ST. PAUL, Minn. — The 2012 outdoor track and field season has been an outstanding one in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), and this weekend, the league’s top performers will represent the MIAC on the sport’s biggest stage – the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championships – with national championships and All-American honors within reach for many of the league’s representatives.
In all, the MIAC has 39 entries in the D-III national meet, which is the seventh-most among all conference in the nation. There are 24 women’s entries, which ranks sixth in Division III, and 15 men’s entries, which ranks ninth. The University of St. Thomas leads the way with 10 total entries, and Hamline is right behind with nine quality entrants.
Out of the 24 women’s entries from the MIAC, 13 are seeded in the top 10, led by a pair of top-three seeds and two multi-event athletes. Concordia’s Kaari Jensen is seeded second in the heptathlon (4,829) after breaking the MIAC meet record this spring, and Augsburg sprinter Ashley Carney is third in the 100-meter dash (11.89).
Bethel’s Ashley Magelssen will compete in three events at nationals, as she’s seeded sixth in the 200-meter dash (24.41), eighth in the 100 (11.98) and the anchor of Bethel’s 4×400-meter relay team (14th, 3:51.12). Meanwhile, Hamline’s Becky Culp leads a strong contingent of Piper throwers, seeded 10th in the discus (44.65 meters) and 20th in the shot put (13.25 meters). Joining Culp are teammates Brenna Coyle (10th, 52.79 meters) and Shawny Kramer (11th (52.71 meters) in the hammer throw.
Conference-champion St. Thomas led the women’s teams with six entries, led by the 4×100-meter relay team (47.04), which is seeded fifth. The Tommies are also the No. 9 seed in the 4×400. Amy Mass is seeded seventh in the disc (44.94 meters), Taylor Berg is ninth in the 1,500-meter run (4:32.28) and Christina Rozeske is 10th in the 100 (12.00) to give UST five top-10 seeds. Larissa Peyton is also seeded 18th in the 800-meter run (2:11.66).
Jensen headlines a strong Concordia group in the field events as well, as the Cobbers have five headed to nationals, with four in the field events. In addition to her No. 2 seed in the multi-event competition, Chelsea Klemetson is seeded 17th in the high jump (1.68 meters), Megan Hoffman (400-meter hurdles, 1:02.53) and Hillary Birchem (discus, 43.53 meters) are both seeded 20th in their events, and Hillary Thompson is the No. 2 seed in the triple jump (11.75 meters).
The women’s 10,000-meter run will be one of the events MIAC fans will be most interested in with three entries, to equal the 100 and shot put. Carleton senior star Simone Childs-Walker is seeded fourth in the 10K (35:40.87) with St. Olaf’s Emma Lee at No. 11 (36:07.61) and Knights’ teammate Alison Smyth at No. 20 (36:19.47). Gustavus’ Allyson Voss is seeded 10th in the pole vault (3.77 meters) and Saint Benedict’s Julia Renner is 17th in the long jump (5.70 meters)
On the men’s side, seven of the 15 entries are in the top five, led by a one previous NCAA champion and a pair of Hamline distance stars. Mike Hutton from St. Thomas will try to capture his second 800-meter dash title of 2012 after winning the indoor title in March. Hutton is seeded second with a time of 1:49.45.
Meanwhile, Hamline’s Devin Monson and Jack Deichert are give the Pipers a top-six entry in three different events. Monson is No. 4 in the 10,000-meter run (14:12.57) and the 5,000-meter run (14:12.57), while Deichert is sixth in the 1,500-meter run (3:49.56) and 13th to join Monson in the 5K field (14:26.99). Thrower Brennan McKeag also will represent Hamline at nationals, seeded 11th in the hammer throw (58.19 meters).
In addition to Hutton, MIAC champion St. Thomas has three other entries, led by St. Thomas’ Eyo Ekpo, who is third in the high jump at 2.10 meters. The 2011 Division III cross country national champ, Ben Sathre, will join Monson and Deichert as the No. 6 seed in the 5K (14:17.20) and Maxwell Dunne is seeded 19th for the Tommies in the decathlon (6,201).
Gustavus has a pair of men’s entries, with MIAC record holder Josh Owens seeded fifth in the pole vault (5.05 meters) and Steve Goskreutz seeded 20th in the 400-meter hurdles (53.41). Bethel also has two headed to nationals, with Zach Haskins seeded 16th in the 1,500 (3:51.27) and Matt Schafer 19th in the 800. (1:51.94).
St. Olaf’s Brian Saksa is seeded 14th in the 5K (3:51.03) to give the MIAC three entries apiece in the 1,500 and 5K, and Carleton’s Marcus Huderle will represent the Knights as the No. 18 seed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:06.87).
For each men’s event, the top 20 declared student-athletes were selected for the field, with the top 22 women receiving the invite to nationals in each individual event. The top 16 relays were also accepted into the competition. The championships will be held May 24-26 at Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, Calif.