Men’s and women’s squads should skate to victory against thinner competition at home

Chicago’s men’s and women’s track and field squads won’t have too much tough competition at Henry Crown this weekend.

By Isaac Stern

At the Margaret Bradley Invitational on Saturday, Chicago’s track and field squads will compete in their second-to-last meet of the indoor season. The meet will serve as a final preparation before the South Siders head to conference championships next weekend.

Margaret Bradley will include teams from all NCAA divisions. But expect most DI programs either to not send their best athletes or to not compete at their top level. Both Maroon squads will likely take first at the meet.

“The competition is not going to be very strong,” second-year Nick Lyon said. “Instead, we will be competing against ourselves for most of the meet.”

The real excitement this weekend will be with the competitors on the edge of scoring position for the conference meet. The Maroons only travel to conference with competitors who have an honest shot of scoring at the meet. Usually only three athletes from one school can score in an individual event. Thus, the Maroons on the edge of scoring position in the conference or those who are just outside of the top three on the team in their event will have the greatest stake this week.

“This meet is really important for a lot of us because this performance will determine whether or not some of us go to conference, so we are trying to be at our peak,” Lyon said. “This is it.”

The South Siders whose spots are practically guaranteed will use the meet to perfect their technique and racing form in a competitive setting. In addition, as head coach Chris Hall continues to examine the rankings and points possibilities in the conference, he is likely to try out some veterans in different events to scrape for every last point the Maroons can get. Expect to see some variation in the events.

For those who realistically cannot make it to conference, this meet will serve as the conclusion of the indoor season. They will look to set new personal records and make vast improvements in hopes of carrying over their progress to the upcoming outdoor season.

Some competitors to watch out for include Lyon, whose current vault of 4.27m lies eight centimeters short of scoring position; second-year Chase Wilson, who is looking to stir up trouble in an attempt to make the conference team; and first-year Eleanor Kang, who has had an excellent season and currently ranks eighth in the 400-meter with her time of 1:01.66. Second-year Catt Young and first-year Michelle Dobbs will also be names to watch, as both are coming off injury but showed signs of greatness earlier this season. Young was a cross country All-American in the fall, while Dobbs holds a national ranking in the 800-meter with her time of 2:14.27. However, it is still possible that they will simply rest another week.

The events to watch will likely be the women’s long and triple jumps, which have the same four South Siders ranked in the top 10, though only three will likely go. Look for first-years Amy Wang and Olivia Clink to duke it out in those events.

“No matter what, everyone’s goal is to get into scoring position for conference,” Lyon said.

The meet will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Henry Crown Field House. The meet is named in memoriam of Margaret Bradley, who ran for the Maroons and lost her life while hiking in the desert seeking assistance for a fellow hiker.

“We look forward to supporting each other this weekend and hope the student body can come out and support us as well,” Lyon said.