The North Central Invitational is the last meet of the Chicago track and field season before the NCAA Division III National Meet. Yet for all but third-years Tom Haxton, Patrick Sullivan, and Adeoye Mabogunje, last Friday's competition was the season finale and the end of a journey that for many began almost a year ago with the start of summer training.
For both fourth-year Peter Bugg and second-year Erin Steiner the running season has been, well, running, since early last June. Instead of allowing the lengthy season to end, both Bugg and Steiner made every effort to extend it one more week. Each met Division III NCAA provisional qualifying standards, but both came up just short of making the cut for the national meet.
Bugg placed 11th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:22.76, just under the NCAA Division III provisional qualifying standard of 9:23.50. The time was the second-best in University history. First-year Teage O'Conner also raced well in the steeplechase, and his 17th place time of 9:34.08 was the all-time fourth-fastest of any Maroon.
Steiner, competing in the grueling 10,000-meter dash, finally rid herself of a tendency to race conservatively that had plagued her all season. She was able to edge under the provisional standard of 37.50.00, with a fourth place time of 37.30.00
In other male distance events, second-year David Barr placed 27th in the 800-meter dash in 1:57.53, third-year Karl Striepe was 21st in the 1500-meter in 4:02.10, and first-year Pat Hogan placed 29th in the 5,000-meter with a time of 15:55.80
Fourth-year Paddy White placed 16th in the 10,000-meter with a season best of 33:17.50 and was followed by first-year Nick Juravich, who placed 19th in 34:08.60.
In the female distance events, fourth-year Clarisse Mesa placed fifth in the women's 1500-meter run in 4:48.01 and was followed closely by first-year Jessica Winter and second-year Emily Kay, who placed seventh and 10th with respective times of 4:50.14 and 4:56.22. Fourth-year Zoee Swenson made a triumphant return from injury to place 11th in the 800-meter dash in 2:27.21.
The sole male sprinter still competing, second-year Brandon Halcott placed 16th in the 100-meter dash in 11.45, and 15th in the 200 in 23.02. Fourth-year Jelena Pantel ended her record-breaking season with a fourth-place finish in the 200 in 26.04 and a fifth-place finish in the 400 in 1:00.25.
First-year Obianamma Onochie placed fifth in the 100-meter in 13.37 and sixth in the 200 in 27.68, and fellow first-year Gabby Jones placed third in the 100-meter in 13.11 as well as fourth in the long jump in 5.09 meters. In other jumping events, fourth-year Cristina Metildi placed sixth in the long jump (4.68 meters) and sixth in the triple jump (10.51 meters).
Mabogunje, in a last tune-up before nationals, placed second in the men's triple jump in 14.76 meters. First-year Brett Peterson placed 11th in the triple jump in 12.92 meters, and second-years Brian Eichhorn and Seyi Oyenuga were 12th (12.81 meters) and 14th (12.68 meters) respectively.
In the throwing events fourth-year Kenny Musick placed ninth in the hammer with a throw of 45.50 meters and third-year Val Anderson was second in the women's hammer with a distance of 47.58 meters. First-year Stephanie Lewis placed eighth in the shot put (10.43 meters) and 10th in the hammer (29.04 meters).
Fourth-year Meghan Cosgriff-Hernandez, a captain of the women's track and field team for the last four years and a leader and mainstay for all women's athletics at Chicago, placed sixth in both the hammer and the javelin with throws of 40.90 meters and 27.58 meters and was ninth in the shot put with in a distance of 9.74 meters.
Haxton, Sullivan, and Mabogunje will all compete this weekend and the NCAA Division III National Championships in Canton, N.Y. Haxton will race the 10K this Thursday, and the 5K on Saturday. Sullivan will also run in the 1500-meter preliminary this Thursday and will, with any luck, race again on Saturday in the final. Mabogunje will compete in the triple jump on Saturday.