Geneva, Ohio, May 23, 2019 – The No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's outdoor track & field team is off to an early lead at the NCAA Division III National Championships as the Bears totaled five All-American honors on day one for 27 total points at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
The WashU women totaled 27 points and have an eight point lead over No. 5 Johns Hopkins. Six teams are tied for third place with 10 points apiece, including the third ranked Duhawks of Loras. In addition to the 27 points scored by the women, WashU had another Bear secure a place in Saturday's final race.
The No. 5-ranked WashU men secured four entries into their respective event finals. Leading the men's field after day one in No. 6 MIT with 14 points, followed by No. 7 John Carroll (13) and No. 1 Wisconsin Eau Claire (12).
Pole Vault Final
Senior Heidi Nassos and sophomore Julia Dannenbaum placed second and third respectively to collect 14 points for WashU in its first event competed in during the 2019 nationals. The All-American duo incredibly reached new heights with a pair of personal-bests to secure top-three finishes. Nassos' runner-up height of 4.00m was the third straight week the senior Wheaton, Ill.-native set a career-best mark. After missing her first two attempts at the 3.90m height, Dannenbaum cleared the third try and followed with a clearance of 3.95m to set her personal-best height.
Senior Natalie Rogus placed 18th out of 22 competitors in the 1,500m prelims. She crossed the finish line in 4:46.05. She had the 15th fastest final lap as she closed out the race in 1:12.402.
Junior Nick Matteucci and freshman Jacob Ridderhoff earned berths into Saturday's 1,500m final by posting top-12 times. Matteucci raced in the second heat and posted the third fastest time in the group to earn an automatic bid to the final with a time of 3:56.94. Ridderhoff edged out eight runners for the final spot in Saturday's race with a time of 3:58.16. Sophomore Tucker Cera also competed for WashU in the second heat. He completed the race in 4:01.87 to place 16th out of 20 total competitors.
Long Jump Prelims and Final
Sophomore Eka Jose broke the WashU school record in the long jump with her second attempt to set the pace for the competitors in the first flight of competition when she leaped 5.96m. The mark led the field for a long period before finally being overcome by three individuals that reached 6.00m or more. Jose placed fourth overall to collect five points for WashU by setting a personal-best by more than eight inches. The All-American honor is Jose's first at outdoor nationals.
3,000m Steeplechase Prelims
Senior Molly Shepherd ran a smart race in the second heat of the night as the top seed set a blistering speed to break the event broke the championship record. She placed eighth overall in her heat and secured the last spot in Saturday's final with the 14th fastest time overall, 11:02.63.
Junior Jack Sebok earned an automatic bid to the finals on Saturday with a top-five finish in the first heat of the day. He finished the race in 9:16.24 to place 10th overall out of the 20 student-athletes competing. Junior Marco Quaroni finished 16th in the event, running in the second heat of the night while posting a time of 9:26.76.
4x400m Relay Prelims
Senior Jason Singer, sophomore Andrew Whitaker, senior Eddie Wintergalen and sophomore John Harry Wagner entered Thursday as the top seed and finished Thursday as the top seed for the championship finale on Saturday. The Bears posted a winning time of 3:12.14, one week after setting the school record with a time of 3:09.93. Wagner will compete individually tomorrow during the 400m prelims.
Graduate student Aly Wayne kept pace with the top pack throughout the race, maintaining a position in fourth until a late surge moved her into third place. Wayne crossed the finish line in 36:01.62 and saved her fastest lap for the final of her 25 rendering a 1:19.880 split. Junior Sophie Watterson employed a similar strategy to Wayne, as she conserved her best for the finish. It may not be reflected in her splits but Watterson remained in the back of the pack for the first half of the race before slotting up the leaderboard one by one before earning her first track & field All-American honor with a seventh place finish. She finished in 36:40.26 to score two points for WashU while Wayne earned six.
Senior Brad Hodkinson placed 17th overall out of 20 runners in the 10,000. He completed the 25 trips around the 400m laps in 32:27.49 after entering nationals as the 15 seed. Hodkinson nearly matched his seeding, maintaining pace with the middle of the pack through the majority of the distance.
Julia Dannenbaum – Pole Vault (Third, 3.95m)
Eka Jose – Long Jump (Fourth, 5.96m)
Heidi Nassos – Pole Vault (Second, 4.00m)
Sophie Watterson – 10,000m (Seventh, 36:40.26)
Aly Wayne – 10,000m (Third, 36:01.62)
3:15 PM (ET) – Men's 400m Prelims – John Harry Wagner
4:15 PM (ET) – Men's 800m Prelims – Arthur Santoro
11:30 AM (ET) – Women's 3,000m Steeplechase Final – Molly Shepherd
11:45 AM (ET) – Men's 3,000m Steeplechase Final – Jack Sebok
1:20 PM (ET) – Men's 400m Final – John Harry Wagner
2:00 PM (ET) – Men's 800m Final – Arthur Santoro
3:00 PM (ET) – Women's 5,000m Final – Aly Wayne