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Women repeat as BIG EAST champions, men finish second at Outdoor Championships

Photo by Marquette Track & Field

Photo by Marquette Track & Field

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For the third time in as many tries at the conference level, the Marquette women’s track and field team topped the rest of the field at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Saturday evening, while the men came up short and finished runners-up.

Marquette finished with six individual champions and plenty of strong performances in suburban Philadelphia, but it was the weather that became the story of the second day, as torrential rain and wind played a key role in the competition. Despite the weather and numerous spills throughout the day among numerous teams, the events continued.

On the women’s side, Maya Marion became the conference’s first three-time champion in the shot put with a distance of 13.92 meters, or 45 feet, 6 inches. Meanwhile, in the triple jump, sophomore Monique Felix and junior Terica Harris went back and forth as Harris edged Felix at a jump of 12.27 meters, or 40 feet, 2 inches, while Felix had a jump of 12.23 meters.

In the long jump, Harris won the event with a jump of 5.87 meters, or 19.26 feet. In the high jump, Felix tied Omo Tseumah at 1.70 meters, or 5 feet, 7 inches, but won the event as she had completed the height in fewer attempts. That was not the only event that Felix would win, as she also took home the gold in the heptathlon.

In addition to the performance by the dynamic duo, the Golden Eagles dominated the high jump event, as they had four athletes earn points. Bridget Bodee took fourth and Breanne Marchan took eighth.

Volleyball star Jenna Rosenthal completed her goal of earning points towards the team title. She placed sixth in the high jump and took third place in the discus throw, good enough for a place on the podium, which she earned by throwing the discus 37.99 meters, or 124 feet, 6 inches.

Gemma Tedeschi won the pole vault with a vault of 3.81 meters, edging the Villanova vaulters by 4 inches.

Head coach Bert Rogers said he was pleased the team competed a near-flawless performance.

“I was really proud of how the ladies competed today,” Rogers told goMarquette.com. “It was a very solid meet for the women. We didn’t have much for hiccups and the team competed hard, resulting in a lot of PRs. This group was so deserving of the big team win.”

To top off the near-perfect day for the Golden Eagles, Harris was named Most Outstanding Field Performer and Felix earned the meet’s High Point Performer with 28.

While it was a stellar day for the women’s team, it was utter heartbreak for the men’s. As the day unfolded, it became a series of unfortunate events that took Marquette off of the leaderboard and gave them a second-place finish.

In their signature event, the 4×100 team consisting of Joshua Word, Jay Whalen, Connor Boos and Brandon Bell was expected to break another school record when disaster struck. Just before the final handoff took place, Boos suffered an injury to his leg before handing off the baton to Bell. As a result of the injury, the team finished in fifth place.

“Connor went down just as he took the lead in the final turn,” Rogers said. “We were expecting him to run well in both the 100 and the 200 and possibly podium in both. We were also expecting him to lead off the 4×400 relay, so there’s a bunch of points that went down.”

Instead of risking more injury, Boos opted to walk the 100 and 200 dashes, earning the team a few points. However, Boos was not the only injury that happened to the 4×100 team. It went from bad to worse as Word also went down with a leg injury during the 100-meter dash. At the 50-meter point, Word had taken the lead. However, he took a tumble due to the slick track and was forced to walk the final 50 meters. He also walked the 200 with Boos. This proved to be the unfortunate turning point, as DePaul capitalized on the situation and they pulled away at the end with a 21-point victory, 204-183.

“Joshua going down, leading the 100-meter dash, it was gut-wrenching,” Rogers said. “We did have so many other awesome things that happened today and for that, the team should be proud of their second-place finish.”

Despite the setback, Marquette had strong performances in other events. In the decathlon, freshman Sam Sagan impressed as he had a second-place finish with 5,603 points. In the triple jump, Will Wolf took second place and Djdade Denson finished in third with a jump of 13.93 meters. Chris Van Saders took second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.38 seconds.

There were three individual champions on the men’s side as John Krzyszkowski won a fourth straight BIG EAST title in the javelin throw with a throw of 70.26 meters, or 230 feet, 6 inches.  Dwayne Dash Jr. capped off his conference career with a bang with a victory in the long jump at a height of 23 feet, 11 inches. Freshman Daniel Armstrong won the high jump as well.

Up next is the NCAA regionals, in which a few Golden Eagles are expected to compete.

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