April 21, 2009

Men run away with Benedictine meet, but Whitewater slips past women

If men’s track is still stinging from its three-point loss at the UAA Indoor Championships in March, the women’s team’s wound is a little more fresh, as the women missed first place at the Benedictine Invite by just half a point on Saturday.The men won out over a field of 20 teams, scoring 101 points with Harper College finishing in second with 86.333 overall points. The women placed second by the narrowest of margins. UW–Whitewater tallied 142.5 points and won the meet, while the Maroons had to settle for second with 142 points.“This weekend we had some really great performances,” third-year Alex Garbier said. “The last two meets we had some tough weather, but Saturday it was a finally a real nice day. So, it was great to see the team take full advantage of the condition to put up some great times before conference.”This was the last meet before the UAA Championships next weekend. The track teams had only three outdoor meets to prepare for the championship. In this shortened season, the athletes are taking advantage of every opportunity to qualify for nationals.Along with success for both teams this weekend, a few individuals were able to seize the moment and deliver lasting results. On the men’s side, Garbier and first-year Joe Sullivan went one-two in the 1500 meters. The 4x100-meter relay won the meet with a provisional national qualifying time of 41.88s. Second-year Jacob Solus also made the grade for nationals in the triple jump. He won the event with a jump of 14.26m. “I was pleased with my performance this weekend after coming back from being injured the past few weeks,” Solus said, “but I still know I’m capable of jumping much farther next weekend at conference and later in the season at nationals.”On the women’s side some consistent scorers did not disappoint. Stephanie Omueti once again won both the 100 and 200 meters. In the 100 meters, her time of 12.04s broke her own University of Chicago record for the event and qualified her for nationals. She also earned a ticket to nationals in the 200 meters with a time of 25.06s. First-year Paige Peltzer won the high jump with a height of 1.6m. Third-year Nicole Murphy chalked up a national qualifying performance in the hammer throw. Third-year Claire Ray, who has performed at a consistently high level this season, continued her string of NCAA worthy performances. Ray hit the provisional qualifying marks in the hammer throw and shot put. On top of that, she hit the automatic qualifying distance in the discus, setting a new meet record and breaking her own school record with a throw of 47.06m.The track teams take their momentum on to Pittsburg next week where they will be competing in the UAA Championships. Both the men and women have had a successful season so far, respectively winning two invites and coming in second once. Even with the short season, the teams are flying high as they head into the most important team invitational of the year.“The team performed pretty well as a whole this weekend,” Solus said, “but we are going to need to have consistent contributions from everyone without any major letdowns next week to win the conference meet.”After a tantalizingly close loss at the UAA Indoor Championships earlier this year, many on the team are hungry for victory.“After the performances this weekend, I think everybody on the team is real excited about our chances at the UAA’s,” Garbier said. “Coming so close in indoor was difficult, so now I feel we are very excited to get back and compete again at such a high level.”