Key athletes return for men’s track and field team

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Last year’s men’s track and field team ended up finishing third in the WIAC for both indoor and outdoor. Although the Warhawks may not have finished first, the team ended the year behind nationally top ten ranked teams, UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh.

This season, the ’Hawks look to have an even better chance at breaking the top two in the WIAC, returning many of their players from a season ago.

Johnson

Third year head coach Mike Johnson believes this could be the year his team finally breaks through.

“We had high expectations last year, but I’d say our expectations are definitely higher this year,” Johnson said. “I know UW-Oshkosh lost some key players and so did UW-La Crosse, so with us returning so many people I’m definitely excited to see how the season plays out.”

Regardless of the sport, if a team returns most of its personnel the next year, chances are it can improve on its success. This could end up being the case for the ’Hawks this season. With the team only graduating four people from last year’s squad, Johnson says the team looks nearly identical.

“Looking at our key returners, our All-Americans Tim Prelletz, Jordan Miller, Nick Bee, and our four-by-four relay team returning, all of those guys should be stronger than they were last year,” Johnson said. “We had a great recruiting year as far as incoming freshmen too. We got one of the top hurdlers from Illinois, Mike Judd, as well as a great group of pole vaulters and a great quarter-miler.”

Key returners are luxuries, and a great incoming freshmen class always helps, but transfers can also make the difference. Dylan Crafton, an All-American from Iowa Western, Phillip Jones, the 55 meter national champion from the University of Dubuque, and one of the top pole vaulters from the state last year will also be on the squad come spring semester.

“I think this is our best shot in a long time to win the WIAC,” Johnson said. “We return so many people and again, we have such high expectations so I can’t wait to see how the season plays out.”

The ’Hawks first meet, the Purple and White Alumni/Intersquad meet will be at noon on Saturday, December 10. The next event, the Badger Track Classic, is on January 14 in Madison. No time has been announced yet.