Track teams succeed in cold weather

By Karl Striepe

The men’s and women’s track and field teams officially opened their outdoor seasons this weekend at the Elmhurst Invitational in Elmhurst, Illinois. Strong winds and chilly temperatures made weather conditions less than ideal, but both teams still had several notable performances and personal bests in what were, overall, very strong debuts.

“It was not a bad start to the 2004 outdoor season. We had some very good performances in the longer distance races, but the shorter the events got, the tougher it seemed to be to put great times out. I feel that’s more an indication of the weather conditions and lack of high energy we get during the indoor season,” head coach Chris Hall said. “As I look at times throughout the conference and the Midwest region we seem to be right on par with what other schools are experiencing.”

The race of the day belonged to third-year Samuel Jacobson, who finished second in the 5K in a time of 15:42.10. The time—more than 40 seconds faster than his previous best time for the event—marked a breakthrough performance for Jacobson, who was especially pleased given the windy conditions.

“It is good to finally have a 15:40 on the books that I can use as a solid starting point,” Jacobson said. “The wind was tough, especially since I am literally a human sail.”

While Jacobson might have had the performance of the meet, the Maroons’ best event was without a doubt the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Second-year Teague O’Connor won the race easily in a time of 9:37.70. First-year Brian Hague finished second in 10:06.70, and second-year Nick Juravich completed the sweep, placing third in 10:10.40.

Even though the men’s team was missing a number of its best athletes, the Maroons still finished second overall, scoring 161 team points. Wheaton College won the meet with 240.5 points.

“We could have won the meet easily had James Mestichelli or David Barr decided to compete,” Jacobson said. All-Americans Tom Haxton and Adeoye Mabojunge also missed the Elmhurst invite.

In the middle-distance events, fourth-year Patrick Sullivan, named an All-American last season in the outdoor 1500-meters, finished second in the 800-meter run in a strong early season time of 1:55.20. First-year Mark Roualet was fourth in the 1500-meter run in a time of 4:18.70.

Third-year Brandon Halcott led the Maroons in the sprints, finishing third in the 200-meter dash in 23.06 seconds and fifth in the 100-meter dash in 11.70 seconds.

In the field events, third-year Seyi Oyenuga won the long jump competition (6.35 meters) and second-year Brett Peterson won the triple jump (12.60 meters). Third-year Brian Eichhorn was second in the pole vault, clearing a height of 4.26 meters. First-year Mike Hawkins was third in the hammer throw with an effort of 37.14 meters.

Fourth-year Valerie Anderson had what was easily the best of performance of the women’s meet, placing in three events. Anderson won the hammer throw with a distance of 43.32 meters, was third in the shot put with 11.46 meters, and was third again in the javelin throw with 25.14 meters.

Also in the field events, second-year Sarah Eldridge won the high jump competition, clearing a height of 1.48 meters. First-year Trina Ruhland and third-year Carolyn Gruber were second and third, respectively, in the pole vault competitions, both clearing a height of 2.59 meters.

In the distance events, second-year Jessica Winter, an All-American in the 1500-meters during the indoor season, won the 800-meter dash in an impressive early season time of 2:20.30. Third-year Erin Steiner finished second (4:56.20).

In the sprints, first-year Andrea Keliiholokai finished third in both the 100- and 200-meter dash with times of 13.17 seconds and 26.63 seconds.

Like the men, the women finished second overall with a score of 155 points. Wheaton College’s women’s team also won the meet with 212 points.

Both men and women race again this coming weekend at the Chicagoland Championships, hosted by North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.