Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saint Martin's Mikel Smith wins NCAA D2 high jump title, and school's first national championship...

BRADENTON, Florida—Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith (above/photo by Kyle Terwilliger, USTFCCCA) cleared every bar on his first attempt to win the high jump competition at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships at the IMG Academy Field Friday.

Smith opened with a first attempt clearance at 6-8.75 (2.05m), and made three straight bars afterwards on his first attempt as he dueled Texas A&M/Kingsville’s Jeron Robinson and Miles Poullard of Azusa Pacific.

The fourth bar Smith made—7-1 (2.16m) was a school and GNAC conference record, not to mention a personal best.  However, Robinson also made that height on his first attempt, while Poullard missed all three tries at the height.

Both Smith and Robinson missed all three attempts at 7-2.75 (2.19m), but Robinson’s first attempt miss back at 6-8.75 (2.05m) proved to be the difference, as Smith took home the school’s first national championship in any sport.

With that victory, Smith became the school’s first four-time All-American.

"Winning Nationals is a great feeling," said Smith after the competition. "I went out there and dared to be great and put my soul into each jump."

SMU head coach Jim Brewer said, “ I knew he was ready as he went over 7-1 the day before in practice. This is a great moment for Saint Martin's Track & Field. I knew a lot of Saints will be super excited for this momentous occasion. Mikel showed a lot of class as he continued to congratulate his competitors. When the event was over every athlete and many coaches gave him a hug to show their appreciations for what Mikel accomplished. A true demonstration of great sportsmanship."

Central Washington’s Dani Eggleston replicated her eighth-place finish in the 2015 women’s steeple final, running 10:28.85.

In other action at the NCAA D2 championships, Lynelle Decker of Seattle Pacific qualified for the finals in the 800, winning her semifinal race in 2:09.58.  

Decker will race Saturday in the finals of both the 800 and the 1500.

Besides Decker, Seattle Pacific will have high jumper Geneva Lehnert competing in the championship meet’s final day.  Western Washington will have eight athletes competing, led by javelin throwers Bethany Drake and Katie Reichert. Central Washington has Tayler Fettig in the women’s high jump, while Saint Martin’s remaining competitor is Deanna Avalos in the javelin.


In Eugene, the Nike Prefontaine Classic opened with the traditional Distance Night at Hayward Field.

The only competitor with Washington ties racing Friday night was Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker, who finished sixth in the USATF High Performance women’s 800, running 2:02.27, as 2012 US Olympian Alysia Montano won in 2:00.78.

The highlight of Friday night’s racing was Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Nike Oregon Project’s win in the men’s 10000, running a world leading time of 26:53.71.

Saturday, the meet continues with Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara in the men’s national mile along with Gig Harbor’s Mark Wieczorek as a pacesetter. WSU alum Bernard Lagat is scheduled to run the 5000. Camas’s Alexa Efraimson is entered in the women’s 1500.


Finally, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo is in Gotzis, Austria to compete in the Gotzis Hypomeeting decathlon competition Saturday and Sunday.

Taiwo scored a personal best 8303 points at last year’s Hypomeeting.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Huskies add eight more athletes to Eugene at NCAA West Regionals...

LAWRENCE, Kansas—The Washington Huskies advanced eight more athletes in Friday’s session of the NCAA West Preliminary Round at Rock Chalk Park, hosted by the University of Kansas.

In the women’s 800, Washington’s Baylee Mires (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in her heat in 2:05.72, while Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier of Oregon, who did not run well at the Pac-12 meet in Seattle two weeks ago, rebounded and qualified for the nationals as a time qualifier, running 2:06.22.

In the women’s steeplechase, Washington’s Charlotte Prouse (10:09.42), and Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills (10:09.76) both advanced.  In the men’s steeple, both Washington’s Aaron Nelson (8:49.49) and Andrew Gardner (8:47.92) moved on to Eugene, while Washington State’s Forrest Shaffer was 13th and the fastest non-qualifier at 8:51.68.

The men’s javelin saw Washington’s Quinn Hale (224-11/68.56m) and Carson Fuller (224-10/68.53m) both advance.  Washington State’s Liz Harper advanced to nationals in the high jump in a jump-off for the 12th and final spot, clearing 5-9.25 (1.74m).

In the pole vault, which was contested indoors because of the weather conditions that wiped out Thursday’s competition, Pac-12 champ Jax Thoirs of the Huskies (17-7.75/5.38m) easily advanced, as did his female counterpart Liz Quick (13-10/4.22m).

Pac-12 400 hurdles champ CJ Allen of Washington State ran the second fastest time of the day in winning his heat in 50.77 to easily advance to Eugene.

Tacoma’s Marcus Chambers of the University of Oregon qualified for Eugene in the 400 as a time qualifier, running 46.48 in his heat.

Earlier in the day, Washington advanced Pac-12 10000 champ Katie Knight and Kennadi Bouyer in the 100 meters, and Tyler King in the men’s 10000, to give the Dawgs eleven athletes going to the national finals in Eugene.

UW's Knight & King, Gig Harbor's Peloquin & Federal Way's Cunliffe advance to NCAAs in early action...

LAWRENCE, Kansas—The first day of competition at the NCAA West Regionals finally got underway early Friday morning at Rock Chalk Park, after Thursday’s session was wiped out by heavy rains and a tornado warning that went through the city.

Officials worked through evening to come up with a revised schedule for the Friday portion of the meet, with both the men’s and women’s pole vaults to be contested indoors at Anschutz Pavilion, and the high jumps scheduled for Saturday indoors.

The lane races are affected by the jammed schedule, as only the heat winner and the six fastest times advance to Eugene.  In the 1500, the top 2 in each heat plus the next four fastest times advance to the nationals.

In early action, Washington’s Katie Knight (left/photo by Paul Merca) punched her ticket to Eugene with a third place finish in the women’s 10000, running 34:22.87, as Dominique Scott of Arkansas took the win in 34:20.35. 

Gig Harbor HS freshman Brenna Peloquin of Boise State finished seventh in 34:25.45 to get her spot to Eugene, with the top 12 advancing.

Senior Tyler King of Washington moved on to Eugene with a ninth place finish, running 29:57.00, as Edward Cheserek of Oregon won in 29:45.41.

Federal Way HS grad Hannah Cunliffe won her heat of the 100 meters in 11.13 to advance to Eugene. The Huskies' Kennadi Bouyer got the twelfth and final spot to Eugene, finishing second in a photo finish in 11.52 (11.518).


In other action around the country, Seattle Pacific's Lynelle Decker ran the fastest time in the semis in the 1500 at the NCAA Division II at IMG Academy Field in Bradenton, Florida, running 4:27.34 Thursday.

Central Washington's Dani Eggleston qualified for Saturday's finals in the 3000 steeplechase, running 10:26.12, finishing fourth in her heat.


The Nike Prefontaine Classic gets underway Friday night, with several distance races headlining the program, featuring the reigning world and Olympic champion from Great Britain, Mo Farah.

Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker is entered in the USATF high performance women's 800.  



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NCAA Division II championships begin Thursday in Bradenton, Florida...

BRADENTON, Florida—All four of Washington’s NCAA Division II schools will begin competition Thursday at the NCAA Division II track and field championships at the IMG Academy Track & Field Stadium.

WESTERN WASHINGTON goes into the national championships with a squad of 12 athletes (7 women, 5 men), which is the most in school history, led by 2014 NCAA javelin champion Bethany Drake (left/photo courtesy WWU Athletics).  

Drake, who is currently ranked #3 in Division II going into the nationals, finished second at the GNAC championship meet to teammate Katie Reichert, who is also entered at the nationals in this event.  The Vikings have two other women entered in the javelin in Anosi Laupola, and Mariah Horton.  WWU also has John Haskin and Alex Barry entered in the men’s javelin.

Sprinter Alex Donigian is entered in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, while Travis Milbrandt is entered in the 110 hurdles.

GNAC women’s team champs SEATTLE PACIFIC has five athletes in the meet, led by Lynelle Decker, who will be making her 11th appearance for the Falcons at an NCAA championship meet in cross country (3), indoor track (4), and outdoor track (4).

Decker races in the 1500 semis Thursday, and the 800 semis on Friday, with the finals in both events on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON, who gave Seattle Pacific a scare at the GNAC champs two weeks ago, has four entries (3 women, 1 men), led by high jumper Tayler Fettig & steeplechaser Dani Eggleston, who was an All-American in that event last year.  The Wildcats’ lone male competitor is hammer thrower Armando Tafoya.

SAINT MARTIN’S has three competitors in the meet, led by All-American Mikel Smith in the men’s high jump, and indoor All-American Shannon Porter, who is entered in the women’s 1500 and 5000.  The Saints’ other competitor is women’s javelin thrower Deanna Avalos.


NCAA.com will offer live streaming of the meet, which you can access here.

EX-HUSKIES COMPETE IN DAKAR WEDNESDAY

A pair of University of Washington alums competed at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday.

Norris Frederick finished fourth in the long jump with an outdoor season best of 25-3.5 (7.71m), as Jarvis Gotch of the USA won with a best of 27-3.25.

Diamara Planell Cruz failed to clear a height in the women’s pole vault, as Robeilys Peinado of Venezuela won with a best of 14-5.25 (4.40m).

Conference champs lead Washington schools into action at NCAA West Regionals...

With eyes focused towards a return to Eugene’s Hayward Field for the finals in two weeks, a slew of conference champions from four of Washington’s five Division I schools will lead their squads into competition at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round that starts Thursday at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas, hosted by the University of Kansas.

The UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON will have 37 entries into the West Regionals, led by Pac-12 champs Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 1500, Aaron Nelson in the steeple, Colby Gilbert in the 5000, and Jax Thoirs in the pole vault.

The Husky women’s squad will be led by Pac-12 champs Liz Quick in the pole vault and Katie Knight in the 10000.

WASHINGTON STATE has 19 entries in the West Regionals, led by 400 meter hurdles champ CJ Allen.  While multi-event specialists Liz Harper and Dino Dodig are competing in individual events at the regionals, both are assured of competing in Eugene in the heptathlon and decathlon, as they are in the top 24 in the country.

EASTERN WASHINGTON’S seven entries will be led by Big Sky champs Jeremy VanAssche in the 100, Larry Payne in the pole vault, Katie Mahoney in the steeple, and Kaytlyn Coleman in the hammer.

SEATTLE UNIVERSITY’s lone entry in the regionals is WAC champ Shaddye Melu in the high jump.

As the West Coast Conference does not sponsor a championship in track, GONZAGA will have two entries—Shelby Mills on the women’s side, and Kellen Manley on the men's side, with both running in the steeplechase.  Mills, who broke her own school record by running 9:56.17, is looking to return to the nationals, and possibly qualify for the Olympic trials.  She’s seeded #6 among the 48 entries in the field.

The top twelve competitors in each event will advance to the semis and final round which will be in Eugene in two weeks.   All track events from 100-meters up to 1,500-meters will have a first round and a quarterfinal round in Lawrence, while the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000- and 10,000-meters will have just one round at Prelims.

Among the notable athletes from Washington competing at the meet for out-of-state schools includes Pac-12 100 & 200 champ Hannah Cunliffe of Federal Way (Oregon), Pac-12 400 champ Marcus Chambers of Tacoma (Oregon), Pac-12 triple jump champ Darian Brooks of Seattle (Stanford), 1500 meter runner Chelsea Orr of Sammamish (Baylor) and discus thrower Tera Novy of Montesano (USC).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dakarai Hightower sets NWAC high jump record, edges towards Olympic Trials qualifier...

GRESHAM, Oregon—Curtis HS graduate Dakarai Hightower (above/photo courtesy Lane CC), who attends Lane Community College in Eugene, edged closer to qualifying for the US Olympic Track & Field Trials in winning the Northwest Athletic Conference high jump title at Mt. Hood Community College Tuesday.

Hightower, who has been one of the top collegiate high jumpers in the Pacific Northwest regardless of classification, cleared a personal best 7-5 (2.26m) to set an all-time NWAC record.


The national junior college record in the high jump is 7-8 (2.34m) set by Dennis Lewis of Long Beach CC set in 1985.

Currently, that mark ties Hightower for #7 on the US list this season. Assuming that USATF takes a field size of 24 since the qualifying period opened on May 1, 2015, Hightower would currently have a spot at the Trials, as less than 24 athletes have bettered the Trials qualifying standard.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

List #4--Washington affiliated athletes qualified for the US Olympic Trials...

Jessica Tebo ran 15:21.88 for 5000m
at the Hoka One One Middle Distance
Classic to get the Olympic
A standard (Paul Merca photo)
Below is a list of Washington affiliated athletes who have achieved qualifying marks for the 2016 US Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon starting July 1-10, 2016.

Washington affiliated athletes are those who attended high school, college or graduate school in the state of Washington, while professionals are those currently training in the state.

This list will be updated monthly, and hopefully more frequently as we get closer to the Trials.  This list does not include the walks.

All qualifiers achieved their marks after May 1, 2015. Athletes have until June 26th to qualify for the US Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Any new additions since the last list was published on May 4th are indicated in red.  Athletes added and/or have improved marks since the last list was published include Alexa Efraimson (w 800), Jessica Tebo (w 5000), Ginnie Crawford (w 100H), Jamie Cheever & Mel Lawrence (w Steeple), and Jordin Andrade (m 400H).

Andrade is a Bonney Lake HS grad, who was second at last year’s NCAA 400 hurdles for Boise State, and holds a Cape Verde passport. His 49.24 at last year’s NCAA meet is under the 49.40 Olympic standard.  He ran a season best 49.52 on May 15th to win the Guadeloupe Invitational.

For complete details on the US Olympic Track & Field Trials qualifying procedures, please visit usatf.org.

EDIT:  For those of you reading this on a mobile device, we've found out that there's an issue with Scribd cutting off the final page of the document (4 pages long).  Hoping to have a fix for that...apologies in advance.  It is fine reading it on a computer.


One addition to this list is the addition of foreign athletes with Washington ties achieving the Olympic A standard. Depending on their country’s qualification process, they may be selected by their federation to compete at the Olympics, or may have to compete in qualifying trials selection meets.

As always, corrections, additions, etc., are welcome.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Seattle's Jamie Cheever runs season best in steeple at Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic...

LOS ANGELES—Seattle resident Jamie Cheever (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the top section of the women’s 3000 steeplechase at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic at Jack Kemp Stadium on the campus of Occidental College Friday night, as she lowered her time down to a season best 9:37.12. 

In the process, Cheever, who is sponsored by Seattle-based Oiselle and runs for Club Northwest, towed three Oiselle sponsored athletes—2012 US Olympian Shalaya Kipp, Pasco alum Marisa Howard, and University of Washington alum Mel Lawrence, all under the Olympic Games standard of 9:45.00.

For Lawrence in fourth, her time of 9:43.90 was the fastest time she’s run as a professional, and the fastest since running 9:40.98 as a University of Washington undergrad in 2009.  Lawrence has gone through some injuries over the last few years before getting herself with a good training situation under the Oiselle Little Wing group with her sister and WSU alum Collier Lawrence in Bend, Oregon.

Another athlete with Washington ties that got the Olympic standard Friday night was Seattle Pacific alum Jessica Tebo, who ran a season best 15:21.88 to finish second in the women’s 5000 to get under the Olympic standard of 15:24.00.

Tebo, who ran for the Seattle based Brooks Beasts the last two seasons, is now back in Boulder training under University of Colorado coach Mark Wetmore, who coached her as a fifth-year senior at CU in 2012.  Tebo’s mark is just short of her personal best of 15:18.17 set two years ago.

Other highlights:

—In the women’s 800, Seattle’s Phoebe Wright was third in the women’s 800 in 2:01.03; 

—Washington alum Katie Mackey, who has the Olympic standard already, was third in the women’s 1500 in 4:06.33; 

—In the men’s 1500, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara was second in the men’s 1500 in 3:38.26.

Slew of Washington pros in Los Angeles for Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic...

A slew of pros with Washington ties are in Los Angeles for the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic Friday beginning at 6pm at Jack Kemp Stadium on the campus of Occidental College.

Like Stanford’s Payton Jordan Classic, this meet is focused on getting athletes qualifying marks for this July’s US Olympic Track & Field Trials in July, complete with pacemakers to help runners get their goal.

Nearly every race on the program, with the exception of the men’s steeple and 5000 has at least one athlete with Washington ties in the field.

The Seattle based Brooks Beasts has the largest group of athletes in the field, led by world championships team member Cas Loxsom in the men’s 800, and Katie Mackey (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the women’s 1500. Other Beasts entered include Dorian Ulrey (m 800/1500), Phoebe Wright & Megan Malasarte (w 800), Riley Masters & Garrett Heath (m 1500), Natalja Piliusina (w 1500), Jessica Tonn, Angela Bizzarri & Brie Felnagle (w 5000), with Felnagle entered in the 1500 as well.

A trio of Washington State alums—Jesse Jorgensen & Joe Abbott (men’s 800) along with Collier Lawrence (w 3000 steeple) are in the field. WSU assistant coach Allix Potratz-Lee is in the steeple field as well.

Besides Mackey, Washington alums in the field include Mel Lawrence (w 3000 steeple), and Eleanor Fulton (w 1500).  Seattle Pacific alums McKayla Fricker (w 800), Jessica Tebo and Jane Ricardi (w 5000) are in the field, with Ricardi entered in the women’s 1500 as well.

Club Northwest’s entries include Ricardi, Amber Schultz (w 1500/steeple), and Katelyn Steen (w steeple).

The live stream of the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic begins at 6 pm on usatf.tv.


At Friday’s Great Manchester CityGames held on a specially built track in the middle of downtown Mancester, England, University of Washington alum Norris Frederick finished third in the long jump with a leap of 24-10 (7.57m), as reigning Olympic champion Greg Rutherford won with a jump of 26-11 (8.20m).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

UW's Greg Metcalf earns Pac-12's men's coach of the year award...

University of Washington head track & field coach Greg Metcalf (above/photo by Paul Merca) was named by the Pac-12 Conference as its men’s track & field coach of the year, after leading both the men’s and women’s teams to its highest finish in conference history over the weekend.

This marks the first time that Metcalf has won the honor, which is voted on by his fellow head coaches.  The last time a UW coach won this award was in 1976, when Ken Shannon was voted co-coach of the year when the Husky men’s team finished second at the conference championship meet in Berkeley.

That 1976 season also happened to be the only other time that the Husky men finished second at the conference championships up until this past weekend at Husky Track. In the first Pac-12 Championships in Seattle since 1997, the Husky men’s team shattered its record for points scored and placed second behind Oregon. The Dawgs scored 122 points, the first time UW has ever scored over 100. The women’s team also tied its best ever team finish in fourth-place and scored its second-most points ever with 82.

The Huskies scored 60 points in the men’s distance events, which Metcalf directly oversees, and includes the 800, 1500, steeple, 5000 & 10000.

“This is a huge honor and a testament to the commitment and hard work that our men and women have been putting in,” said Metcalf, now in his 14th season as head track & field coach. “It was a tremendous weekend for us here in Seattle and the team is excited to carry that success into the upcoming NCAA rounds. They have a feeling that we are taking the right steps as a program.”



In Beijing at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting at the Bird’s Nest, Nick Symmonds of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished seventh in the 800, clocking 1:47.82 in a race won by Kenya’s Kipyegon Bett.

In the women’s 1500, ex-Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin was ninth in 4:10.76, as Hellen Obiri of Kenya won in 4:02.11.


The NCAA men’s and women’s track & field committees announced the list of accepted entries for the NCAA Division II championships, scheduled for May 26-28 in Bradenton, Florida at the IMG Academy.

On the women’s side, CENTRAL WASHINGTON will have three entries—Tayler Fettig (high jump) and steeplechasers Dani Eggleston and Erin Chinchar. SAINT MARTIN’S will have two athletes in Deanna Avalos (javelin) and Shannon Porter (1500 & 5000). 

SEATTLE PACIFIC will have five athletes—Jahzelle Ambus (400), Lynelle Decker (800/1500), Geneva Lehnert (high jump), Maliea Luquin (100H), and Jalen Tims (400H).  WESTERN WASHINGTON’s entries include javelin throwers Bethany Drake, Mariah Horton, Anosi Laupola, and Katie Reichert; Brittany Grant (steeple/5000); Megan Mortensen (discus); and, Miranda Osadchey (high jump).

The men’s accepted entries include CENTRAL WASHINGTON’s Armando Tafoya (hammer); SAINT MARTIN’s Mikel Smith (high jump); and WESTERN WASHINGTON’s Alex Barry & John Haskin (javelin); Alex Donigian (100/200); Matthew Lutz (steeple); and Travis Milbrandt.


Finally, we don’t pop athletes from either NCAA D3 or NAIA schools very often only because I don’t have enough time to scour results, but Evergreen State’s Zebuliah Hoffman won the Cascade Conference hammer throw with a national leading mark of 212-9 (64.84m), a mark that would have finished second at last weekend’s Pac-12 championships.

Thanks to eagle-eyed blog reader and hammer advocate Martin Bingisser for pointing this out! 

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference, the University of Washington, and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Monday, May 16, 2016

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Falcons pressed for GNAC women's title by Wildcats, and more...

While we were (extremely) involved in the on-field and in-stadium production of the Pac-12 track & field championships at Husky Track over the weekend, there were other meets involving Washington schools and pros.  Here’s a recap and links to what went down while we were working the Pac-12s:

THE COLLEGIATE RUN-DOWN

The SEATTLE PACIFIC women’s team (above/photo courtesy of the GNAC) grabbed their second straight conference title, and eighth since the Great Northwest Athletic Conference was formed in 2001 at McArthur Field on the campus of Western Oregon in Monmouth.

SPU got three individual wins on the final day to score 148.5 points, five better than the unexpected runner-ups from CENTRAL WASHINGTON.  Alaska Anchorage, who was expected to battle with the Falcons for the team title, finished third at 119 points.  

WESTERN WASHINGTON was fourth with 101 points, while Saint Martin’s was ninth with 35 points.

Maliea Luquin led the charge for the Falcons, winning the heptathlon last week, along with the long jump (18-3.25/5.57m), 100 hurdles (14.07) and a third place finish in the 400 hurdles (63.64).

The Wildcats got wins from Dani Eggleston in the steeple (10:23.58), Tayler Fettig in the high jump (5-9.25/1.77m), and its 4x100 relay (47.65).

WWU got its wins from Katie Reichert (164-8/50.19m) in the javelin, Jasmine McMullin (38-9.75/11.83m) in the triple jump, Anna Paradee  (11-7/3.53m) in the pole vault, and Megan Mortensen in the discus., while Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter won the 5000 (16.42.14).

On the men’s side, Western’s 5-year string of conference titles was snapped by Alaska Anchorage, as the Seawolves scored 163.5 to the Vikings’ 128.  Central Washington was fourth at 101.5, while Saint Martin’s was eighth at 47.5 and Seattle Pacific tied for ninth at 23.

Western’s Alex Donigian took the sprint double, winning the 100 in 10.66, and the 200 in 21.82. They also got wins from Travis Millbrandt in the 110 hurdles (14.38), and Mark Seely in the triple jump 48-0.75/14.65m).


At the Big Sky championships in Greeley, Colorado, the EASTERN WASHINGTON women’s team finished third overall with 94.5 points, led by steeplechase champ Katie Mahoney (10:33.19) and hammer thrower Kaytlyn Coleman (203-1/61.91m).

The men tied for eighth place with 49 points, as Jeremy VanAssche won the 100 in a barely windy 10.35 and Larry Still won the pole vault at 17-0.75 (5.20m).


In Lawrence, Kansas, the SEATTLE UNIVERSITY men’s team finished fifth, while its women’s squad took sixth at the Western Athletic Conference championships.

Shaddye Melu won both the 400 and high jump, running 47.40, and jumping 6-9.5 (2.07m) to highlight their efforts at the meet.


THE PROS

Nick Symmonds of the Brooks Beasts finished tenth at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on Saturday, running 1:48.39 for 800 in what could be generously described as the strangest start of the entire meet, as Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich won in 1:45.68.

It was a rough outing for former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin, as she finished 14th in the women's 1500 in 4:14.12.

Both Symmonds and Måkestad Bovin move on to Beijing for the Beijing World Challenge meet on Wednesday.

Also on Saturday, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford was third in the 100 hurdles at the Cayman Invitational in George Town, Cayman Islands, running 12.81.

At the Portland Twilight meet Sunday at Lewis & Clark College’s Griswold Stadium, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson was second in a very competitive 800m race to Oiselle’s Kate Grace, with Grace winning in 2:00.05 to 2:00.99. Justine Fedronic, who trains with the Beasts TC was fourth in 2:01.79, and Hannah Fields of the Beasts was ninth at 2:04.68.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Husky men's distance crew propels Dawgs to highest Pac-12 team finish since 1976...

SEATTLE—With three conference champions from the 1976 Washington Husky track & field team that finished second in the Pac-8 championships in attendance, the 2016 Husky men’s team matched the 1976 squad’s finish by placing second at the Pac-12 championships on a typical Northwest cool and cloudy day at Husky Track.

Oregon won the men’s team title with a final score of 155.6 points, with the Huskies accumulating 122 in second for its highest team finish in 40 years.  Washington State finished tenth with 41.60 points.

The Huskies got victories Sunday from its strength—the middle and long distance events, as Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca), and Izaic Yorks took the 5000 and 1500 meter runs, respectively.

Gilbert, who earlier placed sixth in the 1500 in a personal best 3:40.99, bided his time in the large field of runners entered in the 5000, before taking the lead from Colorado’s Morgan Pearson on the final lap.

Aaron Nelson, who won the steeplechase Saturday, closed strongly to take third in a personal best 13:42.06, while Fred Huxham finished seventh in 13:44.39, while teammate Andrew Gardner just missed a scoring spot, finishing ninth in a personal best 13:59.09.

As expected, Izaic Yorks won the men’s 1500 for the second straight time, taking no chances and leading from gun to tape in 3:39.14.

The men’s distance group especially had unprecedented success this weekend, scoring a total of 60 points over the 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, and 3,000m steeplechase. Gilbert’s win in the 5,000-meters was the first ever for a Husky male in that event in the 57-year history of the meet, and Yorks now owns two of the three 1,500-meter titles in UW history on the men’s side.

Afterwards, a beaming UW head coach Greg Metcalf said, “Our men’s distance group is mostly homegrown Washington kids that feed off each other, and they trust and believe and are confident. We’ve never scored that many points in the 10k and 5k in this meet. Our distance group did a great job on both sides. The measuring stick in this conference across the board is incredible; it’s not for the weak of heart. We had lots of wonderful young kids that (came through) for us this weekend.”

Washington’s other top three finish came from Carson Murray in the high jump, clearing 7-0.5 (2.15m) as Thane Pierson of Washington State won at 7-3 (2.21m).

In addition to Pierson in the high jump, Washington State got its only other victory in the 400 hurdles, as CJ Allen won his second Pac-12 title in a time of 50.36.

Tacoma’s Marcus Chambers played a big part in Oregon’s team title, successfully defending his 400 title in 45.94, finishing third in the 200 in 20.97, and anchoring the Ducks’ 4 x 100 relay to a third place finish.

Seattle native Darian Brooks of Stanford successfully defended his triple jump crown, winning with a mark of 51-11.75 (15.84m).

On the women’s side, the Huskies matched its highest team placing in Pac-12 history, finishing fourth with a final score of 82 points, as Oregon ran away with the team title, scoring 185 points.

Washington State finished eighth with 45 points.

Federal Way HS grad Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon (left/photo by Paul Merca) was the meet’s most outstanding female athlete, winning both the 100 in 11.08, the 200 in a championship meet record 22.49, and running the third leg on Oregon’s winning 4 x 100 relay in a championship meet record 42.71.

“I was happy that I’m in my home town and my family was here, so that was great support that always helps,” Cunliffe said. “To win all three, that’s just a great feeling.”

Washington’s Liz Quick became the third different Husky to win the pole vault title, clearing 13-5.75 (4.11m), before going straight to 14-5.5 (4.41m), which would have been a new school record, missing twice, then running through.

Sophomore Kaitlin Zinsli earned a runner-up finish in the pole vault, clearing a best of 12-10 (3.91m).

Senior Baylee Mires finished third in the 800, running a school record 2:03.91, as Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers, the defending NCAA champ, led a Duck 1-2 finish, clocking 2:02.41.

Washington State’s Liz Harper had the highest individual finish on the day for the Cougs, finishing fourth in the 400 hurdles in 58.20.  She also anchored WSU to a fourth place finish in the 4x400 relay, as the team of Dominique Keel, Christiana Ekelem, Regyn Gaffney, & Harper ran 3:38.17.

Complete results from the Pac-12 championships are available here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Huskies get three wins after first day of Pac-12 championships at Husky Track...

SEATTLE—A trio of Huskies won conference crowns as the first day of competition at the Pac-12 track & field championships at Husky Track on the campus of the University of Washington.

Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who won the conference title two years ago in Pullman, stayed patient over the first 2000 meters of the 3000 steeplechase, as he stayed away from the early pace set by 2015 champ Connor Winter of Colorado, eventually pulling away from him over the final 600 meters to win in a personal best of 8:39.58 to Winter’s 8:40.77.

Senior pole vaulter Jax Thoirs ended his Husky home career by winning his third straight title in the event in a lackluster competition delayed by rain, as the Scottish national cleared 17-8.5 (5.40m) to turn back Stanford’s Dylan Duvio (17-4.5/5.30m) and Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen, who also cleared the same height as Duvio.

On the women’s side, the Huskies’ Katie Knight won the 10000 meter title, running 33:20.02 to set a Pac-12 championship meet record, turning back Oregon senior Molly Grabill in the process (33:40.38).

Other top three finishes for Washington in Saturday’s competition included Charlotte Prouse in the women’s steeplechase (10:04.71), and Tyler King in the men’s 10000 (29:09.15).

Washington State’s Kiana Davis finished second in the women’s high jump, clearing a season best 5-8.75 (1.75m), the same height as winner Lisanne Hagens of Arizona.  Liz Harper was fourth in the event with a mark of 5-7.25 (1.71m), while Lateah Holmes tied for sixth at 5-5.25 (1.66m).

In the women’s javelin, WSU’s Kelsie Taylor was fourth at 144-11 (44.17m), while Brad Stevens was sixth at 220-0 (67.05m).

Significant qualifying highlights:

—Federal Way HS grad Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon was the top qualifier in the 100 dash at 11.08, and had the second fastest time in the 200 at 22.84;

—Tacoma’s Marcus Chambers of Oregon, the defending champion, won his heat of the 400 in 47.04, and also had the fastest time of the day at 200m, winning his heat in 21.04; 

—WSU’s CJ Allen, the 2014 champion at 400H, ran the fastest time of the day, winning his heat in 51.01; 

—Washington’s Baylee Mires won her heat of the women’s 800 in 2:05.97. In the same heat, Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier of Oregon failed to advance to the finals, finishing third in 2:07.50; 

—In the men’s 800, Jackson HS grad Grant Grosvenor won his heat in 1:49.43.  2014 Pac-12 champ Derrick Daigre advanced to the finals, as did teammate Izaic Yorks; 

—Speaking of Yorks; he finished second in his heat of the 1500 to Stanford’s Sean McGorty, running 3:43.61 to McGorty’s 3:43.58.  If you recall, those two had an epic battle at the MPSF championships in February, with Yorks winning.

In the men’s team competition, the Husky men lead at the break at 61 to Oregon’s 57, with Washington State 10th at 14 points with 8 events scored.

On the women’s side, Oregon leads with 57 points, whlle WSU is fifth at 28 points, and UW stands sixth with 23 points.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Athletes to watch at this weekend's Pac-12 track & field championships...

The University of Washington hosts the Pac-12 track and field championship meet Saturday and Sunday at Husky Track.  Action at Husky Track gets underway Saturday at 10 am with the men’s hammer, while the first track event starts at 1pm.

Here are some athletes with Washington ties you’ll want to watch this weekend along with some storylines:

—Hannah Cunliffe (Oregon/Federal Way HS): Cunliffe (left/photo by Paul Merca) gets the track portion of the meet underway Saturday as she will run on Oregon’s 4 x 100 relay.  Cunliffe is also entered in the 100 and 200 dashes, where she’s the conference and NCAA leader in the 100, and tied for second in the 200. Cunliffe’s time of 10.99 at 100m is currently the fifth fastest time in the world.  Oregon’s 4 x 100 relay has the third fastest time in the world this year, and is the collegiate leader at 42.68.

Will competing in front of friends and family, not to mention the report from an Italian publication that she may be switching nationalities be a distraction? Probably not.

—Jax Thoirs (Washington): Thoirs, the Pac-12 pole vault champ the last two years, looks to take his third conference crown, a feat only accomplished twice (by Brent Burns of Cal in 1989, 91-92, and by Oregon’s Tommy Skipper in 2004, 06-07), and the first to do it in three consecutive championships.

—Marcus Chambers (Oregon/Foss HS):  Chambers is the defending champion at 400 meters, and has a personal best of 44.95, set at last year’s USA championship meet.  Chambers, perhaps looking to peak in July at the US Olympic Trials, has a season best of 46.82, set in winning the Pepsi Invitational in April.  He could potentially be in a battle in the 400 with USC’s Ricky Morgan Jr, who leads the conference at 45.54. He’s also entered in the 200, where he’s ranked #4 in the conference, plus the relays.

—CJ Allen (WSU/North Mason HS):  Allen (left/photo by Paul Merca), who won the Pac-12 400 hurdles title two years ago in Pullman, is the conference leader at 50.16. He was injured last year, and wasn’t able to defend his title in Los Angeles.  He’ll go against 2015 champ Ben Thiel of Oregon, who’s run 52.45 this season, along with Stanford’s Jackson Shumway, and Colorado’s Jaron Thomas.

—Izaic Yorks (Washington/Lakes HS): Yorks, who won the Pac-12 title at 1500 in Los Angeles last year, looks to defend his title. He turned some heads nationally two weeks ago at the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford when he beat a field that included several Olympians and world championships competitors, running 3:37.74.  Stanford’s Sean McGorty, who pressed Yorks in February at the MPSF indoor championships, will be Yorks’ biggest challenge.  Yorks is also entered in the 800, where UCLA’s Nick Hartle and Arizona’s Collins Kibet are the top two in the field.

—Tera Novy (USC/Montesano HS):  Novy enters the meet as the clear favorite in the discus, as she’s thrown a best of 200-5 (61.10m), almost seven feet further than the second best in the conference. Novy owns the Olympic A standard in that event, and while it’s too early to think about it, she could be a factor in July at the Olympic Trials.

If I had to pick only one race to watch in the entire meet, it’s the women’s 400 hurdles, featuring the Arizona duo of Nnenya Hailey and Sage Watson, against USC’s Jaide Stepter and Amalie Iuel, with the possibility that WSU’s Liz Harper could be dragged to a fast time.

On April 9th at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Watson, who competed for Canada at the world championships in Beijing, ran the fastest time in the world at that distance, clocking 55.45 to Hailey’s 55.97, about 45 minutes after Hailey ran 12.96 in the 100 hurdles.

Meanwhile on the same day in Eugene, Stepter, who enters the meet as the two-time defending conference champion, ran 55.90, which was the second fastest time in the world. Iuel, who ran this event for Norway in Beijing last summer, was second in this event last year to Stepter, and won last week’s heptathlon.

Hailey improved her time to a collegiate leading 54.98 three weeks ago in Baton Rouge, currently the collegiate leader and the sixth fastest time in the world this year.

Throw in the mix WSU’s Liz Harper, who qualified for the NCAA championships in this event, and the  400 hurdles could be a precursor to both the NCAA West Regionals, and the NCAA finals, as Hailey, Watson, Stepter and Iuel made the finals in this event last year (Watson ran for Florida State last year, before transferring to Arizona). 

Could Hannah Cunliffe represent Italy at the Olympics this summer?

With the Pac-12 track and field championships on the horizon Saturday in Seattle at Husky Track, comes this report from the Italian sports newspaper Gazetta del Sport, that Federal Way HS graduate Hannah Cunliffe (left/photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport) could be on the move again, this time to represent Italy in international competition.

According to the report, which you can access here (in Italian), Cunliffe, who finished fourth at the 200 meters for Team USA at the 2013 IAAF world youth (16-17) championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, began exploring Italian citizenship several months ago. Hannah’s father Mike, who is also the long time coach of the Seattle Speed Track Club, talked to officials of the Italian federation at the IAAF world indoor championships in Portland about the possibility of her obtaining an Italian passport.

The report cites that Cunliffe’s great-great-grandfather, Giovanni Manza, emigrated to the USA from Italy, and that he came from the village of Figline Valdarno in the province of Cosenza.  

The Cunliffes are working with Italian and US authorities to prove that her great-great-grandfather, who passed away in 1971, never relinquished his Italian citizenship at the time of his death.  If so, it would open the way for her to possibly compete for Italy as soon as the European championships, and the Olympics this summer.

Cunliffe’s potential switch could make things interesting for the IAAF, after its president, Sebastian Coe, stated in a report a day ago, that he wants stricter rules in place to restrict athletes switching national allegiance, a view he said is widely shared within the global track & field community.

"In the past, these transfer of allegiance requests have been, sometimes, a little flimsy and we need to address that."

Cunliffe enters the Pac-12 championships as one of the heavy favorites in both the 100 and 200, along with Oregon's 4x100 meter relay team.

MADDUX WINS WAC HEPTATHLON; HAMM SIXTH AT BIG SKY HEP; GNAC CHAMPS START FRIDAY

SeattleU’s Mandie Maddux won the heptathlon competition at the Western Athletic Conference championship meet at Lawrence, Kansas Thursday, to match the pentathlon crown she won during the indoor season, scoring a personal best and school record 4859 points.

Maddux finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 16-7 (5.05m) to start day two, then won the javelin with a throw of 125-0 (38.11m), before winning the 800 in a personal best 2:23.52.

“Finishing the race brought out the reminder of all the hard work from the year, the days of self-doubt, and the many moments of encouragement from everyone,” Maddux said. “I knew I had reached my goal and was just overwhelmed with emotions that I had finally done it.

In other action at day 2 of the WAC, Elena Smith was second in the 10000 in a school record 36:02.24.

SeattleU’s Matthew Seidel was second in the men’s 10000 in 30:46.21, while teammate Baxter Arguinchona was third in 30:47.62.


In Greeley, Colorado, Eastern Washington’s Kendra Hamm was sixth in the heptathlon competition at the Big Sky Championship meet, scoring 4676 points to eclipse her previous personal best of 4545 points.

Teammate Jozie Kimes was 13th with a two-day total of 4151 points.

On Thursday, Hamm started the day with 671 points in the long jump with a 17-8 3/4 leap, scored 489 in the javelin with a 100-8 throw, and then completed the competition by scoring 735 points with a the sixth-best time in the 800 meters of 2:26.68. Kimes scored 606 in the long jump (16-11 3/4), 504 in the javelin (103-2) and 617 in the 800 (2:36:20).


The main portion of the Big Sky Championships begin Friday in Greeley.

All four of Washington’s Division II schools head to Monmouth, Oregon for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships, which start Friday at McArthur Field on the campus of Western Oregon.

Western Washington and Alaska Anchorage are the two favored teams in the men’s competition, with the Seawolves looking to stop Western’s streak of five straight conference team titles.

On the women’s side, look for a battle between Alaska Anchorage and Seattle Pacific.  The Falcons, who start the meet with an 11-point cushion thanks to Maliea Luquin’s win in the heptathlon, are the defending outdoor champs, and return five individual winners from last year.

You can read the GNAC’s excellent meet preview here (women) and here (men).

NOTE:  The sports information office of Seattle University, Eastern Washington, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

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