The Marquette track and field team’s sprinters and jumpers will open their season at Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Invite on Friday.
“The December meets are always a good opportunity to test how our fall training has done and if we can do some really good things just off our fall training,” coach Bert Rogers said. “That sets us up really well for the upcoming season.”
This year marks the sixth consecutive season in which Marquette has decided to load up the buses and travel to South Bend, Ind., for the meet. The competition is always the same, with Marquette joined by Notre Dame, Detroit and DePaul.
These teams also get to check out the same track they will be racing on at the Meyo Invitational, one of the more popular meets of the year.
At Meyo, senior captain Kyle Winter may be running the 800-meter race, but he will be starting off the season with the 500-meter race. His personal best of 1:03.93 is the second fastest time in Marquette history, and he has a chance of setting a record in his first opportunity of 2012.
He will be in the 500-meter race with freshman Anton Rice and would like to see both of them coming close to that record time but wants the two to hit the Big East qualifying mark of 1:05.64.
“(The school 500-meter record) is definitely a goal I want to try and get this year, but I don’t know if the meets and the races are going to fall in line that way,” Winter said. “I do think that Anton and I could both qualify in the 500. It will be a great race to start off the season.”
Rogers is excited about this year’s freshman class, but prior to the meet he will tell his new athletes not to be too concerned about the competition in their first meet. Their training is not meant for them to peak in December, rather they should continue to improve and have their best marks towards the end of the season.
Aside from some of the hype surrounding the freshmen, there’s been quite the buzz about the show junior Carlye Schuh has been putting on in practice.
After a phenomenal freshman year, she was solid as a sophomore but struggled toward the end of the year while battling injuries. If her explosiveness from practice translates to the day of the meet, she could easily climb up from her spot at No. 4 in the Marquette long jump record list.
Last year, Tyler O’Brien set the 200-meter record at the Blue and Gold Invite. The year before, Spencer Agnew set the freshman record in the 3,000-meter race. After redshirting his sophomore track season, Agnew is back in a Marquette uniform ready to tackle the mile and 3,000-meter races.
Agnew suffered a foot injury during outdoor season and missed significant training time in the summer. He’s ready to compete after a long road back.
“Just not being where I wanted to be (was the toughest part),” Agnew said. “I knew that I could get there but it’s just going to take time. I came into shape a little late in the season and didn’t have time to help the team like I wanted to.”
Agnew is just one of the handful of runners seeing action in distance event this weekend. Some of these cross-country runners did not race at the Great Lakes Regional and have been resting much longer than others.
With finals approaching for the student athletes, Marquette will arrive in South Bend before the meet starts at 6 p.m. and will return that same night after the last relay is finished.