Friday, February 29, 2008

Paul's notes--MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships...

My apologies for not getting my announcer notes posted for this weekend's MPSF Championships at the University of Washington--there are some technical problems with the site where the notes get uploaded to.

If there's any consolation, here's my recap of Friday's competition, courtesy of runnerspace.com.



Here is the UW recap of Friday's competition here...

For the latest news and information on the MPSF Championships, don't forget to check out the track and field home page at www.gohuskies.com.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rick Sloan to hold online chat Wednesday...


Washington State University head track & field coach Rick Sloan (left, /photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) will hold an online chat Wednesday, February 27th from 8:30am to 9:00am at wsucougars.com.

To go directly to the chat, click here...

Random thoughts on track & field and the social networking phenomenon...

While having dinner in Hong Kong during my layover from Osaka with two of my high school classmates in September after the IAAF World Championships, one of the topics of discussion was the use of social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook.

In the last several years, these websites, and others similar in nature have taken off at a phenomenal rate. No matter what you think of sites like these (privacy issues, cyberstalkers, etc.), when used properly, it's a great way to keep track of people.

Apparently, many of you in cyberland think so...MySpace and Facebook are among the most visited websites on a daily basis.

This got me thinking while I was going through my friends list on both sites...what are the percentage of friends that I have, based on track & field event categories?

Well, here it is:

Distance runners: 46.1
Co-Workers: 15.2
Media members: 8.8
Other: 6.8
Pole vaulters: 6.4
Sprinters: 4.4
Middle distance runners: 4.4
All throws (shot/disc/hammer/javelin): 2.9
Decathlon/Heptathlon: 2.5
Other jumps (HJ/LJ/TJ): 2.5

What does this all mean? It means either I tend to hang out with distance runners, or they're the most social.

No matter how you interpret these results, it was interesting to see informally how these all played out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ryan Brown's third in 800m best in Sunday's competition by a Washington athlete at USA Indoors...


Competing in his first professional season on the indoor circuit, 2007 University of Washington grad Ryan Brown (left, /photo by Paul Merca) finished third in the men's 800 meters at the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Brown, the 2006 NCAA outdoor and '07 indoor champ who currently competes for Asics, was in good position to make a run at eventual winner Khadevis Robinson and early leader Karjuan Williams with one lap to go, when he opted to move into lane one. At the same time, defending champ Nick Symmonds made a move, and pinned the former Husky into a box on the inside with Robinson and Williams up front.

Robinson, Symmonds, and Brown were able to leave the fading Williams behind with about 100 meters to go, but by the time the trio entered the final straight, Robinson and Symmonds had gapped Brown.

In an extremely close race, Robinson held on for the victory, running 1:46.95 to Symmonds' 1:46.96. Brown finished in 1:47.99 to earn the bronze medal.

Current Husky Norris Frederick finished fourth in the men's long jump, with a mark of 24-10 1/2.

2007 Washington graduate Ashley Lodree, now training in southern California, finished fifth in the women's 60 meter hurdles, running 8.24.

Jennie Sewell of Club Northwest placed 12th in the women’s pole vault at 13-1 1/2, while CNW teammate Kate Conwell, the 2005 NCAA pole vault champ at Washington, no heighted (13-1 1/2).

Former Seattle resident Tiombe Hurd placed 7th in the women’s triple jump, bounding 43-0 1/4.

Pole vaulter Brad Walker, who won his event Saturday night, will be the one athlete with Washington state ties competing for Team USA at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain March 7-9. Walker is the defending world indoor pole vault champion.

Women's 60m hurdler Lolo Jones, and two-time Olympic shot put silver medalist Adam Nelson each walked away from the Reggie Lewis Center $25000 richer after winning the Visa Championship Series titles.

Brad Walker vaults to his third USA Indoor title...

While not exactly happy with his overall performance Saturday night, Brad Walker's winning mark of 18-8 1/4 was good enough to garner him his third USA indoor pole vault title at the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Walker's national indoor title earns him a trip to Valencia, Spain for the IAAF World Indoor Championships March 7-9, where he is the defending world indoor champ.

Walker, a former Washington Husky currently residing in Mountlake Terrace, opened with a first attempt clearance at 18-4 1/2, and was the only jumper to clear 18-8 1/4.

Collegian Rory Quiller of SUNY/Binghampton was a surprise second place finisher, jumping a personal best 18-4 1/2, but will not join Walker, as he does not have the qualifying standard of 18-8 1/4. Quiller's spot will be taken by Derek Miles, who won a jumpoff against Toby Stevenson.

Afterwards, Walker said, "I had gotten a little banged up in a meet in Glasgow, Scotland. My ankles and feet took a hit in the plant box. But I'm pretty much back to normal now. This was the plan from the beginning to compete indoors, head for the world indoors and then begin gearing up for the outdoor trials. I was pleased with the way I competed today. For some reason it's tough to get a really good mark here. Not sure why. But I'll take the win."

You can also see a video interview of Walker here, courtesy of Flotrack.org.

Current Husky pole vaulter Scott Roth finished eighth with a mark of 17-0 3/4. He will have two meets to attain the NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 18-0 1/2, starting with the MPSF Championships this coming Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor at the University of Washington.

Former Husky Ryan Brown, representing Asics, finished second in his first round heat behind Olympian Khadevis Robinson. Robinson ran 1:48.88, while Brown, the 2007 NCAA indoor champ, ran 1:49.10 to advance to Sunday's finals.

Another former Husky, Bruce Jackson, representing Club Northwest, finished fifth in 1:54.23 in his first round heat, and failed to advance. Former Tacoma prep standout Craig Everhart finished fifth in his heat of the men's 400, running 48.79.

In today's concluding events at the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Club Northwest's Kate Conwell & Jennie Sewell will compete in the women's pole vault, while Washington senior Norris Frederick will participate in the men's long jump, and Ryan Brown will run in the finals of the men's 800m.

Former Seattle resident Tiombe Hurd competes in the women's triple jump finals, while another former Tacoma prep standout, Courtney Jaworski, runs in the men's 1500m finals.

The AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships will be shown today starting at 5:00 p.m. ET (2 pm in Seattle), on ESPN2. Live results will also be posted at www.usatf.org.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bernard Lagat continues his mastery of the indoor game...

Bernard Lagat continued his undefeated 2008 indoor season last night at the GE Galan – IAAF Indoor Permit meeting, winning the 3000 meter run, in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,500 at the Stockholm Globe Arena in the Swedish city.

Lagat ran 7:34.65 to easily defeat Paul Kipsiele Koech (7:36.24) and Abraham Chebii of Kenya (7:38.63).

According to the IAAF, "The front group of the men's 3000m passed halfway in 3:47.1 and when the last pacesetter left at 2000m (5:04) steeplechase specialist Paul Kipsieli Koech took charge of the race followed by Osaka double World champion Bernard Lagat and Abraham Chebii. Favorite Lagat went to the front on the second to last lap but didn't put on the full finishing sprint until the very last lap. But a 28.0 closer was still enough to give him a comfortable 1.6 s winning margin over Koech."

Lagat currently holds the American indoor record of 7:32.43, set last year. As reported yesterday, Lagat is opting to skip the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

The full story on Thursday's GE Galan meet can be read here...

Hard to believe it...


In eight days, paulmerca.blogspot.com will be one year old!

What started out as a whim, and a way to express myself on matters related to the sport of track and field, has now turned into an information source related to track and field in the state of Washington.

There are numerous things I can do better to make this site current and relevant--I would love to hear from you the ways I can make this site better. Please hit me with your feedback, whether it's good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, keeping in mind that this is currently a one-man operation.

I would love to have an intern(s) who is passionate about the sport added to the site to write, photograph, do video interviews, and/or do podcasts! If you know of anyone who would be interested (unfortunately, the pay is miniscule, considering it's nothing), and wants the experience, please contact me!

Here's to another year of paulmerca.blogspot.com...thank you for all of your support!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Please come to Boston for the indoor...


This weekend begins the big push towards the conclusion of the undercover track and field season, starting Saturday in Boston at the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center.

A small contingent of runners and field event athletes from the Seattle area are converging onto Beantown in hopes of getting Olympic Trials qualifying marks, and earning spots on Team USA’s squad that will compete in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain two weekends from now.

Pole vaulter Brad Walker takes the first step towards defending his IAAF World Indoor title, as he vies for a top two finish at the AT&T USA indoors in order to punch his ticket to Valencia. Walker’s a two-time USA indoor champion in the pole vault, earning the national title in 2005 & 2006.

Walker enters the national championship meet slightly banged up, as he landed awkwardly, and injured his heels after attempting 18 feet, 4 inches, at the Glasgow International invitational last month. Walker blamed the mishap on a new set of poles.

''I'm a bit frustrated because if I had a normal series of poles it would have been a different outcome,'' Walker told The Associated Press in Glasgow.

Also entered in the men’s pole vault is University of Washington sophomore Scott Roth, competing in his second meet of the 2008 indoor season, after gaining a NCAA provisional mark of 17-1 in his season debut at last week’s Husky Classic. According to University of Washington jumps coach Pat Licari, Roth is jumping in order to get some big-meet experience, as well as to jump the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 18-0 1/2.

One curious entry from a UW perspective is Husky long jumper Norris Frederick, who has jumped 25-8 1/4 this season, 1/4 inch short of the NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Frederick is seeded second in the USA championships, behind Brian Johnson.

When asked whether or not Frederick would go to Valencia if he were to place in the top two and attain the IAAF qualifying standard of 26-7, Licari said no, as the NCAA championships are the week after the world indoors, and that Frederick’s obligation is to the UW.

Former Husky and 2005 NCAA champ Kate (Soma) Conwell (above, /photo by Paul Merca) and 2007 NCAA fifth place finisher Jennie Sewell are entered in the women’s pole vault. Both Conwell and Sewell, a graduate of Sam Houston State, are competing at nationals for Seattle’s Club Northwest.

Former Seattle resident Tiombe Hurd is entered in the women’s triple jump.

On the track, former Huskies Ryan Brown and Bruce Jackson are entered in the men’s 800 meter run. Former Lincoln/Tacoma and UCLA standout Craig Everhart, now training under John Smith in the Hudson Smith International (HSI) camp is entered in the 400 meters.

Courtney Jaworski, who competed as a prep at Tacoma’s Curtis High, and at the University of Pennsylvania, is entered in the men’s 1500 meter run, as a member of the Oregon Track Club.

One notable runner with Washington ties who is not competing in Boston this weekend is Washington State University grad Bernard Lagat, the 2007 world champion at 1500 and 5000 meters. Lagat, who has won four straight meets this indoor season, most recently last week in Birmingham, England, has opted to skip the nationals, and the opportunity to compete at the world indoors.

The AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships will be shown on Feb. 24, 5:00-7:00 p.m. ET, on ESPN2. Results will be posted on a regular basis at www.usatf.org.

Ian Waltz proposes to Stacy Dragila...


Former Washington State University discus thrower Ian Waltz was followed by NBC Sports as he got creative in asking former Olympic pole vault champion Stacy Dragila to marry him.

You can see Ian here

Last chance to see "Spirit of the Marathon"


Last month, I reviewed the documentary movie, "Spirit of the Marathon" on this blogspot site.

Well, tonight is the final opportunity for folks to see the movie on the big screen.

As a result of the tremendous response to Spirit of the Marathon's January 24 U.S. nationwide debut, Fathom Events has added an encore screening on February 21. The second engagement will again take place at 7:30 P.M. local time and will be available in approximately 250 theatres.

In the Seattle area, "Spirit of the Marathon" will play at the following theatres: AMC Pacific Place, 6th & Pine in downtown Seattle; the Everett Mall Stadium 16 at the Everett Mall; and, the Longston Place 14 theatre in Puyallup, near the South Hill Mall.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lauren Saylor punches her ticket to Edinburgh


University of Washington
freshman Lauren Saylor (left, /photo by Paul Merca) finished sixth in this afternoon's USA Junior Cross Country Championships at San Diego's Mission Beach Park to earn the sixth and final position on Team USA.

Competing on a six-kilometer course, Saylor ran 21:36 in a pack with Notre Dame's Marissa Treece, and Duke's Emily Schwitzer, as they garnered the last three spots for the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Treece was fourth in 21:33, with Schwitzer fifth in 21:34.

After the race, Saylor, a former California prep standout at Buchanan HS in Clovis, said, "I went out exactly the way I talked about with my coaches. On the first lap, I tried to put myself in a good position with the leaders. On the second lap, I wanted to make sure that I was in contact with the leaders, and on the last loop, just go for it. The last part of the course was a little more difficult than I thought, but it’s still a deceiving course".

"I'm glad to be making the trip to Scotland for world championships!"

Fellow Huskies Kenna Patrick finished 15th in 22:20, and Dayna Anderson, who competed in this meet last year, finished 25th in 22:44.

Jordan Hasay, the defending champion and high school phenom, successfully retained the title, running 20:32 to defeat Stanford's Alex Gits (20:45). Georgia prep standout Emily Reese finished third in 21:26.

To see my photo gallery from the USA Cross Country Championships, click here...


UW, WSU compete at Husky Classic meet...

The University of Washington hosts the Husky Classic indoor track meet Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor facility, with the distance races taking center stage on the Dempsey 307-meter track.

Normally, I would be there as your public address announcer, but I am in sunny San Diego for the USA Cross Country Championships working for USA Track & Field in media relations.

The UW release of the meet is posted here.

There will be an open portion of the Husky Classic which is being held on Sunday for small colleges, open, and high school athletes. The start list is posted here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trio of Huskies to compete at USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego Saturday


The University of Washington will send three runners to San Diego for Saturday’s USA Junior Cross Country Championships at Mission Bay Park, starting at 11:45 am .

Washington will line up freshmen Lauren Saylor (left, /photo by Paul Merca), Dayna Anderson, and Kenna Patrick in the junior womens (19-under) national championship race over six kilometers (3.74 miles).

At stake are spots for the top six finishers on Team USA for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships next month in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Saylor (Buchanan HS/Clovis, Calif.) competed in all of the Huskies’ cross country meets this past fall, including the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, where she was part of the Huskies’ squad that finished eighth, the highest in school history.

Saylor finished 41st in the Pac-10 meet (21:27) in Corvallis, Oregon on October 27th; 61st in the NCAA west regionals (21:47) in Springfield, Oregon on November 10th, and 253rd (24:25) in the NCAA meet.

Anderson (University HS/San Diego) returns home to compete for the Huskies at the junior national championships. She is no stranger to this meet, as Anderson finished 28th at junior nationals in Boulder, Colorado in 2007.

Joining Anderson and Saylor is Husky newcomer Kenna Patrick (Thomas Jefferson/Federal Way), who transferred to Washington after competing this fall for the University of Puget Sound.

Patrick, a former Washington state 4A harrier champ at Thomas Jefferson, finished 51st in the NCAA Division III championships last fall for the Loggers.

Eastern Washington University junior Paul Limpf (Evergreen HS/Vancouver) will compete in the senior men’s 12-kilometer championships. Other significant runners with Washington ties competing in the meet include the University of Portland’s Michael Kilburg (O’Dea HS); UCLA’s Alex Crabill (Charles Wright Academy); and, former Tacoma prep standout Joe Gray in the men’s 12k.

Highlights of the USA Cross Country Championships will be shown on February 24th from 5-7 pm, eastern time on ESPN2, in association with the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

For more information on the USA Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dempsey Indoor Sub-4 Club update...

In my post of January 22nd, I listed all of the members of the Dempsey Indoor sub-4 club.

I apologize for not updating this, as I got sick after the UW Indoor meet on February 2nd, but there are three more members of the sub-4 club, led by Steve Sherer, who clocked a facility record 3:56.00, breaking the mark of 3:56.72 set by Nick Symmonds last year.

Also joining the club were Kyle Perry of BYU, and Kyle Alcorn of Arizona State, who ran 3:59.16, and 3:59.82 in the same race--you can watch it here, and listen to my call, courtesy of Runnerspace.com

Friday, February 8, 2008

Many apologies for not posting...

...but I did not anticipate on getting sick over the last few days.

I am slowly getting over a sore throat from talking at the UW Indoor Invitational, and the subsequent flu, so I hope to get caught up with all things track & field.

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Paul's notes--UW Invitational track meet 2/1 & 2/2

For those of you planning to attend the UW Invitational track meet, you can download my announcer notes, with one-line hero notes on some of the top athletes entered.

There are three sets of notes--one for the Friday night races & multi events; one for the Saturday running events; and one for the Saturday field events.

As always, these are based on information received on Wednesday January 30, and are subject to changes, scratches, heat consolidation, etc.

Friday night races--here

Saturday track events--here

Saturday field events--here


And, if you don't feel like reading, here's a video version of my notes, courtesy of runnerspace.com:


NOTE: My apologies for the delay getting the Saturday field event notes up.

Bernard Lagat transcript...

Bernard Lagat spoke to USA Track & Field in advance of tonight's Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he hopes to capture another Wanamaker Mile title.

Here's the transcript:

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