Panthers Face Final Tune-Ups Before League Championships
Chelsea Von Ruden

Chelsea Von Ruden

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (April 23, 2009) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's track and field team faces its final tune-up before the Horizon League Championships this weekend, as it will send athletes to both the Drake Relays and Marquette Twilight.

The Drake Relays kick off Thursday, but UWM will start competition at the meet Friday. The Marquette Twilight is Saturday across town at the Melvin "Bus" Shimek Memorial Track. The meet starts at 1 p.m.

Milwaukee then heads to the Horizon League Championships May 1-3 in Lisle, Ill.

The Panthers are coming off a strong weekend where senior Holly Nearman broke her own school record in the 5000m for the second time this season and junior Kelsey Conrad remained undefeated.

Nearman and junior Abbie Zaspel were among a trio competing at the Mt. SAC Relays last weekend, arguably the biggest meet in the nation over the weekend. Nearman ran a 5000m time of 16:36.62 to break her school record by almost five seconds and take 14th in the olympic development section of the event. Zaspel competed in the olympic development section of the 10,000m and took fourth with a time of 36:04.57. That time is fourth in school history.

Nearman collected UWM's sixth league athlete of the week award of the outdoor season this week. It was her third award, while the team has now taken home all but two of the track or field athlete of the week honors during the outdoor campaign. Conrad has the team's other track award, while juniors Erin Havener and Reigna Pierce have each won an award for field events.

Conrad, meanwhile, won both the 200m and 400m at Purdue's Rankin Invitational. She has won each of the four individual events she has run in this season, while setting personal records in the 100m, 200m and 400m events. Those times are fourth in the 100m (11.86), third in the 200m (24.45) and fourth in the 400m (55.70) in school history.



Junior thrower Jamie Woods also had the meet of her career at Purdue, achieving PRs in each of her three events. She is second in school history in the discus throw (142-5) and hammer (146-0), while moving up to fourth in the shot put (42-6 1/4). Her personal record in the hammer throw came by almost five feet.

Heading into the league championships next weekend, the Panthers are leading the league in seven categories, including the 100m and 200m by Conrad, who is also second in the 400m. Nearman leads the 5000m by almost 54 seconds, while Zaspel is third in the 5000m and leads the 10,000m by over 90 seconds.

Junior Erin Havener leads the league in the pole vault by almost 14 inches over third place, while freshman Courtney Fisher is second. UWM's 4x100m relay and sophomore Chelsea Von Ruden in the high jump are also tops on the league's performance lists.

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