This weekend, junior Kyle Winter did something no Marquette runner has ever done before: win the 800-meter dash at the Big East Indoor Championships.
Winter captured Marquette’s first-ever conference title with a time of 1:52.99. The Golden Eagles finished 9th at the championship meet, their highest finish since 2006.
“Going into the race I had a lot of confidence to at least get top three,” Winter said. “I knew what the race was going to be like, and that it was going to be a tactical race.”
The strategy on when to kick was all planned out ahead of time between Winter and coach Bert Rogers.
“We knew it going into the meet that (Winter) was going to be a contender,” Rogers said. “After the prelims and the field sorted out, we both knew that he had an actual chance to win it. It went as we hoped.”
Sprinting captain Tyler O’Brien ran in what Rogers called “the deepest 200-meter field” in the last few years. The senior tied his school sprinting record in the preliminary round at the banked track at the Armory — a distinct advantage for runners — and then ran .10 seconds slower in the finals resulting in a seventh place finish.
Redshirt junior Jack Hackett ran a tactical race by coming out of the gates strong and leading early on. In 2011, he had placed and scored for Marquette and not much would change in 2012 with his time of 4:11.30, good for fifth place. He added four points to the Marquette total.
Upperclassmen that had toured New York City and the Armory before knew that it would be strictly business on their visit in 2012 and that there was no need to get caught up in the lights.
Senior thrower Jonathan Kusoswki set the Marquette record in the weight throw with a 63 feet and 1/4 inch toss. He said he had been waiting for a performance like this one after missing time due to a back injury.
“We took it as any other week. We didn’t want to get ourselves too excited,” Kusowski said. “Once we got there, the atmosphere took over for itself. It felt good, and everything pieced together to get the throw that I was looking for.”
Even sophomore Carlye Schuh didn’t see an issue with the setting. Before the meet, she was hoping to break the 19 foot mark —a goal she achieved with a leap of 19 feet and 1 1/2 inches, moving to second in the Marquette record book. Schuh would score four of the six points for the women’s team, which would finish in 15th place with six points.
There will be one more indoor meet as the Alex Wilson Invitational takes place at Notre Dame in two weeks and could serve as a last chance meet for upperclassmen to move up in the record books. For those not competing, Rogers has decided to amp up the intensity of training and conditioning.
“We’re going to start gearing up with some hard training for the next couple weeks as we prep for the outdoor season,” Rogers said.