Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Track and field continues alumni tradition

Gabe Sadoski
Current and former Warhawks line up in preparation for the women’s 1500 meter dash during the Alumni/Intersquad Meet at Kachel Fieldhouse in Whitewater, Wisconsin, December 9, 2023.

UW-Whitewater track and field continued their annual tradition of the Alumni/Intersquad Meet over the weekend at Kachel Fieldhouse in the Williams Center. The event, which has taken place since the 2008-2009 season, draws a large crowd every year of current and former athletes for the Warhawks.  

“I think it’s a great gauge of the experience they get while they’re here,” head coach Mike Johnson said. “This year is definitely a record. There’s at least 70-some alums that are here between the men, the women from the last 15 years, and the majority of them are still competing too.” 

Short-distance runners for the women’s 60m dash final in their starting positions. Tina Shelton would claim first with a time of 7.59 seconds.

Despite being an exhibition meet, the competition always makes for a highly competitive start to the season. 

“We make it a lot of fun. We score the meet, and only one per team can score, so it gives the alumni a chance, and they’ve won the meet a few years,” Johnson said. “There’s some bragging rights that makes them excited for it. That’s what we look forward to the most, just having them come back, see how the place has changed and connect with our current team.” 

The meet also aids in serving as a way for current players to see where they are at performance-wise heading into winter break before the start of indoor regular season play. 

Runners loosening up moments before the women’s 60m dash final.
(Gabe Sadoski)

“I just know we have so much potential as a team,” senior short sprints runner Tina Shelton said. “The past few years, we’ve really been building upon injuries and not having enough people, and this year we have depth and a lot of good people around us and I think we can really go far.” 

While aiding the players currently on the roster, the annual event carries on as a tradition for athletes as soon as they finish their career as a Warhawk. 

The final moments from the women’s 60m dash trial run, with Tina Shelton crossing the line first.
(Gabe Sadoski)

“I think it’s really beautiful that we have such a strong alumni network,” long distance and mid-sprints 2023 alumna Sarah Niehueser said. “Now as an alumni [sic], being on the other side of it, I always want to come back and support the team and just let them know that they’re not alone.” 

The Warhawks look to build off their team success from last season after placing 4th and 3rd overall in the Indoor and Outdoor WIAC (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Championships, respectively. 

“We had a great year last year, and we’re trying to see where can we be this year,” Johnson said. “The expectations are high, but we always focus on the path to get there. If we don’t have a solid plan in place, we’re not going to be able to achieve that.” 

“I just know we have something really big within us,” Shelton said. “Maybe that’s placing at the conference, like a higher placement than last year…Those are good goals to have every year and just being the best team we can be.” 

The track and field program continues to produce a strong bond between players and coaches alike for Whitewater, making their time in the purple and white an unforgettable experience in the lives of many. 

“I didn’t start my college career as a Warhawk, I actually transferred in,” Niehueser said. “I transferred in here because of what other Warhawks had said about the program, about how great the coaching staff was, and how nice the team was…It really is my second family.” 

The indoor track and field season will continue in Whitewater at the Karl Schlender Invitational at the Kachel Fieldhouse, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024.

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About the Contributor
Gabe Sadoski
Gabe Sadoski, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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