Friday, May 30, 2008

It's NCAA regionals weekend around the country...

For many of America’s top collegiate track and field athletes, this weekend is a critical step for those who want to compete at the NCAA championships in two weeks in Des Moines, Iowa, as four sites around the country host the regional championships, including the West Regionals in Northridge, California, where the University of Washington and Washington State University are.

Here are links to Washington and Washington State’s official press releases….

Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relays, from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide May 25-26. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined standards, or by winning their conference title.

The NCAA then supplements the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete competed in their event at a Regional meet and was not among the finishers to earn automatic berths.

The lone exceptions are the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.

In the pros, former Husky and two-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond competes in the discus at the Reebok Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York City, against a field that includes Olympians Suzy Powell and Anna Soderberg from Sweden.

Former Auburn HS star Chris Lukezic, a 2005 world championships team member, is entered in the men’s 1500 meters. Ex-Cougar Ian Waltz and former Washington prep discus standouts Jarred Rome (above file photo of Waltz & Rome from 2006/photo by Paul Merca) and Will Conwell, are all entered in their specialty.

The meet will be televised on ESPN2 Saturday night, and on CBS on Sunday. For information on the Reebok Grand Prix, click here to visit their web site.

PITTER PATTERS—In some news items that I missed from last week, Seattle Pacific junior teammates Lauren VerMulm and Jeeni Schantin finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the javelin at the NCAA Division II championships last week in Walnut, California.

VerMulm threw 150-04, eclipsing her previous season best mark of 148-10. Schantin’s toss landed at 145-09.

Lisa Anderberg placed eighth in the 800m with a time of 2:12.65. Suzie Strickler finished seventh in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 10:45.54.

Jane Larson finished second in the 3000 crossing the line in 9:41.20, two seconds behind Chico State’s Sarah Montez (9:39.00).

Fellow Falcon Brittany Bekins placed 10th in the heptathlon finishing with 4514 points.

Western Washington University sophomore Monika Gruszecki (Lynnwood/Meadowdale) placed second in the women's javelin, junior Heidi Dimmitt (Wenatchee) finished fourth in the women's 400-meter hurdles and senior Keith Lemay (Lynden/Lynden Christian) was sixth in the men's 800

Gruszecki, the defending national champion, posted a mark of 152 feet, 3 inches on her first throw, her best of the competition. That bettered her personal record of 146-10 accomplished as a freshman by over five inches.

Dimmitt, who also was making her second straight trip to nationals, had a personal-best time of 1:00.52, the second fastest in school history, as she placed fourth in the 400 hurdles.

Lemay, who was a late addition after a pair of injury withdrawals, made the most of his opportunity as he placed sixth in the 800 with a 1:51.62 clocking.

The Vikings' Sarah Porter (Fr., Hockinson) placed ninth in the women's 10,000 meters, breaking her own school record with a 36:11.17 clocking.

NOTE: The sports information departments of Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, the University of Washington, and Washington State University, along with Global Athletics and Marketing all contributed to this report.

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