Four runners earn All-American honors

Nine members of the UW Oshkosh track and field team competed at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama on March 9 and 10.

Five athletes represented the men’s team over the weekend. The team’s performance was highlighted by three All-American honors earned by its members at the meet.

Freshman sprinter Erik Schwandt earned the honor by placing fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.87 seconds. The meet marked his first All-American performance.

Junior sprinter Ryan Powers also turned in an award-winning performance. He qualified in both the 400-meter run and 200-meter dash but took home honors in the former by taking sixth with a time of 48.56 seconds. Powers was also an All-American in the event in 2016.

Senior pole vaulter Devan Gertschen topped off the list of All-Americans by placing seventh in the event with a height of 16-3/4. It was his first time winning in the award after missing out by one spot the last two years.

Gertschen said the key to his success in the intense atmosphere at nationals was remembering how he got there in the first place.

“Going into a meet like this, it’s easy to get nervous and anxious,” Gertschen said. “You just have to remember that you’re good at what you do and that you deserve to be here.”

The Titans also saw solid performances from senior distance runner Joe Zack and sophomore pole vaulter Joe Vils.

Zack finished 11th in the preliminary round of the mile with a time of 4:13.87, and Vils earned 13th place with a height of 15-1.

The men’s team, which was crowned indoor national champions in 2009, finished 28th out of 66 teams who qualified.

Four Titan women also earned the right to compete over the weekend at nationals.

The women’s team was led by the All-American performance of senior sprinter Emily Reichenberger. She qualified in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dash but earned the honor in the 60-meters with her sixth-place time of 7.73 seconds.

Reichenberger has previously won two All-American awards in her career: one in 2016 in the 200-meter dash and another in 2017 in the 60-meter dash.

Despite her impressive performance, Reichenberger said she was humbled by her experience over the weekend.

“Nationals is just crazy because when we get there and you look around, you just know that everyone there is just the best of the best,” Reichenberger said.

The Titans had three other representatives competing in Alabama last weekend.

Junior distance runner Cheyenne Moore qualified for two events: the 3,000-and 5,000-meter runs. She placed 10th in the 3,000 and 13th in the 5,000 with times of 9:47.20 and 17:19.83, respectively. It was Moore’s second appearance at nationals.

A pair of jumpers, junior Lauren Wrensch and sophomore Cara Volz, rounded out the women’s team this weekend, competing in the long and triple jumps, respectively. Both Wrensch and Volz were first-time qualifiers.

The women’s team, who has racked up a division-leading nine national titles, placed 50th out of 66 teams.

Moore said nationals offers a unique experience to competitors that are not typical at regular season meets.

“Nationals is a fun experience,” Moore said. “You get to compete against people and schools that you do not see during the regular season. The nerves are naturally a little higher than with the regular season meets because you are competing on a bigger stage with a more measurable distinction between success and failure.”