Women’s track and field take second at conference finals; men struggle

Story by Eric Christenson

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Many see the last chance meet as a golden opportunity to still qualify for nationals while others see it as a last, fun competition before the end of the season.

After the WIAC championships last weekend, members of both men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams are making their decisions as to what they’d like the last chance meets to be for them.

Junior Kim Miresse said that the divide is between those feverishly gunning for a spot at nationals and those hoping to just run another formal race.

“Most of the athletes that decide to compete are those that have a good shot at qualifying for nationals and might not be quite there yet,” Miresse said. “It’s just a more laid-back time for people to try to qualify for nationals or get another competition in.”

Regardless of intent, Miresse and the women’s team fared well at the WIAC championship.

Women
After the first day of the two-day competition, the women’s team had placed fifth out of nine teams, but then came day two and the team rocketed up to runner-up status, behind UW-Oshkosh.
Miresse said she was excited for the turnout of the championship.

“We had a lot of really great performances, several conference champions and a lot of girls that provisionally qualified for nationals,” Miresse said. “It was a really exciting meet.”

Miresse said she achieved her personal goal to be a conference champ in the 100-meter hurdles race and she was excited to provisionally qualify for nationals in the same race.

The women’s team racked up a total of 143 points, still 42 points shy of UW-Oshkosh’s winning score, but Miresse said the team has a great sense of accomplishment regardless.

“There were so many great and exciting things that happened that it almost felt as though we’d won the meet,” Miresse said.

Men
Unfortunately for the men, last weekend’s WIAC championship didn’t play out as well as it did for the women’s team.

After the first day of the meet, the men placed sixth out of nine and stayed put through the second day.

Though he didn’t race in the championship, junior distance runner Thomas Breitbach said the meet was a bit less than average.

“As a team, it was probably an average performance,” Breitbach said. “We were hoping to be a little higher than sixth, but with a few injuries, it was an average day, I’d say.”

Junior hurdler Andrew Gerver echoed that sentiment and said that as a whole the team didn’t meet its mark.

“We didn’t place any guys in the hurdles, as far as the high hurdles. Our hurdlers kind of dropped the ball,” Gerver said.

Gerver said he performed better in the high hurdles than last year but much worse in the 400-meter hurdle race.

“I definitely didn’t pull my weight on the hurdle team,” he said.

One Last Chance
Breitbach, who was recently named the WIAC athlete of the week, said the men, despite an average outcome, are looking forward to nationals and last chance meets and really making that a priority as the season comes to a close.

“(Last chance meets are) really the focus for a good portion of the team and then obviously the national meet itself is really where we put the main emphasis of the season,” Breitbach said. He added the team is freshening up and taking it easy to have a effective performance for the upcoming meets.

Miresse said that those who provisionally qualified are in a critical time.

“I think I’ll still have to improve my time a little because hurdles is really competitive this year,” she said.

As the season nears its end, both teams are excited for next year. Despite the loss of a few seniors, all three students said that the teams will be ready for success in the coming years.

But first, nationals…

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