Panthers Head To Qualifying Meets This Weekend
May 8, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's and women's track & field teams head to a pair of meets starting Thursday in hopes of bolstering its chances to qualify for the NCAA West Region Championships, May 29-31, in Fayetteville, Ark.
Part of the team will compete at the Dr. Keeler Invitational in Naperville, Ill., while others will head to Eastern Illinois Last Chance meet in Charleston, Ill.
Scouting the Meets
Currently, Milwaukee has six student-athletes ranked in the top 48 in various events and more than a handful of others just missing that mark. In all, UWM boasts 18 individuals ranked in the top 100 regionally.
Durell Busby kicked the weekend off by breaking the UWM and Horizon League record in javelin with an outstanding throw of 62.12m (203-10) to shatter his own previous record and move into national rankings. Busby also destroyed his own previous league record in the 110m hurdles at a blazing 13.88 seconds for his third-straight title in the event. Nancy Harmon topped her own school record in hammer throw with a toss of 55.63m (182-6) en route to a league championship last weekend. Jordan Schmidt just beat out teammate Dexter Schleis in the 400m hurdles to break Schleis' league record at 51.75, just shy of the school record.
On top of all that, Milwaukee's shuttle hurdle relay team successfully defending its Drake Relay title by repeating as champions with a new school record time. Busby, Nate Pozolinski, Schmidt and Schleis combined to post a winning time of 56.39 to take the title at the historic meet.
Athlete of the Year
In the outdoor season, Durell Busby was named the Horizon League Men's Athlete of the Year for the second time in his career. The senior broke the school and league record in javelin and the league's top mark in the 110m hurdles, where he is ranked as one of the top athletes in the nation. It is the fifth time in the last 11 years Milwaukee has earned the award on the men's side.
During indoor, junior Simbi Laaro capped her remarkable campaign by earning the Horizon League Women's Athlete of the Year Award. The sprinter finished the season ranked in the top-25 in the nation in the 60m. She is the sixth Panther to win the league's top honor since 2004.
UWM athletes have earned a whopping 11 league athlete of the week honors over the two seasons. Here's the complete list:
Jan. 21 - Aaron Dillon, Simbi Laaro
The shuttle hurdle relay just successfully defended its title at the Drake Relays. Durell Busby, Nate Pozolinski, Jordan Schmidt and Dexter Schleis combined to post a new school-record time of 56.39 and the group is again ranked as the top relay team in the nation.
Individually, Busby leads the way with the 25th fastest time in the country in the 110m hurdles. The senior All-American leads an outstanding group of hurdlers and is hoping for a return trip to the NCAA Championships. Schleis is also ranked in the event with a blazing time of 14.15 seconds posted last weekend for 76th in the nation.
In the 400m hurdles, Schmidt currently sits 47th with a league-record time of 51.75, while Schleis is just behind his own school-record time at 51.83, good for 54th in the nation.
Sherice Hewett also cracks the top-100 in women's triple jump, sitting 92nd in the nation with a season-best leap of 12.35m (40-6 ¼), just shy of her personal best that sits fourth in school history.
Coaching By Example
While helping the Panthers in high jump (Huyler) and throws (Novak), the two have also continued to compete, putting up some of the top times in the nation in their respective events.
In fact, both competed at the USA Indoor National Championship in Albuquerque, N.M. Feb. 22-23, just missing marks to advance as Huyler placed sixth overall in high jump while Novak took 10th place in shot put.
Hurdling All Competition
In outdoor, the Panthers have had even more success. Coach Corfeld's squad took the top two spots in both the 110m hurdles and the 400m hurdles at last year's league championships with the entire group still on the roster this season.
In fact, Milwaukee's school record holder in every men's hurdle event, indoor and outdoor, is still competing this season.
On top of that, Durell Busby earned All-American status at the 2012 NCAA Championships by placing 12th in the 110m hurdles two seasons ago. And Milwaukee won its first ever track event at the Drake Relays last year when its shuttle hurdle relay team broke the tape first, ranking it the top relay team in the country - a feat the team has now repeated after defending its title at this year's installment of the Drake Relays.
Triple Jump U
Meanwhile, the women have won five-straight indoor titles and saw their string of five-straight outdoor crowns come to an end just last year. The women also have quite a few All-League Second-Team showings over years.
On the national level, Milwaukee has qualified for the regional meet six times in the last six years, highlighted by former Panther Samia Taylor's run to the NCAA Championships in 2011. Taylor finished 18th in the country that year, earning All-American Honorable Mention status.