Warhawks start strong with first outdoor track meet

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UW-Whitewater Athletics

Freshman Marlon Cystrunk (Center) leaps over a hurdle while competing for the Warhawks during the Rex Foster Twilight meet.

Jake Bessette, Journalist

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus played host to the annual Rex Foster Twilight Track and Field meet. Along with schools from around the state such as UW-Oshkosh, Platteville, and Stevens Point, Whitewater own Rex Foster track was the site for the meet.  Starting at 2 in the afternoon, both the men’s and women’s track teams from the schools competed in the meet which lasted past sundown late Friday night.  This was also the first outdoor meet of the season after previously having this season’s meets indoors.

A successful meet for the Warhawks saw them finish atop the competition on five events and place in the top three for many more.  Some of those top finishers included Whitewater Freshman Gracie Holland and Senior Adam Schommer who both placed first in the pole-vaulting events.  Other top performances included UW-Whitewater’s Dwayne Ford who placed second in the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.59 seconds placing behind UW-Oshkosh`s Jaylen Grant. 

This being the first outdoor meet of the season, it brought some challenges along with it for some of Whitewater’s athletes. Paige Fassbender, who is a distance runner for UW- Whitewater’s women’s track, ran in the outdoor 1500 meter run for the first time.  

“I was ready for the challenge… There were some very talented girls in my heat, so I knew I would have people to chase after,” said Fassbender.

With high winds and running on Rex Foster track for the first time this season, Fassbender still placed in the top six with a time of 5:06. Along with the 1500-meter Fassbender also competed in the women’s 4×400 relay.  “Our team gave every ounce left, even in the chill of the night.  It’s truly a blessing to be a part of this team,” said Fassbender. 

Senior Adam Schommer competes in the Pole Vault during the Rex Foster Twilight meet hosted
by the UW-Whitewater men’s and women’s track and field teams Friday April 2. (UW-Whitewater Athletics)

 

Another impressive performance by a Whitewater athlete belonged to Junior Daustin Martin.  Martin, who competes in throw events such as the shot put and hammer throw, placed third in both events.  For his hammer throw, Martin beat his own previous personal best with a 53.09-meter throw. Prior to Friday’s meet Martin spoke about how this early part of the season has been about shaking rust off and he hoped facing the tougher competition would bring the best out of his throws.  

“What I’ve been focusing on is the small details about my throws.  It’s about training the last 5 to 10 percent and getting back to where I was at the end of last year. It’s been a blessing to get back to competing. The most fun is seeing all my friends around the conference again,” said Martin.

Last year’s season ending abruptly meant that Whitewater’s national qualifiers in track and field were unable to compete in North Carolina. “The team as a whole used the upset of the pandemic as a springboard to success this season,” says Fassbender who had multiple teammates on the distance squad run going to nationals last year.

I can’t wait to see the growth our team will experience as the outdoor season progresses, and I hope to see our team send several national qualifiers back to North Carolina for revenge,” said Fassbender.

UW- Whitewater’s men’s and women’s track and field will next be competing at the Spartan Invite in Dubuque, Iowa next week on April 10th.

Sophomore Nikolina Mijatovic competes in the long jump for the Warhawks during the Rex
Foster Twilight meet at Foster Track (UW-Whitewater Athletics)
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