Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

UW Oshkosh track and field athlete leaps to championship victory

Courtesy of UWO Athletics Joshua Rivers (far right) won the WIAC long jump on Feb. 23.

UW Oshkosh senior Joshua Rivers won the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship for long jump and helped his team secure third place overall in track and field.

The UW Oshkosh national qualifiers competed in Virginia Beach, Virginia on March 8 and 9, and the men’s team earned 10 All-America nods and third place overall with a score of 51 points.

On his first jump, Rivers made a 7.58-meter jump which is the longest in program history. 

Rivers said his national championship win was incomparable to any other. 

“There were a lot of emotions that went into this meet before, during and after,” Rivers said. “But once I realized I had done it, it was just a very surreal experience and I feel honored to have won it.”

Men’s track and field assistant coach Jared Benson said that Rivers’ win greatly contributed to the team’s third-place ranking. 

“When you have a national champion like Josh who’s earning 10 points for their event, it’s going to have a really big impact on those final results,” Benson said. “It’s just one of the pieces to the puzzle, and once you put it all together, it makes for a nice picture.”

Rivers said that, as a team, being only one point away from second place overall was a bittersweet moment.

“Seeing how close we were was irritating in the moment,” Rivers said. “But at the end of the day, we can’t be mad because we came and did what we wanted to do.”

Benson said that Rivers is always diligently dialed in on the athletic improvement process. 

“Not only is he asking the questions needed to improve, but he’s applying everything that he learns,” Benson said. “There are only so many things a coach can tell an athlete before they have to take things into their own hands, and Josh isn’t afraid to go out and do just that.” 

Benson said that Rivers’ record-setting first jump left Benson surprised yet worried that another team might top it.

“It’s always nerve-wracking waiting to see if someone’s going to beat your team,” Benson said. “My eyes were stuck to the leaderboard the entire time waiting for something to change, but the great thing was that nothing did.”

Rivers said that he was able to keep his nerves under control despite the stakes riding on this meet. 

“I told myself, hey, this is just another meet,” Rivers said. “At the end of the day, no matter the situation or the results, I’m gonna be happy that I’m even in this position in the first place. So I just got after it.”

Rivers said that he hopes to bring this success into his outdoor season this Spring. 

“I definitely have some big goals going into the outdoor season that I want to attack,” Rivers said. “But for right now, I’m just taking my training day by day so I can get to that point.”

Benson said that he believes that the best is yet to come from Rivers and that he sees immense potential for Rivers’ outdoor season. 

“The crazy thing about him is that he’s already jumping really far, but I know for a fact that we haven’t seen his farthest jump yet,” Benson said. “If we can find those last two pieces of the puzzle, he could end up pushing that record even farther than he already has.”

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