February 24, 2014

Strong Invite performance good sign for UAAs

The Maroons completed their last regular season meet this past weekend at home, as the women took first and the men took second at the Margaret Bradley Invitational. The meet featured eight event wins for the South Siders and a copious amount of top-five finishers. This is a promising result considering the conference championships lie less than a week away.

“We did well. We were able to run fast times without burning ourselves out before the conference meet, and that was the goal,” second-year Ben Clark said.

Clark finished first in the 200-meter in 22.93s. The time pushed Clark to third in the conference in the event.

“I feel really good about [the 200],” Clark said. “I got hit by a car three months ago, and I probably tried to come back too soon, but I missed this sport, and I missed getting better. It’s nice to feel fast again.”

Fourth-year Dan Povitsky also came in first and had a solid outing in the mile with his time of 4:17.89. While he currently holds the fourth-best time in conference in the mile, it is far more likely he will compete in the 3,000-meter or 5,000-meter, where he ranks third and first, respectively, at UAAs. Second-year Michael Bennett continued his undefeated season in the pole vault with a vault of 4.71m and looks to top his season best and UAA top-ranked height of 4.90m.

First-year Michelle Dobbs came off of an injury to claim first in the 400-meter run with her time of 59.26s, which ranks fourth in the conference. Dobbs will likely compete at UAAs in the 800-meter where she ranks first with a 2:14.27. Second-year Brianna Hickey ran the 800-meter and took top spot with a 2:22.83, but she will likely run the mile at conference, where she is ranked first. Second-year Rachael Jackson placed first in the long jump with her leap of 5.28m, four centimeters short of her best of the season and third spot in the conference.

The women’s 4x4 relay also took first with their time of 4:13.43. The group did not include all of the runners from last week’s nationally ranked group.

First-year Jady Tolda took first in the pole vault with her propelled leap of 3.51m. This vault broke the previous school record of 3.40m set by Moriah Grooms-Garcia (A.B. ’11) in 2011. Tolda currently ranks third in the conference.

“After overcoming an injury that put me out for all of fall quarter, it meant so much to finally be back to where I’d like to be in terms of my vault,” Tolda said. “The team has been so supportive every step of the way.”

The Maroons will now take this week to rest up in preparation for their conference weekend. All season has been about peaking at the conference meet. Each meet has been an opportunity for the Maroons to flex their muscles more and more, and now is the time to pursue their perfect photo finish. This Thursday, Chicago will make their way to Boston to participate in the two-day UAA Championships.

“As our last home meet of the indoor season, everyone was driven to do their absolute best,” Tolda said. “I think the girls will go to UAAs with the confidence that we have worked hard to be at our peak performance.”