Track off to the races with top-three finishes at Elmhurst Invitational

By Kim Song

The Chicago men’s track and field team did some spring cleaning Saturday, sweeping several events in the first outdoor meet of the year.

The men finished second in a field of nine at the Elmhurst Invitational with a score of 115.5, trailing only Wheaton (151). The women placed third out of ten teams with a score of 133, behind University of Wisconsin-Stout (184) and Wheaton (163).

The men led off the meet with solid performances in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Post-grad Jerome Thaurad (9:40.70) and first-year Brian Taylor (10:21.50) went 1-2 to earn 18 points for Chicago. Second-years Brian Hague (15:18.24) and Emil Bojanov (15:41.60) led a four-man sweep in the 5,000-meter run, bringing third-year Pat Hogan (15:49.00) and second-year Dan Dickinson (16.26.59) in with them.

The women did some damage in their own right. First-year Hannah Moots scored a win in her first career 3,000-meter steeplechase, leading the field with a time of 12:22.50. Third-year Jessica Winter, who set the school record in the 800-meter run record last year, won that event Saturday, crossing the finish at 2:18.08.

Despite a fair wind and cloudy weather, four long-jumpers, led by indoor national championship participants and first-years Myra Collins (5.16 meters) and Appie Hirve (5.14), made the finals. Teammates first-year Cynthia Lin and third-year Gabby Jones also cleared five meters for the event.

“To have four long jumpers all over five meters in the first meet of the season was a nice sign,” Hall said.

Chicago women also took three of the top four spots in the 100-meter dash. First-year Nofi Mojidi led the way, winning the event in 13.05 seconds. First-year Dana Al-Meer came in third in 13.41 seconds, and second-year Trina Ruhland (13.75) finished right on her heels.

The transition from indoor to outdoor season brings some major changes. The team moves from a 200-meter to a 400-meter track, and athletes must deal with the added complication of weather conditions. Moving from Henry Crown to Stagg Field also creates a more open atmosphere at the meets.

“When people are cheering indoors it gets a lot louder than outside,” Hall said.

With the new season come new faces, and Hall brought in perhaps his best recruiting class thus far for the 2005 season. Mojidi, who just finished an extremely successful rookie basketball season, brings her explosive speed to the sprinter squad. “[Mojidi] will do well within our conference in the shorter sprints and could really elevate our team in the 4 x 100,” Hall said.

For the men’s team, third-year Dan Milroy will be a valuable addition to the Maroons’ javelin throwers. “He could have a nice impact at the UAA level,” Hall said.

The men also hope for a boost from the return of first-year vaulter Luke Sandberg, who missed the end of the indoor season with injury trouble.

“He looked great over the weekend,” Hall said.

The Maroons next compete at Saturday’s Chicagoland Invitational, hosted by North Central College.