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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Javelin throwers start outdoor season hot

Grace Mager sees herself as a mother of the track & field team. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette track & field javelin throwers have been hitting new marks all outdoor season.

It all started March 29 at the Redbird Challenge, when the Golden Eagles faced University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois State and Western Illinois.

There, first-year thrower Riley Ward — in her first collegiate meet — placed third with a mark of 36.47m.

“It was a big meet. I came into it without high expectations for myself because I thought the nerves were going to get the best of me. But it turned out to be a good meet,” Ward said.

With her teammates and coaches by her side, she said she overcame emotions and anxiety, relying on their support to boost her confidence.

She likened it to having a second family on the field; that knowing they had her back allowed her to push through any challenges that came her way.

“I threw a 119 feet which I was very proud of,” Ward said. “I’m very thankful for my coaches for keeping me grounded and for my teammates for helping me get through it.”

Junior thrower Grace Mager took second place at the meet with a mark of 38.22m, but she emphasized there are still things to work on.

“I’m working on some specific tweaks in my throw to improve the finishing position. Last week, I had a good throw, but it didn’t count, so now I’m focusing on finishing stronger to stay in bounds,” Mager said.

“My release needs improvement, but I’m feeling stronger overall. I’m the healthiest and fittest I’ve been in college, so I’m looking to progress as the season goes on.”

The following weekend, at the Cameron Burrell Alumni Invitational, Marquette swept the podium in the women’s javelin throw.

Tessa Hollander placed first with a throw of 38.47m, which ranks No. 10 all-time in Marquette history. Mager finished second with a throw of 38.08m and Ward placed third with a throw of 35.30m.

As a leader and mentor, Mager said she enjoys the motherly love she is able to give to her first-year throwers. She said that she takes pride in nurturing their growth, offering a listening ear and providing guidance just like a mother would.

“I really enjoy being with my freshmen. I call them my kids. I try to have dinner with them regularly, keep up with their lives, and make sure their classes are going well because freshman year is a big transition,” Mager said.

“When I was a freshman, seven upperclassmen took care of me, so I wanted to make sure they felt the same support. I let them know my apartment is open if they want a break from the dorm, a home-cooked meal, or a ride to the grocery store.”

Ward also talked about how Mager and her coaches has been a big inspiration to her.

“It is such a big difference. Being surrounded by supportive teammates and coaches really makes a world of a difference,” Ward said. “We all cheer each other on, and it keeps the vibe positive.

“It’s always a blast when athletes from other events come over to show their support definitely helps keep the nerves in check.”

Marquette is going to need its javelin throwers continue their hot start Friday when the university hosts the Marquette Invitational at Shimek Track and Field.

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

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Dakota Barnes-Rush
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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