Though the prospect of running two grueling long-distance races might have daunted some runners, third-year Tom Haxton didn't hesitate.
"The 10K is my best event, and I'll concentrate on that," Haxton said, "but the 5K is then only on Saturday--I'll have run my main event, I'll be fairly rested, and I might still place in the top eight--I mean, why the hell not?"
Why not indeed?
Not satisfied with automatically qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships in just the 10,000 meters, Haxton automatically qualified himself for the 5,000 meters as well, finishing third at the Dr. Keeler Invitational at North Central College with a time of 14:29.33. In doing so, Haxton became not only the fourth- fastest 10K runner in Division III but also the seventh fastest 5K runner.
In other events, fourth-year Jelena Pantel had the meet of the day for the women's side, as she set a new school record in the 100-meter dash, finishing fifth in 12.56 seconds. Pantel then proceeded to come back and break her own school record in the 200-meter dash, again placing fifth in 25.70 seconds. As if that weren't enough, she also ran the anchor leg on the women's 4 x 100 relay squad, which also broke the school record with a time of 50.58 seconds.
Another sprinter, second-year Brandon Halcott, ran an impressive double, finishing 13th in the 200-meter dash in 22.79 and then 11th in the 400-meter dash in 51.40.
In the men's distance races, third-year Karl Striepe finished 15th in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:00.31. Fourth-year Peter Bugg and third-year Patrick Sullivan finished 11th and 14th respectively in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in times of 9:27.71 and 9:32.13, while second-year Dave Barr made a marked improvement in the 800 meters, finishing 31st in a personal record time of 1:57.26.
In the women's distance races first-year Jessica Winter continued to race well, placing sixth in the 1,500 meters in 4:46.91 and was followed by fourth-year Clarisse Mesa, who placed ninth in 4:52.85. First-year Beverly Chang ran her best race of the year, placing 18th in the 800 meters in 2:27.46.
Both teams had several impressive performances in the field events. Most notably second-year Oluseyi Oyenuga finished eighth in the long jump in 6.06 meters and also finished 10th in the triple jump in 12.14 meters. Also in the long jump, first-year Brett Peterson finished ninth with a jump of 5.94 meters.
Second-year Brian Eichhorn had an impressive double, finishing 10th in the pole vault by clearing a height of 4.05 meters. He then came back to compete in the triple jump, placing seventh in 12.88 meters.
On the women's side, third-year Val Anderson had yet another stellar outing, finishing second in the hammer throw with a throw measuring 45.54 meters. Not far behind was fourth-year Meghan Cosgriff-Hernandez, who placed fifth with a throw of 42.78 meters.
Chicago's women throwers dominated the javelin event, taking three of the top six places as first-year Katie Meinhover finished second with a distance of 30.58 meters, Cosgiff-Hernandez placed fourth in 25.94 meters, and first-year Alecia Burgess placed sixth with 19.68 meters.
In what will be their last meet before the Division III National meet in Canton, New York, both the men's and women's teams will return yet again to the friendly tartan of North Central College for the North Central Invitational this afternoon.