Saturday, February 6, 2016

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Brooks-Johnson wins Cougar Invite pentathlon; Suver wins USATF XC crown...

In Pullman, multi-event specialist Alissa Brooks-Johnson (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) of Washington State won the pentathlon at the Cougar Indoor on Friday, scoring a personal best 4101 points.

Brooks-Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 heptathlon champ, got her day started with a personal best of 8.81 in the 60 hurdles, and a PR in the high jump of 5-9.25 (1.76m).

She followed up with two more personal bests in the shot put of 39-8.2.5 (12.10m) and a long jump of 18-4.5 (5.60m), before ending the day with a 2:19.80 mark in the 800m.

The mark currently puts Brooks-Johnson at #13 on the NCAA Division I performance list this season, and #1 in the MPSF.

Teammate Liz Harper finished second with a final score of 3920, the fourth best all-time score in school history.

CJ Allen of the Cougars won the 60 hurdles in Saturday’s main portion of the meet to highlight WSU performances, setting a personal best of 8.14 to lead a 1-2-3 sweep of the event.

Sprinter Dominique Keel led four Cougs across the line in the women’s 60, winning that event in a season best 7.59.


In Bozeman on Friday, the Eastern Washington men’s and women’s teams got a preview of the venue in which they’ll contest the Big Sky indoor championships in a few weeks, competing in a four-way meet with Montana, Sacramento State and host Montana State.

Kaytlyn Coleman of the Eagles continued her tear, winning the weight throw with a toss of 66-5.75 (20.26m), a mark that ranks her #18 in the country.

Coleman also won the shot put with a toss of 47-9 (14.55m).

Teammate Rebecca Tarbert won both the 60 and the 200, running 7.58, and 25.11.


In Bend, Oregon, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver won her first national title, capturing the USA Track & Field national cross country crown at River’s Edge Golf Course.

Suver, who is entered in next week's US Olympic Team Trials-Marathon in Los Angeles, covered the 10k distance in 36:38, pulling away from the field with one mile to go, defeating 2014 national champ Amy Van Alstine by a seven second margin.

Washington State alum Collier Lawrence finished sixth in 38:14.

The USATF release is available here; complete results were not posted as of 10pm Saturday evening.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Washington State University, Eastern Washington, and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Centrowitz highlights grand finale at House of Track; Pilusina, Satterwhite, Juilifs & Planell Cruz earn wins...

PORTLAND—Oregon alum and two-time world championship medalist Matthew Centrowitz (left/photo by Paul Merca) won an exciting men’s 3000 to highlight action at the final high performance meet at the Nike+ Run Club House of Track in northwest Portland.

After running up front tucked behind pace setter Ben Blankenship, Centrowitz was shocked to find out Blankenship was the rabbit and had no intent of finishing.

Once Blankenship dropped off, Centrowitz was on his own with the rest of the field eyeballing him.

On the final lap, it became a two-man race between him and Hassan Mead of the Oregon TC, with Centrowitz prevailing in 7:40.74 to 7:40.95, the fifth fastest time in the world this season.

Multi-time world and Olympic champion Allyson Felix won a tight women’s 60 meter dash in 7.24, nipping out Oregon alums English Gardner (7.25) and Jenna Prandini (7.27).  Washington’s Kennadi Bouyer was sixth in 7.55.

Quadelle Satterwhite and Jacopo Spano of the Huskies went 1-2 in the men’s 200, with Satterwhite running 21.59 to Spano’s 21.71.

Oklahoma State alum Natalja Piliusina of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts won the women’s 1500 over training partner Phoebe Wright in 4:15.69 to 4:16.05.  Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts was third in 4:16.05.

In an exciting women’s 800, Idaho alum Liga Velvere, who trains under Washington State coach Wayne Phipps, led for most of the race before being overtaken by Treniere Moser of the Nike Oregon Project, who won in 2:02.75.  Velvere finished second in 2:03.08, a new Latvian national record.

SPU alum McKayla Fricker, who was looking for her third straight win this season at the House of Track, was third in 2:04.60, while Megan Malasarte of the Brooks Beasts was fifth in 2:06.19. 

Rainier Beach HS alum Mike Berry, who now trains in Orlando, made his first trip back to the Northwest, finishing second in 47.49.

Washington alum JJ Juilifs won the men’s pole vault in 17-0.75 (5.20m).  The Huskies’ Diamara Planell Cruz won the women’s vault at 13-7.25 (4.15m), while teammate Liz Quick was second at 12-7.5 (3.85m).

Seattle Pacific, the University of Washington, Western Washington, and Saint Martin’s all had several competitors at Friday night’s meet.  Their recaps are available at their school’s web sites.

The track will be disassembled before being moved to the Oregon Convention Center for next month's USA and IAAF world indoor championships.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fricker wins second meet in a week at House of Track Thursday...

PORTLAND—Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker (left/Howard Lao photo) won a very low-key 800 meter race Thursday afternoon at the University of Portland Indoor Invitational meet held at the Nike+ Run Club House of Track.

Fricker, who is entered in Friday night’s House of Track High Performance meet, ran 2:04.45 to defeat Canada’s Jessica Smith (2:04.95) and 2012 US Olympian Geena Lara (2:05.96).

She won last Friday's High Performance meet in 2:05.97.

SeattleU’s Shaddye Melu was the overall winner of the men’s 400, running 48.65 to win the third of three sections, as the Redhawks sent a contingent to the meet.


NOTE:  The University of Portland contributed to this report.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Meets in Portland, Pullman, Bozeman highlight action among Washington teams...

As we go deeper into the indoor track & field season, each weekend promises to get progressively busier, and this weekend is no exception.

Thursday, the University of Portland hosts the Portland Indoor Invitational at the Nike+ Run Club House of Track in Portland, featuring a host of teams from Oregon and Washington.  The time schedule for the meet is posted here; unfortunately, as of this writing (7:45 am), neither a list of accepted entries nor heat sheets were posted.


On Friday, Washington State hosts the two day Cougar Indoor Track & Field meet at its on-campus indoor facility in Pullman, featuring a multi-event competition.  Defending Pac-12 heptathlon champ Alissa Brooks-Johnson competes in her first pentathlon this season, while hurdler Liz Harper (left/photo by Paul Merca) will contest her first multi-event competition.  Dino Dodig looks to improve upon the 5464 score he put up last month in Boise.


Eastern Washington heads to Bozeman Friday for a four-way scoring meet involving host Montana State, along with Montana and Sacramento State at the venue that will host the Big Sky Indoor championships at the end of the month. Eastern Washington’s release previewing the meet is available here.

Saturday, the USA Cross Country championship race takes place in Bend, Oregon.  With no world cross country team spots on the line, and the US Olympic marathon trials taking place the following week in Los Angeles, the quality of the fields entered has dropped significantly.

On the women’s side, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver is the most prominent entry in the field, as she’ll go against Amy Van Alstine, the 2014 national cross country champion.  Washington alum Mel Lawrence, who won the 3000 at the UW Invitational last week is entered, as is her sister and WSU alum Collier.


LAGAT ANNOUNCES 2016 AS HIS FINAL TRACK SEASON 

Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) has declared that 2016 will be his final season competing on the track, and he intends to give his all in trying to make the world championship team in the 3000 indoors, and his fifth Olympic team.

“I would have retired at the end of the 2015 season, but something inside was telling me, ‘Why retire one year before the Olympics? You can still do this’.

“I’ll be going to the US Trials to do my very, very best to make the team. But it’s not a given like before. The US runners have stepped up and they’re highly ranked. They’re fast, young guys, so it’s not easy for me. But if I make that top three, oh my, I’ll be celebrating.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Allyson Felix headlines final high performance meet at Nike+ House of Track in Portland...

Friday night’s grand finale at the Nike+ Run Club House of Track in Portland will feature perhaps the best field for an indoor meet on the West Coast.

Heading the field is multiple Olympic and world championship gold medalist Allyson Felix (left/photo by Paul Merca), who will begin the Road to Rio by running the 60 meter dash.  She will potentially go against former Oregon standouts Jenna Prandini and English Gardner.

The women’s 800 features Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker against Olympians Geena Lara and Shannon Rowbury, with Megan Malasarte of the Brooks Beasts, and Treniere Moser of the Nike Oregon Project thrown in for good measure.

In the women’s 1500, Natalja Piliusina and Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts, along with training partner Phoebe Wright go against Lauren Wallace of Oiselle and Charlotte Browning.  Olympian Bridget Franek leads the field in the women’s 3000.

The University of Washington trio of Kristina Owsinski, Diamara Planell Cruz & Liz Quick head the field in the women’s pole vault.

On the men’s side, WSU alum Jeshua Anderson goes against Rainier Beach HS alum Michael Berry and Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts in the 400, while in the 800m, Olympian Andrew Wheating goes against Gig Harbor’s Mark Wieczorek and Tyler Mulder.

Loxsom is also entered in the 1500, with Suguro Osako and Eric Jenkins of the Nike Oregon Project.  Luc Bruchet, Travis Burkstrand, and Dorian Ulrey, are also entered, after running at the UW Invitational in Seattle last weekend.

The mens’ 3000 is loaded, led by Olympian and world championship medalist Matthew Centrowitz, and his Nike Oregon Project teammates Osako and Cam Levins, with Trevor Dunbar, Will Geoghegan, Arizona alums Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu.

The University of Washington will send a sprint contingent as well as several vaulters. Seattle Pacific, Western Washington and Saint Martin’s will also have athletes entered.


Upon the conclusion of this weekend's meets, the track will be disassembled before it moves across town to the Oregon Convention Center for the USA indoor and the IAAF world indoor championships.

The University of Portland will also host the Portland Indoor Invitational the day before starting at noon.  Accepted entries have not been posted as of Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Brooks Beasts' Garrett Heath continues roll indoors at Camel City Elite meet...

Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts won the 3000 meter run at the Camel City Elite indoor meet in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Saturday at the JDL Fast Track complex.

Heath ran 7:48.48 to beat Lawi Lalang, who ran 7:50.07, making a move with one lap to go and covering that lap in 27 seconds, to set a new facility record.

“I had planned on going earlier, but you never know how you’re going to feel during a first race back on the track. But, every time I came around the curve I heard someone yelling at me and it got me moving,” Heath said afterwards.

For his efforts, Heath took home $5000, including a $1000 bonus for a facility record.

Teammate Cas Loxsom was fifth in the 800 in 1:52.99.

In the women’s 3000, Katie Mackey was fourth in 9:07.66.

Phoebe Wright was third in the 800 in 2:04.72.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Solid marks from both collegians and pros across the board highlight UW Invitational ...

SEATTLE—A good mix of collegians and pros took center stage during the second day of competition at the UW Invitational Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington.

From a national perspective, the best mark of the day came out once again in the heptathlon, as the University of Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen, the reigning Pac-12 decathlon champion threatened the 6000 point mark, winning the two-day, seven event competition with a final score of 5972 points, which is the second best mark in the world so far this season.

A mild surprise came out of the men’s 3000, as David Elliott of Boise State (left/photo by Paul Merca), who attended Squalicum HS, won in a time of 7:53.15, the fourth fastest collegiate time this year.  In doing so, he towed Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley to a new school record of 7:59.00, good for fifth place and second collegian.  Fraley’s mark puts him #10 on the current collegiate list.

Washington’s Izaic Yorks finished second in the 800 behind BYU’s Shaquille Walker, running  a time of 1:47.89, as Walker ran 1:46.97.

Another Husky, Colby Gilbert, became the sixth man in school history to break four minutes in the mile, winning the event in 3:59.84.

The Huskies’ Jax Thoirs won the pole vault with a leap of 17-11 (5.46m), tied for third on the national collegiate list

On the women’s side, new Seattle resident Natalja Pillisuina of the Brooks Beasts won the 800 in 2:04.71 over teammate Megan Malasarte.

In the women’s mile, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson held off a late charge by Seattle resident Jamie Cheever, winning in 4:34.35 to 4:35.92.

Washington alum Mel Lawrence won the women’s 3000 in 9:14.13.

On the field, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle only took three jumps to win the women’s triple jump in 43-5.25 (13.25m) to qualify for the USA championships in Portland next month, while Kristina Owsinski of the UW won a spirited pole vault competition over teammate Diamara Planell Cruz 14-2 (4.32m) to 14-0 (4.27m).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Kim Conley runs world leading time in 5000m to highlight first day of UW Invitational...

SEATTLE—Making her second appearance in a span of three weeks at the Dempsey Indoor, world and American indoor mile leader Kim Conley (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran a world leading time of 15:09.31 to highlight day 1 of the UW Invitational on the campus of the University of Washington.

Training partner Kate Grace paced the 2012 US Olympian at 5000 meters for the first part of the race before stepping off the track to let Conley move on.

Conley motored through the race, crossing the line in 15:09.31, setting a new meet record, eclipsing Molly Huddle’s old mark of 15:20.05 from 2010.

Freshman Allie Ostrander of Boise State made a huge impression in her first collegiate race at this distance, running 15:21.85, the best time in the collegiate ranks so far.

Washington’s Maddie Meyers powered the Huskies to victory in the women’s distance medley relay, anchoring the squad of Eleanor Fulton, Krista Armstead, and Baylee Mires to a time of 11:04.14, easily outdistancing the Husky B team of Anna Maxwell, Hannah Derby, Amy-Eloise Neale, and Katie Knight, who ran 11:26.25.

The Husky men’s squad of Colby Gilbert, Andrew Brown, Andrew Prentice & Izaic Yorks ran 9:37.72, to take the national lead in the distance medley relay.

Eastern Washington’s Kaytlyn Coleman won the women’s weight throw with a toss of 60-8.5 (18.50m).

Lindsay Lettow of the Santa Barbara TC won the women’s pentathlon with a five-event score of 4148 points.

The meet resumes Saturday at 9:30 am.


In Portland, Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker (left/photo by Howard Lao) won her season debut at 800 meters at the TrackTown USA High Performance Meet at the Nike House of Track.

Fricker ran 2:05.97 to defeat Treniere Moser of the Nike Oregon Project, who ran 2:06.08.

Galen Rupp of the Nike Oregon Project, who days earlier announced his intent to run in the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in two weeks, running 7:57.39, just under the qualifying standard of 8:00 for the USA indoor championships in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center in March.

Gonzaga alum Willie Milam was a distant second in 8:27.23.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson & 2016 world mile leader Kim Conley heads UW Invitational field...

2008 Olympic gold medalist
Dawn Harper is among the top entries
at the UW Invite (Paul Merca photo)
A strong field is entered in Friday and Saturday’s UW Invitational at the Dempsey Indoor, with all nine Washington Division I and II schools participating this weekend.

Additionally, a bevy of top professional athletes will make their way to Seattle to compete on one of the nation’s fastest tracks as they try to get their qualifying marks for the USA indoor championships in Portland.

As always, the distance races promise to be uber-competitive, with the women’s 5000 on Friday and the women’s mile Saturday having the best fields.

2012 US Olympian Kim Conley, who ran a world leading 4:27.88 in the mile in New York last week, returns to the Dempsey to face her training partner Kate Grace in the 5000, where the fastest time in the world this season is 15:45.66.

Other notables in the women’s 5000 field include Gig Harbor native Brenna Peloquin, Allie Ostrander and Minttu Hukka of Boise State; Pasco native Marisa Howard of Oiselle; and 2014 USA cross country champ Amy Van Alstine.

The women’s mile is led by 2012 Olympian Geena Gall of Team Run Eugene, who will go against Camas’ Alexa Efraimson; Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts; Oiselle’s Lauren Wallace; and the Husky quartet of All-American Maddie Meyers, along with Baylee Mires, Eleanor Fulton, and Anna Maxwell. 

Some of the other top women entries include 2008 Olympic 100 hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, who will run both the 60 and 60 hurdles; Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford (60 dash, bypassing the 60 hurdles); multi-event specialist Barbara Nwaba (60 hurdles, 800, long jump, shot put, bypassing the pentathlon); Kori Carter (400); Megan Malasarte and Natalja Piliusina of the Brooks Beasts (800); Kristina Owsinski and Diamara Planell Cruz of the Huskies (pole vault); Eastern Washington’s Kaytlyn Coleman (weight); and, former NCAA champ Andrea Geubelle of University Place (triple jump).

While the men’s distance races don’t quite have the sizzle of the women’s races at this year’s UW Invite, Dorian Ulrey and Travis Burkstrand of the Brooks Beasts are the top entries in the mile along with the Huskies’ Colby Gilbert, while Canadian Luc Bruchet leads the way in the 3000.

All-American Izaic Yorks of the Huskies drops down in distance to 800 meters, where he’ll face Mark Wieczorek and Shaquille Walker of BYU, while WSU alum and 3-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson will run in another heat of the 800.

Jax Thoirs and Lev Marcus of the Huskies will go against UW alum JJ Juilifs in the men’s pole vault.

An interesting matchup in the men’s long jump pits UW alum Norris Frederick against UC Riverside alum Ted Hooper, while in the weight throw, Brock Eager of WSU goes against Long Beach State alum Collin Dunbar.

The UW Invitational will have a strong field in the pentathlon and heptathlon.  Friday’s pentathlon has four 4000-point scorers, led by Lindsay Lettow, a former NCAA D2 multi event champ from Central Missouri, as she returns to defend her title from last year.

In the two-day heptathlon, Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen, who was second in the NCAA decathlon and competed at the world championships in Beijing for Spain, goes against Japanese Olympian Keisuke Ushiro, and former NCAA hep champ Miller Moss.

Washington looks to put its mark on the national list in both men’s and women’s distance medley relays Friday night, an event in which the Dawgs have been regular qualifiers for at the NCAA championships.

The heat sheets for Friday and Saturday’s UW Invitational are available here (as always, subject to change; note the top 8 entries in the 60/60 hurdles have a bye to the second round & are not listed).


Flotrack.org will provide live streaming coverage of the UW Invitational ($).

BEASTS HEAD TO NORTH CAROLINA

Several members of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts will head to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for Saturday’s Camel City Elite meet at the JDL Fast Track.

Washington alum Katie Mackey and Jessica Tonn will run the women’s 3000, while Garrett Heath leads the field in the men’s 3000.

In the women’s 800, Seattle’s Phoebe Wright goes against Oregon alum Laura Roesler, while Cas Loxsom goes against Duane Solomon in the mens’ 800.

The Camel City Elite’s release announcing their field is available here.

RunnerSpace will provide live streaming coverage of the Camel City Elite ($).

Monday, January 25, 2016

Washington men's and women's squads remain in national top-25 indoor rankings...

Washington's Kristina Owsinski is ranked
#4 in NCAA Division I so far this season
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—The Washington Huskies, who were idle this past weekend, took a slight drop in both the men’s and women’s national computer rankings released by the USTFCCCA on Monday.

The Washington men are #9 in the national indoor computer rankings, down one spot from its pre-season listing at #8.

The top five teams in the rankings are Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and Oregon.

Men’s teams from the MPSF that are ranked include #12 Colorado, #14 Stanford, and #18 USC.

The Husky women’s squad are listed as #24 in the computer rankings, from its pre-season #18 spot.

The top five women’s teams as ranked by the USTFCCCA are Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Kansas State, and Oregon.

Other teams from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation that are ranked in the top 25 include #7 USC, and #14 Stanford.

Washington returns to action Friday and Saturday when it hosts the UW Invitational at the Dempsey Indoor facility.

The National Team Computer Rankings are complied by a mathematical formula based on national descending order lists. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national team race. Rankings points do not equate with NCAA Championships team points.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

adidas to terminate sponsorship of the IAAF, according to BBC report...

The track at Adi Dassler Stadion, on the campus of
adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach
(photo courtesy adidas)
In what could potentially have major implications on the events put on by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), including the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Portland in March, the federation’s top sponsor, adidas, has informed the IAAF that it will terminate its global sponsorship early, according to a report from the British Broadcasting Company.

The BBC report says that in the wake of the doping scandal sweeping the sport, along with the reports of corruption within the organization under former president Lamine Diack, adidas told IAAF officials that it would terminate their sponsorship agreement, which was scheduled to end in 2019, immediately.

The adidas sponsorship was for all IAAF World Athletics Series events, including the world indoor championships in Portland.  According to an IAAF release written in November 2008,adidas will be the official IAAF athletics sponsor and licensee product supplier for the next decade. The partnership incorporates every aspect of athletics, from product creation, to grassroots development and retail distribution.”

Among other things that adidas does for the IAAF is that it provides uniforms, shoes, and bags to the volunteers, staff, and officials at every World Athletics Series event, which the Portland meet falls under. 

The BBC report stated that adidas considers the accusation of corruption within the IAAF as a breach of their sponsorship deal, and are prepared for legal action should the organization challenge the termination of the sponsorship deal in court.


adidas made headlines recently when the company, along with several other sponsors, spoke out about the corruption within soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, but stopped short of joining other sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Budweiser in calling for the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.


If indeed adidas is out as the IAAF sponsor, it potentially opens the door for Beaverton-based Nike (or for that matter, any other sportswear manufacturer) to replace adidas, assuming a deal can be reached with the IAAF and Dentsu, who would be the group that would sell the sponsorship rights on the IAAF's behalf.

Nike is one of the major contributors to TrackTown USA, the Eugene-based group organizing the Portland world indoor championships, as well as this year’s US Olympic Track & Field Trials, and the 2021 IAAF world track & field championships in Eugene.

My take is that hopefully, cooler heads at adidas, Dentsu and the IAAF can prevail, and that they can make the rest of the contract work. Making it work is probably a lot cheaper than going through the courts, not to mention the public relations mess a long court battle will put on all parties.

paulmerca.blogspot.com has reached out to adidas officials for comment and to confirm the BBC report.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Portland's track is ready for the world...

PORTLAND—I attended Friday night’s high performance meet at the Nike+ Run Club House of Track not so much to see great competition, but rather to see how the track that will be used for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field championships would perform when put to the test by great athletes.

While the results from the first two meets are only a small sampling, the feedback from the athletes who competed Friday night indicate that when the track is moved across town to the Oregon Convention Center for the world championships, the athletes from all around the world traveling to Portland will find themselves competing on a world class track.

The athletes and the 1200 spectators who attended the meet at the House of Track didn’t mind the fact that they were competing inside an abandoned warehouse owned by the city of Portland with very little spectator-friendly amenities.  They were happy just to see high-caliber indoor track and field in a city that once had an annual indoor track meet at the old Memorial Coliseum.

Two-time US Olympian and Oregon alum Andrew Wheating (left/photo by Paul Merca), who won the men’s 1500 in a world leading time of 3:39.82, to beat former Ducks Trevor Dunbar (3:40.77) and Will Geoghegan (3:41.08) said afterwards, “The crowd was just phenomenal. I couldn’t be more appreciative.”

Laura Roesler, the Oregon alum and 2014 Bowerman Award winner as the top college track & field athlete, won the women’s 800 in 2:04.04, after missing the 2015 outdoor season with a partially torn right Achilles tendon.

Commenting on the track, which was built by Beynon Sports, the same company that surfaced the tracks at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, as well as Husky Track on the campus of the University of Washington, Roesler said, “It has the perfect amount of bank, the perfect amount of springiness. It even smells good.”

Jenna Prandini, the 2015 Bowerman Award winner who won the women’s 60 in 7.28, said, “The track was awesome. I wasn’t expecting it to be like this. It’s definitely fun to run on.”

Of the warehouse that’s holding the 1400 piece, 2000 ton track before its move across town to the Oregon Convention Center, Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA, and head coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic track and field team said, 

“It’s low budget, but it’s high energy, high excitement, and it gets high marks from the athletes. I think they love the track, and they love the atmosphere.”

Before it gets moved, the community will get to run on the track, as local youth teams, along with members of the Portland Nike+ Run Club will do workouts at the venue over the next few weeks.

The House of Track will host two more high performance meets on Friday January 29th, and February 5th, featuring a slew of elite level athletes looking to test themselves on the track before the nationals and world championships.


For more information on the House of Track, visit houseoftrack.com.

PIERSON SETS MEET RECORD AT WSU OPEN

In Pullman on Saturday, Washington State’s Thane Pierson cleared 7-1 (2.16m) to break the meet record at the WSU Open indoor track & field meet at their Indoor Facility on the school campus.

The host Cougars won ten events with limited entries, with Liz Harper winning two events, taking the 60m hurdles in a personal best 8.56, and winning the long jump in 18-7 (5.66m).

Brock Eager of WSU won the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 63-2.75 (19.27m), the seventh best throw in school history.

Eastern Washington’s Kaytlyn Coleman, last week’s Big Sky field athlete of the week, won the women’s weight throw, leading a 1-2 Eagle finish with a distance of 61-4.75 (18.71m).  She also won the shot put with a best of 47-6.25 (14.48m).


NOTE:  Special thanks to the TrackTown USA staff for their help in the coverage of the meet Friday evening.  The sports information office of Washington State University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nick Symmonds and Run Gum go after the USOC and USATF...

In a move that could potentially have large ramifications on this summer’s US Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Nick Symmonds (above/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts and his company, Run Gum, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Eugene against the US Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field.

In the lawsuit, Run Gum, which Symmonds started, claims that the USOC and USATF violate the Sherman Antitrust Act restricting sponsor advertising at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene.


At last year’s USA national championships in Eugene, several athletes who did not have shoe/apparel contracts, competed in Run Gum competition uniforms without restriction from USA Track & Field.  Symmonds also wore temporary tattoos with the Run Gum logo on his arms at the nationals last year, where he won yet another national title at 800 meters.

Among the athletes Run Gum, a caffeinated gum product marketed towards athletes sponsors include Washington alum Katie Mackey, who had a Run Gum temporary tattoo on her leg at last year's nationals.

However, since the Trials fall under the jurisdiction of the US Olympic Committee and not USATF, the only logos permitted on an athlete’s competition attire are those that belong to apparel and equipment manufacturers approved by the USOC, according to Run Gum’s release.  

Run Gum contends that they want to sponsor athletes at the Trials in exchange for logo exposure on the athletes’ competition gear, subject to the same limitations on logo size, placement, quantity and size that, for example, Nike, adidas, New Balance, Asics, Brooks, and other athletic wear manufacturers have.

This litigation also affects non-athletic apparel categories that aren’t sponsors of the USOC, such as food and beverage companies, automobile manufacturers, etc., who might wish to sponsor an individual athlete, but may be scared off by the USOC’s policies on what an athlete can wear at the Trials.

Symmonds, co-founder Sam Lapray (his coach at Willamette University), and Run Gum are being represented by Hausfeld LLP, the same law firm that represented UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon in his anti-trust suit against the NCAA after his likeness was used on a video game without his permission.

Neither the USOC nor USATF have publicly commented on the pending litigation.


BOARD GAMES

There are two major indoor track meets happening in the Pacific Northwest this weekend—one in Pullman, and the other in Portland.

Friday & Saturday, Washington State hosts the 14th annual WSU Open meet at their indoor facility on the WSU campus.  The discus, weight throws, triple jump and women’s pole vault take place Friday, with all other events contested Saturday at 9:30 am, with running events starting at 10 am.


Meanwhile, TrackTown USA hosts the second of four high performance meets Friday night on the new oval built for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the abandoned warehouse at 2400 NW Front in Portland known as the House of Track.

Significant entries for Friday night’s meet include the last two Bowerman Award recipients in 2014 winner Laura Roesler (800m) and Jenna Prandini (60m) of Oregon; Olympic long jump champ Brittney Reese (60m); Olympian Andrew Wheating (800m), Olympic triple jump silver medalist Will Claye (60M), 2012 Olympian Geena Lara (800m), and 2012 Olympic steeplechaser Bridget Franek (mile).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Olympian Kim Conley cruises to victory in the 3000 to highlight UW Indoor Preview...

SEATTLE—Saturday’s University of Washington Preview at the Dempsey Indoor continued to live up to its billing as one of the premier early season meets in the country, as many of the best track & field athletes got the rust out after not competing for several months.

2012 US Olympian Kim Conley, who originally planned to run 2000 meters in an effort to help her teammates, instead ran to a winning time of 9:01.31 in the women’s 3000, to get her qualifying time for the USA indoor championships in Portland.

Conley’s winning time is the second fastest time in the world so far in this young season (there are three marks that are superior but all were set in a mixed race), only topped by Shannon Rowbury’s 8:53.52 set Friday night in Portland.

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle who has battled injuries for most of the last two seasons after graduating from Kansas set a meet record in the long jump, winning with a mark of 21-1.25 (6.43m), the sixth longest in the world this season, to get her qualifying mark for the USA indoors in March in Portland.

In the women’s 60 hurdles, defending world indoor champion Nia Ali ran 8.12, which is the fourth fastest time in the world this season.

Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama made a return to the Pacific Northwest and won the triple jump with a best of 43-5 (13.23m) to earn a qualifying mark for the national championships in Portland.

Washington’s Kristina Owsinski, the two-time MPSF and reigning Pac-12 champ, got off to a good start, winning the pole vault with an indoor personal best of 14-2 (4.32m).

In the women’s 60 meter dash, Oregon’s Jasmine Todd, who holds the Dempsey record of 7.15 set in this meet last year, won again in 7.24, the second fastest time in the world so far. In the other section of the 60 dash, Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe, now representing Oregon, won in 7.31, with the Huskies’ Kennadi Bouyer second in 7.35, just ahead of reigning Olympic long jump champ Britney Reese at 7.40.  Both times are among the fastest in the world so far this season.

In the rarely contested 600 meters, reigning NCAA outdoor 800 meter champ Raevyn Rogers of Oregon win in a facility record 1:26.34 over Tumwater’s Brooke Feldmeier who ran 1:28.21. Rogers’ mark is superior to the existing collegiate record of 1:26.56 set by Delisa Walton-Floyd of Tennessee in Pocatello, Idaho in 1981.

Best men’s performance of the day was Oregon alum Trevor Dunbar’s mile/3000 double win, running 4:01.41 and 8:00.68.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Huskies open the doors to the Dempsey for UW Indoor Preview meet Saturday...

All five of Washington’s NCAA Division I schools, along with Division II Western Washington and Seattle Pacific will have entries competing at Saturday’s UW Indoor Preview at the Dempsey Indoor.

In addition, several athletes with aspirations of competing and or making the podium at this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will make their 2016 season debuts Saturday.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton (above/photo by Paul Merca), the Canadian and Oregon alum and world championship silver medalist in the heptathlon, is entered in the women’s 400 meter dash, where she’ll face reigning Pac-12 400 hurdles champ Jaide Stepter of USC.

Reigning Olympic long jump champion Brittney Reese makes her season debut by running the 60 meter dash where she'll potentially face Oregon's Jasmine Todd, who won a relay silver medal for the USA at the world championships in Beijing last summer.

Defending world 60 hurdles champion and USC alum Nia Ali is scheduled to make her season debut in her specialty

US Olympian Kim Conley is slated to run in the women’s 3000, where she’ll face a field that includes Canadian world championships competitor Natasha Wodak and Canadian Olympian Nicole Sifuentes.

The women’s 600, which is contested indoors infrequently, features Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker against reigning NCAA 800 champ Raevyn Rogers of Oregon, and 2015 SEC 800 champ Brooke Feldmeier from Tumwater, who transferred to Oregon.

On the field, the last three Pac-12 champions in the pole vault are scheduled to battle, including Kristine Felix of Washington State (competing unattached), and the Huskies’ Diamara Planell Cruz and Kristina Owsinski.

A good battle is scheduled in the long jump, featuring former NCAA national champion Andrea Geubelle of University Place goes against Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama, and reigning world indoor 60 hurdles champ and former USC multi-event specialist Nia Ali.

On the men’s side, the Dempsey’s reputation as one of the most prolific producers of sub-4 minute miles will be put to the test featuring Oregon alum Trevor Dunbar, who faces Canadian Luc Bruchet.  Both are also slated to run the 3000.

The high jump features Canadian Olympian Mike Mason against Pan Am junior champ Randall Cunningham II of USC, while the pole vault features Washington’s Jax Thoirs, an NCAA scorer indoors last year, along with fellow Dawgs Lev Marcus and Chris Williams.

Washington alum Norris Frederick makes his 2016 season debut in the long jump.

Husky cross country All-Americans Izaic Yorks and Colby Gilbert make their 2016 debuts in the 1000 meters, while Maddie Meyers is scheduled to run on the Huskies’ 4 x 800 meter relay.

One major change spectators need to be aware of is that a $5 admission fee will be charged for all indoor meets.


The time schedule for the meet, which starts at 9am is available here.  Note in both instances, the schedule, heats, and entries are subject to change.

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