MANKATO - Seven former area track and field standouts will reunite during the 2012 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Indoor Championship this weekend.
The elite indoor collegiate track and field competition kicks off at noon Friday and literally runs through Saturday at Myers Field House on the Minnesota State University campus in Mankato.
Former Fairmont High School phenoms Jeremy Botzet, Mary Hitchcock and Paul Mallory - along with former Blue Earth Area High School sensation Meagan Grandgenett - will represent the Augustana College Vikings at the NSIC indoor meet. In fact, both Augustana's men's and women's track and field programs currently hold the No. 8 spots in the Central Region rankings.
Former Blue Earth Area extraordinaire Kate Hassing and former Fairmont maven Zach Roggow will represent the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs during the two-day competition, while former BEA standout Lucas Torres will don the host MSU Mavericks jersey at his home facility.
Mallory and Hitchcock enter the indoor conference showdown on the heels of individual victories during last Friday's Wayne State Mini Meet in Wayne, Neb. Mallory won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.5 seconds, while Hitchcock broke the tape in the open 400 in a time of 1:03.83.
Hitchcock also anchored the Vikings' second-place 4x160-meter relay team and placed third in the 60-meter hurdles in 9.76 seconds. Grandgenett claimed second place in the 60-meter hurdles in 9.53 seconds and finished fifth in the long jump by clearing 17 feet, 3 1/2 inches. Botzet rounded out the area Augustana quartet by placing third in the open 400 in 53.15.
Meanwhile, Hassing will take to the track in the 800-meter run on the heels of back-to-back sub-2:20 times. The UMD sophomore biochemistry major qualified for the 800 finals at the Lake Superior Challenge in Duluth on Feb. 10-11 with a time of 2:18.13. Hassing later posted a 2:21.48 to earn second place in the 800.
Hassing also posted a winning 800 time of 2:19.63 at the Beaver Classic at Bemidji State University on Feb. 24-25.
Roggow enters the indoor championship on the strength of anchoring the Bulldogs' third-place 4x200-meter relay squad at the Lake Superior Challenge two weeks ago. The UMD sophomore also competes in the 200-meter dash.
Torres, a jack-of-all-trades for MSU, will hit his home track after posting an 8.63 time in the 60-meter hurdles at the Snowshoe Open on Feb. 17. The Maverick senior decathlete also recently cleared 13-5 1/4 in the pole vault during the NSIC T&F Indoor Multi-Event Championship on Feb. 12.
Southwest Minnesota State University freshman Jon Ellis and the Mustang baseball team will open their 2012 season by facing the University of Minnesota-Duluth today at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The former Fairmont High School all-state outfielder and his SMSU teammates will hit the artificial playing surface at 5 p.m. for the first game of a nonconference doubleheader against the Bulldogs.