Key injuries in 2011 spiraled St. Thomas to an uncharacteristic sixth-place finish at the 2011 MIAC Track and Field Championships.
In 2012, the Tommies will look to squeeze out points at every turn as at least three teams appear to have a shot at the team crown when the two-day competition unfolds in Moorhead.
The Toms have captured 52 of the last 57 MIAC team championships contested indoors and outdoors since 1983. That includes 24 men's outdoor titles and all 28 held indoors.
In all, St. Thomas men's and women's squads have won 109 all-time MIAC team titles in indoor and outdoor track and field.
Coach Steve Mathre's Tommies will build around three elite athletes who helped St. Thomas place fifth in the national indoor meet:
--Senior All-American Mike Hutton is a threat in the 800, 4x400 and possibly the 4x800 and open 400.
--Senior All-American distance runner Ben Sathre, the NCAA cross country national champ last November, was a double winner in March at the conference indoor meet.
--Junior All-American Eyo Ekpo is expected to challenge for titles in the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
The team title likely will swing on depth and balance. In the March indoor meet, St. Thomas used points from 27 athletes and scored in 19 of 20 events at it outscored runner-up Hamline by 60 points.
The Toms got a good start in last week’s decathlon with 24 team points as it placed 1-2-3 with Maxwell Dunne, Gavin Yseth and Patrick Ecklund.
In the remaining 20 events, St. Thomas is seeded first in five events, second in four events, and third in seven events.
NOTES: St. Thomas is ranked 16th nationally in the USTFCCCA.org national power rankings... The Tommies have eight performances ranked in the top 35 in Division III. Mike Hutton is ranked second in the 800 and 12th in the 400. Ben Sathre is ranked fifth in the 5,000 and ninth in the 10,000. Eyo Ekpo is ranked 15th in the high jump and 21st in the triple jump. Maxwell Dunne is ranked 14th in the decathlon. Bryan Thell is ranked 29th in the hammer.
Click here to access the website for the chmpionships:
Click here to view MIAC season-best list:
Click here to view national performance lists by event:
Sam Kovar passes to Cody Jerabek in the 2011 MIAC Championships in St. Peter. (Greg Smith photo