Redshirt junior thrower Jonathan Kusowski has gone from being a walk-on to one of the best hammer-throwers in Marquette track and field history.
In 2007, Kusowski was a senior thrower at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, and was not recruited by any Division I schools.
“I was being recruited by one Division III school, but I wanted to go some place bigger, and I wanted to throw D-1,” Kusowski said. “I liked the engineering program here at Marquette and I liked the school, so I decided to try to throw here.”
Kusowski contacted current Marquette coach Bert Rogers. Rogers told Kusowski he could try out and should concentrate on the hammer throw. He spent the summer training with an independent coach to improve his hammer throw and his chances of making the team.
“I started working, started lifting weights every day,” Kusowski said. “I would do extra practices with him to make sure I could get the job done and be the best that I could be. I made sure that I put in that extra effort to prove to coach that I deserved my spot.”
Four years later, Kusowski owns the fifth-best hammer throw in Marquette history, which he set March 11 at the USF Open in Tampa, Fla. It was his first meet of this season after redshirting the last two semesters.
“He is certainly one of those guys you like to have around,” Rogers said. “He has a great story coming from being a walk-on to now being able to compete with the best throwers in the conference. So he means a lot to this team as a competitor, a leader and just an all around great guy to have around.”
Associate head coach Mike Koenning, who coaches the throwers, said Kusowski is “probably one of the top four or five throwers in the conference.”
“He will compete well, but he still has a bit of a ways to go to win. Right now he is throwing at 180 feet, and to win you need to be over 200,” Koenning said. “But he keeps improving and getting better.”
Reaching that 200-foot mark in the hammer throw is a goal Kusowski has for this season. He said it may only be a small adjustment that he has to make to gain the extra distance.
If he does get to 200, Kusowski will have a very good chance of making it to NCAA Outdoor Championships, which Koenning said is entirely possible.
“I still have a bit of a way to go, but I think it’s a very attainable goal,” Kusowski said. “It would be a dream to make it to (NCAA Outdoor Championships). If it doesn’t happen this year, it could next year. But it really would be great.”