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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SEASON PREVIEW: Track & Field gets ready for outdoor season

Marquette hosts an event in their outdoor season, the Marquette Invitational, April 12. (Graphic courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Following their seventh-place finishes in the Big East Track & Field indoor championships, both the men’s and women’s teams are now gearing up for the upcoming outdoor season.

In track & field, the outdoor season brings some changes in events and strategies, but the main focus on training for speed and performance stays the same.

Coach Bert Rodgers said that athletes may need to adapt to various events, such as throwing the discus and hammer instead of the weight throw or running shorter hurdle races indoors.

But, the training for the outdoor season as opposed to the indoor stays the same.

“Actually, it doesn’t change a whole lot. Some events have different strategies. For instance, if you’re a thrower, you do the shot put similarly, but you also do the discus and the hammer instead of the weight throw or the javelin. Some athletes only do specific events,” Rodgers said.

“There are differences in events, but our training remains consistent. We still focus on speed and other aspects, making adjustments as needed for each event.”

Rodgers said keeping the training regimen consistent helps with the mental aspect of the sport.

“It’s definitely a big part. The mental aspects, like confidence, are crucial. For example, a runner might be in great shape but lacking confidence due to a streak of bad luck, which can affect their performance,” Rodgers said.

“On the other hand, someone with high confidence shows a noticeable difference. We often work on building self-confidence so that when it’s time to compete they’re ready.

“School stress, relationships and other factors can also play a role. Sometimes someone might seem off, but it turns out they’re just dealing with outside stress like a big project. So, mental strength is a significant factor.”


With majority of the sprinting squad being seniors last year, only a handful of returners will step up to fill the gaps left by graduating students.

When it comes to transitioning from indoor to outdoor, graduate student sprinter Zachariah Murray said the process can be easy and hard at the same time due to factor of weather conditions.

“It is both easy and hard. It’s easy because we’ve been doing essentially the same thing since we got back to campus in August. The training hasn’t changed much,” Murray said. “We have different training plans each week, depending on the meets and our competition schedule for the season. It’s different and sometimes harder now that we’re competing outdoors.

“We’re getting ready to deal with all kinds of weather, and you never know what it’s going to be like. So, it’s just trying to bundle up for practice outside when you can, getting used to running in the elements.”


The success of of junior jumpers Natalia Jackowski and Kaylee Hopp in both outdoor and indoor competitions has sparked excitement and anticipation for what the jump crew can achieve in the upcoming season.

Jackowski set a PR at the Big East indoor championships in the high jump (1.70m) to take silver. Hopp holds the 7th best triple jump score in program history in both indoor (11.79 m/38-8.25 feet) and outdoor events (11.76 m/38-6 feet).

With personal records being broken and strong placements in recent events, junior jumper Annika Bynum said she is confident in herself and her teammates jumping abilities due to their strong performances in the indoor Big East Tournament.

“I think it could be really interesting this outdoor season, with Natalia and me placing 2nd and 3rd in the Big East. It’s interesting to see what we could possibly achieve together for outdoor events,” Bynum said.

“Kaylee has been performing really well, placing in both outdoor and indoor events. She has been achieving a bunch of personal PRs, so it’ll be interesting to see what we have in store. We have tons of cool stuff coming up and a lot of possibilities and potential for the jump crew.”


Sophomore thrower Josh Pirogovsky said that a positive mindset can make all the difference in a competition. He credits Rodgers for his balanced approach of providing constructive feedback while also acknowledging the strengths of each throw.

“My coach is a big influence on me,” Pirogovsky said. “He tells me what I need to work on, but also points out what I did well in my throws. It’s not just about hearing that my throw was bad, but also recognizing the good parts and where I can improve. He records our throws and wants us to do well, which is great.”

The Golden Eagles kick off the outdoor season this Friday, March 29, at the WashU Distance Carnival in Saint Louis, Missouri, and the Redbird Challenge in Normal, Illinois.

Marquette also hosts the Marquette Invitational Friday, April 12 at Shimek Track & Field. The Big East Championships take place May 9-May 11 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This story was written by Dakota Barnes-Rush. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @DakotaRushMU.

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About the Contributor
Dakota Barnes-Rush, Sports Reporter
Dakota Barnes-Rush is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but lives in Miami for 9 years. He's majoring in journalism and is a sports reporter for the Marquette Wire. Outside of the Marquette Wire he enjoys watching the NBA, YouTube and hanging out with friends. Dakota is most excited about learning more about each individual sport he covers. He believes the more he knows about the sport the more successful his stories will be.

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