While many of us were traveling and enjoying time off from school this past winter break, a select few of our classmates trained for the beginning of the indoor track and field season. The Maroons will open their 2013 season this Saturday when they compete against UW–Oshkosh in a dual style meet.
In last year’s meet against Oshkosh, the men lost 87–47 while the women lost 88–48. Oshkosh enters the season as a strong team. In the USTFCCA preseason rankings, they rank third in the nation on the men’s side and second on the women’s side. Comparatively, the Maroons enter the season with the men ranked 56th and the women 53rd. The Maroons will look to improve their rankings this year after a productive off-season.
“I know some guys and girls invested a lot of time into their training over the break, so it’s exciting to see what happens this weekend,” second-year Kevin Vollrath said. ”I think the team has done just what it needed to over the past couple months and that we’re ready for a great season.”
Last year’s team fell short of expectations with a third-place finish by the women and a fifth-place finish by the men in the conference meet. However, Chicago has a strong team this year, with numerous returners such as fourth-years Billy Whitmore (5000m) and Kayla McDonald (800m) and second-year Pam Yu (long and triple jump), all ranked nationally in their respective events. In addition, a slew of young talent joins the team and will look to prove itself, starting this weekend.
“Things go up,” Vollrath added. “Runners will have new opportunities to test and prove themselves. It’s hard to tell for this meet though, because we hardly have any idea how good any of us are right now.”
The meet will serve as a sort of warm up for the upcoming season. While most of the team will compete, those who remain injured from fall sports—such as cross-country or football—will continue to rest. While everyone expects to put in his or her best effort, one shouldn’t expect national qualifying times or distances from team members just yet.
“This meet will be a great opportunity to test ourselves and see where our fitness is and what to work on,” Vollrath said. “Right now, we’re just fired up.”
In addition to the normal races, jumps, and throws, both Oshkosh and Chicago will compete in an annual dizzy bat race. The comical event will take place most likely towards the end of the day for those interested in attending.
The meet will take place this Saturday starting at noon at Henry Crown Field House.