Top Individual Performances Shows Promise for South Siders

With eleven first place finishes in just their second meet of the indoor season, the Chicago track and field teams show major potential moving forward into the bulk of their seasons.

By Michael Cheiken

Continuing with their preseason competition, the Maroons traveled to Bloomington, IL, for the Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular this past weekend. The meet provided the squad with a great opportunity to get in some warm-up reps before the competition really gets into gear in a few short weeks.

On the men’s side, third-year Temisan Osowa showed that he would be instrumental in Chicago’s success this season for the second week in a row. Once again, the sprinter took first place in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes, with times of 7.14 and 23.45 seconds, respectively. As Osowa continues to regain his form and approach his times from last year, he will certainly remain a runner to watch come conference.

The other sprinters on the men’s team followed in the third-year’s footsteps. Despite being in a slower heat, fourth-year Ryan Manzuk and first-year John Havlik placed first and fourth, respectively, in the 400-meter. Manzuk kept up his recent form and set a personal record in the event with a time of 51.44 seconds. He garnered the men’s team five points with his finish atop the podium. Second-year Patrick LeFevre matched his time from last week in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.57 seconds, taking home first place in the event for the second time.

The throwers brought home victories for the Maroons as well. Third-year Andrew Maneval won the shot put. Fourth-year Nathan Massey and third-year Brandon Dixon finished first and second, respectively, in the weight throw. Second-year thrower Elazar Chertow found their performances a source of optimism for the season to come. “I don’t know. Shock the nation. Something like that. That’s what I’m thinking,” he said.

The distance runners did not meet the same success at the meet, as Chicago’s mainstays fourth-year Michael Frasco, third-year Gareth Jones, and third-year Timofey Karginov were unable to make the trip. In the 1200-meter, first-year Owen Melia was Chicago’s top finisher, just missing out on the podium and taking home fifth place. Third-year Nick Nielsen took second in the mile, while his compatriot third-year Eyal Hanfling set a personal record on his way to third place in the 3k.

The women had many bright spots of their own, but none greater than fourth-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo, who took first place in the weight throw and second place in the shot put. While upperclassmen were putting in the majority of the top finishes, first-year Nicole VacaGuzman provided great encouragement for the future of Chicago track and field. She and teammate third-year Eleanor Kang took first and second place, respectively, in the 400-meter dash.

Watching the young ones race is always a delight for the upperclassmen, and VacaGuzman’s teammates had nothing but praise for the runner. Third-year Minnie Horvath said of the race, “Nicole had a great debut and seems especially focused on shocking the nation this season.”

The women showed a similar degree of excellence in the 1200-meter run. Fourth-year Brianna Hickey led a trio of Maroons to second, third, and fourth place in the medium distance event. Second-year Cassidy McPherson joined her on the podium, while third-year Michelle Dobbs finished less than half a second behind her teammate.

The meet provided invaluable experience for the newer runners while giving the Maroons a chance to continue getting into shape for a season against solid competition. With that in mind, first-year jumper Thomas Rhines said, “It was worth the drive.”

This coming weekend the Maroons travel to UW–Whitewater for the Warhawk Invite, which will be the Maroons’ first large meet of the season.