Saturday, June 23, 2018

Washington alums Izaic Yorks and Mel Lawrence earn podium spots at USATF championships...

DES MOINES, Iowa—University of Washington alum Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts scored a surprising second place finish in the men’s 1500 at the USATF Outdoor Championships Saturday at Drake Stadium.

As is usually the case in a championship race, the pace for the first 800 went out cautiously, with all 13 athletes bunched together.

The racing got underway shortly after the 800, as Oregon alum Eric Jenkins of the Nike Oregon Project went to the front entering the bell with fellow Oregon alums Sam Prakel and defending Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz just ahead of Yorks, as the field dropped from running 65 seconds on the previous lap to 57 seconds.

Yorks somehow got out and found running room, but could not quite close on Centrowitz, who ran a 53.59 last lap to Yorks’ 53.76.

Centrowitz’ winning time was 3:43.37 to Yorks’ 3:43.63.

New Brooks Beast member David Ribich, who got into the finals after winning a protest after getting knocked down in the semis on Thursday, finished 12th in 3:46.04.

Another University of Washington alum, Mel Lawrence, got herself on the podium in the 3000 steeplechase, as she finished third in a personal best 9:33.30 behind winner Emma Coburn (9:17.70) and Courtney Frerichs (9:18.69), the gold and silver medalists at last year's World Championships.

Lawrence, competing for Seattle-based Oiselle, was fifth at USAs a year ago, moving up two spots this year.

In the men’s 400 hurdles, Washington State alum CJ Allen finished sixth, as the two-time Pac-12 champ ran a season best 49.58.

North Carolina’s Kenny Selmon took the national title in 48.21.

Whitworth’s Andrew Bloom finished 15th in the men’s javelin with a toss of 213-5 (65.06m). Curtis Thompson was the winner at 249-3 (75.99m).

After four events in the women’s heptathlon, Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson stands 11th at 3437 points.

The senior from Doty, who was sixth at the NCAA championships two weeks ago, ran 13.91 in the 100 hurdles, cleared 5-6.5 (1.69m) in the high jump, threw 41-2.25 (12.55m) in the shot put, and ran the 200 in 24.79.

Erica Bougard is the day 1 leader at 3866 points.

In the first round of the mens’ 110 hurdles, former Renton resident and 2016 Olympian Devon Allen ran the fastest time of the day, clocking 13.45.

Allen will run the semis Sunday, with the finals the last event of the meet at 2:52 pm, pacific time.

Besides Brooks-Johnson and Allen, others with Washington ties competing Sunday include Katie Nageotte in the women’s pole vault, Washington alums Eleanor Fulton and Katie Mackey, along with Mackey’s Brooks Beasts teammate Allie Buchalski in the women’s 5000; former Emerald Ridge HS standout and 2016 Olympian Hassan Mead in the mens’ 5000.

Sunday’s competition will be televised live on NBC from 1-3 p.m. Pacific.

Complete day 3 results from the USATF Outdoor Championships are available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cougar alum CJ Allen advances to finals in the men's 400 hurdles at USATF championships...

DES MOINES, Iowa—In what was a light day of competition for Washington athletes, Washington State alum CJ Allen (left/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to the finals in the 400 hurdles Friday at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium.

Allen, a former Pac-12 champion in this event, ran 49.71 to finish fourth in his heat.

Allen will run in the finals Saturday at 1:36 pm.

Washington’s Andrew Gardner finished seventh in his heat of the men’s 3000 steeplechase, running a personal best of 8:36.02, topping his previous best of 8:37.07 set in the finals of the NCAA championships two weeks ago.

In the men’s 400, both Rainier Beach HS alum Michael Berry and Foss HS grad Marcus Chambers both came up short in advancing to Saturday’s final.

Berry was disqualified for taking steps inside his lane in his semifinal race, while Chambers was sixth in his heat in 46.13.

In the evening’s final event, Bellevue native Katie Burnett (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished second in the women’s 20k race walk.

Burnett clocked 1:37:56, as Maria Michta-Coffey won yet another national title, with a time of 1:35:22.

Burnett was in third for the first half of the 50-lap race around the Drake Stadium oval, taking over second after the 10k mark.

Besides Allen in the 400 hurdles final, fellow WSU alum Alissa Brooks-Johnson will compete in the heptathlon Saturday.

Also competing Saturday are Whitworth’s Andrew Bloom in the javelin, Devon Allen in the 110 hurdles, Mel Lawrence in the women’s steeplechase finals, and Izaic Yorks & David Ribich of the Brooks Beasts in the men’s 1500m finals.

Ribich, who was knocked down in his heat and finished tenth Thursday in 3:59.16, won an appeal to be added to Saturday’s final.

Saturday and Sunday’s competition will be televised live on NBC from 1-3 p.m. Pacific.

Complete day 2 results from the USATF Outdoor Championships are available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vancouver's Kara Winger wins national title number eight as USATF Outdoor Champs opens...

DES MOINES, Iowa—In businesslike fashion, Vancouver native Kara Winger (above/photo by Mike Scott) won her eighth career USATF national title in the javelin, as the USA Track & Field Outdoor championships began its four day run at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

Winger led from start to finish, with her first round throw of 186-7 (56.89m) good enough to win.

However, the three-time US Olympian, who attended Skyview HS, put it all together in the sixth and final round, throwing the spear 206-3 (62.88m), a season best and a marginal improvement on her previous US leading mark of 205-7 (62.67m) set in Offenburg, Germany on June 2nd.

“I really wanted to set the tone early in the competition, and I didn’t do that. In the sixth round, I was in the lead going into the finals, so I was the last thrower, so it was a lot easier to throw and let it happen", she told USA Track & Field.

In a mild surprise, Western Washington grad and former NCAA Division II champ Bethany Drake finished fourth in the competition, throwing a personal best 177-10 (54.20m), while fellow Viking alum Katie Reichert missed the finals by one spot, finishing ninth at 164-3 (50.07m).

In other finals Thursday, University Place native and 2016 US Olympian Andrea Geubelle, competing for the first time outdoors this season after suffering a hamstring injury, finished fifth in the triple jump, jumping 44-1.5 (13.59m), as Georgia’s Keturah Orji won with a meet and stadium record of 47-10.5 (14.59m).

There was a bit of drama surrounding the women’s triple jump involving runner-up and American record holder Tori Franklin, as Franklin, who was sponsored by Seattle-based Oiselle, switched sponsors before her contract was up.

Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts finished fifth in the men’s 10000, running 29:09.15, in a race won by Lopez Lomong of the Nike Bowerman TC in 28:58.38.

Jessica Tonn of the Brooks Beasts was 11th in the women’s 10000, running 32:47.29, as Molly Huddle successfully defended her national title in 31:52.32.

In qualifying action, Drew Windle of the Brooks Beasts was pulled from the first round of the men’s 800 by coach Danny Mackey.

Mackey said he did so after he looked “off” after winning the Portland Track Festival ten days ago.

“I just wanted to protect him from getting sick or hurt and it felt unwise making him race this weekend,” said Mackey.

Izaic Yorks of the Beasts advanced to Saturday’s finals in the men’s 1500, as he finished third in his heat in 3:43.51.

Washington State alum CJ Allen finished second in his heat of the 400 hurdles, running 50.24 to advance to Friday’s semis.

In the men’s 400, both Foss HS grad Marcus Chambers from Tacoma (45.93) and Michael Berry from Seattle’s Rainier Beach HS (46.03) advanced to Friday’s semifinals.

Washington alum Mel Lawrence ran the second fastest time of the day in the semis of the women's 3000 steeplechase, clocking 9:45.35, behind heat winner Courtney Frerichs of the Nike Bowerman TC, who ran 9:42.02. Both advance to Saturday's final.

Friday's competition will be streamed online via NBC Sports Gold ($) subscriptions. Friday will also be broadcast on a tape delay on NBC Sports Network from 8-10 p.m. Pacific time. Saturday and Sunday will be televised live on NBC from 1-3 p.m. Pacific.

Complete day 1 results from the USATF Outdoor Championships are available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Twenty eight athletes with Washington ties head to America's heartland for USATF Outdoor Championships...

Drew Windle (Paul Merca photo)
There may only be three teams of significance that athletes are competing for at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa beginning Thursday at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships—the Athletics World Cup in London in July; the NACAC Championships in Toronto in August; and the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic in September, but it’s not stopping the young up-and-coming athletes from skipping the championships.

With 2018 a non-World Championship and Olympic year, some of the sport’s biggest names, including Allyson Felix, Justin Gatlin, and Christian Coleman, are bypassing the meet in order to rest up for the European circuit, or to heal up from injuries.

Here are the athletes with Washington ties who are declared and entered for the four-day meet:

-->
MEN
400m Marcus Chambers
Michael Berry
800m Drew Windle
1500m David Ribich
Hassan Mead
Izaic Yorks
Henry Wynne
5000m Hassan Mead
10000m Garrett Heath
110H Devon Allen
400H CJ Allen
3000 ST Andrew Gardner
Hammer Brock Eager
WOMEN
800m Hannah Fields
Baylee Mires
Savannah Colón
1500m Alexa Efraimson
Eleanor Fulton
5000m Katie Mackey
Allie Bulchalski
Eleanor Fulton
10000m Jessica Tonn
3000 ST Mel Lawrence
20k WALK Katie Burnett
Pole Vault Katie Nageotte
Triple Jump Andrea Geubelle
Javelin Kara Winger
Bethany Drake
Katie Reichert
Heptathlon Alissa Brooks-Johnson

Notable non-entries in the meet with Washington ties include decathlete Jeremy Taiwo, and sprinter Hannah Cunliffe.

The time schedule for the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships is available here.

Thursday and Friday's competition will be streamed online via NBC Sports Gold subscriptions ($). Friday will also be broadcast on a tape delay on NBC Sports Network from 8-10 p.m. Pacific time. Saturday and Sunday will be televised live on NBC from 1-3 p.m. Pacific.

THE COACHING CAROUSEL CONTINUES TO SPIN…

Gonzaga University placed an announcement on the NCAA jobs web site Wednesday for the head women’s track and cross country position formerly occupied by Patty Ley  (above/photo courtesy Gonzaga University), who has apparently resigned from the school.

Ley, a legendary high school coach at Gig Harbor HS before moving onto the collegiate ranks, was named the West Coast Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2015. She guided the Zags to the WCC title and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships. GU finished the season ranked No. 27 in the country after finishing 25th at the NCAA Championships.

She was instrumental in guiding Snohomish native Shelby Mills to a spot in the NCAA national championships in 2015 and 2016 in the steeplechase.

Ley has also served as a USA national team leader at the 2010 and 2015 IAAF world cross country championships.

UPDATE (7:20 am, Thursday 6/21): paulmerca.blogspot.com received a message from Gonzaga director of track and field/cross country Pat Tyson stating that Ley has moved back to Gig Harbor to assist her mother, who is battling health issues.

A Gonzaga spokesman sent an email stating that a formal announcement will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, all of the coaches from Greg Metcalf’s staff at the University of Washington, along with operations director Kelsey Quinn, have been removed from the UW track & field web site, indicating that new coaches Andy and Maurica Powell will start anew.

Curiously, Jason Drake, Anita Campbell, volunteer assistant Jonathan Coopersmith, and Quinn were still listed on the UW’s cross country page as of this writing.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Maurica and Andy Powell take their coaching talents up Interstate 5 to the University of Washington...

Maurica Powell (Univ.of Oregon photo)
SEATTLE—After weeks of speculation and talks, both on the message boards and in the background at the NCAA track & field championships two weeks ago in Eugene, University of Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen went straight to the Ducks and hired the husband and wife team of Andy and Maurica Powell from the University of Oregon.

The hire of the Powells is one of Cohen’s most significant hires since becoming the athletic director in spring 2016.

Cohen, who was instrumental as an associate athletic director at Washington in helping hire football coach Chris Petersen after the 2013 season, also was the force behind the release of long-time Husky basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, replacing the UW legend with Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins.

Cohen was also responsible for helping negotiate a multi-year shoe and apparel contract with adidas that goes into effect July 1st, 2019.

According to the Washington release, Maurica will be the program’s first ever director of track & field and cross country, overseeing all facets of the program, while Andy will be the team’s head coach, and focus on daily operations.

The Powells, who were brought to Eugene by then-Oregon head coach Vin Lananna in 2005, were part of 19 NCAA team championships in track and cross country in TrackTown USA. The Massachusetts natives both ran for Lananna at Stanford before they started their coaching careers at Oregon.

Maurica was the 2016 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Division I cross country coach of the year after guiding the Ducks to the national cross country title.

Oregon won the women's triple crown during the 2016-17 academic year, earning national championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.

Andy Powell (Univ. of Oregon photo)
Andy’s resume includes earning the USTFCCCA national assistant coach of the year award four times, and coaching 17-time NCAA champ Edward Cheserek, along with Olympians Andrew Wheating and Matthew Centrowitz, as well as Luke Puskedra, Mac Fleet, Elijah Greer, and Eric Jenkins.

Centrowitz praised the couple for their leadership, particularly during his time as an undergraduate at Oregon between 2007-11.

“Andy and Maurica Powell are phenomenal coaches and incredible people," said Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic 1500m gold medalist who ran at Oregon. "They will work tirelessly to foster an exciting culture and develop high level student-athletes at the University of Washington.

"I cannot say enough about the impact they've had on me as an athlete, and as a man. Andy and Maurica both display the highest level of integrity in their relationships with each and every individual they coach, and will expect nothing less from everyone on their team. Andy Powell has been a huge influence in my life since I was 17 years old and the time and attention he paid to me as a college athlete truly shaped my athletic career."

While at Oregon, the Ducks won the USTFCCCA Program of the Year title (given to the program with the highest average finish at the three NCAA meets) nine times on the women's side and five times on the men's side with the Powells on staff.

In welcoming the Powells to Washington, Cohen said, “Their credentials certainly speak for themselves, and what really stood out during the search process was their deep alignment with our departmental values. Maurica and Andy carry a deep passion for developing student-athletes to be their best both in and outside of competition and I am extremely excited for them to lead our program."

In a joint statement, the Powells said, "We're overwhelmed with gratitude to both Jen Cohen and Erin O'Connell for the incredible opportunity to lead the Husky Track & Field and Cross Country Programs.”

"As a world-renowned academic institution with a dynamic athletic department and outstanding facilities, the University of Washington is truly a premier destination for student-athletes across the U.S. and abroad, and we couldn't be more excited to execute a long-term vision for success at UW over the coming years."

"We are thankful to Vin Lananna and the University of Oregon staff for a great thirteen years in Eugene, and we are honored and humbled by the chance to build the next chapter of success on Montlake.”

Among the first orders of business for the Powells will be to hire a set of assistant coaches. It is unknown what direction the Powells will go with the current Husky assistants, which include associate head coach Jason Drake, assistant distance coach Anita Campbell, sprint coach Eric Metcalf, pole vault and jumps coach Pat Licari, and throws coach Jason Schutz, who just guided freshman discus thrower Elijah Mason to a spot on the US under-20 team for next month’s IAAF world under-20 championships in Tampere, Finland.

Andy’s Oregon bio is available here; Maurica’s Oregon bio is available here.

JOSH KERR JOINS BROOKS BEASTS

In what’s been a heavy news day in track and field in the state of Washington, Brooks announced the signing of New Mexico’s Josh Kerr (left/photo by Mike Scott) to a contract to run for the Seattle based Brooks Beasts squad Monday.

Kerr is the collegiate record-holder in the men’s 1500-meter run with his time of 3 minutes, 35.01 seconds, set at the Bryan Clay invitational in April.

Kerr, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, competed at the University of New Mexico where he was a three-time NCAA Division I national champion. He won the indoor 1-mile run in 2017 and 2018. Outdoors, he was the 2017 1,500 champion, and was third at the NCAA championship meet in Eugene two weeks ago.

He joins Western Oregon’s David Ribich, and Furman’s Allie Buchalski, who announced their intent to join the Brooks Beasts on their social media accounts within the last week.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Brooks Running contributed to this report.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Husky freshman Elijah Mason finishes second in discus & earns spot on Team USATF for IAAF World U-20 champs...

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana—University of Washington freshman Elijah Mason (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) finished second in the men’s discus Sunday to earn a spot on the Team USATF squad that travels to Tampere, Finland next month for the IAAF World Under-20 Championships, as the USATF Junior Championships concluded at Hayes Track on the University of Indiana campus.

Mason, a native of Casa Grande, Arizona who attended Division I Desert Vista HS, put the pressure on the field with a first round throw of 199-5 (60.78m) that led for most of the competition, until Texas A&M’s Gabriel Oladipo threw the eventual winning mark of 200-7 (61.15m) in the fifth round.

Mason was redshirted this season.  Among those he beat in the competition was fellow Arizona high school standout Turner Washington, who competed for Division II Canyon Del Oro before going to the University of Arizona.

Incoming Oregon freshman Lexi Ellis, the Washington state girls’ triple jump champion from Curtis HS, finished in second in the women’s triple jump to also punch her ticket to Tampere.

Ellis, competing for the Flying AJ’s Track Club, jumped a best of 42-11 (13.08m), as she finished behind Jasmine Moore of the North Texas Cheetahs TC, who jumped 43-4.75 (13.21m).

In the women’s pole vault, West Seattle HS junior Chloe Cunliffe, the state record holder in that event, finished sixth with a leap of 13-3.5 (4.05m), as Virginia Tech’s Rachel Baxter won at 14-6 (4.42m).

Complete day 3 results of the USATF Junior Championships are available here.

Incoming Washington frosh Cass Elliott finishes fourth in 400 hurdles at USATF Junior Champs...

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana—Incoming University of Washington freshman Cass Elliott (left/photo by Sonya Elliott via Instagram) from West Seattle High School finished fourth in the 400 hurdles at the USA Junior Track & Field Championships Saturday at the University of Indiana’s Billy Hayes Track.

Elliott, competing against a field dominated by college freshmen, ran 51.72, a time that would have ranked him number six on the 2018 Pac-12 performance list.

Cory Poole of Florida won in 49.71, as he completed a 110/400 hurdles double victory.

In other action, the Huskies’ Jaylen Taylor was fifth in the men’s triple jump with a best of 48-2 (14.68m). Devan Kirk was eighth in the men’s 800 finals, running 1:59.93. 

Kevin Liu ran 22.16 in his semi of the men’s 200, while Evan Mafilas ran 50.30 in his heat of the men’s 400 qualifying.

From Friday’s competition, Washington’s Olivia Ribera ran 12.04 in the semis of the women’s 100, while Ashton Riner, a BYU freshman from Connell, was fifth with a toss of 159-4 (48.57m).

In the women’s discus, incoming University of Washington freshman Makayla Kelby was 11th with a throw of 156-8 (47.76m).

Sunday, incoming Oregon freshman Lexi Ellis, the Washington state girls’ triple jump champion, competes in her specialty, while Chloe Cunliffe competes in the pole vault. Issaquah HS senior Luke George, the runner-up in the state 4A 1600, and a University of Oklahoma commit, runs in the finals of the men’s 1500.

Complete day 2 results of the USATF Junior Championships are available here.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Pair of Arizona frosh with Washington ties finish in the top nine at USATF Junior Champs Friday...

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana—A pair of University of Arizona freshmen with Washington ties finished in the top nine in the finals of their events as the first day of the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships got underway Friday at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.

Kaelyn Carlson-Shipley from Kalama (above/photo by Paul Merca) finished ninth in the women’s javelin, as the Pac-12 scorer threw 144-1 (43.92m).

Montesano native Jordan Spradlin, who was redshirted at Arizona this past season, finished eighth in the women’s discus with a best of 160-7 (48.96m).

Eastlake HS senior Brooke Manson, who will compete for the University of Utah next year, finished sixth in her heat of the 800, running 2:10.31.

The semis of the men’s 800, which was to feature Washington freshman Devan Kirk, was cancelled, and all advanced to Saturday’s finals.

Incoming University of Washington freshman Cass Elliott from West Seattle HS, ran 52.09 to finish second in his heat of the 400 hurdles, and advance to Saturday’s finals.

Besides Elliott and Kirk, Washington freshman Evan Mafilas will run in the semis of the men’s 400 meters, and Jaylen Taylor goes in the men’s triple jump finals. The Huskies’ Kevin Liu runs in the semis of the men’s 200.

The top two finishers in each event who meet the world under-20 standards at the national championships will compete at the IAAF world under-20 championships next month in Tampere, Finland.

Complete day 1 results of the USATF Junior Championships are available here.

In Portland, reigning Washington state 3200m champ James Mwaura from Tacoma’s Lincoln HS, finished second in the men’s 5000 meters at the Stumptown Twilight meet Friday night at Lewis & Clark College.

Mwaura, who is the highest profile high schooler to sign with Gonzaga since Pat Tyson took over the reigns of the Bulldogs in 2008, ran 14:00.42 to finish second behind Diego Estrada, who ran 13:33.30.

Estrada was running behind US Olympian and former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead, when Mead dropped out with 600 meters to go.

Other highlights:

—Justine Fedronic finished second in the women’s 800 in 2:03.15, behind Georgia Griffith of Australia’s 2:00.13, while Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts was fourth in 2:04.01.  Washington alum Eleanor Fulton was sixth in 2:04.23;

—The Huskies’ Izzi Batt-Doyle, who was a redshirt this spring after getting injured at the NCAA cross country championships in November, was sixth in the 1500 in a personal best 4:17.80, as Canada’s Courtney Hufsmith won in 4:12.95.

Complete results of the Stumptown Twilight are available here.

RIBICH NAMED GNAC MEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR; FURMAN'S ALLIE BUCHALSKI JOINS BROOKS BEASTS...

Western Oregon senior David Ribich, who made his pro debut with the Seattle based Brooks Beasts at Sunday’s Portland Track Classic, was named by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference as its men’s track and field athlete of the year for the second straight season.

Ribich swept the conference’s cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field Athlete of the Year awards and was the Track Athlete of the Meet at both the GNAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. He also swept all three men’s West Region honors by the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), an organization that also named Ribich as its Division II Male Athlete of the Week five times.

He earned All-American trophies in cross country and the indoor 3,000 meters and national championships in the indoor distance medley relay and the outdoor 1,500 meters. Ribich also ran 3:37.35 for 1,500 meters outdoors at April’s Bryan Clay Invitational to set another Division II all-time best.

The GNAC release is available here.

Speaking of the Brooks Beasts, the Greenville (S.C.) News reported that Furman’s Allie Buchalski, who finished second in the 5000 meters at the NCAA championships in Eugene last week, has signed a pro contract with the Beasts.

At Furman, Buchalski earned All-American honors seven times through her career in track and cross country.

In Eugene last week, she crossed the line in 15:42.77, 1.19 seconds behind national champion Karissa Schweizer, a senior from the University of Missouri. It was the highest finish by a Furman athlete at the national championship meet.

Buchalski graduates with PBs of 4:17.73 for 1500m, 9:06.68 for 3K and 15:35.55 for 5K.

The article is available here.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

USATF Junior Championships begin Friday in Bloomington, Indiana...

The USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships get underway Friday at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.

With the IAAF World Under-20 championships being contested July 10-15th in Tampere, Finland, this year’s meet, which is usually run in conjunction with the senior championships, is being held separately in order to give enough time for selected athletes to get their paperwork in order, if they haven’t done so already.

The University of Washington will send a small group of athletes to Bloomington, including sprinters Kevin Liu in the 200 and Evan Mafilas in the 400; 800 meter runner Devan Kirk, who was sixth in the 800 at the Pac-12 championships (above/photo by Paul Merca); triple jumper Jaylen Taylor; and, discus thrower Elijah Mason.

Kalama native Kaelyn Carlson-Shipley, who was seventh at the Pac-12 championships for the University of Arizona, is entered in the women’s javelin.

Incoming Husky freshman Cass Elliott from West Seattle HS is entered in the 400 hurdles, as is his teammate Chloe Cunliffe in the women’s pole vault (she’s the younger sister of sprinter Hannah Cunliffe). Lexi Ellis from Curtis HS, who will attend Oregon this fall, is entered in the women’s triple jump.

The home page for the USATF Junior Championships is available here, which includes the links to the time schedule and live results.

USATF.tv ($) will offer live streaming coverage of the meet.

With Friday the last day to qualify for next week’s USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, several local athletes are running at the Stumptown Twilight at Portland’s Lewis & Clark College.

Among those entered in the meet are Hannah Fields and Savannah Colón of the Brooks Beasts, along with Justine Fedronic, and former Husky Eleanor Fulton in the women’s 800; and, Washington redshirt Izzi Batt-Doyle in the women’s 1500.

Washington state high school 3200m champion James Mwaura, who is Gonzaga’s highest profile recruit since Pat Tyson took over the program, is entered in the men’s 5000, where he’ll run against a field that includes 2016 Olympian and former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead, along with Western Washington alum Jordan Welling, and Gonzaga alum Nick Roche.

The start lists for the Stumptown Twilight are available here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Windle sharpens up for USA championships with win at Portland Track Festival...

PORTLAND—Though it may or may not have been as bad as the occasional monsoon that the collegians were subjected to the past two days at the NCAA track & field championships down Interstate 5 in Eugene, the athletes competing Sunday night at the Portland Track Festival at Lewis & Clark College were subject to some of the same conditions.

With the late qualifying deadline for the USATF senior championships coming up on Friday, many athletes were hoping to secure their tickets to compete at the national championship in Des Moines June 21-24th.

For those who already had qualifying marks, the objective of the meet was to get race sharp and compete against high caliber athletes.

Drew Windle of the Brooks Beasts (left/photo by Paul Merca) took the win in the men’s 800, running 1:47.50, over a field that included Olympic 1500 meter champ Matthew Centrowitz and Craig Engel of the Nike Oregon Project, and Beasts teammate and UW alum Izaic Yorks.

Windle, who was the IAAF world indoor silver medalist in the 800 last March, ran a modest 1:47.50, while Engels was third in 1:47.96, Yorks was fifth in 1:48.20, and Centrowitz sixth at 1:48.29.

In taking the victory, Windle, who was in about third or fourth for most of the race, made his move at about 250 meters to go, then put the hammer down coming off the final turn.

"My goal was to come here and win and get set up for USAs," Windle said to Ken Goe of the Oregonian, comparing his mindset to a Diamond League race earlier this year in China. "I didn't have a very good showing in Shanghai. Today wasn't much faster, but I was more in the mix."

In a separate section of the 800, Western Oregon graduate David Ribich (left/photo by Paul Merca), who announced Saturday on his social media platforms that he signed with the Brooks Beasts, ran 1:49.11.

In the women’s 1500, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson did most of the front running before Bozeman resident and Arkansas alum Stephanie Brown charged to the front to win in 4:06.71.

Efraimson was fourth in 4:08.47, while Washington alums Katie Mackey (4:09.10) and Mel Lawrence (4:11.19) were sixth and seventh, with Mackey ducking under the USATF standard of 4:11.00.

Complete results of Sunday’s Portland Track Festival are available here.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Brooks-Johnson drives to sixth place finish in heptathlon on final day of NCAA championships in soggy Eugene...

EUGENE—Washington State senior Alissa Brooks-Johnson (left/photo by Howard Lao) captured a sixth place finish in the two-day, seven-event heptathlon Saturday at the NCAA track and field championships, under cool temperatures, tricky winds, and occasional driving rain at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Brooks-Johnson, who started the day in 11th place with 3419 points, finished with 5,789 points, a mere five points behind fifth place. Wisconsin senior Georgia Ellenwood, a native of Langley, British Columbia won the heptathlon with 6,146 points.

Brooks-Johnson long jumped 18-9.25 (5.72m) while running into a 4.0 meters per second headwind. Her long jump was the 12th-farthest of the day. She then threw the javelin 140-7 (42.87m), which was a season best, and the 12th best on the day.

Entering the 800, she was in eighth place. She ran the 800m in a time of 2 minutes 15.69 seconds, the fifth-fastest time of the event, to garner enough points to move up to sixth place.

WSU head coach Wayne Phipps said afterwards, "A gutsy performance by Alissa today! She has battled with pneumonia for a few weeks and for her to compete at that level this weekend was amazing. At one point during the competition she was all the way back in 17th but she continued to compete hard and was rewarded with back-to-back first team All-America honors."

Brooks-Johnson said, “The two-day heptathlon competition wasn't what I had envisioned for myself, performance-wise. The toughest event I had was definitely the high jump. Hurdles and the 200m were also tough but high jump is such a mental game for me. I felt very confident leading up to day one of the heptathlon, however fell a little short. Once I started the heptathlon, I knew it was going to be more of a mental grind then anything. I am proud of myself for pushing through any weakness and doubt I had during the competition. Even though my marks and times weren't what I had expected, I am very proud of my season and accomplishments."

In the women’s 5000 meters, Washington senior Amy-Eloise Neale (above/photo by Paul Merca) finished fifth, running a time of 15:44.41, as Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer took the national title in 15:41.58.

After being in the front early in the race, she was stuck on the inside in the middle of the pack, with little room to maneuver and cover any surges.

When the pace finally did go with a thousand meters remaining, Neale had to make up ground on the leaders.

At the bell, she was in tenth, but found enough room to catch five runners in the last 400, clocking 66.78 on the last lap.

“I was prepared for anything. I was prepared for it to go out slow since it was hailing during our warm-up, but i was also prepared for it to go out at 15:15 pace. So I was keeping my options open and was mentally prepared for anything,” said Neale, a resident of Snohomish.

“But I got stuck on the rail a little bit too long and struggled to get out, which was unfortunate. So over that last mile when the pace really started picking up, I just wasn't quite close enough to respond properly. I was hoping to give it a shot to win, so I'm a little disappointed in that respect, but it was great to have a last opportunity to represent Washington and it's always fun to run here at Hayward Field.”

Former University of Washington standout Charlotte Prouse, who scored in this meet two years ago as a freshman for the Huskies, finished second in the 3000 steeplechase, running a personal best of 9:45.45, as Boise State's Allie Ostrander won in 9:39.28.

Results from day 4 of the NCAA championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Washington's Andrew Gardner earns All-America honors with fifth place finish in steeplechase...

EUGENE—In his final race donning the purple and gold of the Washington Huskies, Spokane native Andrew Gardner (left/photo by Mike Scott) scored a personal best in the 3000 meter steeplechase, and earned a fifth place finish as the men completed their competition on a rainy Friday afternoon at the NCAA track and field championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

As he did in the semis, Gardner bided his time in the middle of the pack, running consistent 67-69 second laps, then made his move on the final lap.

In that final lap, Houston’s Brian Barraza, who led for most of the race, took a spill coming off the turn entering the backstretch, which opened up the podium spots.

Minnesota junior Obsa Ali took advantage of Barraza’s misfortune, as he went to the front after the spill, and earned the victory in 8:32.23.

Gardner ran a 66.81 final lap as he finished with a final time of 8:37.07, eclipsing the personal best he set two weeks ago at the NCAA West Preliminary round in Sacramento. His finish was the best by a Husky since Dan Bell in 1987.

"It's emotional, because that was my last time running here and representing Washington," said Gardner. "I was going for the win, that didn't happen, but I've got to be satisfied with how I ran here. It was one of my better years and I'm forever grateful for the support I've had recently making my experience the best it could be."

Fellow Husky senior Colby Gilbert finished 22nd with a time of 14:27.22 in the men’s 5000 meter final.

Gilbert ran near the front of the pack for most of the race, but wasn’t able to respond over the last 800 meters when the field ramped up the pace, starting with 62 seconds, and the 56.53 final lap run by winner Sean McGorty of Stanford, as he took the victory in 13:54.81, defeating pre-race favorite Justyn Knight (13:55.03), and defending champion Grant Fisher (13:55.04) of Stanford.

Wenatchee native Isaiah Brandt-Sims ran a 45.94 anchor leg as Stanford finished eighth in the 4 x 400 relay, as the Cardinal ran 3:05.50.

USC, thanks to a 43.62 leg by 400 meter winner Michael Norman, set a meet, facility, and collegiate record, as the Trojans ran 3:59.00.

The University of Georgia won the team title, scoring 52 points, followed by the University of Florida with 42 points.  Houston was third with 35 points, while USC was the first Pac-12 school in fourth with 34 points.

In the heptathlon, Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson stands 11th after the first day of competition.

Brooks-Johnson, the three-time Pac-12 champion, has 3419 points, which is the second-highest first day score in her career, as Louisa Grauvogel of Georgia leads at the break with 3752 points.

Brooks-Johnson opened the day running the 100m hurdles in a time of 13.84 seconds which was 13th-fastest of the 24 women competing. She high jumped a height of 5-feet 5 1/4 inches (1.66m) which was tied for 15th overall.

In the shot put, after her first two throws were unremarkable, Brooks-Johnson threw a lifetime-best mark of 42-2 3/4 (12.87m), a distance that is one foot better than her previous PR and the fourth best on the day. Those points moved her from 17th to 10th in the overall standings after three of the seven events.

Brooks-Johnson ended her first day with a 200m dash time of 24.93 seconds, 14th-fastest on the day.

Brooks-Johnson, along with Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale in the 5000 meter finals, are the lone Washington-affiliated athletes remaining in the meet, as the women close out Historic Hayward Field’s 99-year run Saturday.

Here’s the time schedule for Brooks-Johnson and Neale Saturday:

W Heptathlon (11:30a long jump; TBA javelin; 5:13 pm 800)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson

W 5000 final (5:25 pm)—Amy-Eloise Neale

The ESPN family of networks offers live coverage of the NCAA championships both over-the-air and online each day.

Results from day 3 of the NCAA championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

WSU sophomore & Eastern Washington transfer Kaili Keefe misses spot in NCAA 1500m finals by 4/100ths of a second...

EUGENE—Washington State sophomore Kaili Keefe (above/photo by Mike Scott) finished 4/100ths of a second short of making the finals in the women’s 1500 Thursday on a slightly cool but sunny afternoon at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Keefe, who transferred to WSU from Eastern Washington at the start of the 2018 winter semester, ran a lifetime best of 4:15.39, to finish sixth in the second of two semi-final heats.

The Yakima native fought her way through the middle of the pack and looked to have the fifth spot with 30 meters left in the race but was nipped at the finish line. Since the first heat was the faster of the two, the final two spots went to runners in that race who had faster times.

WSU head coach Wayne Phipps said afterwards, “Kaili ran an awesome race and got passed within inches of the finish with no time to respond. She missed the final by .04 seconds but ran another great PR and ran her last 800m in an outstanding 2:12.”

In a text to paulmerca.blogspot.com, Chris Shane, who coached Keefe at Eastern Washington before he left the school in December, said, "Kaili's an absolute fighter and a talent. I saw it the first time I ever saw her race in high school. I'm so happy that she's thriving at WSU."

In the women’s 3000 steeplechase, Washington junior Emily Hamlin ran the second fastest time of her career, as she clocked 10:14.71, as she finished ninth in her heat.

The women’s 400 hurdles saw WSU junior Stephanie Cho run a time of 59.06 seconds, good for seventh in her heat.

Here’s the time schedule of athletes competing in the final event contested at Historic Hayward Field on the final two days of the meet:

Friday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson
M Steeple finals (5:54pm)—Andrew Gardner
M 5000 finals (7:25 pm)—Colby Gilbert
M 4 x 400 relay finals (7:51 pm)—Isaiah Brandt-Sims

Saturday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson

The ESPN family of networks offers live coverage of the NCAA championships both over-the-air and online each day.

Results from day 2 of the NCAA championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Washington's Andrew Gardner advances to steeple finals; Wenatchee native Isaiah Brandt-Sims & Stanford 4x4 relay move on as well...

EUGENE—University of Washington senior Andrew Gardner (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished third in the second of two semi-final heats of the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase on the first day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Competing on a perfect day for distance running, Gardner, who was making his second career appearance at the NCAA championships, bided his time and stayed out of trouble to finish in a time of 8:41.48, just behind Stanford’s Steven Fahy, who was second in the heat at 8:40.53, and winner Noah Affolder of Syracuse, who ran 8:40.36.

Gardner’s time was the second fastest of his career, just three seconds off the PR he ran in winning his quarterfinal race back at West Prelims in Sacramento.

In the men’s 4 x 400 relay, Stanford, with Wenatchee native Isaiah Brandt-Sims, advanced to the finals, as the Cardinal ran a season best 3:04.82 in finishing third in their heat, earning a time qualifier.

Earlier in the meet, the Cardinal, with Brandt-Sims on the team, did not qualify for the finals in the 4 x 100 relay, as they ran 39.86.

In the men’s 1500 meter semis, Washington State’s Chandler Teigen ran 3:56.59, as he finished twelfth in his heat.

In the men’s hammer, Washington State’s Brock Eager replicated his 14th place finish from last year, throwing a best of 223-0 (67.97m), as Denzel Comenentia of Georgia won at 250-8 (76.41m).

The men’s pole vault finals saw the Cougars’ Pac-12 champ Sander Moldau finish 17th with a best of 16-10.75 (5.15m), as South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen won at 19-1.5 (5.83m) to set a new meet record.

Thursday, the women take to the track, with Washington State’s Kaili Keefe, the transfer from Eastern Washington, getting things underway in the women’s 1500 at 4:16 pm (top five in each of the two heats, plus the two fastest advance).

Sixteen minutes later, Washington’s Emily Hamlin makes her NCAA track & field championship debut in the 3000 steeplechase, as she looks for a top five finish to automatically advance, or a time qualifier, to Saturday’s final.

At 6 pm, Washington State junior Stephanie Cho runs in the second of three heats in the 400 hurdles, where she’ll need to place in the top two to automatically advance to Saturday’s finals, or get one of the two time qualifiers.

Here’s the time schedule of athletes competing the rest of the week (all times Pacific):

Thursday

W 1500 semis (4:16 pm)—Kaili Keefe
W Steeple semis (4:32 pm)—Emily Hamlin
W 400 hurdles semis (6:00 pm)—Stephanie Cho

Friday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson
M Steeple finals (5:54pm)—Andrew Gardner
M 5000 finals (7:25 pm)—Colby Gilbert
M 4 x 400 relay finals (7:51 pm)—Isaiah Brandt-Sims

Saturday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson

The ESPN family of networks offers live coverage of the NCAA championships both over-the-air and online each day.

Results from day 1 of the NCAA championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

NCAA championships to close out ninety-nine years of track & field at Hayward Field...

The 2018 collegiate track and field season and 99 years of running, jumping, and throwing comes to a close with the NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field (above/photo courtesy University of Oregon) on the campus of the University of Oregon beginning Wednesday and concluding Saturday.

The NCAA championships will be the last track meet contested at Hayward Field before the wrecking ball takes down (barring any court-ordered work stoppages) the West and East Grandstands.  In its place will be a newly-configured track and field stadium built with the 2021 IAAF World Track & Field Championships in mind.

Assuming there are no work stoppages, the new Hayward Field (assuming that the venue will still be called Hayward Field), which is largely financed by a major donation from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, will reopen in April 2020. If indeed that’s the case, Eugene could be in line to host the 2020 US Olympic Track & Field Trials, after USA Track & Field pulled the plug on Mt. SAC.

Nonetheless, Washington State and Washington are sending six, and four athletes, respectively, to Eugene for the NCAA championships.

Using the successful format initiated in 2016, the Wednesday and Friday sessions are devoted strictly towards the men’s competition, while the Thursday and Saturday sessions are for the women’s competition.

Washington State’s Brock Eager kicks things off Wednesday at 2 pm in the men’s hammer throw, as the former Pac-12 champion looks to improve from his 14th place finish last year.

Wenatchee HS standout Isaiah Brandt-Sims of Stanford will be part of the Cardinal’s two relay teams, as he will run in both the 4 x 100 semis at 4:32pm, and the 4 x 400 relay semis at 7:48 pm.

At 4:46 pm, Washington State’s Chandler Teigen runs in the first of two semis in the men’s 1500, where he’ll look to finish in the top five to automatically advance to Friday’s final (top five in each of the two heats, plus the two fastest advance).

At 5:02, Washington senior Andrew Gardner, making his second NCAA championship appearance, runs in the semis of the steeplechase. Like the 1500, it’s top five from each of the two semi heats advancing to Friday’s final, plus the two fastest.

At the same time the steeplechase semis get underway, Washington State’s Pac-12 champ Sander Moldau gets going in the finals of the pole vault.

Thursday, the women take to the track, with Washington State’s Kaili Keefe, the transfer from Eastern Washington, getting things underway in the women’s 1500 at 4:16 pm (top five in each of the two heats, plus the two fastest advance).

Sixteen minutes later, Washington’s Emily Hamlin makes her NCAA track & field championship debut in the 3000 steeplechase, as she looks for a top five finish to automatically advance, or a time qualifier, to Saturday’s final.

At 6 pm, Washington State junior Stephanie Cho runs in the second of three heats in the 400 hurdles, where she’ll need to place in the top two to automatically advance to Saturday’s finals, or get one of the two time qualifiers.

Friday, Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson makes her third NCAA championship appearance, as she begins the first day of competition in the heptathlon at 12:30 pm.

Also competing Friday is Washington’s Colby Gilbert in the men’s 5000 meter final at 7:25 pm.

Saturday, Brooks-Johnson finishes up in the heptathlon, while the Huskies’ Amy-Eloise Neale closes out the Washington contingent, as she runs the 5000 at 5:25 pm.

Here is the complete list of athletes with Washington ties competing in the championships along with their start times:

Wednesday

M Hammer (2:00 pm)—Brock Eager
M 4 x 100 semis (4:32 pm)—Isaiah Brandt-Sims
M 1500 semis (4:46 pm)—Chandler Teigen
M Pole Vault finals (5:00 pm)-Sander Moldau
M Steeple semis (5:02 pm)—Andrew Gardner
M 4 x 400 semis (7:48 pm)—Isaiah Brandt-Sims

Thursday

W 1500 semis (4:16 pm)—Kaili Keefe
W Steeple semis (4:32 pm)—Emily Hamlin
W 400 hurdles semis (6:00 pm)—Stephanie Cho

Friday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson
M 5000 finals (7:25 pm)—Colby Gilbert

Saturday

W Heptathlon (12:30p first event)—Alissa Brooks-Johnson

The ESPN family of networks offers live coverage of the NCAA championships both over-the-air and online each day.  The television schedule is available here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Eugene to cover the NCAA championships.

GNAC HONORS CENTRAL’S CORBIN CARLTON AND BRAYDON MAIER, ALONG WITH WESTERN WASHINGTON’S RAQUEL PELLECER AND SEATTLE PACIFIC’S RENICK MEYER AND KARL LERUM…

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference bestowed its special end-of-the-season awards to its outstanding track and field athletes Monday.

Central Washington distance runner Corbin Carlton was named by the conference as its men’s newcomer of the year, while decathlete Braydon Maier was named the men’s freshman of the year.

Carlton finished fourth in the steeplechase and seventh in the 5,000 meters at the GNAC Championships, while Maier won both the pole vault and decathlon at the conference championships.

Western Washington’s javelin thrower Raquel Pellecer was selected as the women’s newcomer of the year while Seattle Pacific’s multi-event standout Renick Meyer was the unanimous selection for freshman of the year. Falcons’ head coach Karl Lerum was tabbed as the women’s coach of the year.

Pellecer continued the line of great javelin throwers to compete for Western Washington. The sophomore earned All-American honors with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Pellecer finished second at the GNAC Championships.

Meyer, who earned All-America honors in both the heptathlon and long jump with identical seventh-place finishes at the NCAA D2 championships, won both events at the GNAC title meet.

Lerum earned his 15th GNAC Women’s Coach of the Year in track and field and his eighth during the outdoor season. He led the Falcons to their ninth GNAC outdoor championship with 154.5 points, winning the title by 33.5 points. In addition to Meyer’s three titles, Lerum coached Grace Bley to a conference title in the 200 meters and saw the Falcons’ 4x100-meter relay team win with a meet record time of 46.60 seconds. Seattle Pacific sent four athletes to the NCAA Championships.

The GNAC release is available here.

NOTE:  Additional Friday and Saturday competitors will be updated after the semi-final rounds on Wednesday and Thursday.

The GNAC, the NCAA, and the sports information offices of the University of Oregon, University of Washington, Stanford University, and Washington State University, contributed to this report.

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