After a grueling weekend at the UAAs, Chicago track and field is enjoying a restful meet at the Benedictine Invitational this Friday. Training has cooled down with the UAA Championships in the rearview mirror, and many members of the team are taking advantage of the less strenuous training by exploring new events.
After back-to-back days of competition in Atlanta, head coach Chris Hall has taken it easy on his athletes to allow them to fully recover. “The main difference this week is that it is a short week coming off two hard days of competition, so we won’t work hard Monday through Thursday,” said Hall. “It’s definitely more of a rest meet. We’re not taking it too seriously in terms of winning and losing,” second-year Demetrios Brizzolara said.
Aside from a chance to rest, this weekend is also an opportunity for runners to assess their strengths. “We’re going to have a number of people competing in events that they normally wouldn’t, especially those athletes for whom a trip to the national championships would require a massive leap forward,” Andreycak said. In the scheme of the season this invitational is outweighed by the relatively more important meet against the Badgers (among others) at the University of Wisconsin next weekend.
While there won’t be as much pressure on the Maroons, the competition at every meet gives the team a chance to improve. “The meet will be a good meet, not as competitive as UAAs, but [there will be] some strong competition,” Hall said. Like every other meet before the NCAAs, this is an opportunity to fine-tune, improving technique and times. “I’ve never looked at a meet as being less competitive or a chance to relax,” fourth-year Stephanie Omueti said.
This opportunity for training may be important for many athletes, especially those who, like Andreycak, are nearly assured of a nationals berth and therefore are using these meets as high intensity workouts. “I’m sitting in a decent position for getting into the national meet, so [the Benedictine meet] is a chance for me to get some good work in on both skills and general training,” Andreycak said.
“We are seldom concerned about winning invitationals but like to be a factor in the meet,” Hall said. However, this meet is not inconsequential. “The meet is important from the standpoint of chasing NCAA performances and lifetime bests,” said Hall. As the year winds down, each meet is one more opportunity for the Maroons to be together. “There are only a few more weeks for us to be together as a team, especially with such a significant group of seniors. We hope that these last few weeks will be a great way of winding down a bunch of really great track and field careers,” Andreycak said.