BOSTON--The North Dakota State University women’s track & field team won its first national championship March 9, 2002, at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

The Bison scored 67.5 points with their closest competition, St. Augustine’s, coming in second with 45 points. Adams State, Abilene Christian and Ashland (Ohio) rounded out the top five. NDSU had 14 All-Americans out of 16 athletes that competed.

Sophomore Amanda Thieschafer (Melrose, Minn.) won her first national championship in the triple jump with a leap of 40 feet, 8 3/4 inches.

The 1,600-meter relay team of sophomore Kinsey Coles (Hillsboro, N.D.), freshman Nicole Rieck (Huron, S.D.) seniors Jill Theeler (Mitchell, S.D.) and Tamara Brudy (St. Kitts, West Indies) won a national title as well for the Bison with a school-record time of 3 minutes, 41.58 seconds.

In the 400-meter dash, Brudy finished second with a 54.58. Theeler placed fifth with a time of 55.30. Senior Molly Peppel(Barnesville, Minn.) placed sixth in the shot put with a 45-4 1/2 performance.

In the 800-meter run, senior Rachel Kraft was seventh with a time of 2:11.95. Senior Crystal Cummins (Fargo, N.D.) was runner-up in the triple jump (39-11 1/4), while senior Sara Skudlarek (Avon, Minn.) took sixth place (38-11 1/2).

On Friday, March 8, the Bison were led by sophomore Belinda Eastlack (Buffalo, Minn.), who topped 60 feet for the first time in her career in the 20-pound weight throw (61-3) to place third.

Peppel and Katie Staton (Fargo, N.D.) placed sixth (57-11 3/4) and seventh (56-11 1/4) in the 20-pound weight, respectively.

In the long jump, Skudlarek placed eighth (18-10 1/2) and Thieschafer jumped to a ninth-place finish (18-9). Junior Margo Knorr (Keene, N.D.) ended in seventh place in the high jump (5-5 3/4).

In the pole vault, freshman Kimberly Hilton (Huron, S.D.) cleared 11-7 3/4 for a fourth place tie, while sophomore Shelley Borchert (Bismarck, N.D.) also cleared 11-7 3/4 but placed eighth.

On Thursday, March 7, North Dakota State head coach Ryun Godfrey was named the USTCA (United States Track Coaches Association) Division II National Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year. It was the first national award for Godfrey, who was in his third year at the helm of the Bison program.