Sports update Feb. 28

Men’s track team repeats as conference champs

The men’s indoor track & field team repeated as University Athletic Association (UAA) champions for the first time since 2007 as the Bears captured the UAA Indoor title with a commanding performance Feb. 27 in Chicago.

The men tallied a final score of 161 points, finishing 61 points ahead of second place University of Chicago. The WUSTL women were edged by Emory University for the conference crown, finishing with 109.5 points, just 10 points behind the Eagles’ two-day haul of 119.50.

It was the 12th UAA indoor championship for the Washington U. men’s team while the women’s squad improved on a third-place showing a year ago.

Senior Ben Harmon and Dan Davis were critical to the Bears’ championship performance on Sunday, combining to garner all-UAA accolades in five events winning a pair of individual titles.

Davis captured the 55-hurdle crown with a time of 7.63 in the finals, a mark that eclipses NCAA Division III championship provisional qualifying standards but was shy of his school-record breaking mark of 7.50 from earlier this year. Davis was also the runner-up in the 200-meter dash (22.73) and finished third in the 55-meter dash (6.68).

Harmon took first place in the pole vault by clearing 4.68 meters, and he finished second in the triple jump with an impressive final distance of 14.10 meters. He concluded the meet with three UAA individual titles.

In women’s action, juniors Liz Phillips and Erica Jackey both captured all-UAA finishes in two events. Phillips won the mile run with a time of 5:06.37 and was also the runner-up in the 800-meter (2:17.79). Jackey finished third in the 800-meter (2:17.91) and teamed with freshman Allison Cesarz, freshman Liz Godar and freshman Shannon Howell to take third place in the 4×400-relay (4:07.82).

Both teams will have one more shot at NCAA qualification when they compete at the North Central College Last Chance Qualifier Friday, March 4, in Naperville, Ill.

Women’s basketball falls in regular-season finale

The No. 9 women’s basketball team dropped its season finale to No. 8 University of Chicago, 61-51, Feb. 26 at the WU Field House.

Chicago completes its season with a 22-3 record, including a 14-0 mark in the University Athletic Association (UAA) play, while WUSTL finishes the season 20-5, 11-3 in the UAA. The Maroons are the fifth team — and first since 2001-02 — to go undefeated in UAA action.

Prior to tip off, WUSTL honored its six seniors who were playing their final regular-season home game at the WU Field House: Alison Andrews, Kathryn Berger, Hannah Cusworth, Alex Hoover, Jenny Lloyd, Monika Monson.

In four years on the Danforth Campus, the seniors led the Bears to a 94-20 (.826) record, two UAA championships, two trips to the national championship game and the 2010 NCAA Division III national championship.

In the Feb. 26 loss, Hoover led WUSTL with 15 points on 7-of-7 free-throw shooting, while sophomore Kristina Anda added 12 points and sophomore Annie Sayers scored 10. The Bears shot 28.1 percent (16-of-57) from the field in the loss, including 6.7 percent (1-of-15) from three-point range.

Men’s basketball falls to Chicago

The men’s basketball team closed out the 2010-11 season with a 74-67 loss to the University of Chicago Feb. 27 at the WU Field House.

Prior to the contest, WUSTL honored its four seniors who played their final game in the Red and Green: Spencer Gay, Isaiah Honick, Caleb Knepper and Brett Sapp. The Class of 2011 compiled an overall record of 91-23 (.798) in their four seasons on the Danforth Campus, with two Final Four appearances, two UAA Championships and the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship.

In the Feb. 26 loss, sophomore Ben Hoener recorded his first-career double-double with 15 points and 10 assists to go along with seven rebounds. Freshman Tim Cooney tied his career-high with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and Gay chipped in 14 to reach double figures in scoring in 23 of 25 games this season.

Baseball loses season opener

The baseball team erased a four-run deficit against NCAA Division I Saint Louis University in its 2011 season opener Feb. 27, but it was not enough as the Billikens brought the game-winning run across the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure a 5-4 victory.

The game marked not only the 2011 season opener for the Red and Green but the first game under new head coach Steve Duncan. WUSTL and Saint Louis University were meeting for the first time since April 17, 1996.

WUSTL sophomore Max Gordon was impressive in 4.2 innings of middle relief work, fanning six batters and yielding just one base hit. Gordon walked three of the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth inning, but worked his way out of the jam and went on to retire 13-straight Billikens.

Gordon did not relinquish a single hit until Saint Louis centerfielder Danny Brennan sent a two-out double to left centerfield in the bottom of the ninth inning. After Gordon walked Zach Miller, senior H.T. Flanagan relieved him on the mound, but he gave up the game-winning base hit to Jon Myers.

WUSTL (0-1) will enjoy some home-cooking for awhile, with seven straight home games beginning with Greenville College March 1.

Softball opens on the road

The No. 7 softball team opened its 2011 season with a loss and a tie Feb. 27 at the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Memphis, Tenn. The Bears suffered a 4-2 loss to host Rhodes College in the first game, and then tied No. 19 Transylvania University, 4-4, in the nightcap.

The Bears jumped ahead of Rhodes with two runs in the top of the fourth inning after a two-run home run by freshman Maggie Mullen. Sophomore Ashley Janssen was 3-for-4 from the leadoff position, as WUSTL had seven hits in the loss. Senior Claire Voris suffered the defeat on the mound for the Bears allowing eight hits and four earned runs. She also struck out nine and walked none.

WUSTL broke open a 0-0 tie in the fourth inning against Transylvania following a two-out RBI double by sophomore Sondra Polonsky. The Bears made it 4-0 with three runs in the fifth, highlighted by back-to-back home runs by senior Ally Berenter and Voris.

WUSTL (0-1-1) returns to action on Saturday-Sunday, March 5-6, at the Warrior Spring Fling in Conway, Ark., with games against MacMurray College, the University of Dallas and Hendrix College.

Women’s tennis improves to 2-1 on season

The No. 16 women’s tennis team improved to 2-1 overall with a 9-0 victory over NCAA Division II University of Southern Indiana Feb. 26 at the Steel Shop Tennis Club in St. Charles, Mo.

The Bears opened up a commanding 3-0 lead after sweeping the doubles competition. Freshmen Evelyn Qin and Betsey Edershile were 8-2 winners over Michelle Girgenti and Lindsey White in No. 1 doubles. Junior Natalie Tingir teamed with freshman Corinne Rauck to pick up an 8-2 win over Morgan Coquerille and Ellena Stumpf in the No. 2 doubles match while freshman Theresa Petraskova and senior Elise Sambol defeated Alyssa Hoover and Logan Ackerman, 8-0.

In No. 1 singles, Tingir used three sets to hold off Girgenti, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. All five of the Bears’ other singles wins came in straight sets.

WUSTL (2-1) returns to action at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5, when it hosts the Kalamazoo College at the Kings Point Racquet Club in Belleville, Ill.

Men’s tennis competes at Principia Invitational

Freshman Naveen Chadalavada captured the No. 3 singles flight and teamed with fellow freshman Max Franklin to win the No. 1 doubles flight to highlight the No. 6 men’s tennis team at the Principia College Invitational II on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 25-26, in Elsah, Ill.

WUSTL captured four of seven singles flights at the two-day tournament. Joining Chadalavada as singles flight winners with a perfect 3-0 record were: senior David Zhu (No. 4), freshman Jeffrey Hirsh (No. 5) and sophomore Seth Sankary (No. 6).

In doubles, Sankary and freshman Tim Noack (No. 2) and Hirsh and Zhu (No. 3) rebounded after an opening day loss to UMSL to post two victories on day two to finish with a 2-1 record.

The Bears (4-2) begin a two-match home stand against NCAA Division II No. 20 Northwest Missouri State University at 3 p.m. Friday, March 11.

Swimming & diving at Midwest Invitational

The men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams had several student-athletes in competition at the University of Chicago Midwest Invitational Feb. 25-26.

Senior Kartik Anjur and junior Chris Valach each improved their chances for NCAA qualification thanks to strong swims at the meet. Anjur posted a time of 1:41.86 in a 200-yard freestyle time trial, setting a new season best in the process. Valach swam a time of 1:51.95 in the 200-yard butterfly, a mark that ranks No. 14 in Division III so far this season, putting him in strong position to make the cut for the national meet.

Junior Karina Stridh submitted a pair of strong swims for the WUSTL women’s team. She posted an NCAA “B” cut in the 100-yard backstroke (57.79), which ranks 25th in the nation, and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.92), which is the 30th fastest time in Division III this year.

The official selections for the 2011 NCAA championships will be posted Tuesday, March 8, on