April 13, 2004

Three qualify for NCAAs

Three Maroons met provisional qualifying standards for the NCAA Division III national meet this weekend as both the men's and women's track and field teams finished sixth at the 2004 Chicagoland Championships in Naperville, Illinois. Fourth-years Adeoye Mabogunje and Patrick Sullivan and third-year Erin Steiner all posted provisional marks and currently stand among the national leaders in their respective events.

"I was very pleased with the meet this weekend in general," head coach Chris Hall said. "There were definitely a few highlights."

And indeed there were.

Not only did Mabogunje win the triple jump competition easily with a mark of 14.76 meters, just missing the NCAA automatic qualifying distance of 14.90 meters, but he also broke his own outdoor school record. He currently stands first in all of Division III in that event.

Mabojunge, who was hampered during the indoor season by a hamstring injury, noted that "it seems to be completely healed. My goal right now is to be extra vigilant and to stay healthy so that I can again contend for the NCAA gold in the triple."

Sullivan had one of the most exciting races of the meet, out-running the field in the 1,500-meter to win in a time of 3:55.41. His imposing stride wasn't the only exciting thing either; Sullivan was also forced to make a daring leap over a competitor who had tripped and fallen flat directly in front of him. Measuring his jump perfectly, Sullivan was able to clear the runner in a single bound without losing a step on his pursuers.

"All of Patrick's hard work in the steeplechase last year was finally brought to fruition in that culminating leap: it was all carefully honed and internalized instinct," Hall said.

Despite what Sullivan gained from his steeplechase training, he refuses to even consider competing again in the event. "No way, no how," said an emphatic Sullivan. He now stands fifth in Division III in the 1,500-meter run.

Rounding out the qualifying group, Steiner finished second in the 10,000-meter in her qualifying performance with a time of 36:52.97, easily meeting the provisional mark of 37:50. She now stands fifth for the event in Division III.

"It was an uneventful, but good race. It was uneventful because almost every lap was on pace," Steiner said. "I felt pretty good, even in the later part of the race when things got a bit more difficult. I had such an established rhythm that it was not as hard to stay on pace despite the fatigue."

Second-year Teague O'Connor won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 9:25.70, just shy of the provisional-qualifying standard of 9:23.50.

Said O'Connor of his race, "It was f------ sweet, winning by 13 seconds and completely hurdling the water barriers. Someone was with me for three laps and kept clipping my heels, but I wouldn't have it so I threw in a little surge and dropped him no problem." O'Connor paused and then added, "I'll run a good time when I finally get some competition from [Washington University's Darius] Viet at UAA conferences."

First-year Brian Hague placed third in the steeplechase with a personal best 9:38.80. Second-year Annie Sanders broke her own school record with a time of 11:52.50.

Second-year Sarah Eldridge placed second in the women's high jump competition, clearing a height of 1.57 meters.

Second-year Saul Kay was fifth in the women's pole vault, clearing 2.69 meters. Third-year Brian Eichhorn vaulted to seventh for the men, clearing 4.20 meters.

Competing in the men's 10,000-meter run, second-year Patrick Hogan ran a fantastic time of 32:18.29 to place fifth. Fourth-year Amanda Parrish set a two-minute personal best in the women's 10,000, placing sixth in 38:41.31.

Both the men and women finished sixth in the 15-team competition. The men scored 53.5 points and the women 55.5 points. North Central College won the men's competition with 171 points and DePaul University won the women's with 169 points.

Both teams continue their outdoor season next weekend at the Illinois State Invitational in Normal, Illinois.