Men’s track competes in three states

Austin Walther

The UW Oshkosh men’s track and field team sent participants all over the Midwest to the Drake relays, the Gina relays and the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative meet, at which no team scores were taken. Head coach Eamon McKenna said the Drake relays in Des Moines, Iowa are host to a big-time competition focused on the 400-meter-relay and 1600-meter-relay. “It combines high school all the way up to professional,” McKenna said. “It’s a really great opportunity for high-level athletes at the Division III level to compete.” Besides nationals and conference, junior Naji Allan said the Drake relays are the highlight of the season. “It’s the best competition of the year,” Allan said. “It’s a great opportunity to watch the best of the best.” In the 1,600-meter relay, the Titans placed 15th with a team of senior Brian Beaudo, sophomore Dan Trimner, senior Reid Zanoya and Allan, recording a time of 3 minutes and 14.47 seconds. The 400-meter team of sophomore Nolan Peterson, Allan, Trimmer and Zanoya finished 21st with a time of 42.68 seconds. Junior Zachary Baehman qualified for shot put, but wasn’t able to post a mark and McKenna said he had a few issues on Saturday. “Zach ran into some real bad weather,” McKenna said. “That affected his release and he ended up fouling out.” Hillsdale, Michigan is the host of the Gina relays, which were also held on Saturday. McKenna said the distant events are really strong there. “That’s a place if you’re looking to go qualify,” McKenna said. “Or really run a nice time so we can send some guys. [to the national meet]” Freshman Justin Skinkis topped all Oshkosh athletes with an 11th-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.31. In the 1,500-meter run, freshman Roberto Lara finished 16th with a time of 3:52.39, sophomore Joe Zack placed 21st with 3:45.74 and senior Kenny Halloran finished 23rd with a time of 3:55.67. Rounding out participants in Hillsdale was senior Derek Johnsrud in the 10,000-meter run and finished 13th with a time of 30:34.74. On Sunday, Oshkosh sent numerous athletes to UW-Whitewater to participate in the Drake Alternative meet. The Titans received three ,first-place finishes even though this meet didn’t record any team scores. Freshman Charlend Howard led the steeplechase event with a time of 9:59.72, with three other freshmen in the top five, including Luke Geffers in second at 10:05.70, Nathan Nozzi in fourth at 10:34.19 and in fifth-place with a time of 10:39.48 was Mitch Pauers. The 400-meter-relay team of freshmen Bailey Gesteland, Marcus Maier, Jaron Olson and junior Kevin Caufield took first place with a time of 44.48 seconds. The other first-place finisher was freshman Devan Gertschen in the pole vault with a height of 4.51 meters. Gertschen was also able to finish sixth in the javelin throw with a mark of 41.64 meters. Senior Nick Grosskopf placed second in two throwing events, the shot put with a mark of 14.97 meters and the hammer throw with a mark of 54.98 meters. Following Grosskopf in the shot put was junior Ryan Paulick with a third-place mark of 14.96 meters. Rounding out the throwers at Whitewater was senior Mike Heinz with a second-place finish in the discus at 52.27 meters, followed by senior Scott Heinz finishing third in the discus with a mark of 49.17 meters and sixth in the hammer throw with a mark of 48.10 meters. McKenna said Heinz really shined in the field on Sunday. “Mike was the highlight of the whole day,” McKenna said. “He had another meter PR in the discus to move up to fifth in the country.” Scott Heinz said he and all of the throwers performed very well. “We had good weather conditions,” he said. “Everyone in one event or another had a personal best.” As for runners, the Titans received two, fifth-place finishes from Olson in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.11 seconds and junior Charlie Scott in the 800-meter dash at 2:00.72. Olson also finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.53 seconds. Freshman Garrison Griest had two, top-five finishes in hurdles as he took second in the 110-meter run with a time of 15.85 seconds and third place in the 400 with a time of 57.35 seconds. Freshman Kallen Bentz was hurt before the Drake relays and wasn’t able to run, but Allan said the team should be fine moving forward. “Guys stepped up where they needed to be,” Allan said. “Once Kallen gets healthy, we’ll be good to go for conference and nationals.”