May 25, 2004

Five Maroon's leap, sprint to nationals

Second-year Teage O'Connor and fourth-year Adeoye Mabogunje both hit NCAA Division III qualifying standards last Friday at the final track and field meet of the season, the North Central Invitational. Both are all but assured positions in the NCAA National Championships, to be held this Thursday through Saturday in Decatur, Illinois.

O'Connor won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 9:11.51 to provisionally qualify for the upcoming National Championship. He stands 12th in the country and should have no problem being selected for the meet.

"He ran a very patient and intelligent race," head coach Chris Hall said. "It was good to see him just consistently move up throughout the course of the race. With 800 meters to go, it was apparent he was going to hit a qualifying standard and the focus went from running a fast time to winning the race. Coming out of the last water barrier he had the runner from [Augustana College] in his sights and moved by with relative ease during the last 70 meters."

Mabogunje broke both his own school record, winning the triple jump in an outstanding 15.43 meters. He now ranks first in the country in Division III. The next athlete, second-year Kristian Majdik from New York University, is more than half a meter behind (14.81).

"Now leading the country by nearly two feet, Adeoye is a clear favorite nationally," Hall said.

O'Connor and Mabogunje join fourth-years Patrick Sullivan and Tom Haxton as well as third-year Erin Steiner in the group going to nationals.

Sullivan ranks third in Division III in the 1500 meters with a time of 3:50.35, behind only first-year Dan Rodriguez (3:49.49) and second-year Andy Huber (3:50.34), both of North Central College, and Sullivan has a very reasonable chance of winning the race outright.

Haxton is ranked second in the 10K (29:49.87) and eighth in the 5K (14:29.33), and stands in good position to place in the top three in both events. He is favored to win the 10K.

Steiner currently stands ninth in the country in the women's 10K with a time of 36:52.97 and is also in good position to be named an All-American.

"We have a nice contingent of athletes going to the NCAAs, and all of them arein a position to come back as All-Americans," Hall noted. "Our men's team has a shot of becoming one of the top 5 teams in the country when all is said and done."

Also performing well, third-year Brain Eichhorn finished fifth in the pole vault competition, clearing 4.37 meters. Third-year Seyi Oyenuga placed eighth in the long jump with 6.62 meters. And in his final meet as a Maroon, fourth-year Babak Yousefian placed sixth in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.05 seconds.

Third-year Brandon Halcott placed 11th in the 200 meters (22.47) and then 12th in the 100 meters (11.26).

Second-year Nick Juravich and first-year Kellen Alexander placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 10K with times of 33:32.38 and 33:39.32. First-year Chetan Huded set a personal best in the 5K (17:14.15).

For the women, second-Year Jessica Winter placed fifth in the 1500 meters (4:45.40). Fourth-years Darcy Flora, Amanda Parrish, and Hannah Benton all finished well in their last college race in the 1500 meters. Flora was sixth (4:55.67), Parrish was eighth (5:09.31), and Benton was ninth (5:14.71).

First-year Jackie Kropp rounded out the notables, finishing 12th in the 800 meters in a personal best time of 2:19.91.