Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Track and field sets the tone

Senior+distance+runner+Paige+Fassbender+gets+into+her+mental+groove+preparing+for+the+women%E2%80%99s+4+x+400+relay.
Senior distance runner Paige Fassbender gets into her mental groove preparing for the women’s 4 x 400 relay.

After a five-week break following the team’s annual Alumni/Intersquad Meet, the UW-Whitewater track and field season resumed play for the men’s and women’s team Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Karl Schlender Invitational. Both the men’s and women’s teams placed first with a score of 238 and 218, respectively. Despite the long break, the all-around team effort aids in keeping the team focused heading into the season and going forward as well. 

“A lot of that credit I think goes to our captains, our leadership,” said head coach Mike Johnson. “Let their younger teammates know the importance of it, and then stay in contact with them, you know, understanding that this is a crucial piece of the season, especially the timing of it. And then just us as coaches, you know, informing our kids ‘Hey, if you can’t do this, do this.’ There’s something else there to maintain your fitness level.” 

With the lack of resources available to players during the break, the first meet of the season proves to be a good gauge of where the team is at. 

“We’re looking at ‘How do we come off the break?’ You know, we’ve had a five-week gap here. So how are they getting back in the routine?” Johnson said. “Normally, it’s really challenging because they don’t have a facility, so we’re looking at, ‘Are they able to do some kind of supplemental training and does it translate over?’ and then ‘Are we coming in? Do we leave the meet healthy? Are we overtaxing our bodies?’” 

While being a student-athlete presents its many challenges throughout the season, being a team leader reaps many rewards for everyone involved in the long run. 

“It comes as a little challenging sometimes with having to balance my work schedule,” senior distance runner Paige Fassbender said. “…Ultimately, I just always try to lead by example. I know people kind of look up to me and the athletic side of things, but also just someone to talk to when things aren’t going well in their personal life or sharing your really good moments that are happening.” 

With the track and field season being as long as it is, it can be easy to lose sight of one’s personal goals, as well as the team’s. 

“The best thing to do is honestly progress to 100 because we work all the way until almost the end of May, so having that mindset and also just working on the mental side of running,” Fassbender said. “That’s definitely a personal struggle for me. So when people come to me with those sorts of concerns, sometimes it’s almost nice for me, it’s beneficial for me as well to kind of see that people are going through the same challenges but at the end of the day, it’s a brutal sport.” 

Despite the day-to-day struggles that come with the sport, the Warhawks’ team bond is unique compared to their competitors by helping to aid in its winning lifestyle. 

“It’s just one thing that we constantly are hearing is like, you know, the way this team is so unique compared to a lot of others,” Johnson said. “We see this team and half their team is there and another group is there and so, everybody’s split up-our team is not like that. I think that’s the biggest thing and that all goes on them, you know, just how they built and reinforced that culture over time, and I’m really happy to see that.” 

Track and field will meet again in Whitewater at Kachel Fieldhouse Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Squig Converse meet. 

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

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