Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Four University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) athletes left Monday morning bound for the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships, which start on Thursday in Allendale, Mich.
Juniors Chanel Miller and Allie Rudin join freshman Samantha Rivard on the women's side, while junior Dan Nielsen is the Bulldogs' lone representative for the men.
Rudin and Rivard were each on the UMD cross country team that qualified for the NCAAs this past fall, and Rivard won a national title at this year's NCAA indoor track and field championships. Both say it's pretty special, though, to have qualified in the outdoor season.
"It's great because we've had such crappy weather to accomplish something like this," Rudin said. "I know it's a good end to a really good year that we've had, just the women's team in general."
"I'm pretty excited," Rivard said. "Outdoor is a little more fun than indoor season. Michigan, I've heard good things, so I'm excited to get out there."
Rivard is the only one to be competing in two events --- 5,000-meters and 10,000-meters, while Rudin and Nielsen will each compete in the steeplechase and Miller in the heptathlon.
Nielsen is the only NCAA first-timer of the UMD quartet, but he says he's been able to manage his nerves thus far.
"I think once we get on the road or once we get to the meet, it's going go get a little more anxious and nervous," he said. "I'm not really sure what to expect, but right now I am excited to at least be going to it."
This year's NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships are set to start on Thursday and wrap up on Saturday.