Second at Nationals
The men’s indoor track and field team finished in second place at the Div. III National Meet last weekend for the best finish in school history. Their 37 points as a team was only behind North Central College’s (Ill.) 48.
The meet was an exclamation point on their season and a career-defining moment for others.
“It was awesome. It was probably the best moment of my athletic career,” senior thrower Tony Sigrist said about the team’s finish at nationals.
Fellow senior thrower Tyler Genovese had similar feelings.
“When we came in as freshmen we were getting fifth and sixth at conference, and I never thought that we would be this good as a senior class,” Genovese said. “We all still can’t believe it, we’re riding high right now.”
Along with the student athletes, coach Chip Schneider said the coaching staff was equally as excited to bring home a trophy from the championships.
“We thought it was obtainable, but to be second was a bonus,” he said. “We were third at conference and now second in the nation, so to move ahead of all the teams in our conference was great.”
The championship was the third straight for North Central College. Other than UW-Eau Claire, seven Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools finished in the top 12 at Nationals. UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stout were the next highest finishers, taking third and fourth respectively.
The men’s success at Nationals was headlined by Genovese’s national championship in the weight throw. Genovese claimed the title with a new school-record throw of 20.01 meters, shattering his previous season-best throw of 18.88 meters.
“I had a couple good throws to start out with. I knew I could hit more in the finals,” Genovese said. “The first round of finals is where I hit the big one, so I was definitely happy, definitely excited. It was a great feeling.”
Also in the weight throw, Sigrist ended the indoor season with a fourth place toss of 19.41 meters, earning him All-American status. Sigrist said he thought he could have thrown better but was excited to see his teammate succeed.
“I wasn’t happy with my performance,” Sigrist said. “But I was happy to do well enough to get some good team points, and I was happy to see Geno (Genovese) come out on top”
In the 4×200-meter relay, the men’s team placed second, running a time of 3:16.35. The relay consisted of senior Marty Richardson, sophomore Jacob Dennis-Oehling and freshmen Cody Prince and Thurgood Dennis. They once again set a school record in the process, besting their old record time of 3:16.76, set in Stevens Point last week.
Relay member Dennis said he was pleased with the way the race turned out.
“The relay was the culmination of everything that has happened this season, everything came together,” Dennis said. “I’m glad we were able to do it for Marty Richardson, Pat Mackin and everyone else who was hurt.”
Schneider also had good things to say about the relay team, pointing out that it might be an indication of what’s ahead for the younger men.
“The 4×400 group is amazing,” he said. “Three underclassmen and one senior, but they all run like seasoned runners in the relay. This group has been a solid force throughout the indoor season and will be for some time to come.”
The Blugolds also finished in the top tier of several other events.
Senior Thomas Breitbach shattered the school record in the 5,000-meter run, running his fastest race of the year and finishing in second place with a time of 14:17.63.
“Breitbach continues to be one of the best distance runners in the country for division three,” Schneider said about the senior. “He will do some even more amazing things as we head outdoor.”
In the shotput, senior Joe Lilek came into the meet seeded 14th but moved up eight spots to sixth place with his throw of 16.69 meters.
The freshmen sprinters Prince and Dennis each placed high in the 400-meter race. Dennis finished seventh with a time of 49.33 and close behind in eighth was Prince, running a 49.57.
The Blugolds will now move their focus to the outdoor season which begins with the Emory Invitational March 24.