For the second year in a row, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships is a new location with moving this year to the University of Minnesota Duluth and close to home for reigning champion University of Wisconsin-Superior that jumped out to an early lead following the first day of competition Friday.
The Yellowjackets compiled five event wins for 151 points after the opening day of competition to jump out to a significant 93-point lead over current runner-up University of Minnesota Morris with 58 points.
The top performance of the day for the Yellowjackets came from senior distance star Jordan Koski, who bettered his season-best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for a new meet record and event win. He clocked 9:43.43 to improve the conference time by nearly three seconds and finished almost 20 seconds faster than the next finisher.
In other hurdle events, Joshua Weston took a win in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.12. The Yellowjackets also tore up the track with a win in the 4x800-meter relay from the team of Evan Walpole, Derrick Moe, Eddie Carlson and Rand Bieri.
The Yellowjackets continued to flex their muscles in the field events which were led by a strong championship performance in the javelin from Noah Potratz who defended his title with a season-best toss of 57.83 meters (189-9). C.J. Pillath also added a win in the hammer throw with a toss of 48.76 (160-0).
The Cougars sit in second thanks to a win in the 200-meter dash from rookie star sprinter Justin Pearson who recorded a time of 22.44. The third-place Saints also took one win as Frank Cerar took the pole vault with a clearance of 3.95 meters (12-11.50) to give his team 51 points.
Stefan Prince of Bethany Lutheran College finally captured a UMAC title in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.09. Evan Pruitt of the University of Northwestern took a win in the long jump with a mark of 6.40 meters (21-0).
Northwestern sits fourth behind St. Scholastica with a total of 31 points. Martin Luther College is fifth with 28 points and Bethany Lutheran is sixth with 22 points.
Day two of the championship is slated to start at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Yellowjacket women are in third place after one day of competiton.
Kelli Praska set the tone for UWS with a solid time of 2:19.4 to take the 800-meter run title and keep her squad within reach of the Cougars and Saints.
The Yellowjackets' jumps queen Svenja Ruehl recorded a mark of 5.53 meters (18-1.75) to claim victory in the long jump. Ali Manthey also added a win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
NOTES: All meet information including ticket information, meet schedule, meet information and more can be found on the UMAC championship site. Live results are being provided by Hero's Timing. Keep up with all of the tournament action on Twitter and Instagram using #UMACchamp.