No hurdles to overcome as indoor track and field teams win conference championships

menstrackwomenstrackOn the first day of March, Spartans achieved second consecutive Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) wins for both the AU men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams. The men’s team scored 186.5 points to outpace the Milwaukee School of Engineering by more than 60 points. The women’s team complied 298.5 points, more than 200 ahead of second-place Concordia University Wisconsin.

For the men, three Spartans and a relay took home conference titles. Deven Thompson, named Freshman of the Meet and Field Athlete of the Meet, set personal bests of 6.58 meters (21-7.25) to win the long jump and 13.24 meters (43-5.25) to win the triple. In the closest race of the day, freshman Matt Meyers won the mile by 0.06 seconds. Senior Kyle Kayzar won the 800-meter with a time of 1:58.51. In the distance medley relay, winners Malik Dorris, Nico Gonzalez, Kyle Kayzar, and Drew Schmitt set a meet record with a total time of 10:39.06 seconds.

Individual achievements for the men included junior captain Loren Iwanicki who tied his school record for high jump at 2.04 meters (6-8). His high jump teammates all set personal records. “It was all possible because of the support of our team,” said Iwanicki. “There was a sea of blue around the high jump pit from start to finish. There is no better feeling than hearing the crowd erupt after landing on the mat and the bar is still up there. My teammates and I migrated from event to event, and we just kept rolling. The highlight of the meet however, was running up to the podium to grab the conference trophy with all of my teammates. We knew that repeating would not be easy, but when it happened it was an unforgettable moment.”

The women’s team shared in the excitement of the meet by winning nearly every running event as well as the high jump, pole vault and triple jump. While many Spartans contributed to the victory, three in particular stood out. Sophomore Talia Sheedlo, recognized as Athlete of the Meet and Field Athlete of the Meet, won the 55-meter hurdles and triple jump, and placed sixth in the high jump and second in the long jump. Her jump of 10.86 meters (35-7.75) in the triple is a meet and conference record, and her time of 8.85 seconds in the hurdles preliminaries missed the school record by 0.02 seconds. Sophomore Emily Paull and freshman Lisa Rodriguez shared Track Athlete of the Meet, each winning two open events and running a leg on the winning 4×400-meter relay.

Senior co-captain Anna Perkowski credits the unified goal of her teammates for their achievements. “I think we have been so successful this year because we buy into the program,” she said. “From the freshmen to the seniors, there is a sense of wanting to work hard and do well because we believe in what we’re trying to accomplish. We win because we have a coaching staff that lays the foundation for success, and we have the athletes who believe in it and do all the little things necessary to be our best.”

In addition to the student-athlete accolades, Ryan Chapman was named Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Meet.