Track starts strong in Florida, whole team kicks off spring season this weekend

Howard, Harris set personal bests in tune-up meet at USF

Terica Harris set a personal best in the long jump of 5.78 meters. Photo via

A handful of field event athletes from Marquette track and field kicked off the spring season at the USF Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Florida over spring break with a few standout throwing and jumping performances.

Sophomore Maya Marion, coming off a BIG EAST indoor championship in the shot put, threw a personal-best 14.20 meters (46 feet, 7.25 inches) to start her outdoor campaign. Freshman Terrance Howard, the No. 4 high school discus thrower in the state of Minnesota, made his collegiate debut with a throw of 48.05 meters (157 feet, 7 inches) to win the open event. Sophomore Terica Harris was named BIG EAST Women’s Field Athlete of the Week for her career-best long jump of 5.78 meters (18 feet, 11.75 inches).

Junior John Krzyszkowski nearly eclipsed his school record in the javelin with just his second throw of the season, which traveled 65.37 meters (214 feet, 6 inches), just six inches off his personal best.

“John is such a consistent rock,” head coach Bert Rogers said. “You just know he’s going to throw far. He’s really been working hard. During the indoor season, he doesn’t necessarily have an event so you see him in the gym doing (medicine) ball drills, one-arm drills into the nets and things like that. He was hoping for more out of that debut, but a lot of times your first meet is still a little rough.”

Someone who had a bit more of a rough start to the season was junior Wally Ellenson, who made his debut in the high jump just two weeks removed from the end of the men’s basketball season. After passing on heights of 1.88 meters, 1.94 meters and 1.99 meters (6 feet, 6.25 inches), Ellenson entered the competition at 2.04 meters (6 feet, 8.25 inches) and missed all three jumps. Rogers said Ellenson was getting so high over the bar that he was clipping it with his ankle on his kickback.

“It was one of the more amazing no heights you’ll see,” Rogers said. “He was really getting off the ground and it was really just timing. He’s in good shape and he’s got a lot of pop. We’ve just got to get him reined back in.”

Ellenson will get another shot at his first clearance of the year this weekend at the Joey Haines Invitational at Southeast Missouri State, where Marquette’s entire team will compete together for the first time this outdoor season.

The trip to this meet is the team’s first in Rogers’ 12-year tenure as a coach at Marquette. Heading south means the team will take on unfamiliar competition in teams such as Arkansas State and Memphis.

“During the indoor season we’re usually in the Midwest so you kind of see the same teams over and over, so it is exciting to race against someone with a different uniform,” Rogers said.

Although Rogers said this meet is intended to “break the rust off” for the athletes who haven’t competed since BIG EAST indoors, it is an opportunity for some athletes to face top-caliber competition. In particular, Marquette’s sprinters and jumpers will be tested thanks to the emphasis southern schools tend to put on those events.

“I think the sprints will be fast, and that’ll be good to get our guys going,” Rogers said.

After this weekend, the team will have just one more tune-up meet before a trip to California for more elite competition.