BURNSVILLE - The Southwest Minnesota State University men's indoor track and field team was picked to finish 11th, while the Mustangs women's team was picked to finish 13th, in the annual Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Indoor Track and Field Preseason Coaches' poll released on Tuesday.
SMSU enters its first season of men's and women's indoor track since reinstating the program in February 2013.
Minnesota State was the top choice in the men's poll, while the University of Mary was selected as the top team in the women's poll. The NSIC has 12 teams competing in men's indoor track and 14 women's teams.
On the men's side, the Mavericks earned eight of 12 first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own school) and 118 points, while Augustana finished second with four first-place votes and 114 points. Sioux Falls (96), Minnesota State-Moorhead (80) and St. Cloud State rounded out the top five. SMSU finished with 26 points, nine points ahead of Minot State.
Mustang freshman Jay Schneider, from Mequon, Wis., and freshman Alex Weis, from Luverne, were both named an NSIC "Athlete to Watch."
The University of Mary earned 161 overall points and seven first-place votes on the women's side. Winona State followed with 157 overall points and six first place votes, while Minnesota-Duluth (133), Sioux Falls (131) and Minnesota State (126) rounded out the top five. Augustana had the other first place vote and finished sixth overall. SMSU earned 31 points, finishing ahead of Minot State.
Mustang freshman Michaela Nordby, from St. James, and freshman Rylee Amstrong, from Peace River, Alberta, were both named an NSIC "Athlete to Watch."
The SMSU indoor track and field teams begins its season at the Minnesota State Alumni Open on Jan. 11, 2014.