Track and Field: Bears’ early-season work continues at Snowbird Open

| Sports Editor

Competing for the second time of the indoor season, the men’s and women’s track and field teams each took second place at the Illinois College Snowbird Open.

St. Ambrose bested the Red and Green by fewer than five points for first place overall in both the men’s and women’s meets.

“Since we don’t have an indoor track, these early meets are an especially important part of our training regimen, as well as helping us figure out where we are as a team right now,” co-captain Caitlin Hartsell said.

Hartsell earned six points for the Bears during the meet, taking seventh in the 55-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash. Freshman Anne Diaz-Arrastia was the top point-earner for the women’s squad with a fifth-place finish in the 55-meter dash, sixth in the 55-meter hurdles, and third in the long jump.

“In high school, I never did any indoor meets, so to try those events is something new for me,” Diaz-Arrastia said. “It’s helped me work on my speed, endurance and a lot of things that I never had the opportunity to try in high school. The coaches are definitely always looking to develop you as an athlete.”

In addition, Wash. U. took first in both the 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay while turning in the second fastest time in the 4,000-meter distance medley relay. Junior Sangeeta Hardy took the top spot in the 800-meter run, sophomores Lacey Vogel and Catie Reynolds claimed second and third in the mile run, and classmate Katie Hered placed third in the pole vault.

The men’s squad saw a number of impressive early-season performances. Sophomore Dan Davis took first in the 55-meter hurdles (7.75), and was pleased to run a time close to that of his NCAA-qualifying mark last week. But he stressed that the team has significant goals beyond scoring points.

“It’s good for us to get work in competing,” Davis said. “But the placing isn’t as important this early in the season as the experience we’re getting.”

Top-three men’s finishes also included sophomore Matt Rickard in the 800-meter run and senior Alden Black in the mile, while the Bears claimed the top spot in the 4×400 relay and second in the 4×200 relay. According to Davis, notable performances included a first-place time of 50.38 seconds in the 400-meter dash by senior Chris Malaya and pole vaulting from juniors Ben Harmon and Scott Pettit.

“You can see [the fall training] working,” co-captain Harmon said. “We’ll probably keep practicing pretty hard for the next couple of weeks, but as soon as we get into [UAA] conferences, we’ll probably cut back the work a little bit. The improvements will become even more significant, so this is another step along the way.”

With additional reporting by Alex Dropkin