Track & Field Heads to Sixth BIG EAST Outdoor Championships
May 5, 2011
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's and women's track and field teams will compete in their sixth outdoor championship as a member of the BIG EAST Conference when the squads travel to Villanova, Pa., for the 2011 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Jumbo Elliott Track at Villanova Stadium on May 6-8.
Events begin Friday at 10 a.m. CT with the 100-meter dash of the decathlon, while the lone individual events taking place on the first day of competition will be the women's and men's hammer throws at 11 a.m. CT and 1:30 p.m. CT, respectively. Saturday's action will begin at 8 a.m. CT and conclude at roughly 6 p.m. CT, while the meet will run Sunday from 10 a.m.-1:50 p.m. CT.
In addition to live results, provided by the BIG EAST Conference, the meet will be streamed live on BIGEAST.tv.
Twenty Marquette women will compete in 13 events, while 14 men will participate in 12 events, including four in the men's hammer throw.
Redshirt junior Tyler O'Brien is Marquette's best bet to take home a conference title since the women's 3,200-meter relay captured the BIG EAST outdoor crown in 2008. The Rocky Hill, Conn., native is the highest Golden Eagle on the BIG EAST outdoor performance list, where he ranks second in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes this season. O'Brien came close to breaking both his personal bests this season in those events, but fell just three-hundredths of a second shy of each mark.
O'Brien's highest finish in the 200 meters (21.41 seconds) at the outdoor conference meet was fourth during his freshman season of 2008, during which he set the school record with a time of 21.23 seconds at the Cardinal Twilight on May 17, 2008.
He also competed at the 2009 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships in both events before earning a redshirt during the 2010 outdoor campaign.
Marquette owns four of the top 17 spots on the BIG EAST men's hammer throw performance list, led by freshman Bret Hardin in fourth place. The Acworth, Ga., native set the Marquette freshman record early in the season and has fought with redshirt junior Jonathan Kusowski for the team's top spot. Hardin and Kusowski are currently second and third, respectively, on MU's top-10 list, and fourth and fifth in the BIG EAST this season. The pair will be joined by David Carbajal and Robert Bleem in the event.
In the women's hammer throw, senior Jamie Roth bettered her personal record at last weekend's Stan Lyons Invitational and sits fourth in the BIG EAST this season with a top mark of 180 feet, 7 inches (55.04 meters). Roth will be joined by freshman Kathryn Koeck in both the hammer and discus, while freshman Kristen Gaffey will compete in the discus and shot put.
After breaking both the freshman and school records in the long jump on April 30 at the Stan Lyons Invitational, Carlye Schuh will be back in action in the long jump, triple jump and 400-meter relay. Schuh's top long jump distance of 19 feet, 6 inches (5.94 meters) places her eighth in the conference this season. The Appleton, Wis., native joins Christina Flowers (2007) as the only female athletes to compete at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships in the long jump.
Joining Schuh in the triple jump will be senior Alyssa Davis, who will make her last appearance at the conference championships. Davis is third in school history in the triple jump with a distance of 39 feet, 4 1/2 inches (12.00 meters) and sits three spots ahead of Schuh on MU's top-10 list.
After a stellar 2010 for the Golden Eagles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, only Courtney Kelly and Blake Johnson will compete in the event in 2011. Last season, Johnson, along with Jayne Grebinski and Peter Bolgert, competed at the West Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships. Grebinski finished seventh on the women's side at the 2010 BIG EAST meet, while Bolgert was fourth and Johnson placed 10th for the men. Johnson has only competed once in the steeplechase this season, but notched a time of 9:05.31 at last year's conference championship and finished 15th as a freshman in 2009.
Brice Cleland and Nick Szczech will compete in the 5,000-meter run, while Cleland will also run the 10,000 meters. Cleland finished 20th and 14th, respectively, in those events at last season's meet and notched a top finish of 11th place at the 2009 meet in the 10,000.
Szczech has had a tremendous senior season and currently ranks second in Marquette history in the 10,000 and third in the 5,000. The Cudahy, Wis., native participated in the 2010 NCAA regional in the 5,000 meters and will look to make his way back to the event this season with a solid BIG EAST Championships.
The Golden Eagles will compete in four events for the first time since joining the BIG EAST Conference, including the women's 400-meter dash, where freshmen Gretchen Homan and Kate Hein along with junior Stephanie Grant will take part. It will also be the first year that the women's team competes in the 400-meter hurdles and the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
Since joining the league for the 2005-06 school year, Marquette student-athletes have earned titles in two events; the men's decathlon and the women's 3,200-meter relay. Matt Piekarski scored 7,236 points to win the decathlon in 2006 and the women's 3,200-meter relay team of Cassie Peller, Katlin Millin, Kaitlyn Chambers and Sarah Verdoliva captured the title in that event in 2008.
This is the 22nd time in the 32-year history of the meet that the event will be held at Villanova.
The men's team has never finished higher than 10th, while the women's top finish since joining the league is 11th.
GOMARQUETTE.COM THE OFFICIAL HOME OF MARQUETTE ATHLETICS