The Maroons got their first look at the UAA this past weekend at the Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular. Chicago joined Illinois Wesleyan and conference opponent Wash U at the triangular, and took second and first on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively. The meet included 20 of the best athletes from each team.
The Maroons could not send all their top athletes to the meet due to injuries, among other issues. While the Maroons have made it through the season mostly injury-free, some precautions have been made to prevent minor pains from turning into full-fledged injuries that would hamper athletes more as the season wears on. In addition, some multi-sport athletes had previous engagements.
“The team did very well despite missing a few really great athletes that will be returning over the next couple of weeks,” second-year Zach Jenkins said. “It really showed the depth of the team and bodes well for the team when those athletes return.”
Jenkins has made steady improvement himself this season, scoring points for the team the second time with his sixth-place finish in the 60-yard dash.
“I got pretty lucky getting into finals after slipping out of the blocks in the 60,” Jenkins said. “Together the sprinters had a strong showing as a group.”
The real excitement for the Maroons came in the men’s 5000-meter run. Led by third-year Kevin On, they took the top four spots, with each of the top four recording personal bests. On was followed by second-year Forest Tarbath, first-year Timofey Karginov, and fourth-year Griffin Brunk.
First-place performances for the men came from second-year Richard Painter in the shot put, first-year Joey Gary in the high jump, fourth-year Dan Povitsky in the 3000-meter run, and the DMR team.
“This week we got to really measure ourselves against some of the best competition in the UAA,” Jenkins said. “I also think we got a lot of confidence from beating a very good team in Illinois Wesleyan.”
The women also had a strong outing. Second-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo took first in both the shot put and the weight throw. First-year Michelle Dobbs continued to dominate all distance runs this season with her first-place finish in the 1200. Second-year Maya Lewinsohn took first in the 5000-meter run, third-year Francesca Tomasi won the 400-meter run for the second straight week, and second-year Alison Pildner took first in the 200-meter run.
While an early victory for the women against Wash U is promising, it by no means guarantees a strong finish at the conference championship. The men will also have to step it up as Wash U clearly stands in the way of a conference title. With injuries up in the air, the rest of the season will be no cup of tea for the Maroons.
Chicago will travel to Whitewater, WI on Friday for the UW–Whitewater Invitational.