It was a tumultuous trip to Lawrence, Kansas, for the Golden Eagles, and while it could be ruled a success, none of Marquette's four athletes were able to advance out of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field West Regional to the national championship meet in Oregon.
Lightning strikes in the area wiped out all of the scheduled competition on Thursday, meaning that the NCAA shifted the schedule around. Instead of Marquette's competitors being spread across three days, all four athletes competed on Friday at Rock Chalk Park on the campus of the University of Kansas.
Three of Marquette's participants improved on their seeding heading into the meet. Dwayne Dash, Jr., was seeded 46th out of 48 long jumpers, and with a leap of 7.04 meters (23 feet, 1.25 inches) on his third and final leap, he ended up finishing 36th overall. That ended up being shorter than the jump that put him into the West Regional, but you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, either. Cassy Goodrich had to adjust to a shortening of the qualifying process (one round instead of two) and a lane assignment on the far outside lane in the 400 meters, but still posted a time of 54.71 to finish in 21st place. While that's short of the 12th place spot needed to advance, it's still better than the #24 seed she had coming in and 16 spots better than she finished at the West Regional a year ago. John Krzyszkowski is the third and final Golden Eagle that improved on their standing. His first javelin throw of the day landed at 66.14 meters (217 feet) and would turn into his best throw. It was unfortunately six feet, 11 inches short of the 12th place throw, but it did put him in 15th place, one spot up from his seeding.
High jumper Wally Ellenson is the only Golden Eagle who missed on improving on their seed. Ellenson missed all three attempts at the height of 2.16 meters (7 feet, 1 inch), landing him in 17th place. Had he cleared it, he would have been the 12th and final party to advance to the national meet, as only 11 men cleared the bar at that height. Ellenson came in seeded eighth in the region, making him a favorite to make it to Oregon. In fact, this is the first time in Ellenson's four seasons of outdoor competition that he will not advance to the national meet.
We should probably briefly talk about how the GoMarquette.com recap of the West Regional speaks about Ellenson. Here's the exact wording:
Ellenson’s career ends in disappointment, but not without its many successes as he was a four-time All-American, including a three-time honoree during outdoor competition - highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2013 and a fifth-place national finish a year ago.
You'll notice that it says his career is over and it counts his one indoor All-American appearance last year amongst his accolades. I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like he will not be returning to Marquette for another year of indoor competition. He has a year of indoor eligibility left, because the NCAA considers indoor track & field to be a completely different sport than outdoor track & field for some reason, and as a part of his departure from the men's basketball team, he has the option of returning on a full scholarship.
While it's a bit of a down note to end the track and field schedule, it's important to remember what the team as a whole accomplished this year. The women won both the Big East indoor and outdoor titles, while the men took the Big East outdoor title after finishing second to Villanova at the indoor championship. It was the first time that Marquette had won each of those three team titles.