Phillips sets provisional qualifying time at Fighting Scot Invitational

| Senior Sports Editor

Senior Dave Spandorfer runs alongside junior Will Forrester at the 2010 Washington University Invitational.Matt Lanter | Student Life

Senior Dave Spandorfer runs alongside junior Will Forrester at the 2010 Washington University Invitational.

Junior co-captain Liz Phillips set a provisional qualifying mark in the mile run, to go along with the Washington University track and field team’s five first-place finishes on Saturday at the Monmouth Fighting Scot Invitational.

Phillips ran the mile in 5:00.01 to finish in first place, one of two victories for the women’s team at the meet. Her time is the seventh best in Division III this season, which currently qualifies her for the 2011 Division III Indoor Championships in March.

“It was definitely a good race,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t a ton of very intense competition, but I got to hit a provisional qualifying time, and that was a confidence boost.”

Freshman Gabby Reuveni, running in the 5,000-meter race, picked up the other victory for the women with a time of 19:25.56. Two other freshmen grabbed second-place finishes, Jasmine Williams in the high jump (1.58 meters) and Anna Etherington in the pole vault (3.45 meters).

“We had some great things from freshmen,” Phillips said. “A lot of the girls on the sprinting side hit some personal records and had some fast splits in the 400[-meter run], so we’re definitely seeing a lot of improvement.”

The men’s side picked up three first-place finishes. Junior Dan Davis ran a 7.51 in the 55-meter hurdles, missing his record-setting time, by just 0.01 seconds that he set on Jan. 29. Teammate Tyler Jackson finished in third place in the same race (7.92).

“I didn’t hit the time that I wanted to hit, but…it was nice to validate [my qualifying time] and to be able to say that I can run that when I need to, and so when it comes down to important meets, I’ll be able to turn up the throttle a little bit,” Davis said.

Senior Alden Black and junior Michael Burnstein took first and second in the 3,000-meter run, respectively. Black finished in 8.47:00, while Burnstein came in right behind him (8:48.20). Junior Paul Garcia, recording the other victory for the Bears, finished with a time of 15:06.25 in the 5,000-meter run.

Elsewhere for the Bears, senior co-captain Chris Malaya picked up second-place finishes in the 400-meter dash (50.78) and the 200-meter dash (23.04). Fellow captain and senior Ben Harmon cleared a season-best 4.65 meters in the pole vault, good for third place, and senior Chris Brennan took second in the 800-meter run (1:57.07).

“Overall, it was just a very good meet for moving in the right direction,” Malaya said. “A lot of people tweaked their races and came out of it thinking that they had done better, knowing they had done better, and knowing that they could, by conferences, be really peaking their times.”

The Bears have just one more meet to prepare for the University Athletic Association Indoor Championships. With the temperature rising, the team is looking forward to being able to practice outside.

“Every opportunity to use the [outdoor] track is really a great opportunity for us,” Phillips said.

“Obviously, there won’t be an instant drop in times, or something, but it’s all part of the process, and I definitely think there will be a lot of improvements.”

The team’s next competition, the North Central Cardinal Classic in Naperville, Ill., begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“The meet before UAAs is always kind of a funny one, just because we’re not going to be killing ourselves,” Malaya said. “We’ll still be training through the meet, and we’ll be getting a big workload, but knowing that UAAs are coming up, that week coming afterwards is going to be very much dedicated to tapering down and being ready to perform at our best.”