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

    Barage of broken records

    The UW-Eau Claire men’s indoor track and field team accomplished a feat they had previously never achieved in a national tournament, winning two running events on their way to a third-place finish on the biggest of stages.

    The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference claimed the top-four finishes in the weekend’s tournament, which occurred Saturday in Naperville, Ill. Conference opponent UW-La Crosse finished first, followed by UW-Oshkosh, Eau Claire and UW-Whitewater.

    Receiving All-American honors means finishing in the top eight of any given competition, which ten Blugolds succeeded in doing over the weekend. Four of those ten All-Americans went to the men’s 4×400 relay team.

    Eau Claire’s 4×400 group consisting of sophomore Thurgood Dennis, sophomore Cody Prince, sophomore Joe Makeever and junior Jacob Dennis-Oehling won the event with a school record-breaking time of 3:15.69.

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    Prince said confidence played a huge role in securing the Eau Claire men’s first ever indoor running event title.

    “We weren’t nervous at all, everybody was pretty ready to go,” he said. “Everyone knew we were going to run fast. We were confident, no fear and tried to bring it home.”

    Prince ran the first leg of the race, and second leg runner Dennis-Oehling said after the first handoff, the team never looked back.

    “I told (Prince) if he gets to me in first place, that’s where we’re going to stay,” Dennis-Oehling said. “He did, I opened up the lead and Thurgood closed it out in the last leg.”

    Makeever filled in for junior Seth Friedrich on short notice after Friedrich broke his ankle about two weeks before nationals.
    He performed well enough in the relay to bring home the title.

    Being Makeever’s relay teammate for just a short period of time, Dennis said he “stepped up big time for us” and they “couldn’t have done it without him.”

    Dennis took home a national championship of his own, winning the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.76, a new Eau Claire school record. The time was .01 seconds off the all-time Div. III national championship record.

    The women’s 4×400 team also got to compete at the national tournament after breaking the school record that was held since 2007 at the Last Chance Meet March 2.

    The foursome of freshman Jessie Reineck, sophomore Stephanie Rouse, sophomore Brooke Patterson and senior Erin Schoenfelder were barely left out of All-American honors with their ninth place finish.

    Schoenfelder also broke her own Eau Claire school record en route to an All-American fifth place finish in the 60-meter hurdles.

    Eau Claire only had one field event competitor place in the top eight of their specific competition and he took home a third place finish.

    After being hit by a shot put throw March 6 in practice, sophomore Roger Steen overcame injury to post a personal record at nationals with a throw of 17.53 meters and garnered an All-American award in his first trip to the big stage.

    Being such an underdog, Dennis-Oehling said Steen’s performance got the relay team, and all the other competitors excited and ready to go, seeing a fellow Blugold do so well early on in the meet.

    “Seeing that, we all got excited for him,” Dennis-Oehling said. “Which in turn made us excited, we got really confident. I was really happy for him, it was great.”

    Dennis said the team as a whole has become more of a family this year in comparison to his freshman year on the team.

    “I could have went down to Naperville with the people who went and not even raced,” Dennis said. “That’s how close we are this year. All the guys and girls who went down just had a great time with each other. Winning so much just added the icing on the cake.”

    The Blugolds will start competition in the outdoor track and field season April 5 in La Crosse.

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    Barage of broken records