Making a short trip to nearby Naperville, Illinois this past week, the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the North Central Dr. Keeler Invitational. Continuing to build upon their already successful résumés, both teams enjoyed a number of strong individual performances, many of which came among an extensive number of competitors. With the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships approaching, the Maroons sought to build on their previous achievements; however, the athletes’ internal drive did not take away from team unity. According to second-year Chase Gardner, “Even though most of us were competing to improve our personal records, everyone was invested in each other’s success. At the end of the day, I think that helped produce a lot of PRs (and we had a lot).”
For the men, a number of athletes enjoyed impressive finishes in various events. In sprints, second-year Nike Reid managed two top-25 performances, capturing 13th place in the 200-meter and exceling in the 100-meter as well. Meanwhile, first-year Henry Myers outran much of the competition in the 1,500-meters, placing 10th in a crowded field of 96 runners. Fellow first-year Sam Craig also enjoyed a top-30 finish in the event. As for long-distance events, both Chase Gardner and fourth-year teammate Ansel Richards earned top-30 finishes amongst 101 runners in the 5,000-meter. To round off a successful meet, the 4x400-meter relay team, composed of first-year Dillon O’Loughlin, fourth-year Ben Chaimberg, and third-years Tyson Miller and Elliott Paintsil, took fifth place, while third-year Alexander Scott took home sixth in the shot put.
As for the women, the Maroons excelled in a variety of events. In the 400-meter, two Chicago runners earned top-10 finishes, with first-year Meg Fitzpatrick and fourth-year Tali Naibryf taking seventh and ninth, respectively. Meanwhile, fourth-year Nicole VacaGuzman added to her already dominant season, capturing third in the 800-meter. First-year Kaitlyn Van Baalen also earned a top-20 finish in the event. However, Chicago’s long-distance runners refused to be outdone, as three athletes finished among the top 15 of their events. In the 5,000-meter, third-year Claire Brockway took home seventh while third-year Maggie Boudreau and second-year Maggie Habib earned fourth and 13th, respectively, in the 10,000-meter. Also contributing to a successful team showing, the 4x400 meter relay team, composed of VacaGuzman, Fitzpatrick, Naibryf, and third-year Mary Martin, captured an impressive second-place finish. Finally, in field events, fourth-year Alexandra Thompson took fifth in the high jump while first-year Isabel Maletich narrowly missed a first-place finish in the long jump, placing second with a final distance of 5.79 meters.
This past week’s meet marks the penultimate regular season outdoor competition for the Maroons. Reflecting on the trip, Chase Gardner remarked, “End of the season meets like this are always a blast…. I thought the energy the team brought was superb.” Very pleased with the high number of personal achievements, Gardner added, “Watching a teammate elevate to a new level is (almost) as exciting as doing it yourself.” Gardner and the rest of the Maroons will look to continue improving their performances this week as the teams seek to finish the regular season on a high note with a return to North Central College for the Gregory Invitational.