Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Huskies set to host MPSF championships this weekend at the Dempsey...

It’s championship week for four of Washington’s Division I schools, with the University of Washington  playing host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships at the Dempsey Indoor, featuring all twelve Pac-12 schools including Washington State, plus selected institutions from the Big West, West Coast, and Mountain West conferences.

Regardless of venue for championship week, the aim for many of these athletes is to find themselves in the top 16 in the NCAA rankings when this weekend is over, as only the top 16 in each event advance to the national championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas in two weeks.

Friday’s action begins at 12 noon with the women’s weight throw final and the first event of the pentathlon. Both pole vaults will take place Friday, as will both men’s and women’s long jumps, as well as the men’s weight throw. The pentathlon will complete all five events, while the heptathlon will do four of seven. Track finals on Friday include the 5,000-meters, the 200-meters, and the distance medley relays which conclude the day.

All remaining track events take place Saturday beginning at 10:30am, plus the conclusion of the heptathlon and the men’s and women’s high jumps, triple jumps, and shot puts. As is the case with every collegiate meet, the 4x400m relay ends the competition.

Based on the current NCAA rankings, 31 different individuals from MPSF schools occupy spots in the national top ten entering this weekend (not all will contest the events they’re ranked in), including Oregon’s Eric Jenkins (3000/5000).

Flotrack will provide streaming video of the meet ($) with a subscription to Flotrack Pro.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington travels to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Big Sky championship meet, and Seattle University travels to Colorado Springs for the Western Athletic Conference title tilt.

The Eagles are sending 23 women and 13 men to Flagstaff, led by defending Big Sky weight throw champion Jordan Arakawa.


In Metz, France, Bernard Lagat closed his 2015 indoor season by winning the 3000 at the Metz International indoor meet.

The 40 year old Washington State alum used his trademark kick to win in 7:37.91, setting a new world masters record,

Results from the meet are available here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dressel, Huxham, Suver, Babcock & Gray help USA win trio of team titles in Colombia...

BARANQUILLA, Colombia—Mount Spokane HS senior John Dressel’s (left/photos by Mike Scott) fourth place finish helped Team USA to one of three team victories in the Copa Panamericana de Cross Country meet Sunday in the Colombian city.

Dressel, the third place finisher at the USA junior championships two weeks ago who signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Colorado, ran 19:23 on a course that allegedly was between 5 and 6 kilometers, as Justyn Knight from Canada took the win in 19:04, followed by USA national junior champ Conner Mantz in 19:13.

University of Washington freshman Fred Huxham finished eighth in a time of 19:43, as all five USA scorers finished in the top 10, earning a low score of 20 (4 score) to runner-up Canada’s 38.

In the senior women’s announced 7k race, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver finished fifth in a time of 21:36, with Gladys Tejada of Peru winning in 21:18, followed by top American Kellyn Taylor in 21:34.  

Washington alum Christine Babcock (above/photo by Mike Scott), who had battled injuries over the last eight months, was ninth in 22:03, as the USA took another team trophy by a 22-43 count over Canada.

In the senior men’s race, Stanford graduate student Maksim Korolev produced a late surge on the hard and flat course announced at 10k to win in his international debut in a time of 28:21, as Team USA placed five runners in the top eight.

Lakewood resident Joe Gray finished seventh in 29:07 as Team USA’s final scorer to help the squad garner its third team championship of the day, scoring a team low 15 points over runner-up Ecuador’s 52.


NOTE:  The Association of Pan American Athletics and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Falcons claim GNAC women's indoor title #10, while Viking men fall short; Lagat sets yet another masters WR...

NAMPA, Idaho—Seattle Pacific’s women’s squad (above/photo courtesy GNAC) claimed its tenth Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track and field title Saturday at Jackson’s Track, with strong performances by its sprint corps.

Seattle Pacific scored 146 points to finish 12 points ahead of defending champ Alaska Anchorage.  Central Washington was fourth with 87, while Western Washington was sixth with 44, and Saint Martin’s tied for seventh at 32.

The Falcons got victories from 400 meter runner Jahzelle Ambus, who ran a personal best and school record of 56.18 to finish ahead of Simon Fraser’s Chantel Desch, along with a win by their 4 x 400 meter relay team of Ambus, Tasia Baldwin, Jalen Tims, and Jasmine Johnson, as the quartet ran an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 3:50.68.

In addition to Ambus’ win in the 400, they scored big points in the 200, led by Becca Houk’s second place finish in a school record 24.89, leading three other Falcons to go 2-3-4-5 and score 23 points.

The 400 got the Falcons 17 points, as Johnson and Tims went 5-6 behind Ambus.

In the 60, Houk finished second in 7.66, while Kyra Brannan was fifth in 7.99.

Central’s Becki Duhamel won her second event of the meet, taking the shot put at 44-8 (13.61m), while Jasmine McMullin of Western Washington won the triple jump at 38-2.75 (11.65m).  The Vikings took a big hit in the 3000 as conference leader and reigning cross country champ Katelyn Steen fall started out of the race.

Western’s bid for a third straight GNAC indoor crown fell six points short, as Alaska Anchorage got a second place finish in the meet’s final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay to earn its first conference crown, scoring 142 to the Vikings’ 136.

Central Washington was fifth with 65 points, while Saint Martin’s was seventh at 42.5, and Seattle Pacific was ninth with 12.

The Vikings got wins from Travis Milbrandt in the 60 hurdles, Alex Donigian in the 60, and Brett Watson in the high jump.

Milbrandt won the hurdles in a school, conference and meet record time of 8.08.  Donigian won his third straight 60 crown in 6.82, but couldn’t defend his title in the 200, losing out to Western Oregon’s Cody Warner, 21.60 to 21.66, as both broke the old meet record.

Central Washington got a 1-2 finish from Kevin Stanley and Armando Tafoya in the weight throw, as Stanley won his second event of the meet with a toss of 55-9.25 (17.00m) to outdistance Tafoya (53-5.5/16.29m).

The Wildcats’ Luke Plummer won the triple jump with a conference and meet record mark of 49-5 (15.06m).

Heptathletes Jayden Yoro and David Durden highlighted Saint Martin’s efforts Saturday with their 2-4 finish, with Yoro scoring 4870 to finish behind Alaska Anchorage’s Cody Thomas, who scored a meet record 4985 points, breaking his old mark of 4904 from last year.  Durden finished the two-day competition with 4635 points.


In Birmingham, England, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat finished third in the 2 mile at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix meet, as reigning Olympic and world 5000/10000 champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who trains in Portland as part of the Nike Oregon Project set a world best of 8:03.40, beating the previous world best of 8:04.35 set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele at this same meet in 2008.

Lagat’s efforts netted him a time of 8:17.05, which gave him his second world over-40 masters best in a span of seven days.


In Montreal, Mark Wieczorek of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished second in the 600 in a special race set up in conjunction with the Canadian indoor championship meet.

The race was billed as an attempt to go after the world best of 1:15.12 set by Nico Motchebon of Germany in 1999.

Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic took the win in 1:16.01, with Wieczorek second in 1:17.04, and Dai Greene of Great Britain third in 1:17.59.


At the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana on the campus of Notre Dame University, Washington State's Jesse Jorgensen finished second in the 800, running a season best 1:49.83 to finish behind Iowa State's Will Teubel, who ran 1:49.65 for the win.

The Cougars' Abby Regan was sixth in the mile, as she clocked 4:47.96.  Last week, Regan set a new school record in the mile at the Husky Classic, running 4:43.91.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Falcons and Vikings in prime position after day 1 of GNAC championships...

NAMPA, Idaho—Seattle Pacific may have put themselves in a solid position to win their tenth women’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track and field title Friday with two victories after day one of the two-day conference championship meet at Jacksons Track at the Idaho Center.

The Falcons got a projected victory in the 5000 meters from junior Anna Patti (left/photo by Paul Merca), as the junior from Renton’s Lindbergh HS scored a personal best time of 17:14.01, to beat Alaska Anchorage’s Amy Johnston by over seven seconds.

Patti let Johnston do most of the leading for the first 4000, then made a decisive move with four laps to go around the 200 meter oval.

The Falcons got an unexpected win in the high jump, as freshman Naphtali Ward from Gig Harbor scored a personal best of 5-6.5 (1.69m) to upset defending champ and conference leader Tayler Fettig of Central Washington, who finished second with a clearance of 5-4.5 (1.64m), the same height cleared by Ward’s teammate Louisa McInnis.

It was a long day for Fettig, who has battled injuries throughout the indoor season in her right leg, and  hoped to place high in both the high jump, long jump, and pentathlon.  Fettig finished fourth in the long jump at 17-7.5 (5.37m) behind winner Karolin Anders of Alaska Anchorage (18-6.5/5.65m) and SPU’s Kyra Brannan (18-5.75/5.63m) and Tasia Baldwin (18-1/5.51m).  

Anders also won the pentathlon with 3761 points to lead a 1-2 Alaska Anchorage finish, with SPU’s Maliea Luquin third at 3372,and Fettig fourth with 3350.

Becky Duhamel of Central Washington won the weight throw with a toss of 57-10.25 (17.63m), and in the other final of the first day, Simon Fraser won the distance medley relay in 11:59.08.

After 6 of 17 events, the Falcons have a two point lead with 57 over defending champ Alaska Anchorage, while Central Washington stands third at 47.  Western Washington is sixth with 12, while Saint Martin’s is seventh with 9 points.

On the men’s side, Western Washington holds an eight point lead (50-42) over Alaska Anchorage after five events as the Vikings look to win their third straight conference crown. Central Washington stands fifth with 22, while Saint Martin’s is one spot behind with 11.

In a minor upset, Simon Fraser’s Vladislav Tsygankov won the long jump over conference leader Nate van Tuinen of the Vikings, jumping 23-6.75 (7.18m) in round 3 to put pressure on van Tuinen.  The Viking junior from Yakima came up one agonizing centimeter short in the final round, jumping 23-6.25 (7.17m).

The Vikings got a second place finish in the shot put, as Brandon Pless threw 50-2.5 (15.30m) to finish behind Central Washington’ s Kevin Stanley, who won with a toss of 51-10 (15.80m), with Ryan Macdonald of the Vikings third at 49-10.5 (15.20m).

In the 200 prelims, the Vikings’ Alex Donigian set a meet record of 21.76, eclipsing his own meet record of 21.79 from last year.  60 meter hurdler Travis Milbrandt broke the 2014 meet record of 8.24 set by fellow Viking Peter Maguire by running 8.15 in qualifying.

Matt DeHan of Saint Martin’s finished second in the pole vault with a leap of 15-7.25 (4.76m) to highlight the Saints’ first day action.

Five with Washington ties head to Colombia for Pan Am Cross Country Cup...

Five athletes with ties to the state of Washington are headed to Barranquilla, Colombia for Sunday’s APA Pan American Cross Country Cup as members of Team USA to compete against squads from North, Central & South America.

The USA senior women’s squad will be headed by Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), who earned her spot on the team with a second place finish at the US national championships in Boulder on February 7th.  She’ll be joined on the team by University of Washington alum Christine Babcock, who is listed on the USA Track & Field roster as an alternate.

Lakewood resident Joseph Gray of Club Northwest, who finished 14th in Boulder, is on the senior mens team, as Gray makes yet another appearance on a US national cross country team.

Mount Spokane HS senior John Dressel and University of Washington freshman Fred Huxham are scheduled to toe the line in the junior men’s race.  Dressel earned his spot on the team with a third place finish in Boulder, while Huxham finished eighth.

Both Dressel and Suver are using the Pan American Cross Country Cup as a tuneup race for next month’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.

Club Northwest founder Bill Roe of Bellingham is the USA team leader on this trip.


Meanwhile, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat is entered in Saturday’s Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix meet in Birmingham, England, where he is scheduled to run in the two mile against reigning Olympic and world champion in the 5000 and 10000 Mo Farah of Great Britain, who trains in Beaverton as part of the Nike Oregon Project.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

GNAC indoor championship this weekend; Cougs to run Regan & Jorgensen at Notre Dame...

On the collegiate scene, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet in Nampa, Idaho on Friday and Saturday takes center stage, with Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Central Washington, and Saint Martin’s all sending full squads to one of the fastest tracks in the country.

The women’s team race is projected as a toss-up between three teams—SPU, Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser, with potentially Central Washington throwing themselves into the mix.

On the men’s side, Western Washington, Simon Fraser and Alaska Anchorage are the teams to watch, as the Vikings look to win their fifth conference title.

Western has the top ranked athlete in the conference in five events, and the defending champion in four, led by sprinter Alex Donigian (above, #314/photo courtesy GNAC) in the 60 and 200; Brett Watson in the high jump, and Kevin Yates in the long jump.  Travis Milbrandt is the conference leader in the 60 hurdles at 8.09, set at the Husky Classic over the weekend.

Central Washington will counter with two defending champs in Luke Plummer (triple jump) and Kevin Stanley (weight throw).

Saint Martin’s has a trio of athletes who could potentially place high or win this weekend in high jumper Mikel Smith, pole vaulter Matt DeHan, and heptathlete Jaysen Yoro.  All three own NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks for the national championship meet and look to improve their standings this weekend.

The Falcons of Seattle Pacific will look for a balanced attack from its squad to grab its tenth conference title.  They have two of the top three marks in the 60, 400 & long jump and 3 of the top 4 in the 200.

Lynelle Decker (800), Anna Patti (5000) and Becca Houk (60) all have provisional national qualifying marks in their events.  Patti, Houk and 400 meter runner Jahzelle Ambus are among the top athletes in their events entered this weekend.

Western’s Katelyn Steen is the only athlete with provisional national qualifying marks in three events—the mile, 3000, and 5000, but is only entered in the 3000 this weekend.

Central goes into the meet led by defending high jump champ Tayler Fettig, and former shot put champ Becki Duhamel. Duhamel is currently the conference leader in both the shot and weight throw.


Washington State will be the only Division I team with athletes competing this weekend as seniors Abby Regan and Jesse Jorgensen will race this Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational meet hosted by Notre Dame.

Regan, the new school record holder in the women’s mile at 4:43.91, set at the Husky Classic last week, will run the mile, as will Jorgensen, the reigning MPSF champion at 800 meters.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Both Washington squads rocket to top 25 in USTFCCCA rankings; NCAA changes format of outdoor champs...

Thanks to strong showings over the weekend, both University of Washington track and field squads have rocketed to top-25 national rankings in the latest USTFCCCA poll released earlier this week.

The men’s squad, helped by school record marks by Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Aaron Nelson, along with the second career sub-4 minute mile by Izaic Yorks, moved all the way up to #25 in the national poll.

The Dawgs earned points towards their national ranking over the weekend from pole vaulter Lev Marcus, who is on the cusp of clearing 18 feet with his 17-11 1/4 (5.47) mark; Chris Williams in both the 60 hurdles (7.84) and pole vault (17-5.5/5.32m); and JJ Juilfs in the pole vault (17-5.5/5.32m).

Like the men’s squad, the Washington women went all the way up to #24 in the national rankings thanks to performances over the weekend by their distance runners and pole vaulters, with miler Eleanor Fulton (4:39.95), 3000 meter runner Maddie Meyers (9:07.53) and the vaulting trio of Diamara Planell Cruz (14-2/4.32m), Liz Quick and Kristina Owsinski (both 13-6.25/4.12m).

The top five men’s teams in the national computer rankings, which are based on marks made during the 2015 season (the rankings for the first three weeks were based on a combination of current and pre-season marks) are Florida, Oregon, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas.

On the women’s side, the top five teams are Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Oregon.


NCAA CHANGES FORMAT OF D1 OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

In an effort to make the meet more palatable to television viewers, the NCAA announced on Tuesday changes to the presentation of its outdoor track & field championships.

In the new format, one gender will compete on days 1 and 3 of the championship while the other will compete on days 2 and 4, with only the heptathlon and decathlon crossing over (probably contested on days 1-2 or 2-3).

According to this release, members of the Division I men’s and women’s track & field committee said that they believe the meet will be easier to follow, and that ESPN can potentially include an additional hour of coverage.  

The committee noted that the format provides a rest day for each gender; however, the format could potentially make individuals considering doubling think twice.


NOTE:  The NCAA and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Huskies' Izaic Yorks redeems himself with second career sub-4 mile at UW Open...

SEATTLE—It was redemption for Washington’s Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), as he rebounded from a fall in the fast section of Saturday’s Husky Classic and ran a personal best 3:58.69 to win the invitational mile at Sunday’s UW Open meet at the Dempsey Indoor.

After getting tripped Saturday, meet management assembled a field of runners to shoot for a sub-4 minute mile, comprised of several runners in the two fast sections of yesterday’s Husky Classic, including Marquette alum Tommy Schmitz, who didn’t finish, and Colorado alum Blake Theroux, who just missed breaking 4 minutes in the heat before.

Adams State’s Oliver Aitchison, who ran a NCAA Division II leader in the mile at 4:01.11 Saturday, did the early work, taking the field through 800 meters just over 1:58, before ceding the lead to Yorks.  Yorks took command, running just under 2:59 at the 3/4 mark, before powering his way to the finish, cheered on by a large contingent of Husky teammates assembled along the perimeter of the track.

Aitchison’s work paid dividends for teammate Matt Daniels, as Daniels’ second place time of 3:59.89 made him the first runner in NCAA Division II to break 4 minutes this season.

Yorks’ and Daniels’ marks became the 126th and 127th time that runners broke 4 minutes in the mile at the Dempsey since the facility opened in 2002.

Yorks passed Eric Garner for third on the all-time UW top-10 list, and gave him his second career sub-4 minute mile.

In other highlights:

—Joe Morris ran 6.72 to win the men’s 60 dash; 

—Reigning US junior 1500m champ Alexa Efraimson of Camas opened up her season with a 2:43.39 clocking in the 1000, after being paced by training partner and former Seattle Pacific standout McKayla Fricker;

—US Olympian Kibwe Johnson threw 70-6.25 (21.49m) to win the men’s weight throw.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Colby Gilbert sets UW school record in 3000 to highlight distance events at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—Washington’s redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert (left, #11, behind Garrett Heath/photo by Paul Merca) set a new school record in the 3000 meters as he finished third behind Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell and Garrett Heath of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts at the Husky Classic hosted by the UW at the Dempsey Indoor.

Gilbert, who was in contention for most of the race, ran 7:49.25 to eclipse Colton Tully-Doyle’s 2011 mark of 7:53.13.  More importantly, Gilbert put himself in a strong position to earn one of the sixteen spots to qualify for the NCAA championship meet in four weeks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Another Husky distance runner putting herself in prime position to go to the national championships is Maddie Meyers, who finished seventh in the 3000 in 9:07.53, as Arkansas’ Dominique Scott won in a meet record time of 8:52.57, with Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle second in 8:54.77, and Angela Bizzarri of the Brooks Beasts third in 8:58.91.

In other highlights:  

—Olympian Ryan Bailey set a meet record in the 60 meter dash, running 6.50 in the semis, and 6.53 to win the finals over training partner Joe Morris; 

—Montana State’s Cristian Soratos ran a collegiate leading 3:55.27 to win the men’s mile and lead five others under 4 minutes; 

—The Huskies’ Diamara Planell Cruz set a new personal best and Puerto Rican national indoor record in the pole vault, as she cleared 14-2 (4.32m).


In New York, the ageless Bernard Lagat finished fourth in the Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games, running 3:54.91 to set a new world masters record, as Matthew Centrowitz won in 3:51.35, with Mark Wieczorek of the Brooks Beasts doing the pace work for the first five laps.

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry finished second in the men’s 500 meter dash in 1:00.43, as Bryce Spratling won in 1:00.06.

Friday, February 13, 2015

5K races highlight day 1 action at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—Distance races highlighted day 1 of the Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington, with the men’s and women’s 5000 taking center stage.

Colorado’s Pierce Murphy led 13 men across the line under 14 minutes, as he won the fast section of the 5000 in 13:39.29, making it the third fastest collegiate time in the country this season, pending the outcome of other major meets around the country this weekend.

Among the 13 towed by the fast pace was Washington All-American Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished seventh in a time of 13:47.42, breaking the previous school record of 13:48.86, set by Colton Tully-Doyle in 2010.

In the women’s 5000, Stanford’s Jessica Tonn was content to let others do the work for most of the race, staying off the pace until the final lap to win in 15:47.65, the fifth fastest Division I time this season.

Seattle Pacific’s quartet of Jessica Rawlins, Jasmine Johnson, Lynelle Decker and Anna Patti overcame an early lead by Eastern Washington leadoff leg Sarah Reiter to win the distance medley relay in 11:50.92, while the Eagles set a new school record with their mark of 11:58.15, with Reiter, Paula Gil Eehevarria, Katie Mahoney, and Catie Arrigoni.

The Huskies won both 200 meter dashes, with Gianna Woodruff (24.43), and Quadelle Satterwhite (21.52) taking the wins.

Oergon’s Greg Skipper (68-10.75/21.00m) and Cal’s Chioma Amaechi (66-8.5/20.33m) won the men’s and women’s weight throw.

The meet continues Saturday, with star-studded fields in the distance races, featuring several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, along with Olympians Andrew Wheating, Bridget Franek, and Geena Lara, while Olympian Ryan Bailey and Colorado alum Joe Morris headline the sprint fields.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Busy weekend of track & field action at the Dempsey and elsewhere...

The eyes of domestic track & field fans will be focused this weekend on opposite sides of the country, as the University of Washington hosts the Husky Classic Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, while the pros rev it up at the Armory in New York for the NYRR Millrose Games.

For many of the country’s top collegiate athletes in the distance events, the Dempsey is the go-to place for those trying to get one of those 16 spots into next month’s NCAA Division I championship meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Squads from Arkansas, Georgia, Georgetown, Penn State and Tennessee will have entries in the meet.

Eleven men’s team’s ranked in the USTFCCCA national top-25 will have entries, led by #1 Oregon, while #1 Georgia leads the women’s entries.

As always, several top professionals are entered, including several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, namely Angela Bizarri (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 3000; Amanda Mergaert (mile), Cas Loxsom (800), Matt Hillenbrand (mile), and Garrett Heath & Nick Symmonds (3000).  Two time Olympian Andrew Wheating is entered in the men’s 800, as are 2012 Olympians Geena Lara (800), and Bridget Franek (3000).  Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle, who will be on the US national team traveling to next month’s IAAF world cross country championships, is a late entry in the women’s 3000.

Both Joe Morris and Olympian Ryan Bailey are the headliners in the men’s 60, while on the field, the pole vault entries, led by Jax Thoirs and Diamara Planell Cruz of the Huskies on the men’s and women’s sides look to be strong.

Media partner Flotrack will have live streaming coverage of the meet both days, for its subscribers.


Across the country in New York, Bernard Lagat is entered in the prestigious Wanamaker Mile, where the eight-time winner of this race will try to cement his legacy by taking a ninth title, and oh by the way, shoot for the masters (40+) world record in the mile of 3:58.15 by Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan.

The WSU alum will face last year’s winner Will Leer, along with two-time world championship medalist Matthew Centrowitz, New Zealand’s Nick Willis, and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano.  Mark Wieczorek of the Brooks Beasts will serve as the rabbit, with instructions to run 58, 1:55 and 2:52.

Rainier Beach alum Michael Berry is entered in the 500 meters, with former world 400 hurdles champ Bershawn Jackson and Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee the most significant competition.

NBCSN will televise the NYRR Millrose Games Saturday from 3-5 pm.  The start lists for the professional sections of the meet are available here.

In other action this weekend, Eastern Washington will send a contingent of athletes to Jacksons Track in Nampa, Idaho for the Boise State Team Challenge meet on Saturday.  

Sunday, the University of Washington hosts the UW Open, with the competition coming from local schools and clubs in the area.  Notable entries in the meet include both Morris and Bailey in the 60 and 200, along with Camas HS senior and reigning USA junior 1500m champ Alexa Efraimson, who is entered in both the 600 and the 1000.


Monday, February 9, 2015

ICYMI: Lagat sets world masters' record in 3000 at New Balance Indoor GP...

In our haste to get out a post recapping the USA Cross Country Championships from Boulder, we completely missed posting highlights from Saturday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet in the Boston suburb of Roxbury.

In the men’s 3000, the ageless Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca), stepping onto the track for the first time as a 40-year old, set a world masters record, running 7:48.33 in finishing second to Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel, who passed Lagat in the final straight to win in 7:48.19.

The men’s 1000 saw Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts finish sixth in a time of 2:22.80, as Matthew Centrowitz of the Nike Oregon Project won in 2:17.00.

Riley Masters of the Beasts finished fourth in the mile, running 3:56.15, a new personal best, eclipsing his outdoor PR of 3:56.75 set last July in Cork, Ireland, and his former indoor best of 3:56.25 set two years ago.

Nick Willis of New Zealand won the race, running 3:51.61, the fastest time in the world this season.


The USTFCCCA released the week 3 national Division I computer rankings, with Oregon the country’s #1 mens squad, and Georgia the top women’s team.

Rounding out the top five men’s teams are Florida, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Penn State.  Florida, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Oregon are ranked #2-5 by the computer on the women’s side.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Suver, Felnagle & Dressel earn spots on world cross country champs squad...

BOULDER, Colorado—Eastern Washington University alum Mattie Suver (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in the open women’s race at the USA Cross Country Championships at the Flatirons Golf Course to earn her second straight world cross country team spot.

In a bit of a mild surprise, Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle worked her way up from the pack to finish fourth and secure a berth on the world championship team that travels to Guiyang, China at the end of March, while Angela Bizzarri of the Brooks Beasts was four seconds short of making the team.

Suver crossed the line in 28:13, 31 seconds behind winner Laura Thweatt, and eight seconds ahead of veteran Jen Rhines.

Bizzarri finished in a time of 28:33.

Washington alum Christine Babcock finished 13th in 29:06.

John Dressel of Mt. Spokane HS finished third in a time of 25:39 to grab a spot on the world junior team, as high schooler Conner Mantz emerged victorious in a time of 25:12.

Washington freshman Fred Huxham, who was in contention for most of the race, finished eighth in 26:17, 19 seconds away from the sixth and final spot to Guiyang.


In Albuquerque, Washington’s Diamara Planell Cruz cleared a season best 13-11.75 (4.26m) to highlight the Husky performance at the University of New Mexico Collegiate Classic.


In Pullman, heptathlete Dino Dodig scored a personal best score of 5484 points to win the multi-event competition at the Cougar Indoor Track & Field meet at the WSU indoor facility.

Dodig, leader after the first day’s events, Saturday ran the high hurdles in a time of 8.37 seconds, pole vaulted a PR height of 15-feet 9 inches (4.80m) and ran the 1000m in a time of 3 minutes 0.93 seconds.

“I think it was a good performance until the last event,” Dodig said. “I need to change some habits and start drinking more water and those cramps are going to go away. It’s my fault and I learned a lesson today that sometimes coffee cannot replace water.”


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

Walker third at New Mexico Friday night, as Husky vaulters & sprint group compete in Albuquerque...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico—University of Washington alum Brad Walker finished third in the pole vault as day 1 of the New Mexico Collegiate Classic got underway at the Albuquerque Convention Center Friday night.

The two-time Olympian and former world champion cleared 18-4.75 (5.71m) as Steve Lewis of Great Britain took the victory at 18-8.75 (5.71.m)

J.J. Juilfs, Chris Williams, and Lev Marcus all competed in the pole vault  Marcus had the best clearance of the current Huskies, going 16-10 3/4 (5.15m). Juilfs and Williams each cleared 16-4 3/4 (5.00m).

Frosh Jacopo Spanò made his season debut at 200m, and clocked a time of 21.54 seconds, which would be fast enough for ninth on the UW list, however the altitude conversion for record purposes bumps it up to 21.61, just outside the top-10, but a great start at any elevation.


In Pullman, Alissa Brooks-Johnson, a sophomore from Doty, Wash., won with a season-best score of 3,578 points, just under her 2014 personal-best of 3,633 points. Brooks-Johnson opened the 10-woman pentathlon competition with a lifetime-best time in the 60m hurdles of 8.88 seconds. She high jumped 5-feet 1 1/2 inches (1.56m), threw the shot put 31-5 3/4 (9.59m), long jumped 17-2 (5.23m), and finished with a PR time in the 800m of 2 minutes 19.66 seconds.

The meet continues today.  Day 1 results are available here.

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

USA cross country, Cougar Indoor, New Mexico Classic & New Balance Indoor GP on the docket this weekend...

Cross country takes center stage for most of the state's pro distance runners, as all eyes are on Boulder, Colorado for Saturday's USA cross country championships, with spots on the plane for the IAAF world cross country championships in Guiyang, China on the line.

The Seattle based Brooks Beasts will send Angela Bizzarri and former Colorado prep standout Katie Mackey to the line in the women's 8k race, along with Tacoma native Brie Felnagle, who is sponsored by adidas.

Former Washington All-American Christine Babcock and WSU alum Collier Lawrence will represent the Seattle based Oiselle squad in the 8k.  Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver (left/photo by Mike Scott) is also entered in the field as she attempts to make her second straight world cross country team.

The Beasts will also have Garrett Heath, coming off a strong winning performance at last month's Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in the men's 12k race. Bellingham native Jake Riley, who now competes for the Brooks/Hanson's Distance Project, and Club Northwest's Joe Gray, are also entered in the men's 12k race.

The Huskies will send freshmen Fred Huxham and Mahmoud Moussa to run in the junior men's 8k race. Moussa will try to emulate older brother Ammar, who made two USA junior cross country squads. 

Also entered are Wisconsin frosh Joe Hardy, a former state champ at Seattle Prep HS, along with Spokane's John Dressel and WSU frosh Sam Levora.

USATF.TV will stream the national championships.


paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site covering the meet.

On the track, Washington State will host the Cougar Indoor and multi-events meet at their indoor facility this Friday and Saturday, with most of Washington’s Division I and II teams from eastern Washington entering athletes.  Western Washington is also scheduled to send athletes to Pullman for this weekend’s meet.


The University of Washington will send a small contingent of vaulters, sprinters and jumpers to Albuquerque, New Mexico for Friday & Saturday’s New Mexico Classic.


Finally, Cas Loxsom and Riley Masters of the Brooks Beasts, along with WSU alum Bernard Lagat are entered in Saturday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA., just outside of Boston.

Loxsom, the new American record holder in the 600, moves up in distance to the 1000m, while Masters is entered in the mile.

Lagat will run the 3000 against a field that includes training partner Lawi Lalang, Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, along with Will Leer and Hassan Mead.

NBCSN will televise the meet live from 3-5pm, pacific time.

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