Wednesday, August 24, 2016

While Diamond League meets resume in Europe, all nine Washington schools set to get cross country season started...

With the Olympics squarely in the rear view mirror, the so-called second half of the European season gets underway with the IAAF Diamond League meets in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday, and in Paris on Saturday.

While the Diamond League meets are happening, athletes from nearly all of Washington’s nine Division I and II schools begin reporting in the next few days for the start of the cross country season, including Washington’s All-American Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca).

All five of Washington’s Division I schools—Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and SeattleU are in action next week, while Saint Martin’s opens their season one week ahead of its Division II counterparts.

As a service, paulmerca.blogspot.com is publishing a composite cross country schedule of all of the state’s Division I and II teams.

You can access the .pdf file below:


Among the key meets in the state include: the Central Washington Invitational in Centralia on September 10th; the Sundodger Invitational at Seattle’s Lincoln Park on the 17th; and the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey on the 30th.

October’s key meets include the Washington Invitational on the 1st; the Western Washington Classic the following week; the GNAC Championships on the 22nd in Bellingham; and the WAC championship meet on the 29th in Seattle.

For Division I, the NCAA regionals will be contested in Sacramento on November 11th, with the nationals eight days later in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In Division II, the NCAA regionals will be held on November 5th in Billings, Montana, and the nationals held on the 19th in Saint Leo, Florida.

As always, please visit the teams’ websites for updated information.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, SeattleU, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and Saint Martin’s contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

CATCHING UP WITH: Andrea Geubelle...

RIO DE JANEIRO—Last Saturday, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle (left/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images) competed in the qualifying round of the women’s triple jump at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

While she was obviously disappointed in not qualifying for the finals after jumping 45-8.5 (13.93m), she took the Olympic appearance as a learning experience as she moves forward with her professional track & field career.

paulmerca.blogspot.com caught up with Geubelle in Rio a few days after the competition via email after she took some time with her family, who made the trip from the Tacoma suburb to support her.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The questions for Andrea were written a few hours after last Saturday’s (August 13th) competition.

a) Overall thoughts on your performance? I saw that you said that you were constantly making adjustments during your three jumps today.

I am definitely bummed. My goal coming in was to make finals and I obviously did not do that which is heart breaking for me. But I know that I put my all that I had left out there and have no regrets about my performance. I now know how world meets work and I know what I need to execute and begin to work on more. So I am excited about getting back to training and working on those things! 

I was making a lot of adjustments. The track was fast which was great for me, I just wasn't fully using it, which put me all over the place. 

b) From a technical standpoint, how pleased were you (or not pleased) with how you jumped?

This year has been tough because I have been coming back from injury. So here at the Olympics I knew I had to just put it all on the track. We have not been able to work super technical because I have been in some discomfort and weakness on my right side. So technically, we have a lot of work to do and this meet just really highlighted that! 

c)  Please give me your thoughts on how your training went once you got to Rio. I'm assuming that you were able to spend time with Nate (Wilford, the coach of the Flying AJ’s club in Tacoma, who coached her in high school, and as a pro after she moved back home from Lawrence, Kansas)  and train as if you were home? Were there any challenges working with Nate, particularly in getting him credentials/tickets to get him where you needed him?

Training was wonderful! The medical staff were top of the line and really helped me get ready! We had a premier training facility and transportation was easy to and from. Super nice and the view was amazing!! Nate didn't arrive till closer to the meet which was my decision. When he arrived we were able to get together and he was able to get credentials so that coaching me was super easy at the meet. 

Andrea Geubelle
(photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images)
d) What are your plans for the rest of the Olympics? 

The last couple days I spent a lot of time with my family (mom, dad, stepdad, brother) and extended (aunt, uncle and grandpa) and boyfriend Trey and his mom. We got to do a lot of the Rio sight seeing which was wonderful! They are gone now so I plan to catch a lot of the track and field and some other sports! Rio has been wonderful, I'm looking forward to relaxing on the beach as well and indulging in the culture! 

When asked about her plans to compete for the rest of the 2016 season, she said that she was going to end it in Rio.

“We really need to get a full training cycle under my belt and start strengthening the weak areas. I'm going to take a little break to heal the little bumps and bruises and then jump back into training!”

e) What are the things that you learned about yourself, and about the whole Olympic experience, that you'll take home and build upon moving forward?

The biggest thing I learned is that I belong here. I have looked up to a lot of these jumpers and really idolized them and maybe sometimes doubted that I could be at the top. But I know that with hard work and dedication to the sport I can improve a lot and really compete with these girls. I gained some confidence and lit a little fire to get back to that level. I've missed it since I've been injured and I'm ready to be back and be a threat on a world level! 

Lagat's storied Olympic career ends with fifth place finish in 5000 meter final...

RIO DE JANEIRO—In the final night of competition at the Olympic track and field venue, 41-year old Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images) closed out his Olympic career as he finished fifth in the men’s 5000 meter finals Saturday at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

The man who began his Olympic career sixteen years ago in Sydney with a surprise third place finish in the 1500 meters, entered these Olympics knowing that his chances at obtaining a medal would be based on a slow first 3000 meters.

It was not meant to be, as the three Ethiopians in the field—Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebriwet, and Muktar Edris—took the pace out fast, knowing that defending champ Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Nike Oregon Project, along with Lagat were the two whose kicks were feared by the field. 

Through the first 3000, the Ethiopians kept the pace honest, going through 3000 in 7:57.15, which is roughly 13:15, a decent time in a championship race.

Meanwhile, Lagat and former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead sat in roughly the middle of the main pack, while US teammate Paul Chelimo, stayed a few paces ahead of the duo.

Entering the bell, Farah was up front with Chelimo in third, Lagat in sixth, and Mead in ninth.

As they entered the backstretch, Lagat suddenly found himself gapped by the leaders with the distance growing larger as they got to the middle of the final turn.

Down the final straight, Farah accelerated one more time with only Chelimo willing to go with him, as Farah became the first man since Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976 to win both the 5000 and 10000 in consecutive Olympics, crossing the line in 13:03.30

Chelimo, who is based in Portland and trains under former US Olympian Dan Browne as part of the US Army World Class Athlete program, hung on to take second in 13:03.90.  Gebrhwiwet took third in 13:04.35.

Lagat was sixth in 13:06.78, while Mead was 12th in 13:09.81.

The real drama began shortly afterwards, as Chelimo, Canada’s Mo Ahmed and Ethiopia’s Edris were all disqualified for running inside the rail, which was removed for athletes competing in the women’s high jump.

Lagat for a few moments was moved up to third, earning a final Olympic medal, but after appeals were heard, Chelimo and Ahmed’s results were reinstated, while Edris was indeed disqualified.

In comments to USA Track & Field afterwards in the mixed zone, Lagat said,  “My last lap I was just following the guys, I wanted to run as hard as possible because I told my coach, my agent and my wife that I want to give my best. I do not want to just walk out of that field and say I wish I had done something different. For me, I gave all I had, there’s nothing else. That’s why I finished and I was still smiling and saying to everybody, ‘hey, good job’ and that’s when I went to the warm up area there to call down and to see my kids and hold my kids.”

Mead said, "I think about ninety-five percent of the race was a great race. It was fast, I think it was good for the spectators and for many of us, I don't mind a fast pace. I just kind of lost some momentum going into the final lap - there was a lot of people moving in and out and I kind of backed off because someone was moving from inside to outside... I didn't finish where I liked but overall I think it was a good race. I'm bummed out I didn't get to finish in the top 10.”

In other events, the Nike Oregon Project’s Matthew Centrowitz was the fastest kicker as he won the men’s 1500 for Team USA in a pedestrian 3:50.00.  Both the men’s and women’s 4 x 400 relay teams emerged victorious. while veteran high jumper Chaunte Lowe was fourth with a clearance of 6-5.5 (1.97m), the same mark as winner Ruth Beitia of Spain.

The Olympic track and field competition ends Sunday on the streets of Rio with the men’s marathon, starting at 5:20 am Seattle time (9:20 am in Rio).


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lagat set for final race of his Olympic career Saturday night...

RIO DE JANEIRO—In what is most likely his Olympic swan song, 41-year old Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images) will lace up the custom made neon yellow/pink/black Nike spikes one last time in the men’s 5000 meter finals Saturday night at 5:30 pm Seattle time (9:30 pm in Rio) at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

He will be joined by fellow Team USA members Paul Chelimo and former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead as they try to pull the upset in beating favored Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Nike Oregon Project.

With so much at stake over the 12.5 laps of the Estádio Olímpico oval, the hunch among veteran track & field observers is that the pace will be slow for the first 3000 meters, with the last 2000 being run at breakneck speeds, meaning a last 800 under 2 minutes, and a last 400 at 54 seconds or faster.

If that story holds, this scenario plays directly into the hands of the five-time Olympian (twice with Kenya, where he owns a bronze medal from 2000 and a silver from 2004, both in the 1500) Lagat, who I called in an interview with Seattle NBC affiliate KING TV as one of the great tacticians of our generation, adding, “he knows how to race, and he knows how to race when it counts”.

Though he has a personal best and the American record of 12:53.60, that mark was set five years ago.  He enters the Olympic final with a season best of 13:14.96 set at the London Diamond League meet last month, a time bettered by 13 of the 16 men in the field. 

Of the athletes in Saturday night’s field, three have broken 13 minutes this season including Farah, and another six have broken 13:05, so logic dictates that to get rid of one of the most feared kickers in the field, someone has to ensure that the pace is fast from the start.

A key benchmark for those of you watching the race is the split at 3000 meters (5 laps to go):  If the pace is at 8 minutes or faster, the pace is honest. But if it’s between 8:08 and 8:22, this plays into the hands of Lagat, and for that matter, Farah, who has evolved into one of the most feared racers.

It would be in the best interests of the three Ethiopians—Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebriwet, and Muktar Edris, all of whom have season bests of 13:00 or faster--to work together to ensure a fast pace to run the kick out of Lagat and Farah.

Amazingly enough, there are no Kenyans in the field, though Lagat and Chelimo of the USA and Albert Rop of Bahrain are former citizens.


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jeremy Taiwo finishes Olympic decathlon in 11th place with 8300 points...

RIO DE JANEIRO—University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo  (above/photo courtesy University of Washington) finished eleventh in the decathlon at the Olympics with a ten-event total of 8300 points Thursday at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

Taiwo began day 2 by running the 110 hurdles in 14.57 to take third in his heat, scoring 902 points, despite hitting hurdles in the middle of the race.

After a foul in round 1, the Newport HS and Renton resident threw a sub-par 130-11 (39.91m), almost 11 1/2 feet off his decathlon best of 141-7 (43.16m).

He rebounded in the pole vault by tying his decathlon personal best of 16-4.75 (5.00m) to capture 910 points, despite needing three attempts at that height and the previous height of 16-0.75 (4.90m).  He then had two decent shots at a new decathlon PR of 16-8.75 (5.10m) which would’ve given him 941 points.  Taiwo’s score after eight events was 6894, good for sixth overall

The javelin, which is one of Taiwo’s weakest events, proved to be his undoing for a top-eight finish, as he only mustered up a toss of 168-3 (51.29m), worth 608 points, as he dropped from sixth place overall after the pole vault to twelfth entering the 1500 with a nine-event total of 7502 points, 113 points out of eighth place.

In the 1500, he finished with the third fastest time of the day at 4:21.96 to finish with the final score of 8300 points.  Taiwo was one of eleven men to crack 8300 points, the first time that many athletes have broken that barrier in Olympic competition.

To understand how tight the finish was, had he somehow found 92 points is the previous nine points, that score would’ve given him a seventh place finish, which is what teammate Zach Ziemek finished in.

Afterwards, he told reporters gathered in the mixed zone, “I don’t know if I was overly excited for this meet or not. I was thrilled to be here and do that, I didn’t sleep the night before and the night in-between. So to come out here and finish and with an ok score, I surprised myself. I know that practice isn’t always perfect coming into big meets, and there’s a lot of pressure and expectations pretty much throughout my life and from all of the people that I have been around. I am proud of myself to have gotten here and finished a championship decathlon (in his two previous world championship appearances, he failed to finish in Moscow and Beijing), and to be 11th in the world in this event is just awesome. I know a lot of things could have gone better, probably for a lot of people, and I didn’t have one of those outstanding days with a lot of PB’s and stuff, but once again I’m happy about that.”

Prohibitive favorite and University of Oregon alum Ashton Eaton won his second straight Olympic title, scoring 8893 points to tie the Olympic record set by the Czech Republic’s Roman Sebrle in Athens in 2004.  France’s Kevin Meyer used personal bests in the 100, 400, shot and pole vault to come within 59 points of Eaton with 8834 points, while Canada’s Damian Warner was third with 8666 points.

Team USA highlights from Thursday included Kerron Clement winning the men’s 400 hurdles in a time of 47.73 eight years after taking a silver medal in Beijing.

In one of the more bizarre happenings of the morning session, second runner Allyson Felix’s arm was bumped by a Brazilian runner approaching the second exchange, causing her to miss the pass to second leg English Gardner.  However, some on-the-fly coaching from Felix gave the USA a chance to protest, as she picked up the baton in the zone, handed it to Gardner, and told her to get the baton around the track.  Gardner then handed off to Morolake Akinosun in the zone, who jogged the baton to the finish. 

After being disqualified for passing out of the zone, a protest by USA Track & Field led to Brazil’s disqualification for interference. Team USA was allowed to re run the race solo, and finished with a time of 41.77, the fastest time of the day.

Former Oregon high school standout Ryan Crouser smashed the Olympic record n the shot put, throwing 73-10.75 (22.52m) as Team USA went 1-2, with reigning world champ Joe Kovacs relegated to second at 71-5.5 (21.78m).

Delilah Muhammad led a 1-3 finish in the women’s 400 hurdles, running 53.13, while Ashley Spencer set a personal best of 53.72.

No Washington athletes are competing on Friday, with only Washington State alum Bernard Lagat and former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead left.  Both will run in the finals of the mens’ 5000 on Saturday at 5:30pm Seattle time (9:30 pm in Rio).


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jeremy Taiwo a strong fifth at the break in Olympic decathlon...

RIO DE JANEIRO—University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (above/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images) stands fifth in the decathlon at the halfway mark of the two-day competition with a five-event total of 4419 points to highlight Wednesday’s competition for Washington affiliated athletes at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

Taiwo started the day by running the 100 meters in 11.01 to finish fifth in his heat, scoring 858 points.
In the long jump, he recorded a best of 24-5.5 (7.45m) for 922 points and a 2-event score of 1780 points.

In the shot put, he threw a season best 48-11.5 (14.92m) to score 785 points and move into the top ten for the first time, placing him in ninth.

Taiwo, who is an excellent high jumper, then won the high jump, clearing 7-2.25 (2.19m), worth 982 points to go from ninth to third after the fourth event.

In the 400, he had the fifth fastest time of the day, running 48.78 to garner 872 points and a first day total of 4419, which is just short of his first-day personal best of 4478 points, set at the Olympic Trials last month.

At the break, defending Olympic champ and Oregon alum Ashton Eaton leads with 4621 points, with Kai Kazmirek of Germany second at 4500 points.  Damian Warner of Canada stands third at 4489, followed by Kevin Mayer of France at 4435.

In summarizing his first day of competition, Taiwo said, “Day one was a little slow to start in the 100, but I just forgot about it and went to the long jump, had an ok jump there. Then I picked up momentum with a near [personal best] in the shot put, so that was awesome. Then I was smart with the big break between high jump, so I rested well and then got back and jumped 2.19m, which was close to my best outdoors in the decathlon. So that was great, and then I finished with a quarter in the 48’s and still feel good and I just got to go to sleep now. It’s been awesome, I am just happy that I am here.”

Heat 1 of the men’s 5000 meters provided the most drama, as former Puyallup resident Hassan Mead got tangled up with defending world and Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Beaverton-based Nike Oregon Project with 250 meters to go.

Farah, who was in front of Mead, momentarily lost his balance, but was able to stay on his feet, as he finished third in 13:25.25. Mead rolled on his side as the pack pulled away, then got up to finish 13th in 13:34.27 in the 25-man field, well short of the top 5 needed to advance to Saturday night’s final.

One man who did avoid trouble in the heat was Washington State alum Bernard Lagat, who was tucked right behind Mead as he fell. Lagat put a hand on Mead’s back in a self-preservation move, and avoided trouble.  Lagat finished fifth in the heat in a time of 13:26.02.

On Mead’s fall, Lagat said, “I was right behind him. I saw him going down just a little distance from me and I had to actually jump over him. You train for four years thinking about one thing and then it ends. You see your dream of almost making the finals and in 200m it’s all gone. I hope they can do something to reinstate him, because really if you think about it he was going to go in anyways. I hope they will be lenient and put him in the final, because he didn’t trip on himself something happened. I told him ‘to keep your head up, I think there is a chance you can still go in’ because I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t distraught about it and I wanted to make sure he knew he had my support 100 percent.”

Mead said, “I think Mo [Farah] was in front of me, this is what I think happened, it was all pretty blurry because by the time I realized anything happened I was on the ground. But I think I was outside of Mo, and moved in at the same time he moved in so I didn’t have the full stride and I ran into him. That’s what happened, then I was on the ground and tried to get up as quick as possible to finish. But that’s that, and hopefully we can advance and see how it goes.”

After the race, Mead and Team USA officials filed a protest to put him into Saturday’s final.  However, the IAAF denied the protest.

Shortly after the end of Wednesday night session at the stadium, Mead posted on his social media accounts that he was put into Saturday’s final.  At the time of this post, Mead’s name was still not on the start list for Saturday’s final at 5:30 pm Seattle time (9:30 pm in Rio), though a USA Track & Field media officer confirmed to paulmerca.blogspot.com via text that Mead was in the finals.

A photo posted by Hassan (Miicaad)  Mead (@hassyhass35) on

Seattle resident Justine Fedronic, who competes for France, finished sixth in her first round heat of the women’s 800, running 2:02.73, and will not advance to the semi-finals on Thursday.

Team USA highlights from Wednesday included Bowerman TC member Evan Jager of Portland’s second place finish in the 3000 steeplechase, as he ran 8:04.28, with teammates Hillary Bor (8:22.74) and former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral (8:25.81) finishing seventh & eighth, in a race won by Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto in an Olympic record 8:03.28.

Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese finished 1-2 in the women’s long jump, with marks of 23-6.25 (7.17m), and 23-5.5 (7.15m), respectively.

Tori Bowie finished third in the women’s 200, running 22.15, in a race won by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson in 21.78.

To cap off a strong performance by the Americans, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin swept the top three places in the 100 hurdles, with Rollins taking the win in 12.49.  Ali was second in 12.59, with Castlin third in 12.61.

Taiwo will be the only athlete with Washington ties competing Thursday, as he starts day two of the decathlon at 5:30 am Seattle time (9:30 am in Rio).


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Former Puget Sound resident Devon Allen finishes fifth in 110 hurdles final at Olympics...

RIO DE JANEIRO—University of Oregon standout Devon Allen (above/photo courtesy University of Oregon), the reigning NCAA and USA national champion who spent part of his childhood in the Puget Sound area, finished fifth in the finals of the Olympic 110 meter hurdles Tuesday night at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

Allen ran 13.31 in the finals, as Omar McLeod of Jamaica won the Olympic title, running 13.05, with former Cuban Orlando Ortega, now representing Spain second in 13.17.  Dimitri Bascou of France was third in 13.24.

In the semis earlier in the evening, Allen, an outstanding wide receiver for the Ducks, who also won the Pac-12 title earlier this year, advanced as one of the two time qualifiers, finishing third in the second of three heats in 13.36.

Following his race, Allen said, “It was a good experience, solid race, obviously I wanted to compete and win but to place fifth in the world isn’t bad at all.”

“I was just kind of focused on myself, focused on being clean [over the hurdles], which I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. But it was a great experience, my first international competition as well as my first Olympic Games, I did pretty well.”

“I wanted to compete. As an athlete, I always think that I am the best at whatever I do. So going out there obviously I want to run fast. Obviously these guys are great competitors, and they’ve shown that time and time again.”

Allen, who did not run a particularly clean race, said, “In general it’s all about they’re hurdles and they’re in your way, it’s about maneuvering and managing those barriers, and put yourself in the right body position, and my position wasn’t as great as I would want it to be, and that’s why my time wasn’t as fast.”

In the women’s javelin, Vancouver native Kara Winger’s best throw of 200-2 (61.02m) in round 1 almost held up to advance her to the finals, but she was nosed out on the penultimate throw of round 3 by Kathryn Mitchell of Australia, who threw 202-2 (61.63m) to take the 12th and final spot.

Winger, who went into the Olympics with a slight issue in her left knee, said “I have never been in 13th before, I have been way down on the list, I am frustrated that this year isn’t what it could have been, for reasons that I feel like were beyond my control, but I did everything I could with what I had. I just haven’t felt this pain in a while.”

“I have had three meets now over 61 meters in this season, because I have had three meets this season, I can’t be mad at that for the way that I have felt all year training. It has been really challenging just to battle everyday and fight through some things that have happened. My body felt better felt better than it has all year today, so it should have gone farther and it didn’t because I haven’t executed those positions enough times without pain to know exactly what they feel like in competition.”

“I am proud of what I did, I know that I could have made the final. I have never felt more ready, so that’s the hardest part.”

Bonney Lake HS grad and Federal Way resident Jordin Andrade’s bid to become the first athlete in any sport from Cape Verde to advance to an Olympic final fell short, as he finished sixth in the second of three semi-finals in the men’s 400 hurdles, running 49.32.

Earlier in the day, University of Washington grad Diamara Planell Cruz, representing Puerto Rico, cleared the first height of 13-7.25 (4.15m), but was not able to advance to the finals.

Washington State University assistant coach Angela Whyte of Canada finished sixth in heat 3 of the first round o the women’s 100 hurdles and did not advance, as the three-time Olympian ran 13.09.

Wednesday, Newport HS and University of Washington grad Jeremy Taiwo begins competition in the two-day men’s decathlon that starts at 5:30 am Seattle time with the 100 meters, and ends 12 hours later with the fifth event, the 400.

Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat along with former Puyallup resident Hassan Mead will run in the semi-final round of the men’s 5000 meters at 6 am (10 am in Rio), while Seattle resident Justine Fedronic, who trains with the Beasts TC, will compete in the first round of the women’s 800 meters at 6:55 am, Seattle time.


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Monday, August 15, 2016

UPDATE: Andrade reinstated into Tuesday's Olympic 400 hurdles semis...

RIO DE JANEIRO—Earlier in the day, we reported that Bonney Lake HS graduate Jordin Andrade (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is representing Cape Verde, was disqualified from heat 6 of the first round of the Olympic men’s 400 hurdles Monday morning at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, after apparently finishing fourth in his heat and advancing as a time qualifier.

Shortly before 4:30 pm Seattle time, Andrade texted paulmerca.blogspot.com stating that the decision to disqualify him from Tuesday’s semi-final round was overturned, putting him back in the semis.

Andrade, who ran 49.35 in a heat won by Kenya’s Haron Koech in 48.77, was initially disqualified because in the opinion of the officials on the track, he deliberately knocked down the final hurdle.

While he was in the protest room a few hours before the decision, he said that he had made a slight change in his hurdle stride pattern for Monday morning’s race.  He normally runs 14 strides between the first 5 hurdles, then switches to 15 for the final five.

He felt that because he was feeling so good with his final preparation for his race, he decided before the race to try and run 14 strides through the first seven hurdles and then switch to 15 for the final three hurdles, which almost cost him a spot in the next round.

He tweeted out a screenshot of the video showed to him with the caption “No joke…this is why I’m dq’d”



Andrade will run in heat 2 of 3 semi-final races Tuesday at 5:42 pm Seattle time (9:42 pm in Rio) out of lane 1.  He becomes the first athlete in any sport in Cape Verde's history to advance to a semifinal round at the Olympics.

Recapping Monday’s action, American Allyson Felix’s bid to win an Olympic title at 400 meters fell short, as she finished second to Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, 49.44 to 49.51.  Felix’s silver makes her the most decorated female track athlete in US history with seven career Olympic medals, breaking a tie with Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

NCAA 1500m champ Clayton Murphy of Akron came off the pace to finish third in the men’s 800, running a personal best 1:42.93 and giving the USA its first 800m medal in 24 years, as Kenya’s David Rudisha successfully defended his Olympic crown in 1:42.15.

Brazil’s Thiago Braz Da Silva pulled off a mild upset, winning the men’s pole vault with a leap of 19-9.25 (6.03m) over defending Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie of France (19-7.5/5.98m).  The USA’s Sam Kendricks was third (19-2.25/5.85m).

In the women’s steeple finals Monday morning, Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet won in a time of 8:59.75, as Colorado alum Emma Coburn broke her own American record in finishing third in 9:07.63.

Reigning US & NCAA national 110 hurdles champion Devon Allen of the University of Oregon, who lived in the Seattle area before finishing high school in Arizona, was second in his first round heat, running 13.41, with Greece’s Konstadinos Douvalidis nosing him out in an identical time.

Allen moves on to Tuesday’s semis at 4:40 pm, Seattle time, with the finals the last event just over two hours later.

Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk broke the world record in the hammer throw, winning the Olympic title with a toss of 269-11 (82.29m).

Tuesday will be one of the busiest days for athletes with Washington ties.  In addition to Allen and Andrade, University of Washington grad Diamara Planell Cruz goes in the women’s pole vault qualifying at 5:45 am, Seattle time.  Also competing Tuesday morning will be Washington State assistant coach Angela Whyte of Canada in the women’s 100 hurdles at 7:05 am.  

Later on Tuesday (5:50 pm, Seattle time), Vancouver native Kara Winger will throw in group B of the women’s javelin competition.


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

BREAKING: Jordin Andrade apparently DQ'd after finishing fourth in Olympic 400H 1st round heat...

RIO DE JANEIRO—Bonney Lake HS graduate Jordin Andrade (above/photo by Paul Merca) was disqualified from heat 6 of the first round of the Olympic men’s 400 hurdles Monday morning at Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, after apparently finishing fourth in his heat and advancing as a time qualifier.

Andrade ran 49.35 in a heat won by Kenya’s Haron Koech in 48.77.

According to the results posted on the IAAF web site, Andrade was in violation of Rule 168.7 which states:

“7. each athlete shall jump each hurdle. Failure to do so will result in a disqualification. in addition, an athlete shall be disqualified, if: (a) his foot or leg is, at the instant of clearance, beside the hurdle (on either side), below the horizontal plane of the top of any hurdle; or (b) in the opinion of the Referee, he deliberately knocks down any hurdle.”

In a text received by paulmerca.blogspot.com, Andrade stated that the Cape Verde delegation is protesting the decision.


More information as it becomes available will be posted. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bolt wins third Olympic 100m title; van Niekerk smashes 400 WR; Andrade & Allen compete on Monday...

RIO DE JANEIRO—The fireworks continued on the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange track Sunday night, as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won his third Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter dash, and South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk (left/photo by Paul Merca) smashed American Michael Johnson’s Olympic record of 43.49 set 20 years ago, and oh, by the way, took down his 1999 world record of 43.18 set at the 1999 world championships by running a stunning 43.03.

Despite a slow start, Bolt overtook American Justin Gatlin at about the 75 meter mark to win his third straight Olympic 100 meter title in a time of 9.81 to Gatlin’s 9.89.  That victory will certainly stamp Bolt’s legacy as one of this generation’s greatest sprinters, with only the 200 and the 4 x 100 relay left on his plate for the rest of this meet.

Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, a former Pac-12 sprint champ from USC, was third in 9.91, as the top six broke 10 seconds.

Before the men’s 100, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk took .15 seconds off of Michael Johnson’s 43.18 world record in winning the Olympic title in 43.03.

van Niekerk ran blind in lane 8 for the duration of the race, and somehow found another gear exiting the final turn.

Grenada’s Kirani James, the defending Olympic champion, was second in 43.76, while LaShawn Merritt of the USA was third in 43.85.

In other Sunday action:

—The USA placed three runners in the top nine in the women’s marathon, as Shalane Flanagan of the Portland-based Bowerman TC finished sixth in 2:25:27, while Des Linden, who is sponsored by Seattle-based Brooks Running was seventh in 2:26.08.  Flanagan’s Bowerman TC teammate Amy Cragg was ninth in 2:28:25.

Jemima Sumgong of Kenya, the winner of the London Marathon earlier this year, won the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the event, running 2:24:04.

—Though she only finished fourth, the USA may have a star in the making as 20-year old Keturah Orji of the University of Georgia broke her own American record in the triple jump, leaping 48-3.25 (14.71m), as Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the Olympic title with a jump of 49-9.25 (15.17m).

—Allyson Felix, Natasha Hastings, and former Oregon standout Phyllis Francis all advanced to the finals in the women’s 400 on Monday night, while Erik Kynard was the lone American to advance to the finals in the men’s high jump on Tuesday.  Shannon Rowbury, who runs for the Nike Oregon Project, along with former world champ Jenny Simpson, both advanced to the finals in the women’s 1500 that will be contested Tuesday.

Looking ahead to Monday’s competition, two athletes with Washington ties wii be on the track, as Federal Way’s Jordin Andrade, representing Cape Verde, will run in the sixth and final heat of the men’s 400 hurdles, scheduled for 8:10 Seattle time (12:10 pm in Rio).

The University of Oregon’s Devon Allen, the reigning US and NCAA champ who lived for a number of years in the greater Seattle area before moving to Phoenix, will be in the fourth heat of the men’s 110 hurdles for Team USA, scheduled for 5:04 pm Seattle time (9:04 pm in Rio).  A top four finish there advances Allen to the semis Tuesday night, with the final being the last event on Tuesday night.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Andrea Geubelle finishes 21st in women's triple jump at the Olympics...

RIO DE JANEIRO—University Place resident Andrea Geubelle (left/photo courtesy NBC Olympics) finished 21st overall and 11th in her flight in the women’s triple jump Saturday morning at the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange.

The Curtis HS graduate jumped a best of 45-8.5 (13.93m) and missed the cut to advance to Sunday’s finals. US Olympic Trials champion Keturah Orji’s mark of 46-2.5 (14.08m) was good enough to make the finals.

Geubelle, the 12th jumper in the flight, started round one with a jump of 44-10.25 (13.67m) on the super-fast runway at Estádio Olímpico, 

In round two, Andrea fouled, then just came up short of the 14-meter mark in round 3 with her jump of 45-8.5 (13.93m).

In the mixed zone afterwards, she told USA Track & Field, "I've been dealing with a few little bumps and bruises throughout the season, but I felt great coming out. I was a bit nervous, which is normal.”

“My first jump, I was definitely a little safe. I learned you can't do that at the Olympics. You have to go for it. First jump was a little short, so I adjusted my steps a bit. The runway is super fast and I'm really fast, so controlling that is something I definitely need to work on and we'll get there.” 

“Second jump, I took my speed through the board and fouled a little bit. The whole day was a lot of adjustments, which is never fun when you don't feel confident on the board. I told myself I'd give it my all and I did. I'm here and I'm excited to see what the next years hold." 

In other action this morning, all three of the USA men’s 100 meter dash competitors—Justin Gatlin, Trayvon Bromell, and Marvin Bracy advanced to Saturday night’s semis. 

All three of the USA’s steeplechasers—Emma Coburn, and the Portland based Bowerman TC’s Colleen Quigley and Courtney Frerichs advanced to the finals on Monday, while British Columbia native Maria Bernard ran 9:50.17 and did not advance.

Former Oregon standout Phyllis Francis had the fastest time in the women’s 400, running 50.58, as the other two Americans—Allyson Felix and Natasha Hastings advanced to the next round on Sunday.

In the one final contested, Germany’s Christoph Harting threw a personal best of 224-3 (68.37m) in the penultimate throw of the competition to overtake leader Piotr Malachowski of Poland, whose 221-7 (67.55m) from round 2 almost held up for the win.

Competition continues later on Saturday with the final two events of the women’s heptathlon, and finals in the men’s long jump, men’s 10000, and women’s 100.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Geubelle aims for spot in triple jump finals Saturday morning...

RIO DE JANEIRO—University Place resident Andrea Geubelle’s (left/photo courtesy USOC) quest to qualify for the finals in the women’s triple jump gets going Saturday morning at the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange at 5:40 am Seattle time (9:40 am in Rio).

She’ll be in Group A with 17 other athletes with Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas the top seed with a season best of 49-3.5 (15.02m), the second furthest jump in the world this season, behind only reigning world champ and fellow countrywoman Caterine Ibarguen’s 49-4.25 (15.04m).

To advance to Sunday’s finals, Geubelle will need to finish in the top 12 in both groups and/or hit the automatic qualifying mark of 46-11 (14.30m), which would be a significant personal best for the Curtis HS graduate (46-6.25 indoors in 2013; outdoor personal best is 46-5.25/14.15m this season).

The projected weather for Saturday’s qualifying round is for sunny skies and temperatures around the mid-to-high 60s.


Track and field action at the Olympics got off to a raucous start as Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana (above/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty Images) destroyed the world record in the women’s 10000 Friday morning, running 29:17.45, taking down Wang Junxia’s of China’s 29:31.78 from 1993.

The first four women across the line all broke the 30 minute barrier.

US Olympic Trials champ Molly Huddle finished sixth in an American record 30:13.17, just behind Iowa State alum and Bowerman TC member Betsy Saina, who ran a personal best 30:07.78.

In other highlights:

—Michelle Carter of Team USA set an American record in winning the shot put with a toss of 67-8.25 (20.63m) on her final throw to dethrone defending champ Valerie Adams of New Zealand, who threw 67-0 (20.42m); 

—Defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain leads at the break in the heptathlon with 4057 points. Oregon alum Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada stands sixth with 3871 points, while US Olympic Trials champ Barbara Nwaba, who is coached by Walla Walla native Josh Priester, stands 11th with 3777 points; 

—In the first round of the women’s 1500, all three Americans—Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Simpson, and Brenda Martinez, easily advanced to the semis;  in the men’s 800, two of the three US runners—Boris Berian and Clayton Murphy, moved on to the next round; 

—All three of Team USA’s men’s 400 meter runners—Gil Roberts, LaShawn Merritt, and David Verburg advanced to the semis Saturday night. In the women’s 100, all three Americans, led by former Oregon standout English Gardner, advanced to Saturday’s semis.

—On the field, women’s hammer throwers Amber Campbell and DeAnna Price both advanced to the finals on Monday;  men’s long jumpers Jeff Henderson and NCAA champ Jarrion Lawson advanced to Saturday’s final.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Track & field starts Friday at the Olympics!

RIO DE JANEIRO—The track and field portion of the Olympics gets started Friday morning at the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange at 5:30 am Seattle time (9:30 am in Rio) with the men’s discus qualifying, while the women’s heptathlon 100 hurdles will be the first running event contested on the blue oval.

There is a Washington connection in the heptathlon, as Walla Walla HS graduate Josh Priester is the personal coach of US Olympic Trials heptathlon champion Barbara Nwaba (left/photo by Paul Merca). You can read the Tri-City Herald’s writeup on him here.

In a bit of an unusual twist to the track & field competition, the women’s 10000 finals, featuring Americans Molly Huddle, Portland’s Emily Infeld, and Marielle Hall will be held at 11:10 am (7:10 am in Seattle), with at least one final contested in each day of track and field that has both a morning and afternoon session.

Reigning Olympic Trials champion Devon Allen, who grew up in the Puget Sound area before moving to Arizona, spoke to members of the media at a USA Track & Field press conference Thursday.  You can read the highlights of the USATF press conference here.

No athletes with Washington ties will compete on Friday.  University Place resident Andrea Geubelle gets things started for the Washington delegation Saturday morning at 5:40 am (9:40 am in Rio) in the women’s triple jump qualifying round.

In the United States, the networks of NBC (NBC, NBCSN and online at nbcolympics.com and the NBC Sports app) will provide broadcast and streaming coverage.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Team USA athletes check out the Olympic Stadium in advance of Friday's start of track & field...

RIO DE JANEIRO—With two days to go before the start of track & field competition on Friday at the Olympic Games, several members of Team USA visited the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange for the traditional pre-meet athlete walk-through.

Three of the state’s representatives were kind enough to share their photos of Wednesday’s walk-through via social media.

Here are decathlete Jeremy Taiwo, triple jumper Andrea Geubelle (left/photo courtesy USOC), and javelin thrower Kara Winger (courtesy Kara Winger):



Here is decathlete Jeremy Taiwo:


👓⚡️ #2016Olympics #RioDeJaneiro #Brazil #TeamUSA🇺🇸 #TriwizardTournament #Gryffindor #HalfricanBloodPrince #HungerGames photocred: @lilmissblackdiva (🍒panorama 😂)
A photo posted by Jeremy Taiwo (@jeremytaiwo) on

And here’s triple jumper Andrea Geubelle in front of the runway, where she’ll kick off competition for the Washington delegation on Saturday morning:


A photo posted by Andrea Geubelle (@a_geubelle) on

The IAAF has now posted the final entries for the track & field competition at the Olympics.  That can be accessed here.

The start lists and heat sheets will be posted later on Wednesday after the conclusion of the technical meeting.  We will create a link for the start lists and heat sheets when it becomes available.

UPDATE:  The start lists and results will be posted daily at this link here:

The track & field portion of the Olympics will be shown on the networks of NBC (NBC, NBCSN, and online at nbcolympics.com). Please check nbcolympics.com for more information.

UPDATE: This is the most recent time schedule of times that track & field will be broadcast, courtesy of USA Track & Field. For west coast viewers, keep in mind that Olympic prime time coverage is delayed (as in, you might be better off watching online).

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Now available for viewing & downloading--the track & field preview of Washingtonians competing in Rio!

paulmerca.blogspot.com's Washington track & field Olympic Preview is now ready for viewing!

This document has brief bio information, along with personal and 2016 season bests for the ten Washington state affiliated track & field athletes competing in Rio, along with the schedule of when each athlete will be competing during the Olympics.


This document is a .pdf file, which you can view here:


We encourage you to print this file, and have it close to your television set or computer as you follow Devon Allen, Jordin Andrade, Justine Fedronic, Andrea Geubelle, Bernard Lagat, Hassan Mead, Diamara Planell Cruz, Jeremy Taiwo, Angela Whyte, and Kara Winger during the nine days of track and field competition, which begins on Friday August 12th.

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