UWM Heads To Kenosha For 2006 Opener
Division I Invitational (Kenosha, Wis.)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jan. 9, 2005) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's track and field team travels south to Kenosha, Wis., to open the 2006 season at the Division I Invitational, hosted by Carthage College. The Panthers are opening their indoor schedule at the meet for the fifth-straight season and will get underway at 11 a.m.
Last Year At The D-I Invite
After finishing second at each of the last four Horizon League Championship meets, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's track and field team is looking to return to its championship form that netted six titles in four years (2000-03) and seven overall.
The 2006 Panthers appear poised to improve on their second-place finish from each of the last four league meets. They boast a strong and talented senior class to go with an eager set of newcomers. This year's squad accounts for seven school records and 12 more top-three places in the school record books.
But, for head coach Pete Corfeld, a return to the winner's stand is just one goal on the plate for his team this season.
"One of our goals this season is to win all four league titles (with the men). We did that once before, and this team is expecting to do it again. This is a medium goal, because we will once again look to get more automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Regionals. Our biggest goal will be qualifying athletes for nationals, making finals and placing.
"This team has a number of athletes for which this could be a short-term goal."
Sophomore Shannon Buttchen also returns in the sprints for Corfeld, after competing primarily in the 400m last year. She posted times that rank in the school's top-10 in the event both indoors (58.52) and outdoors (57.54).
"I expect to see big things from Timeka this season," Corfeld said. "She gained great experience competing at regionals last season in both the 100m and 200m. Shannon also gained some valuable experience last year and will use that to improve over what she did as a freshman. She came back in great shape."
Three freshmen could figure into Milwaukee's plan this season in Stef Ross, LeaDrean Jordan and Kicha Cary. Ross won a state championship in the 100m as a senior, while posting three top-three relay finishes in her career. Jordan and Cary were also two-time state competitors and multi-sport athletes.
"This is a very talented group of freshmen sprinters. We expect great things this year, and for the next four years," Corfeld said. "Stef is going to make an immediate impact for us. Kicha will develop into a great athlete for us, while LeaDrean brings needed talent and depth to the mix."
"This season, she will be looking to add qualifying for regionals and nationals to her list of accomplishments at UWM," Corfeld said.
Griffin McNulty and Katie Anderson will also compete in the middle distances, with McNulty focusing on the 800m through mile events and Anderson running the 3000m steeplechase. Last season, McNulty posted a time of 2:13.48 in the outdoor 800m, third-best in school history, and won the league indoor 1000m title. Competing in the steeplechase for the first time, Anderson placed third at the league meet and posted a best time of 11:21.20.
"Griffin is poised for a great season. She should add the mile to her list of races," Corfeld. "Katie could have a big season after a great start to the steeplechase last season. She is tough and determined, a natural for the steeplechase."
"Angie had a great cross country season, but she has a lot of ability still to tap," Corfeld said. "She could be the next Angie Molter for us. Molter was a national qualifier in the 10,000m and went on to be named to the UWM Hall of Fame."
Redshirt freshman Holly Nearman and senior Kourtney Nault are also looking to cross over success from the fall. Nearman has positioned herself as the Panthers' No. 2 runner through two cross country seasons, but redshirted the 2005 track season. Nault had her best cross country campaign and will look to bring that success into track.
"Holly is a pure distance runner, especially in the 5000m and 10,000m," Corfeld said. "Kourtney is coming off a good cross country season. She should be back on track for some big PRs in the 5000m and 10,000m."
"Katie is set to have a great senior season. She will not compete in the multi-events for us this season so that she can focus on qualifying for regionals in the hurdles," Corfeld said.
Two freshmen, in Jenni Saarinen and Kory Olson, will come in to compete in the multi-events and bring additional depth to the hurdle events. Saarinen came to Milwaukee from Lappeenranta, Finland, where she has won multiple Finnish Championships. She also represented her country at the Scandinavian Junior Championships, where she scored 4935 points in the heptathlon.
Olson was a four-year letterwinner in three sports at Appleton North High School. She holds six school records and one conference record in track and seven more school standards in basketball.
"Coming in, Jenni best all-around athlete on the team," Corfeld said. "She could qualify for nationals in the pentathlon and heptathlon. Kory is another great overall athlete for us that will also provide depth in hurdle events."
The jumps are one area where Milwaukee could benefit most from newcomers. Freshmen Beth Zimmerman and Alicia Schneider will add talent and depth as jumpers, while Jes Weyandt will compete in the pole vault. Zimmerman found success in high school in the long and triple jumps, while Schneider is transitioning into the events. As a freshman, Weyandt could give the Panthers the top three vaulters in the league.
"Beth and Alicia bring needed depth and talent to our jumping events," Corfeld said. "Beth has a solid base and will make an immediate impact in her events. Alicia will compete in the high jump for us, but she is also learning the long jump and triple jump and will continue to improve throughout the season.
"Jes is very skilled and comes in as the third-best vaulter in the league behind Steph and Joy."