Off to the races again
UW-Ls men’s track and field team ready to begin outdoor season
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 12:04
Building on last year’s WIAC conference title and 2nd place finish at the NCAA Division III Championship tournament, the men of UW-L’s outdoor track and field team are preparing for yet another season of high podium finishes. As the team begins final preparations for their first outdoor meet at Wartburg College (Iowa) on April 7th, The Racquet spoke with veteran senior All-American and team leader Terrance Thigpen to gain some insight on where the team is at as they prepare for their first competition, and what to look forward to this coming season.
Thigpen, who placed third at the WIAC conference tournament last year in the 200m dash and earned All-American status in the 200 and 400 meter relay, says that this year the awards and high finishes will continue. In order for this to happen the eagle runners are going to need an all-out team effort. “Our team is mainly made up of returners, but we do expect for a few of the new guys to step up and perform at a high level” Says Thigpen.
A high level is exactly what the UW-L track and field team are used to.
Last year the team, placed 4th at the Wartburg select meet (out of 12 teams), 1st at the Phil Esten Challenge (out of 7 teams) and 1st at the Winona State Invite (out of 10 teams). Some of the big names returning to the roster this season are All-Americans; senior Andy Novak (throws), junior Aric Hoeschen (400m dash), senior Kellen McCrary (triple jump) and NCAA Division III national champion in triple jump Isaac Vazquez.
Last season Vazquez became just the second student athlete in UW-L history to win the triple jump event joining Ajamu Olaniyan (Dean Cash) who won the title in 1991 and 1993.
Thigpen says he believes the teams disappointing finish in this season’s indoor national tournament only added fuel to the fire gearing up for this years’ outdoor season (UW-L placed 5th at the indoor national tournament). He adds, “In order to continue the winning tradition we will have to maintain focus for the entire season knowing that we have potential to do great things.”
Along with the returning All-Americans and national qualifiers Thigpen also said to keep an eye out for Grant Havard this season, a freshman thrower from Seymour, WI. “Havard has been looking really good as of late and should be a top contender at the outdoor national meet.”
Thigpen ended the interview, explaining the philosophy of his team and one important reason why they have so much success, “At the end of every team huddle we end by saying "champions," says Thigpen. We really, really believe that we all work hard and strive for one goal and that is to be champions in any aspect of our lives, on or off the track.”
Catch the UW-L men’s track and field team take off in their first competition on April 7th at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.