With a week left until the Big East Conference Indoor Championships in New York, the Marquette track and field team traveled to Bloomington, Ind., for the Hoosier Hills Invitational. While some athletes rested, for those that competed the ultimate focus was to make final tune-ups for next week.
Senior Tyler O’Brien was among the fastest athletes that performed for Marquette. Coach Bert Rogers penciled in the sprinting captain for the 200-meter dash to give him a feel for a banked track: a track that is elevated at the turns, not flat.
“It’s definitely different feeling out the turns on a banked track than it would be at Notre Dame or at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It’s definitely a good experience to get out before this weekend,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien is no stranger to the track at the Armory in New York, where the indoor championships are hosted. He has placed in the two of the three years that he has run for Marquette there. The experience also dates back to his high school years as he competed there for Rocky Hill High School (Conn.).
On the field events side, freshman William Koeck and senior Jonathan Kusowski hit personal bests to move up in the Marquette record books. Koeck shattered his freshman record in the weight throw by over two feet with a throw of 57 feet, 1 inch.
Rogers has very high hopes for Koeck’s future and it all begins with his competition on Saturday.
“This weekend, freshmen are always a little hit-or-miss. We’ll see how he reacts. Ultimately in his career, he is going to do some damage in the Big East,” Rogers said. “He’s really just touching upon his potential. It’s going to be exciting to see him throw in the next few years.”
After battling injury for the majority of the season, Kusowski moved up to third on the all-time Marquette weight throw list by throwing 58 feet, 5 1/4 inches. Kusowski and Koeck have been pushing each other competitively by placing in the same event. The senior also had some words of praise about Koeck’s future.
“Will (Koeck) has a lot of potential. He murdered the freshman record, and he’s only going to keep throwing farther,” said Kusowski. “He’s built to be a really good thrower. I think this year he’s going to end on a good note. Outdoor is going to be a good season, but I think the next couple years we’re going to see this kid explode.”
While some athletes were focused on mechanics, Kusowski was looking to pit himself against tougher competition at the Big East Championship by setting a longer mark for seeding.
“It was very good competition this weekend, similar to what we could see at the Big East Championship. It was very good to be in that mindset and get to compete against guys that are around the same distance,” said Kusowski. “It helps, because it helps us get focused, so you’re less jittery at a bigger meet.”
For those athletes that Rogers chose to rest, the intensity during last week’s practices was different than most, but the workload shouldn’t be as difficult with only a few days until the trip to New York on Thursday.
“It was a little bit heavier later on in the week. Ordinarily we go a little heavier earlier in the week and then lighten it up as we prep for the weekend meet,” Rogers said. “This upcoming week, those that will compete will have it a little lighter. We want to be sharp, quick and well-rested.”