UW track takes major strides at Invitational

first_imgThe Universiy of Wisconsin men’s and women’s track teams made enormous strides as both hurdlers and distance runners impressed at the Wisconsin Elite Invitational this past weekend.In his most impressive victory of the season thus far, sophomore Quinn Evans set his own personal best in the 600-meter with a 1:18.48 time. He beat out fellow Badger Zach Beth, who traditionally runs the 800-meter.“Probably the best performance of the day was Quinn Evans’ 600 — that’s a very very good mark this early in the year, on this track, running by himself,” men’s track head coach Ed Nuttycombe said.Another equally strong performance was displayed by senior Nate Larkin, who saw his personal-best time of 7.99 in the 60-meter hurdles drop to 7.97 in the semifinals. His semifinal heat was only outdone by the .04 seconds he shaved off his time in the finals. He currently sits at 7.93, .02 close seconds shy of achieving the NCAA provisional time.“Well, it’s very unusual, especially a fourth-year student, would not only have a personal-best run one time, but twice in the same meet,” Nuttycombe said. “He’s really coming on, and I think there’s a lot more there.”Larkin elaborated on how he managed to slice .06 seconds off of his already impressive time.“I ran a more technical clean race [in the finals], as far as, you know, hurdling specifics go … staying tighter off the hurdle and didn’t really change that much. I just ran a cleaner race,” Larkin said.Overall, Nuttycombe was pleased with how his team performed.“The sprint hurdles, the 200, 400, 600 were all big steps for us — you know, definitely a step in the right direction,” Nuttycombe said. “It was a good little meet for us.The packed bleachers of The Shell provided a constant roar for athletes to feed off of, even in the final hours of the exhausting daylong event.“This is where we work out everyday and it’s nice to have a crowd that’s enthused about the track meet,” Larkin said. “Our stands are different from other schools, and our stands are right on top of the track, and you feed off the energy of the crowd and it makes it more enjoyable.”Larkin was not the only athlete pumped up by Badger nation as senior Nicole Slaby, shattered her previous personal best with a time of 1:32.92 in the 600-meter dash.“I think the home crowd is always different because it’s a unique feeling running here and knowing people in the crowd,” Slaby said. “It’s just exciting.”Badgers Megan Beers, Jenna Severson, Caitlin Dodge and Slaby earned the top four places for the 600, which saw Slaby narrowly beat out Beers.“I accelerated on the second-to-last curve coming home and just kind of carried that momentum through to the finish,” Slaby said.Sophomore Egle Staisiunaite won the 60-meter hurdles for the women in 8.65 seconds, and then later played a key role in orchestrating a runner-up finish in the 4-by-400 race.Badger underclassmen played a pivotal role in the tournament’s events as well. Freshmen Dorcas Akinnyi and Jessica Flax finished first and second in the pentathlon on Friday, only to see fellow freshman Jordan Helmgren win all the horizontal jumps.The organized chaos associated with indoor track events passed almost flawlessly until the last event, the men’s distance medley relay.With the day’s events nearly concluded and many athletes lounging on the pole vault mattress, someone kicked a pole vault off the landing onto the track just as the lead runners were accelerating around the turn. Fortunately, the agile athletes escaped without harm.It was a fitting end to a successful day at the track for Wisconsin.last_img

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