Last Saturday marked the end of the indoor track and field season for Marquette, so it is time to announce The Marquette Tribune’s season honors.
Men’s MVP: Senior Kyle Winter made his Marquette debut by winning the men’s 500-meter dash at the 2009 Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational and running in the men’s 4×400-meter relay. He ran the same combination to start off his final collegiate indoor season at the same meet. The 2012-2013 season included seven top-five finishes in his nine individual races. Winter ends his indoor career with school records in the men’s 400 and 800.
Women’s MVP: A freshman (yes, a freshman) was one of Marquette’s biggest contributors in 2012-2013. Tatyana Pashibin earns the honor in her first collegiate season after winning the Minnesota high school state championship in the high jump as both a junior and a senior. The former All-American gymnast finished her indoor season with the third-best high jump mark in Marquette history. Her personal best of 1.75 meters in the high jump was notched on her first try at the height at the Big East Championship. With that mark, she qualified for the USA Track and Field’s Junior National Championship.
Men’s Performance of the Year: In his final opportunity to break Jon Shaffer’s 600-meter record, Winter delivered at Grand Valley State’s Big Meet. All he needed to run was .01 faster than his personal best of 1:19.21. He fell short in his first two chances at Wisconsin and Illinois. Most coaches and runners leave the week before a conference championship as an opportunity to taper and recover. Just one week before the Big East Championship, Winter was still determined to run his fastest race of the year. Winter kicked into another gear as he came around the final turn on the track. He clocked 1:19.07 for the record, which led to a collective “finally” from Winter and the coaches afterward.
Women’s Performance of the Year: Kate Hein advanced to the Big East indoor finals with her time of 1:13.48, dropping her personal best by two full seconds in the breakout performance. The performance shattered the Marquette record by almost half a second. The junior’s name is also on three of the ten best Marquette 4×400-meter relay teams.
Men’s Most Improved: Sophomore Brendan Franz went from barely breaking two minutes for the 800 to splitting 1:53 in a relay. He also set personal bests in the 1,000-meter run and mile in 2013. After running the mile three times his freshman year, Franz would only get one shot at the Illini Classic, and he dropped his time from 4:27.79 to 4:24.98. His sophomore season saw a specialization in the middle distances. On the hunt for a Big East qualifier, Franz came through in his final attempt with a time of 1:54.93 in the 800-meter run. He closed the season by placing tenth in the 1,000-meter run at the Big East Indoor Championship. Also considered: Mitch Lacy and D.T. McDonald for their Big East performances in several relays.
Women’s Most Improved: Junior Katie Kemmerer also set three personal bests in 2013, the most remarkable of which was dropping 1.22 seconds in her 400-meter dash time from 59.05 to 57.83. Kemmerer was not on the school’s all-time list at the start of the season, but she finished the season fifth after her best run at Grand Valley State’s Big Meet. Each time she ran the 200-meter dash, she set a personal best after not running that distance indoors since her freshman year.
Men’s Rookie of the Year: Freshman Anton Rice trained with Winter all season, and the hard work paid off. At the Big East Championship, Rice snuck into the 800-meter final by running a personal best of 1:53.23. He finished just a second behind Winter in the final for seventh place. It may be too early to say, but as Rice gets older, he could fill Winter’s shoes and have just as successful a career. He is still learning the 800-meter race, but the future is definitely bright.
Women’s Rookie of the Year: After 13 races at seven meets in a single indoor season and the freshman mile record, this is an easy choice. Molly Hanson came off a long cross-country season and continued to run well indoors. She ran the eighth-best 800-meter race at Iowa State and the seventh-best 1,000-meter race at Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational. One month later, she returned to the same track and posted the third-best mile time in school history, setting the freshman record. At this point next year, it would not be a surprise if she started to put her name atop more record lists.