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ORU Men and Women Tabbed Fourth in Preseason Outdoor Poll

Courtesy: Summit League Media Relations
          Release: 03/16/2011
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ELMHURST, Ill. - North Dakota State men's and women's outdoor track and field teams were tabbed as the preseason favorites to repeat as champions as voted on by the league's head coaches.  The NDSU men, the defending champion, led the poll with 36 points and six first-place votes, while the women, three-time defending champion, tallied 49 points and six first-place votes.

In the men's poll, South Dakota State finished second with 30 points and one first-place vote. Only two points a part, Southern Utah was picked third (25) and Oral Roberts (23) fourth.  Rounding out the poll were UMKC (16), Western Illinois (9) and Oakland (8).

On the women's side, Southern Utah was voted second with 41 points and one first-place vote, while South Dakota State (35) finished third only one point ahead of Oral Roberts (34) in fourth.  In another close finish were UMKC (21), Oakland (19) and Western Illinois (18) in fifth, sixth and seventh.  IPFW rounded out the poll with seven points.

NDSU men's head coach Don Larson, reigning Coach of the Year, and the Bison look to defend their league title returning a league-high 13-of-14 All-League selections, including two individual event champions.  Leading the way are 800 meter champion and All-League honoree, Eric Stroh and decathlon champion and All-League selection, Weston Leutz.  Other All-League members returning are Lee Dhein, Jason Duchscherer, Traviz Fitzke, Jeramy Geditz, Kevin Jackson, Andrew Lillejord, Casey Orgon, Ted Rud, Doug Scott, Sam Soholt and Tom Wagner.

After a third-place finish at last year's championship, the Jackrabbits welcome back all seven of their All-League selections from a year ago and four event champions.  SDSU is led by Luke Leischner (400 meter champion and All-League selection), Greg Beesley (3,000 Steeple champion), Jared Vlastuin (long jump champion) and Sean Burns (hammer throw champion and All-League member).  Other All-League honorees returning are Jared Foote, Dustin Gibbons, Marshal Kambestad, Michael Krsnak and Jake Schneller.

Despite losing Carlos Valle, the 2010 Field Championship MVP and Field Athlete of the Year, Southern Utah returns eight-of-13 All-League members in Dallas Eborn, Jared Finn, Kyle Kopp, Kodai Kusano, Adam McInelly, Wade Nielson, Hector Perez and Kevin Sandall.

The Golden Eagles are led by the 2010 Track Athlete of the Year, Marvin Bonde, who was an All-League selection and the 100 meter and 200 meter champion last year.  Oral Roberts also looks to event champions and All-League honorees Fredrick Brown (triple jump) and Jack Whitt (pole vault).  Six other All-League selections return for ORU in Clive Chafausipo, Dustin Gehrke, Jeffery Gibson, Jonah Lagat, Joel Miller and Jeramy Roberts.

UMKC is led by its three returning All-League selections Max Carroll, D.C. Okonta and Kevin Venerable, while Western Illinois and Oakland each welcome back two All-League members.  The Leathernecks return Jason Crisman and Paul Hames and the Golden Grizzlies are led by Pat Cassady and Tony Shafer.

NDSU's women's head coach Ryun Godfrey, the three-time reigning Coach of the Year, and the Bison look for their fourth-straight league title as they return a league-high 10-of-17 All-League selections and seven event champions.  Leading the Bison are All-League selections and event champions Whitney Carlson (100 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles and long jump), Christine Schmaltz (800 meters), Kristen Killoran (triple jump), Toni Tollefson (high jump) and Leslie Brost (pole vault).  The other All-League members returning are Emily Black, Amy Marquardt, Jennifer Nagberi, Brittany Page and Ashley Tingelstad.

Despite losing Sharla Manuele, the 2010 Track Championship MVP and the 1,500 meter and 5,000 meter champion, the Thunderbirds welcome back four-of-nine All-League selections.  Leading the way for Southern Utah are Chelsey Allen, Christina Day, Amber Madril and Shaye Maurer.

The Jackrabbits return two All-League selections and an event champion from a year ago.  Leading the squad are All-League honorees Rachael Hakk and Michelle Schuch and reigning 400 meter champion Ashley Tinglestad.

Oral Roberts is led by Cornesha Wilkerson, the 2010 Newcomer of the Championship and the reigning 100 meter and 200 meter champion.  The Golden Eagles return six other All-League members in Miesha Dinkins, Whitney Mills, Sheilah Ndasym, Camila Pirelli, LaTanya Short and TK Whitfield.

UMKC returns Sakia Taylor, who ranked in the league's top 10 in the 400 meters last year, while Oakland is led by All-League honoree Kelsey Carmean.

Western Illinois welcomes back All-League member Amy Byers and IPFW is led by returnees Becca Selner, Katy Moore, Courtney Bowen and Sara Branam who set school records a year ago.

The Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championships are May 12-14 in Sioux Falls, S.D., hosted by South Dakota State University.
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