By Carly Fehler, UWEC Sports Information
OSHKOSH, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire track and field teams competed in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Indoor meet this weekend, with the women taking second and the men finishing in third.
The Blugolds saw several phenomenal performances that show why this team is ready for the big dance in just a couple weeks.
The men were led by the increasingly scary distance crew, who went 1-2-3 in the 3000-meter run. Josh Thorson (8:16.65), Nick Petersson (8:18.25), and Darin Lau (8:20.73) delivered a spectacular performance and looked as effortless as they ever have. They are currently ranked 2, 4, and 7 in that order nationally. Just as the defending national champions should, the distance medley relay team of Nick Petersson, Kevin Brooks, Ryan Graham, and Josh Thorson won in a time of 9:57.37, which currently leads the nation. There are not enough good things to say about how well this group is running: it is simply time to send them to Iowa.
Jimmy Paske had a series of personal bests in the 400 and 200-meter dashes, and finished 4th and 6th respectively. Jimmy also led off the 3rd place 4x400 meter relay team along with Kevin Brooks, Jake Pientok, and Will LaJeunesse, in a time of 3:19.76.
Alex Mess solidified his status as the man to beat in the circle, with a huge double win in the shot put and weight throw. He threw a season-best 17.64 meters in the shot put and launched a 19.47 bomb in the weight throw—that was more than a meter personal best as well. He currently sits 1st and 2nd in the country in those events, respectively. Notably, Alex is the first thrower in school history to win both events at indoor conference.
On the women's side, Jessie Reineck was second to the national leader in the women's 200 with a time of 25.43 and sits 6th in the nation. Then, Reineck and Jessica Rupnow went 1-2 in the 400 in a highly competitive field, Reineck winning in 57.08 and Rupnow finishing in a time of 58.01, personal bests for both. They are now ranked 3rd and 22nd in the country.
The multi Marina Eggen took third in the pentathlon, just 8 points out of first place, with a personal best score of 3155.
The versatile Sarah Glidden gave another stellar performance this weekend. She was third in the 60-meter hurdles with a lifetime best of 8.91, won the high jump with a clearance of 1.69 meters, and ran the third leg of the winning 4x400 meter relay team. She sits 14th, 3rd, and 1st in each of those events.
Katryna Williams was 3rd in a very close 3000-meter run, with a time of 10:21.84.
One of the most thrilling events of the meet came from the field. Stephanie Frempong-Longdon established a new school record in the triple jump, with the help of a team-led slow clap, taking 3rd with a leap of 11.58 meters. That currently puts her 14th in the nation.
The most exciting event of the weekend would come in the final moments of the meet, in the highly anticipated women's 4x400 meter relay. The team of Jessie Reineck, Ashleigh Buergi, Sarah Glidden, and Jess Rupnow delivered a stunning performance to win the race, set a conference meet record, and earned the top spot in the country. They lead the next best team by more than a second. But as the defending outdoor national champions in this event with 3 of those athletes returning, this is small change compared to what this insanely talented group will do.
When asked about the race and the meet overall, captain Jess Rupnow had many positive things to say.
"I expected a great outcome from this race from the beginning," said Rupnow. "We knew the time we needed to break the conference record, and I felt very confident we would do it. This makes us very excited for the next couple weeks to come. I can't say enough about this group as a whole, Sarah Glidden is our broom…she just sweeps everyone up and clears the way for me. Once she ran, I knew we had it. It is so fun to watch everything come together at a big meet, especially in a relay. It was such an exciting meet overall, because girls in every area of the team stepped up, and will continue to contribute to the team over the next couple weeks. That's really what is making this year so special."
Additionally, Kevin Brooks and Marina Eggen, were recognized as nominees for the WIAC Scholar Athlete Award—this is given based on exceptional academic, athletic, and community service achievements.
After a largely successful weekend, the Blugolds will head to Stevens Point next weekend for their Last Chance Meet. The NCAA Indoor National Championships are just two weeks away.