Marquette and Wisconsin-Milwaukee renew their rivalry on the track at Valley Fields as the Golden Eagles host a dual meet against the Panthers. While other weeks are focused on hitting personal bests or qualifying marks, competition takes on a team aspect on Friday.
“This weekend is about scoring team points and beating Milwaukee,” head coach Bert Rogers said. “In track and field, there aren’t as many small scored meets like this, especially dual meets. This weekend, we look to beat those East Siders.”
The two teams have a friendly rivalry. Many of the Marquette athletes are friends with members of the Milwaukee team. Rogers and assistant coach Nick Davis competed at Wisconsin-Milwaukee as athletes.
While races like the 100-meter or 200-meter dash will be fast as usual, we can expect more conservative races in the distance competition with a disparity in talent. Coming into the weekend, Marquette’s fastest 1500-meter runner Tyler Leverington is six seconds faster than Jake Reilly of Milwaukee’s best performance.
Marquette and Milwaukee usually face off in an indoor dual meet, but due to scheduling conflicts with the Panthers’ basketball team the facilities were not available to the track teams. The only times the two teams have faced off in the winter were at Wisconsin’s Badger Classic and Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational.
“Not having that definitely makes things a bit more unknown,” Rogers said. “You can look up results, but actually watching people compete is different.”
Milwaukee and Marquette have opposite strengths. The Panthers have a heavy sprint focus. Junior Washington Farrington has the team’s best times in the 100-meter (10.63) and 200-meter dash (21.94.) One of their biggest strengths is hurdles, as junior Durell Busby and Jordan Schmidt are the top two 110-meter hurdlers in the Horizon League.
Things should get interesting as the teams meet across the middle distances like the 800-meter run. Kyle Winter has yet to make his season debut at the 800-meter distance, but he ran the 400-meter dash at the USF Bulls Invitational.
Last year, both the men’s and women’s team swept their respective sides. The women won 100-90, while the men tallied 97 points over Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s 89 points.
Marquette was helped by the Koeck siblings on both sides. Junior Kathryn Koeck collected seven points for the Golden Eagles as she won the hammer throw. Sophomore Will Koeck is still hunting for the top Marquette hammer throw mark and could give it his best at home.
The team’s first practice outdoors was last week as the grounds crew finished plowing snow off Valley Fields and the track in preparation for women’s lacrosse matches.
Action gets started at the Valley on Friday at 11 a.m.