Track competes at NCAAs

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoFresh off a victory at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the UW men?s track team looks to continue their success and defend their title at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend.Despite competing in only two events, five runners will be representing Wisconsin at the championships, which are being held this year at the University of Arkansas.Competing in the distance relay will be Craig Miller, James Groce, Evan Jager and Jack Bolas.Bolas, a sophomore, recently set the school record in the mile by breaking the four-minute barrier for the first time in school history.Currently, the relay is ranked sixth nationally.In addition to the relay, sophomore Brandon Bethke will also be competing at the NCAA Championships.Bethke, who won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last week ? with a winning time of 08:10:80 in the 3,000 ? will be running in the 3,000 this weekend.?He was stellar,? UW head coach Ed Nuttycombe said.?He was exceptional, to the point that obviously he caught the eye of every coach there and was the MVP of the meet and the season.?The distance relay is also peaking heading into the competition this weekend.Their time of 09:54:25 was good enough for first place at the Big Ten Indoors, becoming the first UW distance relay to win the event since 2001.The key to success at the NCAA level will be the depth on the relay.?Each of my teammates is very reliable,? Jack Bolas said. ?I know that when I get the baton as the anchor, each one of those guys will have run his heart out. That gives me motivation to do the same.?Although the distance relay?s best time of 09:33:29 puts them right in the thick of the race, Texas is projected to run away with the competition.The Longhorns? distance relay, which set a world record this year with a time of 09:25:97, is five seconds faster than their closest competitor, Arkansas.Bethke, on the other hand, has an excellent shot to place among the top competitors at the Indoor Championships.The Big Ten Conference Indoor Athlete of the Year is ranked fourth in the 3,000, about a second behind the top national time set by Robert Curtis of Villanova.?He has as much chance as anybody to be in the front pack,? Nuttycombe said.In addition to the relay and 3,000, Wisconsin will also be represented in the women?s race by Katrina Rundhaug and the distance relay consisting of Gwen Jorgensen, Nicole Slaby, Carly Ducharme and Ann Detmer.Rundhaug, who will be competing in the 5,000, won the Big Ten Indoor race by setting a personal best time of 15:57:93.Last year?s trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships was pretty special.Chris Solinksy won the 5,000 and led the team to a National Championship.Although it will be impossible to match last year?s success at the Indoor Championships, the team is still excited about the chance to compete.?It?ll be fun to go back to the scene of the big championship,? Nuttycombe said.?Hopefully we can bring home a handful of All-Americans.?last_img read more