No. 1 track teams dominate at UW-Whitewater meets
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 01:02
The nation’s No. 1 ranked track and field teams notched another set of impressive victories as the UW Oshkosh men’s track and field team traveled to UW-Whitewater on Feb. 1 to compete in the Converse Invitational and the women followed suit on Feb. 2 when they ran in the Warhawk Classic.
Although they were two different events, both teams yielded similar results as the women took first in an eight team field and the men took second in their nine-team event.
The women’s victory came with help from a school-record breaking distance medley 11 minutes and 43.46 seconds that was an astounding 17 seconds faster than any other time recorded in the event this season nationwide.
The medley team is led by seniors McKenzie Kelly and Christy Cazzola, junior Stephanie Jahn and sophomore Kylee Verhasselt.
Whitewater finished second place in the event and yet was more than an entire minute behind the Oshkosh foursome.
Senior weight thrower Samantha Loew has witnessed many relays but knew this race was a special one.
“It was actually kind of chilling to see that kind of success happen,” Loew said. “The atmosphere was pretty exciting and lively … and when we found out that was a school record everything was all the more amped up.”
The men made their biggest push in the field portion of their event, The Converse Invitational, posting four of the top five finishers in the triple jump. Sophomore Lee Robinson came in second with a jump of 46 1/2 feet. Third, fourth and fifth were claimed by freshman Kyle Schueller, senior Donald “Lukey” Klitz and freshman Jamel Robertson, with distances of 45-10, 45-2 1/2 and 44 1/2 respectively.
Men’s coach Eamon McKenna credits the senior leadership as a key factor for the jumpers’ success.
“Lukey Klitz is undoubtedly the leader and he has a good group of young guys to work with,” McKenna said. “The all have impressive high school résumés and it is fun to see them push each other to get better.”
Both teams count on freshman that have already been big parts of their teams’ early success.
“I wouldn’t really call it a big part, considering some of the great athletes on the team,” Schueller said. “But being able to help out and pick up a few points for the team is definitely a good feeling.”
The women also took a team first place in the 1,600-meter relay with Cazzola, Jahn and Verhasselt being joined by freshman Tessa Thurs.
Thurs, the lone freshman on the relay team, modestly credits both practices and her teammates for her early collegiate success.
“The greatest difference between high school and college is definitely the intensity of practices,” Thurs said. “And [the upperclassmen] are the ones who reassure me and boost my confidence before each race. They have by far made me a better runner.”
Other first place scorers for the women were sophomore Megan Geldernick in the 60 hurdles and fellow sophomore Amanda Shober in the triple jump.
The men’s team had two individual finishers claim first place and they were senior Pete Delzer in the weight throw and sophomore Kenny Halloran in the 3,000 run.
The men also claimed stake on the top of the leaderboard in the shot put, putting up three of the top four distances.
Senior Nick Baatz took second with a distance of 55-10 1/2 while junior Jeremy Brandt and weight throw-winner Delzer placed third and fourth with lengths of 53-4 1/2 and 53-4 1/4.
McKenna had nothing but positive things to say of his talented throwers, and said their success began long before he took over as coach before the fall semester in 2012.
“The throws group has been very strong over the past decade,” McKenna said. “They have great camaraderie that was established under former coach, Pat Ebel. They compete with the best throwers in the country day in and day out which gives them confidence in big meets. It’s fun to watch them work hard together, encourage each other and feed off one another’s successes.”
Other scorers for the men’s team were juniors John McCann and John Block, taking second in the high jump and 3,000-meter run, respectively.
The Titans also posted three fifth-place finishes with senior John Dewitt in the 5,000 run, junior Ryan Sprenger in the 200 dash and junior Jonathan Jordan in the long jump.
The women also boasted second place scores for junior Claire Pohlman in the triple jump, sophomore Samantha Blue in the long jump and fellow sophomore Sonny Jenkins in the 3,000 run.