North Central fueled by indoor title
Notes: UW-La Crosse will showcase 24 athletes in Ohio
North Central head men’s track coach Frank Gramarosso was asked if momentum from an indoor national championship in track carried over to the outdoor season.
The head coach of the Cardinals said it does, although wet weather can literally put a damper on the momentum.
“The success does translate over, but there is a big difference between the outdoor and indoor seasons because you never know about the weather.” Gramarosso said. “We have had some horrible weather this year and it can hurt performances, but it’s something you have to deal with. It’s part of the sport.”
Wisconsin-Oshkosh women’s track coach Pat Ebel can relate to the weather issues as someone who also coaches a team in the Midwest where rain has been a constant throughout the spring.
Yet, Ebel points out that competing in rain and cold can actually prove to be an advantage because it forces athletes to push themselves even harder to fight through the elements.
Like North Central, Oshkosh is preparing to contend for a national championship at the NCAA Division III meet later this week at Ohio Wesleyan University.
“Our athletes often have to compete in bad conditions, but I tell the athletes that if they can perform well in that situation, they are going to be even better when it’s nice out. We have a tough-minded group of athletes and they can handle anything. The weather is something that is out of our control. All we can do is work hard and be ready to go for every meet.”
Rain is expected in Ohio on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which is when the DIII meet will take place. No rain is in the forecast during the same three days in Turlock, Calif., which is where the DII meet will be held.
Need to Know
Wisconsin-La Crosse held a last-chance meet at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex last Thursday and a handful of athletes posted NCAA Division III automatic qualifying marks.
The women’s 1600-meter relay team of Caitlin Wipperman, Rebecca Scheuermann, Jenna Halvorson and Laurel Beck took third and posted a time of 3:49.17.
Issac Vazquez won the long jump with an automatic qualifying mark of 24-feet-3/12-inches and teammate Andy Novak was first in the shot put with a toss of 57-2. The other automatic qualifier to come out of the meet for the Eagles was the mile-relay team. Paul Yerhot, Terrence Thigpen, Tyson Young and Aric Hoeschen ran a 3:12.22 to win the event.
Eight athletes from the women’s team will be competing at the national meet this week at Ohio Wesleyan University. The Eagles placed eighth as a team at nationals a year ago.
A total of 16 athletes will be competing at nationals for the men’s team, which has won six of the last 10 outdoor national titles and have 11 overall, the most in DIII history. The Eagles last won a championship in 2007. UW-La Crosse was third at the national meet last season.
• Raven Clay is among the 18 national qualifiers for the University of Findlay women’s track team. Clay was the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season and will be running in the 100-meter hurdles and the 1600 relay at nationals this week in California.
• Drew Frizzell of Central Missouri will end his collegiate track career this week as one of the best in school history. The 20-time national qualifier will compete in three events at the DII national meet and enters it with the second-best mark in the country in the hammer throw. His throw of 220-10 is a school record. Frizzell has also qualified for nationals in the shot put and discus.
• Central Missouri women’s star Lindsay Lettow will be busy at the national meet. She is competing in five events, including the heptathlon. Her score of 5,610 is the best in the nation in DII.
• McMurry’s men’s track team has been ranked No. 1 in all seven DIII national polls this season. The War Hawks have finished fourth or higher at the last four national meets, winning a championship in 2008 and placing second in 2009. McMurry was eighth a year ago.
• Williams College sophomore stars Annie Dear and Jen Gossels are the top seeds in the 5,000 and 10,000, respectively at the national meet this week at Ohio Wesleyan. Dear comes in with a top mark of 16:49.42 in the 5,000 and Gossells enters nationals with a time of 35:18.82 in the 10,000. The Ephs were sixth as a team at the national meet last season.