February 14, 2012

Injuries hamper Maroons in Naperville

Eighteen teams competed in the Chicagoland Championships in Naperville, Illinois this weekend. The Maroons finished seventh with 34 points, behind Carthage, UIC, Chicago State, Lewis, St. Francis, and the dominant North Central, which amassed 195 points.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever satisfied with a seventh-place finish,” associate coach Laurie McElroy said. “I expected our athletes to have better performances and better times this week, and as a whole I think we did that. So we maybe didn’t have the depth to win [the meet], but I think individually we made improvement.”

Chicago is still hampered by injuries and illnesses. Dee Brizzolara, the team’s best sprinter, was set to return to the track this weekend after suffering a concussion, but he injured his oblique during the 60-meter dash. It was a devastating blow to an already enfeebled lineup.

“I just don’t think we’ve sparked. Part of it is the team has in some places a little bit of a lack of motivation because they they’re not at full strength,” head coach Chris Hall said. “It’s not that they’re not putting the effort in, or that they’re not trying. There’s a different attitude when you know you’re going up there with your absolute best, and we just haven’t been able to do that.”

Some top performances include a 12th-place finish by third-year Anthony Farias-Eisner in the 800-meter run; sixth and ninth-place finishes by fourth-year Brian Schlick and first-year Renat Zalov in the mile, respectively; third and fifth-place finishes by third-year Billy Whitmore and fourth-year Moe Bahrani in the 3,000-meters; fifth and seventh-place finishes by fourth-years Dan Heck and Nick Rockwell in the weight throw; and fourth and fifth-place finishes by second-year Dan Povitsky and third-year Isaac Dalke in the 5,000-meters.

“I think we had some good races all around the board,” Povitsky said. “People are getting into really good shape right now heading into the conference meet.”

Still, injuries are a major concern.

“Time is your biggest enemy with injuries,” assistant coach Aaron Carley said. “We just have to wait it out and wait until the athlete is healthy and going through their rehab, doing everything they can, and then getting the training back on their legs, and trying to get them back into competition is really what it comes down to.”

For the Maroons, better times and better distances are the team’s top priorities. It all comes down to the conference meet.

“I think everyone’s goal is, from the team perspective, to improve to the point where they can help the team score at the conference meet,” Povitsky said. “So I think as long as people think they’re improving every week, then I think our confidence will increase.”

Next weekend Chicago hosts the Margaret Bradley Invite. The following weekend they travel to New York for the UAA Championship.