Experience leads 4×400 relay team

When a team loses a big contributor, it’s always tough to fill that spot.

After competing in the NCAA outdoor track and field championships a season ago, the men’s 4×400 relay team believes that goal is still possible, even without the likes of past-contributor Mike Rossbach.

(From left) Junior Brian Martinezdelacotera, freshman Matt Santas, junior Tim Prelletz and junior Pete Schroeder (not pictured) lead the Warhawk 4x400 team and have already provisionally qualified for the NCAA championships. Photo by Kelsey Welke

Established veteran juniors Tim Prelletz, Brian Martinezdelacotera and Peter Schroeder, the ’Hawks are not worried about finding a fourth runner to fill Rossbach’s spot.

“We knew coming into this year that we weren’t worried about finding a fourth leg; everyone knows that we have an outstanding freshman class,” Prelletz said.         The ’Hawks, ranked third nationally, have started the year off strong and have found their fourth leg in freshman Matt Santas.

On Feb. 4, Santas’ first time in the 4×400, the group provisionally qualified for the indoor championships with a time of 3:19:54.

Peter Schroeder

“It was a great feeling,” Martinezdelacotera said. “Santas stepped up huge, and it helped out our whole 4×400 team out.”

Santas, a transfer from UW-Rock County, wasn’t even planning on participating in track and field.

“I was coaching track and field last semester and asked head coach Michael Johnson about trying out for the team and started practicing after Thanksgiving break,” Santas said.

Running alongside three veterans has helped Santas transition smoothly into his new position.

“Brian, Pete and Tim are all great teammates to be around,” Santas said. “They have been on the team for three years now, so running with them every day has made me a much better runner. They are helpful when it comes to running form and the technique I should be doing.”

The three juniors have been running together for the past three years, so their personalities and relationships with each other are strong.

“You know, us three, we like to joke around a lot,” Prelletz said. “These teammates are also like my brothers because I’m with them every single day. That’s the best part of it, and our team has great chemistry.”

Their competitiveness toward each other keeps the relay team going and will hopefully bring them back to the national championships.

“Tim, Pete and I are super competitive,” Martinezdelacotera said. “We are excited for the national championships.”