On Saturday, the Marquette track and field team kicked off its 2012 campaign by setting 30 personal bests at the Badger Classic at the University of Wisconsin.
Junior sprinter Kyle Winter and redshirt senior sprinter Tyler O’Brien have emerged as early top performers and leaders. After placing his name in the top-10 for the 1000-meter dash in the record books, Winter moved up to fourth on the 600-meter dash list with a time of 1:20.71, 1.51 seconds behind record holder graduate Jon Shaffer. O’Brien, on the other hand, broke records in the season opener, shattering the 200-meter dash record with a time of 21.8 seconds.
O’Brien and Winter’s performance Saturday was somewhat expected, given their strong finish in the outdoor season last spring. O’Brien set the outdoor record for the 200-meter (21.05 seconds) and wants to make the NCAA Quarterfinals, after missing out by three hundredths of a second last year.
Being a freshman did not stop William Koeck from setting the new freshman weight throw record with a distance of 54 feet, 8 inches. The throw was a quarter of an inch off from sophomore Bret Hardin’s throw.
The duo finished third and fourth respectively, behind Danny Block of Wisconsin (58 feet, 8 inches) and Jordan Miller of Wisconsin-Whitewater (54 feet, 9.5 inches). Koeck’s performance stands out because the weight throw is an event that is not practiced much in high school, but he still broke the freshman record in his first attempt.
Cheldon Brown entered the season with some of the personal bests in Marquette jumping history. He came in topping out at No. 6, but his 6 feet, 8.25 inch-jump Saturday moved him up one more spot, as he took the No. 5 position in Marquette’s history books.
“I thought it was a great start to the season. It gives me a mark that can be improved upon throughout the rest of the season,” Brown said. “I knew I was capable of it. It was just a matter of putting a few things together and keeping focus. I’m not really surprised.”
Junior Sarah McCourtney was the highlight of the women’s events on Saturday with her clearance of the 5 foot, 5 inch mark in the high jump. This made her seventh in Marquette’s history books, still five inches behind Erynn James’ indoor personal best in 2010.
Coach Bert Rogers was pleased with the team’s overall performance, given that the entire team only had a week and a half together since coming back from winter break to prepare.
He said he has his eyes set on the near future: this week’s upcoming dual meet against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he previously coached.
“The goal is to go out there and win. It is our only dual meet, until we do it again in outdoor. The nature of collegiate track and field is a little bit bigger on invitational days,” Rogers said. “We’re looking to come in, compete hard, win a lot of events, and win the meet.”