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Women’s track, field off to a solid start

February 18, 2008

The UW-River Falls Women’s indoor track & field team has been doing well this season, with four of its athletes having qualified for the NCAA Division III national meet so far.

As of now, three UWRF athletes have provisionally qualified for nationals:  Jessica Reed in the 55-meter hurdle, Becca Jordahl in the 5,000 meter run and Vicki Cooper in the shot-put and 20 pound weight throw.  Jordahl ran a 17:21.45 at the MSU-Mankato Open Feb. 2, which is a provisional qualifying time for nationals.  Her time for the 5,000-meter run also broke a UWRF school record by 38 seconds, according to UW-River Falls Sports Information.

On the other hand, senior captain Krista Hasselquist’s first-place toss of 46-4 1/4 in the shot-put at the UW-Stout Open Jan. 22 guarantees her a spot at the national meet, which will be held in Ada, Ohio, March 14 and 15. 

Hasselquist’s shot-put toss distance also broke a school record, and she threw a provisional qualifying distance in the weight toss as well.

Adding to her list of accomplishments, Hasselquist, a two-time All-American, was recently named the WIAC Field Athlete of the Week on January 28. Cooper was named a UWRF Athlete of the Week (Jan. 28), according to UWRF Sports Information.

“Overall, the team looks stronger than it has in years,” Hasselquist said.  The team has grown quite a bit in terms of numbers since she and Cooper, both seniors, joined their freshman year.  While exploring how the team has been so successful this season, Cooper said, “It’s quantity, but we’re also gaining a lot of quality.”

The team “hopes to continue the success of their third place conference finish last year at the outdoor track & field meet to the indoor track and field meet this year,” said Hasselquist.  The indoor conference meet will take place Feb. 29 and March 1 at UW-Superior.

The Falcons hosted the Coca-Cola Classic indoor track meet last weekend, where several UWRF athletes shined.  In the women’s events, Hasselquist took first place in both the shot-put and the weight throw events on home turf. 

Jessica Reed finished first in the 55-meter hurdle at 8.84 seconds.  Adding to the Falcons’ accomplishments last weekend were second place finishers Natasha Arnold in the 400-meter dash, Shannon Zweifel in the 800-meter run, Becca Jordahl in the mile run and Maria Michaud in the 3,000-meter run, according to UWRF Sports Information.

The Falcon men were also awarded at the Coca-Cola Classic for outstanding performances.  Jason Phillippi received first place in the mile run for his time of 4:16, provisionally qualifying him for the national meet.  Also finishing first were Nick Zeien in the 600-meter dash and the 4×400 relay team. JD Rojas and Josh Dietz placed second in the 500 meter run and the 55 meter hurdles, respectively. 

The Falcons will next compete at the St. Scholastica Invitational Feb. 16.