WINONA, MINN. (MAY 9, 2014) – Three conference titles and three school records highlighted the Cougars first day at the NSIC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Winona, Minnesota on Friday, with the Cougar men sitting in 1st with 55 points and the women in 4th with 31 points. USF notched four NCAA provisional marks in day one as they look to carry that momentum into the final day of competition.
"We had some really solid performances today from every event group," said Director of Track & Field Reid Ehrisman. "We had people really step it up today and I'm really proud of how we came out and competed in this first day."
A 55 point performance by the Cougar men in day one gives them a seven point lead heading into the final day of the championships. Minnesota State sits in second with 48 points, while St. Cloud State (36) and Augustana (31) sit in 3rd and 4th place respectively. On the women's side, USF currently holds 4th place with 31 points with Wayne State leading the field with 45 points. Minnesota Duluth (43.8) and U-Mary (36.3) sit in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
After failing to compete in the NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships due to an injury, Brigitte Gross claimed the Outdoor title with her final NCAA provisional qualifying clearance of 12-2.75 (3.73m). Katlyn Sawtelle (11-3/3.43m) and Samantha Slaubaugh (11-3/3.43m) helped the Cougars scoring efforts as they placed 6th and 7th respectively.
After spending most of the 10k behind the leaders, Matthew Horan used a blazing final 800m to separate himself from the pack and earn his first conference title with his school record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 30:47.20. Billy Brockmueller also placed 7th for the Cougars in the 10,000m Run with his time of 31:37.32.
Jagger Gran claimed the title in the Pole Vault when he cleared the bar at 15-3 (4.65m). Brandon Rogers also earned All-Conference honors with his vault of 14-9 (4.50m) which placed him 3rd overall while Jacob Zebedee added to USF's point total by clearing 14-9 (4.50m), placing him 4th overall.
Kaleb Lindsey-Stevens earned runner-up honors in the Long Jump with his leap of 23-2.5 (7.07m). Lindsey-Stevens also qualified for the 100m Dash finals with his preliminary time of 10.93 and the 200m Dash finals with his preliminary time of 22.10.
Jordon Bents finished 2nd overall in the Shot Put with his final school record and NCAA provisional qualifying toss of 55-4.25 (16.87m). Bents also finished 4th in the Hammer Throw with his launch of 165-11 (50.57m).
In the Shot Put, Marissa Whipple finished 6th overall with her toss of 42-8.75 (13.02m). Whipple also hit a NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the Hammer Throw with her mark of 151-7 (46.20m).
Lindsay Elston used a personal best in the Long Jump to claim 6th place overall with her mark of 18-2.25 (5.54m).
In the 10k, Sierra Harder got the meet off to a good start as she ran a school record time of 37:37.68 in the meet's first race of the day.
The Cougars had two athletes qualify for the finals in the 100m Hurdles as Katlyn Sawtelle (14.79) and Kirsten Townley (14.99) finished in the top eight of the preliminary round. Sawtelle also helped add to the Cougars point total as she finished 7th in the High Jump with her leap of 5-2.25 (1.58m).
Blake Stevenson earned his spot in the 800m finals on Saturday with his prelim time of 1:57.15.
In the 1500m Run prelims, Bobby Brockmueller paved his way into the finals by winning his preliminary heat with a time of 4:00.91.
Haley Kruger qualified for the 800m finals with her preliminary time of 2:18.25.
In the 400m Dash, Kendra Knight clinched her berth into the finals with her prelim time of 57.42.
"I'm hoping that we can build off of what we did today and carry this confidence over to day two," added Ehrisman. "Hopefully we can rally together and scratch and claw for every point we can get in this second day."
The final day will kick off for the Cougars on Saturday with field events beginning at 11 a.m. and track events starting at 1 p.m. at Paul Giel Field in Winona.