Women's Track and Field Wins Home Invite by Two Points

Apr 18, 2015


DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque women's track and field team won the UD Invitational by two points over rival Loras and the rest of the field on Senior Day thanks to senior Nikki McKenzie's triple jump victory and nine runner-up finishes.

The Spartans earned their first team victory of the season after accumulating 158 points to best Loras (156) and the rest of the nine-team field.

McKenzie's leap of 11.38m/37'4" gave the senior out of Hoffman Estates, Ill. her second victory of the outdoor season after winning the long jump last week at Platteville. Her jump leads the Iowa Conference by nearly one foot. It was one of three, Top-3 performances on the day for the senior. McKenzie also placed second in the 4x100m relay (49.88) with Katie Popanz, Brittany Burns, and Amanda Zbilski and third in the long jump (5.22m/17'1.5").

Rachel Busjahn's leap of 11.04m/36'2.75" in the triple jump placed her third in the meet and third in the IIAC. 

Burns joined senior Busjahn, Fabiola Ortiz, and Sybbie Sears in snagging a runner-up finish in the 4x400m with a time of 4:02.05.

Busjahn also placed second in the 400m (1:00.14) and Ortiz earned second-place in the 1500m (4:47.79). Ortiz's time trails only Lisa Demerath's 4:45.74 set in 2002.

Rounding out the running events were numerous other Top-5 performances as the Spartans earned spots 3-4-5 in the 100m thanks to Burns (13.01), Jasmine Bethea (13.04), and Popanz (13.19). Bethea would add a fourth-place showing in the 200m with a time of 26.73.

Sears added the final Top-5 placment after crossing the line in fourth in the 400m hurdles (1:09.17).

UD's field performers had themselves a field day after collecting five runner-up finishes and numerous personal/school records.

Amanda Sinkler tied the 2015 Iowa Conference Indoor Pole Vault Champion, Elizabeth Brandenburg, in the pole vault with a personal best 3.55m/11'7.75" while Zbilski came in third with a personal best of 3.10m/10'2". The pair leads the rest of the Iowa Conference field by 8" and rank 23rd overall in the country.

High jump extraordinaire, Alexis Higginscame in second with a personal best and school record hop of 1.68m/5'6". Her mark currently sits 13th overall in the nation.

Throwing specialists, Tanasha Atwater (13.43m/44'0.75"), Nicole Forson (10.95m/35'11.25")and Lauren Egnarski (10.86m/35'7.75") placed second, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in the shot put. Atwater crushed the previous school record of 40'0" and ranks 12th in the nation and second in the Iowa Conference. The freshman has increased her shot put mark by over 4'+ feet in all three meets this outdoor season.

Forson followed up with a runner-up performance in the hammer throw (48.72m/159'10") and Egnarski took fourth in the discus (34.33m/112'7"). Forson's toss in the the hammer throw set a school record after besting the previous mark of 145'10" by a wide margin.

As a group, both men's and women's throwers combined to produce 18 personal records on the day.

Senior Amy Tranel placed second in the javelin with a toss of 36.24m/118'11" and Abigail Willis ended up fifth with a throw of 30.74m/100'10".

Qualified Spartans will race at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on Friday-Saturday while others will travel across the way to the Loras Open on Saturday, April 25.