In their first meet of the outdoor season, the Maroons defeated nine rival Illinois schools to take first place in the Ted Haydon Invite at home this past weekend on both the women’s (248 points) and men’s (198 points) sides.
Running, jumping, and throwing in the wind, the women took the top prize in nine different events, and the men claimed six event victories.
Second-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo won the hammer throw and the discus, beating out the field in the discus by more than three meters with a throw of 40.09m. Fourth-year Jennie Porter won the 400-meter hurdles and ran the third leg of the winning 4x400-meter relay team.
The Maroons took the top four places in the 400-meter run, with first-year Michelle Dobbs winning in 59.17 seconds. Fourth-year Elise Wummer (800-meter), second-year Brianna Hickey (3,000-meter), second-year Theo Kassebaum (100-meter hurdles), and first-year Jadylin Tolda (pole vault) also won their events as the South Siders finished almost 200 points ahead of second-place Concordia.
Chicago took the top four spots in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on the men’s side, led by fourth-year Griffin Brunk. The Maroons had the most success in the longer-distance events, with fourth-year Daniel Povitsky winning the 3,000-meter and first-year Gareth Jones the 5,000-meter. Second-year Ryan Manzuk also ran away with the 400-meter hurdle win by more than three seconds.
The 4x100-meter team—composed of first-year Won-Jae Rho and second-years Jake Romeo, Benjamin Clark, and Zachary Jenkins—won a photo finish over the University of Illinois–Chicago, 43.47 seconds to 43.49.
Predictably, another event winner on the men’s side was second-year pole-vaulter Michael Bennett, who won the pole vault at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in March.
Coming off his national championship, Bennett has high hopes for the outdoor season.
“Winning the title indoors has not changed my mindset,” Bennett said. “When the weather gets better, everyone, myself included, will be able to turn in some really big performances on the national honor roll.”
The adjustment from indoor to outside didn’t seem to bother the Maroons.
“Weather aside, it gets easier for almost every running event because they don’t have to deal with the tight turns of an indoor track,” Bennett said. “Jumping events, everyone needs to make adjustments for the wind now that we’re outdoors.”
The Maroons compete this weekend at Chicagolands in Romeoville, IL.