UIS track and field begins its first full season
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New to the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Prairie Stars women’s track and field team is taking their first full season in stride.
Collegiate Indoor Track has a total of 17 Conference/National Events, and the UIS Team competes in eight of them: the 60, 200, 400, and 800 meters, the mile, the 4 x 400, the distance medley relay, and shot put.
The Stars finish ahead of about a third of the teams they compete against in the final scoring of their meets.
However, when taking into account that the young team only participates in half of the events, looking at the scores of what the team does compete in, the Prairie Stars finish ahead of three-fourths of the teams they compete against.
“We are very good at what we do,” said head coach Mike DeWitt.
Not only is the track and field team fairly new, so is the head coach. But as new as he may be to UIS, DeWitt is not new to success.
DeWitt is an All-American who has competed in the U.S. Olympic trials five times in the 50K race walk and was on Team USA seven times, not to mention he medaled twice at the U.S. National Olympic Festivals in the 1980s.
DeWitt has guided many teams to the title of conference champions a well as guiding many athletes to state championships.
It should come as no surprise he was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame in 2000 for his coaching success.
Perhaps the impact DeWitt can have has already been felt here at UIS. Of the 14 women on the track and field roster, two runners, Krissy Finley and Lexi Yoggerst, are ranked in the top 10 of the GLVC as well as being ranked in the top 50-100 of the NCAA.
This is significant because these girls are in the top 10 percent of Division II, ranking them over a majority of the 800 athletes in those events.
Finley, a junior who transferred from Greenville College after her freshman year, has not only helped win sectionals on the relay team, but has also won three individual races this winter. Finley has an outstanding 800-meter time recorded at 2:21.50, and her mile at 5:21.03.
Yoggerst, who also runs relay, has won two individual races this winter as well as placing second twice. Her key event is the 400 meters, marking her best time at 1:00.70.
DeWitt said, “Looking ahead to the GLVC meet the last weekend of February, we will look to score in the top eight of the two relays and with strong races. … That will place us in 10th to 12th place of the 13 schools that do Indoor Track in the Conference.”
For those interested, men’s track is not competing this Indoor Season and will have their first-ever season of track starting with the outdoor season.