Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dawgs, Cougs, Vikes at Mt. SAC; Dominique Arnold to open as well....

The prestigious Mt. SAC Relays take place this week in Walnut, Calif. and the Huskies will be sending a strong contingent to compete, with the majority of events taking place on Friday and Saturday, April 17-18 at the Hilmer Lodge Stadium. The meet boasts a large field featuring collegiate, high school, and elite professional athletes, with several U.S. Olympians planning to make their season-debuts at this year's meet.

American record holder in the 110 hurdles and former Cougar Dominique Arnold (left/file photo by Paul Merca) is also scheduled to open his 2009 season at Mt. SAC.

Arnold set the American Record of 12.90 seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2006. He is a former NCAA Champion out of Washington State University, 2006 US Outdoor Champion and the 2006 World Indoor Championship 60 Meter Hurdles Bronze Medalist.

"I look forward to opening my 2009 season at my home meet and seeing the fans in Walnut," said Arnold. "I have been running at the Mt. SAC Relays since I was in high school and I remember watching some of the greatest athletes in history, like Carl Lewis, compete at the Mt. SAC Relays. These athletes inspired me and I hope to do the same with the younger generation who will be watching."

Washington State will send a contingent of athletes to the Mt. SAC Relays as well, led by reigning NCAA and world junior champion in the 400 hurdles Jeshua Anderson. The sophomore was named the Pac-10 athlete of the week for his performance in winning the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee meet at UCLA last week.

Here are WSU's entries in the Mt. SAC meet:

WSU Women
100m - Princess Joy Griffey
200m - Princess Joy Griffey
1500m - Lisa Egami
5000m - Michelly Foley, Isley Gonzalez
100m Hurdles - Brittnay Crabb
400m Hurdles - Brittnay Crabb, Veronica Elseroad-Wall, Caroline Hedel, Lorraine King
3000m Steeplechase - Amanda Andrews, Sara Trané
4x400m Relay - Griffey, Elseroad-Wall, Crabb, King
High Jump - Maria Creech
Pole Vault - Alexa Huestis, Hiliary Moore
Long Jump - Candace Missouri
Triple Jump - Candace Missouri, Jessica Yates
Javelin - Courtney Kirkwood, Marissa Tschida

WSU
Men 100m - Justin Woods
200m - Justin Woods
400m - Reny Follett
800m - Joe Abbott
10,000m - Drew Polley
110m Hurdles - Jeshua Anderson
400m Hurdles - Jeshua Anderson, J Hopkins, Barry Leavitt
4x400m Relay - Leavitt, Follett, Anderson, Woods
3000m Steeplechase - Sam Ahlbeck
High Jump - Trent Arrivey, Ryan Deese, Shawn Swartz
Pole Vault - Jake Baertlein, Beau Carrillo
Long Jump - Christian Crain
Triple Jump - Sean Wilson, Moreno Zapata
Shot Put - Joe Bartlett
Discus - Joe Bartlett
Hammer - Phil MacArthur

Western Washington University will also send a handful of athletes to Mt. SAC, led by cross country All-American Sarah Porter in the women's 10000.

The Cougars will send a small contingent to the VS Athletics/Long Beach Invitational at Cerritos College on April 18th.

In the decathlon portion of the Mt. SAC Relays, held at Asuza Pacific, the Huskies' Jeremy Taiwo fouled on all three long jump attempts. Washington senior Liz Fuller is currently 15th with 2720 points.

Also on Thursday, sophomore Lauren Saylor will run in the 10,000-meters, her first career attempt at the distance. Saylor has already qualified for Regionals in the 5,000-meters and will look to join teammate Anita Campbell as NCAA 10k qualifiers.

The rest of the Huskies swing into action starting on Friday. For the 14th-ranked Husky men's team, senior Austin Abbott will lead a mid-distance crew also featuring Chris Ahl, Joey Bywater, Jake Schmitt, Jordan Swarthout, and Colton Tully-Doyle. Abbott still holds the NCAA's fastest time in the 1,500-meters this season and ranks seventh at 800-meters. Schmitt meanwhile is 12th in the 10k but will be running a shorter distance this weekend.

Men's sprinters will have the week off but UW will be well represented in the field events, with Regional qualifiers Scott Roth, Jared O'Connor, and Ryan Vu all competing in the pole vault, and Zack Midles and Kyle Nielsen in the throws. Nielsen has PR'd by 27 feet this season and currently ranks fifth nationally in the javelin with a best of 239-2.

In addition to Saylor, making the trip for the 27th-ranked UW women will be Campbell, Kenna Patrick, Laura Mickelson in the distance events and freshman Christine Babcock, who returns to the site of many of her record-setting high school runs. A native of Irvine, Calif., Babcock broke the national high school 1,500-meter record last year at the Mt. SAC track as a senior at Woodbridge High School. Her time of 4:16.42 qualified her for the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Junior Falesha Ankton and freshman Dominique Lauderdale will compete in the sprints for the women, while Kelly McNamee and Taylor Nichols handle the jumps. Regional qualifiers Lara Jones and Andrea Peterson will look to shine in the pole vault, and sophomores Brooke Pighin and Elisa Bryant will flex their muscles in the throws. Bryant has qualified for Regionals in the discus, while Pighin is 15th in the nation in the javelin throw, with a best of 162-feet that ranks second in UW history.

For a schedule of all the weekend's events and links to results please visit www.mtsacrelays.com.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Both the men's and women's squads did not move in this week's USTFCCCA Rankings, with the men coming in at No. 14 and the women at No. 27. The rankings compile Regional qualifiers in every event and assign points to the athletes that estimate their likelihood of scoring points at the NCAA Championships. In individual events, Washington's Austin Abbott remains the NCAA leader in the 1,500-meters, with his time of 3:41.62 set at the Stanford Invite. Several other Huskies are currently ranked in the top-10 in their events. Scott Roth has the nation's third-best pole vault at 18-1, while senior Jordan Boase is third in the 400m in 45.67. Sophomore Kyle Nielsen sits fifth in the javelin throw (239-2) while Abbott is seventh in the 800m (1:49.18) to go with his 1,500m time. Senior Jared O'Connor is also tied for eighth in the pole vault with a best clearance of 17-4 1/2. On the women's side, Katie Follett (15:48.72) and Mel Lawrence (15:50.36) rank third and fourth, respectively, in the 5,000-meter run. Anita Campbell's 10,000m time from Stanford (33:40.22) is fourth overall, and freshman Christine Babcock is eighth in the 1,500m with a time of 4:19.13. Follett is just behind in 10th-place at 4:20.00.

UP NEXT: Washington will be splitting its squad, with the majority of the team heading to the Oregon Relays in Eugene, but a select group of Dawgs will travel to the Penn Relays, one of the most storied and famous track meets in the country. Washington is expected to enter in the women's 4x1,500-meter relay, and potentially in the men's sprint medley relay. Check back next week for more specifics on each event.

NOTE--The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, and Mt. San Antonio College all contributed to this report.

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