BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Await Golden Eagles
May 3, 2012
2012 BIG EAST OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University men’s and women’s track and field teams will take their largest group of student-athletes ever to compete at the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Track and Field Outdoor Championships on Friday, May 4-Sunday, May 6 in Tampa, Fla.
The 2012 championships will be competed at the USF Track & Field Stadium on the campus of the University of South Florida and run 3 p.m. Central time Friday through the meet’s conclusion Sunday, May 6 at 1:40 p.m. CT.
“Injuries are minimal across the board and we are feeling pretty healthy and confident,” said Marquette head coach Bert Rogers. “We are going to go and compete to win and take it event by event while doing the best we can. We kept it pretty simple in practice this week, with the workouts short and quick at high intensity. Everyone is feeling fresh and ready to compete at a high level.”
Live three-camera video coverage of the championships will be available, free of charge, as will 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.
The Marquette throwers will kick off action at 11 a.m. CT with the women’s hammer throw, followed by the men’s event at 1 p.m. CT. Sophomore Kathryn Koeck and freshman Samantha Kennedy will compete for the women in the hammer throw and look to improve upon impressive marks posted this season. Koeck has moved up to the No. 3 position in program history in the event, while Kennedy holds the freshman record and the sixth-best mark overall. They also rank third and seventh, respectively, in the conference this season.
The men’s hammer throw will feature redshirt senior Jonathan Kusowski, who finished sixth at last year’s championships and second in the weight throw at this year’s indoor championships. Kusowski, who ranks third in MU history, will be joined by sophomore Bret Hardin (No. 2 all-time), William Koeck (No. 8 all-time) and Robert Bleem (No. 9 all-time). That quartet comprises the deepest and most talented event group for the Golden Eagles at this year’s championships.
“Having one of the bigger groups we have ever taken is definitely going to help,” said Kusowski, who notched a personal best in the hammer throw at last week’s Marquette Invitational. “We can see that Marquette has had a bigger presence than a lot of other teams we have competed against this year. Having a big group should get everyone amped up to turn in some big PRs.”
Kusowski will also compete in the men’s javelin at 11:30 a.m. CT Saturday in the day’s first event. The Toledo, Ohio native has thrown the javelin just twice in his career, with both times coming this season, and ranks eighth on the conference performance list coming into the meet. He is also third in MU history with his toss of 184 feet, 6 inches (56.23 meters) at the Beach Invitational on April 21.
Friday’s running events will include former NCAA West Region participants Peter Bolgert and Blake Johnson, who will compete in the steeplechase and 10,000-meter run, respectively. Bolgert did not compete during the 2011 outdoor campaign and will look to top his fourth-place finish from 2010 when he set his personal best of 8:54.76. Johnson will attempt to better his PR of 29:50.54 in the 10k, where he ranks eighth on the BIG EAST list entering the meet.
Action will continue on Saturday with the women’s pole vault at 2 p.m. CT when Lauren Darnall and Abby Croft appear set to better their performance list rankings after notching personal bests in recent weeks. Croft and Darnall, the latter of whom missed all of the 2011 outdoor campaign with a wrist injury, are competing in their first outdoor championships.
Sophomore Carlye Schuh will compete in the women’s long jump at the same time the women’s pole vault is set to take place and attempt to break her school record of 19 feet, 6 inches (5.94 meters).
Cheldon Brown and Michael Saindon return to action in the men’s high jump at 3:30 p.m. CT Friday as they look to grab points for the Golden Eagles. Brown ranks fifth (6-10.75/2.10 meters) on the BIG EAST performance list, while Saindon is 12th (6-08.75/2.05 meters).
The men’s 200- and 800-meter dashes will feature two of Marquette’s best shots for individual titles with senior Tyler O’Brien and junior Kyle Winter returning after placing in the top five of their respective events at last year’s championships.
“On the men’s side we have a large group led by Kyle, Tyler and Jon Kusowski, who have been in the mix every year,” Rogers said. “You also have Peter Bolgert, who has been very good coming off of injury, Jack Hackett and a number of guys in different areas who have the ability to grab some points. I am pretty excited about where our men stand. We would like to do what we did indoors and place the highest we have as a team and I think we have the guys to do it.”
O’Brien notched the conference’s fastest 200-meter time (21.05 seconds) in his preliminary heat last year, but finished second in Sunday’s final. He will compete in the both the 100 and 200 on Saturday and will look to advance to Sunday’s finals in both events.
Winter surprised many with a fifth-place finish at last season’s outdoor championships, but will not sneak up on anyone in 2012 after claiming gold at March’s indoor championships.
“The regional mark would be great to hit, but I am going to run what the competition is running,” Winter said of expectations this time around. “If it turns out to be a championship race, like it was indoors, I am going to run slow and then kick at the end, which is what I have been good at and won indoors for me. If it goes out fast that would be great because we could get that regional mark, but I am going to run with my competition.”
The finals for the 5,000-meter run will also be competed Saturday evening, and although the event pool is deep in the conference, Jack Hackett and Connor Callahan could score for points for the Golden Eagles. Hackett ran a personal best in the event at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 19 and has stayed relatively healthy this season.
The men’s pole vault, set to kick off action Sunday morning at 9 a.m. CT, will feature sophomore Jerrick Backous, who set a new personal best of 15 feet, 3 inches (4.63 meters) at last weekend’s Marquette Invitational.
Sunday will conclude with the event finals of all running events outside of the 5,000 meters in addition to the discus throw, triple jump and women’s high jump.
Marquette at the BIG EAST Championships
Marquette’s BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Results
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