Track and Field: Davis and Hoppenot steal the show in record fashion

| Sports Reporter

Sophomore Dan Davis finally reached his automatic qualifying time for the 55-meter hurdles, while setting a new Washington University indoor record in the process with a time of 7.53 seconds, en route to another victory at Monmouth College.

But Davis, who broke his own record set last week, was more excited about the meet’s implications for this season.

“I was ecstatic to hit [the automatic qualifying mark]…I think the whole team, as well as myself, is moving into great position for conference,” Davis said. “All of our indoor training up until this point is directed toward everyone hitting their best marks at conference, and I think that’s what’s going to happen.”

Graduate student Pierre Hoppenot, who has four victories in four appearances this season in the 200-meter dash, also set a new school mark, passing Antone Meaux’s 15-year-old record of 22.54 seconds. He regarded the accomplishment in a forward-thinking manner.

“Breaking the record is obviously a nice reminder that training hard pays off,” Hoppenot said. While Hoppenot acknowledged there isn’t a 200-meter dash event at nationals, he’s excited about the promising prospects of the 4×400 team that he is a part of.

“We have a good team…I am just trying to get faster and help my teammates get faster,” Hoppenot said.

The men’s team also had a strong showing in the 3,000-meter run, where junior Dave Spandorfer (8:32.80), sophomore Michael Burnstein (8:38:40), sophomore Tucker Hartley (8:45.07) and senior Matt Kruger (8:59.38) teamed up to sweep first place through fourth place. While Wash. U. fielded many strong performances, scores were not kept comparing the various competing schools.

The big event on the women’s side was the mile run, in which sophomore Liz Phillips fell 1.40 seconds short of making the provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA national championships in March. Her impressive 5:06.40 was also just 1.48 seconds short of a victory that went to Simpson College’s Catie Ellingson. Fellow sophomore Erica Jackey joined Phillips in the top three with a time of 5:08.05.

Other medalists for the women were graduate student co-captain Caitlin Hartsell, who grabbed third place in the 200-meter dash at 27.66 seconds, and sophomore Katie Hered, whose 3.05-meter pole vault was good for third place. Hartsell’s time was her season best, and Hered’s placed for the fourth time in the 2010 campaign.

For the men, senior Zach Griffen nabbed second in the 5,000-meter run (16:07.04), sophomore Tyler Jackson rounded out the top three in the 55-meter hurdles (7.90), and junior Scott Pettit pole vaulted 4.35 meters for a third-place finish. Davis also had a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.75 seconds.

The Bears will wrap up the regular season next weekend at the North Central College Meet in Naperville, Ill., before heading to Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., for the UAA indoor championship. “Everybody’s a little more focused now and pretty excited for the UAAs,” Hered said. “Individually, we have a lot of strong athletes. Hopefully, we can tie it all together.”

With additional reporting by Johann Qua Hiansen