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Falcon invitational begins outdoor track

April 14, 2011

The men’s and women’s track teams at UW-River Falls hosted the Falcon Invitational track and field meet on April 8 and 9 at the Ramer Field complex.

The event consisted of an 18-team field, participating in events such as the javelin throw, 400-meter dash, and the grueling 10,000-meter run.

The men’s team placed fifth in the event, with stellar running from senior Nick Zeien who set a new UW-River Falls record in the 400 meter run.

Zeien, a Hastings Minn. native, said that he felt good entering the meet, and to run the way he did was icing on the cake.

“It feels good to run right off the bat,” Zeien said. “Especially because I am not in the best of shape right now, it makes me realize there are a lot of good things to come from the season.”

Zeien added that despite unfavorable weather conditions, the team performed well as a whole.

“The weather wasn’t the best,” Zeien said. “But that’s the thing about outdoor, you never really know what you are going to get and the team did really well.”

As for the fifth place finish, head coach Aaron Decker said that he was pleased with the effort of the team, especially considering the stiff competition.

“The men’s team had a strong showing over the weekend,” Decker said. “As the first weekend of competition was completed, the Falcons were victorious and will continue to improve.”

The women’s track and field team showed the competition what they are made of on Friday and Saturday, placing fourth overall in the meet.

Junior Kayla Hillman tied the UW-River Falls record in the pole vault, jumping an impressive 11’ and 5 ¾”.

“Coach Decker and I have spent most of the track season reinventing my vault,” Hillman said. “There are still a lot of things that need to be worked on, but for the most part it’s finally starting to come together.”

Decker praised the lady Falcons for increasing their intensity level and raising their game when needed.

“The women’s team did a great job stepping up to the national caliber competition that was visiting UW-River Falls,” Decker said. “There were many personal bests throughout the day and several other performances from freshmen Falcons that will help to build a very successful program.”

Decker said that this years Falcon Invitational was a successful one both on and off the track.

“The Falcon Invitational was a great success due to the help of the officials and volunteers,” Decker said. “ Through the weather and competition it was a great weekend full of great track and field.”

Decker made one thing very clear: the Falcons are headed in the right direction.

“The Falcons are on their way back to the standards of success set by alumni and school record holders of the past,” Decker said. “We are looking to build a base to become WIAC champions and national champions alike.”

The Falcon men earned the fifth place finish, scoring 67.5 points, placing behind the University of Minnesota-Duluth, St. John’s, and the overall winner St. Cloud State.

The lady Falcons earned their fourth place finish, scoring behind the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, and the overall winner UM-Duluth.

The Falcons will take to the track again on April 15 when they will compete in the La Crosse Invitational.