Marquette track and field gets season underway

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Sophomore Mitchell Van Vooren hurdles a gate during the Parkside Triangular meet on Feb. 6 (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

The men’s and women’s track and field teams were back in action on Feb. 6 at the Parkside Triangular meet for the first time since the BIG EAST Championships all the way back in March 2020.  

With only about 50-60% of the team physically fit enough to compete due to a limited amount of practices so far, head coach Bert Rogers took Marquette’s first meet of the season as a stepping stone to get everyone back into the swing of things before ramping up the competition in the next couple of weeks.  

“Overall, I had a lot of positive first impressions from our first meet of the season,” Rogers said. “We haven’t been practicing for that long since we’ve come back for break, so I was happy with what I saw from our team considering the short turnaround.”  

Despite sending a limited team to compete at Parkside, Marquette still was able to see personal bests from a few athletes. Sophomore distance runner Kate Jochims ran a time of 9:51.47 in the 3000-meter run, winning her heat by a total of 30 seconds. Sophomore hurdler Juru Okwaramoi also posted a personal best in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.70 seconds.  

“I expected our team to be a little rusty with barely any practices and not being able to compete in almost a year, so it was very nice to see our athletes compete the way that they did, I was very proud of them,” Rogers said.  

As for the rest of their season, the team only has three more indoor meets scheduled and has yet to confirm outdoor meets, but those events are close to being scheduled according to Rogers.  

“The plan right now is that we’ll have about a month off after indoor season to get ready for outdoor season, and then we’ll treat outdoors just like normal,” Rogers said. “We’re currently in the process of scheduling our outdoor meets and the BIG EAST Championships, so I’m excited to get the season going.” 

Despite the shortened season due to COVID-19, Rogers still expects his team to compete to their highest potential. In a typical indoor track season, the team will have around 10 indoor meets to compete in, but this year the team is only scheduled for four. 

“We just have to be the best we can week in and week out, and then I think we’ll be in a perfect position to make the most out of this season,” Rogers said.

With numerous top seniors returning to the track this season for Marquette, the team is expected to make another strong run at the BIG EAST Championships. Here are some of the top Marquette men’s and women’s track and field athletes to look out for this season.  

Senior Joe Keys

Keys is an Indoor All-American in the heptathlon for the Golden Eagles. Keys currently holds the school record in the heptathlon with a total of 5,667 points. Last year, Keys broke his own record by over 300 points. He also qualified for indoor nationals last year before the pandemic ended up canceling the event.  

Senior Samuel Johnson

Johnson currently holds the school record in the 60-meter dash, where he posted a time of 6.80 seconds his junior year. He also ranks second all-time in school history with an outdoor triple jump of 48-4.5 feet 

Graduate student Madison Marko

Competing in a variety of events, Marko has been one of Marquette’s most reliable female athletes when it comes to scoring points for the team. Marko has the fourth-best all-time record in school history in the pentathlon, the fifth best all-time record in the long jump and the sixth best all-time record in the 60-meter hurdles.  

Graduate student Breanne Marchan

As a prolific sprinter at Marquette, Marchan currently holds the second best all-time record in school history in the 100-meter dash, the third best all-time record in the 60-meter dash and the third best all-time record in the indoor 200-meter dash.  

Graduate student Marquis Ward

Ward transferred from Central Connecticut State University to Marquette last year where he sat out the season. At CCSU, Ward  was a NEC Conference Champion in the indoor high jump and runner-up in the outdoor long jump. His junior year he was also announced as the Northeast Conference Most Outstanding Performer.

This story was written by Sam Arco. He can be reached at sam.arco@marquette.edu or on Twitter @sam_i_am119.