May 17, 2013

Five for Friday: Taking a look at the week’s key story lines

1. With Maloney set to retire, search for replacement begins

Head football coach Dick Maloney announced his retirement earlier this week, bringing to a close a 19-year run in charge of the Maroons over which he amassed a 94–82 record and five UAA Coach of the Year awards, including in 2011, when the Maroons won their most recent UAA championship. He ended his tenure on a disappointing note this season, as Chicago finished the year with a 4–6 record, but that should not take away from the fact that he has been Chicago’s most successful coach since Amos Alonzo Stagg. The search for his successor will begin in the next few weeks and will be lead by Acting Athletic Director Brian Baldea.

2. Rugby to face Northwestern at Stagg Field

Men’s rugby welcomes Northwestern to Stagg Field this weekend for its final game of the spring season. The Maroons are hoping to make it two wins out of two against the Wildcats this school year, after recording a victory against them back in the fall, also on Stagg. Chicago has its sights set on closing out a transitional year in style. The Maroons competed in the CARFU Collegiate DII for the first time in the fall, struggling at times with the higher level of competition, and recorded a 1–3–1 record. A victory against Northwestern would be the perfect way for this squad to begin preparation for another assault on DII next year.

3. Don’t take your eyes off those honor rolls

The NCAA DIII Track & Field Championship will begin next Thursday in La Crosse, WI, but the field of competitors remains undecided. Currently, five South Siders rank in qualification positions in their respective events. Fourth-years Dee Brizzolara (200m) and Billy Whitmore (5,000m) rank 17th and 18th, respectively, while first-years Michael Bennett (pole vault, ranked 15th) and Catherine Young (5,000m, eighth) are also well poised to qualify. Fourth-year Julia Sizek is ranked in the top 20 in both the 5,000m (11th) and 10,000m (10th). These Maroons can be confident they will qualify, but they’ll be anxiously watching results from around the country this weekend as rival athletes attempt to take their places.

4. Women’s tennis set for quarterfinal clash

The Maroons take on No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Monday in their NCAA quarterfinals match. Chicago secured its place in the quarterfinal with an occasionally shaky 5–1 victory against UW–Whitewater, while the Athenas are fresh off a 5–3 win over Pomona-Pitzer. Now, both teams travel to Kalamazoo, MI, both hoping to continue their NCAA runs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps had a successful season, to say the least. They enter Monday’s competition with a record of 30–0. The Maroons will have their work cut out for them to advance to a second straight national semifinal, but they’ve had a strong season and won’t want to let up now.

5. Whitmore and Young named UAA athletes of the week

Fourth-year Billy Whitmore and first-year Catherine Young were named UAA athletes of the week on Monday after impressive performances at the Dr. Keeler Invitational, both in the 5,000m. Whitmore’s time placed him 18th in the nation and Young is ranked eighth. Young’s time of 16:57.37 was the third fastest in Maroon history, behind only Liz Lawton (A.B. '11) and Rhaina Echols (A.B. '00), who were both national champions. Whitmore looks set to qualify for his second straight national tournament after narrowly missing out on an All-American spot last year. If he qualifies, the final performance of his distinguished Maroon career will present him with one final opportunity to secure All-American status in outdoor track and field.