Men take third, women sixth at UW-P Invite
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The Pioneer men’s track team fought through cold conditions to place third in the UW-Platteville Invitational, the team’s only home meet of the outdoor season.
Aaron Hrubes, a senior sprinter, was part of the 4×100 meter and 4×400 meter relay teams that ran away with wins.
“We will need some warmer weather before we can really fly,” Hrubes said.
The 4×100 meter relay team, which finished their race in 41.78 seconds, is at all-American levels with three out of four returning athletes from last season. The 4×400 meter relay’s 3 minute, 17.81 second performance has the team ranked seventh in the country.
Matthew Ziegler, a senior who anchored the 4×400 meter relay, said he was pleased with the team’s solid time because of a good combination of people and great competition.
T.J. Valley, a junior, also had an excellent day at the meet that impressed the coaches. Valley, the two-time all-American, placed first in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.51 seconds.
Men’s head track and field coach Chris Rotzenberg said he was also impressed with Pioneer javelin throwers Daniel Poh and Mark Niemann. These two athletes are ranked in the top 20 javelin throwers in the nation. Sophomore Poh took first in Saturday’s meet with a distance of 60.43 meters, and senior Niemann took second with a distance of 55.54 meters. Both said they have aspirations of making it to nationals and will be battling it out for a conference title.
At this point in the season, the team is focusing more on how well it competes individually rather than as a team. Rotzenberg said he is quite pleased with the team’s results from the meet.
“It is always fun to be in the top three, especially in the most competitive meet of the weekend in Division III,” Rotzenberg said.
The UW-Platteville Invitational was named the Division III Meet of the Week by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The men’s track team will compete next Saturday at the Augustana Meet of Champions in Rock Island, Ill.
At the same invite, the Pioneeer women finished sixth.
“We all ran, threw, jumped and vaulted to the best of our abilities with the weather, but there is always room for improvement, and we look to get after it this Friday at our meet in Augustana,” sophomore sprinter Kelsey Reed said.
“Multiple women made great improvements from previous meets,” head track coach Chris Rotzenberg said. “This included Kaliann Bauer clearing 10 feet, 6.75 inches in the pole vault, Alyssa Iserman clearing five feet, three inches in the high jump, and Kristin Wiley jumping 35 feet, 10.75 inches in the triple jump.”
The 4×400 meter relay team, consisting of Deidre Dillman, Teegan Seneczko, Lynea Axelson and Stephanie Wyss, finished fifth at four minutes and eight seconds. The team members said they still feel there is room for improvement.
“I know we can knock off another four to five seconds,” Dillman said. “If we are all on our game, we can do some sweet things.”
The 4×100 meter relay team of Carly Willman, Brena Smithson, Jessica Jentz, and Kelsey Reed had trouble getting off the blocks and finished eighth.
“Our 4×100 meter race felt pretty strong,” Reed said. “We had solid hand offs as a team, but we know we have a lot more to improve on to stay with (University of Wisconsin-)La Crosse’s 4×100 team who has a very competitive time.”
UW-Platteville’s women’s track and field team now has its sights set on the WIAC Championships in La Crosse.
“With less than three weeks before the conference Championships, we now need to stay healthy and let the hard work we have done so far take full effect as we peak for the championship season,” Rotzenberg said.