Tuesday, October 18, 2016

UW women move up to #2 in latest USTFCCCA national cross country poll; WSU men #15...

NEW ORLEANS—The University of Washington (above/photo courtesy UW Sports Information) women’s strong performance at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational was rewarded by the voters of the USTFCCCA National Division I cross country poll, as the Huskies moved to the # 2 ranking, according to the coaches’ organization.

In fact, three of the nation’s top five teams in this week’s poll hail from the Pac-12, with defending conference champion Colorado, the winners of the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals, ranked #1, and the University of Oregon ranked number 5.

Colorado received 8 of the 12 possible first place votes from the panel, with Washington taking the other four votes.

The other two teams in the top five are #3 NC State, and #4 Providence, both of whom the Huskies defeated at Wisconsin.

The #2 ranking by Washington is the highest for the Dawgs since the 2013 season when it was ranked #1.

Other teams from the Pac-12 ranked in the national top 30 include Stanford at 11, Utah #17, #23 UCLA, and #25 Cal, giving the conference a total of seven teams, a season high for the conference, with the next highest conference (Big Ten) having three teams.

On the men’s side, Washington State’s ninth place finish at Wisconsin was rewarded by the voters of the national poll, as they went from just outside the top 30 in the last poll to #15.

Washington, which was ranked #23 before the Wisconsin meet, dropped two spots to #25, despite a 16th place finish. 

The nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, Stanford, Oregon, BYU, and Arkansas.

The Pac-12 placed four teams in the top ten, with #7 Colorado, the defending conference champs, and #10 UCLA joining the party.

The Cougars and Huskies round out the six teams in the national top 30 from the Pac-12, giving the conference six teams, while the next highest conference (Big Ten) has four teams.

The Pac-12 championships will be contested on Friday October 28th in Tucson, Arizona at the Randolph North Golf Course, hosted by the University of Arizona.

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

Gig Harbor's Brenna Peloquin named USTFCCCA national D1 Athlete of the Week for Wisconsin win...

NEW ORLEANS—Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin (#118/photo by Mike Scott)  was named by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as its national Division I athlete of the week for her impressive performance last Friday in winning the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin.

The sophomore at Boise State University spent the majority of the race amongst the leaders in the top five, but she made sure to also have a runner or two in front of and beside her to combat what was an extremely windy day. 

The Gig Harbor HS grad made a solid move with roughly 1,000 meters to go, and eventually accelerated one more time to drop New Mexico’s Alice Wright (#238) and Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer (#277) to take the win in 20:01, with Wright second at 20:02, and Rohrer third at 20:04 over the 6 kilometer course.

Peloquin is now the only Bronco in school history to garner the prestigious USTFCCCA weekly honor twice over the course of a collegiate career.

Peloquin also earned the honor after winning the Roy Griak Invitational individual title on September 24th. She clocked a time of 20:50 on the 6-kilometer course, securing an 11-second victory over Michigan’s Erin Finn (21:01).

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA and Boise State University contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gonzaga's Thurston fifth in White section of ISU Pre-Nationals...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana—Competing in the white section of the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals Invitational, Gonzaga’s Jordan Thurston (left/photo by Mike Scott) capped off her day with a sixth place finish, covering the 6k course where this year’s NCAA championship meet will be contested in a time of 21:08.

Jordan was running with the lead group for the first 4.5 k, when the pack began stringing out, according to Bulldog women’s coach Patty Ley.

Jessica Mildes was 40th in 22:14, followed by Katy Culver (66th, 22:36), Olivia Evans (88th, 22:57) and Julie Henling (106th, 23:14).

The Bulldogs finished 13th in the 25 team field with 300 points, as Annemarie Schwanz of Fresno State won the individual title in 20:49, and Oregon State took the team championship with 114 points.

The Gonzaga men’s team ran in the Blue section against a significantly tougher field, finishing 31st with 762 points, as Oregon won the team title with 85 points.

The Zags lost both Scott Kopczynski and Sumner Goodwin during the race as they both dropped out of the race due to injuries.

Max Kaderabek led the team with his 62nd place time of 25:00 over the 8k course.  Dillion Quintana (122nd, 25:25), Jake Perrin (127th, 25:27), Kelly Manley (222nd, 26:16), and Kyle Thompson (229th, 26:26) were the other finishers.  Manley lost significant ground, as he had his bib ripped during a fall, and was spiked in the process by other runners.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won his second straight race of the season, taking the individual crown in 23:35.

In Lewiston, Idaho, Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter tuned up for a possible run at regaining the Big Sky cross country championship she lost last year by winning the women’s 5k at the Inland Empire Invitational.

Reiter was timed with a clocking of 16:36, close to her track PR of 16:27.

The Eagles finished third in the meet with 76 points, behind Idaho’s 29, and Montana’s 42.  Washington State was fourth with 103, followed by Gonzaga at 123.

In the men’s 8k race, freshman Justin Janke of Washington State won in a time of 24:09 to lead the Cougars to the team title, as the Cougs placed three in the top five.

Joining the Cougar parade were Jake Finney in 3rd at 24:23, and Jackson Haselnus in fifth at 24:28.

Finishing behind Washington State’s 37 points was Gonzaga at 69, Idaho with 70, Eastern Washington at 76, and Montana with 88 points.

At Seattle’s Lower Woodland Park, host Seattle University’s mens and women’s teams finished second to Club Northwest at the Emerald City Open.

In the men’s 8k, Club Northwest’s Drew Polley took the win, as the WSU alum ran 25:33 to finish five seconds ahead of teammate and Seattle Pacific coach Chris Reed.

Eil Boudouris was the first Redhawk across the line in 25:54.

In the women’s 6k, Lana Lacey of Club Northwest won in a time of 22:06, with SeattleU’s Lila Rice second at 22:18.


Eastern Washington distance runner Drew Schreiber (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) is in a medically induced coma at Spokane’s Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center after being assaulted at a Cheney apartment complex on October 8th, according to a report from the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Schreiber transferred to Eastern Washington after a short stint at the University of Washington.

Booked into Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond are John T. Mellgren and Damian C. Dunigan for attempted first-degree murder.  Court documents indicate Schreiber was beaten with a baseball bat so badly that the bat bent.

NOTE:  The sports information offices at Gonzaga, Washington State, SeattleU, and Indiana State contributed to this report.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Husky women make statement with win at Wisconsin; WSU men exceed expectations...

MADISON, Wisconsin—The 4th ranked University of Washington women’s cross country team may have put the country on notice after its convincing team victory at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational cross country meet, taking down three teams ranked in the top 10, including #1 Providence.

The Huskies, who potentially could be the nation’s #1 team when the USTFCCCA national poll comes out on Tuesday, were led by a surprising fourth place finish by Glacier Peak HS alum Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Mike Scott), who ran 20:06, as Gig Harbor HS alum Brenna Peloquin, running for Boise State, won the race in a time of 20:01.

Peloquin sat off the early pace set by the Huskies’ Charlotte Prouse and New Mexico’s Alice Wright before taking command in the final kilometer.

Wright was second in 20:02, with Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer third in 20:04, two seconds ahead of Neale.  Prouse finished fifth in 20:09.

Freshman Katilyn Neal was the Huskies’ third runner in 34th place at 20:48, followed by Kaylee Flanagan two places behind in 20:50.  Freshman Nikki Zielinski rounded out the scoring for the Dawgs in 45th at 20:58.

Veterans Anna Maxwell in 48th (20:59), and Pac-12 10000 meter champ Katie Knight in 50th (21:00) were the Dawgs’ final runners across the line.

Washington finished with 124 points, ahead of #3 ranked NC State's 166, and #1 Providence’s 170.

UW head coach Greg Metcalf said, "Our women were out aggressive and they raced hard and we had seven solid performances today, eight with Izzi (Batt-Doyle) in the open race," he said. "I thought we had a shot today if we just were competitive and assertive. We had a monster lead at the halfway point and just kept hammering to the finish line. Charlotte and Amy to be top-five were just fantastic performances today, their best ever on the big stage."

In contrast, Washington’s men’s squad may have taken a step back after a solid performance at its own invitational, and Washington State outperformed the expectations of the nation’s cross country prognosticators, and rebounded after a disappointing performance two weeks ago in South Bend, Indiana at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.

The Cougars, who entered the meet outside the national top 30, finished ninth in the invitational mens’ 8k race, led by Michael Williams’ 15th place finish in 24:11.  

John Whelan, who ran with the leaders early, was WSU’s second runner across the line in 23rd in 24:22.  He was followed by Chandler Teigen in 67th in 24:47, and Sam Levora in 68th in 24:48.

Nathan Wadhwani rounded out Washington State’s scorers in 110th in 25:07.

For the #23 ranked Huskies, Fred Huxham led the team to a 16th place team finish with his 37th place finish in 24:28. Team leader Colby Gilbert, who was up in the front pack early, faded to 63rd in 24:46.  

Washington’s other three scorers were Johnathan Stevens in 90th (24:56), Andrew Gardner in 91st (24:56), and Mahmoud Moussa in 135th (25:21).

Syracuse’s Justyn Knight won the individual title in 23:54, as the current #1 team in the country Northern Arizona won the team title with 78 points, followed by Stanford’s 118.

"We came in a little humbled from an off day at Notre Dame (Sept. 30) so everyone was really ready to get after it," WSU’s John Whelan said. "Boosted by a couple of great performances from Michael and Chandler we got the job done today, scoring points against a lot out-of-region teams that will help us towards NCAA qualifying."

Like the women’s race, the men’s competition showed that when the national rankings come out on Tuesday, there will be significant changes, with 19 ranked teams in the field, and another six, including Washington State, receiving votes in the last poll.

The women’s open race got the day started, as the Huskies’ Australian import, Izzi Batt-Doyle took the victory in 21:05.

Washington State’s Devon Bortfeld led the Cougars to a fourth place team finish with 137 points, as she finished fourth in 21:23.  Morgan Willson was 18th in 21:58, followed by Josie Brown in 34th at 22:25.

Morgan Lash in 35th (22:26), and Jenaya Pynn in 46th (22:35) rounded out the Wazzu scorers.

The Huskies finished seventh in the open race with 153 points, as Emily Hamlin was 6th in 21:28.  Following her were Katherine Penner in 33rd (22:25), Grace Hodge in 49th (22:40), and Joey Bosserman in 64th (23:20).

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the University of Wisconsin contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, we incorrectly wrote that the WSU men's cross country team "rebounded from a disappointing performance two weeks ago in Minnesota at the Roy Griak Invitational", when in actuality, it was in South Bend, Indiana at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

UW, WSU, and Gonzaga head to invitationals in Wisconsin and Indiana...

For those squads hoping to qualify for the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana next month, a strong showing is needed at one of the two big invitationals this weekend, and the squads from Washington, Washington State, and Gonzaga are traveling east to test their chops against the best teams in the country.

Friday, the Huskies and the Cougars head to Madison, Wisconsin for the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin.

The Husky men’s team, ranked #23 in the current USTFCCCA national poll, and the Cougars, who are sitting outside the national top 30, will face the nation’s top three teams in #1 Northern Arizona, #2 Syracuse, and #3 BYU, as they race over 8k.  All-American Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) leads the Huskies into battle in Madison.

Additionally, #7 Portland, and #8 Iona are in the field of 30+ teams as they jockey for points that will help those squads qualify as at-large selections for the national championships, especially in regions like the West with a host of nationally-ranked teams.

Meanwhile, Washington’s women’s squad, ranked #4 in the USTFCCCA poll, goes up against a field that includes #1 Providence, #3 NC State, #6 Michigan State, #10 Boise State with Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin, the #11 ranked defending national champions from New Mexico, plus several other teams in the national top-30. as they run 6k.

The Huskies will run Washington Invitational champ Charlotte Prouse, along with Katie Knight, Amy-Eloise Neale, Anna Maxwell, Kaitlyn Neal, Kaylee Flanagan, and Nikki Zielinski.

The WSU women will race in the B section of the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, which kicks off the four races in Madison at 9 am, pacific time.

The Huskies will also run five women in the B section—Izzi Batt-Doyle, Joey Bosserman, Grace Hodge, Emily Hamlin, and Katherine Penner, as UW coach Greg Metcalf evaluates the athletes looking to make the travel squad for the Pac-12 championships in two weeks in Tucson, Arizona.

The championship races will conclude the meet, beginning with the women's six-kilometer at 10:30 a.m. Pacific and ending with the men's eight-kilometer at 11:20 a.m.

Media partner Flotrack will provide a live stream of the races for those with a Flotrack Pro subscription.

The following day, defending WCC women’s champs Gonzaga heads to Terre Haute, Indiana for the other major invitational, the adidas Pre-Nationals, hosted by Indiana State University at the site of this year’s NCAA Championship meet.

The Zags will be led on the women’s side by Jordan Thurston and Max Kaderabek on the men’s team.  They were the top runners on the team at its last meet two weeks ago in Missoula, Montana at the Montana Invitational.

The men’s 8k gets underway at 8:35 am pacific, and the women’s 6k at 9:15 am.  Flotrack will provide a live stream of the races for those with a Flotrack Pro subscription.

Eastern Washington will stay close to home and compete at the Inland Empire Classic in Lewiston, Idaho, hosted by Lewis-Clark State.  They’ll face Washington State, Gonzaga, Montana, Idaho State, plus a number of smaller schools.

The Inland Empire Classic starts at 11 am with the women’s 5k, while the men’s 8k goes off at 11:45 am.

SeattleU hosts the Emerald City Open Saturday at Lower Woodland Park starting at 10 am, featuring local schools, plus club and unattached runners.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, Lewis-Clark State, and Indiana State contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vikings out, while Falcon women still hang on to top 25 in latest USTFCCCA Division II poll...

The Seattle Pacific women's cross
country team is ranked 25th in
the latest USTFCCCA D2 poll
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—Western Washington’s seventh place finish at its own invitational meet over the weekend had some repercussions among the voters of the USTFCCCA national Division II coaches’ poll, as the Viking women’s team, previously ranked #15, dropped completely out of the national top 25 in the poll released Wednesday.

The nation’s top five teams, according to the voting panel, are Adams State, Grand Valley State, U-Mary, Western State, and Minnesota Duluth.

The top team ranked from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference is #14 Alaska Anchorage, which was unranked in the last poll, but moved up after winning the Western Washington Invitational.

Previously unranked Simon Fraser moved up to #19 after a third place finish at the WWU Invite, while Seattle Pacific, which finished fifth at the WWU Invite, dropped seven spots to #25 in the national poll.

On the men’s side, Western Washington’s fourth place finish last week at their own invitational dropped the Vikings out of the top 25 after being ranked #22 in the previous poll.

The only nationally ranked team from the GNAC is Alaska Anchorage at #9, after its second place finish at the WWU Invite, behind Canadian powerhouse Trinity Western.

The nation’s top five Division II teams are Adams State, Grand Valley State, Colorado Mines, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

The GNAC cross country championships will be held on October 22nd at East Lake Padden Park in Bellingham.


Stensland was a member of the WWU coaching staff for six years, having served as a student assistant (2010), graduate assistant (2012-13) and an assistant coach (2011, 2014-15). He will begin his seventh year as a member of the WWU coaching staff after spending a year as an assistant track and field coach at Western Oregon in 2015-16.

Katie Reichert, Monika Gruszecki & Bethany Drake
at the US Olympic Trials (Paul Merca photo)
During his first stint at WWU, Stensland coached sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers. He has coached 15 NCAA Division II All-Americans along with 30 Great Northwest Athletic Conference individual champions. Among the All-Americans Stensland has coached are a pair of national champion javelin throwers in Monika Gruszecki (2011) and Bethany Drake (2014), along with school record holder and All-American Katie Reichert. All three (above/photo by Paul Merca) qualified for the US Olympic Trials in July in Eugene.

While at Western Oregon last season, Stensland helped guide the Wolves to a second-place finish on the men’s side and an eighth-place finish on the women’s side at the GNAC indoor championships. During the outdoor conference championships, the WOU men placed third while the women were seventh.

“I’m excited to have Ben back in our program,” said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell. “He’s got a lot to bring – he built up the javelin and jumps programs and I look for him to continue that on. And the strength and the conditioning aspect – (which was) how he (originally) got into the program – I’m excited to have that expertise back, also. He’s a great guy and he cares about the athletes.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

WEEKEND WRAPUP: Isaac Derline wins WWU Classic XC Invite; Viking alum Crouch 2nd American at Chicago...

BELLINGHAM—Western Washington’s Isaac Derline (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) became the first Viking since 2009 to win the individual title at the 43rd annual Western Washington Invitational on a rainy and windy Saturday morning at East Lake Padden Park.

The junior from Kent covered the 10k course in a time of 31:14 to win by four seconds over Joel Deschiffart of Canada’s Trinity Western University.

Trinity Western took the team title by a comfortable 37-53 margin over reigning GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage, as many teams from the GNAC ran in Bellingham to preview the course that will host the conference championship on the 22nd.

Simon Fraser finished third with 94 points, two less than Western Washington’s 96.

Among other GNAC schools, Central Washington finished eighth with 225, followed by Concordia/Oregon in ninth at 290 points.

Alaska Fairbanks was 11th with 331, followed by Seattle Pacific with 341, and Saint Martin’s at 364.

Josh Boston was Central Washington’s top runner in 46th in 33:15. Ben Halladay led Seattle Pacific with his 35th place finish in 32:53, and Jasper Heckman was Saint Martin’s top runner in 88th at 34:24.

In the women’s 6k race, Seattle Pacific’s Sarah Macdonald avenged a loss from Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter two weeks ago, as Macdonald finished fourth in the women’s 6k race in 21:46, two seconds ahead of Porter.

Trinity Western’s Regan Yee was the overall winner, covering the course in 21:25, two seconds ahead of Caroline Kurgat of Alaska Anchorage.

Defending GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage took the team title by a 76-81 count over Trinity Western.

In what will surely cause some changes in the next USTFCCCA Division II coaches’ poll, unranked Simon Fraser was third with 101 points, while #18 Seattle Pacific was fifth with 122 points.  

Host Western Washington, who were led by Brittany Grant’s 17th place finish in 22:27, finished seventh with 159 points.

Saint Martin’s was ninth with 242 points, just ahead of Central Washington in tenth with 247 points. Alexa Shindruck was Central’s top runner in 29th in 22:54.

In Chicago, Western Washington alum Sarah Crouch finished ninth and was the second American woman overall at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday, clocking a time of 2:33:48.

Seattle’s Emma Polley was 16th overall in a time of 2:40:56.

Abel Kirui of Kenya won the mens’ race in 2:11:23, while countrywoman Florence Kiplagat took the women’s title in 2:21.32.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Western Washington University and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon contributed to this report.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Big test awaits for Washington's four Division II schools in Bellingham at WWU Invite...

Seattle Pacific's women's team heads to the WWU
Invitational ranked #18 in the USTFCCCA
Division II coaches' poll (Paul Merca photo)
Washington’s four NCAA Division II schools take center stage Saturday at East Lake Padden Park in Bellingham as Western Washington hosts its own invitational meet, and give teams a preview of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship course that will take place two weeks later.

Scheduled to join the host Vikings at the meet is Alaska, Alaska Anchorage, Central Washington, Concordia, Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser. Over 200 men and 180 women are expected to compete. The men will compete at the regional and national championship distance of 10,000 meters while the women will compete at 6,000 meters.

Other teams entered in the field include Canadian schools University of Victoria, Trinity Western and University of British Columbia, as well as teams from Brooks, Club Northwest, and Oiselle.

The host Vikings go into the meet with their women’s squad ranked #15, and the men’s squad ranked #22 in the latest USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll, released Wednesday.  The Vikings last competed at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota on September 24th, with the men placing fifth and the women sixth.

Seattle Pacific’s women’s squad goes into the WWU Invite ranked #18 nationally after a strong showing at the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey two weeks ago, where they placed six runners in the top nine to win with a low score of 22 points.

One of the hottest runners in the conference so far this season is Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter, who won the Charles Bowles Invitational in Salem, Oregon last weekend, after winning the Saint Martin’s Invite the week before.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Western Washington, and the GNAC contributed to this report.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

UW's big win at Washington Invitational catapults Dawgs to 4th in USTFCCCA national poll...

The University of Washington women's team used their win
at its own Invitational to move to #4 in the USTFCCCA poll
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—The University of Washington women’s cross country team’s convincing victory at its own Washington Invitational last Saturday was rewarded by the voters of the USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll, as the Huskies moved up eight spots to a season-high #4 ranking, matching the Dawgs’ highest ranking since the 2012 season.

In the national coaches’ poll released Tuesday, the nation’s #1 team is Providence, followed by defending Pac-12 champs Colorado, followed by NC State, Washington and the University of Portland.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the women’s national top 30 include #7 Stanford, which dropped 1 spot; #9 Oregon, which dropped five spots; and #23 Utah, which moved up five spots.

In the national men’s poll, the Huskies, who finished third behind Oregon and Colorado State at its own invitational last weekend, did not lose any significant ground, as they dropped two spots to #23.

The national voters did not take Washington State’s seventh place finish at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational too kindly, as the Cougars dropped from #24 to just outside the national top 30 as the top school receiving votes.

The nation’s top five schools in this week’s poll are Northern Arizona, Syracuse, BYU, Oregon, and Arkansas.

Other Pac-12 schools in the national top 30 include #6 Colorado, #11 Stanford, and #27 UCLA.

All five of Washington’s NCAA D1 schools are off this weekend.  Washington and Washington State will be at the Wisconsin Invitational on October 14th in Madison, while Gonzaga will be at the Pre-Nationals the following day in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Eastern Washington will be at the Inland Empire Classic in Lewiston on the 15th, along with split squads from Gonzaga and WSU.  Seattle University will host the Emerald City Open at Lower Woodland Park on the 15th.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Eric Metcalf formally hired as sprints coach at the University of Washington...

The University of Washington confirmed what had been known in the local community for weeks by formally announcing the hiring of former NFL running back and kick return specialist Eric Metcalf (above/photo courtesy University of Washington) as the school’s sprint coach.

Metcalf, who was a two-time NCAA champion in the long jump and the winner of the 1988 TAC/USA outdoor long jump title (that year, the Olympic Trials and the US championships were two separate meets), began his NFL career in 1989 with the Cleveland Browns, playing six seasons for the Browns.

After playing for the Browns, he played for the Falcons, Chargers, Cardinals, Panthers, Redskins, and Packers.  He was selected to three Pro Bowls—twice with Cleveland (1994-95), and once with San Diego (1997).  

He is a footnote in perhaps one of the worst trades in Chargers franchise history, as he, along with two first round and one second round picks, were traded to the Arizona Cardinals, in order to move one spot in the NFL draft, where San Diego drafted Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf.

Here is a highlight clip from his NFL career, courtesy of NFL Films:

After his career concluded, he began coaching track at Rainier Beach HS, where he led Michael Berry to a state title before he competed for the University of Oregon.  Berry was also one of the most prominent athletes on Metcalf’s Seatown Express club team, comprised of some of the top sprinters and jumpers in the Puget Sound area.

Metcalf was a volunteer assistant coach at the UW starting with the 2013 season, working with the horizontal jumpers, and also with Kennadi Bouyer, who was a former Seatown Express member, in the sprints.

Bouyer broke the UW school record for 60-meters indoors and became the first Husky ever to make the NCAA Indoor Championship 60m final in 2016, running a PR of 7.27 in the semis. Bouyer also made it to the NCAA Outdoor Championship final site at 100-meters, placing 20th overall.

Mark Macdonald & Jeshua Anderson were announced
by the UW as volunteer coaches for the 2016-17 season
(Paul Merca photo)
“Eric has a wealth of experience both on the football field and on the track. He has just been around great athletes his entire life, and he understands what greatness is," said UW head coach Greg Metcalf. 

"This is his first collegiate coaching job but he's had great successes with his club and at Rainier Beach he coached some of the best sprinters in the history of the state of Washington, and he's done great work with Kennadi Bouyer here. I think he deserves a shot and he wanted it. The initial response from our team is excitement to be working with Coach Metcalf."

In addition to his work at Rainier Beach and at Seatown Express, Eric Metcalf was doing consulting work for Nike in track & field, and attended the 2015 IAAF world championships in Beijing and the Rio Olympics with Nike.  He was also an ambassador for the Cleveland Browns, helping the Browns with public speaking appearances, both in the off-season, and in-season.

In addition to his Seattle ties, Metcalf's uncle, Dennis Cook, competed for the Huskies in the long and triple jumps in the late 1970s.

In a related move, the UW also announced that long-time Washington State hurdles coach Mark Macdonald will be a volunteer coach at the UW, along with Jeshua Anderson, the 2011 USA 400 hurdles champ and 3-time NCAA champ at Washington State. 

NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

WEEKEND WRAPUP: Porter wins Charles Bowles Willamette Invite race...

SALEM, Oregon—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter (left/photo by Paul Merca) won her second straight race and third of the season, taking first place in the women’s 5k at the Charles Bowles Willamette invitational Saturday.

Porter ran 17:07 to finish 26 seconds ahead of the University of Portland’s Mathilde Sagnes. 

Whitworth sophomore Kayla Leland was fourth in 17:51, while SMU’s Yadira Lopez was sixth in 18:02, and Central Washington’s Alexa Shindruk was ninth in 18:14.

The University of Portland won the meet with 87 points, nosing out New Mexico State’s 96 points. Whitworth was fourth with 144 points, while Central Washington finished fifth in the team competition with 175 points.  Saint Martin’s was seventh with 213 points.

In the men’s 8k race, Pacific Lutheran’s Brad Hopkinson was fourth in 24:52, as Portland’s Brady Johnson won in 24:16.

Portland easily won the men’s team title with 23 points. Central Washington was sixth in the meet with a team score of 173. Whitworth was 11th with 318 points,  and Pacific Lutheran was 12th with 323.  Whitman was 13th with 344 points, and Saint Martin’s was 15th with 369.

Central Washington and Saint Martin’s are scheduled to compete in next Saturday’s Western Washington Invitational in Bellingham, along with Seattle Pacific.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Prouse wins Washington Invitational to lead Huskies to team title...

SEATTLE—The University of Washington’s Charlotte Prouse (left/photo by Paul Merca) took command early and never looked back as she easily won the women’s 6k race Saturday morning at Jefferson Park Golf Course to lead the #12 ranked Huskies to the Washington Invitational team title.

Prouse, the Canadian internationalist, who set the North American U-20 record in the steeplechase this summer at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, took the lead from the start, and began pulling away from the field after the 1000-meter mark,winning in a time of 19:37. six seconds up on Oregon freshman and Gatorade national high school cross country runner of 2015 Katie Rainsberger.

NCAA 1500m qualifier Amy-Eloise Neale closed well over the last kilometer to take third in 19:48, just ahead of Harvard’s Courtney Smith, who had the same time.

Lindbergh HS alum Sarah Reiter of Eastern Washington was sixth in 20:07, with a trio of Huskies—Kaitlyn Neal (20:11), Nikki Zielinski (20:20) and Anna Maxwell (20:20) taking the next three spots to secure the team title for the Huskies, who had a 1-5 team split of 57 seconds.

The Huskies had the low score of 24 points, beating Oregon’s 57 points.

Harvard was third with 78 points.

Washington State was sixth with 174 points, led by Devon Bortfeld’s 15th place finish in 20:32, while Eastern Washington was seventh with 178. 

Seattle University was ninth in the nine-team field with a score of 251 points, led by Olivia Stein’s 53rd place finish in 21:49.

In the men’s 8k race, defending Pac-12 and 3-time harrier champ Edward Cheserek (left/photo by Paul Merca) was content to let Washington’s Colby Gilbert do the front-running in his season debut, before he dropped the hammer on the field on the final lap, cruising to a time of 23:07, just short of the course record of 23:00 set by Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan two years ago at this meet.

Gilbert, along with fellow Huskies Andrew Gardner and Johnathan Stevens were up front with Cheserek, Jerrell Mock and Grant Fischer of Colorado State, and the Oregon trio of Sam Prakel, Matthew Maton and Tanner Anderson lurking.

The places changed on the last lap, with Cheserek taking command, and Gilbert trying to hang on to the second spot approaching the final 1000 meters.

Mock was second in 23:26, followed by Prakel in third at 23:28.  Maton took fourth in 23:29, just ahead of Gilbert in 23:30.

Oregon’s Anderson was sixth in 23:32, followed by CSU’s Fischer in 23:36.

The Huskies’ Stevens was eighth in 23:38, with a pair of Colorado State runners—Eric Hamer (23:44) and Jefferson Abbey (23:44) rounding out the top 10.

Oregon, ranked #3 in the current USTFCCCA poll, took the team title with 26 points, just ahead of #29 Colorado State’s 39 points.  The Ducks had a 1-5 split of 40 seconds, with Colorado State at 23 seconds.  

The Huskies were third with 64 points, with a 1-5 split of 45 seconds, and Washington State was fourth with 127 points, led by Jake Finney’s 19th place finish in 24:05.

Eastern Washington was sixth with 192 points, led by Isaac Kitzan’s 36th place finish in 24:45, and SeattleU was seventh in the eight-team field with 195 points, led by Chay Weaver, who was 42nd in 24:51.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cougars finish seventh at Joe Piane Invitational at Notre Dame...

SOUTH BEND, Indiana—John Whelan (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Washington State University was the first Cougar across the line with an eighth place finish to lead the squad to a seventh place team finish at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by the University of Notre Dame Friday.

Whelan covered the 5-mile course in a time of 23:56, as Sean Tobin of Mississippi took the win in a time of 23:32.

Following Whelan were Michael Williams in 16th (24:04), then Sam Levora in 36th (24:20).  Rounding out WSU’s five scorers were Nathan Wadwhani in 48th (24:29), and Paul Ryan in 81st (24:47).

Tobin’s victory helped lead Mississippi, the nation’s 20th-ranked squad, to the team title with a low score of 83 points, followed by UTEP (#18) with 99, and Eastern Kentucky (#9) with 168 points.

Following Eastern Kentucky were Providence with 182, Illinois with 183, Southern Utah at 187, and the Cougars with 189.

According to WSU coach Wayne Phipps, sixth man Chandler Teigen, who normally runs closer to Levora and Wadwhani, fell during the race, thus accounting for the 51 second 1-5 split.

"We put ourselves in a very good position at the halfway point of the race, in third place, and then we struggled a bit towards the end," Phipps said. "We accomplished a lot by beating several key teams but we expected to finish a little higher overall. We were only a few points out of fourth and I feel that third was definitely in our grasp.”

The rest of the WSU team competes Saturday at the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park GC in Seattle.

Meanwhile, in Missoula, Montana, Gonzaga’s Jordan Thurston won her third straight meet of the season at the Montana Invitational, running the 6k course in 21:10.

In the double-dual format, the Bulldogs lost to both Montana and Montana State by identical 27-28 margins.

In the men’s 8k race, Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley, who is being redshirted and competing unattached, took the overall victory, running 24:56, to win by 30 seconds over the Zags’ Max Kaderabek.

The Zags took care of Montana by a perfect 15-50, and got the sweep, taking Montana State by a 23-35 count.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Washington State and Notre Dame contributed to this report.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

THE WEEKEND AHEAD: All five Washington D1 schools in action at Notre Dame, Montana & UW invite...

All five of Washington’s Division I schools are in action Friday and Saturday as the meat of the collegiate cross country season begins ramping up.

The 24th ranked Washington State Cougars, led by Michael Williams (left/photo by Paul Merca) heads to South Bend, Indiana for Friday’s Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational Blue Race at 11:45 am pacific time (2;45 eastern time), where they will try to pick up valuable points for NCAA championship meet consideration. 

WSU will face a 28-team field that includes five nationally ranked teams that include, Eastern Kentucky (9), Mississippi (20), NC State (23), UTEP (18), and Wisconsin (12).

Besides Williams, the Cougs will run John Whelan, who competed unattached two weeks ago at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle; Justin Janke; Sam Levora; Paul Ryan; Nathan Tadesse; Chandler Teigen, and Nathan Wadhwani.

Courtesy of WSU Athletics, here's WSU coach Wayne Phipps's press conference previewing the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational and the Washington Invite:

Both the Gonzaga men’s and women’s squads head to Missoula, Montana for Friday’ morning’s (9:30 am) Montana Invitational, where they will face host Montana and Montana State, plus a host of smaller schools and unattached runners.

Saturday, the University of Washington hosts the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park Golf Course starting at 11 am with the women’s 6k race featuring #4 Oregon, with 2015 Gatorade national cross country runner of the year Katie Rainsberger, and the #12 Huskies.

Also in the field are Eastern Washington, with 2015 NCAA qualifier Sarah Reiter from Renton leading the charge for the Eagles; SeattleU; and teams from Colorado State, Grand Canyon, Harvard, and Idaho.

The men’s 8k, which starts at 11:45, features #3 Oregon, where reigning NCAA champion Edward Cheserek is expected to make his season debut.

Also in the field are Eastern Washington, SeattleU and the rest of the WSU men’s team not competing at Notre Dame, along with #29 Colorado State, Grand Canyon, and Idaho.


Western Washington’s trip to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational, where they finished sixth in the women’s D2 race, and fifth in the men’s D2 race, dropped the Vikings in the national USTFCCCA rankings, which were released Wednesday.

The women’s team dropped from #8 nationally to #16, while the men’s team experienced a similar drop, falling to #21 from #14.

Seattle Pacific, which won the Saint Martin’s Open last week, dropped one spot in the national women’s poll to #19.

The top five women’s teams, according to the national poll are Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, U-Mary, and Western State.

The Vikings and Falcons are the only two women’s squads from the GNAC ranked in the national top 25.

On the men’s side, the top five teams are Colorado Mines, Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

The only other men’s team from the GNAC besides Western Washington that is nationally ranked is defending conference champion Alaska Anchorage at #9.

This weekend, Central Washington and Saint Martin’s are the only two schools in Division II competing, as both schools will send athletes to Salem, Oregon for the Willamette Invitational.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA, University of Washington, Washington State University & University of Notre Dame contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Latest USTFCCCA D1 national poll reflects shuffling in ranks; Dawgs maintain spots...

Katie Knight & Charlotte Prouse of
#12 Washington at the Sundodger Invite
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—There was some shuffling among the top five schools in the latest USTFCCCA men’s national cross country coaches’ poll in the NCAA Division I ranks, while the Washington Huskies maintained their #21 ranking, and Washington State moved up three spots to #24, even though both schools were idle.

In the national men’s poll, Northern Arizona is the nation’s number one team, followed by former #1 Syracuse, who were upset at the Panorama Farms Invitational in Virginia last week.

Oregon is that nation’s #3 men’s team, followed by Brigham Young, the winners of the Panorama Farms Invite.

Rounding out the top five is a tie between Colorado and Arkansas.

Other Pac-12 schools ranked nationally include #11 Stanford, and #27 UCLA.

The national women’s poll saw some shuffling in the ranks as well, as former #1 ranked New Mexico was dropped to a tie for #2 with Colorado.

The nation’s #1 team is Providence, with Oregon ranked fourth and North Carolina State at #5.

The Washington women’s team, which was idle last weekend, held steady at #12.

Other Pac-12 schools in the national top 30 include #6 Stanford, #28 Utah, and #29 UCLA.

The Huskies will host the Washington Invitational this Saturday at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle’s Beacon Hill, with the women’s 6k starting at 11 am, and the men’s 8k starting at 11:45 am.

Oregon and Washington State are expected to field squads at the Washington Invitational.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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