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Marquette Track and Field: Fast Times Continue at Notre Dame

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Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Marquette’s track and field teams expanded their list of Big East qualifiers this weekend at Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational. While most in attendance focused on the afternoon’s Meyo Mile and men’s 3,000-meter run featuring NCAA cross-country champion Kennedy Kithuka, the Golden Eagles’ runners climbed atop the program’s all-time list.

Senior Kyle Winter faced off against Mississippi State freshman Brandon McBride in the heat of the men’s 800-meter run. McBride led the race from the start, while Winter battled to the front of the pack and finished fifth overall with a personal best of 1:50.36. The time makes him Marquette’s third-fastest all time and 29th in the NCAA. McBride ended up posting the third best NCAA time (1:47.43) and set a Canadian junior record.

Freshman Anton Rice and sophomore Brendan Franz picked up Big East qualifying marks as well. Franz has been flying under the radar all year but impressed many with his kick at the end of his race Saturday night.

“That was (Franz’s) best race of the year thus far. I think he can do that even more,” Coach Bert Rogers said. “As his confidence grows – this was a big confidence booster for him – I think he can continue to knock more time off. He’s been a very pleasant surprise this year.”

Freshman Molly Hanson already qualified for the women’s 1,000-meter race at the Big East Indoor Championship. She chased the freshman and school record Friday but fell short with a time of 2:56.07, which still holds up for seventh in school history.

Hanson returned to action less than 24 hours later and won her heat of the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.38.

Fellow freshman Andres Tineo-Paz executed a brilliant race in the men’s 5,000-meter run, as he ran second to last throughout most of the race. A kick going into the final lap moved him up to fourth in his heat. Tineo-Paz debuted with a 14:51.48 in his first 5,000-meter race on the track. He fell just four seconds short of qualifying for the Big East Championship.

Another outstanding kick came from junior Mitch Lacy in the men’s 1,000-meter run. Entering Saturday, he was among the upperclassmen still looking for a qualifying mark.

“On the line, I just told myself, ‘You got this.’ I knew the fitness was there,” Lacy said. “It’s kind of like standing on the line for a free throw. You just have to make the shot. I made sure to stay calm and execute the race plan by sitting in the back of the pack, and then on that last lap just going for it. ”

Marquette’s throwers stayed closer to home with the UW-Parkside Classic. The Golden Eagles captured victories in all four throwing events. Kirsten Gaffney won the women’s shot put with a toss of 13.47 meters. The women’s weight throw went to junior Kathryn Koeck with a throw of 15.14 meters.

Koeck saw her teammates as the favorites heading into the meet, and the victories just added to their confidence level at this point in the season.

“It was easier to focus on not just throwing far but your technique,” Koeck said. “You still have to try hard, but you don’t have to focus on just throwing far to win. You just need to focus on getting your steps down and your other teammates.”

Marquette returns to action Friday, as it heads to Grand Valley State for the 2013 Big Meet.

Correction: A previous version of this article misattributed a quote from track and field Coach Bert Rogers to men’s lacrosse volunteer assistant Coach Scott Rodgers. The Tribune regrets the error.

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