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The men’s and women’s track and field teams got a unique chance to compete as individuals Friday as they traveled to Lisle, IL, to compete in the Benedictine Twilight Invitational. Unlike at other track meets, team scores were not compiled.
However, the competition, as well as the weather, was still fierce.
“The wind was blowing really hard most of the day, and it would start pouring rain for about 30 seconds, then stop,” third-year Jacob Solus said. “Everything kept getting postponed at the end, and we didn’t even end up finishing all the events.”
Despite this, both male and female athletes posted outstanding performances.
For the men, fourth-years Blake Obuchowski, Patrick Offner, and Bill Cheng, along with first-year Demetrios Brizzolara, placed first in the 4x100-meter relay. In the 100-meter dash, Cheng and Obuchowski grabbed first and third, respectively.
On the field, first-year Solus won the gold in the triple jump, and first-year Eric Villhauer took second in the javelin.
Women jumpers had success as well Third-year Dipti Karmarkar took first in the triple jump, second-year Paige Peltzer placed second in the high jump, and fourth-year Emma Finestone brought home the bronze in the long jump.
Fourth-year Nicole Murphy took second in both the shot put and hammer throw. Fellow shot putter and fourth-year Claire Ray, who was recently named the UAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Performer for Field Events, grabbed the bronze.
Karmarkar as well as Finestone, and third-years Ashley Eaves, and Stephanie Omueti composed the winning 4x100-meter relay team. Eaves also took the gold in the 400-meter hurdles. Omueti, who was not supposed to compete due to prolonged illness, ended up winning the 100-meter dash, setting a new school record for the event: 12.02 seconds.
“I was very proud of myself and ecstatic because I was not expecting to post such great times considering I’d been really ill,” Omueti exclaimed. “[But I] showed up ready to give it my all, in particular for Finestone, Karmakar, and Eaves. I am glad I did.”
With these recent victories and with the NCAA Championship only three meets away, the team is in a good position.
“[We are] focusing on improvements now: longer jumps, faster times, further throws, etc.,” Omueti continued. “The finish line is within sight and we are going to come home strong!”
Obuchowski is also confident about the team’s prospects for nationals: “There are more athletes on this team right now capable of placing at the National Championships than ever before. It’s just a great team all around,” he said. “Good people, positive attitudes, and a great understanding of what it means to have fun.”
Chicago has this weekend off; their next competition isn’t until May 15.
Murphy thinks this will allow athletes to “slow a down a bit and commit to practice, technique, and strength training while taking a break from the pressure and demands–emotional and physical–that come from competition,” she said.
“You could say the next couple of weeks are the calm before the storm,;we’ll hit the next two last-chance meets with all we got,” Murphy continued, “and then tackle nationals.”
The Maroons will next compete at the Chicago Penultimate, which they will host Saturday, May 15, at the Haydon Track.