Yesterday, the Maroons competed in the first day of the North Central College Dr. Keeler Invite, which is the penultimate chance for individuals to qualify for NCAA DIII Championships. Opponents included North Central, Beloit, and Aurora, along with several other teams from the area.
While the South Siders have raced and trained in plenty of cold weather, this was the first truly warm weather they’ve had to compete in, resulting in mixed feelings among various Maroons.
“It was a hard day out there for a lot of people,” said second-year distance runner Forest Tarbath. “This was the first hot day that we’ve had all year and I feel like that took a toll on myself and others. About half of the field dropped out of the 10K.”
Out of the field of 37 competitors in the 10K, 14 did not finish the race.
Second-year pole vaulter Michael Bennett felt differently about the heat.
“The conditions were great today,” Bennett said. “If Friday is anything like today, I think we can get some huge times and marks.”
Standouts included first-year Gareth Jones and Bennett himself. Jones broke 15 minutes in the 5K with a time of 14:57, taking home a sixth-place finish. Bennett achieved a personal record by a centimeter for a new score of 4.91m, also claiming a new school record. Even with the competitive field, Bennett finished tied for third place.
With the distance events, hammer throw, discus, pole vault, and 4x800-meter relay occurring yesterday, today will be a day of sprints, middle distance, and jumps.
It was a long day of competition for the Maroons, with events that started at 3 p.m. and concluded at 10 p.m. The remainder of the meet takes place today at 3 p.m. The athletes will return a week later to compete in North Central’s Last Chance Meet on Thursday, May 15 at 12:15 p.m., and will just have NCAA Championships left as the season starts to wind down.