This past weekend, track and field kicked off their season with the Phoenix Invite. Since UChicago began hosting the annual invitational in 2014, the Maroons have placed first among all participating teams each year. With high hopes and a reputation to uphold, they headed energetically into the season on Saturday. Both the men’s and women’s teams posted scores in the mid-200s, with both first runners-up placing below the 150 mark. I spoke with fourth-year runner Rohan Kumar to understand the future of the team from a seasoned perspective, especially with the Maroons pulling so far ahead in their first showing of the season.
Beginning with the meet itself, Kumar spoke of the momentum that builds when the whole team begins winning their respective events. Beyond the high from winning each event, Kumar mentioned the infectious energy of certain members of the team; this season, fourth-year Andrew Kates and coach Chris Hall have focused on energizing the team. The whole team builds off that good energy, and Kumar looks forward to moving with it every day.
Looking ahead, Kumar cautioned fans to keep a close eye on the first-year class: “This year we have a really strong freshman class whose contributions are already clear.” As for the rest of the team, he added, “Pay attention to [third-year] Ryan Cutter, [fourth-year] Andrew Kates, [third-year] Will Shine, and [second-year] Henry Myers, who recently rated in nationals.” Explaining how he could foresee the good fortune of his team, Kumar said, “It looks like we have the best distance team possibly ever. Cross country can be indicative of the track team’s success as many players cross over.”
Cross country runners are not the only players switching their trade for the season. Second-year Rachael Hutson brings her soccer talents to distance running as well. Hutson won her first collegiate race at the Phoenix Invite, winning the 3000-meter event with a time of 10:54. In fact, the first four spots in the 3000-meter were filled by Maroon athletes.
According to fourth-year Laura Darcey, the women are of the same mind as Kumar. Speaking on the great opening yesterday, she said, “We have had a great class of freshmen join the team, with particular strength in the sprints, which will really help us as we move forward through the season.” Darcey certainly has nationals on her mind as she admitted, “I am really excited to see how this team progresses this quarter as we prepare for UAAs and ultimately nationals!”
In terms of the field team, Kumar shared his foresight, insisting that “[fourth-year] Alex Scott, one of our team captains, is looking to have a dominant season in shot put and weight throw. [Third-year] Chris Dann as well—they have the grace and strength to dominate this year.”
Good luck to the Maroons as they move forward this season!