Track & Field Preview: Women's Sprints/Jumps
Jan. 3, 2014
MILWAUKEE - A new look to the landscape of the BIG EAST Conference in track and field has Marquette head coach Bert Rogers excited for his women’s sprinters and jumpers in 2013-14, especially with team captain and all-conference performer Carlye Schuh leading the way.
Schuh is off to a fast start already in her senior campaign, breaking her own indoor long jump program record on Dec. 6 at Notre Dame’s Blue & Gold Invitational.
“Carlye has just picked up where she left off last year,” said Rogers of Schuh, the lone MU athlete to earn All-BIG EAST honors in 2012-13. “It is very obvious that she has been working out consistently over the summer and has really been building towards a great senior year. She jumped her best indoor long jump right off the bat this year, so if we can build this season I don’t think looking at indoor nationals as a goal isn’t unrealistic. That national-level stuff, especially outdoors, is definitely in the picture.”
The senior also moved up to fourth all-time at MU in the 200 meters at the December meet with a time of 25.12 seconds and also holds top-10 marks in the 60 indoors, 100 outdoors and both the indoor and outdoor triple jumps.
The Appleton, Wis., native competed in the 2013 West Preliminary Rounds of the NCAA Championship last May, but failed to record a mark after fouling on all attempts in the long jump. Schuh placed second in the event at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships to qualify for the meet with a program-best outdoor distance of 20 feet, 1 1/2 inches (6.13 meters).
Rogers sees the potential for Schuh to be a point scorer for the Golden Eagles in multiple events at the conference level, but must maintain a balance as the season progresses.
“With Carlye we will try not to overextend her because she will definitely score in the long jump and can score in some of the sprinting events,” Rogers said. “Possibly even the triple jump, which we have shied away from in recent years. As the season goes along we will see what other teams are doing with different folks and deem what will be best for Carlye and for the team.”
Schuh will be joined in shorter sprints by freshman Arra Strong, while twin sister Anna will slide in at a bit longer distances with the senior triumvirate of Katie Kemmerer, Gretchen Homan and Kate Hein in the 400-500 meter range.
Homan, Hein and Kemmerer all rank among MU’s top five all-time in the indoor 400-meter run, while Hein holds the Marquette indoor record in the 500, which she set at last year’s BIG EAST meet. Homan notched the second-fastest indoor 400 mark in program history last season at the Meyo Invitational and Hein is No. 2 in the outdoor 400.
“That group of three senior ladies has had a big impact over the past three years and I expect them to have an even greater impact in 2013 with the reconfiguration of the BIG EAST,” Rogers said. “I think they are all going to do some good things. Ultimately, especially indoors, Kate Hein in the 500 will be one of the favorites to win the event in conference based on how she finished last year. She will be in the thick of it. Gretchen and Katie will try to grab some points for us in the 400 along with Anna in the 400 and Arra in the shorter sprints, most likely.”
The Golden Eagles return juniors Katie Tolan and Krista McClure along with sophomores Nicole Ethier and Laura Schweikert, who will join with some of MU’s distance runners to form an intriguing group in the 800. Tolan, McClure and Ethier all reached BIG EAST qualifying marks during the 2012-13 indoor campaign.
In the vertical jumps, Tatyana Pashibin returns after a stellar freshman campaign in which she recorded top-10 marks in program history in the high jump, both indoors and outdoors. The Minneapolis, Minn., native placed fifth at the indoor BIG EAST meet, but failed to record a height during the outdoor conference championship at Rutgers. The new makeup of the league and Pashibin’s athleticism has the coaching staff with a change in mind for how they will utilize her in the coming year.
“We are transitioning over to the multi events with Tatyana,” Rogers said. “We haven’t had multis in the past few years with the old configuration of the BIG EAST because it didn’t make sense for the position we were in. With the new alignment we are looking back at multis and Tate has always been interested in that. She is really excited about trying it.”
“She had a little bit of experience with it in high school but we have her working with coach (Jenny) Zahn in the hurdles and coach (Michael) Koenning in the throws and obviously coach (Rick) Bellford in the jumping events. She is such a good natural athlete, it hasn’t taken a whole lot for her to pick that up.”
A pair of freshmen in Omo Tseumah and Bridget Bodee will join Pashibin as MU’s primary women’s high jumpers and both competed in their first collegiate meets at Notre Dame. Tseumah was the Illinois Class 3A state champion as a senior, although Rogers said the biggest factor to the success of each is learning the more technical aspects of the event.
“For both Bridget and Omo there has been a lot of learning, they are both very raw,” Rogers said. “We have had to break some bad habits and teach them some of the finer points of the right positions. There are certain things that are starting to click for them and we can continue to build through the season. Both of them have a bright future ahead of them to be high-level jumpers.”
Freshman Nicole Jaffke joins senior Abby Croft and sophomore Lindsey Smoljan as part of MU’s pole vaulting corps. Croft returns as Marquette’s lone competitor with much experience as Smoljan did not record a height during her freshman indoor season and competed at four meets outdoors in 2012-13. Croft, meanwhile, has participated in three BIG EAST Indoor Championships and holds the No. 3 indoor and No. 4 outdoor marks at MU in the event.
“Abby has battled injuries through her time here and when she is healthy she is going to be jumping at 12 feet right off the bat,” Rogers said. “It is the matter of getting in shape and getting the reps. Nicole Jaffke has a big upside and jumped 12 feet in high school last year, while Lindsey Smoljan is working her way up and we hope she can be a contributor at the conference level. There aren’t many schools which vault in our conference so we feel like that is an area where we can get some placing.”