Men’s Track and Field: Smith makes history

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By Kevin Cunningham

The Warhawks men’s track and field team took center stage at the Drake Alternative meet on Saturday, April 27, and came away with multiple first-place finishes and a new school record.

Jared Denu

No team scores were recorded at the meet, but senior Marcus Smith crushed his previous school record in the triple jump by going 52-11, passing his old mark set at 50-2.
The ’Hawks had top finishes across many different events on Saturday. In the high jump, junior Tom Fisher took second with 6-4.75. Senior Dave Kuczynski took first in the javelin with a throw of 170-6.
The ’Hawks won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays with times of 42.18 and 3:34.35, respectively. Sophomore Patrick Chatman led the way for the team in the 200-meter dash by running 22.21 which earned him a second-place finish.
Sophomore Jared Denu, who took third in the 200-meter dash, placed first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.08. Aside from Smith’s new school record in the triple jump, he also won the 110-hurdles with a time of 14.83.
Head coach Mike Johnson was quick to praise Smith, but was proud of his entire team for its performance Saturday.
“A lot of the credit with what Marcus has been able to do go to him and his hard work,” Johnson said. “Also [credit] goes to coach Schueffner, our jumps coach, who was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year.”
Other top finishes for the ’Hawks included senior Kevin Buntman’s winning time of 4:02.52 in the 1500-meter run. Junior Dawson Miller took second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.25. Junior Ben Watson placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 51-3.
The team also had the top-two finishers in the long jump, with juniors Justin Bowers and Cory Zaeske both going 24-6.5. Bowers said he was happy that he could share first place with his teammate.
“It was strange that we both jumped 7.48 [meters],” Bowers said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to jump anything better or worse. Tying him was pretty cool.”
With the WIAC Outdoor Championships just around the corner, time for clinching spots at the NCAA Outdoor Championships is winding down.
After making indoor nationals earlier this year, Bowers’ personal best jump of 7.48 meters will likely earn him a spot in outdoor nationals, alongside many other ’Hawks.
Johnson said he thinks there are a lot of athletes on his team that have a chance to make the NCAA Championships later this month.
“Ben Watson is on that bubble margin right now in the shot put,” Johnson said. “Cody Speaker, one of our pole vaulters, is in that same boat. Cory Zaeske, who’s also a great long jumper, was also at the national meet for indoors, but once he’s able to get a good day where he can put together a good high jump, we expect that he will be there.”
Johnson also said that the 4×100 relay should make it, as well as potentially getting three sprinters in the 100 and 200-meter dash. Miller is another athlete who should make nationals after missing by a couple of one-hundredths of a second last year.
The WIAC Outdoor Championships are next on the horizon for the ’Hawks, which take place Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 in La Crosse, Wis. Bowers said he was excited for the meet and expects his team to come away with a strong finish.
“UW-La Crosse is always a good team, but we have a lot of depth,” Bowers said. “We can definitely crack the top-three. If we have our best day, we can come out with a first-place finish.”