Five conference titles for indoor track and field

Story by Brittni Straseske, Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams collectively captured five conference titles at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships Feb. 22 and 23 in Stevens Point. Overall, the men’s team placed third in the championships and the women’s team came in fourth.

Aaron Easker finished first in the 5000 meter run, with a time of 14:24.44. He said getting the title was only one of his goals for the day.

“I wanted to win the 5k and set a personal record in the race,” he said. “I also wanted to set a personal record in the mile and take 2nd. I was able to accomplish both of these goals.”

Two of the five titles were secured by sophomore Thurgood Dennis. The first was in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.79 seconds. He also came in first in the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.93 seconds. Placing first in multiple events is an accomplishment because of the overall skill of the conference and the individual nature of the sport, he said.

“(Track is) such an individual sport that it’s just individual runners and the track, and it doesn’t matter who gets the scholarship or who goes to school where,” Dennis said. “I think our conference is better than some D1 conferences and when you know that, to have success in such a good conference is a really humbling experience.”

Dennis was also a member of the first place 4×200 meter relay event. The team, also including Cody Prince, Joe Makeever and Seth Friedrich, finished at 1:29.31.

Dennis said his main goal for the rest of the season and nationals is to focus on the 4×200 relay event. He was part of the team which placed second at nationals last year. He hopes to improve that and secure first place this year, he said.

“We’ve been working so hard on handoffs, working on our conditioning, so I think we’re set up pretty well,” Dennis said. “We’ve got three returning members and one new guy (Joe Makeever) who’s really stepped in well and filled the spot.”

On the women’s team, Erin Schoenfelder won the 60 meter hurdle, finishing at 8.87 seconds. She said the competition was strong and she was focusing more on her finish time than a placing.

“For the hurdles I wanted to place in the top two… I was more worried about my time because that’s what qualifies you for nationals,” Schoenfelder said. “Our girls ran really fast, but whole conference was just really strong this year so we didn’t place as well as we were hoping to.”