February 3, 2009

Provisional-qualifiers highlight Duals at Crown

[img id="77224" align="alignleft"] The men’s and women’s track teams flirted with perfection at this weekend’s Chicago Duals, with the men’s side going 10–0 for the day and the women finishing with an 8–1 record.

Bringing together local schools such as UIC and Chicago State University with traveling contenders like Beloit and North Central, the Chicago Duals was the first real test of the South Siders’ skills. Stepping up with eight individual event wins, four NCAA preliminary qualifications, and big showings throughout the day, both teams defeated strong contenders and made clear that they are some of the top squads around.

On the men’s half, third-year Blake Obuchowski set the tone when he bested Chicago State first-year Jonathon Majors to take the gold in the 55-meter dash. Posting a 6.58, Obuchowski not only gave the Maroons a strong opening, he also improved upon his top time this season. Fellow third-years Bill Cheng and Terrence Robertson also contributed top-five sprints, adding to the Maroons’ early boost.

Younger talent had its day in the middle distance events, with the one-mile run owned by first-year Joe Sullivan (4:25.27), who outpaced MSOE first-year Dominic Maio (4:26.35). Second-years Andrew Wells-Qu and Harry Backlund grabbed first in the 800- and the 3,000-meter runs, respectively. Wells-Qu ran a speedy 1:55.32, less than a second from the NCAA provisional time of 1:54.85, and a two-second improvement on his last race. Following close behind Backlund were third-year Alex Garbier (8:51.22) and fourth-year Maxwell Working (8:51.90), and the one-two-three finish added to the Maroons’ scores.

The men’s distance medley group also made it to the head of the pack, with second-years Wells-Qu, Newhouse, and Arthur Baptist joining first-year Brian Willie to put up an impressive 10:32.28. Their time beat out second-place Elmhurst by more than ten seconds.

In the field events, fourth-year Seth Satterlee clear 4.55m in the pole vault for the win, and he was followed by third-year teammate John Pribik (4.40m), who came in second. Demonstrating the Maroons’ hops was second-year Jacob Solus, who posted a provisional-qualifying 14.24m in his main event, the triple jump. While Solus was beaten out by the UIC third-year Andy Wall (14.40m), his time was good for second, and third went to UIC first-year Brandon Gale with 13.27m.

Anchored by the field events, the women’s team dropped a narrow 81–76 decision to D–II Cal State Los Angeles but reached triple digits in all but two of their wins. The Maroons earned all of their wins by at least 17 points, with the closest competition coming in their 91–74 win over North Central.

Three throwers posted provisional-qualifying marks for the Maroons. Third-year Nicole Murphy’s 13.41-meter toss earned first in the shotput, while second-year Kristin Constantine took second with a throw of 13.15m. Constantine and Murphy also placed third and sixth in the weight throw.

Seeded second in the weight throw, third-year Claire Ray reached the provisional-qualifying plateau for the third straight meet with a mark of 15.98m, good enough for gold. Ray added a fourth-place finish in the shotput.

Bolstered by points from the field, the Maroons could afford a dearth of first-place finishes on the track. Second-year Molly Peverada emerged with gold in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:51.86. Peverada edged second-year Liz Lawton and first-year Jane Simpson, who took second and third, respectively.

Second-year Stephanie Omueti, meanwhile, was edged out of first in both the 55- and 200 meters. Omueti also contributed to the Maroons’ silver medal performance in 4x400 relay.

This Saturday, the teams will hit the road for UW–Whitewater, where they’ll compete in the Warhawk Classic. Chicago last competed in the meet in 2007, when the men finished seventh out of the eight teams present and the women finished seventh out of ten.