Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawks’ track breaks several indoor records

Shelvin Garrett III was one of two indoor national champions for the Warhawks this season.
(Craig Schreiner)

Led by two individual national championships, the UW-Whitewater Men’s Track and Field team finished fourth at the 2024 Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships March 8-9. The team scored 37 points with four events contributing to the total.

Distance runner Christian Patzka kicked off the scoring festivities on day one, retaining his title in the 5000-meter run with a time of 13:59.92, less than .4 seconds than the second-place finisher: UW-La Crosse’s Ethan Gregg.

“Normally I am the one to chase people down, but seemingly our roles switched,” Patzka said. “It definitely feels satisfying to know that I could be reliable to my team with another 10 points to contribute and that I could personally add another title to my name.”

Despite taking a step back from his record-breaking 13:47.01 first-place finish from last season, he still impressed en route to his second 5K trophy. Adding onto the scoring was fellow junior Gunner Schlender, who placed seventh in the same event with a time of 14:05.72.

The distance events continued to compile points for the Warhawks, as the distance medley placed seventh in the day one event. Despite losing out on a WIAC Championship nod, the group narrowly defeated UW-Stevens Point by 3.49 seconds.

As day two commenced, the Warhawks added another national champion: horizontal jumper Shelvin Garrett III took first place in the triple jump with a distance of 15.97 meters. Not only was the jump enough for first place, the jump also cemented Garrett in the NCAA record books, as his jump is the second-longest triple jump in DIII history.

“[Garrett] is a very calm competitor,” head coach Mike Johnson said earlier this season. “If you turned your back to him, you wouldn’t even know he’s competing. He just lets his actions do the work for him.”

Patzka and Schlender continued to display a one-two punch on day two, with Patzka and Schlender placing second and fourth respectively in the 3000-meter run. The 13-point finish helped the Warhawks make a late push to clinch fourth place in the team standings.

“I credit the complete change in team culture to that of my teammates and captains,” Patzka said. “Being on a trophy winning team is so much greater than any individual accomplishments.”

By the end of the national meet, the Warhawks saw three fellow WIAC teams go above them: UW-La Crosse in first place (74), UW-Eau Claire in second (52), and UW-Oshkosh in third (51). As a result, this national meet is the first in NCAA history, across all divisions, where a single conference held the top four spots.

The indoor success brings heavy expectations for the outdoor season, as not only are the Warhawks looking to capitalize on their fourth-place finish at the Indoor Championships, they are also coming off a seventh-place finish in the 2023 Outdoor Championships.

On top of that, Patzka, Schlender, and Garrett all contributed to the Warhawks’ 24-point performance in last year’s Outdoor Championships. With all three All-American athletes returning this season, there’s no doubt that the team is in the national spotlight once again.

“I know that the whole team is amped up to work towards beating everything we did indoor, both on the conference stage and national wise as well,” Patzka said.

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Chase Keller
Chase Keller, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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