Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Track prepares for nationals

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field teams had 14 individuals selected to compete in the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Nationals this weekend in Naperville, Ill.

The women’s team had five athletes who will advance to nationals, while the men’s team hadnine, as selections were made by the NCAA on Monday night.

Head coach Mary Theisen had only good things to say about her teams’ performances this past weekend and their upcoming trip this Friday and Saturday.

“I am so, so proud of the athletes that have made it to the national meet,” Theisen said. “I told them all year that the hardest part about the national meet is getting there, and now they are there. Now they just have to rise to the occasion and have a good time.”

The teams competed in the non-scoring Carthage College Final Qualifier on Friday and the non-scoring UW-Stevens Point National Qualifier on Saturday.

Both competitions were considered “last-chance meets” for athletes to have strong showings prior to heading to nationals the next weekend.

The Women’s Team

On the women’s side, junior Emily Reichenberger will compete at nationals in the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

“It was my goal since the beginning of this year to qualify for nationals in both events,” Reichenberger said. “I always considered myself to be stronger in the 200-meters up until this year. I’m really excited that I am able to compete in both at the national meet.”

On Saturday, Reichenberger competed in the 200-meter dash in Stevens Point where she took second place out of 24 runners with a time of 25.44 seconds.

Reichenberger is seeded sixth in the 60-meter dash and 11th in the 200-meter dash for nationals. Last season, the junior earned her first All-American honor when she placed sixth in the 200-meter race with a time of 25.52.

Reichenberger is not the only UWO track athlete who qualified for two events at nationals. Sophomore Ryan Powers will be competing in both the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay this weekend.

According to Theisen, being in two events at nationals shows just how gifted both Powers and Reichenberger are.

“It’s amazing but not 100 percent uncommon for athletes to double in events,” Theisen said. “Luckily, their training helps them in all their events, not just one. These two are unbelievably talented.”

Reichenberger explained how she fits in enough time to practice for two races.

“For practice we divide our workouts into ‘sprints’ and ‘400-meter’ runners,” Reichenberger said. “I practice with the sprints crew and most of us run both the 200 and 60 which makes practice easy since I don’t have to balance my time. We all do block work, longer running workouts and circuit training throughout the week as a group.”

In the 800-meter dash, first-time national qualifier junior Kristen Linzmeier is seeded 10th. Her qualifying time is 2:14.03. The junior did not run this past weekend.

New Faces

Distance coach Eamon McKenna said there is some inexperience on the women’s side as three of the five athletes have never been this far before, since it will be the first time competing at nationals for Linzmeier, junior Cheyenne Moore and junior Alyssa Ryan.

“The main goal of the women’s team is to gain experience and earn some All-American awards with our five competing members,” McKenna said.

On Saturday, Moore will be running in the 5000-meter race as the 10th seed. The junior has a qualifying time of 17:17.72 and did not race in Stevens Point this past Saturday.

Ryan will represent the Titans’ pole vault team as the 15th seed at nationals. She placed ninth this past weekend with a height of 11 feet, 2.25 inches.

To wrap up the women’s team, senior Lizzy Abhold is seeded 14th. She qualified for nationals with a throw distance of 57-5 3/4.

Theisen said she looks forward to see how the women perform at nationals.

“As a team, our goals are to place well,” Theisen said. “We want to keep Oshkosh on the track and field map and show the rest of the United States what we are about. It’s a very exciting week for us.”

The Men’s Team

On the men’s team, Powers, who was named an All-American last year, will advance to nationals to run in the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay. The sophomore is seeded 13th for the 400-meter dash.

“It felt great qualifying for both those races at nationals this next weekend,” Powers said. “I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be an easy task coming into this year, but I definitely knew it was possible. I just had to go out there and perform like I knew I could and everything would fall in place.”

This past weekend, Powers took fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.72 seconds.

Sophomore Justin Skinkis and junior Nick Feitag will both be competing in the 800-meter dash for the Titans. Feitag competed this past weekend for UWO and placed fourth with a time of 1:56.56.

Feitag will be seeded 13th this upcoming weekend, while Skinkis is seeded first.

Skinkis and Freitag are not the only two males to qualify for the same event for the Titans. Juniors Roberto Lara and Joe Zack both will advance to nationals this weekend to compete against one another in the mile.

According to Theisen, having two athletes from the same event compete against one another helps create healthy competition during practice.

“In the mile and the 800, the guys are very friendly,” Theisen said. “It is a great training group and they’ve helped each other get to the level they are at.”
Lara did not compete in the one mile run this past weekend in Stevens Point, but Zack placed eighth with a time of 4:21.56.

This will be Lara’s third consecutive year racing at nationals. He is seeded third this season, while Zack earned the 15th seed.

In the 4×400-meter relay, senior Danny Trimner, Powers, junior Garrison Griest and sophomore Morgan Malm will combine to compete for the Titans. The relay team did not compete this past weekend, but it will be seeded fourth with a time of 3:18.20 at nationals.

Powers said it can be difficult competing in two events, but he is thankful for the opportunity to be doing so.

“Thankfully, both the events require me to run a 400 so I don’t have to alter much of my practice time for the two events,” Powers said. “However, I have to work on hand-offs during practice time for the 4×400 meter relay to make sure everything runs smooth. It can be a bit stressful knowing I could be running multiple events both days which puts a toll on my legs, but I knew I’d be having to do this if I had qualified in each event.”

Junior Devan Gertschen will round-out the men’s team by advancing for pole vault. He is seeded 10th, as he placed second this past weekend with a height of 16-1 1/4.
McKenna said the success his athletes have encountered this year comes from their drive on and off the track.

“Our cross country and track and field athletes here at UW Oshkosh are a close-knit group that value consistent and focused work as students, as athletes and as members of the campus and greater community,” McKenna said. “It is a goal of ours to take care of ourselves, make good decisions and to focus on our goals in all our endeavors. Our team’s success is a direct reflection of the commitment our student athletes make to working hard and making good decisions throughout the year.”

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