The Wisconsin women’s track team is winding down for the final stretch of its season as it heads into the Big Ten championships coming up. But first, the team hosts its first meet of the year, the Wisconsin Twilight. However, with recent NCAA changes, the Wisconsin Twilight meet is only one week before the Big Ten championships, making it a much less important meet for competition than it has been in the past.
“The Wisconsin Twilight is, unfortunately, nowadays just a week before the conference meet, and it is really just going to be a warm-up, where you can try out a few things,” said head coach Peter Tegen. “You don’t want to exhaust anyone at that point because the conference championship is coming up.”
Even though the Twilight meet may have little significance competitively, it still is very important to the athletes to have a home meet. It may be the only chance of the year for parents and friends to see the athletes compete in person.
“My family is supposed to be coming up, and it gives my friends here a chance to come and see me run,” said freshman Venus Washington.
Freshman Shuntia Lucas is also looking forward to her family being able to see her compete.
“I’m looking forward to the Wisconsin Twilight meet,” Lucas said. “My family will be here rooting me on; it is the first time they will see me run in college.”
The success of the Twilight meet will also depend greatly on the spring Wisconsin weather. Wisconsin weather in the spring is always unpredictable, and Wisconsin has learned it is unpredictable elsewhere too. The Badgers have struggled through a spring season that has been marred by bad luck with the weather conditions, no matter where they traveled.
“We’ve had really bad luck wherever we went,” said Tegen, “I mean it is not just that the weather is tough here sometimes; we’ve been flying all over the country … we were in California and we had a lousy weather weekend. This time in the season is always difficult.”
The Badgers have lately been nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big Ten. They will look to change that in the Big Ten championships, hoping to get back to the prestigious level of some Wisconsin teams of the past.
“We’ve been in the middle of the park, which is not really where we want to be. We hope that we can get out of that,” said Tegen. “We’ve been just at the bottom of the first tier. So we have been in the top five, and we hope to make it back up where we belong, I think. So that is how our expectations can be back up, higher than where we have been in the [recent past].”
The women are trying to gear up and prepare themselves to make their best run during this final stretch of the season. And they hope they can reach their goals and be very successful at the Big Ten championship meet.
“I really want to place in the top three in the 200 [meter dash] because I got disqualified in the 200 indoors. I’m most definitely pushing for a top three in the 200,” said Lucas. “The 100 [meter dash] … I placed sixth in the 60 [meter dash] indoors, so I’m really just pushing to finish in the top three for both events.”
All of the athletes will try to reach their goals, but it will take a team effort to reach the level they want to get to collectively. It remains to be seen if the seniors, along with the exuberance of the younger women, can push the Badgers higher.