By Matt Haile —

Both the men and women’s track teams here at the University of Wisconsin–Stout are early on in their seasons but both are off to a good start at 1-0. Led by head coach Kyle Steiner who is in his seventh year of coaching, five of which are for the Blue Devils.

The men’s Track and Field team returns 3 All-Americans, Patrick Jenkins (Sr, Cambridge, Minn.) who runs distance, Austin Zett (Sr, Presque Island, Wis.) who participates in discus and Captain Nick Lubinski (Sr, Hudson, Wis.) who is a triple jump specialist.

The women’s team returns three of their four legs from their All-American 4x400m relay last year. Members of this squad include conference medalist Jada Hamilton (Sr, Rice Lake, Wis.), 2014 MVP Laurisa Titterud (Jr, Lino Lakes, Minn.) and 2-time All-American in combined events Meagan Ward (Sr, Eau Claire, Wis.)

Both teams have high expectations for their current seasons.

“With the cross country girls coming off of a phenomenal season, our expectations are high for this year’s indoor/outdoor seasons,” said Hamilton. “We lost a lot of great athletes to graduation last year, therefore we will need younger classes to step up in different events.”

The teams both possess strong leadership, which will help them throughout the season.

“The men and women’s team has the best leadership we have had in my tenure at Stout,” said Coach Steiner. “When that is mixed with a very young team it will lead to one of the more successful teams we’ve had in a while.”

Another strength of both teams is the effort put in by the coaching staff.

“Our coaches put an immense amount of time into our workouts,” said Titterud, who is a part of a number of records here at Stout including the 400-meter indoor record and the 4×400 meter relay team indoor and outdoor records.

“We have a lot of potential this season,” said senior captain Mitchell Freund (New Holstein, Wis.). Freund is optimistic about the upcoming season, but whether all of the talent on both squads will be enough to reach their goals is yet to be determined.

Members of both squads have also set personal milestones to help them reach their team goals for the season.

“Some goals that I have as well as the team is to get more people to qualify for conference and score,” said Ward. “And also to break a few of our school records throughout indoor and outdoor seasons.”

“I hope to get back to nationals and earn All-American honors in both indoor and outdoor 4×400 meter relays,” stated Hamilton.

Both athletes have high expectations, but they have definitely shown that they have the skill to back it up.

Before the Blue Devils pursue their season’s expectations, there are a couple of things they need to address. Both teams lost a lot of scoring power with athletes like Zach Anderson, Sam Elsner and Jessika Smith so other players will have to step in and fill those gaps.

“We should be one of the deepest teams we have had but we still lack the depth of a number of other teams in our conference,” said Coach Steiner.

Make sure to catch the Blue Devils this season; they already hosted their only two home meets of the season last month, but they will have many more meets all over Wisconsin as the season progresses.

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