Track and field teams take it outside

Blugolds take top rankings with Oawster qualifying for nationals

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Photo by SUBMITTED

The teams took fourth place at the indoor nationals meet and now look to earn a place in the outdoor nationals, Oawster said.

After finishing their indoor season at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Nationals in Alabama, the UW-Eau Claire track and field team traveled to Atlanta, Geor. to kick-start their outdoor season at the Emory Classic Mar. 23-25. The women’s team finished the invitational in seventh place overall and the men’s team tied for 18th place.

Marin Munos, first-year competitor in the high jump and 100-meter hurdles, said, “It was really nice to finally be able to compete outside, and we were lucky enough to have good weather.”

Nearly 1,200 athletes competed in the invitational, Joe Black, second-year thrower, said.

“Considering only a small number of (Eau Claire) athletes went to the meet I feel we did well against some teams that have the opportunity to practice outside year-round,” Black said.

Erica Oawster, junior, is ranked first in the nation for both shotput (13.34m) and discus throwing (46.48m), earning first place in both events at the recent invitational. Oawster beat the same second-place winner (41.71m) in the discus event by throwing nearly five meters farther (46.48m).

“Erica Oawster pretty much blew everyone out of the water in shotput and discus,” Black said.

Oawster said her discus throw qualified her for nationals. Oawster also competed and earned a personal record in the indoor nationals.

“Indoor season was the best season I’ve had so far. It was my first time as an All-American,” Oawster said, “It felt pretty good coming off indoor season into outdoor season.”

Top scores include performances by fellow Blugolds Josie Burns, senior, earning first place (48.15m) in women’s hammer throw and Sara Moen, first-year, earning second place (4:55.08) in women’s 1500-meter run. Munos took second place in women’s high jump (1.60m).

Kassandra Lueck, second-year, placed seventh (12.09m) and Kalyssa Watters, second-year, placed eighth (11.51m) in women’s shot put. In men’s shot put, Thomas Jensen, second-year, took sixth place (13.53m). Black took ninth place in discus throw for the men (38.64m) as well as tenth in the javelin throw (43.57m). Mariah Wendland, second-year, took tenth place in women’s 100-meter hurdles (16.56).

“It was really nice to finally compete since my events are not a part of the indoor season,” Black said. “After 5 months of training inside I was really excited to go out and compete.”

“I think our team performed really well and I can’t wait to see what we do with the rest of the season,” Munos said.

Oawster said looking to the future, she hopes they can place again at nationals for this outdoor season.

“The team will definitely be gunning for a conference championship hosted by UW-River Falls as well as a national championship hosted by UW-LaCrosse,” Black said.

The teams will compete at 11 a.m. on Sat. Apr. 7 in LaCrosse, Wis. at the Ashton May Invite.