W Track & Field: Wildcats find early success in Lake Michigan Open


Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics

During a previous home meet, members of the Wildcat track team bolt from the starting line in a competitive race.

Lily Gouin

Women’s track and field came away with a huge win on Saturday, Jan. 21, as the team traveled to Kenosha, WI to take part in the Lake Michigan Open. This came after a 40-day break in which the team was not partaking in competitive events as they transitioned to the winter season.

“All around, [our] score is stronger across the board than they are so I knew that we would probably win … by how much we won and how strong we were in a lot of the events,” Head Coach Jenny Ryan said. “I was really, really happy with how we won.”

This was a big win for the team, coming out ahead by 83 points as every team member performed well all day for the ‘Cats. The women’s team was on top of the leaderboard scoring 185 points over the other two teams that were at the meet, with St. Norbert’s scoring 102 points and UW-Parkside scoring 98 points.

“The confidence level is just as high going into the next meets, and they will get tougher as we go down this next level,” Ryan said. “We are focused on the conference championships.”

Sophomore Leah Root placed first overall at the meet for pole vault with a score of 11 feet and 3.75 inches. The Wildcats took the top three spots overall. In first place was freshman Madi Szymanski with a time of 10 minutes and four seconds. Second place was junior Emily Sterling with a 10 minute and 52 second run. In third place was sophomore Talon Prusi with a time of 11 minutes.

In the 55-meter dash, the ‘Cats placed first and second with first place going to sophomore Ellyse Wolfrath with a time of 7.42 seconds. In second place with a time of 7.52 seconds was freshman Jahtivya Williams. In the 55-meter hurdles event, the Wildcats also took the top two spots. Wolfrath took first with a time of 8.32 seconds and second place went to sophomore Sydney Romps with a time of 9.33 seconds.

“It is kind of a game of trying to deal with all the travel,” Ryan said. “People are doing well in school, and … some of them will go to everything. It just kind of depends but they are all good students and they do a lot on the bus which is good.”

NMU will be traveling to University Center, MI this weekend to take part in the Jet’s Pizza Invite for a two-day event on Jan. 27 and 28 with the hope of continuing their early success. The following week, on Saturday, Feb. 4, the Wildcats will host the Wildcat Cardinal Warrior (WCW) meet where they will be competing against Saginaw Valley and Wayne State.

This will be their first home meet in four years, and it will be the only one in Marquette this year as they will be on the road for a good part of the winter season.

“We started [the WCW meet] … three years ago down at Saginaw Valley,” Ryan said. “It’s the Wildcat, Cardinal, Warrior open … it was during COVID [and] we wanted to have a smaller meet.”