Titan track heads to nationals

Ryne Prinz

“This past weekend, the UW Oshkosh women’s track team competed in the Carthage Final Qualifier and the Pointer Qualifier. These two meets represented the final opportunities to clinch a bid to the national meet.

In order to qualify in an event, the ladies had to land in the top 17 places in the country per event.

Prior to this weekend, Oshkosh had already positioned themselves in 10 qualifying ranks, which were solidified as soon as the last meet on March 7 was complete.

On Friday March 6, the Titans traveled to Carthage College in Kenosha. The team sent four competitors to attempt to advance in six various events.

Junior high-jumper Kasey Ederer was the only Titan at this meet to qualify. Her jump of 5 feet 6.5 inches put her in an eight-way tie for the fifth highest jump in Division III.

Qualifying for nationals elicits pressure by itself. There is a fine line between the national meet and disappointment. The stakes are raised even higher when athletes have to perform their best in their last possible opportunity to do so.

Ederer said the knowledge of the opportunity to go to nationals made the experience exciting.

“It was so nerve-racking but exhilarating at the same time, knowing that this is either the last time I will be jumping for the season or this is the day I will be qualifying for nationals is so suspenseful,” Ederer said.

This will be Ederer’s second time competing at the indoor national meet, as she made the cut last year in high jump as well. Ederer finished 10th in 2014.
This year, her aspirations include absorbing the experience of the national meet as much as possible and to have fun.

“I’m just looking forward to the experience and the environment of the national meet,” Ederer said.

However, Ederer said she definitely has goals she wishes to accomplish at the high jump pit.

“Another goal I have is to make it onto the podium and to keep beating personal goals like I have at the last few meets,” Ederer said. “I’m also looking forward to jumping with the best in the nation for Division III.”

On Saturday, March 7, the Titans took a crew to the Pointer Qualifier in Stevens Point.

On the last day of qualifications, Oshkosh was able to send two more events to the national meet.

The 4×400 meter relay team had struggled with injuries throughout the entire indoor season.

After placing third at last year’s indoor national meet, there was no limit for this team. Due to many injuries, the relay had to fight much more adversity in this 2014-2015 season.

Senior Stephanie Jahn said there was no pressure on the team last year. However, as a result of injuries this year, they were not able to run the time at conference that would have advanced them to the national meet.

The team fought through the troubles that they had been faced with and ran a time of 3 minutes and 54.47 seconds, which was the ninth fastest in the country, on Saturday.

Since they made it this far, the ladies were optimistic about their chances at nationals.

“Once you get to the national meet, almost anything is possible,” Jahn said.

Freshman Emily Reichenberger also sealed her spot in the 200-meter dash at the national meet on Saturday. Reichenberger is seeded sixth at nationals with a time of 25.42.

Reichenberger said it was great getting off to a strong start in her early college career.

“At the beginning of the season, I didn’t know what to expect,” Reichenberger said. “I just came in open-minded and worked as hard as I could and just see where it got me.”

She credits much of her achievements thus far to the team.

“Just with everyone, the whole program just really pushed me and showed me how well I could do,” Reichenberger said.

Reichenberger is also looking forward to getting a national meet under her belt, as well as possibly receiving All-American honors as a freshman.

The Titans look to repeat as national champions in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on March 13 and 14.”