Get to know Marquette Big East Champion – Kyle Winter

For the longest time, Kyle Winter (Junior on the Track and Field team at Marquette) had played the game of soccer since he was a little kid. As a junior in High School, his soccer team won the Division I state title, the first ever in school history. After all the success, Kyle was receiving offers from DePaul of the Big East to play soccer in their program. But one day can change your whole life.

Terry Witkowski (one of Kyle’s friends who runs at UW-Stevens Point) came up to him after school and told him that he should try out for the track team. Kyle wasn’t sure about trying out but he did anyone to see what track is really all about. He ran the 3-mile race with his friends and came in last place. He felt embarrassed and almost wanted to leave. Until he ran the 200 meter race.

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A 200 meter run is a sprint on one half of the track from start to finish. Kyle out ran everyone in the race and said, “Yeah, that was pretty cool beating everyone.” After that moment, the love of track came into his life and he put soccer aside because he said, “I knew I was done with soccer when our team won state. I won in soccer and I knew it was time to move on.” Kyle kept working hard in practice everyday during his senior year and top tier programs like USC and Michigan even came to Wisconsin to recruit him.

Unfortunately, those schools didn’t fall through and at the time, Kyle didn’t know where to go to college. So he decided to check out Marquette University with a friend and fell in love with the coaches and the program. After that weekend he said, “I felt coach wanted me here. They were very nice and want to win in the Big East. That was something I wanted.”

In the fall of 2009 he came to Marquette University and now in 2012 of his junior year, he did something no one has ever done. He has won a Big East Championship indoor track title for Marquette.

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It was Sunday February 19th, and Kyle was running in the 800 meter relay for the Big East Championship after qualifying on Saturday. Going into the race he said, “I was seeded 7th and I wasn’t highly regarded.”

He started the race off slow, playing smart on getting the right positioning for the final lap in the race. He started in second, then fell to sixth, and in the final lap he was in last position hoping to make a final push. He moved out to the right and sprinted from the back to the front of the pack where he found Pittsburgh Senior Dontave Cowsette just a few feet in front of him.

Kyle in his head was saying, “We’ve never done this, we’ve never done this! I can do this, I can do this!” Then with just a half stride apart, Kyle leans his body over in front of Dontave right at the finish line. But looking at it from the naked eye, it looked like they both cross the finish line at the same time. Big East Officials had to go to the computer screen for five minutes to see if Kyle or Dontave crossed first.

Kyle said, “Those were the longest five minutes of my life.” After further review, Kyle won by half a second to clinch Marquette’s first ever Big East title. He said, “You can barely see it on video but the photo showed me leaning across the line first.”

After the race, the whole team congratulated him. Jenny Zahn (Senior Long Sprinter on the team) said, “That was sweet. It’s good to see Marquette take a title in something. I’m glad it was Kyle.” Kyle said, “It’s great seeing Marquette in the right direction.”

But why hasn’t anyone heard of this talented track star? Kyle stated that he didn’t really know. He said, “No they didn’t know. I am in Sports Marketing and they didn’t know. We talked about the basketball team moving up to the top 10.” Jenny agreed with Kyle and told me, “People got basketball and other sports on their mind. It gets the most media attention.”

Kyle has got one year left of eligibility but has the future on his mind. He said, “I want to break 1:48:00 and tryout for the Olympics. My best is 1:49:00. If I get fast enough, I can do that.”

Right now, Kyle is focusing on working hard and doing well in the classroom. He is a double major in Finance and Marketing and wants to succeed in those fields just in case track and field doesn’t work out.

Kyle is a Big East champion and ranks third all time in the record books. His life changed from being soccer champion in High School to now a Big East track and field champion in college.

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