Track and Field anticipates impressive season


Dane Sheehan

Jill Cavanaugh (left) and Amanda Leder compete in the one mile run, during the warhawks track & field meet against UW-Oshkosh.

Mikey Rottier, Women’s Sports Editor

Last season the women’s track and field program here at UW-Whitewater was good, but this upcoming season has the potential to be great. After All-American performances in both the indoor and outdoor season last year, Gracie Holland is confident in this team’s abilities.

“Last year I think we scratched the surface of being really excited and being more of a family, and I think that is just gonna grow even more this year since we have a number of returners but also a lot of newcomers that will get involved with that family aspect as well,” Holland said. 

The positive culture and family environment that surrounds the UW-Whitewater women’s track and field program is one of the reasons they are so confident for this upcoming season.

“We really try to empower that family environment so that everyone feels comfortable with everybody,” head coach Mike Johnson said. “If the team feels good about where they are as a group, that in itself leads to better performances. The energy is higher, they’re working for each other, they want to see others succeed and everyone is there to pick everyone up.”

In the 2021-22 outdoor season, the Warhawks sent three women qualifiers to the NCAA National meet. Distance runner Paige Fassbender qualified and placed 18th in the 800 meter run, Abigail Missiaen placed 12th in the heptathlon and Holland took home second place in the pole vault as she eclipsed her own school record. 

“I think we have a lot of people who have the potential to qualify for Nationals this year, so our goals are to just help everyone improve and build off of every meet,” Holland said. 

The physical focuses and goals of the team this offseason have been to stay healthy while also improving strength and endurance in the weight room, but the most important improvement wasn’t physical.

“Our big thing was last year we had a lot of great leadership but we graduated off a lot of those leaders,” coach Johnson said. “We spent a lot of time finding and developing future leaders at different levels. What we found out was that we actually have a lot of leadership still here on this team and that was apparent before the season even began.” 

Tina Shelton will enter her second season with the women’s track and field program and after an impressive 2022 outdoor season, she is poised to be a high impact performer this season. 

“Tina had an amazing season last year and she was just showing flashes of her potential,” Holland said. “She does Javelin outdoors, the 200, the 60, the 100 and all the short sprints. She is really good and I think she is going to have an even better season this year.”

 The Warhawks are continuing to get ready for the annual intrasquad meet on Dec. 10, where alumni and their families can compete in a friendly purple vs. white competition. The team will host the Karl Schlender invitational, Jan. 27, for their season opener.