Track teams prepare for championships at inter-conference races

By Karl Striepe

The men’s and women’s track and field teams headed back to Wisconsin this weekend for the Carthage College Pepsi Challenge. And the competition was indeed fierce and sweet.

The Pepsi Challenge was a chance for the Maroons to scout the competition that awaits both the men and women at the upcoming UAA championships. The meet was billed as a contest between the combined teams of UAA schools–Chicago, Washington University, and Emory University–against the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) schools–Carthage College, North Central College, and, on the women’s side, Augustana College.

Washington and Emory Universities will be the men’s chief opposition in their attempt to repeat as UAA indoor champions. Washington University will also be Chicago’s most formidable opponent on the women’s side.

These obstacles now seem all the more ominous; the men finished a heart-breaking last at Carthage, scoring only 53 points to Washington’s 66.5 and Emory’s 102. North Central won the meet with 144.5 points and Carthage placed third with 91.5 as the CCIW edged out the rest of the UAA on the overall scoring.

The women fared better, placing fourth in the meet with 62.5 points. They beat Emory, which had 39 points, but lost to Washington, which scored 108. Carthage won the women’s competition with 118, Augustana was third with 94, and North Central was fifth with 56.5. The CCIW again edged out the UAA on the overall scoring.

The women’s side was led by third-year Val Anderson, who won the weight throw competition in impressive fashion, breaking her own school record with a distance of 15.70 meters and improving her standing among those provisionally qualified for the national meet to the point where she is almost assured a position in the meet. She also placed fifth in the shot put competition with a throw of 10.12 meters.

Also in the field events, fourth-year Diane Valos placed fifth in the pole vault competition, clearing a height of 2.90 meters, and first-year Gabby Jones was third in the long jump with a distance of 5.04 meters.

On the track, the women had several noteworthy performances in the longer races, scoring in every event from the 400-meter dash to the 5,000-meter run.

Fourth-year Jelena Pantel placed third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:01.78, first-year Jessica Winter was fifth in the 800-meter run in 2:22.44, and fourth-year Clarisse Mesa and second-year Mary McGrath placed second and fourth, respectively, in the 1500-meter run with times of 4:55.97 and 5:01.63.

First-year Annie Sanders placed fifth in the 5,000-meter run in 19:00.59 and was followed by third-year Darcy Flora, who was sixth in 19:02.86.

Also impressive were second-year Emily Kay, who placed seventh in the 800 meters with a time of 2:26.19, and third-year Jessica Gatto, who was seventh in the 400-meter dash in 1:03.29.

The men were lead by third-year Adeoye Mabogunje, who won the high jump easily with a height of 2.00 meters. Second-year Seyi Oyenuga finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 6.32 meters.

One noticeable weakness on the men’s side was the lack of scoring in both the sprinting and throwing events.

Second-year Brandon Halcott and fourth-year Ryan Ramio provided the men’s only points in the sprinting events, with Halcott finishing third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.74 seconds, and Ramio placing fourth in the 400-meter dash in 51.29 seconds.

The distance events proved more profitable for the men, who were able to score in every event from 800 meters up.

Third-year Patrick Sullivan finished third in the 800-meter run in 1:56.12 and was followed by fourth-year Tim Tuff, whose 1:58.66 was good enough for seventh. Third-year Tom Haxton was second in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:00.62 and was followed by Karl Striepe, who finished sixth in 4:05.33.

The standout for the men’s team was fourth-year Peter Bugg, who finished third in the 5,000-meter run in 15:16.00, a full eight seconds better than his previous best time in the event.

Both teams will compete again at the Chicagoland Championships, held this Friday for the women and this Saturday for the men.