February 19, 2013

At Margaret Bradley Invite, South Siders take the Crown

In their final outing before the UAA Championships, the Maroons had a strong showing at the Margaret Bradley Invitational. Both the men and women finished atop the leaderboard, with winning scores of 127 and 140, respectively.

The women competed in a field of 10, defeating numerous DI teams. Aurora placed second with a score of 119.5, while Northwestern Track Club followed with a score of 100.

“I think the meet went very well for us. Everyone on the team definitely put in their best effort this past weekend,” second-year Pam Yu said. “It was exciting to see our hard work pay off.”

Yu entered the season nationally ranked in the long jump, but did not compete until this past weekend due to injury. In her highly anticipated return, she placed first in both the long and triple jumps with distances of 5.04m and 10.51m respectively.

“It felt great to be back after three to four months of cross-training and to be on my feet and competing. I was just really happy to be with and to be able to contribute to the team again,” Yu said.

The men defeated Benedictine (108) and Aurora (91) en route to a first-place finish.

“I think the team competed very well this past weekend considering the competition we were up against,” first-year Michael Bennett said. “Some of our athletes didn’t necessarily get the times or marks they wanted but still placed well.”

Bennett continues to surpass expectations this year in the pole vault. With his height of 4.68m, the talented youngster broke the previous Maroons record of 4.57m, held by Seth Satterlee (2008). Currently, Bennett ranks first in the UAA and 21st overall in DIII.

“It felt great to break the record. I had been close on several occasions this year, and it felt great for everything to finally come together,” Bennett said of his accomplishment.

The first-year class impressed yet again, placing nine Maroons in the top three finishers of their events. The upperclassmen held their own as well, boasting seven top-three finishers.

Next week, the Maroons will head to Ohio to compete for the conference title.

“Our team’s goal is to win the UAA Championship,” Bennett said. “We’ve put together some great performances for the last several weeks, and now it’s time for the most important one.”

If the Maroons are to capture the conference title, they will have to put together one of their strongest performances of the year. A few top performers for the team used this past week to rest in preparation for UAAs. Hopefully, the bye-week strategy will pay off.

“Everyone needs to perform their very best, and we must push ourselves to be the greatest we can be,” Yu said.

Case Western will play host to the UAA Championship this Saturday and Sunday. Reigning champion and rival Wash U looks to repeat this year, with a women’s team that ranks eighth in the nation and a men’s squad that has won the last three indoor titles.

“We have a very talented and deep group that puts us in a good position against Wash U,” Bennett said. “If we can get past them, we have a very good chance to win.”