Track team takes third at conference meet

Story by Bridget Cooke, Staff Writer

With Thurgood Dennis leading the men’s side, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams placed third in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships on Sunday.

The men’s team placed third with 110 points aided by Dennis’ victories in both the 100- and 200-meter dash. UW-La Crosse won the meet with a total of 223 points.

Senior Bart Mestelle who took second in the decathlon event, broke his own point record from last spring during the conference meet.

Mestelle said although the team has a lot of ability, it wasn’t enough to make up for what should have been a better finish.

“It’s not necessarily what I think our team is capable of,” he said. “However, we’re really kind of going after the nationals a little more than we would conference.”

Senior Erin Schoenfelder ran the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles Saturday and said despite her disappointment in placing third in the 400-meter hurdles, she was proud of her 100-meter performance.

“I didn’t expect to run that fast,” she said.

Schoenfelder and sophomore Jaime Ludwigson from La Crosse ran the same time, 14.34 seconds, but Schoenfelder ended up being awarded first place.

Placing third with 120.5 points, the Blugolds fell behind UW-Oshkosh and host La Crosse, who won the tournament with 246.5 points.

Sophomore Carly Fehler participated in Friday’s events, but due to injury was unable to finish off the competition on Saturday.

“We had really bad weather on Friday,” she said. “It was definitely a more strenuous meet. It’s been a nagging thing that was just made worse by the cold on Friday. Decided to play it safe on Saturday; focus on nationals.”

Fehler added she was pleased with the third place and said given the weather, it was a proud performance.

The Outdoor NCAA Div. III Championships will be hosted by La Crosse May 23-25 and is on the minds of the Blugold runners as they finish up their season.

Schoenfelder said she was mindful of the national championships as she competed during the conference competition.

“I was a little nervous just because I wanted to not only run well for our team, but also run a time that would help qualify me for nationals,” she said.

Mestelle said he looks forward to placing high among the best in the country at the end of May.

“I don’t think it’s outside of our reach to have Brandon (Zarnoth) and I both finish in the top three,” Mestelle said. “I would really like to get back to the All-American status.”

Schoenfelder was also the recipient of both the WIAC Sportsmanship award, which is handed out to one female and male athlete on each team, and the Judy Kruckman Scholar Athlete honor, which is bestowed upon only one female athlete in the entire conference.

As for seniors Schoenfelder and Mestelle, they said the meet was a bittersweet culmination.

“It was hard to have the last conference meet of my last outdoor season, but it was a really great team to go out with,” Mestelle said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished.”