The track and field team travels to Indiana this weekend for the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame. With most of the team staying behind on the Farm, only a select few athletes will represent the Cardinal as they compete for qualifying standards to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, AL, March 8-9.
The No. 9 Stanford men’s team will be represented in the 800 meters and 4×400 meter relay, while the No. 29 women’s team looks set a season-best mark in the distance medley relay (DMR).
Junior Hari Sathyamurthy will represent the Cardinal in the 800. The middle distance specialist is coming off a sophomore outdoor track season that saw him place fourth at the Pac-12 Championships. In his most recent trip around the oval at the Husky Classic last weekend, he finished ninth (1:51.20) amongst a competitive field of collegians and professionals.
At the Don Kirby Invitational last weekend, a Cardinal team composed of Julian Body, Louis Stenmark, Gabriel Navarro and Isaiah Brandt-Sims recorded the seventh-fastest indoor 4×400 time (3:11.54) in school history; the same team will be back in action this weekend. The 4×400 meter relay is one of the most competitive events in the NCAA this year. With the top 21 times in the country this season all under 3:10.00, the Cardinal men will face a tough ask as they seek a qualifying bid to the championships.
On the women’s team, sophomore Julia Heymach will lead off the all-sophomore DMR team. The relay is composed of four legs — 1200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1600 meters, in that order. Heymach, who broke her lifetime best in the mile by four seconds (4:40.94) at the Husky Classic last weekend, will compete in her first collegiate DMR this weekend.
Heymach will pass the baton off to sprint specialist Ashlan Best for the 400-meter leg, followed by Carolyn Wilson, who will carry the Cardinal through the 800-meter portion. Jess Lawson will anchor the team, as they seek to improve upon on their 11:04.47 time set at the University of Washington (UW) Invitational three weeks ago. The time ranks as the sixth-fastest in the country. With only the top 16 teams qualifying for the indoor championships next month, the Cardinal women are poised to solidify a strong qualifying performance.
“There are always nerves going into races, but Carolyn, Jess, Ashlan and I are definitely excited more than anything else going into Notre Dame,” Heymach said. “Each of us are probably more fit than we’ve ever been before. And as a team of four sophomores, we have a chance to do something really cool.”
The all-sophomore contingent has the potential to be one of the youngest DMR teams to qualify for nationals this year, according to Heymach.
“I’m proud of that and I think it speaks a lot to the growing depth of our track team,” she said. “We are only going to get better in the coming years.”
Competition at the Loftus Sports Center begins tomorrow at 11 a.m. PAT.
Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.