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Sports roundup: Football, cross country, and soccer teams give Maroons good reason to cheer

After nearly 75 years, the Chicago Maroons football team is back on top. The Maroons ended the 1998 season with their first-ever University Athletic Association title, the team's first conference championship since 1924, when Chicago belonged to the Big Ten. The Maroons clinched the title in a 16-6 victory over Case Western Reserve University on November 14.

Recording consecutive winning seasons for the first time since football returned to the quads in 1969, the Maroons finished with an overall record of 7-2 and a five-game winning streak, the longest streak since 1929. The team had a 4-0 record in league play and held their nine opponents to just 94 points, a school record.

Fourth-year tailback Brandon Way scored two touchdowns against Case Western, becoming Chicago's all-time leading scorer with 208 points. A four-time All-UAA pick, he finished with 3,253 rushing yards—the second most in school history—and was also named the league's offensive player of the year. Thirteen other players were also chosen for the All-UAA first and second teams.

Head coach Dick Maloney and his assistants were named the UAA's coaching staff of the year. Maloney improved his campus career record to 29-18 (.617). He's now had three winning seasons in the past four years—a feat last matched by Amos Alonzo Stagg in 1921–24.

Despite their success, the Maroons didn't go to the Division III playoffs—a committee of coaches and athletic directors picked four winning teams from each of four regions, and Chicago didn't make the cut.

Meanwhile, the women's cross-country team qualified for its Division III championship competition, taking sixth place at the November 21 meet. The team made it to the national competition only once before, in 1993, finishing 14th. This year, third-year Rhaina Echols led the way with a third-place finish and a time of 18:02.95 over the 5-kilometer course. Earning NCAA All-America status, she was also named the Midwest Region athlete of the year.

Head coach Jim Spivey, a former Olympian, was named the Midwest Region women's cross-country coach of the year in his second year at Chicago.

Earlier in the season, the team placed second at the Midwest regional championship, with Echols taking top honors and second-year Margaret Bradley coming in ninth. At the UAA championships, Echols and Bradley led the team to a fourth-place finish by running first and seventh, respectively. Both women earned All-UAA first team honors, Echols for the second year in a row.

Back on the playing fields, the women's soccer team made its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III championship, where the Maroons were beaten 3-0 by Macalester College in the Central Region final on November 7 after defeating Wheaton College 2-1 the day before. The kickers finished the season with an overall record of 14-5-1 and a UAA record of 4-3-0. Third-year forward Jessica Berry earned a place on the All-UAA first team for the second straight year.

Third-year midfielders Kate Cortis and Cinnamon Pace—the Maroons' leading scorer this season, with 22 points—joined Berry on the first team, while goalkeeper Alexa Williams, a fourth-year, was named to the All-UAA second team.—K.S.

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