Wyatt Heckel on 2017 UW-Whitewater track team

Wyatt Heckel, a native of Silver Lake and graduate of Wilmot Union High School, will compete for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater men’s track and field team during the 2017 season.

Heckel, a freshman at UW-Whitewater, is majoring in accounting.

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Fresh off a season with a pair of top-five national finishes, UW-Whitewater remains on the hunt for its first-ever NCAA Division III national championship as it kicks off the 2017 season this Saturday by hosting the Karl Schlender Invitational.

With a deep group of returners, the Warhawks enter the campaign ranked fourth in the United States Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association NCAA Division III Men’s Indoor National Team Computer Rankings. The team finished tied for third at last season’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships before matching its best-ever conference finish by placing second at the conference outdoor meet.

Juniors Theron Baumann (Monona Grove, Wis./Monona Grove), Jack Bullis (Whitewater, Wis./Whitewater), Robert Martin (Bangor, Wis./Bangor), Robert Starnes (Green Bay, Wis./Green Bay Preble) and Parker Witt (Appleton, Wis./Appleton North) are set to serve as UW-Whitewater’s captains in 2017.

Baumann, Starnes and Witt are already among the most decorated student-athletes in program history.

Baumann owns five All-America medals in throwing events, including the 2016 national championship in the indoor shot put. The three-time All-WIAC honoree is the school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor shot put and was the conference champion in the discus throw at last year’s outdoor meet.

Witt enjoyed a breakout 2016 season, garnering four All-America accolades, including the national title in the indoor 200-meter dash. A five-time All-WIAC sprinter, Witt currently owns the indoor 200 and outdoor 100 school records.

Starnes, who will join the team for the outdoor season, was the 2016 Division III Indoor National Field Athlete of the Year after sweeping the high jump and long jump national titles. He is a three-time national and conference champion, five-time All-American and seven-time All-WIAC jumper, and owns both of the program’s high jump records.

Senior Levi Perry (East Moline, Ill./United Township) and junior Cameron Magee (Richland Center, Wis./Ithaca) also return after earning All-America honors in 2016. Perry placed sixth in the nation in the weight throw last season and is a three-time, top-eight conference finisher in throwing events. Magee, a six-time WIAC placer and two-time national qualifier in jumps, finished eighth in the high jump at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.

The Warhawks’ outdoor national qualifying and All-WIAC 4×100-meter relay team is set to return fully intact. The group includes Witt, seniors Connor Larson (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), Grant Loess (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) and Zak Loess (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North).

Larson is a four-time conference placer in relay events. Grant Loess (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) is a three-time WIAC placer who finished eighth in the indoor long jump last season, and Zak Loess (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) is a two-time WIAC placer who placed sixth in the indoor long jump a year ago.

Junior Jonah Nelson (Dodgeville, Wis./Dodgeville/Mineral Point) is a former national qualifier in the distance medley relay, reaching the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships in the event. He is a two-time conference placer in relay events.

Junior Brett Harms (Whitewater, Wis./Whitewater), a cross country All-American in the fall, is a five-time WIAC placer, including twice in the DMR. He garnered All-WIAC accolades at the 2016 outdoor meet with a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Sophomore Dylan Ferger (Beloit, Wis./Beloit Turner) recorded a pair of top five finishes in the high jump at conference championship events in 2016. He earned All-WIAC status with a runner-up finish at the outdoor meet.

Sophomore Tanner Stephens (Nekoosa, Wis./Nekoosa) broke out at last year’s WIAC Outdoor Championships, finishing second in the triple jump to earn all-conference honors. Sophomore Noah Stamsta (Waunakee, Wis./Waunakee) was also an All-WIAC honoree, finishing third in the 3,000-meter run at the indoor meet.

Juniors Alec Meixelsperger (Middleton, Wis./Middleton), Logan Zeien (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere) and sophomore Connor Arneson (Oshkosh, Wis./West) have placed in two relay events apiece. Senior Kyle McNeil (Geneva, Ill./Geneva Community) was sixth in the indoor shot put and seventh in the outdoor discus throw.

Sophomore Trent Rudebeck (Waterford, Wis./Waterford Union) was part of the team’s fifth-place DMR during the indoor season and was eighth in the 800-meter run during the outdoor meet. Senior Josh Selje (Rio, Wis./Rio) placed fourth in the heptathlon (indoor) and fourth in the pentathlon (outdoor) in 2016.

Bullis, who runs hurdles during the indoor season, placed fourth in the javelin throw at last season’s WIAC Outdoor Championships.

Junior Chanler Leonard (Dodgeville, Wis./Dodgeville/Mineral Point) and sophomore Matt Green (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago) each placed in a jumping event last season. Leonard was eighth in the indoor high jump, and Green was sixth in the outdoor triple.

Senior Scott Wolter (Pewaukee, Wis./Pewaukee) finished seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at last season’s WIAC Outdoor Championships.

The Warhawks will host two meets in January, including this Saturday’s Karl Schlender Invitational and the “Squig” Converse Invitational on Jan. 27. The team will compete in four other meets before the WIAC Indoor Championships, which are scheduled for Feb. 24-25 at UW-Stout.

The NCAA Indoor Championships are slated for March 10-11 at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

UW-Whitewater will host two more meets during the outdoor season – the Rex Foster Invitational on April 7 and the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternative Meet on April 29.

The WIAC Outdoor Championships will take place May 5-6 at UW-Platteville, and the NCAA Outdoor Championships are scheduled for May 25-27 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.


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