Track and field teams sweep championships

Led by seniors Todd Bjerkaas, Brett Pond, Valerie Lasko and Elizabeth Stoll, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams dominated the University Athletic Association Track and Field Championships April 26-27 at Case Western Reserve University.

Rookie of the Year David Skiba
Bears freshman David Skiba, who won the 400-meter hurdles in 54.07 seconds — a personal best by more than a second — and placed second in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.03, took home Rookie of the Year honors at the University Athletic Association Track and Field Champsionships. Skiba also ran the third leg on the second-place 400-meter relay. – Photo by Mary Butkus

For a men’s squad that spent nearly as much time in the training room as it did on the track this spring, the win was especially sweet. Bjerkaas, who has battled foot, groin and ankle injuries all year, finally was healthy enough to put all the pieces together. His victories in the long jump and 100 meters set the tone for the men’s sprinters and jumpers. Bjerkaas also anchored the men’s 400-meter relay, which took second, and he took second in the 200 meters. For his efforts, Bjerkaas was recognized as the meet’s co-Most Outstanding Performer.

Pond also battled injuries all year, to his hamstring, back, Achilles’ and wrist, which kept him out of competition throughout the entire outdoor season. Taking only one attempt, Pond won the pole vault. He took second in the javelin with a throw of 54.78 meters, a personal best by more than four meters. He added a fourth-place finish in the high jump, and in the triple jump — an event in which he had not competed since junior high school — Pond delivered a 13.24-meter performance, good for fourth place.

Lasko led the charge for the women’s team, capping a stellar career with a perfect day in the sprints. She decimated the field in the 400 meters, racing to a school-record, UAA record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 57.29. She came back less than an hour later to complete the long-sprint double, winning the 200 meters with another personal record, handled second-leg duties on the winning 400-meter relay, and anchored the victorious 1600-meter relay. Both relays provisionally qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and the 1600-meter relay team set both school and UAA records.

Stoll continued her torrid spring with a pair of victories. The two-time All-American high jumper, who currently has the leading mark in the country in that event, won her sixth UAA high jump title, her third outdoors.

Other updates

WUSTL to host men’s NCAA tennis regionalThe NCAA Division III Tennis Committee selected 27 mens teams and 26 womens teams for the NCAA Division III Tournament. The men will host first- and second-round matches in the central region. Along with the 12-5 Bears, other teams are Kenyon College (18-3), Kalamazoo College (13-11) and DePauw University (8-8). The men will open play May 3 against DePauw, with second-round matches the following day. The 16-4 women’s team is traveling to DePauw, where it will face Denison College (12-2) May 3. Other teams in the bracket are Albion College (19-6) and DePauw (23-3). The baseball team headed to Case Western Reserve University looking to bolster its hopes for a post-season berth and instead left town with three losses in four games. The 1-3 week drops the Bears to 20-13 with six games remaining in the regular season. The host Spartans swept a doubleheader April 26, rolling to a 10-2 win in Game 1 and a 10-5 win in

Game 2. Steve Schmidt was touched for 13 hits and nine runs in the opener as the Bears managed just five hits. In the nightcap, the Bears scored just twice after scoring three times in the top of the first. The Bears picked up an 11-8 win in the first game April 27. William Schierding got the win and Matt Knepper threw the final two innings to get the save. Joel Farrell and Mark Pydynowski each had three hits and Joe Kelly knocked in four runs. Three errors led to four unearned runs as the Bears dropped the final game, 7-4.

For the ninth straight year, the women’s tennis team finished as runner-up at the UAA Championships, hosted this year by the University. The Bears posted a 9-0 win over McKendree College early in the week before hosting the tournament April 25-27. WUSTL rolled past the University of Chicago in the rain-shortened first round, 5-0, before picking up a 7-2 win over Brandeis in the semifinals. Top-ranked Emory University, which had won all 15 UAA titles prior to this weekend, made it 16 straight with a 9-0 win over the Bears in the title match.

The No. 25 softball team split a pair of games April 26-27 at the Illinois Wesleyan Tourney. In the opening game, the Bears scored two runs in the top of the eighth to post a 2-1 win over No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan. Junior Lorri Fehlker (7-1) picked up the win in relief. In Game 2, the Bears made five errors and had only two hits in a 7-1 loss to Chicago.

The No. 7 men’s tennis team had its hopes dashed April 27 of winning its first UAA championship by placing second for the sixth straight year with a 5-2 loss to top-ranked Emory.