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Falcon invitational opens up UWRF track and field season

April 16, 2010

The Falcon Invitational, held April 9-10 at Ramer Field, was a success for much of the UW-River Falls track and field team as they began the outdoor track season.

The Falcons had many good finishes from athletes, and at least one qualified for the NCAA tournament as well, said Keven Syverson, the head coach.

“It was our first outdoor competition of the year, and first competition in over a month,” he said. “We had some very solid performances, especially in the field events.”

Syverson said that one of the most impressive performances was by a UWRF heptathlon runner, who qualified for the national competition by winning an event.

“Colleen Kopel won the heptathlon with a provisional qualifying mark for nationals,” he said.

According to Syverson, another UWRF athlete was also close to qualifying for the NCAA tournament with a win in an event.

“Rebecca Ponick won the Javelin with a 125-04 toss, which is very close to a provisional qualifying mark,” he said.

Sophie Lasko, also had success in the meet, taking first in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200. In her 100 meter run, she was less than a second away from a provisional qualifier to the NCAA tournament, according to results at pttiming.com.

“The meet went really well for me, though I felt very sore from all of the hard workouts,” she said. “I placed first in the 100 and second in the 200.”

Lasko also said that many of the coaches have high expectations for the team, after a successful indoor season.

“We had the most we’ve ever had go to nationals so I’m sure they’re hoping for just as much or better for the outdoor season,” she said.

Nick Zeien, a senior mid-distance runner, said the meet was a good preview of the conference meet, which will also be held at UWRF.

“It was a good meet,” he said. “A solid set up for what conference is going to be, since it’s being held there this year.”

Chad Ernst, a senior distance runner, commented on distance runners, who also had some positive results.

“Timmy Wucherer won the 10 kilometer by breaking his previous personal record by over a minute and a half,” he said. “Scott Degner took 3rd in the 800 with a time of 1:56.92, and Scott Bowman took 6th in the 1500 with a time of 4:12.90.”

The Falcons continue their season with a meet April 16 at UW-La Crosse, for the La Crosse Invitational. Both the men and women’s teams have six meets left before the conference tournament, which is May 7 and 8 at Ramer Field.

Syverson said that the women athletes look good this year; however, the men’s team is regrouping for next season.

“I think we have a very solid team on the women’s side in most event areas and we are sitting out some of our better men this outdoor season hoping it pays off for us next year,” he said.

Syverson set team goals this season using the indoor season as a benchmark.

“The women finished 4th at the indoor conference meet and I expect us to be in that area again at the outdoor conference meet,” he said. “The men finished 7th at the indoor conference meet and we will have to work hard to duplicate that performance and some new guys will have to step up and make an impact.”

The NCAA meet is scheduled for May 27-29 at Baldwin-Wallace College, Ohio.