Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Track teams head for Drakes

After just returning to action a week ago at the University of Northern Iowa Twilight, the Wisconsin Badgers track programs have a busy schedule ahead of them for this weekend.

Both the men and women’s teams will be traveling to Des Moines, Iowa for the heralded Drake Relays, otherwise known as “America’s Athletic Classic.” The prestigious event is host to some of the world’s top athletes as it attracts many gold medalists, as well as some of the nation’s top collegiate teams, year in and year out.

Men’s head coach Ed Nuttycombe will be sending the following athletes to the Jim Duncan Track at Drake Stadium: Joe Thomas (shotput, discus throw), Mike Sracic (discus throw), Brent Boettcher (high jump special), Alozno Moore (triple jump), Rick Bellford (triple jump), Joe Conway (long jump), Darren Niedermeyer (pole vault), Zach McCollum (high jump), Nathan Brown (javelin throw), Dan Murray (800 meter run), Demi Omole (100 meter dash) and Paul Check (110 meter hurdles), as well as relay teams in the 4×400 meter, 4×100 meter, 1600 sprint medley and 4×200 meter.

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For the women’s team, Courtney Baur (hammer throw, shot put), Michelle Bellford (triple jump), Shunita Lucas (100 meter dash, distance medley), ‘A Havahla Haynes (3000 meter steeplechase), Amanda Ganser (3000 meter steeplechase), Katrina Rundhaug (5000 meter run), Linsey Blaisdell (5000 meter run) and Melissa Talbot (heptathlon) will be competing under head coach Jim Stinzi as well as relay teams in the 4×800 meter, 1600 sprint medley, 4×200 meter, 4×400 meter, 4×100 meter and 4×1600 meter.

With Big Ten Championships less than a month away and NCAA championships soon thereafter, the Drake Relays will be a good event for both Nuttycombe and Stinzi to prepare their athletes against some of the nation’s top competition as the men seek to garner yet another Big Ten Triple Crown and the women hope to continue their steady improvement in Stinzi’s first year as coach.

However, the Drake Relays won’t be the only event Wisconsin’s track and field teams will be competing in this weekend.

Assistant coach Jerry Schumacher, also the Wisconsin men’s cross country head coach, will be sending his distance squad to the Oregon Invitational, a prominent meet for distance events.

The distance runners, arguably the strongest part of the men’s track and field team, will try to help and propel the Badgers in the latter stretch of the season.

The Badgers’ national ranking dropped from ninth overall to 11th this past week, but the distance runners are still holding on to their top individual rankings as Matt Tegenkamp is currently ranked sixth in the 5,000 meter run and Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson are ranked sixth and 11th, respectively — not to mention the 3,000 meter run indoor National Champion Chris Solinsky.

As the men’s squad begins to prime themselves for the end-of-the-season stretch run, the presence of the distance runners will be essential as they hope to fulfill the Big Ten Triple Crown and also top their third-place national finish at indoors.

Also on Wisconsin’s busy schedule for this weekend is the Loras Invitational. Both the men’s and women’s squads will be competing, but only those athletes whom did not qualify for the Drake Relays will be traveling to Loras. With some of the weaker teams around the Midwest, the meet will serve as more of a tune-up for those still hoping to hit some NCAA qualifying marks before the end of the outdoor season. Even though the Penn Relays were previously scheduled for this weekend as well, none of the team members will be competing in the event.

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