Track and field sends more to the NCAA Championships

| Sports Reporter

The Washington University track and field team met five NCAA provisional qualifying marks during the weekend in a men’s fourth-place and women’s runner-up finish at the Illinois Wesleyan Bob Keck Invitational.

The meet began on Friday with the pentathlon, an event in which two Wash. U. athletes succeeded in meeting the NCAA qualifying mark in their first attempts of the year. Sophomore Ben Harmon captured first place with 3,597 points for the No. 20 men while senior Alli Alberts placed second for the No. 9 women with 3,245 points.

“It’s a great feeling. [It’s] what we work toward all fall and winter, and it might have been our only chance to run the pentathlon before the NCAA Championships,” Harmon said.

Harmon added two more first-place finishes in the long jump and high jump while Alberts won the 800-meter run and was runner up in the high-jump.

The two remaining individuals who met the NCAA provisional qualifying marks both came from the women’s side. Sophomore Taryn Surtees won the mile run, and senior Danielle Wadlington placed second in the triple jump. Wadlington has also qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 55-meter hurdles.

“It’s really awesome, not just for me but the whole team. [We had] a lot of personal bests, a lot of season bests. We’re a much stronger team overall than last year,” Wadlington said.
The Lady Bears also provisionally qualified for NCAA Championships in the distance medley relay, with a time of 11:58.03.

The women also received strong performances from freshman Elizabeth Phillips, who placed second in the 800-meter run with a Wash. U. season-best time of 2:18.81, as well as seniors Erika Wade and Caitlin Molloy and freshman Imari Mason. Wade, Molloy and Mason placed third in the 400-meter dash, 55-meter hurdles and long jump, respectively.

On the men’s side, freshman Dan Davis was the only other Bear to post a first-place finish. His time of 7.82 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles is a Wash. U. season best, but it fell just 0.09 seconds short of qualifying him for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Seniors Michael Waterson and Nate Koslof, sophomore Scott Pettit and freshman Wayne Banks also turned in strong finishes. Waterson finished third in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:53.26, Koslof finished fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.72, Pettit turned in a Wash. U. season-best of 4.37-meters in the pole vault for fourth place and Banks placed fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 13.70 meters.

“[The team] did really well as a whole, about three-fourths of the team set personal bests, and we had multiple NCAA qualifiers. It was a really good weekend overall,” Harmon said.

The indoor season continues next Saturday, Feb. 14, when Wash. U. will compete in the Monmouth College Invitational in Monmouth, Ill. The invitational marks the Bears’ second-to-last meet before the 2009 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships on March 6-7.

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