Powers, Wrensch lead UWO at conference


Justin Kinseth

Seniors Ryan Powers and Lauren Wrensch pose after taking the crown in both 400-meter races at Whitewater.

Evan Moris, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh men and women track and field teams competed at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last Friday and Saturday. The men’s team placed second out of eight teams, and the women took fourth..
The Titan men scored 104, points falling only behind UW-La Crosse who compiled 189.5 points. UW-Platteville took bronze with a final score of 90.

UWO men were lead by Ryan Powers and Jonathan Wilburn, who were the lone winners over the weekend. Powers won the 200-meter dash and 400-meter run. In the 200, Powers posted a time of 21.88 and set a WAIC and school record running a 48.20 in the 400.

Wilburn continued his reign in the triple-jump, taking home first place with a lead of 49-3 1/2. Wilburn’s mark put him as the top triple-jump athlete in the nation.
Notables from the men’s team include Joe Vils who took second in the pole vault with a height of 15-9 3/4. UWO had four third-place finishers from last weekend; Denzel Thomas ran a 6.94 in the 60-meter dash, Steven Potter grinded a 1:54.49 in the 800-meter run and Justin Rivers cleared a height of 6-7 1/2 in the high jump.

Additionally, the distance medley relay team of Potter, Nick Freitag, Andrew George and Amitai Wheat finished third with a time of 10:23.01.

On the women’s side, Lauren Wrensch shined again over the weekend winning the long jump and the 400-meter run. Nationally ranked No. 1 Wrensch took home first with a measurement of 19-2 1/2 to take home gold, outjumping second-place finisher Adrienne Lewis of UW-Stevens Point by 10 inches. Fellow Titan jumper Sadie Huth finished fourth with a leap of 17-11 1/2.

Head coach Justin Kinseth said Wrensch’s improvement has been nothing short of incredible.

“When we went to the Midwest Elite at Whitewater a few weeks ago and four of the top five girls in the long jump in the country were at that meet,” Kinesth said, “I think she jumped maybe three times and won it. She’s in a whole ‘nother realm right now for jumping.”

Huth said her progress since last season has surprised herself.

“Coming home this weekend with a fourth-place finish in the long jump was far from expectation,” Huth said. “This year it was decided that I would participate in long jump, and since then I’ve fallen in love with it. From last year to this year, I never thought I would have made the podium in long jump at conference. This year I have worked hard to get stronger, and that strength has helped me progress in the long jump.”

Wrensch posted a time of 56.91 seconds in the 400, over a second faster than her season-best 58.04. Wrensch came into the conference championships as the second seed and outran second-place finisher UW-La Crosse’s Mara Schroeder by over a second (58.02).

Wrensch concluded her weekend by taking third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.53 and running to a fourth-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay with teammates Lindsay Denu, Alexandra Demco and Taylor Pralle with a time of 4:00.95.
While dominating on the track, Wrensch has been equally as impressive as a senior leader of the team, Huth said.

“Lauren Wrench has been the best captain and teammate anyone can ask for,” Huth said. “She is one of the most inspirational athletes on the team because of how her hard work has paid off. She has also been the one who gets more excited about my jumps than I do, and that really helps me keep a positive attitude knowing that Lauren is proud of my accomplishments, so I should be too.”

UWO distance runner Cheyenne Moore was able to capture a first place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:59.21. UWO’s Amanda Van Den Plas finished eighth with a time of 10:21.58.
Van Den Plas and Moore also took home second and third in the mile run with times of 5:05.04 and 5:06.36.

Van Den Plas said she acquired trust in her abilities after her performance in the mile at the WIAC Championship.

“Competing well at conference enables me to gain confidence in where I am at right now in the season,” Van Den Plas said. “I’m getting stronger, and I can feel it now when I race. This past weekend is giving me a greater outlook on what the last chance meets will look like and what my likelihood of moving on the national meet is as well.”

The women’s team finished with 77 points, 12 points fewer than last year when the team placed third.

UWO will compete in last chance national qualifiers at Carthage College on March 1 and UW-Stevens Point on March 2 before the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship on March 8-9 in Boston.