SPORTS

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April 8, 2008

Men's track season preview at a glance

The Recap:

2007 was a challenging year for the Maroons, punctuated by two big individual finishes. With the conference faster than ever, Chicago was unable to hold on to its third-place UAA finish of previous years. The team slipped a spot down into fourth, collecting 124.83 points, and was narrowly beaten out by Wash U with 131.33 points. Despite the squad’s drop in conference rankings as a whole, two athletes dashed ahead of the pack. By the end of the season, then–third-year Zach Rodgers and then–fourth-year Emil Bojanov had qualified for the NCAA Championships in their respective events, the decathlon and the 1,500-meter. Both runners went on to place 11th in their races, missing out on All-American honors.

Strengths:

Holding on to a number of their best from last year, the Maroons are poised to have a strong roster. Rodgers looks to continue his decathlon dominance from last year. He will be joined by fourth-year John Anderson in the shot put and third-year Seth Satterlee in the pole vault. This group held the line throughout the 2007 season, and if their performances in the indoor season are any sign of things to come, this will be a winning year for the team. Joining the veterans is a number of rookies, who are adding to Chicago’s competitiveness across events. Momentum will also be a critical factor for the squad, with the memory of the indoor UAA gold fresh in the team’s mind.

Weaknesses:

Losing Bojanov was a blow to Chicago’s lineup. His presence on the team had guaranteed wins in the 1,500-meter, where his speed was near unmatched in the entire nation. Although first-year Harry Buckland debuted strongly in the event, taking second at Chicagolands this weekend, he might experience typical rookie growing pains. Hurdles will also take a hit after the graduation of Mike Doll, a third-place finisher at last year’s UAAs. Looking to help fill that hole is second-year Patrick Offner, who is off to a strong start in the 400-meter hurdles after taking third at Chicagolands.

Who to Watch: Jacob Solus

In his debut seasons for the team, first-year Jacob Solus has broken into the scene as a force to be reckoned with. Taking the gold in the triple jump at UAAs during the winter, Solus knocked down an experienced field of Carnegie and Wash U competitors. With Solus already taking his first win this weekend, it looks like he’s en route to providing Chicago with more points this spring.