National qualification all but secured for Sizek, Young

After picking up a couple of top finishes last weekend, the Maroons are poised for their last meet before NCAAs.

By Sam Zacher

[media id=”107405″ align=”left”/]After picking up a couple of top finishes last weekend, the Maroons are poised for their last meet before NCAAs.

Yesterday and today’s North Central Last Chance meet is the final opportunity for Chicago runners, jumpers, and throwers who are hoping to qualify for nationals.

Already in qualifying positions are first-year Catherine Young and fourth-year All-American Julia Sizek. Both athletes compete in the 5,000-meter and finished back-to-back last weekend, at 3rd (16:57.37) and 4th (17:00.19), respectively.

“My favorite moment of my race was running with and qualifying with my teammate Julia,” Young said. “She is captain of our team and has really pushed me through this entire season. I am so glad that she will be competing with me at nationals.”

Generally, women ranked in the top 22 nationally in their respective events qualify for NCAAs, and Young and Sizek both have positions all but locked: the first-year is currently 8th and the fourth-year sits at 11th.

At UAAs a couple weeks ago, Sizek’s and Young’s roles were reversed. Sizek nabbed 2nd with a time of 17:06.01 and Young finished directly after (3rd, 17:07.52). In an impressive fashion, Young took her time down by 10 seconds in just two weeks.

Other notable Maroons are on the outside looking in: third-year Sarah Peluse is 34th in the 10,000-meter with a time of 37:00.96—another event in which Sizek will likely qualify for NCAAs. She currently has the 10th best time in the nation (35:54.93). In addition, first-year Brianna Hickey is 35th in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:36.01, fourth-year Vicky Espinoza is 38th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:17.59, and fourth-year Kayla McDonald is 44th in the 800-meter with a time of 2:14.94.

Peluse would need to make up 40 seconds to catch the runner holding the 22nd ranking, Hickey is just over two seconds behind the qualifying spot, Espinoza needs nine seconds to be in a position to qualify, and McDonald is 1.68 seconds behind the last runner qualifying.

Unfortunately for Chicago, these athletes have a long shot at making the cut for nationals with only this last meet remaining, but Peluse is looking forward to next year.

“Brianna ran 4:36 in the 1500, Catt [Young] broke 17 [minutes] in the 5k, and [first-year] Maya [Lewinsohn] ran 18:36 in the 5k, so we’re definitely going to have a good cross country team next year,” Peluse said. “Catt is already going to nationals, Brianna is ranked 35th in the 1,500-meter and is about two seconds behind the 22nd girl, and I’m ranked 34th in the 10k, so, hopefully, next year we’ll have even more people qualify for nationals.”

Regardless of whether or not any other Maroons qualify, the team will be cheering on Young and Sizek May 23–25 at the NCAA Championships in La Crosse, WI.