Track and field transitions to outdoor season
March 30, 2012
The UW-River Falls women’s track and field team performed well this past indoor season, and the team is excited about what they can do in their upcoming outdoor season.
At the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Indoor Championships at UWStout that took place during the last weekend in February, the Falcon women placed sixth out of the nine conference teams. Second year head coach, Aaron Decker said that the team could have done better if not for some unfortunate circumstances.
“We should have been fifth. A few things did not play in our favor. Some athletes were sick and with the strength of the WIAC now, you have to have a lot of depth,” Decker said. The Falcons finished only seven points behind fifth place UW-Stevens Point.
Decker went on to say that a larger roster could have made the difference in where the team finished.
“We landed where we should have, but had we had everybody there, we probably could have been top four. It takes a team of 15 or 20 really good kids to take a stand and make an impact in the WIAC,” Decker said. “We have an adequate number to perform well, but we need to be a little bit deeper in quality.”
The indoor season saw the women’s team set three new school records and have one of its athletes qualify for the NCAA National Track and Field Championships in Grinell, Iowa. Junior Alyssa Rasmussen finished in eighth place in the 400 meter run which qualified her for All-American status. Rasmussen said that being an All-American was really important to her.
“It means a lot, it is a pretty prestigious award, and I am pretty excited about that. It just shows my hard work and dedication to track,” said the Delano, Minn., native. She attributed her success to her own effort in addition to her coaches and teammates. Rasmussen was also on the 2011 WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll.
Rasmussen’s head coach was impressed with her performance at the national meet. “She had the consistency to come into the meet and it takes consistency to be an All- American. She did it extremely well. She was thrilled,” Decker said.
The women will be moving outdoors beginning in early April and the head coach says that expectations remain lofty.
“I always set the bar high. I would like to see big things happen,” Decker said.
The head coach also spoke of a number of athletes that he thinks will have strong outdoor seasons including senior runner Becky Ponick and senior distance runner Katie Rydeen.
One of the main differences between indoor and outdoor track and field is that there are more events in the outdoor season. Events such as the steeplechase and discus throw are outdoor-exclusive. Decker says the Falcons can use those extra events to their advantage.
“When you look at the added events, we have athletes that compete in those events and grab more points in the conference meet which should elevate our standing,” Decker said.
Another factor that could bode well for the Falcons is that they will be hosting two meets this season. One of the two is a dual meet against UW-Stout, while the other is the Falcon Invitational featuring a total of 12 teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Decker says competing at home is very beneficial for a team.
“You know the facilities, the curves, and the runway very well. That makes it easier to relax and we see big performances when the athletes relax. It’s a big advantage,” Decker said.
The Falcons begin the outdoor season at home with the UW-Stout Dual on April 5.