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Friday, February 23, 2024
Wisconsin has strong finish in Badger Open

Wisconsin has strong finish in Badger Open: Wisconsin junior hurdler Nate Larkin took first place in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal best 7.87 seconds.

Wisconsin has strong finish in Badger Open

The coming weeks are pivotal for the Wisconsin men's track and field team. With the Big Ten Indoor Championships and NCAA Indoor Championships on the horizon, UW hosted the Wisconsin Badger Open Saturday afternoon at the Shell. The meet, which featured UW-La Crosse, North Central, Augustana and Beloit, was the Badgers' final chance to compete before heading to the conference championship this coming weekend. 


Wisconsin junior hurdler Nate Larkin proved to have one of the most impressive performances of the afternoon. Larkin placed first in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.87 seconds, a personal best. Since the Notre Dame Invitational in late January, Larkin has shaved .12 seconds off his time and improved nearly every week. Head coach Ed Nuttycombe has certainly noticed Larkin's improvement.  


""Nate's last four races have been the best of his life. He is hurdling with confidence and he continues to get sharper each week,"" he said.  


Another Wisconsin athlete placing first is an unfamiliar face to the track circuit. Freshman wide receiver Nick Toon traded in his football pads for track spikes Saturday and proved to be a valuable addition to the team. In his first race, Toon placed first in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.08 seconds.  


Other first place finishes for the Badgers included sophomore Jake Fritz's shotput throw of 53' 11 1/4"" and sophomore Rayme Mackinson's 24' 3"" performance in the long jump.  


The meet gave Wisconsin the opportunity to allow some of their athletes who are redshirting this season to gain competition experience. Freshman James Groce, competing unattached, placed first in the 300 meters with a time of 33.71 seconds, a record time at the Shell. Also competing unattached was freshman Paul Annear, who placed first in the high jump after clearing 6'11 3/4"".  


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Wisconsin's decision to redshirt some of their top athletes has drawn criticism this season. The Badgers have won eight straight Big Ten Indoor Championships, but Nuttycombe still feels like his athletes have something to prove.  


""There is a lot of tradition and pride in the Big Ten Championships and I think they will surprise a lot of teams this year,"" he said.  






Freshman Jenna Severson's personal best time of 1:35.50 was good enough for first place in the 600 meters Saturday at the Wisconsin Badger Open. Teammate, junior Alex Beecham, placed first in the 300 meters with a time of 39.95 seconds. It was her second time winning the event this season. The Badgers received their final track event win with sophomore Egle Staisiunaite's time of 8.71 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.  


Sophomore Rebecca Fritz won the weight throw with a mark of 49 feet, 1 inch, and senior Samantha Dehn won the shot put with a throw of 39' 1/2"", rounding out the first place finishes for the Badgers.  


On Feb. 28 and March 1, the men's team will travel to University Park, Penn., while the women's team will travel to Bloomington, Ind., for the Big Ten Indoor Championships, and on March 13 and 14 both teams will travel to College Station, Texas for the NCAA Indoor Championships. 


— contributed to this report.

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