As chances to qualify for nationals become scarce, the list of qualifiers continued to grow at this weekend’s Chicagolands Invitational.
Up against a broad base of competition, both the men’s and women’s track teams placed second at this weekend’s competition. North Central took the top spot on both sides of the field, with 20 teams involved in the women’s competition and 16 in the men’s competition.
The men came away from Saturday’s meet with two provisional-qualifying times and four victories. Third-year Jacob Solus had already qualified in the triple jump, but was able to hit the mark again, despite a rough week of training.
“I went into this weekend really sore from jumping last week and getting in some good lifting this week, so I was kind of on autopilot and just focused on my technique,” Solus said.
On the track, the Maroons had an impressive showing in the distance medley relay, as the team was able to get under the provisional-qualifying time, clocking in at 10:06.49.
Fourth-year Blake Obuchowski made his indoor debut after undergoing knee surgery a few weeks ago. He and fourth-year Bill Cheng and took the top two places in the 55-meter dash with Cheng winning with a time of 6.54, 0.05 seconds faster than Obuchowski.
The distance crew had a successful day with two individuals coming away victorious. Third-year Felipe Fernandez Del Castillo won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:25.95, and second-year Moe Bahrani won the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:38.08.
“The pace went out really slow, and although I kind of wanted to run a nice quick time, I knew it wasn’t important, so I let the other runners do the work for me, took the lead after a mile, and no one challenged me,” Bahrani said. “It was a surprisingly mild race considering the level of competition.”
The throwers on the women’s team continued to dominate. Fourth-year Claire Ray had already hit the automatic-qualifying distance in the weight throw, but she extended her best distance to 18.06 meters in that event on Friday. Third-year Kristin Constantine placed second in the weight throw with a provisional-qualifying distance of 16.70 meters. In the shot put, Ray placed second to fourth-year Nicole Murphy, with both of them hitting the provisional-qualifying mark.
Joining Ray and Constantine in the illustrious group of automatic qualifiers, third-year Liz Lawton ran a time of 17:06.45 last weekend in the 5,000-meter run; as of now, she is the only athlete in the UAA to have qualified for NCAAs in that event.
The women came away from the meet with victories in three events. Third-year Lizzie Bright clocked a winning time of 18:16 in the 5,000, while second-year Rachel Ohman was the first to cross the line in the mile with a time of 5:19.52.
The 4x400 team took it down to the wire with the race being decided in the last straightaway. The Maroons, with a time of 4:03.43, were able to overcome North Central by a final margin of 0.43 seconds.
“Each and every one of the girls put their best efforts out there which could not have happened if it were not for the unity and the support of the team,” first-year member of the 4x400 team Kayla McDonald said.
The track and field teams will continue their quest to qualify next weekend in Henry Crown at the Margaret Bradley Invitational.