Marquette Begins 2011-12 at Blue and Gold Invitational
Nov. 30, 2011
MILWAUKEE - For the fifth consecutive season, the Marquette University men's and women's track and field teams will kick-off the 2011-12 indoor campaign with a trip to Notre Dame, Ind., on Friday, Dec. 2, to compete in the Blue and Gold Invitational. The meet held at the Loftus Sports Center is set to begin at 4 p.m. CT with the women's high jump and conclude around 8 p.m. CT with the men's 1,600-meter relay.
Teams competing this weekend include meet-host Notre Dame, DePaul and Detroit. The Golden Eagles will be sending sprinters and jumpers to compete at the event.
“This first meet for the most part is going to be sprinters and jumpers,” head coach Bert Rogers said. “It is a nice opportunity to get out as a time trial to see where we are at as we look towards the bulk of our indoor season which will be January and February.”
Junior sprinter Chanel Franklin set a personal record and BIG EAST-qualifying mark in the 60-meter dash (7.80 seconds/No. 6 all-time) last season at the event. Franklin will compete in the 60-meter dash this weekend and the 200-meter dash, where she has claimed the top spot for two consecutive seasons.
Sophomore Cashay Harris will also run in the 60- and 200-meter dashes.
After finishing with a 500-meter time of 1:16.44 at last season's prestigious Meyo Invitational, which was also held at the Loftus Sports Center, sophomore sprinter Kate Hein will look to improve upon her No. 5 mark in MU history in the same event.
"Last year on the women’s side we had a young group of sprint women and a lot of freshman. We want to see them start off the year stronger than they did last year. It was more about learning and seeing what it was all about. This year we want to start at that next level," Rogers said.
Hein will be joined in the 500 by fellow Marquette all-time top-ten finishers Stephanie Grant (No.9/1:17.58) and Jenny Zahn (No.10/1:18.84). The pair each set their MU all-time marks at the Blue and Gold Invite last season.
Sophomores Abby Croft and Sarah MacCourtney will be MU's lone field events competitors on the women's side in the pole vault and the high jump, respectively. Croft sits No. 4 all-time and set a Marquette freshman record with her vault of 11 feet 7 3/4 inches (3.55 meters) at the 2011 BIG EAST Indoor Championship.
Senior Olivia Johnson will be the Golden Eagles' only distance competitor this weekend as she is slotted to participate in the 3,000-meter run.
On the men's side, Marcell KirkmanBey will look to top his 60-meter hurdles performance from last year's Blue and Gold Invitational, when he notched the sixth-best mark at MU with a time of 8.64 seconds. The Lindenhurst, Ill., native will also participate in the long jump.
After red-shirting the 2011 indoor season, senior Tyler O'Brien will make his return to competition in the 60- and 200-meter dashes along with a possible appearance in the 1,600 relay. O'Brien has personal records in the 60 and 200-meter dashes of 6.94 seconds and 21.87 seconds, respectively.
"The fall has been pretty good," O'Brien said. "We have had a lot of rigorous workouts geared towards the 400 but still incorporating a lot of speed work. That was good to get some of that in during the offseason. This meet is definitely a good indicator to see where we are with our events and hopefully lay down some BIG EAST (qualifying) marks early in the season so you don’t have to worry about it later."
The junior duo of Schmitz and Winter will also compete in the 1,000-meter run for MU, an event where Schmitz placed fifth last season with a personal record time of 2:30.40.
In the high jump, MU will be represented by junior Cheldon Brown and sophomore Michael Saindon. Brown finished third overall at the Blue and Gold Invitational in 2010 when he posted a jump of 6 feet, 5 inches (1.96 meters).
"The team is pretty excited," Rogers said. "We have been training since September so they are excited to get out there and race against somebody from another school. Having a guy like Tyler who has been through all the ups and downs has a lot to impart on the underclassmen. We talk about keeping a steady emotional level and not getting too high or low. We want to attack each meet individually and having a guy like Tyler who has been through it helps accentuate that point."