Men's Track & Field Preps for Nationals with Last Chance Competitions
LA CROSSE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's track & field team participated in a pair of last chance competitions and broke another school record in preparation for the upcoming NCAA Division III National Championship.
The Blugolds competed in a two-day event hosted by North Central College (Ill.) Thursday and Friday and another by La Crosse. Three Blugolds earned provisional qualification for the championships, which will take place May 26-28.
Thomas Breitbach (Jr.-Muskego, Wis.) raced his way to a provisional mark in the 5,000-meter race at North Central with a time of 14:25.26. He just missed the automatic mark of 14:25.00, but did shave nearly four seconds off the school record he set in early April.
Tony Sigrist (Jr.-Byron, Minn.) and Jake Zander (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) also met provisional marks in their respective events. In the hammer throw, Sigrist recorded a toss of 53.03 meters (174-00) – the third best throw at the La Crosse event – to meet the standard. Zander crossed the line fifth in the 1,500-meter race at North Central, recording a provisional qualifying time of 3:52.76.
Although no other Blugolds qualified, several athletes had solid days. Blugolds took the first four places in the 5,000-meter run at La Crosse, led by Eric Knutson's (Fr.-Brookfield, Wis./Central) time of 15:53.43. Eric Pronschinske (So.-Arcadia, Wis.) nabbed the top spot in the 800-meter event at La Crosse with a time of 1:57.19.
In the field, Eau Claire had four athletes record top-six jumps in the long jump. Jon Gillespie (So.-Altoona, Wis.) led with a second-best jump of 6.69 meters (21-11.50).
Next weekend will be Eau Claire's last chance to qualify additional participants for nationals. Thursday, the Blugolds will head back to La Crosse for the second Last Chance event. The team will also compete at the Oshkosh Last Chance event beginning at 3 p.m. next Friday.