Men’s DMR set up for nationals with performance at Last Chance meet

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Connor Morello and Mick Stanovsek celebrate after their win in the DMR at the Last Chance College Elite Meet.

With Washington’s distance medley relay team sitting on the bubble at 11th place nationally, and with two weeks left before nationals, Mick Stanovsek was determined to ensure the men’s DMR team would not leave this season empty-handed.

The team finished with a 9:28.14 at the Last Chance College Elite Meet on Friday night —  the third best time in school history — and more importantly gives Washington more breathing room to allow them to qualify for nationals.

“We’re really process-driven,” Stanovsek said. “We don’t worry about the results too much. We enjoy the process and this was the cherry on top.”

The team had to undergo a couple of personnel changes going into the meet. Freshman Cass Elliot stepped in for Evan Mafilas to run the 400-meter leg. Connor Morrello stepped in for Talon Hull, running the 1,200-meter leg for the first time.

“As a coach, that’s scary but he was confident,” head coach Andy Powell said. “He thought he could get it done and he set the tone.”

With three legs down, the time was 5:33 with six laps to go. Stanovsek ran a 3:55 in the final leg to give Washington the necessary breathing room to qualify. Despite the stakes, Stanovsek believed it was his time to shine.

“We knew that this was our last chance,” Stanovsek said. “Inherently, there is some pressure, but I think I thrive off that pressure. The bigger the stage, the better the performance."

To qualify for the NCAA Championships, a relay team must be in the top-16 nationally. Currently, Villanova sits in 16th place with a 9:49.57.

The last meet before NCAA Championships is the MPSF Championships, which will be on Friday Feb 22 and Saturday Feb 23.

Rusnak climbs UW all-time ladder in 200

Sophomore Hannah Rusnak ran the 200-meter dash in 24:57 to enter the top seven in indoor school history. Rusnak beat her previous indoor personal record of 25.14 by almost six-tenths of a second.

“I just pushed out and tried holding it as much as possible,” Rusnak said. “Usually, I get afraid of the curve, but this time I just tried going right through it and it helped me a lot.”

Primarily a multi-sport athlete, Rusnak did not compete in the pentathlon today, but still felt this meet was important for her confidence and preparation.

“I really needed to stay in the groove of things,” Rusnak said. “Obviously it helps doing hurdles and the 200[meter]. It kinda helps me practice on the things I need to work on.”

With NCAA Championships looming, Rusnak plans to participate in the pentathlon at the MPSF Championships next week. Currently, her best performance was at the UW Invitational when she scored 3665 total points. She sits in 45th, and will need to score 4066 points if she plans to be eligible for the pentathlon in nationals.

Other Notes:

  • Junior Chase Smith had an indoor personal best of 18 feet and 1.25 inches, which allowed him to win the pole vault.

  • Senior Imani Apostol surpassed her previous personal best in the Women’s 400-meter dash with a time of 55.80.

Reach reporter Daniel Li at Twitter: @Daniel_Li7

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