It's now the weekend in the year for the Sheena Devines, Jennifer Hensels, Shara Guidrys, and Lisa Browns of the world to shine.
National Championships in the small school divisions of the NCAA open today, and those national title winners and a host of other Minnesota hopefuls will compete through Saturday. Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California hosts the Division II meet; UW - Oshkosh is the site of the Division III meet.
Bemidji State's Sheena Devine , the defending champion in the shot put outdoors and a three-time NCAA Division II indoor champion enters Friday's shot put competition as only the #9-seed with a 48-0 1/2 mark. Rival Jessica Selby-Tallman of Missouri Southern -- read about her battles with Devine HERE -- is the top seed at 50-4 1/2.
Defending D2 outdoor pole vault champion Jennifer Hensel of Minnesota State Moorhead, the #2-seed at 13-7 1/2, expects her national meet competition to be rather local. The #1-seed in the competition is MSU Mankato's Katelin Rains, the two-time indoor champion and the D2's all-time highest vaulter. Rains enters Friday's competition at 13-11 1/2. Rains' teammate Lauren Stelten, the D2 indoor runner-up, is seeded #5.
Other prime Minnesota contenders in the NCAA Division II Championships include: Brittany Henderson of Mankato, seeded #3 in both the 100 and 200 meters, Roseau native Heidi Evans, the #1-seed in the 1500m, Moorhead's Ashley Roemer the #4-seed in the high jump, Mankato's Denise Mokaya the #8-seed in the 800m, teammate Josh Robertson the #4-seed in the high jump, and Bemidji's Joe Remitz, the #2-seed in shot put.
Heat sheets for the D2 meet can be found here: WOMEN * MEN
In the D3 meet, University of St. Thomas discus thrower Shara Guidry hopes to recapture the magic that brought her the national title last year in Oshkosh. In 2007, she won the event after entering the competition seeded at #9. This year? Guidry is again ranked #9 entering tonight's competition.
At the 2006 D3 meet, Gustavus Adolphus College's Lisa Brown won the national title with a 154-6 mark on her final throw of the competition. Last year, the Lake Crystal native finished second with 152-3. Brown, a junior, enters Saturday's competition with the longest throw in D3 this year -- 158-5.
Other Minnesota title contenders in the D3 meet include: Bethel's Marie Borner the #5-seed in the 1500m, Concordia-Moorhead's Leah Kay, the #6-seed in the heptathlon, St. Thomas teammates Erin Sprangers and Katie Theisen, the #6 and #7-seeds in the 800m, St. Thomas' Derek Marks, the #2-seed in the discus throw, St. John's Chris Erichsen, the #3-seed in both the steeplechase and the 5000m, and teammate Eric Diley the #3-seed in the long jump.
Heat sheets for the D3 meet can be found here: WOMEN * MEN