Track dusts competition at Titan Challenge

Josh Woolwine

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track and field teams finished first and second in their divisions respectively at the Titan Challenge at the Kolf Sports Center on Saturday.

The Titan men finished with a whopping 157.5 points, 59 points ahead of second place UW-Eau Claire, while the Titan women finished with 92 points, 19 points behind UWEC.

The men were paced by finishing in the top four places in the 60-meter dash led by freshman Jaylen Grant, with Robert Ogbuli, Denzel Thomas, and Benjamin Jung finishing in second, third and fourth respectively.

The Titan men also got a boost from Jamyle Brantley in the long jump and Steven Potter, set a personal record in the mile run. Despite this, Potter is shooting for an 800m title.

UW Oshkosh Photoshelter
Freshman Jaylen Grant runs a 6.81 60-meter dash, a time that’s good enough for second fastest in Division-III track and a new school record for the event. Grant also won WAC Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors for his performance.

“Even though I am very pleased with my new mile PR I’ll be going after the 800 meter race this year at Nationals because I am currently ranked third in the nation in D-III,” Potter said.

Potter also says that getting out of his heat at the upcoming Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday will be crucial.

“This Friday at conference I plan on getting out with my heat because a few of those guys have PRs [personal records] that are faster than my own which will carry me to a faster time,” he said. “If I could cut two to three seconds off my mile that would secure a place in the mile at the National meet.”

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, the Titans were led by freshman Libby Geisness in the 800m run, alongside Amanda Van Den Plas in the mile run. Geisness finished first among a field of 45 runners.

“I knew the race was going to be competitive from the start,” Geisness said. “As we had another girl in our heat that was taking us out to pace the first half of the race. I felt really well the whole race and once I crossed the finish line and looked at the scoreboard, my jaw actually dropped because I was in shock that I had just run the time that I did.”

Geisness also mentions that there were several factors that helped give her the boost she needed.

“The last lap of the 800 is when I realized that I had more left in me and that I needed to give everything I had in order to see the time I was going for,” she said. “The energy in the room was really exciting and helped me push all the way through. Once I got to the last stretch of the race, my coach, Eamon, was on the corner yelling to keep pushing all the way through the line. I could see my teammates cheering me on ahead at the finish line, and that is all that was going through my head—to keep pushing and to finish as strong as I could all the way through the finish line.”

Geisness, who is ranked 11th in the nation in the 800m run, is doing whatever she can to maintain her current form down the homestretch of the indoor season.

“It is really cool to currently be ranked 11th and I’m really thankful to be able to compete at this level,” she said. “Throughout the season I have been really focused on getting good sleep, eating good, hydrating, having really solid workouts on workout days and overall just taking good care of myself. I’m excited to keep testing my limits and push myself out of my comfort zone. These next couple weeks are going to be very exciting and a whole different atmosphere and I’m glad I get to be apart of all of it.”

The WIAC Indoor Championship on Friday and Saturday is the last meet the team has before the national meets, and then it will be time to prepare for the outdoor season.

“There is no mile race in the outdoor season,” Potter said. “but I will be looking to go after my 1500 meter PR in hopes of double qualifying in both the 800 and 1500 meter race for outdoor nats.”