February 27, 2004

Maroons place in top 5 at Chicagolands

Last weekend marked the second straight contest in which the men and women's track teams were forced to compete on separate days. Fortunately, the unusual separation didn't faze either team.

Fourth-years Adeoye Mabogunje and Babak Yousefian each won their respective events to lead the Maroons to a fourth-place finish at the 15-team Chicagoland Championships at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois this Saturday.

In the women's meet, held Friday, fourth-year Val Anderson and second-year Gabbie Jones each met Division III provisionally qualifying national standards as the team finished 5th of 18.

Mabogunje, who has been by far and away the best triple jumper in Division III this season, won the event easily in a respectable jump of 14.57 meters, well off his Division III leading mark of 15.35 meters. Mabogunje also finished third in the long jump with a jump of 6.66 meters.

Yousefian, who barely missed qualifying for the Division III national meet last weekend, won the 55-meter high hurdles in a time of 7.81 seconds, just over the provisional qualifying mark of 7.74.

Also racing well, second-year Nick Juravich finished fourth in the 5K in a personal best time of 15:48.48. He was paced throughout the race by fourth-year Tom Haxton, who finished behind Juravich in fifth place in a time of 15:51.55. Third-year Sam Jacobson was sixth in the race in 16:24.84.

In the 3K race, second-year Teage O'Connor led the Maroons with a fifth-place finish in a time of 8:47.03. He was followed by fellow second-year Pat Hogan, who finished 10th in 9:03.76.

In the sprint events, third-year Brandon Halcott had an impressive showing in the 400-meter dash, finishing fifth in 52.26 seconds. First-year Mike Doll finished fifth in the 200-meter hurdles in 27.20 seconds.

The Maroons scored a total of 59 points, good for fourth place. Lewis University won the meet with 171.25 points. North Central College was second with 128.75 and Valparaiso University finished third with 68.25 points.

"[Juravich] did have a really nice race," said head coach Chris Hall. "Our top performances obviously came from a couple of event winners. Babak Yousefian winning the 55 high hurdles and Adeoye Mabogunje winning the triple jump. The Chicagoland meet is really an exceptional meet, and anytime you have an event winner they performed at a high, high level."

For the women, Anderson finished fifth in the 20-pound weight throw competition, recording a distance of 15.50 meters, bettering the provisional mark of 14.60. The throw was short of her season best, 15.70, set on January 4 at the Chicago Duals.

Jones finished second in the long jump competition with a leap of 5.43 meters, shy of her season best 5.44 meters, which she set at the Warhawk Invitational. Jones also finished fifth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.92 seconds.

Also in the long jump competition, first-year Melissa Lopez finished third with a distance of 5.29 meters. Second-year Diana Connett finished sixth in the 200-meter hurdles with a time of 31.66 seconds.

In the distance events third-year Erin Steiner finished second in the 3K run in a time of 10:27.64. Fourth-year Darcy Flora finished third in the 5K run in 18.56.39. Also in the 5K run, fourth-years Sarah Mendez and Amanda Parrish finished sixth and eighth with times of 19:13.84 and 19:28.03 respectively.

The Maroons finished fifth with a team total of 51 points. Northern Illinois University won the meet with 164 points and Lewis University was second with 91. Carthage College finished third with 86.

The Maroons also sent a distance medley relay (DMR) team over the weekend to the Oshkosh Invitational in an effort to re-qualify for the national meet. Fourth-year Tom Haxton, a member of the currently qualified team, which stands fourth in the country, said he would perfer to run the 5K without having to worry about other races, especially given his chances of winning that event outright.

Replacing Haxton on the new squad was first-year Emil Bojanov, who, along with first-year Jonathan Allan, third-year David Barr, and fourth-year Patrick Sullivan easily met the provisional mark of 10:14.20, winning the event in 10:07.21.

However, with that mark, the team stands eighth in the country (seventh when excluding the already qualified Maroon team); right on the cusp of the normal number of qualifying teams (seven). Should any other team run a faster time before the national meet, the squad will be knocked out of its qualifying spot.

Both men and women race again this Saturday in the final home meet of the season at the Henry Crown Field House. Events begin at 10:30 a.m.