Panthers Hurlding Every Obsticle
April 25, 2012
MILWAUKEE - Good coaching and program pedigree are two things often overlooked in college athletics. On the east side of Milwaukee, coaching and program pedigree fuel the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's and women's track and field program.
Led by head coach Pete Corfeld and assistant coach Travis Anderson, the results have been excellent. In 2012, the men's and women's hurdlers have cleared every step and are reaching new heights along each of their individual journeys to the NCAA regional platform.
Since starting in 1989, Corfeld has propelled the track and field program to an unprecedented 43 Horizon League Championships. Part of that total were the two titles Milwaukee added this indoor season, propelled on both sides by excellent performances by the hurdling unit.
In fact, going into the second and final day of competition at the league championships, the men's team actually trailed - a position the Panthers aren't often in. Down one point entering the 60m hurdles, Milwaukee took the top five spots and 30 of the possible 31 points in the event for a huge swing to go up 28 points and never look back.
"This is one of the reasons we brought Travis here," Corfeld said of his hurdles coach. "He has been a tremendous asset to what we do here at Milwaukee and it really shows. To have that many hurdlers on the podium at the league meet just shows what he and our athletes have been able to do together."
Anderson is no stranger to success at the collegiate level. As a three-time All-American at the University of Oregon, he helped the Ducks' 4x400m relay qualify for the NCAA Championships in each of his four outdoor seasons and twice indoors.
In 2012, Anderson has helped push both men's and women's hurdlers to new heights.
"I could not have achieved the goals and results I have in my career without (Anderson)," Milwaukee senior Calanetta Burrows said. "He is a great motivator and coming from (Oregon), I have really trusted and listened to all of his advice."
Burrows took fourth in the 60m hurdles at the indoor championships, and is one of three current Panthers in the top five in school history in the 100m hurdles. In fact, Milwaukee literally rewrote the record book on both sides during the indoor season, breaking three school records between two events with nearly all of the school's fastest times being posted this season.
Durell Busby, who might be the most documented of any of Panther hurdlers by currently holding three school records, has continued his dominance on the track this year. Adding a 60m hurdles crown to his belt at the indoor conference championships, Busby also currently holds the school and Klotsche Center record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.79 seconds.
"My expectations would be for him to return to nationals this year," Anderson said of Busby. "Durell and I both have goals as the year goes on, but he's having another good season and he certainly has the talent to go that far."
One of the many underclassmen apart of this talented group is sophomore Dexter Schleis, who finished league runner-up behind only Busby at the 2012 indoor championships. His time of 8.05 seconds was the second-fastest time in school history.
"Coming into my sophomore year, I really trained and focused on dominating hurdles," Schleis said. "Having a coach like Travis to relate to has really helped me improve."
Anderson went on to link Schleis' success to the experience he obtained throughout his freshman year by learning how to train at the collegiate level. The success of the Panther hurdlers, Anderson felt is linked also to the quality of recruits that have signed over the years and the competitive atmosphere.
"In having the quality of hurdlers and sprinters we have now, it creates a meet-like environment for the athletes everyday in practice," Anderson said. "With the success their teammates have, the feeling of winning becomes contagious and it really spreads."
UWM will be hosting the 2012 Horizon League Outdoor Championships May 4-6 at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Wauwatosa.