Saturday, June 24, 2017

Brooks Beasts' Drew Windle bursts out of nowhere to make men's 800m finals...

SACRAMENTO—Drew Windle (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts borrowed a page from the Nick Symmonds school of 800 meter running and somehow found his way into Sunday’s finals.

In the second of two semi-final heats, Windle, who was in last through 500 meters, worked his way back into the race, to get near the top four spots with 100 meters to go.

Beasts teammate Shaq Walker, who was near the front of the group as they came off the final turn, could not hang on to one of the four positions to advance to Sunday’s finals, as he faded to sixth in the heat, running 1:47.02.

Windle ran 1:46.69 to take second overall in the heat, as Abraham Alvarado of BYU took the win in 1:46.62.

Hannah Fields of the Beasts was fifth in her semi-final in the 800, running 2:03.01, while Washington alum Baylee Mires was sixth in her heat in 2:03.62.

Both recent Washington State grad CJ Allen (49.91) and Cougar alum Jeshua Anderson (50.30) advanced to Saturday’s semis in the 400 hurdles.

In the one final involving an athlete with Washington ties, Squalicum HS alum David Elliott was 15th in the men’s 5000, running 14:09.69.  Former Puyallup resident Hassan Mead, who was entered in that event, didn’t start after winning the 10000 Thursday night.

Saturday, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson and UW alum Eleanor Fulton go in the finals of the women’s 1500. In the men’s 1500 finals, Auburn/Riverside Jordan McNamara will race in that event, while Washington alum Mel Lawrence and Pasco HS grad Marisa Howard will contest the finals of the women’s steeplechase.  Reigning national champ Devon Allen starts his quest for another national title in the men’s 110 hurdles.


In the USATF Junior championships, Washington freshman Khalil Winfrey finished eighth in the finals of the men’s 100 meter dash, running 11.06.

In the women’s 100 finals, Aliya Wilson of Tahoma HS was also eighth, running 11.88.

Cass Elliott of West Seattle HS missed the finals of the 400 hurdles by one spot, running 52.07 to take third in his heat.

Seattle Pacific freshman Alyssa Foote was eleventh in the women’s 5000 in a time of 17:40.65.  In the women’s shot put, Washington’s Angel Nkownta was 16th with a best of 44-6.25 (13.57m).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Virginia alum Henry Wynne newest member of the Brooks Beasts...

SACRAMENTO—The Seattle based Brooks Beasts announced that the team has added University of Virginia alum Henry Wynne (left/photo by Paul Merca) to its roster.

Wynne, a native of Westport, Connecticut, won the 2016 NCAA indoor mile title, and was third in the NCAA outdoor 1500 meters last year.

This season, Wynne was second in the mile indoors at the ACC championships, and fifth outdoors.  Wynne did not qualify for the NCAA finals in the 1500 this season.

That did not deter Beasts TC coach Danny Mackey from his desire to add him to the roster.

"I wanted Henry to be a Beast when I watched him win an NCAA 1-mile title,” said Mackey. “His mental approach to the sport sealed the deal in my mind.  I'm glad he wanted to make the Brooks Beasts his home; he has all the boxes checked."

In his debut with the Beasts Thursday night, he finished tenth in his heat of the men’s 1500, running 3:48.35.


NOTE:  Brooks Running contributed to this report.

Winger wins national title number seven at USATF Outdoor Championships...

SACRAMENTO—As promised by the weather gods, the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships began its four day run at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Cal State Sacramento under hot and sunny skies, with temperatures easily soaring past the 100 degree mark.

Vancouver native Kara Winger (left/photo by Paul Merca) won her seventh USATF national title in the women’s javelin, taking care of business in round one, by throwing a mark of 206-0 (62.80m).

Such was her dominance that five of her six throws were good enough to take the win, as Ariana Ince was a distant second at 191-4 (58.32m).

NCAA Division II champ Bethany Drake of Western Washington was ninth at 160-10 (49.03m), while Western alum Katie Reichert was 14th at 146-3 (44.58m).

Afterward, Winger told reporters in the mixed zone, “Nobody likes the heat. I was trying to hydrate the whole time. It was just a little bit difficult energy wise sometimes when you are in the warm-up track (the javelin was contested at an adjacent field because of the FieldTurf at Hornet Stadium) and not in the main stadium, it’s really hard to get the excitement going. My last round’s energy was what I wanted in the first round so I am not necessary happy today but I am happy with my seventh national championship.”

In a rather strange race, former Puyallup resident and 2016 Olympian Hassan Mead survived a series of surges by Sam Chelanga to win his first national title in the 10000 meters.

After a very slow first mile that saw Washington alum Aaron Nelson in the front pack for a few laps, Chelanga, who was Team USA’s top runner at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda last March, threw in a 64 second lap to shake up the field.

His attempt to break the field with surges ultimately failed, as the lead group ultimately reeled him in, and broke him.

Over the last three laps, Mead, who attended Emerald Ridge HS before moving to Minnesota to finish his high school career, ran laps of 66, 62 and 55 to win a last lap drag race over Shadrack Kipchirchir of the US Army, winning in 29:01.44 to Kipchirchir’s 29:01.68.

“I picked the right spikes today because i usually go with very aggressive spikes. For being a 10K, I went down a notch or two. My legs felt comfortable. Anytime my legs feel comfortable, breathing is nice. I was very comfortable and controlled out there the whole race. It was pretty good. (On moving race back) “The temperature seemed perfect. I was eyeing yesterday what it would feel like at 9 or 10. I was pleased with it. Once the sun goes down it cools off and the breeze comes across. It was a plus they moved it back.”

Another Washington Olympian, Andrea Geubelle from University Place, finished third in the triple jump with a best of 44-8.25 (13.62m), as American record holder and Bowerman Award finalist Keturah Orji won with a best of 46-9.5 (14.26m).

Afterward, Geubelle, who does not hold the qualifying standard to go to London for the world championships, revealed that barring a last minute change of heart, that she will not compete between now and the July 21st deadline to get the world championship standard.

In other highlights:

—Drew Windle and Shaq Walker of the Brooks Beasts advanced to the semis in the mens’ 800;

—Likewise, Beasts TC teammates Hannah Fields and Baylee Mires advanced in the women’s 800 semis;

—In her first race since the NCAA West regional championships in Austin, Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe advanced to the semis in the women’s 100;

—Pasco native Marisa Howard and Washington alum Mel Lawrence both advanced to the finals of the women’s steeplechase;

—Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara advanced to the finals of the men’s 1500; 

—In the women’s 1500, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson and Washington alum Eleanor Fulton both advanced to the finals.


In the USATF junior championships that began Thursday, Washington freshman Jacob Wachtendonk was eighth with a best of 196-0 (59.74m), while Curtis Stradley of Battle Ground HS was ninth at 185-8 (56.61m).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sacramento schedule changes for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday...

If you're heading down to Sacramento for the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hornet Stadium, please note the changes made to the time schedule.

The changes were made because of concerns about the heat. The temperature for Thursday's first day of competition is projected to reach 107 degrees, with Friday and Saturday staying the same. The temperature for Sunday's competition is projected to be in the mid-to-high 90s.

Please check the usatf.org web site for any further updates to the time schedule.

paulmerca.blogspot.com's coverage of the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the USATF Junior Championships begins Thursday as we will be on site in Sacramento.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The road to London goes through super-hot Sacramento at USATF Outdoors...

Vancouver native Kara Winger is the top seed going into
the USATF championships in the javelin (Howard Lao photo)
If there’s one thing that can be guaranteed for this week’s USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State University in Sacramento, it’s that it will be super-hot!

Temperatures are expected to reach triple digits on Thursday, with the high projected at 108 degrees, and staying that way until Saturday. On the meet’s final day, the high is expected to reach a modest 96 degrees.

Below is the list of athletes with Washington ties who have declared their intention to compete:

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MEN 
NAME  EVENT MARK
400 METERS
World: 45.50 USA: 45.70 (32/3)
Marcus Chambers Oregon 44.92
Michael Berry Nike 45.55
800 METERS
World: 1:45.90 USA: 1:47.50 (32/3)
Drew Windle Brooks 1:45.02
Shaquille Walker Brooks 1:45.68
Casimir Loxsom 1:46.13
Nicholas Symmonds Brooks 1:49.48
1500 METERS
World: 3:36.00 USA: 3:39.00 (30/2)
Izaic Yorks Brooks 3:38.01
Brannon Kidder Brooks 3:38.79
Travis Burkstrand Brooks 3:38.96
Jordan McNamara 3:39.23
5000 METERS
World: 13:22.60 USA: 13:32.00 (24/1)
Hassan Mead Nike / NIKE OTCE 13:19.16
Garrett Heath Brooks 13:50.63
10000 METERS 
World: 27:45.00 USA: 28:30.00 (24/1)
Hassan Mead Nike / NIKE OTCE 27:34.38
Aaron Nelson Reebok ZAP Fitness 28:53.70
110 HURDLES
World: 13.48 USA: 13.65 (32/3)
Devon Allen NIKE 13.11
400 HURDLES
World: 49.35 USA: 50.50 (28/3)
Craig Allen WSU 49.40
Jeshua Anderson 49.88
HIGH JUMP
World: 2.30 USA: 2.25 (18/1)
Mikel Smith Saint Martin's 2.22
WOMEN
NAME  EVENT MARK
100 METERS 
World & USA: 11.26 (32/3)
Hannah Cunliffe Oregon
800 METERS
World: 2:01.00 USA: 2:02.00  (32/3)
Hannah Fields Brooks 2:00.53
Brooke Feldmeier Oregon 2:01.54
Baylee Mires Brooks 2:02.57
Claudia Saunders Brooks 2:02.68
1500 METERS
World: 4:07.50 (4:26.70) USA: 4:09.50 (4:28.50) 30/2
Alexa Efraimson NIKE 4:09.03
Eleanor Fulton Skechers/HPW 4:11.46
5000 METERS
World: 15:22.00 USA: 15:25.00
Jessica Tonn Brooks 15:33.13
3000 STEEPLECHASE
World: 9:42.00 USA: 9:50.00 (26/2)
Marie Lawrence Oiselle 9:39.32
Marisa Howard Oiselle 9:40.40
Collier Lawrence Oiselle 9:51.13
Caroline Austin 9:51.38
20K WALK
World: 1:36:00 USA: 1:52.00 (18/1)
Katie Burnett 1:39:38
TRIPLE JUMP
World: 14.10 USA: 13.60 (18/1)
Andrea Geubelle 13.62
Blessing Ufodiama 13.47
HAMMER THROW
World: 76.00 USA: 67.00 (18/1)
Britney Henry Oiselle 67.05
JAVELIN
World: 61.40 USA: 54.00 (18/1)
Kara Winger Asics 64.80
Bethany Drake Western Washington 52.40


Note that after each event, both the IAAF standard for competing in the world championships in London in August and the automatic standard to compete in the national championships are listed. After the athlete’s name is the qualifying mark they’ve achieved to enter the meet (marks listed are not necessarily from this season, as USATF accepted athletes into the meet with 2016 marks). Athletes who did not make the auto qualifying mark were added to the field by USATF to fill the fields necessary to contest the proper number of rounds.

Athletes who finish in the top three in each event will have first crack at going to London, assuming they can meet the standard before July 21st.

Notable scratches include Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts, who was entered in both the 1500 and 5000, but scratched late Monday night, and Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe, who scratched out of the 200, opting only to run the 100. On the men’s side, two-time world championships competitor and 2016 Olympian in the decathlon Jeremy Taiwo is still recovering from injuries and will not compete. 



JUNIOR NATIONALS ALSO HELD IN SACRAMENTO

Washington shot putter
Angel Nkwonta (Paul Merca photo)
The USATF Junior Nationals will also be held in Sacramento Thursday-Saturday at Hornet Stadium, with spots on the line for the Pan Am Junior Championships July 21-23 in Trujilo, Peru on the line.

Thirteen athletes with ties to the state of Washington are making the trip to the California capital to vie for those Pan Am junior team spots, which will go to the top 2 finishers.

Here are the entries for the USATF Junior championships as posted on the USATF web site:

Women:

Aliya Wilson Tahoma HS 100m
Brooke Manson Eastlake HS 800M
Alyssa Foote Seattle Pacific         5000m
Iman Brown Garfield HS (UW) HJ
Lexi Ellis         Curtis HS         TJ
Angel Nkwonta UW         SP


Men:

Khalil Winfrey UW 100
Nate Beamer UW 1500
Nick Laccinole UW 1500
Philip Fishburn Gonzaga 10000
Zach Shugart UW PV
Curtis Stradley Battle Ground HS JT
Jacob Wachtendonk UW JT


NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Texas native Sam Worley wins Brooks PR Invitational boys' mile...

SHORELINE, Washington—While the sub-4 minute mile didn’t happen at the Brooks PR Invitational Saturday at Shoreline Stadium in the Seattle suburb, the race proved to be very entertaining on a cool and cloudy day.

After Garfield HS (Seattle) 800m standout Will Laird took the field through the first half mile at 2:00, a group of four runners, including Sam Worley (above/photo by Paul Merca) of Comal Canyon HS in Texas, who missed breaking 4:00 at the Texas Relays against open competition; Cooper Teare of California’s St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, who had broken 4:00 in the 1600, Casey Clinger and Patrick Parker of American Fork HS in Utah, went to the front, with Clinger doing the work on the third lap, which was crossed in 3:02.

As the group of four headed down the backstretch, a 32 second penultimate 200 meters into the wind may have doomed the sub-4 attempt, but all were still in contention for the win.

Off the final turn, Worley swung to the outside to take the lead from Teare to take the win in 4:02.04, with Teare finishing in 4:02.56.

Clinger was third in 4:02.90, and Parker was fourth in 4:03.67.

University of Washington commit Isaac Green from Monarch HS in Colorado was tripped up during the race, and was never a factor, finishing 12th in 4:13.12.

In other highlights:

—Brentwood HS (TN) Brodey Hasty ran a meet record 8:45.16 to win the two mile, while UW commit Talon Hull of Weber HS (UT) was third in 8:46.94; 

—Brie Oakley of Grandview HS (CO) took command early to win the girls’ 2-mile in 9:51.35, winning by nearly 10 seconds over California’s Claudia Lane of Malibu HS, who had beaten her earlier in the season at the Arcadia Invitational at the slightly shorter 3200m; 

—Anna Gibson of Jackson HS (WY), who was sixth two weeks ago at the adidas Boost Boston Games mile, got revenge on the field by winning the girls mile in 4:43.77.  University of Washington commit Allie Schadler from Rio Rico HS (AZ), who was fifth in Boston two weeks ago, finished second in 4:44.03, just ahead of Mountain View (ID) frosh Lexy Halladay, the winner in Boston. Halladay ran 4:44.24, almost 3 seconds slower than her 4:41.80 winner two weeks ago.


NOTE:  Special thanks to Brooks Running for their assistance in the coverage of this meet.

Piliusina and Burkstrand win at Stumptown Twilight...

PORTLAND—In what was essentially a last-chance opportunity to earn qualifying marks for next week’s USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, several athletes took to the Griswold Stadium track on the campus of Lewis & Clark College aiming for the standards at the Stumptown Twilight meet.

In the women’s 800, former NCAA 1500m champ Natalija Piliusina of the Brooks Beasts took the win in 2:02.77, with teammate and Washington alum Baylee Mires (left/photo by Howard Lao) taking fourth in 2:04.14.

Beasts teammate Claudia Saunders was tenth in 2:07.47, and Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker was eleventh in 2:09.13.

Piliusina, a Lithuanian citizen, was looking to go under the world championship standard of 2:01.00.  Mires, Saunders and Fricker are listed as accepted into the national championships apparently using 2016 marks.

Minnesota alum Travis Burkstrand of the Brooks Beasts took no chances and set a new personal best of 3:38.96, 4/100ths under the automatic qualifying standard of 3:39.00, just ahead of Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara’s 3:39.23.  Barring scratches and/or an appeal, McNamara currently finds himself not in the meet, as there are at least 30 athletes under the standard.

WSU's Paul Ryan was third in the B section of the men's 1500 in 3:46.07.

Washington State alum Collier Lawrence fell just short of the USATF qualifying standard of 9:50.00 in the 3000 steeplechase, as she ran 9:51.13 to take fourth, but according to the entry status list posted on the USA Track & Field site late Friday night, her mark was accepted.

Friday, June 16, 2017

It's last chance qualifying weekend for USATF outdoor championships...

This weekend marks the final weekend for athletes wishing to compete in next week’s USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento to earn quallfying marks to enter the meet.

The most notable meet where athletes with Washington ties are off to chase marks is Friday night’s Stumptown Twilight meet at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker (left/photo by Paul Merca), along with Baylee Mires and Claudia Saunders of the Brooks Beasts will be looking for a sub 2:02 clocking in the high performance 800 meters.

In the women’s 3000 steeplechase, Washington State alum Collier Lawrence is looking for a mark under 9:50.00 to get into next week’s nationals.

On the men’s side, the most notable entry with Washington ties looking for a mark is Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara, who is looking to run under 3:39.00 to get into the national championships.

Below is a list of athletes with Washington ties who have qualified for the USATF national championships.

The two numbers next to the USATF qualifying standards are the minimum number of athletes needed to run the qualifying rounds, and the number of rounds needed. 

USATF and the men’s and women’s track and field committee does have some discretion on how many athletes they will/won’t take into the meet that have not met the standard. The committee will fill the field based on the number of entries in each event.  Note that there are some athletes who have made the standard who are electing not to compete.

paulmerca.blogspot.com has been informed that Troy Fraley from Gonzaga, and 2016 Olympian and two-time world championships decathlete Jeremy Taiwo will not compete in Sacramento, even though both have met the qualifying standards.  Fraley will concentrate on preparing for cross country, while Taiwo has not fully recovered from injuries suffered earlier this year.

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NAME  EVENT MARK
400 METERS
World: 45.50 USA: 45.70 (32/3)
Marcus Chambers Oregon 44.92
800 METERS
World: 1:45.90 USA: 1:47.50 (32/3)
Drew Windle Brooks 1:45.02
Shaquille Walker Brooks 1:45.68
Casimir Loxsom 1:46.13
Nicholas Symmonds* Brooks
1500 METERS
World: 3:36.00 USA: 3:39.00 (30/2)
Izaic Yorks Brooks 3:38.01
5000 METERS
World: 13:22.60 USA: 13:32.00 (24/1)
Hassan Mead Nike / NIKE OTCE 13:19.16
10000 METERS 
World: 27:45.00 USA: 28:30.00 (24/1)
Hassan Mead Nike / NIKE OTCE 27:34.38
110 HURDLES
World: 13.48 USA: 13.65 (32/3)
Devon Allen NIKE 13.11
World: 49.35 USA: 50.50 (28/3)
Craig Allen WSU 49.40
Jeshua Anderson 49.88
NAME  EVENT MARK
100 METERS 
World & USA: 11.26 (32/3)
Hannah Cunliffe Oregon
200 METERS 
World: 23.10 USA: 23.20 (32/3)
Hannah Cunliffe Oregon 22.53
800 METERS
World: 2:01.00 USA: 2:02.00  (32/3)
Hannah Fields Brooks 2:00.53
Alexa Efraimson NIKE 2:00.95
Brooke Feldmeier Oregon 2:01.54
1500 METERS
World: 4:07.50 (4:26.70) USA: 4:09.50 (4:28.50) 30/2
Katherine Mackey Brooks 4:07.15
Alexa Efraimson NIKE 4:09.03
Brie Felnagle adidas 4:27.27 (mile)
3000 STEEPLECHASE
World: 9:42.00 USA: 9:50.00 (26/2)
Marie Lawrence Oiselle 9:39.32
Marisa Howard Oiselle 9:40.40
20K WALK
World: 1:36:00 USA: 1:52.00 (18/1)
Katie Burnett 1:39:38
TRIPLE JUMP
World: 14.10 USA: 13.60 (18/1)
Andrea Geubelle 13.62
JAVELIN
World: 61.40 USA: 54.00 (18/1)
Kara Winger Asics 64.80

Note that Symmonds does not have the qualifying standard, but has been told that he will get into the meet as a world championships medalist from 2013.

COULD A SUB-4 MILE HAPPEN AT THE BROOKS PR INVITATIONAL SATURDAY?

The Brooks PR Invitational meet for the nation’s top high school track athletes is Saturday at Shoreline Stadium in Shoreline.

One of the most highly anticipated races is the boy’s mile run, where several athletes are looking to go under 4 minutes.

The field for the boys mile at Shoreline Stadium includes Cooper Teare of California, who ran 4:00.16 at the Brooks Mt. SAC Relays and 4:01.29 at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, both solo, high school-only efforts; Sam Worley of Texas, who ran 4:00.61 at the Texas Relays ahead of Brown and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano; and D.J. Principe of Rhode Island, who has twice run four flat: 4:00.97 at the New Balance Games in January and 4:00.73 at the Prefontaine Classic three weeks ago.

Utah’s Casey Clinger and Patrick Parker, both of whom ran together at American Fork HS and are committed to running at BYU this fall, are also in the field. Clinger is a two-time NIKE Cross Nationals champ, while Parker won the boy’s mile at the adidas Boost meet in Boston two weeks ago. Washington commit Isaac Green from Colorado is also in the race.


Washington commit Allie Schadler from Rio Rico HS in Arizona is entered in the mile.  Other UW commits entered include Talon Hull from Utah, and local products Erin Ripple and Devin Kirk.

The Brooks PR Invitational gets underway at 1:30 pm with the girls’ 2 mile run.  The meet schedule is available here, while the entry list is available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and Track & Field News contributed statistical information for this report.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trisha Steidl out as head track and cross country coach at Seattle University...

SEATTLE—Seattle University athletic director Shaney Fink announced late Monday that head track and field/cross country coach Trisha Steidl (left/photo courtesy Seattle University) will not return as head coach for the 2017-18 season.

Steidl’s Redhawks finished sixth and fifth in the men’s and women’s standings at the most recent Western Athletic Conference outdoor championships.  She, along with her husband Uli, who served as an assistant coach, led the program as it transitioned from Division II to Division I, and earned a WAC team title in cross country during their tenure.

According to the Seattle University release, the Redhawks qualified three qualifiers to the NCAA Division I track & field championships, though research from this web site only shows that their three qualifiers—Dylan Burnett in the javelin in 2013 & 14, and Shaddye Melu in the high jump in 2015, only got as far as the West Preliminary round, and not to the national finals.

There had been rumblings, particularly on the popular letsrun.com message boards, that people were not happy with the direction of the Seattle University track and field program, particularly with the fact that since being eligible for full Division I status in the 2012-13 academic year, the school had failed to qualify one athlete for the NCAA finals.

In fairness, the school does not have an on-campus track and field facility, as athletes have had to travel to various nearby high school and park department facilities to train. The school’s high tuition rate has made it a challenge for the staff to recruit walk-on athletes, according to several sources.

As of this writing, the bios of the Steidls, along with sprints/jumps/throws coach Chad Pharis, who coached Mandie Maddux to a WAC crown in both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon this year, were still up on the school's site.

A national search will start immediately for the next head coach. The school's release announcing the change is available here.

NOTE:  The sports information department at Seattle University contributed to this report.

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