Saturday, February 28, 2009

Huskies find a star in Jeremy Taiwo...

In a conversation I had close to a year ago with head track and cross country coach Greg Metcalf, he told me that the University of Washington was looking for a talented in-state, multi-faceted athlete that could contribute to the Husky program in several events the way that jumper Norris Frederick contributed.

Newport High School product Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo courtesy UW) was the anointed one, after he won the 3A state triple jump and high jump titles as a sophomore, and set the sophomore state triple jump record with a mark of 48-3 1/2, then placed second in the triple and high jumps at the 2008 state meet after coming back from a foot injury that cause him to miss his junior year.

The anointed one went a long way to fulfill Metcalf’s wish, as in his second heptathlon, the freshman won the MPSF conference heptathlon title in his first meet.

The mark is a strong NCAA Provisional qualifier, and currently ranks sixth in the NCAA so Taiwo could be on his way to the NCAA Indoor Championships in two weeks.

On Friday, Taiwo ran 7.19 in the 60 hurdles (816 points), then long jumped 23-3 1/2 (838), threw the shot 41-1 (638), and high jumped 6-7 (813).

Before the start of Saturday’s competition, Jeremy and I chit-chatted about when I first met him (in 1993, when father Joseph, a two-time Olympian for Nigeria competed on my Club Ballard track club), and concluded by me telling him to jump 14 feet in the pole vault, a height he had never cleared.

After a strong showing in the 60 hurdles, where he ran 8.36 (893 points), he exceeded expectations by clearing 14-3 1/4, worth 716 points.

In the concluding 1000-meter run, Taiwo ran 2:42.58, worth 845 points to get to 5559 total points, 91 points short of the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 5650 points.

All that in spite of the Washington public address announcer’s insistence during the call of the 1000 that he needed to run 2:43 to get the auto-qualifier, when in reality he needed to run at least 2:34.

Jordan Boase once again lowered his school record in the 400-meters, winning his second-straight MPSF title in 46.09 seconds, defeating Washington State's Jeshua Anderson, who ran 47.01. That also lowered the Dempsey facility record, and is the fastest in the NCAA and the fastest run by an American so far this year.

Redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence blew past the 3,000-meter school record set just two weeks ago by teammate Katie Follett, running 9:08.50 to place second. The time is well under the NCAA Auto mark of 9:15.00, and would have been an MPSF meet record had Stanford's Laurynne Chetelat not finished just in front of Lawrence in 9:08.15. Lawrence is now assured of a berth at NCAA Indoors and ranks fifth in the NCAA at 3k.

As a team, the 22nd-ranked Husky men placed sixth, but were only four points out of second in a very tightly packed men's competition. The UCLA men jumped to the front thanks to 28.5 points in the final event, the men's pole vault, and won the title with 83.5 points. Cal and Washington State tied for second with 78.5 points, with No. 1-ranked Oregon finishing fourth with 78. 11th-ranked Arizona State was fifth with 76.5 points, and the UW was next in the pecking order with 75 points.

The men's high jump provided 18 points to the WSU team total. Trent Arrivey was the runner-up in the high jump with a PR and improved NCAA PQ mark of 7-feet, 3 inches (2.21m), the same height cleared by the winner, California's Ed White. Cougar freshman Shawn Swartz was third and sophomore Ryan Deese finished fifth after both Cougs cleared 6-10 3/4 (2.10m).

The 21st-ranked Husky women had three second- and three third-place finishes on Saturday to wind up in fifth in the team standings for the second year in a row. The 25th-ranked Stanford women broke Arizona State's two-year reign, finishing first with 115 points. No. 3 Oregon was second with 91.5 points, followed by No. 8 ASU (78), UCLA (75.5), and Washington with 72.5.

Lorraine King, a senior from Fontana, Calif., won the women's 60 hurdles with a lifetime-best time of 8.46 seconds, just missing the NCAA PQ time of 8.43. King also took fourth place in the women's 400m dash with a PR time of 54.95. King's 60m hurdles time is the fifth-best in school history and eclipsed her previous PR time of 8.53.

Lisa Egami ran a school-record and improved NCAA Provisional Qualifying mile time of 4-minutes, 44.92 seconds to finish fifth, followed by Marisa Sandoval in sixth place with a PR time of 4:53.36. Egami ran the previous SR time of 4:45.49 on this track just two weeks ago.

Sara Trané took sixth place in the women's 3000m with a PR and NCAA PQ time of 9:28.54, the third-best time in WSU women's history and broke the indoor school record, surpassing Haley Paul's 2006 time of 9:39.31. Amanda Andrews ran a PR time of 9:53.17 (18th) and Michelly Foley ran a PR time of 9:56.80 (20th).

To read the complete UW news release, please click here; and, to read Washington State’s meet recap, please click here…

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