The rhythmic beat of the drums echoed out into the clear midnight sky of Indianapolis, Indiana. Well, one authentic African drum, as well as an overturned trashcan, the lid of said trashcan, and a metal park bench. Along with cowbells. All of which could be heard sounding out the seemingly endless laps of the men and woman's combined 10k, the last event of the Bulter Twilight Invitation held Saturday evening/Sunday morning in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Traditionally held on Friday nights, although moved to Saturday this year, the Bulter Twilight, as it is known, brings together many of the top track and field teams and individuals in the Midwest. The meet features both the allure of a world-class mondo track and a coveted opportunity to run at night when temperatures and conditions are better suited for fast times, especially in the distance events. With these advantages in mind, the Chicago men and women's track and field team eagerly undertook the four-hour ride down to Indianapolis to take part, pausing only to tour the major sights of Gary on the way.
The meet opened with the sprinting and field events while the sun still shone brightly enough to warm the fast-twitch muscles of those competitors. As the sun set and the stadium lights began to cast their fluorescent glow, the meet transformed, like a Dr. Jekyll to a Mr. Hyde, from a mild-mannered springing affair into a veritable "distance carnival."
Third-year Jelena Patel, Chicago's lone representative in the women's sprints, ran both the 400 meters and the 200 meters. After finishing with a time of 1:03.54 in the 400 meters Patel came back to set a new school record in the 200 meters with a time of 25.74, barely missing the Division III national provisional qualifying time of 25.46. Also barely missing a provisional qualifying time, second-year Babak Yousefian finished eight in the 110-meters high hurdles with a time of 14.96, only .06 seconds off the provisional time of 14.90.
In the field events fourth-year Keith Mastronaridi finished twelfth in the triple jump with a distance of 13.39 meters. Third-year Diane Valos finished sixteenth in the women's pole vault with a height of 2.27 meters. Second-year Adeoye Mabogunje hit a provisionally qualifying height of 2.03 meters to finish third in the high jump.
As the sun began its slow descent to Japan, the men's 800 meters signified the transition to the distance events. Third-year Tim Tuff, running that ambiguous sprint/distance event, finished sixteenth in a personal best time of 1:54.40.
Once the stadium lights had warmed up and the men's 1500 meter runs had completed their warm ups, the "distance carnival" began in earnest. Second-year Patrick Sullivan, despite bad positioning throughout the race, finished seventh in the 1500 with a time of 3:53.72, only two seconds off the automatic Division III national qualifying time. In the women's 1500-meter race third-year Clarisse Mesa placed seventeenth with a time of 4:52.00. Second-year Hannah Benton finished twenty-second in 4:55.70 and first-year Emily Kay was twenty-fifth with 5:05.56
Fourth-year Jerome Tharaud ran his first steeplechase since winning the UAA title in that event two weeks prior. Attempting to hit the automatic qualifying time of 9:08.40, Tharaud finished just shy of that time but won the event easily in a time of 9:13.37.
Tharaud later said of the meet and his race, "It was a great meet with perfect weather conditions. It was also better competition than most of us have seen so far this year. The steeple-chase was kind of a nail-biterwe went out much too fast, so by the last couple of laps I was tired and I even brushed a few of the barriers when I hurdled them. I didn't hit an [NCAA] automatic standard like I'd hoped, but it was a personal best for me, and it was great to win at a big meet under the lights."
A series of four separate 5k races began after the steeplechase. Fourth-year Catalina Hoyos and second-year Amanda Parrish followed Tharaud's victory with impressive performances of their own in the first heat of the 5ks. Hoyos ran a personal-best time of 18:54.80 to finish fifth in the heat and twenty-second overall. Parrish posted a time of 19:53 to finish fourteenth in the heat and thirty-first overall.
The men's and women's combined 10k race followed the 5k races as the last event of the meet. The race began shortly after midnight and featured second-year Tom Haxton and third-year Paddy White. The rest of the team had, during the 5ks, taken to lining the outer-lanes of the home straightaway holding various percussion instruments already described.
The rhythmic beating of the drums followed the gun that signaled the start of the race. Haxton set out to the early lead with the rest of the field, including teammate third-year Paddy White, in close pursuit. Haxton, however, dropped out of the race after four miles leaving White as the only benefactor of the drums. White finished in sixth place with a time of 33:21.57.
The Maroons' next meet will be held this Saturday in Bloomington, Illinois at the Illinois-Wesleyan Invitational. Only two meets remain before the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championship, which will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota.