Track fights cold, takes second at Benedictine

UWO men’s and women’s teams both finish as runners-up to Division I Loyola University of Illinois in first meet of the outdoor season

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field squads opened their outdoor seasons on Saturday at the Benedictine University Invitational. Both the men and women were able to turn in impressive performances despite the meet’s chilly climate.

Men’s results

The men’s team finished second with 85 points, behind Division I Loyola University of Illinois. A bulk of the team’s points came in the pole vault, where UWO athletes claimed the event’s top four spots.

Senior jumper Devan Gertschen won the event with a height of 15-5, followed by sophomores Joe Vils and Zachary Emmer and senior Mitchell Hasey, who finished second, third and fourth, respectively.

Gertschen also had a strong showing in the long jump, finishing third with a leap measuring 21-2 1/2.

Other strong performances from the Titan men came in the form of second-place finishes from junior sprinter Ryan Powers in the 100-meter dash and junior thrower Bailey Quinn in the hammer throw.

Senior sprinter Nolan Peterson said despite the less-than-desirable conditions, the team will use its solid outing as a springboard for the rest of the season.

“Even though many of us didn’t run the times we wanted to, I think we are a step ahead of most of the teams in the conference because of the extra meet we are getting in this season over our competitors,” Peterson said.

Women’s results

The Titan women also achieved a second-place finish behind Loyola, scoring an impressive 97 points.

Their strong showing was bolstered by a pair of first-place finishes from sophomore hurdler Cara Volz and junior jumper Megan Leahy.

Volz won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.27 seconds. Three other Titans finished in the top five of the event with the freshman trio of Sadie Huth, Erica Lorenz and Katie Retzlaff finishing third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Leahy won the pole vault with a height of 12-4 3/4. The event marked another strong point for the Titans with sophomores Sydney Rau and Alicia Moon finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Titans also scored big off of second-place finishes from sophomores Taylor Pralle in the 200-meter dash and Alexandria Steger in the javelin toss.

Senior sprinter Karina Marchan said the team did a good job overcoming adversity in its first meet of the season.

“We did well handling what we were given,” Marchan said. “Everyone else has to deal with that, too, so it’s just a matter of who’s going to be more mentally prepared, who’s going to be more physically prepared and who’s going to handle it better.”

Freshman distance runner Spencer Muffler said the next meet will allow the team to work on things to ensure they reach their potential.

“We had some good performances starting off the outdoor season even with the cold weather, but we have a lot of work to do for the next few weeks of the season,” Muffler said. “It’ll go by fast, so all of the small things matter.”

The Titans next meet will be the UW-Platteville Invitational on April 13-14.