Track and field teams take first, second place at second meet, while golf and men’s tennis continue to roll

and | Senior Sports Editors

Sophomore Mason Wong runs the 1500 at the WashU Quad Meet, March 27. Wong placed second in the 5000 at the Bears’ second meet of the year this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Schaefer / WashU Athletics)

The Washington University men’s and women’s track and field teams excelled in their second meet of the season this weekend, recording 43 top-three finishes Friday. Men’s tennis dominated their opponents, dropping only three games in the two matches, while women’s golf captured their tournament win as a full team. Softball split a tough-fought series against Illinois Wesleyan University with solid pitching and streaky bats. 

Track and field keeps winning in first away meet

The Wash. U. women’s track and field team won in their first away meet of the year, as the men’s team came second. At the 1st Chance Quadrangular Track and Field Meet, the teams competed against North Central, the University of Chicago and Elmhurst University. Individually, the men’s team recorded seven first place finishes. 

The women had several dominant performances. Senior Eka Jose took her second consecutive win in the triple jump, improving her performance from last weekend with a 11.82 meter jump. The women headlined many of the mid-distance and distance events as well. Freshman Ally Sarussi crossed the line in 2:16 in the 800, followed closely by four other teammates. Junior Emma Walter, continuing her win streak from last weekend’s 1500 meter victory, also won the 5000 in front of four teammates. 

For the men, senior Andrew Whitaker in particular had a standout performance, taking the victory in the 110 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles. Freshman Alex Djetto also won the 200 meter and took second in the 100 meter dash, running 10.97.  

[What you missed from the Bears’ first meet of the year ]

Mason Wong, a sophomore, took second place in his second meet representing the Bears, running 15:11 in the 5000.  The men packed up through 3800 meters before splitting for the last 1200 meters of the race. Wong said the presence of his teammates behind him kept him both accountable and motivated. ”If they’re up there, then I have to be there too when the race gets hard,” he said. “They’re not giving up, so you can’t either.”   

Many of Friday’s victories or top placings came from underclassmen. “It’s fun because you want to see how you stack up to the people you look up to,” Wong said on being able to compete with the other 5000 meter upperclassmen athletes. He says he is relating to the other freshmen in respect to the novelty of competing in the Bears uniform for the first time.  

Head coach Jeff Stiles, however, saw this coming. “Is it surprising? No. It’s awesome,” he said. “We see people at every single grade level performing well, which is hard to do.”

Women’s golf captures the Illinois College Classic in their first full team performance

The Wash. U. women’s golf team won its first full tournament of the spring on Friday at the Illinois College Classic. As it has for much of their season, young players led the Bears to success. Freshman Caroline Oakley, freshman Krystina Wilson and sophomore Alena Lindh all shot 81s on the day, ending in a three-way tie for third place in the event. Meanwhile, freshmen Gwynnie Lee and Gianna Inguagiato tied for sixth place, each shooting an 84 on the day. “It’s so fun being able to come onto the team and immediately start playing and watch our names up on the scoreboard,” Lee said of the freshmen play this year. 

The combined score of 327 for the Bears landed them firmly in the top spot at the day’s end, with second place Iowa Wesleyan University finishing a whole 26 strokes behind. Eight representatives from five other universities also competed, but only two managed to place ahead of the main Wash. U. team. 

[Caraline Oakley tells the story of how she won big in her first collegiate tournament]

Coming off a home tournament last weekend in which they finished fourth, head coach Mary Swanson made sure to take what the team learned from that event into Friday’s matchup. “We made sure to prioritize our short game and prepare for windy conditions,” she said. “We saw that these were areas that needed work from our performance at our home invite.” The Bears hope to take the momentum they gained from this win into the University of Missouri-St. Louis Invite Sunday.

Men’s tennis puts up spotless wins against Webster, Gustavus Adolphus and Lindenwood

The Wash. U. men’s tennis team is heating up. After dropping their first match against Memphis (4-3) to start the season, the Bears have now won four contests in a row, dropping only a single match in the process, and they are 5-1 on the season.

The Bears started their week on Thursday against the Webster University Gorloks, and from top to bottom they dominated their opponents. The three doubles teams swept their matches without dropping a single game, and across their six singles matches, Wash. U. dropped only two games on their way to a 9-0 sweep. Multiple Wash. U. players tasted their first varsity action of the season, including sophomore Lucas Guy and juniors Sam Komis and James Shaheen.

Senior Ethan Hillis returns a shot vs Webster University, April 1. Wash. U. swept Webster 9-0 on Thursday, then trounced Gustavus Adolphus University 8-1 Saturday before beating Lindenwood University 9-0 Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Schaefer / WashU Athletics)

In their match on Saturday against Gustavus Adolphus, the Bears continued to roll. Gradudate student Scott Altmeyer and sophomore Abhi Ramireddy remained undefeated at No. 1 doubles and Nos. 1 and 2 singles, and the only “loss” suffered by Wash. U. came after Ramireddy retired his match at the No. 5 spot due to injury. Senior Daniel Li says that even though competition has not been too tough, the Bears feel good about their wins. “We don’t want to play down to our competition,” Li said. “We want to play to our level, and we want to keep improving our play.” This upcoming week will give them a true test with three matches in four days, including a matchup with Division II UMSL. “I think my sophomore year, we played them once, and we played a pretty close match, so it’ll be a good one,” Li said.

The Bears beat Lindenwood University on Tuesday, 9-0, and will take on UMSL Thursday.

Softball rides their bats to victory in game one, to defeat in game two against Illinois Wesleyan

After a commanding 8-3 victory over Greenville University on Tuesday, the Wash. U. women’s softball team split a pair of games against Illinois Wesleyan on Friday, moving to 6-7 on the season.

The Wash. U. bats led the way in the first game. The Bears put up four runs in the third, highlighted by a two-RBI single from senior Natasha Ramakrishnan, and solid relief pitching from junior Holly Stoner quieted the Illinois Wesleyan bats for the most of the game. “I was working on doing the opposite of what [starting pitcher Madison Denton] had done for the first few innings,” Stoner said, “so it was kind of turning a 180 on their hitters so then they were seeing something different.” With a three-run triple in the bottom of the sixth by junior second baseman Katie Gould, the Bears took a lead 7-5, which they held for the rest of the game. 

Stoner—one of only three healthy Wash. U. pitchers this season—stayed on the mound to start the second game, where the Titans bats finally managed to get to her. Senior Kendall Schwartz came in relief and tossed four scoreless frames, and a three-run third inning made it a close contest, but the Bears could not quite claw back, ultimately falling, 4-3, in one of their tightest games of the season. 

“We’ve just had things come up, and so we’re doing our best to try to manage that,” head coach Michelle Venturella said on the shortage of pitchers. “When someone’s available for the day, sometimes a few innings here and there, we figure out how to put them in.” 

“It’s a little stressful,” Stoner said, but she added that the pitching staff has “definitely been able to work through it, and there’s a lot of trust between the pitchers.” 

As the team hits the halfway point in the season, they will face stiff competition in the form of No. 7 DePauw University on Saturday and Millikin University on Sunday. 


The journey to springHow Wash. U. athletics have been preparing for this season all year long:

No school, more tennis: What life has been like for one student-athlete who took the year off

‘Every day I feel like there’s a little bit more light’: Anthony Azama on the uneasy yet hopeful start for this semester’s sports

‘I couldn’t be prouder as a coach’: How members of the track team helped each other overcome quarantine hurdles

 

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