Diaz-Arrastia and track-and-field teams shine at Keck Invitational
Competing against several strong teams at the Bob Keck Invitational in Bloomington, Ill., the Washington University track-and-field teams showed continual improvement from last week and ended the two-day meet with several season-best marks and event winners.
“This meet was a very big step forward,” sophomore Nick Alaniva said. “A lot of people did very well, and we had a positive feeling going into and coming out of the meet. Our focus is continual improvement, and I think we’re starting to show more consistency.”
The highlight of the meet was the women’s pentathlon during the combined events on Friday. Senior Anne Diaz-Arrastia lit up the track in all five events, winning with a score of 3,341 points and beating runner-up Megan Stringer of Illinois College by a margin of 114. Diaz-Arrastia’s impressive performance gave her the top spot in Division III, and she broke the school record of 3,245 points set by Alli Alberts in 2009.
“She’s been training so hard for this multi-event,” sophomore Troy Makous said. “She doesn’t usually compete in the pentathlon, but she and one of the coaches decided [at the beginning of the season] that she could have a decent shot at succeeding [in] the event. I’m glad to see her hard work pay off…her 60[-meter] hurdles and long jump were both pretty impressive.”
Junior Jasmine Williams gave the Bears two event wins by recording season-best marks of 1.65 meters in the high jump and 5.27 meters in the long jump, the latter of which ranks 11th in Division III for the season. Freshman Maisie Mahoney came behind Williams in the high jump, placing fifth with a season-best mark of 1.55 meters, and freshman Natasha Tillett posted a season-best mark of 5.10 meters in the long jump, finishing fifth overall.
Freshman Emily Warner won the 800, finishing with a time of 2:18.65. In the 1,600 relay, Warner, Diaz-Arrastia and juniors Nkele Davis and Alison Cesarz posted a time of 4:07.09 to finish first.
Warner won her third event of the meet in the distance medley relay as she teamed up with freshman Bri Tiffany, Davis and sophomore Lucy Cheadle. The quartet finished in 12:08.13, marking the fifth-fastest Division III time this season.
“I think the women are getting better and better, and they’re meeting our expectations,” head coach Jeff Stiles said. “We’re seeing some consistent improvements and great results so far…we’re definitely getting to where we want to be.”
On the men’s side, senior David Hamm and sophomore Andrew Catanese placed second and third respectively in the 3,000 as Hamm finished in 8:47.03 and Catanese in 8:47.23. In the distance medley relay, sophomore Kyle O’Malley, freshman Connor Furlong, senior Michael Benjamin and senior Victor Pinedo placed third, recording a time of 10:55.39.
In the 1,600 relay, freshman James Fitzhugh, sophomore Brendan Stone, Furlong and junior Arthur Townsend added another third-place finish in a time of 3:27.85. Although the men did not finish with any event winners, Stiles remained confident in their potential and ability to improve in their respective events.
“I’m impressed by our men’s attitude this season,” Stiles said. “Guys like Josh Clark are willing to take on new and multiple events. They know it’s all about the team, and they’re willing to do what they can do to help, which is a good thing.”
The track-and-field teams look to remain focused on their training as they prepare for the Fighting Scots Invitational in Monmouth, Ill., on Saturday, Feb. 9.
“We just have to keep working. It’s all about preparing kids to compete for specific events, and everyone has their own focus,” Stiles said. “We’re pumped up about what we’ve accomplished so far, and we’ve got to capitalize on the opportunities to get ready for the [conference championship].”