February 14, 2012

Chicagolands meet provides confidence as postseason nears

Women’s track and field finished fourth out of 18 at the Chicagoland Indoor Championships last Friday. The meet, hosted by North Central, was contested between teams from all three NCAA divisions, with Chicago finishing third out of the eight competing D-III schools.

The Maroons finished with a total of 74 points behind Carthage, North Central, and Lewis, who finished with 84, 111, and 162 points, respectively.

“I was very pleased with how the team performed this weekend,” fourth-year Jaleesa Akuoko said. “We had a slow start getting into competition mode this season, but now that we’ve shaken the rust off, we’re competing much better.”

Chicago’s standout performances came in the triple jump. First-year Pam Yu and fourth-year Maddie Allen finished fourth and fifth, respectively, both jumping a distance of 10.94 meters. Those two jumps now leave them tied for second on the conference honor roll.

The distance runners also enjoyed success with third-year Julia Sizek’s victory in the 3000-meter (10:17.73) and Sonia Kahn’s second place finish in the 5000-meter (18:23.12) leaving them both in scoring position in the conference.

In terms of the number of competing teams, Chicagoland’s is one of the Maroons’ biggest meets of the season and they did well to use that to their advantage.

“The bigger the meet, the better the competition we have,” fourth-year Sonia Kahn said. “It’s always easier to run a race when you have lots of bodies around you to make sure you don’t lose focus. That’s why we look forward to meets like Whitewater and Chicagoland’s because these highly competitive meets are when personal bests are run.”

There was also the added incentive of getting to face opponents from D-I and D-II schools, and the way the Maroons handled that pressure bodes well for the conference championships.

“We’ve all put the work in to be physically competitive, but we need to continue to build confidence in order to be mentally competitive,” Kahn said. “Our conference is arguably one of the toughest in the country, and we have the capability of being right there with the other teams, but we can’t let uniforms like Wash U intimidate us.”

“I think the women’s team really stepped up this weekend,” assistant coach Laurie McElroy said. “They did a great job, individually and as a team. I definitely feel that we are right on track as we head into our last meet before conference.”