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COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: UND?throwers rank at the top of Division II

UND hasn't had a Division II national champion in men's track and field since 1989, the year Norm McGee won his third straight title in the 100-meter dash.

UND hasn't had a Division II national champion in men's track and field since 1989, the year Norm McGee won his third straight title in the 100-meter dash.

But that drought could end next week at the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships at Cal Poly Pomona.

UND javelin throwers Matt Fick and Matt Litzinger rank 1-2 in the country entering the meet.

Fick's best throw of the season is 229 feet, 10 inches, an effort he recorded April 5 at a meet in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Litzinger's best throw this season is 228-0, which he also recorded at the same April 5 meet.

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Fick is a senior from Grand Forks Red River, while Litzinger is a senior from Grand Forks Central.

Sioux coach Mike Grandall said both throwers have a passion for their event.

"They like the event," Grandall said. "They take pride in it. And they make a conscious effort to throw enough but not too much. You can't run out of arm at the end of the season.

"They've been very smart about tempering how much they throw."

Both throwers have been consistent all season. Their throws April 5 in Sioux Falls were not an abnormality. "They've been up in that range more than once," Grandall said.

At last week's North Central Conference meet in Sioux Falls, Fick won the javelin with a throw of 223-3. Litzinger was second at 220-10. The third-place finisher's best throw was 189 feet.

Fick and Litzinger both were Division II All-Americans last season. Litzinger finished sixth in the javelin at last year's national meet, while Fick placed eighth.

Grandall said both will face pressure at this season's meet.

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"What you did yesterday doesn't count," Grandall said of the rankings. "With those rankings come pressure and expectations of doing well.

"But I'd rather have people trying to beat you instead of you looking up at people.

"It's exciting to be in this position. It's what you strive for."

Fick and Litzinger will be the only two UND athletes in the national meet. The two Sioux throwers will compete on May 24.

Northland finishes strong

Northland Community and Technical College finished its season 27-16 after dropping a 14-6 decision against Ridgewater Community College in the NJCAA Region 13 baseball tournament Sunday.

The 27 wins are a school record.

"We turned the corner," Northland coach Steve Gust said. "We proved we belonged with some of the best teams in the area, if not the nation. We still have a ways to go. We're making strides. But it was a huge leap forward."

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At the Region 13 tournament, former Grand Forks Central standout John Greicar had a strong performance.

The shortstop went 8-for-13 in the tournament, driving in nine runs. Against Milwaukee Area Tech, Greicar was 4-for-6 with seven RBIs.

Northland returns seven starters next season.

Jimmies host Bellevue

Jamestown College will host Bellevue College of Nebraska this week in the NAIA Plains Super Regional. The Jimmies won the Region 13 baseball title last Saturday in Mayville, N.D., with a 12-1 win against Northwestern of Iowa.

Bellevue, the Region 4 champion, is 50-13, while Jamestown is 30-17.

The winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the 52nd annual NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 23-30.

The opening game of the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday. The second game will be Thursday at 1 p.m., with a third game, if necessary, to follow.

Briefly

- Basketball: The Lake Region State College men's basketball team has signed Fargo South's Ismail Kareem. Kareem averaged 13 points for the Bruins last season. Kareem's South teammate, Jordan Allard, signed with UND.

- Baseball: Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota State-Mankato of the North Central Conference will compete in this week's NCAA Division II Central Region baseball tournament in Emporia, Kan. The teams will meet in a first-round game Thursday. Emporia (Kan.) is the top seed. The Hornets will face No. 6 Concordia-St. Paul, which is making its first NCAA postseason appearance in school history. Wayne (Neb.) State (No. 3) will play Central Missouri (No. 4) in the third first-round game. The winner advances to the NCAA Division II World Series in Sauget, Ill.

- Softball: Emporia (Kan.) State won the NCAA Division II North Central Region championship over the weekend, beating Winona State 9-1 in the title game. Minnesota State-Mankato of the North Central Conference advanced to the consolation final.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

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