UW track team looks to defend home turf

first_imgIn its third indoor meet of the season, the University of Wisconsin track team will look to repeat its performance from earlier this month when it took first place at the Badger Track Classic.Hosting the Wisconsin Elite Invite, the Badgers will compete against two teams they have already seen this season. UW-Milwaukee competed against the Badgers at the Badger Track Classic and Marquette has competed against the team at the Notre Dame Invitational in addition to the Classic.According to men’s track and field coach Ed Nuttycombe, the familiar competition will add to the excitement of the meet.“All the key running events will have Marquette, UW-Milwaukee, Illinois State and Wisconsin,” Nuttycombe said. “It should be a very good meet, and we’re looking forward to it.”So far this year, the Badgers have fared well against the Golden Eagles. In their first meeting at the Badger Track Classic, Wisconsin won nine events en route to a first place finish.Larkin and Beth improving with each competitionIn his first meet of the season, junior Nate Larkin won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.04 seconds.“He’s one of those athletes that has responded well to what, you know, what you ask him to do and has gotten better and better and better each year,” Nuttycombe said. “I have no doubt there’s more coming.”At the Notre Dame Invitational, Larkin’s 60-meter hurdle time was clocked in just below eight seconds, setting a personal record for Larkin and making the Badgers a favorite to win the event.In addition to Larkin, sophomore Zach Beth also appears to be in top shape heading into the invite. Beth won the mile run by over nine seconds at Wisconsin’s first home meet and showed his versatility by winning the 800-meter run in South Bend.Lack of seniors no problem for NuttycombeDespite the stellar performances by Beth and Larkin, a win at the Wisconsin Elite Invite is no guarantee. The Badgers only took third place in the four-team invitational at Notre Dame, and this year’s roster includes only four seniors.“You hate to use the word rebuilding, reloading,” Nuttycombe said. “I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with that in the last number of years, but this may be one of those.”Aiding the Badgers, however, are the struggles of Marquette’s men’s track team, which has not won an event this year against the Badgers.Women’s track experiencing similar successJoining the men at the Wisconsin Elite Invite will be the women’s track and field team, whose performance this year has paralleled the men’s team. After a solid showing in their first meet of the season, the women’s team also took third place at the Notre Dame Invitational.The roster of the women’s track and field team, however, is the opposite of the men’s this year. The Badgers have 10 seniors on their roster including All-American Gwen Jorgensen. Jorgensen, who is a fifth-year senior, qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships with her performance in the mile run last week. Her time of 4 minutes, 46.09 seconds was good for first place over Lisa Senakiewich of Michigan State.In addition to Jorgensen, junior Amanda Donath and senior Nicole Slaby will also look to provide leadership for the Badgers. The Badgers 4 X 400 team featuring Donath and Slaby also took first place at the Notre Dame Invitational.Although the meet does not have a large impact on the post-season races, Nuttycombe views the invite as a key indicator of how successful the track team will be this year.“We’ll have a lot better idea after this weekend because, for the first time, we will kind of compete as a team,” Nuttycome said. “We do have a very, very good group of young talent, and it’s just a matter of how quickly they step up.”last_img read more