Runners roll with outdoor season, finish fifth in Wisconsin

Georgette Breen-Naylor

Following a canceled meet in Oshkosh, Wis., the NMU women’s track and field team traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to compete in the Rex Foster Open on Sunday, April 6.

The ’Cats finished in fifth place out of the nine teams that competed. The host, Whitewater, took first place at the event.

Junior Brittni Wirtz won the 100-meter in 12:15 and placed second in the 200-meter in 25.54.

“It was good competition for all of us,” Wirtz said. “Everyone did really well.”

A few other Wildcat athletes finished top-three. Senior Cheyenne Stewart won the long jump in 5.57 meters. She also improved her provisional mark in the triple jump for the NCAA Outdoor Championship with a jump of 12.10 meters, good for a new personal record and first place finish.

Freshman Avadon James finished second in the 100-meter in 12:17 and third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.59.

Sophomore Jaylee Brown competed in her first outdoor meet in the 800-meter, placing fourth with a time of 2:26.45.

“It’s nice to get an outdoor meet under my belt,” Brown said. “I will use things that I know I didn’t do well, and work on those things in practice and improve [on] it for my next meet.”

Junior Larissa Halonen placed third in the 1,500 with a time of 4:50.00. Halonen said it felt good to be back on the track. She suffered an injury last season, making this her first outdoor meet since 2012.

“I was pleased with my performance this weekend after a month off from racing,” Halonen said. “I was three seconds away from my personal best and I hope to beat that time next weekend.”

The ’Cats travel to the University of Hillsdale for the next meet.

Howard said NMU will be up against strong teams at Hillsdale.

“There is going to be a strong field of competitors this weekend,” Howard said. “I am excited to see our team continue to improve our performances just as we did throughout the indoor track season. We have a very talented and hardworking group of women with great potential.”

The meet at Hillsdale is scheduled for Saturday,  April 12.