Marquette Track and Field: Brace yourselves, Winter is coming

The cross-country season has less than a month of life left until the calendar turns to indoor track for most runners. Senior long sprinter Kyle Winter has spent the last few months training for the 2012-2013 campaign with his eyes set on two school records.

Winter’s 1:19.21 time in the 600-meter run is 0.01 seconds off Marquette school record. The 800-meter record (1:49.21) is currently held by Jon Shaffer, and Winter is less than a second off of it with a personal best of 1:50.62, for third in the Marquette record books.

“I want to be the record holder in the 600 and the 800,” Winter said. “If I can fit in a 500 in there, I would like to go after that as well, but that’s not nearly as close on my radar.”

The 500-meter race is not run as often during the indoor season, which would provide limited chances for Winter to chase a record. His name is already in Marquette’s record books for the 400-meter dash. If he hits all three personal goals, he would have the school record in all indoor track races from the 400-meter through the 800-meter.

A lot of Winter’s preparation for the upcoming season started in the summer.

Winter lifted weights and focused on strength exercises more than he ever had in the past. As a result, his mileage was down for a few weeks but recovered once he arrived at Marquette.

From his freshman year until now, the senior remained at the same weight until he gained five pounds of muscle this year from his time in the weight room.

Winter has been training with two freshmen over the last few months in preparation for the indoor season. Freshman Anton Rice has spent time with Winter in the weight room and on threshold runs. He said spending time with the upperclassman has helped him make the transition from high school to collegiate track and field.

“I have somebody to go off of with (Kyle),” Rice said. “Coming into college, it’s a big difference from high school track. Having someone to guide me and keep me informed about what’s going on is a nice way to get started in college.”

Rice and all the other members of the track and field teams will be voting for captains in early November. Coach Bert Rogers has noticed Winter taking leadership among his teammates, making him a solid candidate for the title.

“There are several guys on the team who have great leadership qualities,” Rogers said. “I have seen (Winter) step up vocally and take a more active role. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was voted a team captain in a couple weeks.”

Rogers has been observant of Winter since his freshman year. Winter arrived from Kettle Moraine High School and spent the first weeks adapting to the workouts’ distance and sorting out some form work. The skills were there for the coaching staff to build on.

When Winter was a freshman, Marquette scored 4.5 points at the 2009 Big East Indoor Conference Championship. Last year, Winter scored 10 points on his own to help Marquette finish with 33 points for ninth place. The development and growth of the team he has witnessed contributes to his confidence for the upcoming season.

“It has been awesome to see where this team is going and see how far we’ve come,” Winter said. “I hope we can keep that going. I want to defend my 800-meter title, and I’m sure whoever did well last year wants to do so again.”

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