Spring season brings fresh sports

With the finales of winter sports, women’s golf and women’s tennis arrive, along with the outdoor track & field spring season.

Mike Johrendt, Sports Editor

The spring season in Wisconsin is (supposedly) here, and along with it comes new seasons starting up for UW Oshkosh athletics.

Both basketball teams, gymnastics, swim and dive and wrestling all had their respective seasons come to a close, ushering in a few new sports to take their places.

Track and field, after completing its indoor season, took a brief period of time off, and is now beginning its outdoor portion. Women’s golf is back in action after its fall season, and women’s tennis also is back after last playing in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship in October.

Track and Field

For the men’s track and field squad, the team is coming off a 28th-place finish in the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on March 10 and is looking to continue that success in the outdoor season.

In the fall season, the team earned three first-place tallies including two in-home meets in December and February.

There are no home meets in the spring season for the Titans as their season begins this Saturday at the Benedictine University Duals in Lisle, Illinois. For every weekend from here on out until May 26, the squad has an event across Illinois, Iowa, Michigan or Wisconsin.

Three athletes who earned All-American honors return for the spring, as freshman Erik Schwandt, junior Ryan Powers and senior Devan Gertschen look to lead the Titans through another strong season.

Schwandt, a sprinter, took home fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.87 seconds. On the season, Schwandt had the team’s fastest time of the year in this event at the championship.

Powers represented the Titans in the 200- and 400-meter dash, and Gertschen in the pole vault. Powers took home fourth in the 400 and 10th in the 200 event, while Gertschen recorded seventh with a jump of 16 feet and 3/4 inches.

This team has 15 seniors on the roster, so look for experience and leadership to carry it successfully through the season.

On the women’s side, four Titans competed in the championship, highlighted by senior sprinter Emily Reichenberger’s sixth-place finish in the 60-meter dash.
This was her third career All-American award and second in the 60-meter.

Other competitors in Alabama were junior Cheyenne Moore, who earned 10th in the 3,000 meter and 13th in the 5,000 meter, junior jumper Lauren Wrensch, who placed 11th in the long jump and sophomore jumper Cara Volz, who took home 15th in the triple jump.

These were first-time appearances for Wrensch and Volz.

The women’s squad has an influx of youth, as 19 freshmen and 17 sophomores make up the vast majority of the team, compared to five juniors and six seniors.

Like the men, the women begin their spring campaign Saturday at Benedictine, hoping to compound their 50th place at the D-III championship meet.

Women’s golf

During the fall season, the women’s golf team earned four top-five finishes including a third place at the WIAC Championship at Reedsburg Country Club. In the lone home meet, the Titans finished second to open the season at Oshkosh Country Club on Sept. 3.

Of the 10 members of the team, seven are underclassmen, led by sophomore Hannah Braun. Braun finished in the top 11 in all five matches, including earning first in the UWO Titan Classic.

Both Braun and senior Micayla Richards, the lone senior, earned All-WIAC Second Team honors while junior Kayla Priebe earned the 2016-17 WIAC Player of the Year.

The team has three spring events, from April 14 to the 29.

The Kathy Niepagen Spring Fling opens the spring schedule on April 14 and 15 in Normal, Illinois, with the second match in Beloit for the UW-Whitewater Spring Fling the following weekend. The spring season concludes with the Viking Invitational on April 28 and 29 in Rock Island, Illinois.

Women’s tennis

The fall season resulted in a fourth place tally for the women’s tennis team in conference, which saw the team earn an eight win, three loss record in 13 events. Outside of 11 season matches, the team placed seventh in an early-season invitational, while another season match went unscored.

The team is built on youth, as six members are freshman or sophomores, with two juniors and two seniors rounding out the rest of the team.

Top performers in singles play were freshman Kelley Hodyl and sophomore Samantha Koppa, as the two combined for 22 wins during the fall.

In doubles play, three combinations earned at least five wins: Hodyl and sophomore Lesley Kutnink (5-4), Koppa and sophomore Alyssa Leffler (6-5) and junior Hannah Peters and senior Bailey Sagen (8-7).

The team already started off its spring season with a 6-3 victory over the Illinois Institute of Technology on March 3. There are six matches at minimum remaining in the season, beginning this Sunday, when the team hosts both Coe (Iowa) and Carthage colleges.