Women’s track and field overcomes illness, injuries to win Engineer Invitational
Overcoming health issues ranging from food poisoning to muscle tears, the Washington University women’s track-and-field team managed a winning performance at the Engineer Invitational while the men finished fourth. The two squads combined for seven event winners at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Saturday.
The women finished first out of eight teams with 177 team points, more than 40 points better than runner-up Bellarmine University of NCAA Division II. On the men’s side, the Bears scored 72 points to edge Millikin University (70.5) for fourth place out of nine, coming behind first-place host Rose-Hulman, Wabash and Bellarmine.
Having won both the long jump and high jump at each of Washington University’s previous three meets, senior Jasmine Williams continued her streak, winning the high jump with a clearance of 1.61 meters and taking the long jump with a length of 5.24 meters. Williams’ impressive performance extended to the track as well as she anchored a first-place finish in the 1600-meter relay, teaming up with seniors Nkele Davis and Alison Cesarz and freshman Ashley Knudson.
“I always try to go out and do my best and do what I know I can do,” Williams said. “When it comes to the high jump, because it is my specialty event, I expect myself to do well and others expect a lot from me. But at times it can be frustrating. Especially when I win without getting the heights that I want, for me personally, I feel like I can always do better.”
Praising the consistency of his senior, coach Jeff Stiles added, “That’s what she’s been doing all year, and she just keeps doing it. It’s the status quo…eventually we’re hoping to get a couple bigger marks to get into nationals, but she’s been really good.”
Other individual event winners for the women’s team included senior Katie Sandson, who tallied two first-place finishes, clocking a time of 8.12 in the 60m dash and teaming up with Davis and freshmen Daisy Ogede and Kelli Hancock to win the 800 relay. The final event winner for the female Bears was Anna Etherington, who captured first place with a clearance of 3.66m in the pole vault.
The lone event winner for the Wash. U. men was freshman Ethan Brodeur, who placed first with a time of 8:36.69 in the 3k. The injuries and illnesses took a toll on the men’s side as the Bears were forced to compete without a number of their top runners. Even Brodeur was feeling a little under the weather.
“He has some of the top-10 performances all time in school history, and I think he’s also ranked 17th in the nation. He had an excellent performance over the weekend, and he’s just tenacious,” Stiles said.
While none of the injuries on the men’s side are serious, Stiles has been cautious about having his athletes compete to avoid any further setbacks. Williams provided an athlete’s perspective on how much injuries have played into the first part of the track season: “I think it’s all about taking care of ourselves. Sometimes we go too hard during practice and don’t ice or stretch like we should. We can overlook things like soreness and pain and focus too much on getting better.”
Stiles hopes to have most of the team back for this weekend’s upcoming meet at Illinois Wesleyan University.