This weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field teams will be heading to Lisle to compete in the Benedictine Relays. Both teams have been very successful so far in their outdoor season, with the men coming in second at both the Ted Haydon Invitational and the Wheaton Invitational. Not to be outdone, the Maroon women were champions at both meets.
This past weekend at Wheaton, the Maroons enjoyed a plethora of individual success. On the women’s side, track upperclassmen owned their events. Fourth-year Michelle Dobbs, NCAA champion in the 800-meter, has seemingly returned to dominant form, winning the 800 race in 2:17.25 with a comfortable 2.5 second cushion between her and the second-place finisher. Third-year Khia Kurtenbach, indoor UAA champion, impressed in the 5,000 meters, finishing 31 seconds ahead of the second-place runner with a time of 17:06.78, and third-year Megan Verner-Crist was also victorious in the 1,500 meters, finishing in 4:43.58.
In the field events, however, it was the first-years who made their mark. UAA Indoor Rookie of the Year Alisha Harris has transitioned smoothly from indoors to outdoors, winning the long jump at 5.48 meters and claiming second place in the 200-meters. Isabel Garon won the pole vault, flying to 3.52 meters.
The men, too, racked up team points through solid individual performances. First-year Tyson Miller won the 400-meter race, securing the only individual win of the meet for the men. Runner-up finishes were abound, as Jatan Anand, Andrew Kates, and Obinnaya Wamuo all came in second in 100-meter, 5,000-meter, and 400-meter hurdles, respectively. Andrew Maneval also finished second in both the shot put and hammer throw.
Looking ahead to this weekend, the Benedictine Relays will serve as a final opportunity for the teams to tune up before their conference meet, the culmination of their outdoor season. This is the first time the team has competed at this meet, according to third-year Olivia Cattau, and, “Some of the team will be competing both days which will be good practice for the two-day UAA meet.” With few meets between the beginning of outdoor season and outdoor UAAs, Cattau explained, “We don’t taper until the last possible moment. This year most of us will be training right through conference because we have more athletes than usually trying to qualify for nationals.”
Maneval, reflecting upon his impressive career, could not help but be a little nostalgic. “It’s pretty surreal how fast four years has gone by. During my freshman season, the UAA meet was also in Chicago, so it’s very poetic that things will come full circle.” Looking ahead to UAAs, he hopes that the men’s team, which has never won conference, can “shock the nation” and come away with the title. Cattau echoed the sentiment. “If we can all rest up and be healthy, we have a real shot of upsetting Washington University for the championships despite them being the national champions. They are a track team, but we are a track AND field team.”