The track and field team is off and running

Last week’s “multi” meet was a big success for multiple Blugolds

More stories from Sam Farley



Darin Lau (left) broke his own school record for the 10,000-meter run by over 20 seconds last week in Lacrosse with a time of 29:23.42 seconds.

The UW-Eau Claire track team continues to gain momentum in their season after another round of strong performances and personal achievements last week.

The men’s and women’s teams competed in the two-day Phil Esten Challenge held last Thursday and Friday in Lacrosse. Both teams placed third overall out of about 20 others, scoring a total of 102.5 and 129 points, respectively.

In addition to the regular events, this “multi” meet spiced things up a bit, featuring a men’s decathlon and a women’s heptathlon.


Thursday’s performances included four of the seven heptathlon events: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and the 200-meter dash. The remaining events — long jump, javelin throw and the 800-meter dash — as well as the regular meet itself were conducted on Friday.

Only three Blugolds competed in this intense, seven-event tournament.

Of them, junior Amber Harris and sophomore Mandie Bultman racked in some points for the team after taking fourth and sixth place overall.

Harris took third in both the long jump and 800-meter dash with a 5.03 meter jump and a time of 2:27:83 seconds. Bultman shined in the shot put and 800-meter dash as well, earning third with a 9.40-meter throw and second with a time of 2:27:30 seconds.

The regular meet saw outstanding performances as well.

Erica Oawster, a sophomore discus thrower, threw a lifetime personal record (PR) with a throw of 149-3 feet to win the event.

“My coach always says to turn your brain off and do what you’ve learned to do in practice,” Oawster said. “So that’s what I did; I let my technique do the work for me.”

Oawster is currently ranked seventh in the nation for Division III discus and hopes to break 150 this season to secure a spot for nationals, she said.

Ashleigh Buergi, a junior for Eau Claire, ran a lifetime PR of 1:03.76 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, taking fourth place.

Seniors Jess Rupnow and Jessie Reineck placed second in the 400 and 200-meter dashes, respectively. The two also competed in the 4×400 relay, placing third with an impressive 3:55.63 seconds.

Reineck contributed to the PR’s as well. She hadn’t run the 200 event for four weeks and improved from a 25.10 to a 24.49.

“It was a nice surprise,” she said. “I just wanted to run faster than (last time).”

Reineck, a sprinter specializing in the 200 and 400, said the latter is both her favorite and her least favorite.

“It’s much more gratifying when you do well in the 400 because it’s so much harder,” Reineck said. “But it’s also so much harder.”

Check out more statistics from the meet here.


Five Blugolds competed in the two-day decathlon — a competition of ten events including the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.

Eau Claire’s Dylan Cooper, a freshman, won the entire event with a commanding score of 6,417. He placed first in both the long jump and pole vault while also nabbing second in the 400 and fourth in the high jump.

Michael Amerlan took third place overall and was second in both the long jump and the 110-meter hurdles.

In the regular meet’s running events, David Bachmeier placed third in the 5,000-meter run while Aaron Zmolek came in second in the 400.

Senior Ryan Graham topped the charts in the 800 with a winning time of 1:53.71 seconds.

Matt Dietlin, a field event athlete for the Blugolds, said two big highlights of the meet were Cooper’s decathlon win and Darin Lau’s 10,000-meter run.

“(Lau) smashed the 10K school record,” Dietlin said. “He did really well.”

Lau placed second in the meet with a time of 29:23.42 seconds, beating his previous school record of 29:45.82 from last year.

Matt Cooper and Kyler Lueck excelled in the 1,500 as well, placing third and fifth, respectively.

The field event performances were not quite as strong but still had their highlights.

Dietlin cleared 4.47 meters in the pole vault, although this was not up to his expectations.

“The last couple weeks have been a whole lot better so I was hoping for a little better,” he said. “It wasn’t an ‘on’ day.”

Dietlin came in third in the high jump, however, clearing 1.91 meters.

Meanwhile, senior Jake Ottersen had a big PR in the hammer throw with a distance of 49.35 meters, earning him sixth place in the meet.

Check out more statistics from the meet here.

Next up for the Blugolds are the Drake and Gina relays in Des Moines, Iowa and Hillsdale, Michigan on Friday and Saturday.