Track hits NCAA marks at Augustana, Wheaton

| Sports Editor

“Divide and conquer” was the strategy for the Washington University track and field team this weekend. While several distance runners competed at the Augustana Meet of Champions, the rest of the team was at the Wheaton College Twilight Meet.

The men’s squad’s distance runners chose the Augustana meet to face a more competitive field. The strategy paid off as junior Dave Spandorfer took second in the 10,000 meters in 30:19.99. The time was not only an NCAA automatic qualifying mark, but also a University record; the time is currently third among all 10K performances for Division III runners this year.

In addition to Spandorfer’s qualification, sophomore Michael Burnstein hit an NCAA provisional mark in the 10K with a time of 30:27.58, which also eclipsed the school’s previous 10K record set by Derrick Petermen in 1987. Burnstein’s time is currently seventh in the nation.

“I was pretty pumped because it was a personal record by two minutes,” Burnstein said. “It should be a time that gets me into nationals, which I’ve never made before.”

Junior Taryn Surtees took first in the women’s 10,000 meters with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 35:45.78. Surtees and fellow junior Jessica Londeree paced behind senior Molly Schlamb for the majority of the race. Londeree eventually dropped from the race but may compete in the 10K in the future.

“The field wasn’t that strong, so Molly was pacing for us. She really helped us out,” Surtees said. “When you have someone to block the wind and hold the pace…you can save a lot of mental energy. The last two miles, you run as hard as you can.”

Surtees, who battled injuries during the indoor season, was enthusiastic about her performance.

“I’ve had a lot of setbacks this season,” Surtees said. “I thought I had a stress fracture during indoor track, and that set my training back a little bit. This was a really encouraging race. A lot can go wrong if you’re not ready.”

On Saturday, the remainder of the team competed 150 miles away in Wheaton, Ill. Sophomore Liz Phillips reached NCAA provisional qualifying standards with a first-place time of 2:14.51 in the 800-meter run. The Red and Green had two other first-place finishes for the meet: Sophomore Dan Davis took the top spot in the 110-meter hurdles, and graduate student Pierre Hoppenot was first in the 100-meter dash.

The men’s 4×100 and 4×400 relays each took third place. The 4×400 team of Davis, Hoppenot, junior Ben Harmon and senior Chris Malaya finished in 3:19.73, and although the time missed NCAA standards, Harmon stressed potential for the race.

“We were definitely going in trying to qualify knowing that we were going against the indoor national champion [North Central College],” Harmon said. “All the legs were about even, but our handoffs weren’t really good. Everybody made moves at one point or another during their leg but just couldn’t finish, so there’s definitely room to improve.”

As the Bears prepare for the University Athletic Association Championships this weekend, training will become more relaxed as the week progresses.

“This week will probably be really light in terms of workout load and running volume…to recover from a 10K is really difficult, and [Londeree] and I could potentially end up running the 10K and 5K this weekend…We need to take it easy this week,” Surtees said. “Conference races are different than races where you’re trying to qualify…You’re running for place instead of time.”

The Bears begin preliminaries for the UAA Championships on April 23 at Bushyhead Track. Finals will be held on Sunday.

With additional reporting by Alex Dropkin