TAMPA, Fla. - An impressive first day of competition for the Marquette University men's and women's track and field teams at the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships was capped Friday evening by a fourth-place finish from Blake Johnson in the men's 10,000-meter run.
"Blake took fourth and ran great in a really tactical race," Marquette head coach Bert Rogers said. "They were going very slow with about three laps to go and then they started hammering away. Both Jack (Senefeld) and Connor (Callahan) took turns leading throughout the race in a big pack until the end. Blake was leading with one lap to go and was in the mix before getting out-kicked by a few guys who were pretty strong runners. We are very proud of him."
Johnson, who crossed the finish line in 33:10.24 and holds the fifth-fastest 10,000 time in program history, earned five points for the Marquette men. He was followed by Callahan (33:31.26) and Senefeld (33:46.94) in 13th and 18th, respectively.
The Golden Eagle men, who sit in fifth place overall at the meet with 12 points, also recieved points Friday from Jonathan Kusowski and Bret Hardin in the hammer throw.
Kusowski, who along with Johnson is competing in his final conference championships, placed third with a distance of 185 feet (56.39 meters) on his fifth attempt. Hardin's first throw proved to be his best as the Acworth, Ga., native finished eighth with a top toss of 171 feet, 9 inches (52.35 meters).
The highlight of the day on the women's side came from freshman Samantha Kennedy who placed fifth in the hammer with a personal best and Canadian Olympic Trials-qualifying mark. Kennedy's mark of 181 feet (55.18 meters) is also the fifth-best distance in Marquette history. The Surrey, British Columbia native's mark is the best ever recorded by a Golden Eagle at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
Sophomore Kathryn Koeck also scored a point for the Marquette women by placing eighth in the hammer with a heave of 147 feet, 10 inches (53.28 meters).
Through the first three events, the Marquette women sit tied for sixth with five points.
The meet, held at USF Track & Field Stadium on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa will resume on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. CT with the men's javelin. For continuing coverage of the championship checkout the Championship Central page linked above.
Live three-camera video coverage of the championships is be available, free of charge, as are live results, courtesy of BIGEAST.org. Twitter updates throughout the meet will be provided by the BIG EAST Conference at Twitter.com/BigEastChamps and Marquette track and field at Twitter.com/MUTFXC.
Women - Team Rankings - 3 Events Scored 1) Syracuse 32 2) Louisville 24 3) Providence 18 4) Notre Dame 13 5) Connecticut 6 6) Marquette 5 6) DePaul 5 6) South Florida 5 9) St. John's 3 9) Villanova 3 11) West Virginia 2 12) Georgetown 1