Outdoor Season Hopes To Keep Spark Going

The Maroon Track & Field team prepares for their second outdoor meet of the season, aiming to impress once again at the Wheaton Invite.

By Siddharth Kapoor

The University of Chicago track team began the outdoor season on a positive note as they hosted the Ted Haydon Invitational over the weekend. The invitational was a good showing for both the men and the women. The men recorded four victories on the day and ended up finishing second in a pool of 14 teams with 178 points, losing out to Benedictine University who had 216.8 points on the day. They particularly had a great showing in the stamina events as fourth-year Nick Nielsen and first-year Ralph Patejunas finished first in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events respectively. While this was a great showing, the women had an even better one and finished first in 11 different events and dominated the competition with 265.5 points. Indeed, the disparity was so much that second-placed Loyola University could only muster up 107 points. 

First-year Mary Martin was the star of the show with a trio of victories in the 100-meter (12.72), the long jump (5.47m) and as part of the 4×100-meter relay alongside fourth-year Eleanor Kang, fourth-year Charissa Newkirk and first-year Alisha Harris. Martin’s performance was so good that she was rewarded with the UAA Field Athelete of the Week. On her great accomplishment, Martin said, “It's always exciting to have your achievements recognized, so it was nice to be named athlete of the week. I think it also reflects how great of a coaching team we have here because without them none of this would be possible”.

The Maroons will look to improve and consolidate on this great showing as they head on the road to compete in the Wheaton Invite. This will serve as good preparation for the upcoming UAA championships in a couple of weeks. With their domination in the previous meet, the Maroons will hope that this momentum will suffice into an even better showing at the Wheaton Invite. 

The South Siders will make a short drive to the western suburbs for Saturday afternoon’s outdoor meet at Wheaton College. Even though it is a short distance, the Maroons will not have the familiarity of home conditions which they used to such great effect during the indoor season as well as the Ted Haydon Invitational last week. But this will get them up to speed in lieu of the unfamiliar conditions they will face in Massachusetts during the UAA Championships. While the men dominated the long-distance events so did the women with third-years Khia Kurtenbach and Kelsey Dunn in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter races respectively. The Maroons will look to consolidate and improve on these great performances in this coming invitational. Martin echoed these thoughts saying, “I think everyone is looking forward to this weekend. We are hoping for some nice weather. The real focus is actually conference in a few weeks’ time so we are mainly using the next few meets to work stuff out for then”.  

The meet is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 at McCully Stadium at Wheaton College.