Making the important moments count

Men and women’s track and field perform well at Warren Bowlus Open

Story by Katy Macek, Staff Writer

When it comes to track and field, it can be easy to get caught up in an individual meet and lose focus of the bigger goals.

As the UW-Eau Claire men and women’s track and field teams returned from the Warren Bowlus Open at UW-Stout this weekend, they were thinking of the bigger picture.

Brandon Zarnoth, a junior who won the 60-meter hurdles, broke a school record when he crossed the finish line at 8.26 seconds. The previous record had been 8.36

Team captain Thurgood Dennis, also a junior, ran and won the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.87 seconds.

While Dennis said he was proud of the team’s performance this weekend, he knows there is still a lot of room for improvement.

“We’re in the middle of the hardest part of our season … So that’s why our team won’t experience a lot of success right now,” Dennis said. “We’re focused on the meets that count, which are conferences and nationals.”

However, any success is a reason to celebrate. A lot of the freshmen and sophomore runners were put into easily winnable races at Stout, and Dennis said he was impressed with the 10 to 12 races they did win.

“Regardless of time or distance, it’s nice to win something,” Dennis said. “It gives you that mentality that ‘I’m contributing to the team,’ and we were able to do that this weekend.”

Dennis said his favorite event is the 400-meter relay because it brings into focus the team aspect of the sport.

“Track is such an individual sport sometimes that you lose sight you have teammates, and that race really brings that back,” he said. “You and three other guys have to all be on the same page, on the same day, in order to run a good race.”

On the other side of the field, several Blugolds hauled in  top rankings.

Roger Steen, a junior who throws both shot-put and weight, placed first in both events.

He said the team is improving every day and believes they have a chance at winning both conferences and nationals this year.

“I feel like we can do both, we just have to have a lot of people step up and have them come through at the right time,” Steen said.

Steen started track and field his junior year of high school and has been competing in throwing ever since.

“I like all the competition that’s in our conference, and I just like spinning in circles and throwing a rock around,” he said.

Junior Lindsey Laufenberg, a distance runner for the women’s track team, said the team’s goals of going to conference and nationals this year are difficult, especially in this conference, but possible.

“We definitely want to win conference this year, and we’re in the hardest conference there is,” Laufenberg said. “It’s definitely a goal and it’s going to be challenging, but I don’t think that doesn’t mean that we can’t.”

Laufenberg competed in the 200-meter dash last weekend and came in first. She said she also did a long jump event, but it wasn’t her area of expertise.

The men’s and women’s track and field will perform again this weekend at UW-Stevens Point for the Pointer Invite.