Third-years Tom Haxton and Patrick Sullivan each qualified for the NCAA Division III national meet as the University of Chicago men's and women's indoor track and field teams both finished in fourth place at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational this Saturday afternoon past.
Haxton, who finished sixth at the Division III Cross Country national meet this fall, won the 5,000-meter race this weekend in a time of 14:35.36, the second fastest time in Division III this year. With that time, Haxton joins Trinity College senior Ryan Bak, who holds the fastest time in the nation at 14:18.99, as the only two runners to meet the automatic qualifying standard for the event, set at 14:36.50.
Haxton responded to questions about his race with the cryptic claim, "I love Wisconsin cheese." Whether he attributed his success to the cheese that can be found in Wisconsin or was merely attempting to be funny remains unclear.
Also qualifying for the national meet was Sullivan, who finished second in the mile with a time of 4:15.27, just under the provisional qualifying standard of 4:15.90. Sullivan, who now holds the fourth fastest time in the nation in the event, once again finished second to UW-Oshkosh's Matt Groose, who won the event in 4:07.04.
Head coach Chris Hall said of Haxton and Sullivan's performances: "This was the first 5K of the season for Tom and he beat two All-Americans on the way to the victory, which was a great highlight for us. Patrick really found himself running all alone and to meet that standard without a lot of help indicates to me faster times are coming."
Other highlights of the men's meet included fourth-year Ryan Raimo, who won the 200-meter dash in 23.35 and anchored the 4 x 400 relay team to a second place finish with a time 3:29.77. Fourth-year Tim Tuff finished fifth in the 800- meter run in 1:58.57, and third-year Karl Striepe placed seventh in the 3,000 meter run in 9:16.31. Along with this, first-year Brett Peterson finished fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 12.76 meters.
The women's side was lead by strong finishes in the distance events and field events.
Second-year Erin Steiner finished second in the 5,000 meters in 18:33.79 and was followed by first-year Annie Sanders who finished fifth in 19:25.51.
Fourth-year Clarisse Mesa finished second in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10:45.81 and first-year Jessica Winter finished second in the mile with a time of 5:21.91.
Third-year Valerie Anderson lead the women's side in scoring, finishing fourth in the weight throw with a distances of 14.56 meters and seventh in the shot put with a throw of 10.41 meters.
"Val just keeps improving each week," said Hall, "and [she] will have to throw further yet to get into the NCAA's, but she is definitely showing she can compete with the best in the country."
Both teams will race this Saturday at the Chicago Duals, hosted by the University at the Henry Crown Field House. The field events will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the running events at noon. Admission is free and students should feel it their duty, in the Kantian sense, to come and cheer.