Maroons to Face Top Competition at Wheaton

The women’s track and field squad heads to Wheaton for their annual Twilight Meet this weekend, where they will look to start a win streak in this outdoor season.

By Michael Perry

The Maroons will head to the Wheaton College “Don Church” Twilight Meet in Wheaton, IL this Saturday. They will use this weekend as one final tune-up before the UAA Conference Championships next weekend.

Due to the cancellation of the Ted Haydon Invitational, this will be only the second outdoor meet of the season for the Maroons. The women’s team took home first place out of 11 teams in last weekend’s Chicagoland Championships, and the men grabbed fourth out of 16 teams.

“This weekend should be a great showcase for our team. We only have one outdoor meet under our belt and I think the whole team is looking forward to competing again this weekend,” first-year sprinter Emma Koether said. “The conditions are looking a lot better than last weekend, as well, so everyone should be dropping good times in preparation for Conference [Championships] on the 23rd.”

In last year’s “Don Church” Twilight Meet, the women came in fourth place out of eight teams with a total of 85 points. The competition is expected to be just as hard this year, and will be a notch higher than last weekend’s Chicagoland Championships.

“The competition will be steep in certain events, but we need this to push us to hit faster times,”Koether said. “It’ll be great to compete against stronger teams to prove we can compete at an elite level.”Among the teams expected to compete this weekend are No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan and No. 9 North Central (IL). Illinois Wesleyan won the “Don Church” Twilight Meet last year, while North Central won the year before.

The Maroons are loaded with talent, however, with five runners coming in first, four in second, and five in third last weekend, in their first outdoor meet of the season. The meet, marked by cold temperatures and bad weather, also featured four third-place finishes by Chicago’s track team. However, this weekend will be completely different, with the temperature expected to hit the upper 60s. The warmer weather will allow for looser muscles and faster times.

On the men’s side, there is just as much anticipation, as they look to capture their third meet title of the season. Key to this success will be many of the Maroons’ consistent top finishers of the season.

Typically leading the way for the Maroons have been third-year Andrew Maneval in the shot put, fourth-year Michael Bennett in the pole vault, and fourth-year Ryan Manzuk in the 400-meter hurdles. Meanwhile, Manzuk has also been a fourth for the Maroons’ 4×400 relay (also including fourth-year Jacob Romeo, third-year Jatan Anand, and second-year Nathan Downey), which took second place last week at the Chicagoland Championships.   

Another key feature of this match is the fact that it is the final meet before the UAA Championships, a victory that has been a major goal for the Maroons all year.

The women’s team has come in first place in six of their eight meets this year, and will look to continue that trend this weekend at Wheaton. The men’s team will look to replicate that success and more as both squads head to Wheaton, IL, tomorrow for the Twilight Meet, which begins at 3:30 p.m.