Sometimes, you have to hand it to the kids from the little schools.
One of those you have to hand it to is Eastern Washington’s Mattie Bridgmon (left/photo by Mike Scott), who qualified for the finals in the women’s 5000 meter run Wednesday night, running 17:18.39 to finish tenth in her heat, as the top six finishers in each of the two heats and the next four fastest times qualified for finals. Bridgmon was 10th in her heat and was actually the last competitor to qualify.
As a result, the Laramie (Wyoming) HS graduate will miss her commencement ceremony in Cheney on Saturday, where she was supposed to receive her degree in exercise science, as the finals of the 5000 are Friday night here in Des Moines.
"If I am going to have to pick between nationals and graduation, I would definitely pick nationals," said an overjoyed Bridgmon after her race. "It is a shock that I made it to finals and I am definitely excited."
"Today’s race was about getting a place and making it to finals," said EWU distance/cross country coach Chris Zeller. "I would have liked to see Mattie a little quicker but she did what she had to do. Friday it all depends on how the race goes to see if she can earn All-America status."
Wednesday’s first day of the NCAA Championships were highlighted by a thunderstorm, which delayed the morning qualifying in several field events, and the decathlon.
Competition ended with an announcement to leave Drake Stadium promptly, with a possible tornado warning for the Des Moines area in effect.
Five Huskies advanced through the early rounds on the first day of the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships hosted by Drake University. Senior Norris Frederick led the way, reaching the final in both the long and high jumps.
Other Huskies advancing through their prelims or semis today included senior Austin Abbott (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West) in the 800-meters, senior Carl Moe (Auburn, Wash./Auburn-Riverside) in the steeplechase, junior Jordan Boase (Bothell, Wash./Bothell) in the 400-meters, and junior Jared O'Connor (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) in the pole vault.
"Our day all in all was relatively perfect," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "We got Austin through to the next round, Carl Moe ran great, the best he's looked in a month. Jordan did what he's done all year to win his heat, and Norris had a great day today in both jumps. So it was a very exciting today with more to come tomorrow."
Early morning thunderstorms delayed the morning session, and competitors had to deal with constant winds throughout the day. The only affected UW competitor was Frederick, who had the start time of the high jump pushed back to 9 p.m. CT.Frederick was the first and last Husky competitor of the day, and opened up with a wind-aided long jump of 25-feet, 8 ¾-inches. With fierce winds at the backs of the jumpers all afternoon, nearly every competitor's best mark had a wind reading above 2-meters. Frederick fouled on his next two attempts, but his first jump proved to be the sixth-best of the day and he moved on to the final.
At around 9:30 p.m. CT, Frederick ended his day with a perfect showing in the high jump, clearing all three heights on his first attempt to move on to the final.
Washington State had 10 competitors participate in 11 qualifying events, and seven Cougars will move on to a final or semifinal in eight events. Additionally, Rickey Moody had a solid first day in the decathlon, as he’s currently standing in third with 4048 points.
Moody opened the day with a 100m dash time of 10.94 seconds, third-fastest among the field of 26 men. His long jump mark of 23-feet, 1 3/4 inches (7.05m) was fifth-best on the day. Moody threw the shot put a distance of 47-11 1/4 (14.61m), fourth-farthest. He reached cleared 6-7 1/2 (2.02m) in the high jump which equaled his lifetime-best height and was the second-best height of the decathletes. Moody ended the day with a 400m dash time of 51.21, 15th-fastest. The decathlon continues Thursday with the 110m hurdles scheduled for 10:45 a.m.
Jeshua Anderson (freshman, Woodland Hills, Calif.) ran the top time in the men's 400m hurdles prelims of 49.90 seconds. Teammate Barry Leavitt's prelim time of 51.63 was 21st out of 26 racers and the top 16 advanced to the semifinals. Leavitt (junior, Benton City, Wash.) is not done with competition at the national championships as he will race as a member of the WSU 4x400m relay team in the Thursday prelims.
McKenzie Garberg (senior, Benton City, Wash.) had the top throw in the women's discus prelims with a personal-record of 177-3 (54.04m), the third-best throw in WSU history. It was her second throw of three in the qualifying round. The 2007 discus All-American (8th place), Garberg will throw in the discus final Friday evening. Earlier in the day, Garberg advanced to the women's hammer final (Friday afternoon) after throwing the fourth-best distance in the prelims of 204-1 (62.21m), on her opening throw.
"It was a good day for the Cougars," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "I was hoping that Sara (Trané) and Meghan (Leonard) could get through to the steeplechase finals. They would have had to run a great race to do it but they just didn't have their best stuff today. Barry's (Leavitt) race looked like a pretty good race it just wasn't as fast as he's run before and his time didn't move him along. Other than those three people, it was a very successful day for Washington State Cougars."
Among the highlighted Washington affiliated athletes competing Thursday include North Carolina's Brie Felnagle (Bellarmine Prep HS), and the Washington trio of Michelle Turner, Katie Follett, and Amanda Miller in the women's 1500 meter run.
Live results from the NCAA Championships are available here...
NCAA agate--day 1
Rickey Moody (WSU)---4048 points (3rd)
Jon Jeffreys (WSU)—213-1 (9th)
McKenzie Garberg (WSU)—204-1 (5th)
Norris Frederick (UW)—25-8 3/4 (6th)
Ebba Jungmark (WSU)—5-9 3/4 (t 1st)
McKenzie Garberg (WSU)—177-3 (1st)
Jared O’Connor (UW) 17-2 3/4 (t 1st)
4 x 100 relay
15 Washington 40.17 (5th heat 3)
1) Jordan Boase JR 2) James Fredrickson SR
3) Joseph Turner JR 4) Ryan Hamilton FR
2 Anna Layman FR Washington State 2:06.85Q (heat 2)
3 Austin Abbott SR Washington 1:49.64Q (heat 3)
3 Lorraine King JR Washington State 58.96q (heat 4)
1 Jeshua Anderson FR Washington State 49.90Q (heat 4)
4 Barry Leavitt JR Washington State 51.63
5 James Fredrickson SR Washington 52.22
Heat 4 Preliminaries
1 Jordan Boase JR Washington 46.65Q
10 Meghan Leonard SR Washington State 10:45.90 (heat 1)
10 Sara Trane JR Washington State 10:36.06 (heat 2)
3 Carl Moe SR Washington 8:49.52Q (heat 2)
10 Mattie Bridgemon Eastern Washington 17:18.39q
High Jump (flight 2)
1 Norris Frederick SR Washington 2.14mq 7-00.25
1 Trent Arrivey SO Washington State 2.14mq 7-00.25