With just a week remaining until the UAA conference championship, the Maroons will compete in the Wheaton Twilight meet tomorrow afternoon for a final tune-up before they head down to Atlanta, Georgia next week.
This will just be Chicago’s third meet of the outdoor season, and last before their conference championship which will be hosted at Emory next weekend. The South Siders hosted the indoor conference championships last month, where their women’s squad posted the highest team score. Meanwhile, the men took their overall chance at a team victory down to the last event where they were narrowly beat by Wash U with a one point differential.
“Conference is the meet we work towards all season, and after such a heart-breaking indoor conference meet our entire team has been eagerly anticipating outdoor UAA's,” noted first-year Jacob Amiri on the team’s mentality in preparation for the next two weeks.
“One of the team's leaders, [third-year] Michael Frasco, always stresses keeping the big picture in mind and not worrying about the little things, and now more than ever we're embracing that mentality.”
Frasco has taken his advice to heart in that he plans on sitting out this weekend’s meet in order to stay fresh for the upcoming apogee of conference competition.
“[Second-year] Gareth [Jones] and I both set personal bests last weekend. We were together for two miles and then he accelerated away from me over the last mile,” recounted Frasco of the 5000m race in Glen Ellyn, IL on Saturday.
“After the race, we were both very happy with our fitness levels. I'm ready to give a one hundred percent effort at the conference meet a week from now.”
Jones and Frasco finished first and second respectively last weekend with times of 14:47.08 and 14:59.86 in what was a loaded field of 41 competitors from 12 different schools.
“Personally, my transition to outdoor competition has not been as smooth as I would have hoped. This week for me is going to be about getting in a good mindset for outdoor competition, that way I can come into conference with confidence,” explained first-year Angel Fluet of her first collegiate outdoor track season who also acknowledged that the abbreviated season does not make the transition any easier.
“All of us realize that this is the last meet that we have to get times/heights in before conference, so we really just need to stay focused on what we need to achieve as individuals and as teammates.”
It is clear from the nature of the comments of team members and the focus of conversation that UAAs are the main concern of this Chicago team at this point and tomorrow’s meet represents the last stepping stones on the way down to Georgia.
“Right now we're just all trying to stay healthy and feel sharp heading into conference,” said Amiri on the challenges the team faces going into Saturday.
“This meet is more of a confidence builder and tune-up meet than anything else as we're trying to take every step necessary to be fully prepared for the conference meet.”
The Maroons begin competition in Wheaton at 1 p.m.