Fassbender flies by facility record at track meet


Morgan Guenther

Freshman Tyler Holldorf, far lane, prepares to run the sixty meter dash during the “Squig” Converse Invitational meet in Whitewater on Jan. 28, 2022.

Mikey Rottier, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW-Whitewater men’s track and field team hosted the annual “Squig” Converse Invitational at the Williams Center Track Jan. 27. The Warhawks finished third with a score of 98.5, in second place UW-La Crosse had 109 and UW-Oshkosh dominated the meet with a score of 158.5. Despite a third place finish, Warhawk nation is optimistic for the future of the men’s track team this season. 

One of the highlights of the meet for the Whitewater team was a one two punch in the 3000 meter run from Gunner Schlender and David Fassbender. Fassbender finished in 8:17.42 for first place and a Williams Center facility record. He was followed closely by Schlender in second place finishing in 8:20.77.

“This means a lot to me and props to all the opponents, they do a lot to push the pace,” Fassbender said. “It was nice to have a pacer in there for the mile, it was really nice to be able to get into that feeling again because last week I was sore from our Monday through Wednesday workouts. So being able to get into the swing of things especially knowing that I had more in the tank today is great.”

Fassbender is confident about the season, and his success in the last two meets have only amplified the feeling for him. The runner also looks forward to putting up big results the rest of the way. 

“Oh yeah I am very excited. I get to run the 5k in two weeks which is another one of my favorites, and it is also really nice to have home field advantage. We have one of the nicest tracks in the conference and being able to practice here everyday is super nice.”

Not only has David proved to be dominant in the distance events but sophomore captain Landon Keefover also finished first place in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.34 seconds. 

“I felt really good in prelims. Me and my teammate Tamir Thomas had a great start in the hurdles. We both had to work on our starts coach said, but we were able to make the adjustment and incorporate it into finals and we were both able to run a good time,” Keefover said. 

Just like Fassbender, Keefover is excited about the season ahead and confident in the team’s abilities based on what he has seen from them in the first two meets.

“Overall the team is great. There is a lot of energy this season and it really seems like everyone wants to be here and it is going to be a great season.” 

Head coach Mike Johsnon was happy with Fassbender and Keefover’s performances as well as the team as a whole. He was optimistic about the future for this Warhawk team and pleased with the productions he has seen at this point in the season. 

“We are definitely way ahead of where I thought we would be. Some guys are hitting on all cylinders and we are just starting to approach some heavier training. So the fact that we are doing some of the things we are doing against some good teams is pretty exciting and can only help our confidence down the stretch,” Johnson said. “We know we are going to have a pretty good team this year so we are going to position ourselves and get in those situations to help them succeed, and it seems like we are doing that already.”

Whitewater has had success around the board in all events and there are a number of elite performers in each athlete group from distance to sprint to hurdles and field events as well. Coach Johnson talked about the importance of having these leaders and being able to trickle down in each event. 

“Their leadership is one of many characteristics, along with their athletic ability, but it is just how much they value their teammates and how much they motivate and inspire them. So as they put in the work and show leadership of the younger guys and teammates, that helps everyone around them rise at the same level. So having that leadership spread out into different areas helps our team as a whole,” Johnson said. 

Hopes are high for the Whitewater track and field team as they travel to Stevens Point next Saturday, Feb. 5 for the Big Dawg Invitational. The Warhawks look to build off the momentum of their first two meets and carry it with them throughout the remainder of the season.