October 30, 2012

Crossing that line: Maroons capture first UAA title since ’94

For the first time since 1994, the women’s cross country squad took home the title at the UAA Championship in Rochester, New York. Four runners—fourth-year Julia Sizek, third-years Elise Wummer and Michaela Whitelaw, and first-year Brianna Hickey—placed in the top 10.

The Maroons won the meet by a landslide with a score of 37, followed by NYU (96), Carnegie Mellon (103), Wash U (105), Case Western (121), Rochester (122), Emory (127), and Brandeis (193).

Julia Sizek was runner-up in the race, finishing the 6k-course in 21:57.7.

“Out of the six teams, we felt we were the favorite,” head coach Chris Hall said. “We had been a bit better than everyone else in the meet.”

Chicago has had an excellent record thus far, and Hall believes this group of women may be the best of his coaching career at Chicago.

“The biggest thing for me is that our kids were completely committed to running together in the race,” Hall said. “All 10 of our runners were running together 100 meters in. And it [was] very much a complete team performance; it would be really hard to single out an individual or two. It was really a team effort.”

“I thought everybody did a really great job,” said Sizek, who has won three UAA Athlete of the Week awards so far this season. “One of the best things was that we took control of the race [in] the first mile. Ten of the top 20 girls were ours, and that made it intimidating for the other teams.”

Hickey’s performance was yet another highlight. Hickey was the top freshman in the race, coming in eighth (22:40.5). She was the first Maroon to win the Rookie of the Year award at the conference meet.

Up next are the Midwest Regionals on Saturday, November 10 in Oshkosh, which will determine whether Chicago will qualify for the NCAA DIII Championship on November 17.

“Things look pretty good for us,” Hall said. “We have a great shot at competing in national championships. The team right now is a deeper team than I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach at this University, and we have wriggle room if somebody doesn’t have the best day.”