The finale for the Women’s track and field season rapidly approaches as the Maroon women gear up for the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships in Geneva, OH from Thursday to Saturday. The University of Chicago team qualified for five events at the National Championship.
The UChicago women come into the event following very impressive performances from their relay teams and their long distance squad as well as impressive individual showings in the heptathlon and the high jump. Out of the competitors, the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relay teams placed well their events and managed to qualify for the national championship.
While the men’s team had some strong showings in the qualifier last week, including a second-place finish in the shot put from fourth-year Andrew Maneval, none of the competitors managed to qualify for the national championship.
The individual events saw first-year Laura Darcey and third-year Olivia Cattau finish second and seventh respectively, which was good enough to advance to nationals. Third-year Megan Verner-Crist and third-year Ade Ayoola also managed to earn trips to Geneva, with Verner-Crist coming in as the 16th seed in the 1500-meter event and Avoola owning the 20th seed in the high jump.
The Maroons are walking into nationals with their heads held high. "This season, we have a really strong showing for nationals on the women's side,” said first-year Alisha Harris, a member of both of the nationally qualified relay teams. “I'm really proud of us as a program and I'm so proud of each of my teammates for making it this far and achieving this much."
“Since conference champs we have dropped eight seconds and have moved from not qualifying in the top 22 to being the 5th seed in the country,” added second-year and fellow relay member Emma Koether. “I could not be more proud of this group and can't wait to see how this weekend ends up.” However, given that last year’s relay teams didn’t make it out of qualifiers, the group isn’t going to be satisfied with just showing up.
At last year’s outdoor championship, the Maroons saw fourth-year Michelle Dobbs, who is a member of this year’s 4x400 team, finish seventh in the 800-meter event and third-year Khia Kurtenbach finish sixth in the 5000-meter final. Both women earned All-American accolades due to their performance. The team ended the year tied for 51st.
The Chicago 4x400 team will also be competing for the title of best in the UAA, as the No. 1 seed in the event is Wash U The two historic rivals have matched up in almost every sport throughout the year, so it is only fitting that they will face off in what is likely the last sporting event of the year for both schools.
UChicago will be looking to repeat their successes from last year as they head to Geneva this weekend. However, with forecasts in Ohio calling for rain, the event might be in jeopardy of being delayed or even postponed. The event begins on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EST and lasts through Saturday.