Golden Eagles to face NCAA champions and Olympians at Iowa State

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Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Last year’s Bill Bergan Invitational produced several personal bests, Big East qualifying marks and a new record in the men’s 3,000-meter run for Marquette’s track and field team. The Golden Eagles hope for more of the same as they travel to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.

Coach Bert Rogers sees running on the Lied Recreation Center’s track as a prime opportunity to throw down Big East qualifying marks with other fast competition in attendance.

“The next three weeks when we run at Iowa State, Notre Dame and Grand Valley State will be three meets where we run against some pretty good competition,” Rogers said. “I am not too concerned about them getting (Big East qualifying marks.) They’re in shape. They’ll get it.”

Minnesota’s mid-distance squad hopes to defend its titles in the 800-meter run and the mile. Harun Abda posted the NCAA’s fastest 800-meter time in 2012 (1:46.97) at the 2012 Bill Bergan Invitational.

Travis Burkstrand paced last week’s mile at the Jack Johnson Classic like a workout. This weekend, he is among the favorites in the mile after winning in 2012.

The high-caliber talent does not stop with the running events. Erik Kynard, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will be high jumping for Kansas State. Marquette will rest junior Michael Saindon after his jump last week put him fourth on Marquette’s all-time list.

Senior Cheldon Brown will try his luck against Kynard after finishing third to him by .20 meters last year.

“(Taking on Kynard) is a tough task to handle,” Saindon said. “Early on in the season, (Brown) was battling a minor upper hamstring injury. He’s fine now and a very talented athlete, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit a high bar this weekend.”

Rogers and his staff rested junior Carlye Schuh last weekend after a minor hamstring strain in the Badger Classic’s 60-meter dash. Last year’s most valuable player has a history of injuries but is expected to run the 60-meter and 200-meter dash this weekend.

Senior Jack Hackett finished fourth overall in last year’s 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:09.27, which placed him second on Marquette’s all-time list.

Unfortunately, there will not be a record chase in Iowa this year, as Kyle Winter will be racing in the 800-meter run for the first time all season. Jon Schafer’s record in the 600-meter run is safe for yet another week.

Running on an oversized track will minimize turns on the track that annoy taller distance runners. Senior Patrick Maag is currently ranked 17th in the nation for the 5,000-meter run, which would put him on the bubble if the NCAA Indoor Championships were to start today. Maag hopes his time holds up this weekend as he races the 3,000-meter run.

Competition begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with the men’s weight throw. Running events start at noon with the men’s 60-meter hurdles.

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