Track & Field Looks To Repeat Strong Performances At National Drake Relays
Head coach Pete Corfeld

Head coach Pete Corfeld

April 24, 2014

MILWAUKEE - With just one week left before the league championships, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee heads to another pair of meets this weekend in search of even more top marks.

A portion of the team will be heading to the 105th running of the historic Drake Relays, where UWM won the shuttle hurdle relay, the first win in a track event by UWM at the national meet in its history. Early events are already underway at Drake, with Milwaukee competing in events over the next three days.

The rest of the team will head just across the state to the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative, beginning Saturday at 11 a.m.

Fast Start
After battling less than ideal running conditions for its first three meets, Milwaukee finally got a break in the weather the past two weeks and boy did it show. The Panthers blasted off for numerous top marks in program history at its most recent meets, now leading the league in 11 events between the two teams, while 13 more are ranked second in the league with just one week remaining before the Horizon League Outdoor Championships.

Another Championship
Milwaukee recently wrapped up another successful indoor campaign at the Horizon League Indoor Championships where the Panther men claimed yet another league title. Scoring 136 points on the final day of competition, UWM won its 10th indoor title in the last 11 years and the 20th overall crown in the last 21 conference meets.

On the women's side, Milwaukee came in third overall with 76 points, with 12 individuals adding their names to the all-time top-10 performances lists in program history during the season.

Athlete of the Year
Milwaukee junior Simbi Laaro capped her remarkable indoor 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.



League Recognition
Just two weeks into the outdoor season, Milwaukee has showed some of the best performances across the Horizon League this calendar year and the league office took notice.

UWM athletes have earned a whopping 11 league athlete of the week honors so far over the two seasons. Here's the complete list:

Jan. 21 - Aaron Dillon, Simbi Laaro
Feb. 4 - Simbi Laaro
Feb. 11 - Simbi Laaro
Feb. 18 - Nate Pozolinski
March 25 - Marquis Johnson
April 8 - Dexter Schleis, Nate Pozolinski
April 15 - Sherice Hewett, Simbi Laaro, Marquis Johnson

Coaching By Example
Milwaukee assistant coaches Garrett Huyler and Andy Novak made quite the names for themselves competing on the collegiate level and the duo have carried that over into their coaching careers.

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
Milwaukee has been a hot bed for hurdlers over the years and the current squad is arguably one of the deepest in the nation. On the men's side, UWM has won the hurdle title at the indoor meet all but once over the past seven years, including nearly sweeping the podium two of the last three years (2014, 2012) after taking the top five spots.

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.

Triple Jump U
Over the past few years, Milwaukee has established itself as one of the top triple jump universities, not only in the Horizon League, but in the entire NCAA. The men have won seven of the last 12 triple jump league titles in both indoor and outdoor and have had a combined 10 second-place showings in that time, as well.

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.

Up Next
Milwaukee is off to earn even more hardware, heading to the Horizon League Outdoor Championships on the brand new track on the campus of Youngstown State. The championships will kick off Friday, May 2 and wrap up Sunday, May 4. Milwaukee has won the past 10 outdoor league titles on the men's side and the two teams have combined for 22 outdoor titles overall.

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