January 20, 2012

Oshkosh dominates season opener

It was not surprising that the Titans of UW-Oshkosh crushed the Maroons 87–47 on Saturday. It was not surprising that the Titans won every event in which both teams competed, except for the 3,000-meter run, which featured a winning performance by third-year Billy Whitmore and a third-place finish by fourth-year Moe Bahrani. And it was not surprising that the Maroons were not thrilled with the outcome.

“The team performed as expected. Oshkosh is a really complete team, while we are in the process of rebuilding,” fourth-year Donny Chi said. “The coaching staff went through some changes over winter break and it was entertaining to see the new coaching dynamic in action.”

It was indeed a learning experience. Fourth-year Tyler Calway called it “more of a practice than normal.” Yet despite that fact, Saturday’s dual meet performance was a little—just a little—displeasing.

“The meet was somewhat disappointing and we were definitely not competing at the best of our abilities. That being said, Oshkosh is an extremely competitive team, so a loss to them is not the end of the world,” Calway said.

The atmosphere at the event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, however, was shocking.

“The only thing that stuck out about last week’s meet was our approach to the meet itself. We didn’t seem as competitive as normal, and the gym seemed a bit quieter than usual,” Calway said. “I don’t think it will affect us negatively at all. I think it’s a reality check to get us back into the competitive feel and motivate us to put more of ourselves out there this upcoming weekend.”

Some notable performances included a second-place finish by third-year Dee Brizzolara in the 200-meter dash, a second-place finish in the mile run by first-year Renat Zalov, and a fifth-place finish in the weight throw by fourth-year Daniel Heck.

“I’m not too disappointed about it since Oshkosh is one of the best teams in the entire country,” Heck said. “It was a good meet to start the year against good competition, and hopefully people can improve and learn from it as the year goes on.”

This Saturday, the Maroons will take on Illinois–Wesleyan and UAA rival Wash U at the Illinois–Wesleyan Triangular in Bloomington, Illinois.

“Coach Hall introduced the idea of starting a new Triangular Meet against Wash U and Illinois–Wesleyan earlier this year, and it is probably the greatest idea [he] has ever had,” Chi said. “I’m looking forward to really beating on some scrubs from Wash U.”

While Calway is concerned about the sprinters’ preparation for the upcoming triangular—they are still “a little unprepared,” adjusting to their new associate head coach, Laurie McElroy—he is glad to face the competition in Bloomington.

“The meet this weekend is going to be tough with Wash U and Illinois–Wesleyan; they are both great teams,” Calway said. “It is definitely always exciting to see Wash U, especially outside of a conference situation because they are our main rivals in the conference. I am interested to see how they are doing as a team.”

The meet begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday.