UWL track and field hosts Phil Esten Challenge 


Photo retrieved from UWL Men’s track and field Twitter page.

Jack O'Donnell, Sports Reporter

On April 21 through 23, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) men’s and women’s track and field team competed in the Phil Esten Challenge at Roger Harring Stadium. This is the team’s second home meet of the year.  

Phil Esten was a long-time coach at UWL. He coached cross country for 28 years from 1970 to 1997. He won a national title with the Eagles in 1996. His teams finished in the top ten for nationals in 26 consecutive years and appeared in nationals all but one of the years he coached. He won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) for cross country 20 times.  

Esten also coached track and field as an assistant coach for 34 years. Esten is a member of the United States Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame. He is a 1965 graduate of UWL and a former cross country and track athlete. 

At the meet, there were 28 women’s teams and the UWL women won the meet scoring 215 team points. UW-Eau Claire came in second with 100 points and UW-Stout was fourth with 68.5 points. 

The women won a total of nine events. UWL’s 4 x 100 meter relay won with a time of 47.05 seconds. The relay team included Jessica Stelzner, Haley Durst, Emma Lawrence, and Emma Dawidowich. The 4 x 400 meter also finished first and that team included Amber Johnson, Mara Schroeder, Katie Banie, and again Lawrence. They ran a time of 3:50.00. 

Hannah Zenkovich took the heptathlon title with a score of 5,033 points. Schroeder also won the open 400-meter dash with a time of 56.92 seconds. Maddie Hannan won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:37.56.  

Skye Digman won both the shot put, throwing 48 feet and 1 ¼ inches, and the hammer throw with a toss of 173 feet and 9 inches. Samantha Barret won the triple jump with a jump of 40 and a half feet. Abby Meidl tied for first in the pole vault.  

Other finishers for the women included Amber Johnson finishing second in the 400 meter. Lawrence was also second in the 100-meter hurdles. Macie Todd finished second in the high jump with a jump of 5 feet and 3 ¼ inches.  

Click here for a list of full results.  

There were 26 teams on the men’s side with UWL taking second place with 122.6 points. Other WIAC teams surrounded the podium with UW-Oshkosh taking first with 171.5 points. UW-Eau Claire placed third with 117.5, and UW-Stout in fourth, scoring 95 points.  

Ethan Gregg broke the school record in the 10,000 meter run at this meet. His time of 29:36.86 broke a 47-year-old record set by Jim Drews in 1975. The old record was 29:57.74. Gregg now has the fourth-fastest time in the nation and is first in the WIAC.  

The other individual winner for the men’s side was Sam Blaskowski in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.97 seconds. 

Other notable finishers for the men were Payton Flood who placed third in the 400-meter with a time of 49.25 seconds. Carson Reilly placed fourth. Lukas Johnson finished sixth in the 110-meter hurdles and Dirk Lueck placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles. Corey Fairchild was third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with Adam Loesner placing fourth. Michael Madoch took fourth place in the 1,500-meter run.  

For the men’s field events notable finishers include Cameron Sorenson in second place for the javelin with a throw of 169 feet, five inches. Sorenson also finished third in the long jump. Logan Larson placed second in the pole vault and Aiden Williams placed second in the hammer throw.  

Here is a full result list.  

The men and women are set to host this year’s WIAC outdoor championships on May 6 and 7 at Roger Harring Stadium.