Women's Track & Field Poised for BIG EAST Title Run
May 11, 2016
2016 BIG EAST Conference Outdoor Championships
The meet will be aired live on the BIG EAST Digital Network with John Fanta and Cayleigh Griffin on the call. Broadcasts will begin 15 minutes prior to the start of running events on each day, scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Central time on Friday and 11:45 a.m. CT on Saturday.
“So far, the season has gone well. We’ve had a lot of good performances and continued on the path we had hoped for following indoors,” head coach Bert Rogers said. “Our goal is to do our best at BIG EAST and let everything fall as it may. We’re definitely in a good spot to contend on both sides.
“If we can snag a few points out of the distance and mid-distance events, that will definitely help,” Rogers added. “We’re going to score a ton in the throws and a ton in the jumps and multi’s. We need to get it done across the board if we want to win.”
Sophomore Cassy Goodrich highlights the sprints and mid-distance core. She has already broken her own school records this season in the 200- and 400-meter dash events and will compete in both of those, in addition to both the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays, which she earned All-BIG EAST honors in three of the four events a year ago.
“It’s been a very good season so far,” said Rogers, who specializes with the group. “Cassy has been training very well, we have high hopes for her. Anna and Arra (Strong) have battled some nagging injuries so far, but still had some pretty good performances.”
Nicole Ethier has emerged as one of the top middle distance runners to come through Marquette and currently has the eighth-fastest 800-meter time in the BIG EAST this season. She will be featured in the 800 and 4x400-meter relay this weekend.
“Nicole has had an awesome senior year,” Rogers said. “For someone who was more of a short sprinter and long jumper (before arriving at Marquette) is one of the best mid-distance runners in our history.”
"I feel pretty good like we’re in a good spot right now,” Nelson said. “It’s really the end of three seasons (cross country, indoor, outdoor) if you think about it. If you’re going into the meet healthy and have an attitude towards winning a team championship, you can definitely rise a little bit above where you’re going in and that’s the case for our team. We are healthy, had a very solid outdoor season and this is where I was hoping we’d be at this point.”
The Parker trio has enjoyed a strong outdoor season in 2016. Alison will compete in the 800-meter run, while sisters Jennifer and Jessica look forward to the 1,500 meters.
“Both events will be tough events, so our first goal will be to get into the final,” Nelson said. “Once you’re in, anything can happen. We’re not used to running prelims, so how we handle the rounds and tactics and how the competition handles it that will be interesting to see. I think we’re poised to race well and have our best meet of the season.”
Other notables in action this weekend will be Abigail Busse in the steeplechase. She has the sixth-fastest time in the BIG EAST this season. The 5,000 meters will feature Brittney Feivor, Clare McDonald and Kayla Spencer, who Nelson believes have strong credentials to score big points on Saturday.
In last year’s runner-up team finish, the Golden Eagles didn’t get any points in the 800, 1,500, or steeplechase, so a strong showing could play a major factor in potentially earning the team’s first-ever outdoor title.
One of Marquette’s strongest groups, the throwers will be relied on to score big throughout the meet. Led by sophomore and reigning BIG EAST outdoor shot put champion, Maya Marion, the Golden Eagles are poised to dominate the field events once again.
Marion has the top mark in the BIG EAST this season in the shot put and is the reigning BIG EAST Field Athlete of the Week after coming off a strong showing at the Wisconsin Twilight on May 6.
“Maya is just a sophomore, but is coming alive having won shot put twice (indoor/outdoor),” assistant coach Mike Koenning said. “At Wisconsin, she was just an inch off the school record.
“Ashley Gaffey in the discus Keely Knobbe in the hammer are really coming along,” Koenning added. “Group of four freshman, which also includes Amanda Hodgson and Monica Voudrie, are just touching the tip of the iceberg. We’re really looking forward to scoring a lot of points.”
Another area Marquette is looking to score big will be in the jumps as three individuals currently hold top BIG EAST marks heading into this weekend in Omo Tseumah (high jump), Gemma Tedeschi (pole vault) and Terica Harris (long jump). Additionally, Monique Felix has the top mark and will contend for the heptathlon title, while also competing in the open triple jump and javelin where she has top-four marks in both.
The Golden Eagles could put up big numbers in the high jump with Bridget Bodee and Tatyana Pashibin also in the mix. Tseumah and Bodee went 1-2 at indoors, while Pashibin is the reigning 2015 outdoor high jump champion.
“We’re feeling good and definitely peaking at the right time,” assistant coach Rick Bellford said. “We’ve been putting up some big marks the last few weeks. We’re excited and looking forward to having a good meet.”
Although the make-up of the meets vary greatly between both the BIG EAST indoor and outdoor championships, the Golden Eagles’ progression over the past two outdoor seasons indicate they are poised for a title run.
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