After successful seasons, WU Sports take aim at glory in UAA Championships
After an excellent spring invitational season, Washington University’s track and tennis teams will turn their attention towards their conference championships.
Track and Field
The Washington University track teams will travel to Atlanta, Ga. this weekend to compete in the University Athletic Association Outdoor championships.
The No. 6 Wash. U. women’s team won the UAA Indoor Championship back in February and appears to be good position to earn another. No. 9 Emory University will likely be the fiercest competitor for the top finish this weekend.
A number of great individual performers give the Bears reason for hope. The women have excelled in the 10000-m this season. Graduate student Aly Wayne, junior Sophie Watterson and sophomore Katie Snodgrass have posted the top 3 times in the UAA, respectively. They are the only runners to have posted times under 37 minutes in the conference. Another cluster of Bears top the 100-meter hurdles leaderboard for the season. Sophomore Caira Watson-Haynes has the fastest time in the UAA at 14.33. Senior Jay Pittman is right behind her at 14.60. Sophomore Julia Dannenbaum and senior Heidi Nassos have the first and third highest marks this season in the pole vault. Sophomore Eka Jose, already an indoor national champion in triple jump, has the best mark in the nation in the outdoor season, at 12 meters flat. Wash. U.’s conference-leading performers are complemented by solid performers in relay events and throwing events.
For the No. 8 men, they will attempt to build upon their runner-up finish in the UAA indoor championship. To take the top spot, they’ll need to unseat Carnegie Mellon University. In each race, Wash. U. has a competitor near or at the top of the conference. Senior Eddie Wintergalen and Carnegie sophomore Marvin Bennett are second and first in the 100 m, respectively, and first and second in the 200 m, respectively. Who comes out on top in that race will go a long way toward determining which team will win it all.
Sophomore John Harry Wagner has posted the top times in the 400-m and 800-m this season, with times of 48.07 and 152.75, respectively. Junior Nick Matteucci ran the fastest 1500-m and 5000-m in the conference. Senior Brad Hodkinson’s time in the 10000-m is another conference topper. Sophomore Andrew Whitaker has the fast time in the 110-meter hurdles going away, at 14.97. The second fast time, held by teammate sophomore Jacob Gray, is nearly .4 seconds slower at 15.35. Whitaker is also second in the conference in 400-meter hurdle. Juniors Marco Quaroni and Jack Sebok are the first and second fastest 3000-meter steeplechasers in the conference, at 9:14 and 9:17, respectively. Collis McKenzie’s 2 meter high jump is another conference topper.
The excellence in these events will hopefully cover the Bears’ weakness in throwing events, and field events like the long jump and triple jump. At the Indoor championships, the bears did not have participants in throwing events and only lost by six points.
The UAA Championships will start Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m.
The Washington University men’s and women’s tennis will also vie for the UAA championship this weekend in Alamonte Springs, Fla. The No. 6 men’s team comes into the weekend hot, having won nine of their last ten matches to finish 16-5 on the season, while the No. 15 women’s team also finished the regular season strong, winning six of their last seven to pull above .500 this spring at 11-10 after a tough start to the year.
After finishing fourth in the UAA regular season standings, the Wash. U. men are seeded third in the tournament out of eight teams. In the quarterfinals Friday morning, the men’s team will take on No. 15 Carnegie Mellon. The Bears have already bested the Tartans twice this season, once at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association indoor championships in February, 5-4, and again in Orlando, Fla., over spring break, 6-3. Last year, Wash. U. beat Carnegie Mellon in the UAA championships third place match, 6-3, so the Bears will look to continue having the Tartans’ number.
The women, who finished sixth in the UAA during the regular season and are seeded sixth in the tournament, will face no. 11 University of Chicago in their own quarterfinals. In the two teams’ only match this season, the Maroons blew out the Bears, 8-1, but that was before Wash. U. finished the regular season hot with three wins that included a victory over Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis and ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Senior Konrad Kozlowski and junior Bernardo Neves will be a key pair for the Bears. The doubles team is 11-1 at first doubles, providing a reliable presence at the top of the lineup for Wash. U. Thanks to the tournament’s seeding—Chicago, whose first doubles team was the only one to beat Kozlowski and Neves this season, is ranked first, so the teams cannot meet until the finals—the Bears could have an exciting opportunity for revenge if both teams win their first two matches. Sophomore Ethan Hillis, in his first UAA championship after joining the Bears last fall as a transfer from Amherst College, will also be a key player to watch. He has not lost a singles match in over a month.
On the women’s side, junior Zoe Park heads to Florida on a hot streak. Park has won her last seven singles matches and finished 9-3 for the regular season. She was also the only Bear to win against Chicago earlier this month. Seniors Lisa Chionis and Brigitte Hodge will play a major role at championships as well, providing leadership on and off the court.
The tournament starts on Friday, April 26, at 8:30 a.m.