Nationally ranked track and field teams compete at Midwest ELITE Invitational

Evan Moris, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to UW-Whitewater to compete at the Midwest ELITE Invitational last weekend.

The UWO men finished with 88.5 points to place fourth out of 10 teams landing only 1/2 a point behind the third-place team Washington University (MO). UW-La Crosse took first with 151 points as UW-Whitewater placed second with 99.5 points.
Titan women finished fifth out of ten teams with 47.5 points. Winner of the women’s invitational was Washington University (MO) with 176 points, UW-Lacrosse took second with 143 points and UW-Stevens Point placed third with 91 points.
The UWO women’s team had two individual winners in Saturday’s meet. Amanda Van Den Plas dominated the other 25 runners in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:35.13. Van Den Plas outran second place finisher Sophie Young of Washington University by over seven seconds.

Lauren Wrensch impressed in the long jump event as she outleaped the other 33 competitors by almost six inches with a measurement of 18-9 3/4 to take home first place. Wrensch currency is ranked first in the nation in this event with a best of 19-3 1/4.
Wrensch said her own bests keep her striving for higher ceilings in the long jump.

“I really try to hold my performances to a high standard,” Wrensch said. “Knowing that I have jumped well in the past helps keep me confident and hungry for better marks.”

Wrensch aslo placed as runner-up in the 400-meter run with a time of 58.04 seconds. Wrensch and her 1,600 ,meter relay team composed of Lindsay Denu, Alexandra Demco and Taylor Pralle ran to a seventh-place finish at the Midwest Invitational finishing with a time of 4:12.76.

Notables for the women’s team included in Sadie Huth, Allie Marineau and Sydney Rau. Huth ran a 9.38 for fourth place in the women’s hurdles, Marineau took third in the 20-pound weight throw with a hurl of 52-5 and Rau finished sixth in the pole vault with a height of 11-7.

Individually for the UWO men, Jonathan Wilburn was the lone winner on Saturday defeating 20 opponents in the triple jump. Wilburn grabbed the first place finish with a leap of 47-2 1/2. Wilburns best measurement so far this year was 47-7 3/4, a mark that puts him third across all of Division III.

There were three individual second-place finishers for the Titan men on Saturday. Joe Vils took second in the pole vault event with a height of 15-10, Robert Ogbuli was runner-up in the 60-meter dash, claiming a time of 6.96 seconds and Justin Skinkis took second place in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55:92.

The men’s 1,600-meter relay team of Ryan Powers, Todd Beadle, Nick Freitag and Amitai Wheat also finished second with 3:20.40. This group currently ranks fifth in the country with a best time of 3:17.26.
With less than two weeks from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Wrensch said the team has changed it’s attitude as the competition increases.

“The atmosphere [around the team] is becoming very focused and serious as we head into championship season,” Wrensch said. “Everyone has been putting in a lot of work and I’m excited to see that pay off for the team as things get more competitive in the upcoming weeks.”

Powers said team camaraderie is prevalent on the UWO track and field team as the men’s and women’s teams have pushed and cheered each other on throughout the season.
“As a team I would really love to see the men’s and women’s team make top two at conference this year as well as having multiple time national qualifiers,” Powers said.
Head track coach Justin Kinseth said that the team prepares itself for these final weeks of the season.

“Probably the one thing you’ll notice with track individually is you’re going to have a lot of meets to set yourself up for two or three meets in the season that as a team we want to try and get after,” Kinseth said. “That’s when we actually hold up a team trophy.”

The UWO men’s and women’s track teams have two events this upcoming weekend on Friday at the Silverton Invitational in Ann Arbor, MI on the University of Michigan campus beginning at 1 p.m. On Saturday, the Titans will return home to host the UW Oshkosh Titan Challenge at 9:30 a.m. in the final tune up before the WIAC Championship Feb. 22-23.