Athlete of the Month

December 2002
Heath, a junior at Winona Senior High School, is recognized for winning the Minnesota State High School League Class AA boys cross country championship on November 2. Heath beat defending Class AA 3200 meter track champion (and former Athlete of the Month) Forrest Tahdooahnippah of Minneapolis Southwest High School by 17 seconds over the 5K course at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Heath was timed at 15:50. Later in the month, Heath finished 4th at the Footlocker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisconsin to become one of only 32 boys nationwide to qualify for Footlocker Nationals on December 14 in San Diego.

Lindeman, a senior at Coon Rapids High School, is honored for her run-away win in the Young Women's division at the USA Track and Field Minnesota Junior Olympic cross country championship at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley on November 9. Lindeman beat MSHSL Class A girls champ (and November AOM) Lauren Brueberg by 9 seconds to win her title in 18:52 over the 5K course.

November 2002
Dusty Olson - Olson is recognized for finishing second in the USA 100K Championship held in conjunction with the Edmund Fitzgerald Ultra-Marathon and Relay in his hometown of Duluth on October 19. Olson clocked seven hours, seventeen minutes, and two seconds over the 62.1 mile course. Winner Chad Ricklefs of Boulder, Colorado ran 7:09:29. Third place finisher Charlie Hubbard of Bloomington, who was passed by Olson only in the final 10K of the race, finished in 7:23:29. All three athletes earned the right to represent the United States in the IAAF World 100K Challenge in Taipei in November of 2003.

Lauren Brueberg - Brueberg, a senior at Minnehaha Academy, is honored for winning the girls, Class A division of the Minnesota State High School League Cross Country Meet on November 2. Brueberg won in a time of 15:11.5 over the rolling 4K course at St. Olaf College in Northfield. She defeated runner-up Nicole Calabrese of Kingsland by more than 14 seconds. Brueberg led her team to a sixth place finish in the meet.

October 2002
Shannon Bergstedt -
Bergstedt, a junior at Hopkins High School, is recognized for winning the Griak Cross Country Invitational in St. Paul on September 28. Bergstedt, a five-time Minnesota State High School League Champion in track and field, defeated a stellar field of runners from Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Bergstedt clocked 18:27.3 over the challenging 5K course.

Forrest Tahdooahnippah - Tahdooahnippah, a senior from Minneapolis Southwest High School, is also honored for winning the Griak Cross Country Invitational. Tahdooahnippah is the reigning MSHSL Champion at 3200 meters on the track. Tahdooahnippah ran the 5K circuit in 15:37.2.

September 2002
Kristen Nicolini - Nicolini, a member of Team USA Minnesota, was recognized for her victory at the Hennepin Lake Classic 5K held on August 4, which served as the USATF Minnesota Championship for that distance. Nicolini clocked 16:20 around the Lake Calhoun course to win her first USATF Minnesota Championship. Nicolini resides in Edina.

Jason Lehmkuhle
- Lehmkuhle, also of Team USA Minnesota, was honored for his runner-up finish at the 5K Championship to a previous Athlete of the Month Joey Keillor. Lehmkuhle ran 14:34 over the flat, fast course and earned the right to represent Minnesota in the US Championship 5K in Providence, Rhode Island. Lehmkuhle was an all-American runner at Drake University and currently resides in St. Paul.

August 2002
Katie McGregor - McGregor, a member of Team USA Minnesota who competes for Adidas, is recognized for placing second at the 28th annual Bix 7, which was held in Davenport, Iowa, on July 20. Her time was 38:25 in the 7-mile USATF National Championship race. McGregor also posted a 15:52.06 in the 5000 meters at the Maine Distance Festival on July 6. McGregor, a native of Willoughby, Ohio, was a three-time NCAA champion and a nine-time All-American in cross country and track while at the University of Michigan. She currently resides in Edina.

Matt Gabrielson - Gabrielson, also a member of Team USA Minnesota, is recognized for his fourth place finish in the mile at the Maine Distance Festival on July 6 in Brunswick, Maine. His time of 4:04.32 was a personal best by 4 seconds. A native of Belmond, Iowa, Gabrielson was a twelve-time All-Missouri Valley Conference Performer for Drake University. He currently resides in St. Paul.

July 2002
Kris Kuehl - Kuehl, a 31 year-old Jeffers High School and Concordia College (Moorhead) graduate who competes for Nike, is recognized for winning her first U.S. title in the discus at the USA Track and Field Championship in Palo Alto, California on June 27. Kuehl, an Olympian in 2000 and a 6-time medalist at U.S. Championships, tossed the discus 211 feet, five inches to win the competition by more than six feet. Kuehl lives in Minneapolis and is coached by Loreena Anderson.

James Lundberg - Lundberg, who will by a senior this fall at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, led the Falcons to the 2002 State High School Class AA Track and Field crown on June 7-8 with title-winning performances in the long jump and high jump and by anchoring his team to a runner-up finish in the 4 x 400 meter relay. Lundberg long jumped 23-8 to win that competition by nearly a foot and then high jumped 6-6 to prevail in that discipline. The Armstrong relay team, which clocked three minutes, 20.62 seconds, was edged by Wayzata -- by a mere two one-hundredths of a second -- despite Lundberg's 49.3 anchor leg.

June 2002
Amber James
- James, a Woodbury native and a sophomore at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, is recognized for winning three events and leading her squad to the team title at the NCAA Division III Championships held at Macalester College from May 23-25. James won the 200 meter and 400 meter dashes, and anchored her team's victorious 4 x 400 meter relay. James clocked 23.73 in the 200 meter and 53.81 in the 400 meter. James is a former five-time Minnesota State High School League Champion.

Tom Kreger - Kreger, a Hamline University junior, is honored for finishing third in the 10,000 meter run in 30:50.44 at the same NCAA Division III Championships. Kreger, who was in contention for the win until the final 800 meters of the race, earned All-America honors for the finish. Kreger won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 5000 and 10,000 meter titles earlier in the season.

May 2002
Liz Podomonick - Podomonick, a junior at Lakeville High School, is recognized for breaking her own state record in the shot put with a toss of 50 feet, 2 and one-half inches at the Lake Conference Triangular on April 30th. Last year Podomonick established a state record of 50 feet, one inch and won the Class AA crown at the State High School League meet. In 2002, Podomonick leads the state in the discus throw as well as the shot put.

Luke Watson - Watson, a Stillwater High School graduate who is a senior at Notre Dame University, is honored for anchoring the Fighting Irish 4 x 1600 meter relay team to a stunning victory at the Drake Relays on April 26. The win was Notre Dame's first Drake Relays 4 x 1600m relay title in 60 years. A week earlier at the Mt. SAC Relays, Watson placed 4th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Watson's time of 8:38.2 broke his own Notre Dame school record. Watson is an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in both the 5000 meter run and the steeplechase. He was recently named Outstanding Men's Track Performer after winning both events at the Big East Championships.

April 2002
Joey Keillor
- Keillor, who represents Runner's Edge and lives in Rochester, is recognized for his victory at the Human Race 8K on March 24 in St. Paul - the race that served as the USATF Minnesota 8K Championship. Keillor clocked 24:08 for his third career win at the Human Race. By virtue of his victory, Keillor has earned the right to represent Minnesota at the River Bank 25K - the U.S. 25K Championship - in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 11.

Megan Daymont - Daymont, a Northfield native and St. Olaf College junior, gains recognition this month for her runner-up finish in the 800 meters at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio on March 9. Daymont clocked 2:12.54 and was beaten by only 13/100ths of a second. Daymont was also a quadruple-winner at the MIAC Indoor meet prior to nationals, winning the 600, 1000, and 1500 meter events and contributing to St. Olaf's victorious 4 x 400 meter relay.

March 2002
Carrie Tollefson
- Tollefson of Edina, a 13-time Minnesota State High School Champion who represents Adidas and trains with Team USA Minnesota, is recognized for finishing second at the U.S. Winter Cross Country Championships 4K event on February 10 in Vancouver, Washington.. She thereby qualified to represent the USA at the World Cross Country Championships in Dublin, Ireland on March 24. Tollefson finished just six seconds behind defending national champion and four-time U.S. Olympian Regina Jacobs and 10 seconds ahead of Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton. Tollefson clocked 13:01 over the winding, hilly 4K course. Tollefson then went on to place 11th at the World Championships.

Karl Erickson - Erickson, a freshman at the University of Minnesota and a 2001 graduate of Rochester Century High School, is noted for his 60 foot, 7 and 1/4 inch toss of the shot put at the tragedy-marred Big Ten Indoor Championships held at the University of Minnesota on February 23. Erickson placed 4th in the shot put competition completed just before the tragic death of Penn State University pole vaulter Kevin Dare. Due to Dare's death, the second day of competition at the meet was cancelled and Erickson's fine placing and mark were expunged from official records.