Windy City Friendly to South Siders

Both the men’s and women’s track squads topped the field at the Windy City Invitational this weekend. There were six and four individual victories for the Maroon women and men, respectively.

By Emma Griffiths

In a two-day meet of 13 teams, the men’s and women’s track and field teams finished first by a large margin on both sides at the Windy City Invitational. Against several Division I teams, the Maroons proved their strength with remarkable performances all around. 

In only one meet, four school records were broken. 

Friday started the meet off with a bang as the heptathletes and pentathletes competed, with first-year Laura Darcey breaking the Women’s Pentathlon record with 3,056 points and third-year Will Ackerman breaking the Men’s Heptathlon record with 4,504 points. Third-year Olivia Cattau was close behind Darcey, finishing with 2,997 points. 

“I feel like all of my training is coming together. After a slow start to the season, it was amazing to have everything finally go to plan,” Darcey said after she broke the record. 

Following the success of Friday, Saturday produced nine first-place finishes by the Maroons. On the men’s side, there was Nathan Downey in the 200-meter dash, Nick Nielsen in the mile, Andrew Maneval in shot put, and the 4×400-meter relay consisting of Tyson Miller, Elliott Paintsil, Ben Chaimberg, and Nathan Downey. 

The women first-place finishers were Alisha Harris in the 60-meter dash, Cassidy McPherson in the 800-meter dash, Ade Ayoola in high jump, Isabel Garon in pole vault, and Mary Martin in long jump. 

One of the highlights of the meet was the moment when Isabel Garon broke the school record in pole vault while most of her teammates and coaches were gathered around the pole vault pit, clapping and cheering her on. The unity of the team was shown, as most athletes paused what they were doing to support their teammate. 

Reflecting on her success from Saturday, Garon said, “It has been a lot of work—and fun—training with the team the last couple of months. Saturday, all the preparation came together. I was happy to finally be playing up at the heights that I’ve been imagining for years. We have a great team and great coaches, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.” 

First-year Robin Peter, the new record-holder in the 60-meter hurdles, said, “I’m very fortunate to be part of such a driven and talented team. There’s a supportive atmosphere that’s present in both practice and meets; it certainly elevates my own motivation to work harder and perform.”

The team was full of smiles at the end of the meet as they gathered around coach Chris Hall for some post-meet remarks and congratulations. The crazy amount of records broken and overall team strength are great signs for what is to come for the Maroons this year. 

With only two meets left before the UAAs, the track and field team is looking strong and progressing each week. With great competition at the meet this coming weekend at the North Central Chicagoland Indoor Championship, the team hopes to keep on improving and reaching new goals.