McKenzie Ready to Defend Her Titles as Spartans Take On IIAC Championships

Feb 28, 2015



2015 IIAC Indoor Championships Heat Sheets

Tickets: Two-day wristband: $12 for adults; Single day passes: $6/adults; $3/students

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Senior Nikki McKenzie seeks back-to-back Iowa Conference titles in the long and triple jump as the University of Dubuque women’s track and field team looks to improve on last year’s third place finish.

The Spartans travel to Wartburg for the eight-team indoor Iowa Conference Championships this Friday and Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m. both days.

As his team preps for the biggest meet of the year thus far, Head Coach Chad Gunnelson voices confidence and a readiness to get to work this weekend.

“This is one of the most balanced teams we’ve ever had and we’re looking for all events to contribute,” said Gunnelson. “The team is firing on all cylinders at the right time and has been feeling good in practice.”

McKenzie will be a key part of the weekend and is a talented, season vet who holds school records in both the triple and long jump. She currently leads the IIAC in triple (36’3.5”) and sits sixth in the long (16’7.75”). It won’t be easy as fellow senior Rachael Busjahn is hot on her heels in the triple jump with a leap of 35’10.5”, good for second overall in the conference.

“The biggest thing for me, is to remember to have fun,” said McKenzie when asked about the task of retaining her titles this weekend.

Speaking of jumps, junior Alexis Higgins has been nearly unstoppable in the high jump after grabbing her third win of the year last weekend at the UD Spartan Invite. Higgins’ 5’4.25” jump is second-best in the IIAC.

Also winning her third vault of the year was freshman Amanda Sinkler who notched a new personal and facility record with a 11’5.75” mark. The reigning IIAC Track and Field Female Field Performer of the Week now sits 0.5” shy of the school record. The other vaulting Amanda, Amanda Zbilski, sits in fifth with a vault of 10’0”.

After setting her third school record in as many races, Fabiola Ortiz jumped on everyone’s radar. Ortiz, who set the 800m, Mile, and 4x400m relay records, ranks Top-6 in the 800m (2:18.73), Mile (5:18.70), and the 3000m (10:37.79) going into Championships. The 4x400m relay team consisting of Busjahn, Brittany Burns, and Katrina Pagel ranks third (4:04.22).

Busjahn will challenge Ortiz in the 800m (2:23.58) as she ranks eighth overall in the IIAC. Together, the pair owns the top-2 800m times in school history.

Despite running the event one time, distance specialist Kiersten Wenthold ranks fourth in the 5000m (20:21.49).

Burns, a sophomore, could make some noise in the 60m (8.14) as she currently sits in eighth place.

Freshman Tanasha Atwater and junior Nicole Forson pace the women’s throwers. Atwater ranks second in the shot put after a school record toss of 42’4.75” while Forson (5th, 39’3.25”) and freshman Lauren Egnarski (6th, 39’2.25”) behind her. Forson leads the way in the weight throw with a fourth place IIAC toss of 51’2.25” with senior Katelyn Herbig right behind her with a 49’5.75”.

“We look for big performances from both the vets and the youth in what should be a good weekend for us,” concludes Coach Gunnelson.

Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28
Hosted by Wartburg College at Waverly Sports & Wellness Center in Waverly, Iowa

10:00 a.m. Pentathlon (60m hurdles, HJ, SP, LJ, 800m) Women Final
10:15 a.m. Heptathlon (60m, LJ, SP, HJ) Men Day One
4:00 p.m. Pole vault Women followed by Men Final
  Long jump Women followed by Men Final
  Shot put Women followed by Men Final
6:00 p.m. 5,000-meter run Women Final
6:25 p.m. 5,000-meter run Men Final
6:45 p.m. 60-meter hurdles Women Prelims
7:05 p.m. 60-meter hurdles Men Prelims
7:25 p.m. 60-meter dash Women Prelims
7:45 p.m. 60-meter dash Men Prelims
8:00 p.m. Distance medley relay Women Final
8:15 p.m. Distance medley relay Men Final
8:30 p.m. 4x200-meter relay Women Final
8:45 p.m. 4x200-meter relay Men Final
10:00 a.m. Heptathlon (60m hurdles, PV, 1000m) Men Final
12:00 p.m. Weight throw Men followed by Women Final
  Triple jump Women followed by Men Final
  High jump Men followed by Women Final
12:00 p.m. Mile run Women Final
12:20 p.m. Mile run Men Final
12:35 p.m. 60-meter dash Women Final
12:40 p.m. 60-meter dash Men Final
12:50 p.m. 60-meter hurdles Women Final
12:55 p.m. 60-meter hurdles Men Final
1:00 p.m. 400-meter dash Women Final
1:15 p.m. 400-meter dash Men Final
1:30 p.m. 800-meter run Women Final
1:45 p.m. 800-meter run Men Final
2:00 p.m. 200-meter dash Women Final
2:25 p.m. 200-meter dash Men Final
2:50 p.m. 3,000-meter run Women Final
3:15 p.m. 3,000-meter run Men Final
3:35 p.m. 4x800-meter relay Women Final
3:55 p.m. 4x800-meter relay Men Final
4:10 p.m. 4x400-meter relay Women Final
4:20 p.m. 4x400-meter relay Men Final
Event medals and team awards to be handed out following the final 4x400m relay