Relay Teams Highlight Final Tune-Up Before Conference Meet
Both the women’s distance medley relay and the men’s 4×400 meter relay posted new school records as the Washington University track and field squads finished in second place at the North Central College Cardinal Classic in Naperville, Ill., over the weekend.
The women’s team of senior Molly Schlamb, sophomores Erica Jackey and Liz Phillips, and junior Sangeeta Hardy ran the event in 11:51.32. The time bested the previous record of 11:55.12 set in 2005 when the Bears beat North Central College’s team by more than 30 seconds. The relay squad automatically qualified for the NCAA Division III indoor championships and had the second best run in all of Division III this season.
“There had been a lot of anticipation going into this race, and it felt so good to finally run it and accomplish our goal of qualifying for Nationals,” said Jackey, who credited team chemistry for their success.
“You can have a lot of talented individuals,” Jackey added, “but to have a great relay team, they have to all be willing to gut it out for each.”
The distance medley relay team now joins sophomore Dan Davis in the 55-meter hurdles and junior Ben Harmon in the pentathlon as Wash. U. athletes who are guaranteed a spot at nationals in Greencastle, Ind., next month.
Jackey also won the 800-meter event with a time of 2:21.24, and the women swept the top six positions in the 3,000-meter dash, with junior Jessica Londeree (10:24.66), sophomore Catie Reynolds (10:48.81), and sophomore Lindsey Vogel (10:49.21) leading the way.
The men’s record-setting 4×400 relay team of senior Chris Malaya, Harmon, Davis and graduate student Pierre Hoppenot fell short of victory to Lewis University, but managed to post a provisional qualifying mark for the national meet.
“We had the mindset that ‘we are going to make nationals,’ and none of the four of us doubted that for a second,” Harmon said.
The men emerged victorious, however, in the 3,000-meter run. Senior Alden Black ran a time of 8:51.56, Hoppenot took first in the 55-meter dash with a 6.64, and junior Dave Spandorfer took first in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:44.96. Spandorfer’s time also was good for provisional qualifying.
Dan Davis’ undefeated streak in the 55-meter hurdles finally came to an end in the form of disqualification. The elimination came after Davis knocked over a hurdle to prevent himself from falling.
“It’s frustrating, but it happens,” Davis said. “I’ve been there before, so I guess I just have to keep moving forward and not really think about it, because it’s not that big of deal.”
In the larger scope, the men and the women posted 15 season-best times between them just two weeks before the University Athletic Association conference meet at Brandeis University.
“We had a lot of great performances,” Jackey said, “This will provide the confidence and the momentum that we need going into the UAA championship.”
With additional reporting by Alex Dropkin