Panthers Head To League Championships In Search Of Repeat
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (May 7, 2008) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's track and field team will head to Youngstown, Ohio, Thursday and Friday for the 2008 Horizon League Outdoor Championships.
The Panthers are the reigning league outdoor champions and are in search of a fifth outdoor crown. Milwaukee has finished first or second at the outdoor meet in each of the last five years and at 10 of the last 11.
Last weekend, the Horizon League held its multi-event championships, which gave UWM a chance for a leg up on the competition. Junior Kory Olson won the heptathlon for her first career league title. Sophomore Emily Budde, meanwhile, was runner-up and earned all-league second-team honors. The duo, along with freshman Stacey Trzcinski in sixth place, gave the Panthers a 19-6 lead heading into the first day over Youngstown State and Detroit.
Olson was named the Horizon League Athlete of the Week this week for her title performance. She is the third Panther to be honored this week, following senior Holly Nearman April 1 and junior Jenni Saarinen April 15. Nearman was also honored as the league's scholar-athlete of the week April 7.
While Milwaukee had three athletes scoring league points, the remainder of the squad spent the weekend resting and getting in one last competition at the Redbird Classic in Normal, Ill. Sophomore Kelsey Conrad won the 200m at Illinois State to pace seven top-five finishers. She ran a time of 24.84 to win the event. Sophomore Jamie Woods added a pair of top-five finishes, taking second in the shot put and fourth in the discus. In the shot put, she threw 40-7 1/4 as runner-up, while throwing a personal-best 139-11 in the discus.
One last look at the league's performance list shows Panthers atop the charts in six events, second in eight and occupying the top two spots in three. Sophomore Erin Havener leads the pole vault, while junior Jes Weyandt is second in the event. Olson (first) and Saarinen (second) in the javelin and freshman Chelsea Von Ruden (first) and Saarinen (second) in the high jump are two more events UWM has excelled in this season.
Saarinen is also tops in the long jump, while sophomore Kelsey Conrad in the 200m and sophomore Laura Ring in the 800m round out the team's league leaders. Conrad is also second in the 100m, while senior Angie Huebner and sophomore Abbie Zaspel go two and three in the 10,000m. Junior Beth Zimmerman is second and leads three Panthers in the top four of the triple jump and sophomore Jamie Woods is also second in the discus throw.
Lastly, both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays show Milwaukee in second.
Havener also paces a number of past league champions looking to score the 10 points that come with individual titles. She has won three league pole vault titles and, last year, extended UWM's winning streak in the event to six-straight outdoor crowns. Saarinen is also the two-time defending outdoor long jump champ and won the 2007 javelin title, as well.
Zimmerman has also hit her stride at the league championships, winning her first triple jump title in doors after three-straight all-league second-team showings as runner-up.