2017 Big East Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Date: Friday, May 12 & Saturday, May 13, 2017
Time: 10am-5pm Central on Friday; 11am-5pm Central on Saturday
Where: Jumbo Elliott Stadium in Villanova, PA
Streaming: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go will begin broadcasting at noon Central on both days and run til the conclusion of that day’s events.
Live Results: Right here.
Twitter Updates: @MUTFXC & @BigEastChamps
Both the Marquette men and women have titles to defend when they compete in the 2017 Big East Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend. The men won their first ever Big East title last May on the strength of six individual championships. The women came away from the SPIRE Institute in Ohio with their first outdoor title and completed the 2016 indoor/outdoor title thanks to four individual championships and a Most Outstanding Field Performer award for now-sophomore Monique Felix.
While both teams are poised to repeat as champs with 12 of the 13 athletes that helped win individual event titles last year returning this spring, it’s the women’s team that has more than just a conference championship on the line. The Marquette women track and field team won the indoor/outdoor double in 2016 and won the 2017 indoor Big East championship as well back in February. Winning the 2017 outdoor meet would give them four straight Big East titles, and I’d have to say that it would also earn them the title of “Best Team On Campus.”
For the last couple of years, that title has belonged to volleyball. This past fall, they qualified for their sixth straight NCAA tournament, a streak that is unmatched by any team on campus. That streak is still active, of course, but the fact of the matter is that it is not a guarantee that Ryan Theis’ team will make it back for a seventh time in 2017. This past winter, Marquette had their leading attacker, Taylor Louis, transfer to Iowa, marking the second time in three years that Theis had a sophomore leading scorer transfer out of the program. While MU still returns two all-Big East First Team performers in Jenna Rosenthal and Allie Barber, there’s way too much tumult in the volleyball roster at this point to consider that squad to be consistent enough to keep the title of “Best Team On Campus.”
The door is open for the women’s track & field team to take the title from volleyball. The two year double is more than enough to push Bert Rogers’ squad over the top to lay claim to the moniker of “Best Team On Campus,” and it might be a while before someone knocks them off the pedestal if they get there. Monique Felix has been the Outstanding Field Performer in all three of the Big East championships that she’s participated in thus far, and it’s a pretty safe bet that she’ll be competing for that honor as long as she’s wearing blue and gold. Felix’s across the board performances in the field events give Marquette a strong base to compete for championships, and outside of men’s lacrosse and their two straight Big East tournament titles, I don’t know who else can take a solid swing at the track & field squad while Felix is still at Marquette.
The crazy part about this? A volleyball player might help tip the title towards Marquette. Jenna Rosenthal has been moonlighting with the track & field team, and she has the fifth best high jump mark in the Big East this season and the sixth best discus throw. Both of those are good enough to place — and more importantly, score points — in the conference meet. Now, it might not matter. Five of the top seven high jumpers in the Big East all wear blue and gold. Monique Felix is set to contend for the high jump, triple jump, and heptathlon titles. Terica Harris won both the high jump and the triple jump at the indoor meet in February and has the best outdoor marks in the league. Gemma Tedeschi and Julie Clayton are one-two in the pole vault. Last, but certainly not least, Maya Marion is looking for her third straight Big East title in the shot put, and no woman has ever even won three titles in that event.
Over on the men’s side, it will be the field events that drive their title chase. Daniel Armstrong is looking to repeat as high jump champion after winning the indoor title and has a chance to be MU’s fourth straight champion in the outdoor meet. John Krzyszkowski is trying for his fourth straight javelin title, which will be a league record if he pulls it off. Johnny Jav is also aiming for the outdoor meet record, which he has already surpassed during the regular season. William Ford is trying for his second straight outdoor pole vault title and third straight overall. MU’s 4x100 meter relay team will take another crack at breaking the school record, something that they have done four times already this season. The team of Joshua Word, Jay Whalen, Connor Boos, and Brandon Bell combined to win the 2016 outdoor title, and their current MU record of 40.71 is more than a full second faster than the time that they won with last year. They will need one more school record if they want a trip to NCAA regionals, as it will take 40.50 or better to get them there.