. Olaf team hosts an annual indoor marathon called the Zoom-Yah-Yah for the community.

ST. THOMAS | Tommies' women's track and field home page |

Head coach
• Joe Sweeney (37th season)

A Year Ago
• MIAC Champions | 182.4 points

In the 2016 NCAA Championships
• Team 7th indoor nationals (won NCAA mile, DM Relay)

Athletes to Watch
• Alex Fossum (Sr., | 3rd MIAC CC; mile, 3,000 and 5,000
• Kayla Janto (Sr. | 7th MIAC CC; seeded first in MIAC and 10th in D-III in 800;
• Allison Mellin (Sr. | Weight throw, 2016 MIAC runner-up; seeded first in MIAC and 33rd in D-III in 2017; 2016 MIAC outdoor hammer champ)

Did You Know?
• The Tommie women are seeded first in the MIAC in seven events (25 top-5 seeds) as they seek the program's 18th consecutive team crown

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