Fraser, Babicz Top Podium at BIG EAST Championships
May 5, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – On Saturday, the BIG EAST Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships saw two Blue Demons top the podium in their respective events. First, senior Melissa Fraser was named BIG EAST champion in the javelin and later, sophomore Matt Babicz earned the crown in the shot put.
“It was a really, really good day for us,” DePaul head coach Dave Dopek said following the conclusion of Saturday’s events.
For the fourth time in her career, Fraser earned the title of BIG EAST Champion in the javelin. As the only competitor to break the 50-meter mark, Fraser managed four qualifying throws, each of at least that distance. Her first attempt came in at 50.91 meters. After a foul on her second attempt, Fraser’s 54.14-meter throw proved to be her best and was enough to seal the win.
As it has been for most of the outdoor season, the Blue Demons finished one-two in the women’s javelin. Behind Fraser was fellow senior Alanna Kovacs in second place. Kovacs’ best throw came in her first attempt when she rattled off a distance of 48.98 meters. The throw stood as second-best despite a late challenge from Cincinnati’s Emelie Larsson who finished just three-tenths of a meter behind Kovacs.
“Of course, Missy [Fraser] and Alanna [Kovacs] went one-two.,” Dopek said about the women’s javelin. “It was pretty significant of Missy to be able to bust out another 54 [meter throw] and set herself apart from the competition while setting a championship meet record. Then Alanna on her first throw threw 48.98 and that was a good way to assure herself a point. It wound up holding up throughout the event.”
For the first time in his career, Babicz broke through the 18-meter plateau in the shot put, a huge feat on the conference’s biggest stage. The sophomore (whose previous career-high in outdoor competition came in at the 17.98 meters) opened his series with a massive 18.33-meter throw. Babicz also added throws of 17.83 meters, 17.67 meters, 17.73 meters, and 17.65 meters, but it was his initial throw that held up as the day’s best.
“For Matt to come through a get a big personal-record and win it is pretty awesome,” Dopek continued. “We’re excited for him.”
“It’s a big step for him getting over 18 [meters]. He’s going to be big time as he keeps going.”
Behind him was senior Tim Nedow, the 2011-12 BIG EAST indoor champion. After a starting throw of 15.75 meters, Nedow posted a second-place distance of 17.87 meters before fouling in his remaining attempts.
“Finishing one-two in both [the men’s shot put and javelin throw] is pretty cool and then you factor in Adam [Kovacs]. Adam had a nice throw, a season-best and that wound up holding up as well.”
In his first BIG EAST Outdoor championships, freshman Adam Kovacs made sure javelin success ran in the family. The freshman’s career-high throw of 59.57 meters in the javelin to place second. The career-best mark came on his second throw of the series.
“After those five placed plus Matthew Graham and Missy’s performances yesterday, we’re in a position to put a few more points on the board and score more than we’ve ever scored before at the BIG EAST,” Dopek said.
“The thing that was impressive, in addition to those that scored, is that if you wind up going down the list, you’ll see that Ayesha Ewing had two massive personal-records—one in the 100-meter and then she added a phenomenal run in the 200-meter,” Dopek noted.
“So she had two PRs. Loreal Curtis ran 55-seconds for the first time for a huge PR. Jordon Vaughn dropped over three-tenths of a second from his season-best in the 100. Lindsey Holden just missed her PR running 55 again. At the end, Alanna placed ninth in the shot put but she broke the school record twice in the process.”
Several Blue Demons return to action tomorrow for the third and final day of the BIG EAST Championships. Nedow and Babicz are set to compete in the discus for the men while Alanna Kovacs, Amanda Piche, and Jazmyne Durrah compete in the discus on the women’s side.
Dopek said, “I mentioned before, we’re a little more built for outdoor and it’s nice to see people stepping up all at the right time… When you can walk away with as many PRs and points as we did today, it’s a good day.”