SPORTS

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May 29, 2009

Ray, Omueti return from nationals as All-Americans

Two track and field athletes capped their seasons by earning All-American honors at last weekend’s National Championship meet.Third-year thrower Claire Ray was Chicago’s standout performer of the weekend, earning All-American honors in all three of her events. She began the weekend by claiming seventh place in the hammer throw with a 50.85m mark and moved up the standings in discus and shot put over the next two days. On Friday she finished sixth in the discus with a 45.35m effort, and her 13.94m toss took fourth in Saturday’s shot put.Chicago’s other All-American was second-year sprinter Stephanie Omueti, who finished eighth in the 100m with a time of 12.39 seconds. While Omueti was excited to be named an All-American, her time was a tenth of a second slower than the 12.29 seconds she ran to qualify, a fact which displeased Omueti.“Making the finals in the 100 meters was a shocker for me, and I was excited, but my performance at the finals was not one that pleased me,” she said.Overall, Omueti was disappointed in her performance at Nationals—she missed the finals in her other event—but also indicated that the level of competition was even tougher than she had expected it to be.“I was devastated at not making it to the finals in the 200m—what I thought was my best event,” she said. “I think the competition was just better in the 200 this year. 24.82 not making it to the finals is hard to believe!”Nicole Murphy, Rachel Venezia, and Paige Peltzer also competed at Nationals. Murphy finished 20th in the discus and 16th in the shot put with throws of 37.60m and 12.46m, respectively. Venezia took 18th in the steeplechase with a time of 11:30.93.Prior to the meet, first-year high jumper Peltzer set herself a goal of clearing 1.67m and predicted that such a height would earn her All-American honors. While her prediction was correct, she came up just short of reaching her goal by finishing 12th with a jump of 1.59m.Near misses proved to be one of the themes of the outdoor track and field season for both the men’s and women’s teams. Both teams had won two meets and finished runner-up in the third heading into the highly anticipated UAA Championships. The men were shooting for first after falling just three points short at the Indoor Conference meet while the women were aiming for second behind perennial powerhouse Wash U.Each team came up just short. The women finished just 2.5 points behind second-place Emory. The men finished well behind a surprisingly strong Wash U squad in fourth but were only ten points from second place Carnegie.The good news for both Peltzer and the Maroon track and field program as a whole is that time seems to be on their side. Of Chicago’s Nationals qualifiers, only Venezia will graduate at the end of this year. On the men’s side, sprinter Herman Reeves and pole-vaulter Seth Satterlee figure to be the biggest losses with the rest of the top performers expected to return.While the team may not have accomplished all of its goals this season, its younger members, especially those who competed at Nationals, will benefit from having gained a year of competitive experience, as Omueti indicated.“It was a great experience for me competing in multiple events, because next year, I will be back in both and will be prepared!” she said.