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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette plans to utilize Drake Relays competition for Big East preparation

Noone (2) runs in the Big East 2022 Championships. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette Track & Field has been competing in the Drake Relays since Olympian Ralph Metcalfe competed in the event back in the 1930s. This year, the Golden Eagles will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to use the event as a stepping stone toward next month’s Big East Championships.

Graduate student distance runner Emily Noone said she has been watching the Drake Relays since she was little, as it holds a historic spot throughout collegiate Track & Field.

“It’s crazy to think that when I was a kid I’d be watching it on TV and now I’m in college racing in it,” Noone said. “It’s a super cool event and when you go to the university, it’s like a big holiday with such an amazing legacy and history behind it.”

Along with the celebration, senior sprinter Julian Wright said this is a time for the athletes to push themselves against tougher competition.

“What Drake does is gives us a chance to actually see competition that we would never see,” Wright said. “It gives us a chance to get pulled by others or drop some faster times because of the level of teams we face. We want to be able to perform and step up to that stage and make it known that just because we go to Marquette doesn’t mean we’ll be losing to anyone.”

As the season nears its end, head coach Bert Rogers said this meet serves as extra practice for the Big East Championships.

“There are a couple of events that would be nice to be able to run fast at Drake and sort of have that under our belt as we’re headed towards the Big East,” Rogers said. “There’s a couple of those relay races that we haven’t been able to piece together, so I’m hoping we can get a good one in out there along with the other non-traditional relays.”

Noone said with a high level of competition to be expected at the meet, it will push her to be at her best.

“All of my best performances have been at bigger meets when I have a little bit more pressure and competition to push me,” Noone said. “The Drake Relays are definitely a perfect environment for that kind of stuff and to even be a simulation for tougher Big East competition.”

Rogers said the competition is very different from any others that they encounter throughout the season.

“For a lot of the track event people, it’s going to be a weekend where they’re doing very minimal individual stuff,” Rogers said. “The vast majority are running relays we don’t usually see outside of this meet, so the team does get excited to do those different kinds of things and try to put their names up in the record books.”

Wright said that because of this meet, the team is able to carry over key aspects that it can use to its advantage at the end of the season.

“It’s hard with it being such a fast turnover, but it’s something that helps us prepare,” Wright said. “Those back to back days competing at Drake are just like conferences where we’re competing back to back too. The similarity and short time difference between those two events help a lot.”

Following the Drake Relays, April 26-29, Marquette will compete in the Wisconsin Classic in Madison the weekend after before the Big East Championships May 11-13.

Rogers said with a quick turnaround between meets, it will allow his team to ride a wave of momentum and use pieces from each of their last two meets before the conference championships at Villanova University.

“We really want to be starting to hit our peak at this point at Drake and then we’ll go to Madison next week to kind of tune up any last minute race stuff we want to address so that we’re prepared for the Big East,” Rogers said. “There’s sort of this month long stretch that has a rhythm to it of being able to compete, relax a little and then be faced with go time.”

Wright said the momentum of the last month in the season is a huge tool to help get athletes prepped for competition at the Big East Championships.

“Especially for the Big East, the Drake Relays and Madison are priming us to get so many people into the finals, get so many more points, medals, podiums and pictures of happy faces,” Wright said. “I think for Big East, with the preparation we’ll be able to do, we’ll be able to get top three. I really can see it.”

This story was written by Benjamin Hanson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benhansonMU.

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Benjamin Hanson
Benjamin Hanson, Sports Reporter
Ben Hanson is a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota studying journalism, digital media and advertising. He is a sports reporter and the assistant social media producer for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. When he's not in the newsroom, he likes creative writing, being with friends and going to sporting events. He is excited to be able to spread the word of the Marquette Wire because it has done so much for him while also refining his sports writing.

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