The men’s and women’s track team will be sending athletes to two events this weekend, the Alex Wilson Invitational this Friday and Saturday in Notre Dame, Ind., and the Wisconsin NCAA Qualifier held Friday in Madison, Wis.
The Golden Eagles will send seven athletes to the Alex Wilson: senior Nick Szczech and sophomore Spencer Agnew, who will both be running the 3,000 meter race. Jack Hackett will be running the mile, and in the men’s distance medley relay (DMR) team along with senior Peter Bolgert sophomores Kyle Winter and Evan Ross and junior Blake Johnson.
The five athletes going to Wisconsin are junior pole vaulter Lauren Darnall, freshmen throwers Kathryn Koeck, Kristen Gaffey and Kirsten Walker and senior thrower Rob Bleem. Koeck, who will be competing in discus for the first time, specified that this meet will mostly be used as a tune-up for the outdoor season.
“I’m really excited about this meet,” Koeck said. “I’m definitely looking to use it to prepare for the outdoor season.”
Her coach stressed how important it is to have tune-up meets like these.
“Its really important to get into meets like this,” coach Bert Rogers said. “You can replicate things to a certain extent in practice, but there is nothing like being in an actual meet.”
While the Wisconsin meet is being used as a tune-up for Marquette, the Alex Wilson is being used as a last chance for middle distance runners to set personal bests in indoor events. One event record that appears to be in serious jeopardy is the Marquette all-time DMR record.
“If it’s anything like the last two years, the meet this weekend will be very fast,” Rogers said. “All these guys have to do is keep up with the pace of the race and they will be in good shape against the record. I think there is a very good chance they will break it.”
The DMR is a four-person relay race in which each athlete runs a different distance. Bolgert will compete in the 1,200-meter segment, Winter the 400 meters, Ross the 800 meters and Johnson the 1,600 meters.
The men’s DMR team minus Winter, who didn’t run it in the Big East Indoor Championships, was only 2.03 second off the school record of 9:50:63 (set in 1981) when it ran the event at that meet on February 20.
Winter believes that this group has a good chance of shaving the seconds it needs to take the record.
“Last year we ran about 10 minutes,” Winter said. “Then we dropped seven seconds off of that to run 9:53. I think we have a strong group, so a second or two between four guys shouldn’t be that hard to get.”
According to Rogers, members of the Marquette DMR team that set the record in 1981 are hoping to be at the race this Friday when the current group attempts to break the record.