When I last did Summit League Predictions they were based on last year's championships and the few meets that had happened. I am not going to do a full prediction like last time but am just going to predict team places and some keys for the Jackrabbits.
1. NDSU- The Bison have proven to be strong in the Field Events and Multi Events like always and have a few big scorers on the track including Travis Fitzke and Donte Smart.
2. SDSU- The Jacks look to be peaking at the right time and have had good performances and workouts leading up to this meet. See keys for the Jacks below.
3. Oral Roberts- The Golden Eagles were ranked higher in the preseason predictions but their depth has been a weakness this year. They will be strong in the 200, 400 and 4x4 on the track and in the Long Jump and Vault in the field. In previous years they had more strength in the field and the 60m.
4. Southern Utah- Southern Utah will score big points in the distance races and will pick up points here and there in the field. Cam Levins will most likely win the Mile, 3000 and 5000 and be named Track MVP.
5. South Dakota- The Yotes are well rounded and will pick up points in most disciplines. Their stars include distance runner Jeff Mettler, throwers Kyle McKelvey and Cody Snyder, sprinter Michael Burrus, and Vaulter Kyle Ballew.
6. UMKC- The 'Roos are quickly improving, look for them to be in the mix next year with the loss of ORU and SUU. They are led by distance runner Cosmas Ayabei and jumper DC Okonta.
7. Western Illinois- The Leathernecks will score most of their points in the high jump and throws.
8. Oakland- The Grizzlies will be lucky to score any points that aren't from the DMR and 4x4.
*IUPUI will begin track competition in the Summit League this outdoor season.
**It will be a battle for spots 2-6 so don't be surprised if this gets switched around.
Keys for the Jackrabbits-
1. Jared Vlastuin- Vlastuin has the ability to win two events. He is ranked 1st in the High Jump and 2nd in the Long Jump. He has defeated Clive from Oral Roberts in head to head competitions in the past.
2. 400 and 4x4- Jared Foote and Brandon Priebe are ranked in the top 8 in the 400 and make up half of the 4x4 team that may challenge for the win. ORU is the favorite but you never know what will happen in the last event of the meet.
3. 800- Jake Schneller looks to cap his indoor career with an 800 meter title. He is seeded 3rd but has defeated Shade head to head and Cam Levins will be tired. Dom Thielen has been improving rapidly this year and I wouldn't be surprised if there were 2 Jacks challenging for the win here.
4. 3000 and 5000- The whole conference is especially strong in these events. The Jacks need Mike Krsnak, Greg Vollmer, and Trent Lusignan to score in both events. I hope to do the same.
5. 60 Hurdles- Only 10 men are entered and the Jacks expect to have 2 in the top 8. Watch out for an upset of Pierre alum Matt Tetzlaff by Brandon Priebe of SDSU. Priebe has risen to the occasion in previous years.
6. Throws- The Jacks throwers haven't had the greatest season until last week but they are usually ready to go at conference. Don't forget that Jake Brinkman is a conference champ in the weight throw.