Short indoor season exactly what Blue Hawks want
Dickinson State track and field coach Pete Stanton has a long-standing belief that a short indoor season can actually be a boost to a college team's outdoor campaign.
Any naysayers to that claim can refer the three NAIA outdoor track and field national championship banners hanging in Scott Gymnasium.
Despite what he views as a deep men's team and a women's team with championship-caliber talent on the top end, the Blue Hawks only have five scheduled meets to qualify for the NAIA indoor championships that begin Feb. 28 in Geneva, Ohio.
They split up this weekend, participating in the Montana State Open in Bozeman, Mont., on Friday and the Dave Little Invitational in Spearfish, S.D., on Saturday.
"To be honest, that's the way we like it," Stanton said. "Sometimes we can get caught up in doing too much early on and we don't peak when we want to peak at the end of the year."
The Blue Hawks lost very little from last season -- the biggest departures were decathlete Trevor Willis on the men's side and jumper Jennifer Hartman on the women's team -- and return five NAIA all-America selections, all of whom are juniors.
Nathan Magstadt was all-America in two outdoor events last season, placing fourth in the 400 hurdles (52.47 seconds) and fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.46). He missed indoor all-America honors by two-hundredths of a second, placing seventh in the 60 hurdles (8.24 seconds).
"He hasn't been an indoor All-American yet, but he was certainly on the fine line," Stanton said. "He crossed that line in the outdoor and we expect very good things out of him."
Andrew Knebel earned indoor all-America honors in the high jump, falling well short of his season best with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches, but tying for sixth place nonetheless. He took 13th at national outdoor meet with the same height.
Brady Sundheim was an all-America selection in the triple jump, finishing seventh at 48-5½, and has exceled in early practices Stanton said.
Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the DSU men's team is Fred Agbaje. He redshirted last season after the NAIA did not clear him to participate.
The Nigerian sprinter, who will be a freshman in the indoor season and a junior in the outdoor, is being looked upon to be a leader in the sprints. His 2012 season-best times of 10.31 seconds in the 100 and 21.1 in the 200, both as an unattached runner, would have been good enough to win NAIA outdoor national championship.
"He gives us a wide range in the sprints, along with (junior) Jon Dinius as well, who was close to qualifying in the national outdoor," Stanton said.
Freshmen Jose Chorro, a hurdler from El Salvador, and Adrian Fisher, a sprinter and hurdler from Jamaica, are DSU's newest international recruits with the chance to turn in strong times, Stanton said.
Stanton said the addition of cross country head coach Mike Nekuda as a distance coach in track season has helped that part of the team develop faster than expected. Abdi Ismail, Dante Carter and Denis Patrick were all national meet qualifiers in cross country.
"I look for our younger men's distance runners to be very good," Stanton said. "That's just going to be an added dimension at the national level that we haven't had the last couple years."
On the women's side, DSU returns two all-Americas in juniors Hailey Schaper and Brittany Young.
Young was an outdoor all-America in the 800 last season, finishing fifth at nationals with a time of 2:12.68. Schaper's leap of 5-6 in the high jump was good enough for sixth at nationals and an all-America nod.
Senior Kim Schulz, a three-time national qualifier in the javelin, has her greatest success in the outdoor season but adds depth to DSU's throwers at indoor time.
Juniors Marissa Stanton and Shelby Snare and sophomore Stormie Sickler add depth in the sprints and relays. Sophomore Ashley Farr just missed qualifying for the national outdoors in the high hurdles last season.
"In the indoor, we know we're going to be a little lighter on numbers with the women," Stanton said. "But certainly the ladies we have there are going to be really quality."
Hawk men look to bounce back after awful weekend
Ty Orton said Tuesday that he looked back at all of his seasons as a head coach to see if any had back-to-back games as bad as those the DSU men's basketball team endured last Thursday and Saturday.
It turns out none had.
After what he called the worst weekend of his career as a head coach in terms of point-differential -- DSU lost to No. 22-ranked Westminster 92-52 and Montana Western 78-51, both on the road -- the Blue Hawks face the exact same teams again this week. This time, however, they have a home-court advantage.
DSU hosts Westminster at 7 p.m. Thursday and Western at 4 p.m. Saturday at Scott Gymnasium and Orton is certain his team will fare better this time around.
"I don't think our effort was where it needed to be at," he said. "We panicked a little bit. We didn't stick to the game plan. We tried to make adjustments just to make things work but the ball just wasn't falling, especially in the Western game."
In the two games, DSU shot a combined 33 of 112 (29 percent) from field-goal range. Fifteen of those made shots were 3-pointers -- and even those only fell at a 33-percent rate.
On the other end, Westminster shot 53 percent and Western was 46 percent from the field.
"It was just a lack of effort and we need to get better," Orton said. "The kids have that short-term memory. You make a mistake, you learn from it, you move on and you don't dwell on it."
Steele, Lopez ranked No. 1 in NAIA North Group
DSU senior wrestlers Brad Steele and Jose Lopez retained their No. 1 rankings in the NAIA North Group on Tuesday despite a weekend in which neither had astounding success.
Steele, a 149-pound senior from Beach, is out with an injury. Lopez, a senior heavyweight from California, lost a critical match to University of Great Falls senior Sears Tiernan, ranked No. 1 in the West Group, in a dual on Friday and only won two matches at DSU's Tyler Plummer Classic before winning the title after Tiernan injury defaulted.
As a team, DSU is No. 3 in the North Group behind Morningside (Iowa) and Midland (Neb.). Morningside has 182 total team points, Midland has 152 and DSU 130.
DSU junior Bryden Lazaro (125), senior Nestor Ruelas (149), senior Cameron Schrempp (174), and junior Jesse Hellinger (184) and senior Kevin Keisler (197) are all ranked second in the North Group.
The national rankings are released today.