January 20, 2006

Clash with Titans ends poorly for track: Sports Shorts 1/20/06

The competition was fierce and the individual results were notable. Even if neither men’s nor women’s track and field won, the first-ever “Meet of Legends” seemed to be a rousing success.

Despite first-place finishes on each side from the distance squads, both Maroons squads fell in the inaugural dual meet with UW–Oshkosh. Saturday’s road trip proved to be a productive one for fourth-year Jessica Winter, who won the mile in 5:07.93, and third-year Al Robertson, who crossed the line in 2:28.24 to take home the 800-meter run, but the Titans handled the women’s team as a whole 96–53. Third-year Emil Bojanov earned the men a mile win of their own with his 4:20.69 performance, but neither he nor second-year Zach Rodgers (8.35-second victory in the 55-meter hurdles and 6.12-meter long jump win) was able to provide enough points to overcome Oshkosh’s 96–45 advantage in the men’s events.

Head coach Chris Hall was approached in the offseason by the UW–Oshkosh coaching staff about beginning an alternating-site series between the two schools. The two programs will look to continue their competitive rapport over the coming years.

“We have an outstanding relationship with the Oshkosh coaches, and they have clearly recognized our teams’ growth over the last few years. Being invited to do this annually is very flattering to our teams,” said assistant coach Mary Banker, a Titans alumna.

Oshkosh is a regional power in track and field, and this year the throwing squad in particular features high-caliber athletes. Third-year Neil Weijer’s personal record 13.94-meter performance in the 35-pound weight throw was good for ninth on the program’s all-time list, but only earned him a fifth-place finish. Fellow throwers third-year Leon Gordon and second-year John Anderson stepped up to the competition, throwing for 13.00 and 12.50 meters in the men’s shot, giving them seventh and eighth standing.

The women’s distance squad had a somewhat easier time. Third-year Jackie Kropp was Winter’s closest competitor in the mile, coming in at 5:21.78. Robertson was also relatively unchallenged on the day.

“I tucked in behind an Oshkosh girl for the first couple laps, but going into the third lap I passed her because I realized the pace was not hard enough,” Robertson said. “I think it would have helped a lot to have Jackie in that race with me.”

The teams will host the Chicago Invitational tomorrow at Henry Crown, with the men’s weight throw, the women’s pole vault, and the long jump events starting the action at 11:30 A.M. Chicago will then be off until hosting the Chicago Duals February 4.