Track and field showing promising improvements in I55 Triangular meet
After a week of tough practices in the harsh cold and wind, Washington University’s track-and-field team relied on strong performances from its standout athletes to stay competitive in the I55 Triangular meet Saturday in Bloomington, Ill. The men’s team won the meet for the third straight year while the women finished third out of three teams.
Scoring a total of 133.5 points, the men’s team won six individual events and beat the University of Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University by comfortable margins. The women scored 99.5 points, falling behind first- and second-place UChicago (121) and IWU (110.5). While head coach Jeff Stiles described the meet as “average,” he was pleased with his team’s progress in its second indoor meet of the season.
“We certainly have a lot to improve on, but I think we saw a lot of positive things to take away from this,” Stiles said. “Our goal was obviously to win on both sides, but our practices haven’t been going as well because of the weather. We have high expectations for ourselves, and I think we took a step in the right direction.”
Junior Nick Alaniva contributed to the six victories on the men’s side with a first-place finish in the men’s pole vault and a height of 4.40 meters, while freshmen Ben Horowitz and Dominic Maley came behind him, finishing fourth and fifth with heights of 4.10 and 3.95, respectively. According to junior Troy Makous, Alaniva dominated the event because of a lack of competition.
“I think it was hard for him to get much adrenaline going since he had such a huge edge on others,” Makous said. “He’s always been pretty consistent in this event, but I know he really wants to go much higher, which I’m sure will happen with the way he’s practicing.”
The Bears put on a solid performance in the women’s pole vault as well as senior Anna Etherington led the way with a first-place finish at a height of 3.80 while junior Claire Simons finished second with 3.41 and senior Moira Killoran in fourth with 3.11. Stiles praised Etherington for her focus and thirst to become a national champion.
“We have the best pole vault coach in the country, and Anna [Etherington] has really progressed well throughout her time here,” Stiles said. “She’s never satisfied with herself, and she always puts in the work needed. She is the heart and soul of our team.”
The men’s team discovered hidden talent in senior Alan Komorowski, who has played primarily varsity baseball for most of his collegiate career. Komorowski showed his potential as a dual athlete when he placed first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.81 seconds, followed by sophomore James Fitzhugh, who earned a second-place finish with a time of 23.34. Komorowski also showed his speed in the men’s 60-meter dash, finishing second in 7.165 seconds, slightly behind Alaniva, who was first in 7.163.
“[Baseball head coach Steve] Duncan told us that he would be a great addition, and I really couldn’t agree more,” Stiles said, adding that Komorowski “is leading the conference in the 200 right now, and he just keeps getting better and better. We’re lucky to have him.”
Freshman Ethan Brodeur also showed his potential with a first-place finish in the men’s 800, recording a time of 1:57.28, and the 1,200, placing second with a time of 3:06.53. Stiles was impressed with the freshman’s durability after having just 45 minutes of rest between races.
“I didn’t really know who he was, but he certainly has caught my eye now,” Makous said. “I think he performed well over our expectations, and he’s just a true stud.”
Senior Jasmine Williams and junior Lucy Cheadle contributed three of the women’s team’s first-place finishes as Williams recorded a height of 1.55 meters to win the high jump and a career-best distance of 5.48 meters in the long jump, while Cheadle won the 3,000 with a time of 10:32.66. Despite the win, Cheadle treated the event as an indicator of her progress.
“It was fun to get back into it again, but it was nothing exceptional,” Cheadle said. “I was pretty conservative in the first half and was aggressive in the second. I knew there wasn’t going to be any extremely fast runners, so I wasn’t surprised by the results.”
The track-and-field teams will return to action on Feb. 1 at the Engineer Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Stiles hopes some currently injured runners will be able to participate by then.