February 22, 2016

Maroons Place First at Margaret Bradley Invitational

Courtesy of University of Chicago Athletics

For the last time this season, sprinters, runners, throwers, and jumpers simultaneously occupied the second floor of the Henry Crown Field House. The Maroons played host to seven other schools and a running club for the Margaret Bradley Invitational. The day began at 11:30 a.m. with the women’s distance medley relay, in which only Chicago ran in an attempt to qualify that team for nationals, and when the meet ended at 6 p.m. with one last shot put throw Chicago was on top in both the men’s and women’s standings by comfortable margins.

For the most part, the meet served as a way to cement the lineup for the conference championships held at NYU in just five days, and the Maroons raced for the right to represent their school. Most of the runners had already locked in their conference spots, but with good times in the 400-meter race both second-year Obi Wamuo (50.88s) and third-year Jatan Anand (52.19s) were able to find seats on the flight to New York. Fourth-year pole vaulter and former national champion Michael Bennett earned his spot while vaulting on Saturday for the first time all season after coming back from injury. He was bested in last weekend’s meet by fellow vaulter second-year Nathan Downey who achieved a personal record 4.60m height, while also capturing first in the 200m with a 22.61s race.

The second-year phenom commented, “It was a good day. We ran well. We were just out there trying to get some because sometimes you have to go every time.” Downey attributed much of his success to the veteran leadership on the team. “It was an emotional day for the seniors since it was their last time competing in the world-class Henry Crown Field House.” However, this was not the last meet of the season, and the team is still relying on the upperclassmen to put in a good performance this weekend so that they can achieve their dream of “shocking the nation at UAAs.” Teammate and graduating fourth-year Ryan Manzuk, who ran a 23.00 in the 200-meter at the meet, was not eager to take all the credit, reverently remarking, “I think all of us seniors can say that our leadership is really a product of what we learned from great seniors past like Theo Benjamin and Zihan Xu.”

The women were in a similar position, each vying for her right to compete at the conference championships. Though she may have already had one of the 25 spots, second-year Ade Ayoola showed up big at the Margaret Bradley Invitational. She posted her best high jump of the season at 1.64m, taking first place at the meet, and putting her at second place in the UAA thus far this season, just a centimeter behind fellow Maroon first-year Alex Thompson. She also threw the shot put 12.33m, which is the best throw in the conference this year.

All 50 traveling Maroons are eager to grab the conference title this year. The meet will take place at the Armory Track in New York this coming week.

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