As tension increased with UAAs only days away, the Maroons concentrated on keeping things low-key.
The conference meet was looming large on Friday as the Maroon Invitational featured sparse but high-quality performances from its host. While most of the Maroons limited themselves to one or two events at Henry Crown, both teams came away with a nice collection of top performances. The women ended the day in second place overall while the men managed to grab the sixth-place spot. Although there were no NCAA qualifications and few competitors were running their primary events, the Maroon Invitational proved to be productive. The athletes were able to stay fresh and get a workout while avoiding the usual strain and fatigue that most meets bring.
Were trying not to tire anyone out, head coach Chris Hall explained. We just want a bit of tune up before conferences and just make sure everyones staying sharp.
The women set a fast pace on the track with a trio of second-place performances in the 400, 800 and 3,000-meter runs from fourth-year Jessica Winter (1:02.49), third-year Alexandra Robertson (2:19.17) and first-year Julia Moriarty (11:28.44). The womens distance medley relay took the top spot (12:40.08) while the 4×400-meter relay contributed a third-place finish (4:09.31).
In the field events, the underclassmen proved formidable, as first-year Olivia Ndyabagye delivered a respectable performance in the long-jump (5.25 meters) to tie Aquinas third-year Sue Chang for second place. Classmate Tiffany Hosten scored an 11.54-meter hurl in shot-put, garnering the third-place position. Second-year NCAA provisional qualifier Aparna Hirve bounded 11.30 meters, attaining second-place and a new personal record in the triple jump.
Their compatriots on the mens side ended the meet with their own bevy of successes. The mens distance medley relay nearly lost the race after handing off the baton proved to be trickier than expected. First-year Seth Winnie ended his portion of the race 200-meters late after some confusion in the hand-off zone forced him to run an extra lap. A well-executed anchor leg by third-year Greg Rizzolo allowed the squad to skirt disaster and eventually take back second place in 11:17.25. Another team effort by the men brought them a third-place finish and a higher spot on the conference leaderboard in the 4×400-meter relay (3:27.33). First-year John Hackert delivered the only individual top showing with a third-place finish in the 55 meter hurdles.
Their teammates in the field saw comparable success. Two quality finishes emerged out of the jumping pits, as fourth-year Brett Peterson took second in front of second-year Brian Taylor, with respective hops of 12.60 and 12.55 in the triple jump.
As of Monday evening, the final line-up for the conference meet had not been decided. With a slew of top conference performers and the home court advantage, the Maroons will most likely make their presence felt on Friday and Saturday at UAAs. The women are aiming for no worse than a second-place finish and the men will strive for a spot in the top four.