Track impresses at Hillsdale Gina Relays

In a meet full of Division I and Division II schools, the Titans have three distance runners with top-10 finishes in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Trevor Hurst, Sports Writer

UW Oshkosh track and field had another jam-packed weekend, competing in the Hillsdale Gina Relays April 26-28 in Hillsdale, Michigan and the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative meet on April 28.

Only a handful of runners made their way to Michigan to compete in the relays, and the meet offered high levels of competition for some of UWO’s most talented athletes, hosting many Divison I and Division II schools such as Ball State, Toledo and Michigan Tech.

Despite competing against runners from the NCAA’s highest divisions, UWO was able to leave its mark on the meet.

The Titans accomplished two top-10 finishes in the 800-meter run with senior distance runner Joe Zack and junior distance runner Nick Freitag finishing sixth and ninth, respectively.

Senior distance runner Cheyenne Moore also turned in an impressive top-10 performance, earning sixth in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 37:05.05.

Head distance coach Eamon McKenna said even though the team didn’t achieve its usual level of success, it was still able to improve by learning from the meet.

“One big reminder is that not every meet is going to play out the way you hope,” McKenna said. “Despite some less-than-ideal conditions for some events, and some performances that left us disappointed, we need to remember that each day and each meet provides a separate opportunity to improve and perform our best. A key to bouncing back and competing well is to set aside last week’s performance and move on to the next opportunity.”

The team had a dominant performance in Whitewater, notching 23 top-five finishes, including three at the top of the podium.

The men’s team was led by a pair of first-place finishes from senior Devan Gertschen in the pole vault with a height of 16 4-¾ and the 4×100-meter relay team, consisting of freshmen Erik Schwandt and Robert Ogbuli, junior Ryan Powers and senior Nolan Peterson, which finished with a time of 42.52.

Powers had a strong meet across the board, finishing second in the 200-meter dash and third in the 100-meter dash.

Junior thrower Bailey Quinn and senior jumper Bryce Mancheski performed well in the field as well, with Quinn finishing second in the hammer throw and Mancheski taking second in the long jump.

According to Schwandt, the grit showed by the team in Whitewater is a big part of the team’s identity — and a big reason for its success.

“We just have to continue working on showing up and showing that Titans don’t back down,” Schwandt said.

The women’s team was highlighted by a first-place finish from sophmore thrower Ally Steger, who won the javelin toss with a throw of 112-11.

Junior Lauren Wrensch turned heads with strong performances in all her events, including two fifth-place finishes in the 200-meter dash and long jump, and as part of the 4×100-meter relay team that finished fourth.

The Titan women had a strong day in the field as well, as junior thrower Isabella Samuels and sophomore Cara Volz earned second place in the hammer toss and triple jump, respectively.

Senior sprinter Emily Reichenberger said as the season pushes forward, it is important for the team to do the little things right to ensure its success continues.

“I think it’s important, especially for track athletes since our season is so long, to do all the little things right,” Reichenberger said. “Warming up properly, drinking enough water, rolling out, getting good sleep, nutrition, cool downs after our events, etc. I think as a team we should not only do these little things for ourselves, but moving forward encourage each other to do them as well.”