In what was the first meet of the track and field outdoor season at UW-Oshkosh last Saturday, March 31, the Lawrence Vikings represented their school quite well. The weather, an added variable from indoor competition, was perfect for the day and the Vikings were able to capitalize.
Freshman Anna Bolgrien, competing for the first time in the 400m hurdles, started with a bang taking first overall and solidifying her as one of the top hurdlers in the conference, where she is currently sitting second for her finish of 1:09.23 on Saturday.
“I am personally very excited to see how I perform during the outdoor season,” Bolgrien noted, “because there are more events for me [with the 400m hurdles].” Also racing to a first place finish was Junior Amanda Dwyer with her time of 14:23 in the 3,000m steeplechase. Junior standout Rose Tepper took fourth in the high jump with her leap of 4’10.25″ on Saturday.
On the men’s side, junior Sam Stevens led the pack again with his first-place finish in the 1,500m run. Having not delved too much into the shorter distances during the indoor season, Stevens’ time of 4:04.61 is an exciting symbol of what he’s capable of this season. He also led the 1,600m-relay team to victory along with sophomores Mike Mangian, Dan Thoresen and Kevin Fitzgerald.
Mangian also had a huge personal record of over 13 seconds with his 1,500m run time of 4:11.66, third place. Freshman Spencer Swick threw 38.62m in the discus, the sixth best throw in the conference yet this season.
Overall, the team has continued their strong progress from the indoor season. The team is very excited about getting outside to practice on the outdoor track, in the jumping pits and shot and discus rings, resources they don’t often get a chance to utilize in the winter months. Head Coach Jason Fast commented, “Our outdoor track is much better for training and allows us to have full jumps practice, as the wellness center doesn’t have sand pits.”
The warmer weather allows the throwers to get outside where they can focus much better, without having to worry about hitting people as they do when practicing in the wellness center. Senior Nick Kerkman notes, “I think that the team will be able to focus and train more effectively in the outdoors to make us more competitive at meets.”
The team continues to be excited about their improvement as both individual athletes and the team. Tepper stated, “If we continue to support each other as a team I think we can accomplish great things this outdoor season.”
The team has the weekend off to prepare for the Wisconsin Lutheran Invitational in Milwaukee on April 14.