Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sehome HS alum Jake Riley second at USATF Club XC Champs; Bizzarri third in women's race...

BETHLEHEM, PA.--Bellingham native and Sehome HS alum Jake Riley (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in the USATF national club cross country championships Saturday on the Lehigh University cross country course.

Riley, the 2012 USATF national club champ, who finished 11th in his marathon debut in 2:13:16 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, ran 29:10 over the 10k course to finish two seconds behind 2013 world championships team member Ryan Hill of the Bowerman TC out of Portland.

Rounding out the top five overall were Hill's Bowerman TC teammate German Fernandez in 29:10, Craig Forys of the New York AC in 29:14, and Andrew Colley of Zap Fitness Reebok in 29:15.

Other notables with Washington ties who finished in the top 100 (572 finishers) included Western Washington alum Jordan Welling in 59th (30:40); Bellingham native Chris Kwiatkowski in 67th (30:45); and Seth Bridges of Club Northwest in 70th (30:47).

Zap Fitness Reebok won the national club title with a low score of 65 points, with Club Northwest 24th in the 72-team field with 770 points.

In the women's 6k race, Seattle resident Angela Bizzarri of the Brooks Beasts moved up one spot from her finish at last year's club nationals in Bend, Oregon, finishing third in a time of 19:34, as Laura Thweatt won the title in 19:15.

Tara Erdmann of Nike was second in 19:25, followed by Bizzarri, then Alisha Williams in fourth in 19:35, then Brianne Nelson in the same time.

Bizzarri's Brooks Beast teammate Amanda Mergaert was 15th in 20:07.

Other athletes with Washington ties finishing in the top 100 (343 finishers) included Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver in 17th in 20:15;  Western Washington alum Sarah Crouch in 23rd in 20:25; Gonzaga alum Lindsey Drake in 32nd in 20:34; Katie Conlon of Club Northwest in 83rd in 221:34; Andrea Garvue of Club Northwest in 89th in 21:41; and, Lana Lacey of Club Northwest in 92nd in 21:43.

The Boston Athletic Association won the women's team title with 50 points, while Club Northwest was ninth with 330.


In Bloomington, Indiana at the Hoosier Open meet Friday on the campus of Indiana University, Pasco HS graduate and NCAA cross country All-American Marisa Howard finished second in the 5000 meters, clocking a personal best of 16:07.90, the second best time in BSU history, easily eclipsing her previous best of 16:49.04 set in 2013 at the Mountain West indoor championship meet.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and Boise State University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bizzari, Riley lead field of Washington runners at USATF national club cross country champs...

A number of athletes with ties to the state of Washington will travel across the country to Bethlehem, PA.,  for Saturday's USATF national club cross country championships on the Lehigh University cross country course.

Leading the group of Washington athletes are Angela Bizzarri (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Amanda Mergaert of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts TC.  Bizzarri, a former NCAA cross country champion, finished fourth in this meet last year.  Mergaert joined the Brooks Beasts in September, and moved to the Seattle area from the Sacramento area.

Western Washington alum and former NCAA D2 cross country champ Sarah Crouch, who finished sixth (seventh before the disqualification of Kenya's Rita Jeptoo) in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a PR 2:32:44 in October, is also listed among the entries for Saturday's race, as are Eastern Washington alum and 2013 world cross country team member Mattie Suver, Bellingham HS alum Becca Friday, and Gonzaga University alum Lindsey Drake.

Seattle based Club Northwest will field a team in the women's race, led by Oregon alum Katie Conlon.

On the men's side, Bellingham native and Stanford alum Jake Riley, the 2012 USATF club cross country champ who now competes for the Hansons/Brooks Distance Project in Michigan, is entered. Riley is coming off an 11th place finish (second American) at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, where he ran 2:13:16 in his marathon debut.

Riley will face off against a field that includes former Stanford teammate and reigning USA cross country champ Chris Derrick, along with Matt Tegenkamp, Chris Solinsky and German Fernandex of the Nike Bowerman TC from Beaverton.

Others entered in the meet include Washington alum Jake Schmitt, Western Washington alum Jordan Welling, and a Club Northwest team led by Gonzaga alums Chris Boyle and Brett Winegar.

The women's 6k gets underway at 12:45pm, eastern time, while the men's 10k starts at 1:30pm eastern.  USATF.tv will provide on-demand video of the races, which features many of the country's top club teams and individuals.  The top six finishers in each of the two races may be selected to represent the USA at the 2015 BUPA Edinburgh Cross Country meet in Scotland next month.

According to USA Track & Field Cross Country Council chair Mike Scott, the entries for the meet, which includes men's and women's masters races, has topped 1800 athletes, making it the largest meet since the 2012 edition at Seattle's Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Vikings' Steen finishes fifth at NCAA Division II cross country championships...

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky--Western Washington's Katelyn Steen (left/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) finished fifth to become the second runner in school history to place in the top five at the NCAA Division II cross country championships on a wet course that had to be shortened at E. P. "Tom" Sawyer Park.

The original 6k course was shortened to 5.78k due to an accumulation of 1 1/2 inches of rain from Friday on.

Steen ran 21:29, as Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State led a 1-2-3 GVS finish by winning in 21:06, helping Grand Valley State to a national title with a low score of 50 points.

Following Steen for the Vikings were Taylor Guenther in 51st (22:17), Haley O'Connor in 98th (22:48), Austin Reiter in 126th (23:10), and Makhaila Thornton in 140th (23:20) to round out their scorers.

The Vikings finished 12th with 352 points, while Central Washington, who edged out Western two weeks ago at the NCAA West Regionals in Billings, Montana,  finished 18th with 461 points.

"She went for it right from the beginning and was right with the eventual champion over halfway through the race," said Viking coach Pee Wee Halsell of Steen, who entered the race as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and West Regional champion. "She had an amazing race that capped off an incredible cross country career."

The only other Viking runner to finish in the top five at the NCAA cross country championships was Sarah Porter, who finished second in both 2009 and 2010.

Central Washington was led by Connie Morgan, who earned her second straight All-America certificate with a 28th place finish in 21:56.

After Morgan, Dani Eggleston was the next Wildcat across the line in 42nd, two spots out of All-America honors in 22:07.  Megan Rogers then followed in 89th place (22:46), followed by Hannah Dowdell in 177th (23:41), and Erin Chinchar in 203rd (24:12) to close out their scorers.

"Connie just really showed her level of running maturity," CWU head coach Kevin Adkisson said. "She got out there and ran a strong first mile, and was well positioned and gradually moved her way to the front."

Commenting on the Wildcats' season, Adkisson said, "I'm very content with the top 20 finish. That's what we said we wanted. Our ladies had a great year overall and I'm so proud of everything we did. We set this goal a year ago and they did the work over the year to make this happen. If someone told me before all of this that we would be 18th overall I would have said 'that would be awesome'".

In the men's 9.65k race, Western Washington, making its eighth straight NCAA championship meet appearance, finished 13th with a score of 332 points, as perennial powerhouse Adams State of Colorado, led by individual champion Tabor Stevens (30:02) won the national title with a low of 69 points.

The Vikings were led by Isaac Griffith in 54th place (31:46), followed by Sean Eustis in 63rd (31:54), Tabor Reedy in 74th (32:10), and Nathan Richards in 94th (32:25).


In Cheney, Jozie Kimes and Jordan Arakawa of Eastern Washington highlighted competition in the Candy Cane Invitational meet to open the 2015 indoor track & field season for the Eagles at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse.

Kimes on Friday won the pentathlon with a final score of 3359 points, missing the school record by one point, running 8.97 in the 55 hurdles (779 points), winning the high jump at 5-3.25/1.61m (747), throwing the shot 31-0.5/9.46m (494), long jumping 16-8.75/5.10m (587), and running 2:25.38 in the 800 (752).

Arakawa, the reigning Big Sky weight throw champ, won his specialty with a toss of 62-8 (19.10m).

One notable mark for the Eagles came in the triple jump as Morena Mannucci set a mark of 39-2.25 (11.94m) in finishing second, just short of the school record of 39-2.5 (11.94m).

In the dual meet scoring the Eagles fell to Montana on both the men's (58-49) and women's (46-34) side.

Eastern Washington's release is available here.  Complete results of the meet are available here.

In Boston, the University of Portland's Tansey Lystad finished fourth in the 5000m at the BU Season Opener at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center.

Lystad, a graduate of Inglemoor HS ran 15:51.12, as Sarah Disanza of Wisconsin, who finished second in the NCAA cross country championships two weeks ago won in a time of 15:20.57.

Results of the BU Season Opener are available here.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Western, Central and Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Central Washington makes first NCAA appearance in 14 years, while Viking's Steen looks to contend...

For the cross country teams from Central and Western Washington, the road to the national championships ends this Saturday at the NCAA Division II title meet in Louisville, Kentucky at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park.

The Wildcats from Ellensburg (above/photo courtesy CWU sports information) have been one of the best stories of the 2014 season, after finishing fifth in the NCAA West Regional meet in Billings, Montana.  The squad, ranked #22 in the final USTFCCCA Division II regular season rankings, makes its first appearance at the national championship meet since 2000.

For the Vikings, sending teams to the national championship meet is something that's expected every season.  The men's squad have made it to nationals every year since 2007, while the women have run in the final meet of the season in six of the last seven years.

Western's squads goes into the national championship meet ranked #18 in the final USTFCCCA men's poll, while the women's team goes to Louisville tied for #23 in the national poll.

Western's Katelyn Steen (left/photo courtesy WWU Athletics), the reigning GNAC and regional champ out of Eastlake HS in Sammamish, is considered one of the top contenders to win the national title.

"I think she does (have a good chance to win)", said Viking coach Pee Wee Halsell.  "It's not an easy thing, but I believe in her abilities and know that she's capable of it."

In talking about her strategy on Saturday, Halsell said, "She'll go out pretty hard because the field will and be in contact and then the second half she's just going to go for it."

Steen will be joined by Haley O'Connor, who makes her third nationals appearance, along with Taylor Guenther, Sofia Marikis, Austin Reiter, Makhaila Thornton, and Brittany Grant.  All but Grant have national championship meet experience.

When talking about their team's goals Saturday, Halsell and Central Washington coach Kevin Adkisson both aim to better their USTFCCCA rankings.

"it's nice to see that we are ranked 22nd in the nation, and I think that it is very reasonable for us to set a goal of finishing in the top 20," said Adkisson.

After seeing Connie Morgan earn All-America honors in the 2013 meet, it was a goal of the Wildcats to get the whole team over to nationals.  However, Adkisson is looking at this as a building block for the future, stating "It's my goal as a coach to make this an annual thing. We have to keep people healthy, motivated, and continue to recruit."

Besides Morgan, the Wildcats will have in their arsenal Dani Eggleston and Megan Rogers, who finished in the top 15 at the regionals.

Also traveling to Louisville are Hannah Dowdell, Brenna Eldredge, Erin Chinchar, and Jayna Inderbitzin.

The Viking men will be led by Isaac Griffith, Tabor Reedy, Jonathan Quimby and Nathan Richards, all of whom have national championship meet experience.  Griffith was the Vikings' #1 runner at the regional championship meet, finishing 12th two weeks ago.

Isaac Derline, Sean Eustis and Matt Lutz will run in their first national championship meet.

Saturday's meet gets underway at 8am pacific time with the men's 10k, with the women's 6k following at 9:15 am pacific.  The meet will be streamed live via ncaa.com.



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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eagles open 2015 indoor track & field season with Candy Cane Invite in Cheney...

Believe it or not, the 2015 indoor track & field season gets underway Friday and Saturday at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney, as the Eagles host the seventh annual Candy Cane Invitational.

The meet is set up as a dual against the University of Montana, who are looking to reverse a 53-38 loss pinned on them by the Eagles in last year's meet by the men's team.  The two teams tied last year at 52.

Not all running events are offered in this early season meet, with the longest distance being 600 meters, with all other races on the straightaway.

Friday's competition consists of the women's pentathlon and the first four events of the men's heptathlon.

Saturday's events consists of the final three events of the heptathlon, along with the men's and women's shot, weight, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, high jump, 55 hurdles and dash, and the 600.

Eastern will be led by reigning Big Sky weight throw champion Jordan Arakawa (above/photo courtesy EWU), who ended the 2014 season by qualifying for the NCAA championship meet outdoors in the hammer.

The Eagles are looking to start the 2015 season strong, as marks in this weekend's meet will count towards qualifying for the Big Sky championship meet in Flagstaff at the end of February.


In other news, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished seventh in the Flotrack Flo Beer Mile World Championship race Wednesday night at the Circuit of the Americas.

Mackey ran 6:55.34, as Elizabeth Herndon ran 6:17.76 to set a women's world record in the beer mile, which consists of chugging one 12-ounce beer before each lap, then running.

In the men's race, 2013 world championships silver medalist Nick Symmonds of the Brooks Beasts was seventh in 5:41.71.


NOTE:  The sports information office of Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NCAA XC RECAP: Three Huskies, Lystad, Howard earn A-A honors, plus D2 regionals & D3 recap...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana--Kirkland native Tansey Lystad (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) of the University of Portland was the first Washingtonian to finish, as she placed 15th in the women's 6k at the NCAA Division I cross country championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course Saturday.

Lystad, the reigning West Coast Conference champion out of Inglemoor HS, completed the course in a time of 20:20 to earn All-America honors, and the school's highest individual finish at the national championships.

Also earning All-America honors in the national championships on the women's side were the University of Washington's Maddie Meyers, who finished 27th in 20:33, just one spot ahead of Pasco HS grad Marisa Howard of Boise State, who ran 20:36.

The University of Washington women's team, which entered the NCAA championships ranked #19 in the final USTFCCCA regular season poll, finished 23rd with a final team score of 559 points.

Behind Meyers were freshman Anna Maxwell in 124th (21:24), junior Erin Johnson in 177th (21:45), junior Eleanor Fulton in 186th (21:49), and redshirt frosh Kelly Lawson in 196th (21:55), giving the Huskies a 1:22 split from their first through fifth runners.  Soph Kaylee Flanagan was 203rd in 21:58, and frosh Anastasia Kosykh was 217th in 22:09.

Afterwards, UW coach Greg Metcalf commented on his young team, missing two key members from last year's team who ran at nationals in Katie Knight and Amy-Eloise Neale with injuries, said, "For our ladies, getting to the meet was probably the big deal at the beginning of the year and we did that.  A lot of women will learn from this and get better."

Michigan State won the women's national title, scoring 85 points, followed by Iowa State (147), New Mexico (188), and Georgetown (189).  

Pac-12 schools included Oregon in 6th with 249, Colorado in 7th with 267, Stanford in 14th with 415, and UCLA in 27th with 582.

Iona's Kate Avery won the title with a time of 19:32, followed by Wisconsin's Sarah Disanza (19:40), and Boise State's Emma Bates (19:45).

The University of Washington men's squad finished 20th, as Aaron Nelson and Tyler King both earned All-America honors.

Nelson, who finished 20th in the 2013 race, crossed the line at the end of the 10k race in a time of 30:43, while King earned the final All-America spot with his 40th place finish in 30:57.

Junior Meron Simon was 154th in 31:59, followed by junior Izaic Yorks in 159th at 32:02.  Colby Gilbert rounded out the UW scorers in 195th in 32:32, giving the Huskies a 1-5 split of 1:49.

Freshman Fred Huxham was 216th in 32:53, and redshirt freshman AJ Yarnall was 244th in 34:39.

“The men’s side today, to have two men be All-American, I would have bet we’d be a top-ten team,” said Metcalf. “But Aaron Nelson, for him to be a repeat All-American in cross country is a huge testament to the work that he’s done. And Tyler, that’s the best race of his career. But it takes five. Meron and Izaic just didn’t have their best, and Colby struggled today, he’s just way better than that.

It was a successful day for title defenses on the men's side, as Edward Cheserek of Oregon won again in a time of 30:20, four seconds ahead of teammate Eric Jenkins.  Northern Arizona's Futsum Zienasellassie was third in 30:25, followed by Stanford's Maksim Korolev (30:30), and Colorado's Ammar Moussa (30:30).

Colorado won its second straight NCAA team title with 65 points, followed by Stanford's 98, Portland's 175, and Northern Arizona's 188.

Oregon was 6th with 221, and UCLA 18th with 454 to round out the other Pac-12 schools with teams in the field of 31.

Among those with Washington ties competing in the race were Todd Wakefield of New Mexico, who graduated from WSU, but had eligibility remaining, finishing 93rd in 31:30; Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona (Shadle Park HS), who was 118th in 31:41; Conner Peloquin of BYU (Gig Harbor HS), who was 127th in 31:48; and, Shane Moskowitz of Oklahoma State (Central Kitsap HS), who was 153rd in 31:59.


CENTRAL WOMEN EARN NATIONALS BERTH AS WWU'S STEEN WINS REGIONALS

In Billings, Montana, Western Washington's Katelyn Steen took home the individual title at the NCAA Division II Western Regional championship meet at Amend Park.

Steen, the reigning GNAC champion, ran the 6k distance in a time of 21:07, helping the Vikings to a sixth place team finish (185), good enough to qualify the team for the national championship meet in two weeks in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Katelyn executed her game plan perfectly," said WWU head coach Pee Well Halsell, noting that she wanted to take command  with about two miles to go.

The Central Washington women's team finished one spot ahead of Western Washington to earn its first national championship berth since 2000. scoring 180 points.

Dani Eggleston of the Wildcats was tenth in 21:40, with teammates Connie Morgan (21:58) and Megan Rogers (22:00) close behind in 13th and 14th.

Seattle Pacific's Anna Patti was seventh overall in 21:32, and missed qualifying for the national championship meet as an individual (top 3 not on one of the six qualifying teams).

The Falcons finished 12th with 282 points, and Saint Martin's was 24th with 725 points.

Simon Fraser won the women's regional title with 103 points, with Chico State (112), Alaska Anchorage (144), and UC San Diego (171) finishing ahead of CWU and WWU.

On the men's side, Isaac Griffith's twelfth place finish, in a time of 31:27 over 10k helped Western Washington to a fourth place finish and advance to the national championships, as the Vikings scored 150 points.

The Vikings were the only Washington squad to advance to nationals, as Chico State won the regional title with 30 points, foliowed by Alaska Anchorage with 53 and Cal Poiy Pomona with 101.

Central Washington was 14th with 402, and Saint Martin's was 21st with 568 points.

Alaska Anchorage's Henry Cheseto won the individual crown, running 30:34.


At the NCAA Division III championship meet in Mason, Ohio, Roosevelt HS grad Lucy Cheadle's undefeated season came to an end, as the Washington University of St. Louis senior finished second to Stevens Institute's Amy Regan, 20:52 to 20:59 over the 6k Kings Island Golf Center course.

Cheadle became the 13th individual in NCAA D3 women's history to earn four All-America cross country honors, and her runner-up finish is also the highest individual placing in school history.

The WUSTL women's squad earned a fourth place finish, scoring 180 points, as Johns Hopkins took the team title for the third year in a row with 87 points.


NOTE: The University of Washington, University of Portland, NCAA, Central Washington University, Western Washington University, GNAC, and Washington University of St. Louis sports information offices contributed to this report.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NCAA cross country champs preview: Dawgs send both squads; Vikes teams aim for D2 nationals...

The University of Washington cross country teams head to Terre Haute, Indiana for Saturday's NCAA cross country championship meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course looking to place better than the rankings received by the nation's coaches who vote in the USTFCCCA poll.

After last week's regional championship meet in Palo Alto, where the men finished fifth, and the women fourth, the voters ranked the Husky men 16th, and the women 19th in the final regular season poll.

The Husky men make their first appearance at the national championship meet since 2009, when they finished 18th.  

They'll be led by senior Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who competed in this meet last year, finishing 20th.  Nelson has been the #1 runner for the Dawgs in every meet that he's worn the purple jersey.  Nelson will look to become Washington's first two-time All-America competitor with a top-40 finish.

Running with Nelson Saturday are a trio of juniors Tyler King, Izaic Yorks, and Meron Simon, along with freshman Colby Gilbert, the Pac-12's freshman of he year.  Husky coach Greg Metcalf will pick two runners from redshirt freshmen A.J. Yarnall and Johnathan Stevens, along with true frosh Fred Huxham to complete the seven man squad.

On the women's side, the Huskies will travel eight women to the nationals, led by Maddie Meyers, who finished fourth in the Pac-12 meet, and seventh in the regionals.

She'll be joined by regionals top-25 finishers Anna Maxwell, and Eleanor Fulton.  Maxwell, a freshman, finished 15th last week, while Fulton, a junior was 25th.

Also traveling to Indiana are sophomore Kaylee Flanagan, freshman Anastasia Kosykh and redshirt frosh Kelly Lawson.  Junior Erin Johnson was Metcalf's seventh runner at regionals, with Jenna Sanders traveling and available to run.

The Huskies' preview of the championships is available here.

Inglemoor HS grad Tansey Lystad, who finished sixth in the West Regionals for the University of Portland, will compete in the NCAA meet as an individual.

Pasco HS graduate Marisa Howard, an All-American in the steeplechase last season, will compete for Boise State, and look to help steer the Broncos to a top-10 finish after her squad took second at the regionals.

Other notables running Saturday include Conner Peloquin (Gig Harbor HS) from BYU, Shane Moskowitz (Central Kitsap HS) of Oklahoma State, and Nathan Weitz (Shadle Park HS) of Northern Arizona.

Peloquin was 22nd in the Mountain Region meet, while Moskowitz was 11th in the Midwest meet.  Weitz was held out of the Mountain region meet by the Northern Arizona coaching staff.

Saturday's NCAA championship meet gets underway at 9 am with the women's 6k, and the men's 10k an hour later.  The meet will be webcast on NCAA.com.

DIVISION II AND III NOTES

Western Washington, Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Saint Martin's all head to Billings, Montana for the NCAA Division II championship meet at Amend Park.

Western Washington looks to qualify both teams for the national title meet in two weeks in Louisville, Kentucky, while Central Washington may be in a dogfight to qualify its women's squad.

The Viking men are ranked #23 in the latest USTFCCCA poll, while the Viking women are #18

The top six teams from Saturday's meet will advance to the national championship meet, plus the top three individuals not on a qualifying team.

Western Washington will be led by GNAC champ Katelyn Steen, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's champ.

Central Washington's duo of 2013 All-American Connie Morgan and Dani Eggleston, both of whom placed in the top ten at the GNACs, look to pull the Wildcats to its first national championship meet since 2000 when they finished seventh.

While Seattle Pacific's squad is at best a long shot to qualify for nationals, Anna Patti, who was seventh at the GNAC, could be in the mix to qualify as an individual.


In Division III, Washington University's Lucy Cheadle, a senior from Seattle's Roosevelt HS, goes into the NCAA championship meet as one of the favorites to take the national crown Saturday at the Golf Center at King's Island in Mason, Ohio.

Cheadle won the Midwest Regional meet last week, and has gone undefeated so far this season.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Doha wins right to host 2019 IAAF world track & field championships...

The Doha bid team celebrates the announcement
(photo courtesy IAAF)
MONTE CARLO, Monaco--By a count of 15-12 over Eugene, Oregon, the 27 members of the IAAF council voted to award the 2019 world track & field championships to Doha, Qatar Tuesday.

The Qatari capital proposed hosting the world championships from September 28th to October 6th, with the marathon races contested in the evening.

From a television standpoint, the proposed dates conflicts with the start of the major European soccer league (German Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga) seasons, as well as the National Football League and college football in the United States.

For elite marathoners, those athletes will have to decide between running for their country at the world championships or chasing paydays during the fall marathon season with World Marathon Majors races in Berlin, Chicago, and New York.

In the first round of voting (14 votes needed), Barcelona was eliminated with 6 votes, with Doha leading with 12, and Eugene 9.

In a release from the IAAF, president Lamine Diack said, "I am sure that in Doha we will have a wonderful edition of the World Championships."

"It's a privilege and honor to have the trust of the IAAF," said Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the leader of the Doha bid.

"I am very delighted that these Championships are going to be for the first time in the region. I'm confident that with the help of the IAAF we will organize one of the best World Championships," he added.

"The United States congratulates Doha on securing the 2019 IAAF World Championships. We look forward to Team USA competing in Doha against the best athletes in the world. We thank President Diack, IAAF Council and IAAF bid evaluation commission for considering our bid and for the tremendous collaboration the IAAF showed throughout this process," said USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel in a release.

Had Eugene won the bid, it would have been the smallest city to host the IAAF's marquee event.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portland Track to host two new meets in 2015...

PORTLAND--Portland Track, the organization behind the Portland Track Festival contested in June, recently announced that it will stage two new events in 2015.

Portland Track will host the Portland Summer Twilight meet on Thursday July 2nd, with a wide range of events, as opposed to the Portland Track Festival, which mainly focuses on distance events.

On August 8th, the organization will stage the Portland 10000, with one men's and women's 10000 meter race on the track.  This event came about after the Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet cancelled their 10000m race, and athletes and agents spoke for a mid-to-late season track race at that distance.

Portland Track president Craig Rice said, “U.S. athletes and coaches have been looking for domestic, high-performance events as an alternative to the European circuit and we are happy to welcome everyone back to Portland for our 2015 series of meets.”

All three meets will be run in the evening at Lewis & Clark's Griswold Stadium, according to Ken Goe of the Oregonian.

The 2014 Portland Track Classic was highlighted by Olympic & world champ Mo Farah (above/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) of Great Britain and the Nike Oregon Project, as he ran 13:23.42 to win the 5000.


NOTE:  Portland Track contributed to this report.

Both Husky squads head to Terre Haute ranked in top 20; Eugene makes final pitch to IAAF...

NEW ORLEANS--The Washington Husky cross country teams enter Saturday's NCAA Division I cross country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana ranked in the top 20, according to the USTFCCCA final regular season national coaches' poll released Monday evening.

The men's squad goes into Terre Haute ranked #16 after their fifth place finish in last Friday's NCAA West Regional championship race in Palo Alto, where they finished behind Oregon, Portland, Stanford and UCLA.  They were ranked #11 in the coaches' poll before the regionals.

The Huskies will make their first team appearance at the national championship meet since the 2009 season, when they finished 18th.  

The USTFCCCA men's top five are Pac-12 champ Colorado, Syracuse, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Villanova.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked include #9 Stanford, and #12 UCLA.

The Washington women (above/photo by Paul Merca) head into Saturday's national title race ranked #19, dropping four spots from #15.  The Dawgs will make its eighth straight appearance at nationals, and its 16th in the last 18 seasons.

The national women's top five are Michigan State, Georgetown, Oregon, Arkansas, and Iowa State.

Other Pac-12 schools ranked include #8 Colorado, #10 Stanford, and #29 UCLA.


The NCAA Division I cross country championships will be webcast on NCAA.com Saturday beginning at 9 am, pacific.

BARCELONA, DOHA & EUGENE MAKE FINAL PITCHES TO IAAF TUESDAY

The IAAF Council will meet this week in Monte Carlo, and among the decisions it will make in its first session on Tuesday is the site of the 2019 IAAF world track & field championships.

Barcelona, Spain; Doha, Qatar; and Eugene, Oregon will make its final pitch to the IAAF council, beginning at noon, European Central time.  At the conclusion of the final presentations, the 27 members of the council will vote to award the bid, with 14 votes needed to secure.  If none of the three cities gets the required votes on the first ballot, the city with the least votes will be eliminated, at which time a second round of voting will commence.

The final decision on who will get the 2019 world championships will happen around 4 am, pacific time (1 pm, European central time).  The proceedings will be webcast live on the IAAF's YouTube channel.

The IAAF evaluation commission, headed by former world record holder and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe (center/photo courtesy IAAF), visited all three candidate cities last month.

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My thoughts on the 2019 IAAF world championships...

Ashton Eaton crosses the finish line in the decathlon 1500
meter run to set a world record at the 2012 US Olympic Trials
at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon (Paul Merca photo)
In two days, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) will select the site of the 2019 world track & field championships between the cities of Barcelona, Spain; Doha, Qatar; and, Eugene, Oregon.

From a global perspective, there is no way that Eugene can compete with either Barcelona or Doha in terms of accessibility, night life, hotels (especially the 5-star kind), experience hosting major international sporting events (Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympics, and Doha has hosted several world championship sporting events, and will host soccer's World Cup in 2022), and even stadia (Hayward Field's capacity is well below the IAAF minimum seating capacity of 30000).

If there's one thing that Eugene has that neither Doha nor Barcelona has, it's the passion and enthusiasm for the sport.

In my humble opinion, there is no place that I've visited in the world (and you're talking to a guy who has attended and covered eleven IAAF world championship meets, and two Olympics) that shows the kind of passion for the sport that Eugene has.

Assuming that Eugene can get the hotels built,  have the transportation infrastructure put in place to move athletes, VIPs, officials, and spectators, and have a world class broadcast center and press center for the thousands of print, broadcast and internet journalists and technicians, there is no reason why a world track & field championship meet in Eugene wouldn't work.  Seems to me that if the city can handle 54,000+ on seven Saturdays in the fall for University of Oregon football games, they surely can handle 30000+ for nine consecutive days of track & field.

It's my belief that the city of Eugene, the entire Pacific Northwest region, and the United States will embrace the 2019 IAAF world track & field championships with the same passion that it shows when it hosts meets like the NCAA and USA championships, as well as the Nike Prefontaine Classic and the US Olympic Trials.

If the IAAF selection committee members want to line their pockets with cash, go ahead and vote for Doha.  If those members want to keep the meet in Europe, go ahead and pick Barcelona.  If the IAAF members want to see full stands for every session without having to bus folks in to pad the attendance figures, y'all would be wise to pick Eugene.

Note that since the IAAF began conducting the world championships in 1983, the United States hasn't hosted this meet. The only time the meet's been on this continent was in 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta.

As Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks so often said during the team's magical run in 2013 that cumulated in winning a Super Bowl trophy and a world championship, "Why not us?"

Why not Eugene?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Both Washington squads receive at-large berths to compete in next week's NCAA championships...

INDIANAPOLIS--As expected, both University of Washington cross country squads were selected by the NCAA men's and women's cross country committees to compete in next week's NCAA Division I cross country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Washington men's squad (above/photo by Paul Merca) will make its first appearance as a team since 2009, when it finished 18th.  

Washington will go into Terre Haute after finishing fifth in the West Regional meet in Palo Alto Friday, behind Oregon, Portland, Stanford, and UCLA.  

The Husky women, who finished fourth in Friday's West Regional meet behind Oregon, Boise State and Stanford, will make its eighth straight appearance at the national championship meet, and its 16th in the last 18 years.

Kirkland native Tansey Lystad of the University of Portland, who finished sixth in the West Regional meet, will advance to the national championship as one of four individuals from the regional meet not on a team.  She joins Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan, Cal's Bethan Knights, and Raquel Hefflin from UC Riverside.

Notables from Washington that will run in the NCAA championships next week include Marisa Howard (Pasco HS) from Boise State, Conner Peloquin (Gig Harbor HS) from BYU, Nathan Weitz (Shadle Park HS), and Shane Moskowitz (Central Kitsap HS) of Oklahoma State.  All except Weitz ran in their respective regional meets on Friday.

Howard finished fifth in the West Regional meet.  Peloquin was 22nd in the Mountain Region meet, while Moskowitz finished 11th in the Midwest regional meet.


The NCAA cross country championships will be webcast on NCAA.com next Saturday beginning at 9 am, pacific time with the women's 6k, followed by the men's 10 an hour later.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Both Husky squads await their fates after finishing top 5 at regionals; Lystad moves on...

PALO ALTO, California--Both University of Washington cross country teams will await the decision of the NCAA cross country committee on whether or not they will advance to next week's national championships in Terre Haute, Indiana after their women's team finished fourth, and the men's team placed fifth at the Western Regional championship race Friday morning at the Stanford Golf Course.

The announcement on which 13 teams from around the country will move on will take place Saturday at noon, pacific time.  Only the top two teams from each of the nine regional races from around the country on Friday are assured spots on the line in Terre Haute on November 22nd.

One person who is assured of going to the national championship is Kirkland native Tansey Lystad (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Portland, who finished sixth, covering the 6k course in 20:09, one spot ahead of the Huskies' Maddie Meyers, who ran 20:18.

"I was just trying to mix it up with the big girls.  My motto for this season is to 'make it count', and I wanted to run with them and secure a spot at nationals," said Lystad, the reigning West Coast Conference champion.

When asked about her confidence going into the regional championship, Lystad, who graduated from Inglemoor HS, she said that making it to the national championship meet during the track season gave her a big boost.

For the Huskies, freshman Anna Maxwell finished 15th in 20:42, followed by Eleanor Fulton in 25th (20:59), then Anastasia Kosykh in 41st (21:15), and Kaylee Flanagan in 43rd (21:18), giving Washington a 60 second gap between the first and fifth runners.

Washington State finished 13th with 360 points led by Abby Regan's 36th place finish in 21:13.

Gonzaga finished 16th with 413 points, led by Amelia Evans, who finished 32nd in 21:10.  WAC champion Seattle University was 18th with 501 points led by Taylor de Laveaga, who finished 63rd in 21:34.

Oregon took the team crown with a low score of 88 points, followed by Boise State's 103, with Stanford third also at 103 (Boise State's fifth runner finished ahead of Stanford's fifth to take the tiebreaker and the automatic berth to the national championship).

Pac-12 champ Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State won the race in 19:32, three seconds ahead of defending NCAA regional champ Emma Bates of Boise State.  Elise Cranny of Stanford was third at 19:46, followed by Bethan Knights of Cal at 20:00, then Pasco HS graduate Marisa Howard, last year's NCAA steeplechase runner-up from Boise State in fifth at 20:05.

In the men's 10k race, UCLA turned the tables on the Huskies, as the Bruins finished fourth with 104 points, and the Dawgs in fifth with 139, reversing the finish from the Pac-12 championship meet two weeks ago in Oakland.

Washington senior Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) led the Huskies with his seventh place finish in 29:49, even briefly taking the lead with less than a mile to go.

But unlike the Pac-12s, where the Huskies were able to stay in a tight pack with Nelson, the Dawgs had a 37 second gap between Nelson and fifth man Colby Gilbert, who finished 43rd in 30:23.

There was a 16 second gap between Nelson and second Husky Izaic Yorks, who was 24th in 30:02.  Following Yorks for the Huskies was Meron Simon in 32nd (30:12) and Tyler King in 33rd (30:12).

Gonzaga finished tenth with 293 points led by Troy Fraley in 36th (30:17).  Washington State was 13th with 335 points, led by Drew Jordan's 46th place finish in 30:25.  Seattle University was 24th with 684 points.  Gus Arroyo led the Redhawks with his 85th place finish in 31:10.

Stanford's Maxim Korolev won the individual title, running 29:34, one second ahead of Oregon's Edward Cheserek, who was handed his first career loss.  Eric Jenkins of Oregon was third in 29:40, followed by Portland's Scott Fauble in 29:40, and Cal's Chris Walden in fifth at 29:41.

Oregon took the team title with 60 points, followed by Portland's 71, then Stanford's 97, with UCLA fourth at 104, and the Huskies fifth with 139.

UW coach Greg Metcalf expressed confidence that both his teams would advance to the national championship meet. “I thought both of our teams did exactly what they needed to do to get to the show,” he said. “Both teams ran better over the second half of the race. They closed incredibly well. The men especially, the goal was to run as a group at the halfway point and build from there.”

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A day at adidas...

After the conclusion of our coverage of the BMW Berlin Marathon on September 28th, paulmerca.blogspot.com spent a day visiting the world headquarters of adidas in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, which is about a 30 minute drive from Nuremberg.

My trip to adidas headquarters began with a five hour train ride from Berlin to Nuremberg, where I tried to catch up on sleep and get my body adjusted to European time two days after landing in Berlin fueled solely on adrenaline (one word of advice for anyone going to Europe from the USA to cover an event--give yourself an extra day to adjust to the time).

While on the train, my mind wandered back to the days when I first started in the sport, and the adidas shoes many of the top runners of that era ran in--the Country (my first pair of actual running shoes and the shoe many of us at both Sharples Jr High & Franklin wore, because they were in the school colors of white & green), the SL 72 & 76, and the spikes of choice that many of my teammates at Franklin HS wore--the kangaroo suede Tokyo 64 and the Titan with the octopus suction cup outsole that looked like the face of a ping-pong paddle.

I also thought about the stories that some of the track & field athletes of the 1960s and 70s told (some exaggerated, depending on the number of beverages ingested beforehand) about the creative ways amateurs were compensated for medals at the Olympics, including the Benjamin Franklin insoles inside specially marked boxes of adidas and Pumas handed out at the athletes village in the days before sports marketing became big time with agents and public relations execs surrounding athletes.

A few hours after arriving in Nuremberg, I met my host, Craig Vanderoef and his fiancé, Raine at the hotel, and walked a few blocks through the old town for dinner at a local restaurant.

Vanderoef lived in Seattle for a number of years after graduating from the University of Virginia, where he was a standout distance runner, first working at Super Jock 'n Jill, before going to Asics and then to Brooks, where he was a product line manager before joining adidas in 2008.  Craig is now the business unit director for running apparel at adidas.

After some small talk about how he ended up in Germany, along with the previous day's results from the Berlin Marathon (which was a huge victory for adidas, led by Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57, cruising through the streets of Berlin in a pair of adizero Adios Boosts), and the cultural differences of working in a foreign country,  he filled me in on the tour of the campus, which would cumulate with a meet and greet with the new marathon world record holder.

The following morning, we left Nuremberg for the drive to Herzogenaurach, while passing through some of the historic sites, including the Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg Trials were held after World War II.

As we entered Herzogenaurach, Craig and I stopped by the original adidas headquarters (above), where founder Adi Dassler worked on creations for some of the world's best athletes ranging from Jim Ryun to Muhammad Ali to Franz Beckenbauer.

From there, we crossed the Aurach River, which divides Herzogenaurach, and drove past the world headquarters of Puma, before heading to adidas headquarters, which is built on the site of a former US military base.

Once inside the adidas World of Sports complex, the first order of business was a short meeting at the "Laces" research and development building to see elements of the 2015 running apparel line. 

What I found interesting was the fact that wool is going to play a major role in some of adidas' technical offerings in 2015 and beyond, extending to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.  In fact, the company has some pieces in its current running line made of wool, namely the adistar Primeknit wool tee, and the adistar wool insulated jacket.

Another running initiative that was communicated is the company's involvement as a partner with AKTIV Against Cancer, the charity co-founded by the late Grete Waitz, one of the true legends of the sport, and a multi-time winner of the New York Marathon.

During the recently concluded New York Marathon, adidas launched a line of performance apparel and the Grete 30 Boost running shoe, along with a new logo for AKTIV Against Cancer.  In addition, adidas donated $1 to AKTIV for every tweet, Instagram or Facebook post that included the hashtag #mystepmatters with an image of a hand symbol in the shape of an "A".

After the apparel presentation, I then took the grand tour of the campus, including the building where a small sampling of historic adidas shoes, apparel and packaging were displayed. The sight of Bob Beamon's shoes worn in Mexico City to long jump 29-2.5 (8.90m) along with the Tokyo and Titan spikes immediately brought back thoughts of my high school track meets.

We then visited Adi Dassler Sportplatz, the on campus soccer stadium/track complex used by several of the world's best soccer teams and track athletes whenever they're in town, and oh, by the way, a great workout facility for its employees.  By the way, here I am next to the statue of Adi Dassler inside the stadium.

I then made a quick stop inside the adidas performance lab, where one of the technicians took me through some of the machinery used to test prototype shoes, along with an array of equipment and high speed cameras used to scan the feet of athletes and capture athletes performing various activities. 

It was then time to head to the lobby of "Laces" for the lunchtime meet and greet with Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai, two days after their impressive run through the streets of Berlin.  A large number of adidas employees assembled and patiently waited to get an autographed poster or a photo op with the world's two fastest marathoners.  

Finally, I had a chance to chat with George Vontsolos, the category director for global performance running, about what's in store for adidas running.

Boost continues to be the big story in adidas running, as they've expanded their offerings of running shoes with the Boost cushioning system, comprised of thermoplastic polyurethane material that is more durable and temperature resistant than the ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) material used as midsoles on the majority of running shoes marketed worldwide.

After launching in early 2013 with a running shoe, adidas now markets shoes using the Boost cushioning system in running, cross training, basketball, and cleated footwear.  Besides Kimetto's world record in Berlin, Wilson Kipsang ran to victory at the New York Marathon wearing a pair of adidas adizero adios Boost 2.0 racing flats (above/photo courtesy adidas).  Additionally, Berlin women's winner Tirfi Tsegaye and runner-up Feyse Tadese wore the adizero adios Boost 2.0.

We also talked in general terms about some of the track & field spikes that you'll see in the 2016 Olympics.  Like all of the major manufacturers, adidas is already working on their line for Rio.

For a self-proclaimed shoe junkie, the adidas tour was well worth spending the extra two days in Germany to gain knowledge of the athletic sportswear industry, and to appreciate the history of one of sports' most iconic brands.

NOTE:  Special thanks to my host Craig Vanderoef and his staff at adidas in Herzogenaurach, along with Javier Macias of adidas Media Relations in Herzogenaurach and Caitlin Albaugh of adidas Media Relations in Portland. paulmerca.blogspot.com did not receive any compensation for this post.

Lester, Hamlin and Barringer sign national letters of intent to run for the Huskies...


The University of Washington announced on its track & field team's Facebook page that they have signed three athletes to national letters of intent.

The Huskies received national letters of intent from hurdler Carly Lester (above/photo via Getty Images) from Rocky Mountain HS in Fort Collins, Colorado; Boise HS (Idaho) distance runner Emily Hamlin; and Charlie Barringer from Bothell HS.

Lester comes to Washington with a time of 41.18 in the 300 hurdles, which was the fourth fastest time in the nation this past season, en route to winning the Colorado 5A championship.  She's also run 61.17 over 400 hurdles at this year's USATF Junior Olympics, and 14.16 for 100 hurdles at the Colorado state meet.

Hamlin is the reigning Idaho 5A champion in both the 1600 and 3200.  She's run 4:54.55 for the mile and 10:38.25 for the 3200m.  She's also won three Idaho state 5A cross country titles.

Barringer was the runner-up at last weekend's WIAA 4A cross country championship meet in Pasco, running 15:22.  On the track, he was tenth in the WIAA 4A 1600 in a personal best of 4:14.42, and ran 9:05:53 in the 3200m at the Shoreline Invitational.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, along with media partner RunnerSpace.com/DyeStat contributed to this report.

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