If the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships contenders were decided today, senior Western hurdler Travis Milbrandt, 22, would punch his ticket.
Currently ranked 16th in the nation for the 60-meter hurdle NCAA Division II indoor track and field event, Milbrandt missed last year’s national meet by only four spots and this year he hopes to break his own personal, school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference record.
“The GNAC Indoor Championship this Friday and Saturday is the first meet we’ve had that will taper into a rest period,” Milbrandt said. “It will be the first meet that I’m fresh and it should be the completion of all my indoor training. Ideally that’s where a big [personal record] is going to happen.”
In his last meet at the TrackTown High Performance #4 in Portland, Milbrandt approached his own personal and GNAC record as he received GNAC Track Athlete of the Week honors for Feb. 1-7 2016.
Hitting provisional marks in weeks prior, Milbrandt said he had been waiting to receive the award and said it’s a testament to the work he has put in this year.
Milbrandt posted an 8.13 second time in the preliminary heat of the TrackTown meet 60-meter hurdles event. Milbrandt was only .06 seconds away from his school and GNAC record time of 8.08 seconds that he posted last season.
Milbrandt’s 8.08 second time earned him GNAC Track Athlete of the Week for Feb. 8-15 2015.
Milbrandt’s success has given him the confidence that he could break his PR in the future.
“I definitely think it will happen at the GNAC Indoor Championships,” he said.
Although Milbrandt is confident in his ability to PR at the GNAC nationals this weekend, he still has his work cut out for him.
“I may be ranked 14th [in the 110 meter hurdle], but usually in the weeks closer to the championship those times get pushed down as people are faster and faster. I’ll probably have to have a time that’s a fifth or so faster in order to secure my spot [in Division II nationals],” Milbrandt said.
Western’s All-American sprinter Alex Donigian met Milbrandt four years ago and they’ve been best friends ever since.
“I don’t think there are very many connections in this world that are closer than training partners. You get to see each other in the face of adversity and you get to see each other in the face of success,” Donigian said in a text message.
“I have worked beside him this entire preseason and I think it is time for him to pr [personal record],” Donigian said in a text message.
Milbrandt needs to keep his 16th national ranking in order to cap off his collegiate career and make the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships in March.
“I think he definitely deserves it and I hope to see him accomplish much more on his journey of becoming a phenomenal athlete and one of the best in wwu history,” Donigian said in a text message.
Regardless of a national championship berth, Milbrandt said he is incredibly grateful for his time at Western as a student athlete. A business management major, Milbrandt credits his coaches for encouraging both athletic and academic success. He said he’s been pushed to excel in all aspects of life.
“The coaching I’ve had over the past four years has completely transformed me as an athlete. A lot of coaches here like to focus on academics and real-world things and Coach Pee Wee and Coach Burnett really push these athletes to be the best that they can be in all aspect of their lives,” Milbrandt said.