Field day for track team at Polytan Invitational

There were very few successes for the men’s and women’s track and field teams at the Polytan Invitational held in Bloomington, Ind., this past Friday and Saturday. The Marquette teams only had six top-five finishes in the meet.

“This weekend was, by design, always going to be a down weekend for us,” coach Bert Rogers said. “Coming off Mont Sac relays in California and heading into Drake Relays this weekend, we decided to give a lot of our top athletes time off.”

The first day of competition started off strong for Marquette.

After events were continuously delayed due to thunderstorms, Marquette was able to land four top-five finishes, including second-place finishes by freshmen Brett Hardin and Michael Saindon in the hammer throw and high jump, respectively. Other top finishers on Friday included senior Jonathan Kusowski, who took fifth in the hammer throw, and senior Catherine Benage, who took fifth in the javelin.

On Saturday, things did not improve much, as Marquette had only two top-five finishers. One was senior Alyssa Davis, who finished third in the triple jump with a distance of 39 feet, ¼ inch. The other was senior Jamie Roth, who finished third in the hammer throw, with a toss of 176 feet, 1 inch.

The highlight performances of the weekend were clearly those of the two freshmen — Hardin and Saindon — on Friday. Despite the weather delays, Hardin threw the hammer 185 feet, 9 inches.

“I thought Brett threw really well. His event kept getting pushed back because of thunderstorms,” Rogers said. “He went out and threw well anyway.”

“Getting pushed back didn’t really hurt that much,” Hardin said. “It actually gave me time to get acclimated to my surroundings after getting off the bus. Get loosened up a little bit more.”

Hardin, who has already been having a fantastic season, broke his own freshman record with that throw. He also jumped teammate John Kusowski for No. 2 all-time for Marquette, a record that Kusowski set only a week ago. Rogers thinks there is a definite rivalry brewing between the senior and the hotshot freshman.

“Jon and I are actually great friends,” Hardin said. “We keep the rivalry between us friendly, but it’s definitely there. Where it makes the most difference is in competition week to week. We are always trying to do better than each other, and that pushes us to do better.”

As opposed to Hardin, who has been tearing things up all year, this was Saindon’s best performance in a Marquette uniform.

“Mike definitely had kind of a breakthrough this weekend,” Rogers said. “He hit his lifetime best mark of 6-8 ¼. He really has put things together at the right time.”

Saindon, who said he had actually jumped 6 feet, 8 inches before, had a few good attempts at 6 feet, 10 inches, but was unable to clear the bar at that mark.

“I was pushing 6-10 ¼,” Saindon said. “On one jump I landed right on top of the bar, so I was real close. That is certainly the goal for the rest of this year, and I think that I will end up making it before the end of the year.”

The track teams next return to action on Friday at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.