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Marquette Men Finish 2nd At Big East Outdoor Track & Field Championships; Women In 4th

The Golden Eagles were within shooting distance on both sides at the start of Day 2, but ended up without a title.

Marquette men’s outdoor track & field
The Marquette men, posing with their runner-up trophy.

Four different men claimed individual titles on Day 2 of the Big East Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Icahn Stadium in New York, but it wasn’t enough for Marquette on Saturday. After starting the day in a tie for first place, the Golden Eagles wrapped up the two day event in second place with 191 total points. That’s just seven points shy of Villanova’s title winning total of 198.

On the women’s side, Marquette was unable to overcome a 35 point gap between themselves and first place Villanova on the second day of competition. In fact, the Golden Eagles ended up sliding a bit down the standings as Day 2 went on, falling from second place to a fourth place finish at 114 points. Villanova won the women’s title with 217 points, with DePaul (159) and St. John’s (141) landing between the Golden Eagles and the Wildcats.

Brendan McKinney kicked off Marquette’s run of individual champions on Friday, and he was joined by four teammates on Saturday. Terrance Howard reversed the finish from the hammer throw by edging out McKinney in the discus throw. Howard won the Big East title by being the only man to clear 50 meters at 50.04, with McKinney finishing second at 49.51 meters. Joseph Keys won the decathlon with 7112 points and wins in six of the 10 events. Keys is the third MU man to win the Big East decathlon, joining William Eggers (2016), who finished second to Keys here and Matt Piekarski (2006).

Ben Konopka got to play spoiler to a bit of Big East history with his 110 meters hurdles title. DePaul’s Ben Decker was attempting a four-peat in the event, but Konopka won the finals with a time of 14.61 seconds. He beat out DePaul’s Ashton Colaire (14.71), who finished second and was going to ruin Decker’s streak anyway as Decker ran a time of 14.84.

Check out the finish on the race as Konopka won this thing after the final hurdle.

Samuel Johnson got to create a bit of Marquette history in the outdoor championships with his title in the triple jump. Johnson is the first Golden Eagle to win a Big East individual title in the event, clearing a distance of 15.50 meters. No other leaper got past 14.70 meters, as Johnson won the event on his final jump to mark MU’s longest jump in the event since 2013, the second longest jump in MU history, and the 16th best jump in the NCAA’s West Region this year. His performance was enough to get him named Most Outstanding Field Performer of the entire meet, and considering that McKinney and Howard went 1-2 one way or another in two different events, that’s pretty impressive.

Ultimately, what did in the women in terms of catching Villanova was a lack of individual titles. MU comes away from New York without a gold medal on the women’s side, and at the end of the day, it’s hard to win a team title if you aren’t stacking up a few individual titles along the way. We have to tip our cap to junior (and loyal AE reader) Bre Marchan for her performance on Saturday. She stacked up 16 points for the team in three events, finishing second in the 100 meters, sixth in the high jump, and fourth as part of the 4x100 meter relay team.

Here’s Marchan’s performance in the 100 meters, as she finishes well ahead of everyone except for Villanova’s Trudy-Ann Williamson.

Marquette will be in Naperville, IL, this week at the Gregory Invitational for one final chance to record some season bests and push into the NCAA West Regionals, which are coming up on May 23-25.