Squads take high marks in first outdoor home meet

| Sports Editor

Junior Jessica Londeree wins the women’s 1,500-meter run on Friday. The Lady Bears took first place in the Mini Meet.

Spring is here, and the Washington University women’s and men’s track squads celebrated with first- and second-place finishes, respectively, at their first full outdoor home meet of the season. “From what I heard from everyone else, [the season] started off on a really good note,” co-captain senior Hana Damore said.

The Wash. U. Mini Meet on Bushyhead Track marked the full transition from the indoor to outdoor season for the Bears as last week’s Rhodes College Open was an optional meet. The Red and Green’s competitors included the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Wheaton College, Truman State University and Greenville College.

On the women’s side, a first-place overall finish for the day was highlighted by four individual finishes in the top spot. Freshman Jennifer Ibe was first in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking in at 16.32 seconds despite being seeded at 15.80 as strong winds affected competitors. Senior Hana Damore threw 42.73 meters in the hammer throw, encountering difficulty in her first few throws before qualifying for finals and winning the event. “It was nice to pull it out in the end,” Damore said.

Juniors Sangeeta Hardy and Jessica Londeree finished first in two distance events, the 800-meter and 1,500-meter run, respectively. Other Lady Bears had strong second-place finishes including junior Moji Hassan in the discus throw, sophomore Amanda Matheson in the 100-meter hurdles and senior Caitlin Hartsell in the 100-meter dash.

The Bears’ second-place finish to Wisconsin-Platteville in men’s competition was led by three individual first-place finishes and the top time in the 1,600-meter relay. Sophomore Tyler Jackson was first in the 400-meter hurdles and teamed up with senior Alex Molinari, junior Tom Gulyas and sophomore Kevin Privalle for the relay win.

Junior Dave Spandorfer and graduate student Pierre Hoppenot added to the first-place tallies with victories in the 1,500-meter run and 200-meter dash, respectively.

The men also put together two-three finishes in the pole vault, 100-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles. Sophomore Dan Davis (11.26) edged Hoppenot by 0.03 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

Davis (14.99) and Jackson (15.55)  came in second and third in the 110-meter hurdles as both raced against defending Division III national champion Edgar Townsend of Greenville College, who finished in 14.80 seconds.

Juniors Ben Harmon and Scott Pettit also had a two-three finish in the pole vault, with both clearing 4.55 meters. Harmon had a busy  afternoon doing three events at once. According to Harmon, he took a few throws, did a few practice jumps at the pole vaults and then ended up having to do the hurdles.

The Bears return to action Friday and Saturday for the Washington University Invitational, which will occur on Francis Field. The meet begins Friday with distance and multi-events. The team appreciates having home-field advantage. “You get to sleep in your own bed. You aren’t crunched for time,” Harmon said. “It’s always good to have your classmates and other sports teams come out and cheer for you.”

With additional reporting by Johann Qua Hiansen

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