Track and Field shines at Big East Championships

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At the Big East Outdoor Championship in Tampa, DePaul’s track and field squad hit their stride at the right time with senior standouts Tim Nedow and Melissa Fraser capping off a successful trip. While the men finished in eighth place and the women in 13th overall, each team had athletes take first in three different individual categories.

“Conference is always a time to elevate your game and that is exactly what we all did,” said Fraser.

Fraser was one of DePaul’s student athletes who had an exceptional weekend. After taking fourth place in the hammer place with a 55.91-meter distance, Fraser was named Big East champion in javelin for the fourth time in her career. The title was earned when Fraser took the event with an impressive 54.14-meter throw.

On the men’s side, Nedow and sophomore Matt Babicz also were crowned Big East champions. Babicz earned the shot put title with a personal best throw of 18.33 meters, his first time as Big East champion in the event. Nedow recorded a 58.60-meter discus throw, giving him the event win. Nedow was also named the Big East Men’s Most Outstanding Field Performer after his career weekend outing.

Needless to say, it was DePaul’s throwing program that stood out against teams in the Big East.

“Our throws program has consistently been producing conference champions and that is what you want out of a strong program,” Fraser said.

“The Big East is a great conference to be able to compete in and to have competed against some of the top tier athletes in the nation has really allowed me to appreciate all of my success throughout my years here at DePaul.”

Even those who weren’t awarded titles at Tampa had bright moments as well. Freshman Adam Kovacs made strides by posting a career-high 59.57-meter throw in the men’s javelin. His sister Alanna, a senior, placed second behind Fraser with a throw of 48.89 meters in the women’s javelin.

In sprints, freshmen Ayesha Ewing, Loreal Curtis and Jordon Vaughn all set personal records.

Ewing set two career best times in sprints, finishing in 18th place at 11.95 seconds in the women’s 100-meter dash, while her career best time of 24.17 in the 200 meters was good for 15th place.

Meanwhile, Curtis improved her 400-meter career best time by nearly one second, finishing in 13th in the women’s race with a time of 55.58.

For the men, Vaughn dropped nearly three-tenths of a second from his personal best in the 100-meter dash, recording a time of 10.62 and 16th place overall in the men’s sprint.

Also picking up points on the day were the women’s 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay teams, both finishing in eighth. The Blue Demons men’s 4×400 and 4×800-meter relay teams scored points with eighth and fifth place finishes, respectively.

“We’re a little more built for outdoor and it’s nice to see people stepping up all at the right time,” Head Coach Dave Dopek said in a press release.

Now with the Big East Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships behind them, the team is looking ahead towards the remaining schedule. On May 24, the Blue Demons travel to Austin, Texas where they’ll compete in the NCAA West Preliminary round. After that, they’ll head to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

According to Fraser, the team has already focused in on what lies ahead.

“Right now the team is looking forward to the first round of NCAAs and being mentally and physically prepared to go down to Texas and show the rest of the nation what DePaul track is all about,” she said.

Whether or not the team can carry its momentum into Austin remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, especially to Fraser – the team doesn’t lack confidence in doing so.

“I am extremely excited to see my fellow teammates tear up the rings, runways and track in Austin.”