Continuing their quest to win the UAA Conference meet just two weekends from now, the Maroon track and field squads traveled to Naperville to compete in the Chicagoland Indoor Track & Field Championships. Because there were so many entrants in the meet, it was broken up into two days. The women were the first to participate, competing on Friday, while the men raced the following day.
The women excelled during the meet, winning five races and capturing a slew of podium appearances. In addition, each of the victors finished in seasonal best times, denoting a steady progression and a well-timed coming of great form. Third-year Michelle Dobbs continued her dominance in the 800-meter (2:14.10), winning the event for the second time this season in as many attempts. Fourth-year Brianna Hickey slimmed down her best mile time this year by a little over two seconds en route to a 5:02.48 victory. Third-year Minnie Horvath took first in the 3k, setting a PR with a wonderful time of 10:16.66, and second-year Khia Kurtenbach posted the fourth best time in the nation in the 5k running a remarkable 17:20.86. The 4x400-meter relay team also took first place, smoking the competition, while putting up the fifth best time run so far by a Division III team.
Kurtenbach’s event was of particular note. “During the early part of the race, I tried to focus on running as relaxed as possible,” the second-year runner said. She was unfazed by “two other runners [who] really took out…and was able to just run behind them early on.” However, once the lead runners had completed about 3km, the pace began to slow, and Kurtenbach “knew that [she] needed to take the lead and push the pace if we wanted to run under 17:30.” Eventually it was just Kurtenbach and North Central’s Megan Costanzo ahead of the rest of the pack. “The last lap was really a great race between myself and [Costanzo], and we pushed each other to have a great kick at the end of the race,” Kurtenbach said of the electric finish.
The men also had a great meet, though admittedly not as good as the women’s. Of the 21 teams in the meet, they finished sixth overall, while continuing to ramp into gear for the conference meet just about two weeks from now. Third-year Nick Nielsen took third place in the mile with a 4:21.24 and continued his cutting trend. For the second consecutive meet, the runner has sliced three or more seconds from his mile time. The distance medley relay team also took third place in the meet. While the 4x400 team placed fourth, they are racing better at this time of year than they were last year, when they shocked the nation making it all the way to the Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.
This coming weekend the University of Chicago hosts the Margaret Bradley Invitational, where both the men’s and women’s teams will be looking to further improve their times as the pursuit of the UAA Championship nears its end.