Spartan Track Gear Up for Promising 2016

Jan 14, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque track and field teams host the UD Sol Butler Classic on January 16 and are ready to build on a 2015 indoor season that saw both teams match their best finishes in school history with a pair of third place finishes at the indoor Iowa Conference Championships.

UD will host its first meet of 2016, the UD Sol Butler Classic, on Saturday, January 16, starting at 11:00 a.m. on the A.Y. McDonald indoor track.

The Spartans got off to a solid start after competing in the second annual Spartan-Duhawk Dual in early December 2015. The split was nearly even with the Spartans taking home victory in 12 of the 23 combined events in one of the earliest meets in the country.

UD’s dual meet rivalry kick-started a schedule that includes trips to Monmouth, Cornell, Grinnell, UW-Platteville, and culminating in the 2016 Indoor Iowa Conference Championships hosted by Buena Vista on February 27.

Men's Preview

In 2015, eight Iowa Conference champions were crowned on the men’s side with returners, pole vaulter Nicholas Kazmierczak andtriple jumper Kebba Bojang, set to defend their titles.

Kazmierczak racked up five, Top-3 showings in pole vault during 2015 and snagged his second pole vault win during UD’s dominant team victory at Cornell’s Hilltop Invite.

Bojang was nearly untouchable after winning the triple jump in four consecutive meets to conclude last season. The senior posted a season-best of 46’11.75” at the IIAC Championships and missed out on Nationals by a mere 1.25”.

Adding to the mix is distance specialist Alec Bass, who broke a pair of UD records in the mile (4:23.07) and the 5000m (15:34.96). The 2015 All-Iowa Conference cross country place-winner also finished second in UD history in the 3000m (8:58.48).

Ready to Breakout
High jumper Jeremy Lawson just missed All-IIAC honors after placing 4th at Championships with a leap of 6-5.5. The junior is the third-ranked IIAC returner and already cleared 6-6.75 in December.

Senior weight thrower Mario-John Otchere is the top IIAC returner after finishing 4th at Championships behind a trio of talented seniors, including three-time, IIAC weight throw indoor champion Colt Feltes from Wartburg. Otchere set a new school record last season (53-11.75) and tossed a 53-7.5 at the Spartan-Duhawk Dual in December.

Stat Attack: 28.2%
Look for new stars to emerge as just 28.2% of the team’s record-setting 131 points returns from the 2015 IIAC Indoor Championships.

Women's Preview

Record-setting distance specialist, Fabiola Ortiz, will lead the charge as she attempts to re-write the record books once again. During 2015, the Elgin, Ill. native broke three UD indoor records in the 800m (2:18.73), mile (5:07.33), and the distance medley relay (DMR) (12:26.56) and earned her first-ever All-IIAC finish in a second-place performance in the mile and the DMR, respectively.

In the field, the Spartans are anchored by the prolific throwing trio of sophomore Lauren Egnarski, sophomore Tanasha Atwater, and senior Nicole Forson. Atwater and Egnarski just missed the All-IIAC cutoff with a fourth- (41-5.75) and fifth- (40-3.5) place showing, respectively, in the shot put at the IIAC Championships. Meanwhile, Forson claimed her first All-IIAC showing thanks to a third-place (50-7.5) weight throw toss with Atwater (47-11) placing sixth.

Amanda Zbilski is one of the top returners at the top of the IIAC pole vault hierarchy after finishing fourth (10-2.5) in 2015. The junior must navigate a discipline that features just one senior among its Top-5 returners. Zbilski posted the third-best vault in school history at the 2015 IIAC Championships (10-2.5).

Ready to Breakout
Hurdler MichelleAnn Sanchez placed 12th at the indoor championships with a 60m hurdle time of 9.98 and is currently the ninth-fastest IIAC returner according to last season’s Championships. Expect the sophomore’s times to drop in a field filled to the brim with underclassmen.

Stat Attack: 14
Combined Top-3 finishes (including two wins by Forson) between the trio of Egnarski, Atwater, and Forson during last season’s 2015 indoor campaign. Atwater is also a Top-3 IIAC returner in both shot put and weight throw according to last year’s indoor IIAC Championships results.