The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Humans of UWL: Sam Blaskowski

Sam Blaskowski in the 60m Final of the Mark Guthrie Invite. Photo by John Gaynor

Fresh off his Men’s Indoor 60-meter title win at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Meet (WIAC) this past weekend, Third-year University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Sam Blaskowski sat down with The Racquet Press to discuss his sprinting career and life outside of track and field. 

Growing up, Blaskowski played a variety of sports like flag football, basketball, indoor soccer and swam competitively. Going into high school, he played baseball in the spring and soccer in the fall but needed to find a sport for the winter. After being cut from the basketball team, he found himself swimming sprints in the pool. 

In his second year of high school, Blaskowski randomly decided to try out for the Oshkosh West High School track and field team. After scoring a mark of 22 feet (6.70m) in the long jump, his coach told him that he was not playing baseball any time soon and should put all his efforts towards track and field.  

Just like everyone else, the onset of COVID-19 changed his routine completely. Blaskowski went from competing one to two times per week and practicing five times per week to spending his time in the weight room and not competing in another track meet for over a year. 

Returning to the track for his last season in high school senior season, Blaskowski did not have any collegiate offers. He proceeded to have his best season yet, running 10.83 seconds in the 100-meter dash and becoming the 2021 WIAA State Outdoor Track & Field Champion. The WIAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are held on the Roger Harring Stadium Track at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, right here on UWL’s campus. La Crosse. Little did Blaskowski know; within a year he would be competing collegiately for UWL. 

Coming out of Oshkosh West High School, Blaskowski only had recruiting interest from one college coach; former UWL Long Jump coach Nicholas Gordon. While recognizing his long jump ability, Blaskowski made the decision early on in his college career to exclusively focus his efforts on sprinting and that decision has paid off. 

Blaskowski explained he did not consider walking on to a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 (NCAA DI) track & field program. Rather attending UWL and being a part of a NCAA DIII track & field program was important to him for personal reasons. 

“My parents both grew up here [La Crosse area], my grandparents live a few miles from campus, and I saw how successful the track & field program is,” Blaskowski said. 

His parents are both UWL graduates and his sister is in her first year at UWL, continuing the trend. “It will be really cool to look back on our legacy at UWL as a family,” said Blaskowski. 

Blaskowski is a sports management major, with an emphasis on business. He wants to stay within the sports world and potentially stay around track & field for his career after athletics. 

When he arrived on campus as a first year in 2022, Blaskowski did not have much invested in track at the time, but said his mentality was, “I’m a state champion, and I can build off of my successes here.” Blaskowski believes that he was handed one of the best sprint coaches in the nation by coach Matt Gordy, and credits Gordy and the UWL Track & Field coaching staff with much of his collegiate success. 

At the WIAC Indoor Conference Meet in 2022, Blaskowski lined up in the blocks for the 60-meter dash.“I knew instantly it was a fast race. When I finished I just screamed. That time popped up and I couldn’t believe it,” said Blaskowski.  

He had run 6.70 seconds for the first time. Prior to the race, Blaskowski was ranked third in the WIAC and barely in the top 20 nationwide, with a time of 6.85 seconds. While he was unable to win the final, his 6.70 seconds skyrocketed Blaskowski to the number one 60-meter sprinter in the nation. Since then, Blaskowski hasn’t looked back, breaking the DIII 60-meter national record multiple times, most recently on Feb. 3 during the Mark Guthrie Legacy Invite. 

Blaskowski has taken his sprinting talents outside of La Crosse and competed in big meets against some of the best sprinters in the world. Just two weeks ago, Feb. 16 and 17, Blaskowski competed in the USATF Indoor Championships where he raced against 100-meter and 200-meter 2023 World Athletics Champion Noah Lyles. Blaskowski is currently training to compete in the 100-meter dash at the US Olympic Trials in June and is the favorite to win the NCAA DIII National Title in the 100-meter dash. 

To prepare for a bigger meet such as USATF Indoor Championships or NCAA Nationals, Blaskowski treats every race like a final. “It’s not like a normal meet where you can run in the prelim [preliminaries] and again the next day. You don’t get an extra opportunity,” Blaskowski said.  

Blaskowski takes nutrition seriously, using the days leading up to a big meet to give his body the proper levels of hydration, electrolytes, carbs and proteins. Blaskowski also heavily controls the amount of sleep he gets each night, to ensure he feels energized and prepared for race day.  

While training or going to class takes over most of his schedule, Blaskowski has other hobbies outside of track and field. He can easily be found hanging out with his teammates, playing video games or spending time with his family and doing things with his grandparents. Blaskowski is also a regular customer at Stryker’s Cafe in the Student Union, often ordering the Sandwich of the Day.

Blaskowski’s next race will be in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Division III National Indoor Championships, on March 8 and 9 in Virginia Beach, VA. To view Blaskowski’s track & field records, visit the UWL Athletics website or TFRRS. 

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About the Contributor
John Gaynor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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  • R

    RickyFeb 29, 2024 at 7:33 pm

    Hell yea