Track and Field Begins Outdoor Season

The men’s and women’s track and field teams began their outdoor seasons, competing in meets at Whitewater and Platteville the past two weeks.

At the Rex Foster Invitational in Whitewater on April 6, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point men’s track and field team won the event with 186 points, while the women finished third with 144 points. On April 12, the teams competed at the Platteville Invitational, which had no team scoring.

Both head coaches Rick Witt and Megan Woloszyn were pleased with the teams’ performances as a whole, but say these meets are meant for individual performances.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin Nick Michalske takes off for his attempt in the pole vault.

Photo by Jack McLaughlin
Nick Michalske takes off for his attempt in the pole vault.

“Track and field is different than any other sport because it is all about trying to get athletes qualified for conference and national meets,” Witt said. “It is nice that we won, but it was not our goal to win it was about our individual performances”.

“Over the season we focus on individuals, but when we get to conference we focus on the team,” Woloszyn said.

Juniors Alexander Gonzales and David Hebert feel the good start has given the team confidence starting the outdoor season.

“Winning the Rex Foster Invite as a team was a great confidence booster for our team,” Gonzales said. “This meet was our first outdoor meet of the year, and we came into it wanting to prove that we can be a really good team.”

“Having the team win the meet was a good feeling and I think it gave all of us some confidence,” Hebert said. “I think we are feeling pretty good and are ready to keep improving.”

Gonzales and Hebert both compete in the 5,000 meter run and have each finished top three in both meets. They each feel the top finishes are good, but there is room for improvement.

“Anytime I can finish at the top of my event is amazing, it is something I really hoped to accomplish this year,” Gonzales said. “Even with being a top finisher I know that I can improve my performance even more for the next week, because it does not get any easier from here”.

“It is a great feeling finishing that close to the front and having other teammates very close by,” Hebert said.

The Platteville Invitational had no team scoring which is common in meets, as the most important team events are the conference and national championships.

These meets leading up to the conference meet help the athletes improve as the season goes on to qualify for the conference, and national championships. Sophomore Nick Melotte felt the meet at Platteville helped a lot of athletes on the team.

“This past meet was a good working point for a lot of the guys on the team and is being used as fuel to run better in upcoming races,” Melotte said.

Making the adjustment from indoor to outdoor with the inclement weather has been a challenge for the team.

“We are at the mercy of the weather,” Witt said. “ I think we are behind where we want to be right now. It’s a big adjustment going from the smaller indoor track with everything inside on top of you to the bigger outdoor track.”

“I have been learning to accept that the weather is never what you want it to be: sunny, no wind and 70 degrees,” Gonzales said. “It is something you kind of have to get over and just deal with it.”

After a long indoor season with a short break, the outdoor season is shorter which means the meets leading up to conference are important for individual performances. The constant improvement of individual performances will help the overall team performance at the conference championship.

“We hope to sharpen things we need to work on due to being limited outside,” Witt said. “Everybody’s performance needs to come up and the team’s performance will come up.”

“There’s not much time during the season so people have to focus and get down to business right away to make conference,” Woloszyn said.

The men’s team will compete this weekend in Rock Island, Ill., while the women’s team will compete at UW-Lacrosse.

Marty Kauffman

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