Chicago torches competition at opening indoor meet

The men’s and women’s track and field team broke in their newly finished indoor track with a convincing victory at the Phoenix Invitational.

By Zachary Themer

The legend of the phoenix tells of a mythological bird that is born from its ashes three days after a spontaneous death. With the blankets of snow covering the frozen University of Chicago campus, one would not be surprised to find that this tale has played out in reality. The rising phoenix, in this case, is Chicago, which took the Phoenix Invitational this past weekend in their first indoor meet of the year.

Shaking off the ashes of freezing temperatures, a long winter break, and an exhausting fall season, the men and women looked to open their season with a brazen display.

“This was the team’s first time competing this year, and a chance to put down first marks as starting points where athletes can get better,” said third-year long distance runner Henry Blood.

In taking the Phoenix Invitational, the Maroons toppled six other teams this past Saturday. The women’s team decimated its opponents as they took the meet with a total of 264.5 points, nearly double the 145 points posted by runner-up, Aurora University.

On the day, the women’s team won five separate events. Winners for the South Siders included third-year Briana Hickey in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 10:38.69, fourth-year Pam Yu in the long jump and triple jump with distances of 4.98 and 10.59 meters respectively, third-year Nelson Trotter in the high jump with a height of 1.59 meters, and first-year Olivia Cattau, second-years Elenor Kang and Michelle Dobbs, and third-year Rebecca Askins-Gast, in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 4:17:95.

While the results were strong, preparing, conditioning, and practicing for the meet was no easy task.

“The training included heavy lifting and speed endurance,” said second-year sprinter Charissa Newkirk.

Not to be outdone, the men’s team also put on a show at the meet as they also dominated the competition, netting a total of 206 points, good enough for first over the distant Aurora University that put up 121.166 points.

Propelling the men’s team to victory were victories in the six separate events. Winners for the Maroons included first-year Timofey Karginov in the one-mile with a time of 4:28:40, second-year Gareth Jones in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:54:45, third-year Michael Bennett in the pole vault with a height of 4.56 meters, second-year Andrew Maneval in the shot put with a distance of 14.37 meters, second-year Brandon Dixon in the weight throw with a distance of 14.53 meters, and first-years Obi Wamau and Nathan Downey, and third-year Ben Clark and Ryan Manzuk in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:25:15.

Simply put, the Maroons ran circles around the competition this past weekend at the Phoenix Invitational. With a three month-long season, it was imperative for the South Siders to start out hot, and they did just that.

Both teams take to the field of competition next this Saturday at the Private School Championships in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Competition begins at 11:00 am.