Although the Maroons will be running in hot and humid Atlanta this weekend, the team is looking forward to the exciting competition at the UAA Outdoor Championship.
“Unlike high school, where most teams race the same teams every week and at championship meets, we don’t see our rivals that much over the course of the year, but that doesn’t diminish the amount of passion that we feel during the competition,” fourth-year Brian Andreycak said.
The increased level of competition at this weekend’s championships is even more of an incentive for runners to give their all. “Even though the competition is in Atlanta—Read: hot weather that’s bad for distance runners—I think that the competition will be good and I may be able to run some fast times,” second-year Julia Sizek said.
This weekend’s meet will also be slightly different than other meets of the season. It lasts two days‑ with preliminary events, and some finals for distance and field events on the first day, and final heats of the rest of the events on the second day.
Because the conference meet is unique, the team trains differently to prepare for it. “When it’s time for the conference meet, we back off our training a lot, though not too much, since we have another month of competition afterward,” said Andreycak.
This high level of competition is also a time for runners to set personal records. “The thing I most want to see our team improve upon is overall energy,” head coach Chris Hall said.
Unfortunately for the Maroons, a number of deserving runners will not be running this weekend because of travel restrictions. “The guys who made the cut over those who were equally deserving have a responsibility to prove they belong, and I’m confident that they will,” Andreycak said.
The UAA Outdoor Championship is a team-driven event, and unity amongst Chicago will play an important role. “This is our most important ‘team’ meet of the outdoor season,” Hall said. “We need to really come together as a program and support one another better than we have throughout the outdoor season,” Hall said.
Scores will be considered differently at this meet, as well. “At UAAs, it’s all about the final team standings. We have our goals as far as those are concerned, and that’s often how we judge the meet,” Andryack said.
In order to foster morale, the Maroons encourage cheering for each other. “At conference meets we have a very strict cheering policy in that you must be cheering at the meet, so there is generally a lot of support,” Sizek said.
Even though the field events are often in a different area from the track, the Maroons try to be supportive throughout. “One of our goals every UAA meet is to be the most supportive team out there, and we usually succeed,” Andryack said.
The last few weeks have been difficult for Chicago. “It has been really tough getting up for performances in the miserable weather we have had,” Hall said.
Conference meets, however, might be different. “Mentally, it’s usually easier to get totally dialed in,” Andryack said.
For the fourth-years on the team, this meet is a great chance to leave a final mark. “Our senior class has been a huge part of every conference roster we’ve been on, going back to our championship team indoors 2008, when we brought about 10 freshmen out of 25 men. Hopefully we can make this one a fitting end to our UAA careers,” Andryack said.