The format of this weekend’s Chicago Duals is altogether fitting for the Maroons’ first home meet of the season. It’s bold, it’s different, and it’s one hell of a competition.
Ten teams—eight from the Chicagoland area, Beloit (WI), and St. Ambrose (IA)—will face off in Saturday’s meet at the Henry Crown Field House.
“Our primary goal is to continue to make progress,” head coach Chris Hall said. “The team has had a lot of sickness and is getting a little healthier right now so we would like to see some performances this weekend that place us higher on the conference honor rolls.”
For each individual event, a team’s score is determined by its performance compared to each other team as though they were only competing against each other. That means there is a potential for nine Maroon wins on the day—or nine losses. This structure makes the Chicago Duals all the more important for the Maroons, as their new record will heavily reflect their performance on Saturday.
“I am looking forward to seeing our kids step it up and show everyone what they are really capable of at home,” associate head coach Laurie McElroy said.
In the first two meets of the year, at UW–Oshkosh and Illinois Wesleyan, the team focused on preparation for the conference level—placing less emphasis on winning, and more emphasis on health, experience, and lineups. Look for that trend to continue, to some extent, at home.
“The key thing we are working on right now is getting everyone healthy and injury-free,” McElroy said. “Although I have only been here a short time, it is apparent that we have a tremendous amount of talent across the board, and I think that will be one of our biggest advantages at the conference level.”
“We have had a couple of really difficult meets in terms of the competitive level of the teams we have competed against this year,” Hall said. “Our goal is to be ready for the UAA championships and winning this meet is not overly important, but we would like to come out on top this weekend.”
For the Maroons, there is one more advantage of hosting the Chicago Duals: the atmosphere. The crowd, the convenience, and the comfort of competing at home will provide the Maroons with a competitive edge over the other teams that it has not had in previous weeks. Chicago will look to capitalize on having the upper hand at the meet.
“It is always nice to compete at home,” Daniel Matam, a first-year sprinter, said. “Especially when you have fans supporting you.”
The Chicago Duals start on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.