Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dawgs ready to rumble Friday & Saturday at UW Invitational...

One of the biggest and best track meets of the year is set to go off in the Dempsey Indoor this weekend, with the Husky track and field teams out in full force for the UW Invitational.

The two-day meet begins Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. with multi-events and distance runs, then picks up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and continuing throughout the day. The marquee sections in the running events are scheduled to start at approximately 1 p.m. Admission is free for all spectators.

The Huskies will have their largest contingent of the season competing over the weekend, including many members of the 2008 NCAA Champion women's cross country team making their track season debuts. All-Americans Christine Babcock and Katie Follett are entered in the distance medley relay on Friday evening along with top sprinter Falesha Ankton (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Kailey Campbell. Follett will also run the mile on Saturday, along with Mel Lawrence, the UW's No. 3 finisher at cross country NCAA's.

The women's 3,000-meter run is also loaded with talent, including 2008 Olympian Jenny Barringer of Colorado, who represented the U.S. in the steeplechase in Beijing, placing ninth and setting the American record. Former U.S. champion Lisa Galaviz is also entered alongside top Huskies Anita Campbell, Lauren Saylor, and Kenna Patrick.

In addition to the Buffaloes of Colorado, several top teams will be heading to Seattle including the current No. 1-ranked men's team Arkansas. One Razorback to watch for is Dorian Ulrey, who turned heads last week by running a 3:57.60 mile time. Ulrey is entered in the 3,000-meters on Saturday along with UW's Jake Schmitt and Jordan Swarthout, two of the top-three Husky finishers at NCAA Cross Country Championships in November.

Also at the Dempsey will be teams from Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, BYU, Cal St. Northridge, SMU, Hawaii, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Portland, Portland State, San Francisco, SMU, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Seattle Pacific.

Five-time All-American Austin Abbott will run the 800-meters for the first time since placing seventh in the event at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Abbott will also lead off the men's distance medley relay, which features Regional qualifier Jeff Gudaitis on the 400-leg, Brian Govier on the 800, and Kelly Spady on the 1600. They will challenge top DMR entries from Oregon, Stanford, BYU, UCLA, and Arkansas, which currently has the nation's top time.

The Huskies will have a strong entrant in the 4x400m relay with Gudaitis, Pac-10 4x1 champ Joe Turner, and Sam Rucker, with freshman Adam Long anchoring. Long is one of three UW football players currently bolstering the men's sprints group. Jordan Polk and Alvin Logan will also be running in the 60m dash on Saturday. Syreeta Martin in the 200m and NCAA hurdles qualifier Falesha Ankton in the 60m hurdles are two noteworthy women's entrants.

In the field events, school record-holder Elisa Bryant will compete in the weight throw alongside 2008 U.S. Olympian Loree Smith. Duke transfer Lara Jones and Andrea Peterson will head the women's pole vault, while Husky All-Americans Jared O'Connor and Scott Roth headline the men's vault. In the first full multi-event competition of the season, Andrew Ferleman and Jeremy Taiwo will lead the men's effort, while Daria Amiad-Pavlov and freshman Kelly McNamee put their all-around talents on display in the women's pentathlon.

Canadian Olympian Mike Mason competes in the high jump, as well as fellow Maple Leaf Olympian Ruky Abdulai in the long jump.

The start lists are accessible here, while the meet schedule is available here...

NOTE: Mike Bruscas of the University of Washington sports information office contributed to this report.

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