This weekend, the Maroons head north to compete among a field of eight schools in the Whitewater Warhawk Invite, hosted by UW–Whitewater.
The Chicago men will compete this evening in the Leonard “Squig” Converse Invitational while the women begin tomorrow morning in the Warhawk Classic Invitational. In last weekend’s meet ,the women took first overall at the Illinois Wesleyan University Triangular, while the men placed second.
Both sides of the South Siders’ field made a strong impression, including third-year Ben Clark, who took the top spot in the 200-meter and came in second in the 60-meter.
“It’s just nice to be healthy,” said Clark, who doubles as a running back during the football season.
“Nate Downey and Obi Wamuo are two of the fastest freshmen that we’ve ever had at 400 meters. Having them here has re-energized my career in a lot of ways and brought me back to my ‘long sprint’ roots.”
For the women sprinters, third-year Rebecca Askins-Gast led the charge with a first-place finish in the 800-meter.
“I didn’t do anything in particular,” said Askins-Gast. “I had my usual pre-meet dinner of two half-dark specials with hot sauce from Harold’s.”
Chicago throwing was in dominant form as third-year Nkemdilim Nwaokolo swept both the shot put and weight throw. Her weight throw went further than any of the men’s. Second-year Andrew Maneval also had a commendable showing, taking first in the shot put and second in the weight throw.
“It was the first and only chance to compete against our conference rival, Wash U, before the Conference Championships in February,” Maneval said. “I was excited to get the first look at some of my competition from another UAA school.”
“I think the big obstacle is the sheer number of good teams at this meet,” he said.
Clark sees this weekend’s elevated level of competition as imperative to the team’s success in the coming month.
“Our focus is on getting better for Chicagolands and UAAs,” said Clark. “If running against good competition allows us to work a little harder and run a little faster, then so be it.”
The Maroon men will begin their test in Whitewater at 5 p.m. this evening, while the women will take an early bus up tomorrow, set to start their day at 11 a.m.