Track and field finalizes preparations for WIAC Championship

Evan Moris, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in three invites in three cities in preparation for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship at UW-Platteville.

The top performers from the track and field roster traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete at the renowned Drake Relays last Thursday through Saturday.

In Des Moines, Justin Skinkis and Jonathan Wilburn brought home fourth-place finishes. Skinkis led a pack of three UWO entries in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.88. Teammates Steven Potter and Nick Freitag took eighth and eleventh place with times of 1:53.30 and 1:53.73, respectively.

Wilburn continued his impressive freshman year as he skipped a distance of 49-6 1/2 feet in the triple jump. Wilburn is currently ranked second in D-III.

Titan pole vaulter Joe Vils captured a fifth-place finish, clearing a height of 15-9. Vils is ranked No. 2 in D-III with a height of 16-9 1/2.

Vils said the challenge of the Drake Relays pushed him to set his sights higher.

“It’s definitely going to push me to do a lot more than I’m used to,” Vils said. “Try new things, get on bigger poles. Great experience to surround myself with a lot of great athletes.”

Three other individual performances for the men in Iowa came from Bailey Quinn in the hammer throw, Jack Flynn in the discus and Robert Ogbuli in the 100-meter dash.

Quinn took 19th out of 23 participants with a distance of 177-8, Flynn took 23rd with a measurement 150-11 and Ogbuli finished 32nd with a time of 11.13 seconds.

In the preliminary 400-meter relay team of Ogbuli, Benjamin Jung, Christian Lopez and Ryan Powers finished with the third-best time at 41.50 seconds. The relay team declined to run in the finals.

The 1,600-meter relay team of Powers, Potter, Skinkis and Todd Beadle finished 14th with a time of 3:15.16.

Powers said the he’s reached the point in his career where he knows every track and how to take advantage of it.

“Being a senior, I have been to just about every track meet we have on the schedule,” Powers said. “I know the way things run and how to get good performances down.”

The women had two individual performers at the Drake Relays: Lauren Wrensch in the long jump and Alexandria Steger in the javelin throw.

Nationally ranked Wrensch finished 16th out of 26 competitors with a measurement of 18-10 feet, and Steger finished 24th of 28 competitors with a toss of 116-0 feet.

UWO women’s 1600-meter relay of Wrensch, Alexandra Demco, Lindsay Denu and Taylor Pralle recorded the 13th fastest time in D-III with a time of 3:54.27, a good time for a 14th place finish at the Drake Relays.

As a senior, Wrensch said she’s taken the responsibility to guide this team as the meets heat up.

“I was selected as one of the team captains, and it’s a role I took very seriously,” Wrensch said. “Some of the more important things I have helped with is working to motivate the underclassmen and showing them how far their hard work can get them.”

Oshkosh athletes competed at two other events, Simpson College Kip Janvrin Open and the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative Meet.

At the Simpson College Kip Janvrin Open, Andrew George recorded a time of 9:31.55 to finish seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and Cody Chadwick took 14th in the 5,000-meter with a time of 15:17.58.

Titan participant Hannah Lohrenz took fifth in the 800-meter run at 2:17.32.

The UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative Meet featured several top-four finishes from the UWO men’s and women’s track and field teams.

For the men, Jackson Sheckler and Nick Tegtmeier finished first and second in the shotput with distances of 53-7 and 52-6, respectively.

Abel Christiansen and Jamyle Brantley finished second in the 400-meter hurdles and long jump.

Christensen finished with a time of 55.94 and Brantley leaped a distance of 23-9 1/2. Christensen also finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.10 seconds.

Flynn, Devin Moody, Noah O’Neill and Avery Van Zee all finished fourth in their respective events.

Flynn took fourth in the discus throw with a distance of 153-6, Moody cleared a height of 6-3 1/4 in the high jump, O’Neill finished with a time of 4:12.46 in the 1,500-meter run and Van Zee threw the javelin in a measurement of 148-1.

On the women’s side, Isabella Samuels finished first in the women’s shotput with a measurement of 45-7 1/2. Samuels is currently ranked third in D-III.

The women’s hammer throw featured two top-four finishes with Mikaela Zolecki and Kahley Logan. Zolecki finished second with a distance of 160-1 as Logan took fourth at 147-4.

Morgan Endries and Melissa Srnka each finished second in Whitewater. Edries took second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.80 seconds while Srnka finished with a time of 2.22.80 in the 800-meter dash. Endries also finished third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.27 seconds.

The final top-four finish came from Michaela Barrette in the discus with a measurement of 122-2 feet.

The UWO men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to UW-Platteville to compete at the WIAC Outdoor Championships this Friday and Saturday.