Track Video Recap: Distance Carnival Under the Lights
On Friday night, the cheers erupting on Francis Field welcomed back the outdoor track season. For the first time in three years, WashU Track and Field hosted the Distance Carnival; the Bears pushed their limits on Francis Field all evening after inviting teams across the NCAA divisions to run at the annual meet. The team is riding the momentum of a dominant indoor track campaign, where the men’s team won the national title and the women placed fifth.
The WashU Distance Carnival is significant for a few reasons: it only features long distance races, and it allows runners from Division I, II, and III to compete against each other. For top Division III athletes used to taking the lead early and never relenting, this weekend was an opportunity to be challenged by strong competition. WashU had particularly strong showings in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, and women’s 10,000m.
In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, senior Michael Ly established himself early in the race and held onto the pack leaders. He outkicked the rest of the field down the homestretch to secure second place in 9:14.91. Juniors Emily Konkus and Ella Behrens, in the women’s 5000m, worked together throughout the race. They started conservatively, and with about 2000 meters left, he started picking off competitors one by one. Ultimately, Konkus finished 4th in 16:56, with Behrens 7th in 17:03.
The men’s 5000m field was overwhelmed by the red, white, and blue of the University of Southern Indiana’s singlets. WashU senior Jacob Ridderhoff, riding off of two All-American finishes at indoor nationals, was not intimidated; he confidently led the chase pack and ultimately finished 6th in 14:36, the first non-Indiana finisher.
Finally, although the women’s 10,000m was the longest event of the night, the Bears’ standout performance kept spectators’ eyes glued to the field. About halfway through the race, senior Emma Walter started to pull away from the field and quickly established a significant lead. She crossed the finish line to win in 35:21, the third fastest time in Division III this season. The three other WashU seniors followed close behind: Sophie Young was 4th in 35:25, Kiera Olson 9th in 35:59, and Zarya deSouza 11th in 36:11.