Track team moves out

Trent Allaback, Copy Desk Editor

The UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s track teams began the outdoor season over the weekend with athletes competing at both the UW-Platteville Pioneer opener and the Washington University in the St. Louis Invitational.

At the Washington University invitational, the Titans displayed strong individual performances with many personal records (PRs) and one school record in the women’s 10,000-meter in the first outdoor event of the season.

In the women’s 10,000-meter event, Senior Ashton Keene broke the UW Oshkosh school record with a time of 35:43.87, breaking the previous record set in 2016 by Hannah Kuenzi by 25 seconds. Keene finished third in the women’s 10,000 behind Emma Walter of Washington University (35:21.49) and Chloe Figgins of the University of Memphis (35:35.90).

Titan runners Alexandria Demco and Libby Geisness both competed in the 800-meter race, finishing second and fourth place respectively, with times of 2:14.81 and 2:19.18 in a field of 26 runners.

Courtesy of UWO Athletics
Jackson Sheckler, a senior, puts a shot for a distance of 51 feet and 10 ½ inches.

On the men’s team, senior Steven Potter secured the only first place finish of the event for the Titans in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:54.95. Potter cites several factors that contributed to his success both before and during the race. One such factor was the success that his teammates experienced on the first day of competition.

“Everybody that competed on the first day PR’d, so we were all very excited and that helped with my nerves quite a bit.” Potter also created a race plan in order to optimize his performance in the race.

“There were about 25 mile per hour winds on the track, so I factored that into my plan. I was aware of one other All-American in the race (second place finisher Alex Cobin) that I had to plan for as well. I wanted him to have to confront the wind in the first half of the race and then I went into my final kick about 350 [meters] out from the finish, and I was able to pull ahead.”

At the UWP Pioneer Opener, throwers on both the men and women’s teams put together a very strong showing across all four throwing events.

For the men’s team, Jackson Sheckler placed first in the shot put with a distance of 51 feet and 10 ½ inches, defeating 28 contestants and recording the sole first place finish for the Titans at the Pioneer opener. Finishing second in the shot put was Titan Nick Tegtmeier with a distance of 51-1 ½.

The men’s throwers also found success in the hammer throw with Jacob Dennison placing sixth and Jack Malloy placing seventh, as well as an eighth place finish from Tegtmeier in the discus.

The women’s throwers had an outstanding day with nine total top-eight finishes across four events. Brenna Masloroff led the Titan throwers by taking second place in hammer throw with a distance of 164-11, third in discus with 128-4, and fifth in shot put with 42-3 ½. Masloroff gives credit to the support of her teammates as the main contributing factor to her success.

“A lot of teams say that they’re a family, but it feels especially true for this team. There is so much support for everybody across all events at the meets. If you’re wearing the black and gold, somebody is going to be cheering for you in your event.” Masloroff also said that her favorite moment from the event came when she surpassed 50 feet in the hammer throw for the first time on her way to her second place finish.

“I’m usually a little calmer after my events, but after I hit 50 [feet in the hammer throw], everybody got up and started screaming and jumping around me. It was just an amazing feeling.” In addition to the support of her teammates, Masloroff also included her work ethic and dedication as contributing factors to her success.

“I’m never really content with what I throw, and I feel that I work hard to keep improving. I also have amazing friends that help to motivate me and get me into the weight room every day to keep working on my abilities.”

Elise Deaver, Katie Fruth, and Allie Marineau each finished top eight in two throwing events. Deaver finished fourth in both the discus and hammer throw, with distances of 138-10 and 116-9. Fruth recorded a measurement of 42-4 ¾ to finish fourth in shot put and a distance of 97-10 to finish fourth in javelin. Marineau finished sixth in the hammer throw with a distance of 136-5 and seventh in the shot put with a distance of 37-11 ½. In addition, Cara Volz placed second in the javelin throw with a measurement of 101-6.

The Titans had one other top-eight finish in the Pioneer opener from Ryan Dolnik, who placed third in the men’s 5,000 meter race with a time of 16:02.34.
Both Potter and Masloroff are optimistic for the season moving forward thanks to the culture of support present within the team.

“We have a great sense of camaraderie with each other,” said Potter. “In the distance runs especially, there is always somebody there to support the runner throughout their races.”

Masloroff said: “Our team has the ability to do something special, and not because of raw talent alone, but because of the atmosphere and the bond that we all have with each other. The closeness that I’ve gained with my teammates is something that I won’t ever forget.”

The Titans will be back in action on April 9th at the UW-La Crosse Ashton May Invitational.