Track and field hosts home invite

Jordan Fremstad

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field team had seven athletes post top-13 national scores at the UWO Invitational on Feb. 11.

On the women’s side, five athletes found themselves putting up national scores, including Emily Reichenberger who posted a second place time of 25.36 seconds in the 200-meter dash good for seventh in the country.

Interim head coach Mary Theisen said she was pleased with Reichenberger’s performance.

“Emily has done all the little things right to be as fast as she is,” Theisen said. “She lifted hard this summer, pushes herself and just wants to be the best. Her future is beyond bright.”

Juniors Kristen Linzmeier and Alyssa Ryan both won their respective events. Linzmeier bested 31 other athletes in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.19, good for 13th-best in the country this season.

Ryan posted a pole vault leap of 3.73 meters, defeating 19 other participants with the 10th-highest mark this season.

Karina Marchan had the 11th-best long-jump of the season, recording a second place measurement of 5.59 meters. The 20-pound weight throw included senior Elizabeth Abhold throwing a distance of 17.32 meters to take second place.

Despite the solid performance, Abhold said she needs to step up more when the stakes are high.

“My first two throws were both scratches, and I needed a throw to take me into finals,” Abhold said. “In the past, I have not responded well to the pressure and I was afraid I would repeat those mistakes. I took a two turn for my last throw as opposed to the three’s I normally do, because they’re more of a safe throw, and I finally got a mark that would take me to finals. In the finals, I finally got in my groove, and had three throws that before the previous weekend would have all been season personal records.”

Abhold said it was good to face adversity coming to the final indoor meet of the season.

“Even with a second place finish, it was a good learning experience,” Abhold said. “I had to face the pressure that I’ll likely see again and it allowed me to react positively over negatively.”

Another top performance included the 17th-fastest time in the nation with sophomore Olivia Seeley recording a 60-meter dash time of 7.86 seconds for second place.

On the men’s side, juniors Nick Freitag, Roberto Lara, and Joe Zack all won their running events.

Zack had a strong two days, taking third in the mile run at the Showcase at St.Thomas University (Minn.) and didn’t return to Oshkosh until 2 a.m. the day of the invitational. However, he didn’t show any signs of fatigue, winning the 3000-meter run with a first place time of 8:49.11

In the mile run, Lara took down 18 other contestants in a time of 4:11.29. Freitag won the 800-meter run in 1:55.59.

Sophomore Christian Lopez had a strong day as well, posting a pair of top 14 national listings in the 60-meter dash in a time of 6.92 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 22.33 seconds.

Lopez talked about sustaining the success with the looming WIAC championships coming up.

“My goal throughout the season has been to stay consistent,” Lopez said. “I know I can do more, but I don’t want to chase times. With big meets coming up my mindset is to simply run faster than the guys next to me and the times will come.”

However, Lopez said he has not lost sight of facing some incredibly talented athletes this weekend.

“Heading into the next few meets, I would like solidify my place in the national rankings,” Lopez said. “Luckily the WIAC has some really fast sprinters that are also qualified nationally, so the opportunity to race a few of them this weekend will bring a highly competitive atmosphere.”

The nation’s 13th-fastest time in the 400-meter run belongs to sophomore Ryan Powers with a second-place time of 49.36 seconds.

As a team, the men finished third out of six teams with a combined score of 124.5 points. UW-Stevens Point took first with 184 points and UW-Whitewater took second with 174.5 points. St. Norbert College, UW-La Crosse and Lawrence University rounded out the bottom.

For the women, UWO fell to four out of five total teams with 82 points. UW-La Crosse showed why it has won the WIAC the last four years posting 261.5 points, blowing away the competition. UW-Whitewater finished second with 94 points, UW-Stevens Point was next with 87.5 points and St. Norbert came in last with 45 points.

Abhold said the team will need to use the UWO Titan Challenge meet on Saturday as a stepping stone to improve for the conference indoor championships next week.

“We have around ten teams coming, and a lot of good competition that we will compete against the next weekend at the WIAC Conference meet,” Abhold said. “For several people on the team, it’s their last chance to qualify for that championship meet. For us seniors, it’s our last home meet and our last chance to compete in Kolf.”

Theisen talked about the importance of getting more athletes qualified for conference at the Titan Challenge.

“Our goal is to host a great meet with awesome competition and to get our kids who aren’t qualified for conference, qualified,” Theisen said. “We are hoping in the next two meets to really prove ourselves in this conference and at the national level.”

As a senior, Abhold reflected on some of her experiences as a Titan.

“When I came in my freshman year, I had already heard stories of Oshkosh Throws and the former athletes and coaches that had been a part of the program,” Abhold said. “During my freshman year, I heard countless stories that were funny, scary, exciting, everything under the sun. I learned about each one of the amazing athletes we had from stories that the older people on the team carried on, and in doing so I felt and feel immense pressure to keep the reputation they had.”

Abhold said past success keeps current athletes focused on making their mark on the program.

“Oshkosh has had the WIAC hammer title for 14 years, something other competitors in the conference have tried to break,” Abhold said. “We all know what rests on our shoulders when we put the Oshkosh jersey on, but I don’t feel that it is a negative having that pressure either. Knowing what is expected of us to uphold is the driving force of every day of practice, every lift, every throw we take.”