Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships
The University of Northern Iowa men's and women's track & field teams will travel to Wichita, Kan., for the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships being held May 11-13 at Cessna Stadium. The Panther men and women are looking to improve on fourth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively, from last season.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
This weekend's championship events will be available on a free live webcast via the Wichita State Track & Field UStream page. The link, along with results and other coverage, will be available on UNIPanthers.com.
Men Tabbed Fourth, Women Sixth for MVC Championships
The Missouri Valley Conference released its pre-championship poll this week for the upcoming State Farm MVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and the UNI men and women have been picked fourth and sixth, respectively. The rankings are the result of a poll of the league's head coaches.
The Panther men finished fourth with 31 points. Wichita State led the poll with 49 points and all seven first-place votes. Defending champion Indiana State came in second with 40 points, and Southern Illinois was third with 34. Illinois State (19), Drake (16) and Bradley (7) round out the poll.
On the women's side, UNI earned 23 points to come in sixth. Wichita State received 60 points and five of the eight first-place votes to top the poll. Illinois State was second with 54 points, and Southern Illinois and Missouri State tied for third with 44 points apiece. Indiana State was fifth with 37 points, followed by UNI (23), Drake (17), and Bradley (9).
The UNI men own 21 performances that rank in the league's top five this year, including Valley leaders Jarred Herring (100m), Aaron Stockstell (800m), Justin Romero (shot put), Jordan Williams (discus), Daniel Gooris (decathlon) and the 4x100m relay.
The UNI women have 13 performances that are currently in the MVC's top five.
A Look Back
At the 2011 MVC Outdoor Championships in Cedar Falls, the UNI men remained in contention until the final event, eventually taking fourth place in the closest team race in league history. Indiana State won the title with 168 points, Southern Illinois was second with 167, Wichita State was third with 163, and the Panthers took fourth with 157.
The Panther women placed sixth outdoors last season with 63 points. Wichita State claimed the women's title with 194 points.
UNI's Returning All-MVC Performers -- 2011 MVC Championships
Jarred Herring 100m 1st
Daniel Gooris Decathlon 1st
Pole Vault 2nd
Carlos Anderson 4x100m 1st
Sam Kranz Pole Vault 1st
Jordan Williams Discus 1st
Derek Kramer 4x100m 1st
Wilmot Wellington 4x100m 1st
Tanner Hurt Hammer Throw 2nd
Justin Romero Shot Put 2nd
Adam McDonnell Javelin 3rd
Ryan Newtoff 400m hurdles 3rd
Olimpia Nowak 400m hurdles 2nd
Sam Cameron 4x400m 2nd
Michaela Brungardt 4x400m 2nd
Jarred Herring (100m), Daniel Gooris (decathlon), Sam Kranz (pole vault), Jordan Williams (discus), and the 4x100m relay team of Carlos Anderson, Derek Kramer, Wilmot Wellington and Herring will all be looking to defend titles at this weekend's MVC Outdoor Championships. Gooris is in pursuit of his third straight MVC championship in the decathlon.
Two Athletes of the Week
Jordan Williams and Traci Harms were honored as this week's Missouri Valley Conference Field Athletes of the Week following their performances at the Mark Messersmith Invite on May 4.
Williams, a junior, uncorked one of the best discus throws in UNI history to win the Mark Messersmith Invitational on May 4. Williams threw 192-02 (58.57m) - a mark that ranks him No. 9 in the nation this season and No. 2 in program history. He leads the rest of the MVC by more than 21 feet in the discus.
Williams also claimed a second-place finish in the shot put on Friday, throwing 60-02.00 (18.34m) to move to No. 23 in the nation and No. 2 on the UNI all-time list in that event.
Harms, a senior, posted a personal-best mark in the hammer throw by nearly five feet to win the event at the Mark Messersmith Invitational. She threw 190-04 (58.01m) to improve her mark that already ranked No. 2 in school history. Harms is now No. 49 in the nation and No. 32 in the West Region in the hammer throw this season.
For the second time this season at the Messersmith Invite on May 4, senior Justin Romero broke the school record in the shot put by more than a foot. Romero threw 61-01.50 (18.63m) to surpass his own previous school record by one foot and a half-inch, claiming the event title. Earlier this season, Romero shattered the 34-year old record by one foot, seven inches.
UNI Success in the Drake Decathlon
With Daniel Gooris' decathlon title at the Drake Relays this year, six of the past nine Drake Relays decathlon crowns have gone to athletes with UNI ties. Former UNI head coach and student-athlete Travis Geopfert won the title in 2004 and 2006, former Panther All-American Raven Cepeda won the event in 2007, and former All-American Mat Clark owns the 2009 and 2011 titles.
Gooris tallied a personal-best 7,624 points to win by a 300-point margin in 2012.
Best in UNI History
UNI senior Olimpia Nowak scored 5,686 points - 271 more than she had ever totaled before - to take second place in the Drake Relays heptathlon on Apr. 25-26. Nowak shattered the previous UNI record of 5,550 established by Dani Stipe in 2008, and she currently ranks No. 7 in the nation this season.
One Meet, Three Records
Olimpia Nowak broke three school records in four days at the 2012 Drake Relays, topping the 100m hurdles and heptathlon records on her own before teaming up with Paige Knodle, Rachel Peth and Abbie Ackerman to set a new top mark in the shuttle hurdle relay.
Re-Writing the Record Books
The Panther women have seen school records fall in 11 different events over the past 15 months, and a total of 29 performances from this season alone rank in the school's all-time top-five.
In the Rankings
The UNI men's track & field team is No. 13 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Midwest regional rankings released on May 8. The Panther women entered the rankings at No. 15 on May 1 and remained in that spot this week.
The League's Best
The UNI men own the top mark in the MVC in two of the four throwing events. Senior Justin Romero leads in the shot put, and junior Jordan Williams leads in the discus. School record-holder Tanner Hurt ranks No. 3 in the MVC in the hammer throw, and sophomore Adam McDonnell is fourth in the league in the javelin.
UNI is the only MVC school that has at least one athlete listed in the regional Top-40 for each of the four men's throwing events. The top 48 performers in each region will advance to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds at the end of May.
Shot Putters Galore
The UNI men own the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 spots on the MVC leaderboard in the shot put. Senior Justin Romero leads the league with his school-record toss of 61-01.50 (18.63m), and junior Jordan Williams and freshman Justin Baker have each recorded personal-best throws this season to rank No. 3 and No. 4.
Lageschulte Does it Again
On April 21 at the Musco Twilight, Panther senior Jill Lageschulte re-set the UNI school record in the 3,000m steeplechase that she broke just five weeks prior in Florida. She won the event in 10:44.44 to surpass the old record and her previous personal best by just over 18 seconds. Following the Musco Twilight, Lageschulte had run the 3,000m steeplechase three times this year and emerged with a first-place finish each time.
Nowak Dominates at Iowa
UNI senior Olimpia Nowak swept the hurdle events at Iowa's Musco Twilight on April 21, winning the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.82 seconds and the 400m hurdles in 59.25 seconds. Nowak became just the second woman in UNI history to run the 400m hurdles in less than one minute.
Big Day for Stockstell
Senior Aaron Stockstell took over the Missouri Valley Conference lead in the 800m with a time of 1:49.29 on April 21 at the Musco Twilight hosted by Iowa. Stockstell's time ranks No. 30 in the West region this season. He also ran a leg on the Panthers' 4x400m relay team that ran 3:12.82 to rank No. 2 in the MVC.
Brungardt Breaks Out
Senior Michaela Brungardt claimed the 400m crown at the Musco Twilight in a time of 55.09 seconds that now ranks No. 5 all-time at UNI.
Davenport Leads Again
Freshman Jesse Davenport led the UNI 400m men for the second straight week, running 48.27 seconds for fourth place and a new season-best time at the Musco Twilight on April 21. He's ranked No. 5 in the MVC this year.
The UNI 4x100m relay team of Carlos Anderson, Derek Kramer, Wilmot Wellington and Jarred Herring recorded a season-best time of 40.90 seconds at the Musco Invitational. It marked the quartet's first competition together since they claimed honorable mention All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Panthers' Drake Relays time of 40.11 seconds now ranks No. 1 in the MVC and No. 3 in school history.
UNI senior Olimpia Nowak captured the heptathlon title at the KT Woodman Classic hosted by Wichita State on Apr. 11-12. Nowak totaled 5,365 points in adverse weather conditions for the third-best heptathlon score of her career.
Baker Breaks Out
Freshman Justin Baker surpassed his previous best in the shot put this season by five feet at the Cornell Open on Apr. 14, taking the event title with a throw of 57-05.75 (17.52m). That performance leaves Baker just one-half inch out of No. 5 on the Panthers' all-time list, No. 33 in the NCAA West Region this year, and No. 4 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
First Try for Knodle Enters the Record Books
UNI freshman Paige Knodle took third place in her first-ever collegiate heptathlon competition, scoring 4,964 points at the KT Woodman Classic on Apr. 11-12. Knodle's performance put her at No. 5 on the UNI all-time list. She has since moved up to No. 3 with her score of 5,280 points at the Drake Relays.