By Paul Freelend
UNO’s indoor track team will pit itself against Division I competition for the second consecutive meet as the Mavericks travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the Northern Iowa Invitational this weekend.
Iowa State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the hosts will all try to make life difficult for the Mavericks, but it will not be the first time this season UNO has gone up against Division I teams.
Head coach Tim Hendricks separated his squad between meets at South Dakota and Iowa State last weekend. Hendricks said each meet offered different advantages for members of his team.
“We split the team up for last weekend’s meets,” Hendricks said. “We knew there were good jump pits at South Dakota, but the pits at Iowa State weren’t so good, so we sent our jumpers there. Also, we knew there would be stronger relays and sprints at the Iowa State meet, so we sent runners there because they would be pushed by the Division I competition and run faster times.”
Hendricks’ suspicions were proven correct as his team turned in a number of outstanding performances, none more so than by jumper Melissa Meisinger. Meisinger, who was named North Central Conference female Track Athlete of the Week, turned in a jump of 39 feet 6 inches, which earned her first place and shattered the old school record by more than five inches. Meisinger also took first in the long jump with a mark of 17 feet 2 inches.
Hendricks said that he was pleased with Meisinger’s performance and that her progression as a jumper at UNO was ideal.
“[Meisinger] has progressed well each of her three years here,” Hendricks said. “She has gotten steadily better every year and I would like to see more athletes develop like she has. A lot of athletes will come in and perform well as a freshman, but level off soon after that and not get much better. Melissa hasn’t done that, though. She has her own goals and she knows exactly what she wants to accomplish.”
Events at the Northern Iowa meet are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. After the UNI meet, UNO will run another weekend with two meets. The Mavericks will return to South Dakota for the USD Invite and will also compete in the Tiger Classic at Doane College on February 9.