Now that it is finally warm enough to run outside again, it seems that everyone is excited to get out of the gym. The track team will be heading outside this weekend to compete in the Ted Haydon Invitational. Haydon, a graduate from the College (A.B. ’33) was the head coach of the track team from 1950 until 1975. He also founded the University of Chicago Track Club, which is still in existence, and was the assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic team in both 1968 and 1972. In 1985 Haydon died, and Chicago’s track is named for him.
The Maroons are just coming off of a long break, and according to head coach Chris Hall, this event is a good opportunity for the team to “knock the rust off a little bit.” This weekend’s invitational is also the first outdoor event of the season, which comes with its own set of challenges.
Outdoor competition means competing in the Chicago cold and facing other problematic weather conditions. “A lot less predictable than indoor, which can be fun and terrible. We’re hoping for good weather, but you never know,” said second-year Julia Sizek.
Weather unfortunately is likely to be a factor on Saturday. It is expected to stay cold with a chance of rain and snow throughout the day. However, as Sizek also mentioned, outdoor meets also have a lot of great events that are not contested indoors, like the steeplechase and 400-meter hurdles.
Another reason that outdoor meets like the Ted Haydon Invitational are different than indoor meets is that the events are much more spread out. Fourth-year Stephanie Omueti said that this makes it harder to get around to the events and support teammates. One thing that Omueti mentioned that makes Chicago unique is that the team is “excellent at getting around to support one another.” Hopefully, that support will bolster the South Siders through the cloudy, cold Saturday.
Roughly half of both the men’s and women’s teams are made up of underclassmen. Experience is always a factor when considering performance. “It’s best to have talent,” however, said Hall.
“We’ve got a very good roster with great upperclass leaders and talented younger athletes. It’s a quality mix of people.”
While the track team tries to adjust to competing outdoors they won’t be facing any of Chicago’s primary rivals until the UAAs. This weekend Chicago will be among 16 local teams competing and hopefully knocking the dust off our feet. Saturday’s events start at 11 a.m., with the men’s hammer throw, and continue well into the evening.