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1992 Track and Field Team (2004)

The dream of January had become the trophy of May. The countless winter hours of pounding the hallways and rambling through snow, ice, and cold had been worth it after all. The drought of eight years was over, and victory rained down once again. The Loyola track and field men once more stood alone at the pinnacle of power in the Chicago Catholic League. Coupling superb balance with superior depth, the Ramblers captured the Catholic League title in true team fashion, relying on the cooperative effort of many rather than the dominant performance of the few. In doing so, the 1992 Track and Field Team staked its claim to a place alongside the legendary teams in Loyola athletic history. Under the guidance of Coach Frank Amato (Hall of Fame, 1990) and assistants Dan Seeberg, Hobie Murnane, Ned Dooley, Matt Dixon, and Tony Wichmann, the Ramblers developed rapidly through the indoor season as they prepared for the Catholic League indoor meet. A solid third place at the prestigious Evanston Relays the week before brought a Loyola team brimming with confidence to the league indoor meet at Oak Park. Led by co-captains Dave Behof, Alix Charles, Chris Colllins, and Christian Strachan, the Ramblers took the title by nearly thirty points over runner-up St. Ignatius. Individual titles went to Behof in the 1600-meter run (4:41), Strachan in the 800-meter run (1:59.7), Bill Reardon in the shot put (49Õ11Ó), and the 4x800-meter relay team of Behof, Andrew Power, Sebastien Ergas, and Strachan (8:28). It was depth, however, that carried the day. Second-place finishers helped the Ramblers pile up the points: Alix Charles in the 55-meter high hurdles (7.7, new school record) and triple jump (43Õ4Ó), Chris Collins in the 55-meter dash (6.4), the 4-lap relay team of Jon Higgins, Bill Drehkoff, Ryan McCarthy, and Collins (1:15.8), and the 4x400-meter relay team of Erich Haupt, Dean Martinez, McCarthy, and Strachan (3:39.6). Third-place points came from Steve Misetic in the shot put (47Õ 8.5Ó) and Chris Lawrence in pole vault (12Õ). Paul JosephÕs fourth place in the 3200-meter run (10:20.3) and Khris RichardsonÕs sixth in the 800-meter run (2:11) closed out the scoring. One week later, Loyola concluded the indoor campaign by taking the prestigious Proviso East Classic meet, in the process setting five new indoor school records: Collins in the 200-meter dash (23.3), Charles in the 55-meter low hurdles (7.4), Behof in the 1600-meter run (4:32.1), and Strachan in the 600-meter (1:27.8) and 800-meter (1:58.3) runs. LoyolaÕs thinclads stormed through the outdoor season, picking up team titles at the Rolling Meadow Mustang Invitational and the Glenbrook North Spartan Relays. However, adversity came in the form of injuries to two key runners. Behof and Strachan were sidelined with stress fractures, and would have to stay off their feet for at least six weeks before they could begin running again. Only Strachan would be ready for the outdoor championship meet. Doubt was in the air. Loyola answered the doubters in fine team fashion, scoring in 15 of 18 events in an impressive display of balance and depth. They grabbed the title by just seven points over St. Rita, which took six first places. Loyola won only two events, yet matched St. Rita at every turn with timely performance from its supporting cast. In such a close meet, every Rambler point scored was a significant point. The most dramatic moment of the meet occurred in the triple jump. With all other events completed, the meet hung in the balance: the triple jump would decide the title. Alix Charles, in his final jump, leapt 42Õ 10.5Ó to claim first place and ten points for the Ramblers, ensuring victory. The only other first place for Loyola came in the first event of the meet, the 4x800-meter relay, with Power, Ergas, Richardson, and Strachan taking the race in 8:19.9. The Ramblers grabbed five second places: Collins in the 100-meter dash (10.8), Strachan in the 800-meter run (1:59.7), Reardon in the shot put (50Õ0), Lawrence in the pole vault (12Õ6Ó), and the 4x200-meter relay team of Higgins, Brendan Collins, McCarthy, and Chris Collins (1:33.4). Third place points came from Charles in the 110-meter high hurdles, Mike Brannigan in the 300-meter hurdles, Steve Misetic in the discus, and the 4x100-meter relay team of Higgins, Collins, McCarthy, and Collins. Joseph took a fourth in the 3200-meter run, as did Chris Collins in the 200-meter dash. R.J. Vanecko won fifth in the discus, as was Matt Cox in the pole vault. Sixth places from Misetic in the shot put, and Bill Drehkoff in the 300-meter hurdles, and the 4x400-meter relay team of Dan McGillien, Pat Rodriquez, Power, and Haupt added all-important points to the narrow margin of victory. At the IHSA Sectional meet the following week, Loyola sent qualifiers to the state meet in six events while finishing a solid second to Evanston in the team standings. Steve Misetic won the shot put (52Õ2Ó) while the team of Power, Ergas, Strachan, and a healthy Behof won the 4x800-meter relay (8:07). M.V.P. Chris Collins qualified in two events with second-place finishes in the 100-meter (10.8) and 200-meter (22.2) dashes, and he was joined by Alix Charles with a second in the 110-meter high hurdles (14.7) and Bill Reardon with a second in the shot put (51Õ 6.5Ó). Hard-working, disciplined, and purposeful, the 1992 Track and Field Team met every challenge with the superior talent of the few and the collective might of the many. It has earned its rightful place among the elite teams in Loyola track and field history.

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