Women's Track & Field Starts 2012 Season Saturday
Jan. 13, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's and women's track and field teams kick off the 2012 season Saturday when they head to Carthage College for the Carthage Invitational.
Seniors Kristi Schuette and Erika Hanson have anchored the middle-distance events for three years and 2012 should be no different. Schuette took fifth in the 800m at the indoor championships and seventh at the league's outdoor meet. Meanwhile, Hanson finished third in the 400m at the outdoor championships and competed in the event during indoor, as well.
Joining the duo will be freshman Dana Clausen. The Racine native had an impressive high school campaign and competed in the 400m and 800m at the state meet during her time at Racine Horlick High School.
One year ago, you could argue this category was the strongest for Milwaukee. But, as is often the case in college sports, the Panthers lost quite a few of their top performers from last season but still should compete at the highest of levels this year.
Shannon Brown returns to lead the group. The senior competed in the 800m at the league championships in both seasons. She also finished 10th in the 1500m in the outdoor league meet.
Joining Brown is a handful of women ready to compete. Adriana Gutierrez, Katy Koch and Carissa Schneiter all redshirted last season and look to get in on the action. Also joining the Black and Gold are freshmen Claira Himmel, Annette Lemanski, Rosemary Mueller, Emily Schaal and transfer Emily Hamilton.
After looking at the roster, one might guess hurdles are not a strong suit for UWM just because of lack of numbers. Guess again. Senior Calanetta Burrows and Okonkwo provide solid leadership and experience. Burrows had a great junior campaign, taking fourth in the 400m hurdles in the league. Okonkwo finished runner-up in the 60m hurdles at the indoor league championships before capturing the same result in the 100m hurdles at the outdoor league meet.
Joining the group are freshmen Maxey and McCauley. McCauley went to state in the 300m hurdles all four years in high school, while Maxey accomplished the same feat in multiple events and took third this past summer in the USATF Junior Olympic Regional Championships in the 100m hurdles.
Last year proved to be a record-breaking one for the relay groups at Milwaukee. With little turnover and a majority of the participants from the various events returning, this season should prove no different for Corfeld's team.
Hanson, Schuette and Brown return after setting the school record and finishing runner-up in the league in the distance medley relay during the indoor season. Hanson also is joined with returners Burrows and Grant as part of the 4x400m relay team that set a new league indoor record last year.
In outdoor, Burrows, Hanson and Schuette all return from a first-place showing at the league meet in the 4x400m relay, while the entire 4x100m relay team that took third also returns.
While UWM loses one of its best jumpers in program history in Reigna Pierce, it still has one of its best jumpers in program history in Samia Taylor. Taylor had a truly special season last year, going all the way to the NCAA Championships in triple jump. The sophomore finished 18th at the national meet, shattering the school and league records along the way, and became the first NCAA Division-I All-American in team history.
Joining Taylor in distance jumps is classmate Erika Suchla, who competed in the triple jump and long jump in both indoor and outdoor league meets.
At high jump, seniors Laura Hamel and Ashlee Mongoven and junior Chantel McConville all return after strong showings one year ago highlighted by Hamel and Mongoven's second and third-place finishes at the league indoor meet.
Brittany Alsum and Nancy Harmon are the key returners in the throwing events. Both had tremendous seasons one year ago, competing in every event at the league meet. They both also etched their names on the top-10 all-time records lists in nearly every event, with Harmon setting the new school record in hammer throw.
Senior Shelby Schaal returns as the top performer in javelin, taking third at the league meet last year.
Combined Events Shelby Schaal also is one of the two key returners in the combined events. Along with Hamel, the duo bolsters the most dynamic event. Hamel finished third in both the pentathlon and heptathlon, while Schaal took the top spot in the heptathlon at the league meet and scored the second-most points in school history earlier in the season.