SPORTS

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April 8, 2011

Maroons face big hurdles at home

Chicago will be running under the clouds again tomorrow as the forecast calls for high humidity and a chance of rain, increasing the difficulty of the outdoor meet. Chicago will be hosting the Chicagolands Championships, where competition will also be stiffer than last weekend’s meet, which might make this weekend a tough meet for the Maroons.

One notable change to this year’s Chicagolands Championships is that this year standards have been put in place to speed up the meet. “It was getting overwhelming and difficult to get through the meet with so many competitors,” said head coach Chris Hall. The new standards will limit the number of events athletes can participate in. Hopefully these standards will both keep the meet moving and prevent athletes from running in races that they don’t qualify for. “Coaches in the past were sometimes exaggerating seed times to get athletes into better races and this should prevent that from happening,” Hall said.

Chicagolands is another opportunity for the Maroons to improve, and while the championships are not until the end of the month, the the team is staying focused. “The UAA conference is definitely on our mind,” said Hall.

The Maroons will face stiffer competition than last weekend. “The high level of competition in turn allows us to push ourselves to higher levels,” Hall said. The upcoming championships will remain an important factor as well. “The athletes know they only have this meet and one more to establish performances that will get them onto our roster so there is a sense of urgency with high quality performances,” Hall said.

Despite the approaching UAAs, the Maroons are trying to keep their focus on the meet ahead of them. “We just had our first outdoor meet, so I am not pressed yet for thinking about UAAs or NCAAs” said fourth-year sprinter Stephanie Omueti, who placed second in the women’s 200-meter dash last weekend at the Ted Haydon Invitational.

Thinking about Championships too early could also be harmful to the team. “I found that worrying about making the roster or not is detrimental as you begin to suffer from ‘paralysis by analysis.’ My goal is just to race and try to win my heat, hopefully the qualifying times will come,” said second-year middle-distance runner Anthony Farias-Eisner, who placed second in the 800-meter run last weekend.

While individual goals vary, the Maroons still run as a team. “As a team we want to win conference,” Omueti said. Individual runners push themselves to support the team as a whole. Any win is a victory for the team.

“Pushing yourself to pass that kid on the home stretch to move up another place; that can make all the difference in winning a meet,” Farias-Eisner said. This meet will be no different.

“I don’t put more emphasis on competing hard at one meet over another. I compete with the same intensity at all meets,” said Omueti.

“I am hoping to compete hard, well, and with fire in my eyes.”

Starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. on the Ted Haydon track the Maroons will continue on their way to the UAAs.

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