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Falcons set to host WIAC meet

May 3, 2007

This is the weekend the men’s and women’s track teams have been working for during the entire outdoor season.

“Their training is meant for them to be peaking this weekend,” Falcons track and field coach Martha Brennan said.

The WIAC meet will be hosted by UW-River Falls Friday and Saturday at Ramer Field with several hundred athletes from nine teams on hand to compete for individual and team accolades.

Brennan said she has taken all year to prepare her athletes for this weekend.

“You try to model meets, you try to get them nervous,” Brennan said. “You also really try to give them confidence in practice.”

Recently the Falcons men and women competed in the Macalester invitational, a final tune-up. Team scores were kept for the women, with UWRF taking second place. The teams point finish there is meaningless, Brennan said. The only thing that matters is the meet this weekend.

“Every track coach will tell you they could care less about points until the conference meet,” Brennan said.

The goals for this weekend are different for the men’s and women’s teams, though the primary goal is for both teams to show improvement from the WIAC indoor meet. Brennan said she hopes for the men to finish around sixth or seventh place overall.

“I don’t know if we’ll pick up another place, but I think we’ll pick up more points and I’d be happy with that,” Brennan said.

The women’s team has set their goal at finishing in third place, Brennan said. The women finished fourth in the WIAC indoor meet Feb 23-24 at UW-Whitewater, one spot behind UW-Eau Claire.

“I think we can get third if everybody does solid,” Brennan said. “To get Eau Claire, that would be great.”

Brennan said the key for both squads isn’t the reliable staples, but some of the younger athletes who could improve their finish.

“It’s those kids that are tenth,” Brennan said. “If they can come out and finish fifth, that will make the difference.”

Another factor that could help the Falcons is having home field advantage.

“It’s nice not to have the stress of having to travel and get things done and organized ahead of time,” junior hurdler Shannon Zweifel said. “It’s nice to compete on the track you practice on every day.”

Zweifel is one of the staples on the team. She is the defending WIAC outdoor 400-meter champion. She said one of her goals is to defend that title and to make the finals in the 100-meter hurdles, and to have a better showing the 4×400-meter relay.

One thing that could be troublesome for the Falcons is the absence of one key athlete and questionable status of another.

Junior sprinter and hurdler Brittany Smith who is out with a knee injury and senior heptathlete Jill Crandall has a foot injury that will be closely monitored by Brennan and the training staff.

“Jill is a competitor,” Brennan said. “She will show up and do every event she planned on doing. We’ll try and limit her as much as possible, but still get the full points from her.”

Freshman distance runner Becca Jordahl is also nursing an injury and could possibly compete this weekend.

“Even if [Crandall and Jordahl] compete at 80 percent, they’re valuable,” Brennan said.

This weekend will be the last opportunity for many Falcons track athletes to compete at Ramer Field.

Brennan has spent three seasons with this group of seniors since taking over as track coach in 2005.

“That last time in the uniform is significant,” Brennan said. “I hope they appreciate the experience and have learned a lot from it.”