Five for Friday

Taking a look at the week’s key storylines

By Jake Walerius

Men and women heading to nationals

For the first time in cross country’s history, both the men’s and women’s squads will compete at the NCAA Championship in the same year. It will be the men’s first experience of the national tournament, but Chicago has reason to be confident entering the tournament ranked 18th. Winning is likely off the table, but don’t rule out a top-16 finish. Expectations are much higher for the women, ranked 6th in the nation. A top-five finish would be the best in the program’s history. Watch out for Catt Young, who has starred for the Maroons in her second season in Chicago and could challenge for the individual title.

Chicago hoping to get back on track

After a 2–0 start to the season, women’s basketball faced its first setback on Tuesday, falling 90–76 to UW–Whitewater. The Maroons looked competitive against the Warhawks, ranked second in the nation, and were within reach of a victory well into the fourth quarter, but that has provided little satisfaction for this ambitious squad. That sort of commitment to quality will serve Chicago well if it is going to bounce back from a disappointing season last year, in which it finished 7–18. The first step will be victory against Manchester tomorrow. The Maroons can expect an easier game than against UW–Whitewater, but they’ll have to reduce the turnovers that cost them dearly in Tuesday’s game.

Maroons look for offensive rhythm

Men’s basketball will try to get into a rhythm for the season tonight in St. Louis in a game against Whitman. The Maroons lost their first game against Augustana 76–56, then rebounded to beat Lake Forest 99–54. This weekend’s competition will include a game against Rose-Hulman as well, as part of the Lopata Classic. Chicago’s November and December slate is entirely non-conference, and the Maroons will need to use that time effectively to get their new offense running smoothly before facing Wash U on January 11. There’s no need to worry after only two games, but Chicago will want to be playing at its best when conference play rolls around.

Phoenix Fall Classic to get season going

Swimming and diving started competing a month ago—and have recorded impressive victories against Wash U and Wheaton—but there will be an extra-competitive feel to this weekend’s Phoenix Fall Classic. It will be the last competition for the Maroons until 2014, and they will want to end on a positive note. Historically, Chicago has done very well in this event, and another strong performance, even if it isn’t a victory, will leave the squad feeling good heading into a competitive January slate and February’s UAA Championship.

Experience remains focus at Concordia

Wrestling has started its season 0–4 but isn’t too concerned with the numbers right now. Two of those four losses came against DI programs, and one came against last year’s runners-up at the DIII Championship. Right now, the focus for this team is improving individually and integrating promising first-years into the team. The Concordia Open will pose a unique challenge for those first-years. How they cope with the atmosphere of a tournament featuring over 300 wrestlers will tell us a lot about the prospects of this squad heading forward.