March 24, 2004
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On Tap: Purdue Invitational
When: Fri. March 26 - Sat. March 27
Where: West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue University)
First Session Start: 3:00 p.m.
Final Session Start: 11:00 a.m.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee track and field program will be opening the outdoor season by competing in the Purdue Invitational over the course of two days with the event starting on Friday, March 26.
The Panthers, after finishing the indoor season on a high note, will take their show to West Lafayette for the two-day event which will begin on Friday at 3 p.m. The invitational will conclude on Saturday, but will carry the bulk of the events. Saturday's session is slated to begin at 11 a.m.
The UWM men's track and field team provided themselves with a much needed team confidence boost when they claimed a win in the UWM Panther Tune Up. The team took that boost and rushed it into the Horizon League Championships where they laid claim to their first indoor title since 2001.
The Panther men were led by Chris Cox, Eric Wheeler and Gabe Wagoner. Cox, named newcomer of the year for field events, brought home victories in the long jump and triple jump. Wheeler, another freshman, scored a big win by finishing first in the 60-meter high hurdles. Wagoner, a second-year performer out of Peshtigo, brought home a first-place finish in the 800-meter run.
"All three athletes had a great championship for us," Panther head coach Pete Corfeld said. "Chris and Eric have so much potential and hopefully this will propel them into a strong outdoor season."
The UWM women had high expectations to live up to while entering this year's Horizon League Championships. Also coming off a meet win at the UWM Panther Tune up, the Panther women were looking to repeat last year's indoor championship performances. All the athletes and coaches knew it would be difficult given the amount of talent that was lost last season.
"We lost some quality athletes in Lynda Theil, Stephanie Kenesie, Kristy Naef, Michelle Fritsch and Abby Hurst," Corfeld said.
The Panther women did their best to overcome their previous season's losses and came away with a second-place finish. Leading the way for the young squad of Panther women were Iris Perez and Tenia Fisher. Being sophomores, both performed as if they were seasoned veterans. Perez claimed a win in the 200-meter dash while Fisher was getting set to have, perhaps, the meet of her collegiate career. Fisher, who was named athlete of the meet for track events, brought home victories in the 400-meter and 800-meter runs. She also helped the Panthers to a second-place finish by anchoring the 1600-meter relay.
"You never want to finish second, but it was still a good meet for us," Corfeld said. "We saw some great runs out of Perez and Fisher."
Preseason Goals Made Good
Sophomore Tenia Fisher must have established her preseason goals to be that she wanted to get better with every meet. Fisher has done that and more. She has achieved a new time in the 800-meter run in every meet this season. She culminated that fact by racing to a time of 2:12.04 in the event at the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier. Not only was her time a personal record and a team top time, but it was also a school record. Fisher's time broke Anne Hill's time of 2:13.34 set back in 1985.
Outdoors Brings Sunshine
For freshman Jeremy Majors the outdoor season could be a bright spot. Majors continues to race better with every event. The freshman raced his way to a lifetime personal record in the 800-meter run at the UWM Tune Up meet. With a time of 1:54.13, the freshman from Jonesborrow, Ga., is .99 off the qualifying mark for the USATF Junior Track and Field Meet.
Another Trophy On The Shelf
Panther head coach Pete Corfeld is one of the more quiet coaches in the sport of track and field. A knowledgable coach, Corfeld resigns to the fact that the athletes do the work. However, his work hasn't gone unnoticed either. Corfeld recently led the Panther men to the 2004 Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championship and was also named Coach of the Year. For the Panther head coach, the award was the 20th time he's won it and the championship was his 21st.
Athlete of the Week Totals
As the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has opened up the 2004 indoor track and field season, the Horizon League has been making sure the individual efforts haven't gone unnoticed.
The Panthers claimedfour athletes of the week (two men and two women) during the indoor season. The Panthers have had Eric Gresham, Katie Slamka, and most recently, Justin Gorman and Griffin McNulty receive the league's weekly award.
Going Over The Competition
For Eric Wheeler, the only competition he's had to really take on has been the hurdles in front of him. The Panther freshman has placed himself at the top of the Horizon League's list for best times after running a 7.83 in the 55-meter high hurdles at the UWM Tune Up Meet (2/21).
Making An Impact
Freshman mid-distance runner Justin Gorman is making a fast name for himself as a competitor with endless boundaries.
Gorman, a Spring Green-native, raced to his first-ever collegiate win in the 800-meter run (1:54.72) during the Carthage College Invitational (1/31). Claiming a not only a victory, but Gorman's time of 1:54.72 was the fastest time ever recorded in the meet.
When you didn't think it could get any better, it suddenly did. The freshman ran to a UWM freshman record in the 800-meter run (1:52.39) at the ISU Classic (2/13-14). Gorman's time was not only a record, but also fast enough to qualify for the United State Track and Field Junior National Championship (qualifying mark was 1:53.14). The meet will take place June 24 and continue through July 4 in Buffalo, New York.