Around this time of the year, Marquette usually squares off with UW-Milwaukee in a dual meet to decide which school has the more well-rounded team on the track.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the face-off will not happen until spring at Valley Fields. This season, the Golden Eagles instead traveled to Champaign, Ill. for the Illini Classic.
“I think in some spots we had some really solid performances, but we’re still looking at taking the next step in some spots,” coach Bert Rogers said. “We’re getting close. Just a few near misses.”
Senior long sprinter Kyle Winter continued his pursuit of adding another school record to his name but once again fell short by less than a second. He finished second in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:19.85 as Illinois’ Ryan Lynn won in 1:19.69. Looking at the schedule ahead, there may be one more shot left in the chase of Jon Shaffer’s 1:19.21 set in 2005.
Other men on the team just may want to hit Big East qualifying marks. Juniors Jack Senefeld (4:17) and Spencer Agnew (4:18) finished fourth and fifth in the mile, respectively, just less than three seconds off the conference standard.
“At this point in the season, we still have over a month until the conference meet,” Senefeld said. “A lot of these early meets are rustbusters. I’m okay with where the boys are at. We have a few weeks to qualify for the Big East meet, so from now on we just have to have everything quickened.”
With the Big East qualifier in the books, junior Michael Saindon shifted his focus to setting a personal best, and he did just that with a high jump mark of 2.07 meters. The jump puts him in fourth place on the all-time Marquette list.
In 1938, the Milwaukee Journal previewed a dual meet between Marquette and Wisconsin. Among the athletes highlighted was a high jumper by the name of Ed Burke. Burke was a one-man show for the Hilltoppers in his era and held the high jump world record for a short time. Saindon can now say he bested a man who once held that claim to fame.
“Coach said I passed a former world record holder on the top 10 list, so that’s awesome,” Saindon said. “Most important, I was able to get that bar out of the way so that I can get going.”
The men’s 4×400 “A” team did not race at the Illini Classic, as the scheduling may have been too close to other events for each athlete to be fully rested. One of the legs of that race, sophomore Glenn Lawrence, ran a 52.17 for the 400-meter dash on Saturday. For him to be more competitive with some runners on the upcoming schedule, that time needs to drop below 50 seconds at most.
On the women’s side, redshirt senior Lauren Darnall entered the Illini Classic undefeated in the pole vault but took second with a season best of 12 feet 3 1/4 inches. She is getting into a much better routine and is starting to get back to marks that haven’t been seen in more than a year and a half.
As the season progresses, junior Rebecca Pachuta is getting stronger on the track with the long distances. She attacked her 3,000-meter race with a purpose and dropped a 15 second personal best.
“I don’t think there was anything special or magical other than she’s working hard and starting to realize some of her potential,” Rogers said. “That brings confidence, and she can continue to build upon that.”
For a race like the 3,000-meter run, Iowa State’s Bill Bergan Invitational will serve right as the 300-meter track leads to fewer laps and turns for those distance runners. The Golden Eagles head to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.