The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Track teams looking for top 3 finish at conference meet

Ben Smidt

Going into this weekend’s WIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in La Crosse, the theme for both the men’s and women’s track teams is improvement.

The men’s team finished fifth in the indoor conference championship in March, and the women finished fourth.

Now, both are hoping for a top three finish in the outdoor competition.

Coach Scott Steuernagel, whose men’s team was only 11 points out of second place in the WIAC indoor meet, said the team has some good individual athletes.

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“We really have no weaknesses,” Steuernagel said. “Our biggest strength is our diversity.”

Among the strengths of the men’s team is sophomore thrower John Schuna, who won the championship in the shot put at the national indoor meet in March and is currently ranked No. 1 in Div. III in the shot put.

Schuna set the outdoor school record in the shot put last Friday with a toss of 57 feet, 7 inches, beating the previous record by nearly 3 inches. He said he didn’t have a lot of time to think about his achievements.

“I’m a little surprised,” Schuna said, “but I knew I was capable of it.”

Steuernagel said the team had high hopes for Schuna but his achievements are still impressive.

“We knew he could do really well,” Steuernagel said.

Schuna said he is hoping for a throw of at least 56 feet at the outdoor championship meet.

Steuernagel said he expected several people to have strong conference meets, including senior Scott Whirry, who finished second in the long jump five times and senior Jeff Bergstrom, who won the indoor conference championship in the triple jump.

The women’s team is also hoping for improvement from its indoor finish, and coach Tracy Yengo said the team has a good chance at its goal of third place.

“We had a realistic chance at second in the indoor meet,” Yengo said. “We’re a stronger team outdoors but so are most of the other schools. A lot hasn’t changed since the indoor season.”

Sophomores Brooke Wozniak in the throwing events and Breanna Mc Mullen in hurdles are doing well going into the conference meet, Yengo said.

She also said freshman Jane-Marie Ovanin should have a good meet. Ovanin, who won two conference championships in March, will be running the 10,000 meters for the first time at the outdoor championships.

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