The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Track and field hosts Dick and Mary Johnson Invitational

UW-Eau Claire track sees improvements and looks ahead to WIAC Tournament
UW-Eau Claire athlete Jaryn Johannsen jumps over the hurdle. Photo by Shane Opatz from UWEC Photography used with permission.

The Blugold track and field team hosted their home Dick and Mary Johnson Invitational April 27 at Simpson field. According to fourth-year Jaryn Johannsen, the Blugolds were grateful to host the invitational two years in a row and to stay home and compete in Eau Claire. 

“It’s pretty fun, it takes a little bit of the stress off because it feels a little bit more like a glamorized practice just cause you are on your home track you are so familiar with,” Johannsen said.

Graduate student Mitch Stegeman saw this home meet as an opportunity to reset in time for the conference championship.

“I love it, this weekend is almost a rest weekend but a weekend to kind of fine tune things and it really gets you ready for the big competition coming up next weekend,” Stegeman said.

Story continues below advertisement

Stegeman talked about his goals for the meet Saturday and how he felt his performance went.

“One of the goals was to stay healthy and feel good. A day to feel fast and feel good especially as it comes to the end of the year”, Stegeman said. “I felt bouncy, I felt springy. Coming in on the end of the year, we’re tapering training a little bit, we’re not doing as quite heavy a load so our legs are feeling a little more fresh.”

The Dick and Mary Invitational was home to some personal records by the Blugolds. Fourth-year Eric Kordus ran the 800 meter race and placed third with a time of 1:55:19. 

This gave him the fastest 800 meter time by a Blugold at the invite and marked his college best. This was also a big improvement made by Kordus as at the UW-Platteville Invitational on April 19-20 he ran a time of 1:57:01.

After his performance Saturday, Kordus feels ready to go to compete next week in the WIAC tournament.

“It gave me confidence that I can run with everybody going into the conference meet,” Kordus said.

The Blugolds liked what they saw from some of the groups over the weekend and think they are in a good spot moving forward. 

“I think a lot of people ran good 200s. I know for the hurdlers a lot of us had pretty good time drops,” Johannsen said.

“Got a couple underdogs on the mid distance team right now so just looking to make waves in the conference meet upcoming,” Kordus said.

In the women’s 200 meter race first-year Allyson Kakes and third-year Molly Kallenbach separated themselves from the competition on the turn and claimed first and second place. The men’s team in the 800 meter race claimed places three through ten and took the top four spots in the 400 meter dash. First-year Izaak Clendenning won in 49.74 seconds.

Johannsen saw a day where she made improvements and ran a personal best in the qualifier 100 meter hurdles at 14.84 seconds. Johannsen said she wanted to attack the race strongly.

“Get out hard, have a good first couple hurdles.You can not let this get to you, you just have to go and attack these hurdles,” Johannsen said. “Once you get past the third hurdle, autopilot kind of kicks in and your body takes over.”

In the finals race, Johannsen ran a time of 15.05 seconds and placed second. She also ran the 400 meter hurdles but would place eight with a time of 1:08.59. While Johannsen wasn’t thrilled about her time, she thought it would make her a stronger runner in the long run.

“Probably the best thing that could’ve happened. I have a chip on my shoulder,” Johannsen said. “Sometimes when I have a little bit of determination and a little anger that race it always makes me run a lot better. I just gotta do what I’m capable of doing.”

With the opportunity to stay fresh and stay home and compete in the home meet, the Blugolds are prepared for the WIAC championship. The Blugolds will also have the opportunity to work together towards a championship berth. Over the weekend, the program had some members compete in the Drake Relays in Iowa.

The team now has the chance to come together at full force ahead of the tournament.

“As a team we know the standard, we’ve been here before,” Kordus said.

“All get to showcase our abilities at one time. I think we’re all excited to come together as one big group and really showcase the talent we got against the best people in the conference and arguably the country,” Stegeman said.

The Blugolds saw WIAC foes over the weekend in UW-Stout and UW-La Crosse and know what it takes to compete in the WIAC and win. The Blugolds will keep the good energy rolling into the WIAC Championships May 3 and 4 hosted by UW-Platteville.

Benes can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *