UWO men’s track takes eighth at Division III Nationals

Alonzo Fuller

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The UW Oshkosh men’s track and field team capped off its indoor season after an eighth place finish at the National Colligate Athletic Association Indoor Nationals, finishing with 19 points.

UW-Eau Claire won the championship with 62 points, with rival UW-La Crosse right behind them with 60.

“Eau Claire and La Crosse are deeper than us,” head coach Eamon McKenna said. “But I was relatively pleased. I was glad to be among the top 10. I thought we had a shot at a trophy, so our goal is to get back up on the stand.”

Their totals began with junior Zachary Baehman’s performance in the shot put, taking fourth with a throw of 17.74 meters. Behind him in ninth was senior Nick Grosskopf, with a throw of 17.01 meters. Senior Roger Steen of UW-Eau Claire won the event and setting a meet record with a throw of 18.81 meters.

“I was pleased with the throwers,” McKenna said. “They threw season bests.”

McKenna also said that their throws would have been good enough for taking first and seventh at the NCAA Division II Indoor Nationals, so the competition was a lot tougher than in the previous years.

Next was the men’s distance medley relay, which took seventh with a time of 10 minutes 3.42 seconds.

This team consisted of sophomore Joe Zack, senior Brian Beaudo, freshmen Justin Skinkis and Roberto Lara. Winning the event was UW-Eau Claire with a time of 9:54.82.

Next was the one mile run, which Lara placed fifth with a time of 4:13.83. Winning the mile was junior Paul Escher of St. Olaf with a time of 4:10.19.

“It was surprising at first, but seeing how much success guys before [me] have had, it became almost expected that I performed good,” Lara said. “I’m super happy about my performances, but not satisfied.”

“Roberto had a great weekend,” McKenna said. “Coming into the mile after he ran the relay was great. His maturity and confidence has grown.”

Junior Naji Allan originally qualified at fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.86 seconds.

It did not go quite that way, as he didn’t qualify for the finals. His time was 6.92 seconds.

To be more exact, his time was 6.918 seconds, while the last person who qualified ran 6.912 seconds. Winning the event was sophomore Winston Lee of Cobleskill (New York) with a time of 6.73 seconds.

“It was disappointing,” Allan said. “But this makes me hungry for outdoor season.”

“We were a little disappointed about Naji’s situation,” Men’s assistant coach Ben Dorsey said. “It’s all part of the learning curve. He’ll be a better 100-meter runner once we get outdoor.”

Dorsey said that he got right back to work immediately and that the team looks to get better for outdoor.

In the 400-meter dash, Beaudo missed the cut, as he placed 10th with a time of 49.48 seconds. The last person who qualified did so with a time of 49.42 seconds. He missed the cut by .06 seconds.

“It’s just a thing I have to take in consideration,” Beaudo said. “I just have to learn from it and work hard. I’ve been working hard to get there in the first place, and I’ll keep on working.”

Senior Reid Zanoya didn’t qualify for the 400. He missed out by .16 seconds, as the last qualifying time was 49.31 seconds.

“It’s the fourth time I’ve been that close to qualifying individually, so it was a bit frustrating,” Zanoya said. “But I still helped get the 4×400 to nationals, so that made up for it.”

The last event was the 4×400 meter relay, which consisted of freshman Kallen Bentz, sophomore Danny Trimner, Zanoya and Beaudo.

They placed second in a photo finish, with a time of 3:15.99. Winning the event was Augustana (Ill.), with a time of 3:15.97. They have now set the school record.

“We knew we had a chance of winning it all,” Zanoya said. “When I stood at the finish and watched Brian come down that final stretch, I thought we were going to win it.
When we saw that Augustana came up first, it was a bit disheartening. Once you get past the initial disappointment, you realize that you are second in the nation.”

The team is very optimistic about going into outdoor season.

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Zanoya said. “We should get a team trophy at Outdoor Nationals.”

Beaudo said the team has bigger and better things coming in the outdoor season.

“Nobody on our team is satisfied, and I think that what makes us so good,” Lara said.

McKenna said the team is getting tougher.

“I am very optimistic,” McKenna said. “We are still a young team. We’ve shown tremendous growth. Our goal is to be top 10 again, but we really want to become a trophy team.”

The men will begin their outdoor season at the UW-Whitewater Invitational on April 3.