Since the Frontier Conference started naming men’s and women’s track and field athletes of the week back in early April, Dickinson State has qualified 18 athletes for the NAIA national championship meet.
In the same time frame, the Blue Hawks haven’t had a single Frontier Conference athlete of the week.
However, DSU isn’t alone in this boat. Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and College of Idaho, which have a combined 75 NAIA national qualifiers, all have no Frontier Conference athletes of the week.
Um … I think something is wrong.
Actually, there’s something really wrong. DSU, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and College of Idaho are the top four track and field programs in the Frontier Conference — based on athletes traveling to the national meet — and all have zero athletes of the week.
The one school which has had the most on the men’s and women’s side is Lewis-Clark State with 11 athletes of the week, including a clean sweep on April 8, which is nearly as many national qualifiers has the team has with 12.
Since the weekly award has been given out on April 8, only three different schools have won the award. The two other schools joining LCSC is Carroll College with 15 national qualifiers and University of Great Falls with five.
To put the awards into a long-term perspective, DSU didn’t win Frontier Conference men’s or women’s track and field athlete of the week during the indoor season either. That’s after Dante Carter, a freshman from Las Vegas, was a NAIA national champion in the 1,000-meter run.
Carter is one of many athletes who stick out in my mind and should have and could have easily been named athlete of the week multiple times. For example, Carter won the 1,500 run at the Tom Gage Classic at Colorado State against NCAA Division I and II athletes.
Another runner, which could have easily won the award on the men’s team is DSU sophomore and Dickinson High graduate Nathan Magstadt. In one week, he ran NAIA A standard times in the 110 and 400 hurdles, while also helping run one the fastest qualifying times in country for the 400 relay.
Not one. Not even an honorable mention for the Blue Hawks. DSU’s track and field program has three NAIA national championship banners hanging in Scott Gymnasium. And DSU can’t even get one Frontier Conference track and field athlete of the week. That is unreal.
One person said after Carter’s win at CSU, “Does Dante have to win an Olympic gold medal to be named athlete of the week.” I won’t lie, I laughed at the remark, but it might hold some truth.
What does DSU, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and College of Idaho, have to do to get an inch of respect from the Frontier Conference? Truth is that I don’t know.
Judging by the number of athletes that have been picked from the four schools, the coaches don’t either.
In the last couple weeks, I didn’t even want to open up the Frontier Conference track and field athlete of the week award emails. What is the point of opening the emails if there are three schools being picked? There isn’t one.
This is by no means is a negative connotation to DSU, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, College of Idaho, Rocky Mountain College, Westminster, Lewis-Clark, Carroll or Great Falls. The problem lies in the Frontier Conference itself.
If the conference was being balanced, there would be more than three schools to pick from for track and field athlete of the week award. I know at least four other schools.