Men’s track repeats as UAA champs; women’s 3rd

| Sports Editor

Junior Jessica Londeree paces herself as she passes a runner from Greenville College.

While the rains from this past weekend may have thrown off the schedules of several sports and events at Washington University, the men’s and women’s track teams remained undeterred through the elements in their biggest meet of the spring season.

The men repeated as conference champions, while the women’s team placed third of seven schools, at the 2010 University Athletic Association (UAA) Outdoor Championships this past weekend, held here at Bushyhead Track.

For the men, the title was the team’s second in a row and its 13th in school history.

“We did a great job of just going out and competing,” said head coach Jeff Stiles, commenting on the team’s effort in the rough conditions. “Competitors thrive in adverse conditions and I would certainly hope that we have a team full of competitors.”

Junior Ben Harmon’s 1.95 in the high jump won him one of the men’s team’s two individual championships for the day. His win in the final, which was pushed to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, was his second UAA title in the event and first since 2008.

“I tried to get there early and warm up and be prepared. It took a couple of jumps, but it felt good,” Harmon said. “It was nice to get the win.”

The other individual victory on the men’s side belonged to sophomore Dan Davis, whose 14.63 in the 110-meter hurdles put him just short of his season high of 14.61 and earned him the title. Right on Davis’ heels, at 14.67, was sophomore Tyler Jackson in second.

Other strong efforts for the men’s team included those of graduate student Pierre Hoppenot, who finished second in the 100-meter dash at 10.79 and third in the 200-meter at 22.22, and senior Chris Malaya, who took third in the 400-meter dash in 50.79.

All of the combined efforts put the men’s team ahead of second-place University of Chicago (163), with a final score of 192 points.

For the women’s team, the weekend was considered a strong one by the team despite not managing to bring home the conference title. The team finished third with 134 points, behind the University of Chicago at 201.50 and Emory University at 199.50.

“We’d like to think we can always do better, but we really did a good job and pulled through,” sophomore Katie Hered said. “We show a lot of promise and keep getting better.”

Individual winners for the women included Hered, whose performance was highlighted by a season-best 3.45 meters in the pole vault, and sophomore Liz Phillips, who took the 800-meter run in 2:22.57. Freshman Anne Diaz-Arrastia’s 11.92 meters in the triple jump was also good enough for a first-place mark.

Junior Kelli Blake also had a strong performance, as her 2:22.69 in the 800 put her just behind Phillips.

With UAAs behind them, the Bears begin their final month of the season on Saturday, May 1st. As they begin their final push with the Monmouth College Meet in Monmouth, Ill., the focus for the teams is shifting towards fine-tuning their main events for NCAA Championships later in the month.

When the time comes, the Bears insist they’ll be relaxed and ready. “Once you get in the mindset that, ‘it’s not your job, but that you also want to have fun,’ it comes a little easier,” Harmon said. “Training-wise, everything just kind of focuses towards that one event, and everything falls into place.”

With additional reporting by Alex Dropkin

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