Friday, March 7, 2008

Last chance weekend for collegians; Walker in action at worlds...

This is the final weekend for athletes to qualify for next weekend's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the University of Washington will host one of the eight NCAA-approved Last Chance meets throughout the country.

Among the possible highlight events of the UW Last Chance meet are the mens mile with Oregon's AJ Acosta and Matt Centrowitz, the top two finishers in last year's Finish Line USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships; the women's mile featuring Washington's Michelle Turner & Arizona State's Kari Hardt, with Columbia's Carmen Ballard thrown in; the men's 5000 with University of Portland All-Americans David Kinsella and Michael Kilburg, along with Colorado frosh Matt Tebo; the men's 400 with Arizona State's Jimmie Gordon, Joel Phillip, and Justin Kremer; and the women's 3000 with Hardt and Arizona's Irine Lagat.

On the field, both the men's and women's pole vault competitions will be fierce, with prep All Americans Tori Anthony of UCLA and Cal's Allison Stokke on the women's side, and NCAA scorer Scott Roth of the host Huskies in the men's competition.

The tentative start list for the UW Last Chance Meet is posted here...

In Valencia, Spain, pole vaulter Brad Walker, the reigning USA indoor champion, will attempt to defend the 2006 world indoor title that he won in Moscow. The qualifying round in the men's pole vault at the IAAF World Indoor Championships gets underway Saturday morning, Valencia time.

Incidentally, is offering the IAAF World Indoor Championships to internet viewers for free. See their site for details.

Finally, former Washington State standouts Diana & Julie Pickler will compete at the USA Indoor Combined Events Championships in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this weekend.

The women's pentathlon competition on Sunday will be headlined by reigning USA Outdoor heptathlon champion Hyleas Fountan, who will look to add another championship to her trophy case. Fountain won this event in 2005, totaling 4,417 points to finish in front of 2007 champion Fiona Asigbee, who was the runner-up with 4,347 points.

Look for the Pickler twins, Diana and Julie, to provide a strong challenge to Fountain on Sunday. Diana ended the 2007 campaign ranked #1 in the U.S. by Track & Field News in the women's heptathlon, while sister Julie was the 2007 NCAA Outdoor heptathlon runner-up and ended last year ranked #7 in the U.S.

The women's pentathlon competition will consist of the 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters.

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