The UW-Oshkosh men's track & field team begins its indoor schedule for the 2017-18 season by hosting the Early Bird Invitational on Saturday (Dec. 2) in Kolf Sports Center.
Saturday's meet starts at 10 a.m. and is expected to involve visiting competitors from Carroll University, Carthage College, Concordia University Wisconsin, Edgewood College, Elmhurst College (Ill.), Lakeland University and UW-Parkside.
The season-opening event is the first of three home meets for the Titans, who will also host the UW-Oshkosh Triangular on Jan. 13 and the Titan Challenge on Feb. 17.
UW-Oshkosh first-year head coach Justin Kinseth will have 31 returning letter winners on his roster, including All-American Ryan Powers and WIAC champion Justin Skinkis.
Powers took sixth place in the 400-meter run at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Championship, while Skinkis won the 800-meter run at last year's WIAC Indoor Championship.
UW-Oshkosh qualifiers back from the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Championship are Powers in the 400-meter run, Skinkis in the 800-meter run, Nick Freitag in the 800-meter run, Devan Gertschen in the pole vault and Joe Zack in the mile run. The Titans also return Freitag, Powers and Garrison Griest from last year's qualifying 1,600-meter relay team.
UW-Oshkosh finished fifth at last season's WIAC Championship before placing 42nd at the Division III Championship. UW-Oshkosh, the 2009 national champion, has finished among the top four teams in the country 11 times in the past 19 seasons, including second-place showings in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2013.
UW-Oshkosh's 2017-18 schedule also includes the Cardinal Opener on Jan. 19 in Naperville, Ill.; the Tadd Metzger Invitational on Jan. 26 in Kenosha; the Pointer Invitational on Feb. 3 in Stevens Point; and the Midwest Invitational on Feb. 10 in Whitewater.
The WIAC Championship will be conducted Feb. 23-24 in Stevens Point.
The Titans then complete their regular season slate with final national qualifying events at Carthage College on March 2 and UW-Stevens Point on March 3.
UW-Oshkosh's indoor season concludes at the Division III Championship on March 9-10 in Birmingham, Ala.
Last season, UW-Oshkosh finished second among four teams at the Cardinal Opener, third of 10 teams at the Pointer Invitational and second at the nine-team Titan Challenge.
The Titans went on to compile 87.5 points at the 2017 WIAC Championship. UW-La Crosse claimed its 42nd league title and 16th in a row with 150 points before scoring 34 points to earn a share of the national championship with North Central College (Ill.).
The Eagles were followed in the WIAC Championship standings by second-place UW-Stevens Point with 117 points, third-place UW-Whitewater with 105, fourth-place UW-Eau Claire with 94.5, fifth-place UW-Oshkosh, sixth-place UW-Platteville with 57.5, seventh-place UW-River Falls with 31 and eighth-place UW-Stout with 20.5.
UW-Oshkosh has secured five of the conference's 49 titles while UW-Stevens Point has won the remaining two. The Titans won their WIAC championships in 1971, 1973, 1989, 1999 and 2001.
The Titans scored five points at the 2017 Division III Championship as Roberto Lara placed fourth in the mile run.