Track teams spread out at three meets; men break two school records
The UW-Eau Claire men’s outdoor track and field team competed at meets in three different states this weekend, breaking two school records in the process.
The majority of the Blugolds competed Saturday at the St. Mary’s Open in Winona, Minn., where team scores were not kept.
Senior Joe Lilek led the way for Eau Claire, taking first in the shot put with a toss of 15.54-meters. Also earning first at the meet was the 4×400-meter relay team consisting of senior Nate Kelly, sophomore Bryan Krause and freshmen Matt Weber and Nick Erickson.
Senior Tyler Genovese finished second in the discus throw at St. Mary’s with a toss of 52.14-meters. Genovese broke the school record of 51.94-meters, which was set by Dan Schmidt at nationals in 1992.
Genovese said breaking a school record that stood for 20 years felt good, but he could have thrown even further.
“I was only about seven inches from it last year, so I was kind of bummed out last year about it,” Genovese said. “But I’m glad I got it this year.”
Three runners from the team competed at the Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Mich., where the field consisted of athletes from Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.
Senior Thomas Breitbach broke his own school record in the 5,000-meter run at the meet, where he won with a time of 14:09.60. Breitbach broke his record of 14:25.26, which he set on May 13, 2011.
Six total Blugolds also competed at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The 4×400-meter relay team of sophomore Jacob Dennis-Oehling, senior Marty Richardson, and freshmen Cody Prince and Thurgood Dennis won with a time of 3:10.75.
Genovese said he’s looking forward to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships next weekend at UW-Whitewater because the discus competition features four throwers who are ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
“I was throwing a lot farther in warmups at the meet and I just couldn’t do it during an actual throw,” Genovese said. “It’ll be a fun meet and a good little preview for nationals.”
The UW-Eau Claire women’s outdoor track and field team was split up this weekend, with a few competitors at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, and the rest of the team competing in the Saint Mary’s Open in Winona, Minn.
At the Drake Relays, the women competed in the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays, finishing 11th and 14th, respectively.
The St. Mary’s Open had no overall team competition. Instead, the women looked to post good times and scores for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament, which is held next weekend at UW-Whitewater, junior Erin Schoenfelder said.
Schoenfelder won the 400-meter hurdles at the Open with a time of 1:05.70, which was more than a half second faster than the second place finisher.
Schoenfelder said winning her event felt good, even though her time wasn’t what she hoped it would be.
“I’m just happy that I had a decent race going into conference because I ran awful last week,” Schoenfelder said. “It gives me a little confidence booster going into conference.”
Schoenfelder said the weather in Winona wasn’t good, which meant competitors had to make sure they were warmed up well enough so they didn’t hurt themselves. She also said the cold weather forced her to wear full-length leggings, which provide less flexibility, something that is important in the hurdles.
“If you’re not warmed up, it’s pretty obvious compared to everyone else, and you’ll feel it, too,” Schoenfelder said.
Other notable finishes for the Blugolds included freshman Kayla Kelsey winning the 100-meter dash in 13.07 seconds, only .01 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Senior Julia Baranek won the high jump with a height of 1.62 meters and junior Steph Sjostrom won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:41.48, eight full seconds ahead of second place.