January 24, 2014

Women first, men second, at Private School Championships

The Maroons continued their strong start this past weekend at the Private College Invitational, with the men’s side taking second place and the women’s side taking first out of 11 teams.

“The team is feeling pretty good,” third-year thrower Kelly Wood said. “We have a couple athletes ranked top 50 nationally for DIII. And we had a lot of individuals, especially on the women's side, who placed first in their events and set PRs."

One of the main female standouts this week was third-year Pam Yu, who brought home first-place finishes in the long jump (5.56m) and triple jump (10.67m). She was not the only team member who made a strong showing this past weekend, though.

“We have people in placing range (top six) of almost every event,” third-year Reecie Dern said.

Two such male standouts this week were first-year Nicholas Nielsen, who finished first in the 800 meter at 2:00.38 and third-year Kevin On, who also placed first in the 3,000 meter at 8:59.64.

“I think, as a team, we've gotten off to a great start and we just need to keep that momentum going throughout the season,” Dern said.

The South Siders hope to carry this momentum all the way to UAAs, on which the team continues to focus throughout their upcoming events. With conference coming up in just over a month, the team has little time left before the height of their season.

“Obviously every meet, we want to get better marks and better times so that we can [go] into UAAs ranked as highly as possible,” Wood said. “After this weekend, we look pretty good for UAAs. However, the other schools are just now coming back from break, so we have to be wary of that.”

This wariness will play a big role in the team’s mindset as the squad heads into the Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular this coming weekend.

“Heading into the Triangular everyone is just trying to keep improving,” Dern said. “We still have enough time before conference that people are working through technique and just trying to improve upon last week.”

This weekend, however, brings an exciting, new, and unusual challenge for the team.

“It's a big meet for us,” Wood said. “We are competing against Wash U and it's the only time that we'll see a team in our conference until our indoor conference meet, which starts February 28. Competing against Wash U at this meet is especially important because we feel that they'll be our biggest competitors heading into our conference meet.”

“It always gives the meet a different feel when you have to compete against teams that you have a legitimate rivalry with,” Dern said. “The caliber of the meet, in a lot of the events, will be better than we've faced so far. This weekend’s meet should be fun and challenging.”

The Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular will begin at 11 a.m. this Saturday in Bloomington, Illinois.