Marquette track and field graduate student Marquis Ward has had quite the experience throughout his career so far. However, through his journey that ultimately led him to Marquette and he is looking to make the most of his new opportunity.
Born in North Plainfield, New Jersey, Ward originally attended Central Connecticut State University where he was a two-time NEC Conference Champion in the indoor high jump as a sophomore and junior.
Ward’s success in the Northeast Conference did not stop there though, as he was named the Northeast Conference Most Outstanding Performer during his junior season for the Blue Devils, while also being named All-NEC in the indoor high jump, long jump, triple jump and outdoor long jump.
After dominating the field on the East Coast, Ward, in his eyes, made the hard decision to take his talents to the Midwest, where he found himself in the heart of Milwaukee.
“The transfer process was scary,” Ward said. “I was entering my senior year and didn’t know whether it was the right thing to do or where I was going to end up, but Marquette stood out to me and I felt genuinely wanted from the coaching staff, so that was one of the main reasons I transferred here.”
After Ward reached out to head coach Bert Rogers and jumps coach Rick Bellford within the Golden Eagles program, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“I think his previous jumps stood out to us immediately, and was like ‘woah, he’d definitely be a contender in the BIG EAST right off the bat,’” Rogers said. “After talking to him for a little bit, we thought he’d be a great fit not just athletically, but academically as well.”
Ward is currently enrolled in Marquette University Law School, which was another important factor in his decision to come to Milwaukee.
Ward ultimately redshirted the 2019-20 season that was eventually canceled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in that time Ward was busy training and preparing for this season.
“As soon as I got here, I was training better and practicing better, so ultimately, I think I’ve grown a lot since arriving at Marquette,” Ward said.
Ward’s successful transition to Marquette’s program can be thanked by his quick chemistry with fellow Golden Eagle jumpers in senior Samuel Johnson and junior Jefferson Osunkwo.
“We all love to compete and push each other every day in practice,” Ward said. “We kind of have a friendly rivalry going on where we want to one-up one another, but at the end of the day, we always want to help one another and make each other the best we can be.”
Rogers attests to this and is excited for what Ward can bring to the table for the program.
“He fits right in with the jumps crew very well, and the three of them present such a great environment overall,” Rogers said. “As we start to get in the routine of the outdoor season, I’m looking forward to watching a jumper in someone who has what it takes to compete in the BIG EAST conference and overall improve our team.”
After not competing for almost two years, Ward couldn’t be more excited to get back to jumping and competing with his new teammates.
“Honestly I have one real exciting expectation this season in that I want to compete at NCAA Regionals,” Ward said. “I know we have a great team that can send a lot of people there and I know me and a couple of the other jumpers have been working hard all season for that, so right now that is my biggest goal.”
When it comes to a specific event, Ward is looking forward to competing in the high jump in the BIG EAST with loads of other talent.
“I definitely would love to hit a personal record in the high jump this season,” Ward, who was a back-to-back NEC Champion in the high jump at CCSU, said. “We didn’t have as many guys that are so good in a specific event in my last conference, so I’m looking forward to them pushing me to go higher.”
With a talented addition in Ward, to go along with a mix of several other key seniors in Joe Keys and Samuel Johnson, Marquette will continue to compete for a BIG EAST title this season after finishing second two years ago behind Villanova.
“This team is going to be special this year to watch, so stay tuned,” Ward said.
This story was written by Sam Arco. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @sam_i_am119.