Track and Field brings home five individual titles from UAA Indoor Championships
In one of the most important meets of the season, the Washington University track-and-field teams put on an impressive effort that head coach Jeff Stiles described as “championship-like” and “gutty.” On Saturday and Sunday, the Bears put on a show at the University Athletic Association Indoor Track Championship, winning five individual titles, breaking six meet records and setting three school records.
The Red and Green finished second on the women’s side with 131 points, only one point shy of first-place Emory, while the men’s team placed third with 78 points, falling behind Carnegie Mellon University (139) and the University of Chicago (87). Although the women’s team could have been UAA champions with one more event win—the Bears finished second behind Emory in the 4×400-meter relay, the last event of the day—Stiles chose to focus not on the final score but rather on the strong finishes that he saw from many of his runners.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team and their performance,” Stiles said. “We performed really well, and everyone gave it everything they had. We broke multiple records, and the culmination of our hard work showed. We’re just really happy with how things turned out.”
Sophomore Lucy Cheadle and junior Anna Etherington set a confident tone on Saturday as each broke the school and meet record in her individual event. In the 5,000 meters, Cheadle won and posted a time of 17:04.20, beating the 14-year-old school record by 3.6 seconds and the meet record by 0.6 seconds.
“When I ran that event two weeks ago, I was trying to run a fast time, so my pacing was a little off,” Cheadle said. “This time, the plan was to go out slow and accelerate the entire time…keep pushing it gradually. It was so much fun to see the entire team cheering, and I think I ran with a lot of spirit, which helped me in the end.”
Cheadle added another individual title, placing first in the women’s 3,000 with a time of 10:08.56. Etherington dominated in the women’s pole vault, finishing first and posting a mark of 3.97 meters, which broke the UAA record of 3.68 meters and improved her own school record by 0.01 meters. Sophomore Claire Simons and junior Moira Killoran tied for third in the event, each posting a height of 3.36 meters.
“It was great to see her have another strong performance,” Stiles said about Etherington. “We knew she was ready, and I know the amount of hard work she puts in on a day-to-day basis. It was rewarding to see her excel.”
In the women’s long jump, senior Anne Diaz-Arrastia and junior Jasmine Williams placed second and third with distances of 5.67 meters and 5.43 meters, respectively. Both earned all-UAA honors and posted career-bests. Despite suffering from leg cramps early in the meet, Diaz-Arrastia persevered and won the individual title in the women’s triple jump, recording a leap of 11.60 meters.
“She couldn’t finish the 55-meter hurdles because of the cramps,” Stiles said. “But she had a good comeback in the triple jump, and hopefully she’ll be fine by nationals.”
Freshman Emily Warner had notable performances in the 400 and 200. In the 400, Warner finished with a time of 57.51, placing second and breaking Valerie Lasko’s school record of 58.54, set back in 2003. She also placed third in the 200 with a time of 26.36.
“We moved Emily around a lot in several events,” Stiles said. “She did really well and scored a lot of points for us as a team, which was crucial.”
On the men’s side, junior Kevin Sparks and sophomore Nick Alaniva had noteworthy outings in their individual events. In a close race, Sparks won the men’s 3,000, posting a time of 8:39.33 and beating out the runner-up by 0.43 seconds. Sparks was also the runner-up in the 5,000, recording a time of 14:52.62. Senior David Hamm and junior Michael Ellenberger finished behind Sparks, placing fourth and sixth with times of 14:59.37 and 15:10.78, respectively.
“I could tell that he really wanted to win the 3k,” Cheadle said. “He fought really hard, and it was such a tight race. I’m glad he got that win, and he said he felt pretty good throughout the race.”
Alaniva had one of his best performances in the men’s pole vault, finishing runner-up with a height of 4.63 meters, while senior Kevin Lind and sophomore Troy Makous finished in fifth and eighth, each posting heights of 4.18 meters. In the men’s 400, junior Arthur Townsend finished strong, placing second with a time of 50.39 while freshman James Fitzhugh placed fourth (50.44).
Both men and women had closes races in the 4×400 relay. On the women’s side, junior Nkele Davis, Williams, junior Alison Cesarz and Warner teamed up to place second with a time of 4:01.42 while Fitzhugh, freshmen Alex Bastian and Connor Furlong, and Townsend finished as runner-up, posting a time of 3:25.85 in the men’s race.
“I thought both 4×400 teams did really well, even though we didn’t win,” Cheadle said. “Everybody gave it all they had, and it’s always inspiring to see your teammates do really well.”
The Red and Green will return to action next Saturday as they attend the UW-Stevens Point Last Chance meet in Stevens Point, Wis. This will be the last meet of the indoor season before the team attends the NCAA Indoor Championships from March 8-9.
“All we need to do now until the championship meet is to rest up and be relaxed,” Cheadle said. “We’ve got some more work to do, but we need to be confident and trust ourselves. It’s always an honor to get to run at nationals, and I can’t wait.”