Distance medley comes up short in record attempt

Marquette finished up indoor competition this past Friday and Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind., and the Wisconsin NCAA Qualifier in Madison, Wis. Marquette sent mostly throwers to Madison and all runners to Notre Dame.

The meet at Madison went well, though it was mostly used as a tune-up for outdoor competition, which will begin with two meets in Florida over spring break.

Marquette sent six athletes to the meet, including freshmen throwers Kristen Gaffey and Kathryn Koeck, who competed in the discus throw for the first time, who took fourth and fifth, respectively. Junior pole-vaulter Lauren Darnall won her event.

Unlike the meet at Madison, the Alex Wilson Invitational was not being used as a tune-up, but as an attempt to accomplish some goals that had not yet been met during the indoor season.

The most important task of the meet was the attempt by the men’s distance medley relay to break the school’s DMR record (9:50:64 set in 1981), a task they failed to accomplish.

“We’re not really pleased with the time we got,” said coach Bert Rogers. “We set a goal of 9:49.00, and ran 9:59.00, so it’s tough to be satisfied with what we got. We won’t have a lot of meets where we will use the DMR, but at the few where we do, we will try to break the record there.”

After running the second fastest time in school history (9:53.67) at the Big East indoor championships on Feb. 19, the men’s DMR team of senior Peter Bolgert, junior Blake Johnson and sophomores Kyle Winter and Evan Ross seemed primed to break the school record, but were apparently unable to handle the high pace set by the very strong field in Notre Dame and had to settle for a time 10 seconds slower than their goal.

“I think we were in over our heads a little bit in the field,” Ross said. “Every other team out there was at, or close to the national qualifying mark, and we were just trying to get the school record. Our first two legs went off fine, but by the time it got to our third and fourth, we were far enough behind that we didn’t have anyone to pace us, and that affected our time.”

According to Ross, the indoor season feels unfinished without having accomplished the goal of setting the record, even after a strong season.

The one bright spot of the weekend at the Alex Wilson was the impressive mile junior Jack Hackett ran. Hackett, who will redshirt the outdoor season, finished 12th and ran the third-best mile in school history, with a time of 4:07:38.

“The race went off pretty slow,” Hackett said. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving and I may have left a few seconds out on the track, but in the end a PR is a PR. I moved up on the all time list and I’m happy with how I did.”

As of now, the only two people who have recorded faster times in the mile as a member of the Marquette Track and Field team are Dave Uhrich (4:03.00 in 1983) and Keith Hanson (4:04.84 set in 1986), both of whom were All-Americans.

Marquette finished its indoor season at these meets and will begin its outdoor season with the USF Open on March 11, and the USF Bulls Invitational on March 18. Both meets will be held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.