MADISON, Wis. – There’s always a few nerves coming off a long break and going into the first meet of the season. Many athletes use the first competition as a testing ground; to see how much off-season training has paid off.
That was the scene for the Wisconsin women’s track and field team Saturday as the Badgers kicked off the new season with the Badger Track Classic at the Shell.
“It’s nice to see where we’re all at,” said junior Taylor Smith. “Since this is the first meet we’re all like, ‘Ooh. What are we going to throw? Is it going to be good? Is it going to be bad?’ I think we’re all doing pretty well for the first meet coming back from winter.”
Many would consider “pretty well” an understatement.
Wisconsin’s throws group came out for their first meet with a dominating performance.
The Badgers took the top four spots in both the weight throw and the shot put. Four throws for four personal -best marks. Four throws for four top-10 all-time performances -- and two that shattered the school records in both events. Smith threw for a repeat performance, breaking the school record in the shot put in her first meet of the year for the second-straight season, as her launch of 53 feet, 4 1/4 inches took top honors.
However, this time she swept both throws records, taking the No. 1 spot in Wisconsin’s weight throw history, as well. With a toss of 67 feet, 1/2 inches, Smith bested her former school record of 65-6 3/4 by 1 1/2 feet.
“It actually surprised me a little bit, especially with shot put,” said Smith. “Weight throw has been going really well this year, so I kind of expected that. I actually pulled it together because I was really nervous.
“Shot put, though, was a bit of a surprise and I hope it only gets better.”
Following Smith in the shot put was promising freshman Kelsey Card, who competed in her first collegiate meet and came out with a personal record and two top-10 all-time Wisconsin marks.
Card’s impressive first showing started out with a throw of 55-9 in the weight throw for fourth place in the meet and 10th in the Badgers’ record book. Her success didn’t stop there. Taking second place in the shot put, Card threw 51-0 3/4, a distance that is third-best in Wisconsin history and a personal-best mark for Card.
Sophomore Abby Lueck rounded out the trio that grabbed spots in the Badgers’ all-time top 10 of both the weight throw and shot put. Lueck nabbed second place in the weight throw with a distance of 59-8 1/4 that ranks No. 5 all-time at UW.
In the shot put, she threw 47-11 3/4 for another personal-best and top-10 performance. The throw secured her fourth place in the meet and the No. 10 spot in Wisconsin’s record book.
Also contributing to Wisconsin’s performance was redshirt freshman Angela Boushea, who took third in the meet’s weight throw event with a distance of 58-8 and now stands at No. 6 on the Badgers’ all-time list.
Not to be outdone, sophomore Jasmine Boyer threw 49-11 1/4 in the shot put for a personal-best mark and the fifth-best throw in Wisconsin history.
“Our group is really good and really strong this year,” Smith said of her teammates in the throws. “It’s great because we can push each other.
“We are all working together to keep pushing each other so I really enjoy the team this year.”
Overall, the Badgers completed the day with five wins -- including 1-2-3 finishes in four separate events.
Junior Ashley Beutler won the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 53.74 seconds. Following closely behind was senior Dani Fischer at 5:13.26 for second place, while sophomore Rachel McNally clocked in at 5:17.96 to secure third.
Junior Jessica Flax led the Badgers with a win in the 60-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line at 8.78. Unattached teammates Dorcas Akinniyi (8.84) and Marrisa Savitch (9.01) -- a freshman making her UW debut -- followed in second and third place, respectively.
Wrapping up the UW wins was sophomore Liga Blyholder, who clocked in at 5:57.12 in the 1000 meters. Senior Megan Beers crossed the finish line seconds later at 2:59.39 for second place.
The Badgers now look to next weekend’s Wisconsin Elite Invitational, with the women’s competition beginning Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT). Live results can be found on UWBadgers.com