The Margaret Bradley Invitational this past weekend proved to be the perfect final test for the Maroons before next weekend’s conference meet. The meet ended in victory for both the men’s and women’s teams, and included some impressive individual performances.
The men’s team finished first out of a field of 11 with 247.6 points, while second-place Aurora earned 101.5 points. The women’s competition was a similar story with a first place finish for the Maroons out of nine teams (258.5 points), while Aurora took second again, with 71 points.
On the men’s side, the standout performers were third-year Ben Clark, first-year Mitchell Dennis, and third-year Michael Bennett. Clark busted a fantastic 22.65 second finish in the 200-meter race, solidifying his spot to lead the UAA. Dennis, a miler for the team, currently sits in the top five runners in the UAA, and finished second here in a time of 4:19.54. Finally, reigning conference and national champion pole-vaulter Bennett again dominated the field, vaulting 4.77m to take first place.
Bennett was positive about his and his team’s chances at next week’s conference meet.
“The team has a good shot at conference next weekend. We are in the best position to win since I have been here,” Bennett said. “I feel good about next week. This week I have to be smart and stay healthy, as I have been nursing a slight hamstring injury.”
If he can maintain a clean bill of health, he will certainly be next week’s favorite for the pole vault.
Other men’s team winners this weekend were first-year Patrick LeFevre in the 60-meter hurdles, first-year Peter Kreuch in the 3000-meter, fourth-year Semi Ajibola in high jump, and third-year Nathan Massey in the weight throw.
The women’s squad dominated with 10 first place finishes. Some top performers were first-year Erin Glynn, first-year Cassidy McPherson, and third-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo. Glynn and McPherson won the 400-meter and 800-meter, respectively, before teaming up with second-year Lily Ting and fourth-year Jennifer Uehling to win the 4x400 meter relay. The women’s team dominated the meet, but Nwaokolo stole the show in the weight throw. She threw for 17.60m, smashing her own personal record, which was in the low 16s.
Nwaokolo discussed her record-breaking toss and what it meant to her in the long run.
“I needed to throw about a 17 to solidify my spot in Nationals, so throwing a 17.60 was a great result for me,” Nwaokolo said.
The level of competition at next weekend’s conference championship will be a big step up, but the Maroons will be full of confidence following their dominant performance this past weekend. The South Siders will be traveling to Boston, MA for UAAs with competition starting on Saturday at 12 p.m.