Golden Eagles prepare for BIG EAST Championship meet

Graduate+student+Megan+Wallace+participates+in+the+Firebird+Opener+Jan.+15.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29

Graduate student Megan Wallace participates in the Firebird Opener Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

With the St. Valentine’s Invite at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the books, the focus for the Marquette’s track and field teams shifts toward the BIG EAST Championships on Feb. 25 at Gately Park in Chicago.

“We’re really excited. It’s a good opportunity to see where we’re at among other BIG EAST teams and measure ourselves up before getting a quick break before outdoor starts,” junior distance runner Mallory Lafever said.

Head coach Bert Rogers said he is pleased with where his team is heading into the conference championship meet.

“We’ve had a little bit of a slew of injuries the last two weeks that you know are a challenge. Hopefully, our medical staff here will get them all healthy and will be ready to rock here come BIG EAST time but then on the flip side of it, we have a lot of people running in good shape and are looking good,” Rogers said.

Additionally, Rogers said he was excited with how the high jump team performed through the nine meets.

“Just got out of practice with the high jump crew and they always stay consistent. So I’m excited,” Rogers said.

Murray said he believes the team has an advantage with the meet at Gately Park.

“There’s a lot of morale that’s been up to because we’re only in Chicago. Being in Chicago means that we’re basically in our backyard. So, we’re all happy about that because I know a lot of people are saying, ‘my family members are coming out because it is so close,” sophomore sprinter Zach Murray said.

For many teams, including Marquette, Feb. 25 will mark the first time many will be competing against each other this season.

Lafever said the goal is winning the meet.

“To win a BIG EAST Championship and to make that happen, we’re going to have to work, collectively,” Lafever said. “We are in different groups between field events, distance and sprints (so) we must come together to put on a good performance against some of the best competition there is.”

Murray said with the University of Connecticut’s return to the league, it has made the team “hungry” to prove themselves.

UConn is the newest team added to the Big East Conference are has proven to be worthy of recognition.

“We want to show the BIG EAST what we can do, seeing how we haven’t had a meet with all these teams,” Murray said.

Rogers said he has been preaching the message of consistency to his team in preparation for the meet.

“Consistent with how we train, how we step on the track, the runway, or in the circle. Always bringing that same level of consistency because all of us have been working on one thing all season,” Rogers said.

We want to be consistent with what we’ve been doing and that’s usually where big performances are built off on. We look at it as we want to do individually as well as we can and then as a whole which brings it all together.”

For both Lafever and Murray, it is their first indoor BIG EAST Championship.

“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to race against a lot of good competition,” Lafever said. “Also going to Chicago and their new facility will be exciting.”

Murray said he is hoping to see the joy in his teammates in winning a BIG EAST title, just as the team did in 2018.

“Everyone’s been working so hard ever since August and we would love to see all that hard work pay off by bringing some hardware,” Murray said.

Rogers concluded stating, “The conference gets tougher every year so we’re just doing our best to compete, get out there and see what happens,” Rogers said.

This article was written by Johnnie Brooker. He can be reached at johnnie.brooker@marquette.edu.