Two distance records highlight WU Invitational
In a field featuring more than 3,000 student athletes representing 50 collegiate teams across all NCAA Divisions and the NAIA, the women’s team finished in second place overall with 79 points, bested only by NCAA Division II Lincoln University (152). The men’s side finished sixth with 50 points and had the second-highest point tally among NCAA Division III schools. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville won the men’s competition with 74 points.
Cheadle, Padgett and senior Anna Etherington were the only event winners for the Bears over the Friday-Saturday meet, but head coach Jeff Stiles feels that placing in this meet is not indicative of how an athlete performed.
“We’re always gearing for two things: the conference championship and the national championship. We’re looking at what can score at conference…you look through the lens of [University Athletic Association] and national championships,” Stiles said. “You may have a kid get 37th place but you look at it like, ‘Wow, that would score at conference.’”
Padgett took to the track Friday evening in the men’s 5,000-meter run and bested his school record by nearly 15 seconds. His time of 14:10.80 was also nearly 11 seconds lower than the previous track record at Bushyhead Track, set by two-time Olympian Craig Virgin as a student at the University of Illinois.
Cheadle followed on Saturday in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase, an event she hadn’t run in nearly two years after sitting out the outdoor season last year with an injury.
“It was really exciting and a great indicator at this point in the season, especially considering I hadn’t done a steeple in two years, so it was really exciting to go and see what I was capable of,” Cheadle said. “We’ve been doing a lot of hurdle work all winter, and I’ve gotten a lot stronger this year. I felt really prepared, even though technically it’s been [two] years since I’ve raced it.”
After having her bicycle stolen from outside the Athletic Complex during the week, Cheadle was able to turn her week around with a time of 10:29.58, nearly 45 seconds faster than her closest competition. She bested the previous school record by more than 10 seconds and the previous track record by more than 12.
“The goal was to run 10:40.00, which is a pretty reasonable pace for me at this point…During the race, I went out a little bit faster, but I pretty much ran consistently,” Cheadle said. “I could tell that I was running decently fast, but I wasn’t sure what time it was.”
The women’s pole vault continued to be a strength for the Bears as three of the top five finishers in the meet represented the Red and Green. Etherington won the event with a clearance of 3.95 meters, and junior Claire Simons finished second with a clearance of 3.65 meters. Senior Moira Killoran also cracked the top five with a jump of 3.35 meters.
“We had a lot of good stuff…Overall, it was great,” Stiles said. “The meet was the biggest it has ever been, so it was a lot of great competition…For the women to finish second and the men to finish sixth against [28 and 32 teams, respectively] is really good.”
Wash. U. will return to action this weekend in Greenville, Ill., at the Greenville College Select Meet.