Blugold men’s indoor track team stands tall at the heptathlon despite shortcomings

Stiff competition stunts Blugolds to 3rd place overall in WIAC Championships
Max Foland stands atop the podium after coming in first overall at the heptathlon. Photo by Autumn Krause from UW-Whitewater Athletics used with permission
Max Foland stands atop the podium after coming in first overall at the heptathlon. Photo by Autumn Krause from UW-Whitewater Athletics used with permission

The UW-Eau Claire men’s indoor track team faced stiff competition this past Friday and Saturday at the WIAC Championships in Whitewater, coming in at runner-up or 3rd place spot in multiple events.

“I wish we would have done a little better,” coach Chip Schneider said. “But it was probably where we came in seeded. You always hope for better, but we performed at the level that was predicted.”

Despite these shortcomings, there were some bright spots in the tournament. Third-year Max Foland would win the heptathlon, placing first in the event’s 60-meter dash (7.04).

The Blugolds would also nearly sweep the podium in the event’s shot put with Foland finishing first (12.69 meters) and first-year Jack Campbell finishing in third (12.21 meters)

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Additionally, fourth-year Yakob Ekoue would go back-to-back in defending his WIAC shot put title (17.77 meters), with the Blugolds nearly sweeping this podium with a second-place personal best finish from third-year Gage Stankiewicz (17.10 meters).

“It feels pretty good,” Ekoue said. “It wouldn’t have been satisfying if I hadn’t won.”

One common thing that won both Foland and Ekoue the day was third-year teammate Tommy Mestnik missing the championship. Mestnik was supposed to join his close friend Foland in the heptathlon long jump event, but pulled his hamstring.

“What kind of got me going in the heptathlon was the next event, which was long jump. My teammate pulled his hamstring during warmups,” Foland said. “When that happened, when he told me, that kind of lit a fire because it should have been him and I, one and two, on that podium.”

Looking ahead for the Blugolds, two events remain for the indoor track team: a last chance qualifier this Saturday, and Selection Sunday for the NCAA Division III Championships in Virginia Beach.  

For Foland, spirits are at a high and looking for a do-over.  

“I’m really excited,” Foland said.  “Last year indoor nationals wasn’t great for me, so I’m excited to come back and show them what I have.”

The team also knows what it will have to take to succeed in the qualifier to take the next step. 

“The hope is that those that are on the bubble or those that are on the outside looking in can have a good performance and find their way into the national meet,” Schneider said. “We’d like to get one or two more men into the meet and solidify their spot.” 

Teske can be reached at [email protected].

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