Chicagoland Championships will be Marked by Weather and Strong Competition

Although the weather has not been on the Maroon’s side, hopefully the snow and rain will subside so that the track and field teams can get their first crack at the spring season at the Chicagoland Championships this weekend.

By Gary Huang

After a cancellation of last week’s meet, Chicago will once again look forward to starting its outdoor season this weekend at the Chicagoland Championships. The tournament will take place in Glen Ellyn at the College of DuPage.

During the indoor season, both squads had a series of mixed results but managed to place in the top two in four out of eight meets. The South Siders also managed to qualify women’s runners for the NCAA Indoor Championships in five events and earned a national championship through third-year Michelle Dobbs. Dobbs was seeded fourth in the 800-meter race but quickly dispelled her seeding, going on to break the Chicago school record in the event, recording a 2:11.34 time and beating the runner-up by a close .64 seconds. Subsequently, she was named UAA Athlete of the Week. More accolades were compiled at the NCAA Championships as second-year Khia Kurtenbach earned two All-American awards after finishing fourth in the women’s 3,000-meter with a time of 9:40.03, and sixth in the 5,000-meter.

In last year’s outdoor season, the UChicago men’s track-and-field finished with nine All-UAA selections and five UAA champions in two events. Kevin On, who recently graduated, took first in the 10,000-meter event. Second-year Nathan Downey and fourth-years Temisan Osowa, Ben Clark, and Jacob Romeo teamed up to win the coveted 4×400-meter relay. There are high expectations for this event, as all four champions return with a national championship in their sights this year.

The women’s squad completed their 2015 outdoor season with 15 All-UAA selections and eight UAA champions in seven events. Dobbs won the 800-meter; fourth-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo was able to sweep the shot put, hammer throw, and discus; fourth-year Nelson Trotter accomplished a brace with wins in the triple jump and high jump; graduate Pam Yu took first in the long jump; fourth-year Brianna Hickey, second-year Cassidy McPherson, graduate Jennifer Uehling, and Dobbs joined to win the 4×800-meter relay. Nwaokolo was named UAA MVP in the field events, and the women brought back the UAA Championship to the South Side. This season, a strong majority from last year’s championship winning core will return, and the women’s team will certainly look to build on last year’s successes.

This weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams will head to Glen Ellyn to kick off their 2016 outdoor seasons. The women’s team will compete first on Friday, with its meet beginning at 1 p.m. The men’s team will open its season on Saturday at 1 p.m.