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Men’s relay team breaks school record, women finish third at Mac Invite

April 30, 2009

A school record was broken in the 4×800 relay by the UW-River Falls track and field team on April 24 at the Drake Relays, widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive meets.

Indy Liljevall, Nick Zeien, Scott Degner and Alex Zeien destroyed the previous record of 7:50.64 by more than 11 seconds, posting a time of 7:39.42, which was good enough for a fifth place finish in the race.

Oklahoma Christian University (OCU) won the event with a time of 7:30.08, while three other WIAC schools placed in the top six.

UW-Stevens Point placed second, less than one second behind OCU, and UW-Whitewater finished fourth, just ahead of the Falcons relay team. UW-Eau Claire finished sixth, right behind UWRF.

Degner said the WIAC middle and long distance runners proved that it is competitive on a national level at the Drake Relays.

“The WIAC has always been a powerhouse on the national level for any middle and long distance event,” he said. “Having all four teams that participated from the WIAC in the top six shows not only how talented this conference is, but how deep each team is.”

With the conference meet set for this weekend, Degner said that a another record setting performance could be a lot to ask for as most of his teammates will be in other events, unlike what they did at the Drake Relays.

“I would be surprised if we ran faster this weekend,” he said. “A few of us will have individual races before doing the relay. The conditions at Drake also set us up for running a fast time. When you have that many high caliber relays and ideal temperatures, there’s only one option you have and it’s to run fast. It would be more realistic to break it again next year if we were to return to Drake as all four of us are returning next year.”

The 4×800 team was the only one sent by UWRF to compete in the Drake Relays.

“They did great,” UWRF Head Coach Martha Brennan said. “It was good to see them do it at the venue they were at. We have never had four people on our team that could run this event like these guys do.”

For Degner, breaking the school record is special, but a feat that his teammates thought they could accomplish.

“It’s a pretty exciting moment,” he said. “Going down, we were pretty confident we could surpass the record. It was probably more exciting how we did it and the setting we had to break the record.”

At the Macalester (Minn.) Invitational the Falcon women’s team placed third thanks to a first place performance by Jessica Reed in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.02 in the finals and Carly Eggert won the 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:52.2.

“Just a great meet for them,” Brennan said. “Everyone did really well for us.”

UWRF had 111.50 points for the meet, which trailed second place College of St. Benedict’s (Minn.) 124 and the University of Minnesota’s first place performance of 150 points.

Reed won the 100-meter hurdle event despite not being able to practice for the past two weeks and gave the Falcons 10 points, which may have kept them in the third place spot.

“I have been off for two weeks so it was nice to come back,” Reed said, who had been rehabilitating a foot injury during that time. “I was just biking and using the elliptical for rehab, so it was nice to have a good race.”

Brennan said Reed’s performance was good timing.

“It was nice to see her win right before conference,” Brennan said. “It wasn’t her best race and she was a little disappointed in the time, but she has some confidence going in.”

The running events were not the only ones UWRF was successful in as the throwers, who have been consistent all season, had another stellar meet.

Maranda Dorhn placed third in the shot put with a throw of 38-6 3/4, while River Falls native Caitlin Brendum finished second in the hammer throw with a mark of 151-4 and fourth in the javelin throw with a 94-9 toss.

The WIAC meet is on Friday and Saturday at UW-Oshkosh.

Brennan said the Falcons will be ready and in a familiar position.

“We are going in as the underdog, which we have been for a long time,” she said. “A lot of times we do better in that role. We have faced adversity before, so we should be fine.”