Track team heads to Big East Finals

The men’s and women’s track and field teams head to the Stile Athletics Field House in Akron, Ohio this Saturday and Sunday to compete in the Big East Track and Field Indoor Championships.

Both teams are hoping to improve on their finishes from last year, when the men placed 12th and the women 15th.

Coach Bert Rogers, however, says the team is not overly concerned with its placing heading into the meet.

“We don’t look at the Big East as ‘trying to do this’ or ‘trying to do that,’” Rogers said. “We look at it more as trying to set (personal records) and school records, and all of that other stuff, points and team placement, will really just work itself out.”

Some of the main athletes Marquette will be relying on to get points this week are seniors Nick Szczech and Joe Kohut, juniors David Carbajal and Lauren Darnall, and sophomore Kyle Winter.

Szczech has hit his stride at the right time. Two weeks ago he set a personal record in the 5,000-meter run, which currently stands as the third best time in the Big East this year. He certainly has momentum right now, and his coach says he has been training well and is excited to run.

“I’m going to be running the 5k and the 3k this weekend, and my goal for both of them is to finish top eight and get some points for the team,” Szczech said.

Darnall has been making noise all season in the pole vault. She started fast when she set the school record in the first indoor meet by jumping 12 feet, 9 1/2 inches at the Blue and Gold Invitational. She followed that performance by winning the pole vault event in every meet up until the Bill Bergan Invitational on Jan. 29. Currently, she stands sixth in the Big East.

“I’m just going to go and jump,” Darnall said. “I’m going to try and win, obviously, but at this point I just want to jump as well as I can.”

Darnall is still looking to accomplish her season-long goal of jumping 13 feet, which she thinks she will be able to get this weekend.

Carbajal has been having the best season of his career as well. In the weight throw, he broke his personal record by seven feet on  Jan. 22 in the Milwaukee dual meet, with a throw of 52 feet, 4 inches.

Carbajal says his strength and conditioning will really help him this weekend.

“Our lifting kind of culminates at this point in the season, so hopefully that will pay off and I will see the improvement on Saturday,” Carbajal said.

He also said he is hoping to come out and put up his best throws this weekend.

“I really want to go after it right away,” he said. “I just need to get ahead and get into the finals. After that, anything is possible.”

Kohut has also quietly been having a good season. On Jan. 29 he qualified for the Big East Championships by throwing the shot 49 feet, 6 1/2 inches. At the Big East Championships last year in New York he threw it 50 feet and finished in 10th place, missing the finals by one position. He hopes to make it to the finals this year in his final indoor season.

“It’s kind of weird knowing that this is my last year,” Kohut said. “This weekend our motto is, ‘Do something crazy,’ and that’s what I plan on doing. I’m going to try and get into the mix early and shake things up a bit.”

Winter is also looking to bring home a trophy. He is competing in both the 4×800 relay, but stands to do better in the open 800, where he is ranked 11th in the Big East.

“I’m hoping to get into the finals of the 800,” Winter said. “That’s a definite goal of mine, and I am really hoping to get that done.”