Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jeshua Anderson & Jessica Pixler highlight WSU & SPU performances in Los Angeles...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- World class hurdler Jeshua Anderson led the Washington State track and field performers Saturday in the invitational events of the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational track and field meet at UCLA's Drake Stadium.

Anderson, a sophomore from Woodland Hills, Calif., won the men's 400m hurdles and lowered his NCAA Regional Qualifying time to 49.44 seconds. Trevor Habberstad, a sophomore from Santa Clarita, Calif., became the fourth Cougar man to reach NCAA RQ in the intermediate hurdles with a fifth-place finish in a lifetime-best time of 52.47, after running a PR time Friday of 53.51 in the open race. J Hopkins, a freshman from Everett, took sixth place in the intermediate hurdles with a time of 53.39.

Anderson also improved his NCAA RQ time in the 110m hurdles with his sixth-place finish of 14.20.

For the second time in two weeks, Seattle Pacific junior Jessica Pixler rewrote the book in the 1500 meter run, powering around the Drake Stadium track in 4 minutes, 17.68 seconds Saturday afternoon, enough to win by eight seconds.

Pixler (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) took nearly a full second off her previous record of 4:18.64 that she established on March 27 at the Stanford Track & Field Invitational. When the outdoor season began last month, Pixler already owned the GNAC’s 1,500 standard of 4:19.81.

Less than an hour later, Pixler finished third in the invitational 800 meters, logging a 2:08.78. It was her first 800 run of the current outdoor season and was fast enough to give her an NCAA Division II automatic qualifying time. She now has automatic times in the both the 800 and the 1,500.

Fellow Falcon junior Jane Larson (Fall City, Wash./Cedar Park Christian HS) joined Pixler in the 1,500 on Saturday, and finished seventh in 4:30.33, making her an automatic NCAA qualifier.

That was Larson’s first 1,500 of the outdoor season and came on the heels of Friday’s solid fifth-place finish in the open 800 meters. Her time of 2:14.09 was an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

The 800m races were good ones for the Cougs Saturday afternoon. Luke Lemenager (junior, Maple Valley, Wash.) ran an NCAA RQ and PR time of 1:49.92 for sixth place and freshman Joe Abbott (Reno) ran a PR time of 1:51.98 for 11th place in the men's race. In the women's invite race, Lisa Egami (junior, Coquitlam, B.C.) improved her 800m NCAA RQ and PR time with her second-place finish in 2:08.16.

In the shorter races, Reny Follett ran a season-best 400m dash time of 47.95 for fifth place and Justin Woods' 200m time of 21.53 is a season-best and seventh place. Princess Joy Griffey clocked in a 100m dash time of 11.96 for seventh place, and ran a season-best 24.36 in the 200m (10th).

Jalisa Williams ran a 100m hurdles time of 14.80 for eighth. Veronica Elseroad-Wall ran a season-best 400m hurdles time of 1:00.92 for sixth place while Lorraine King finished seventh in a time of 1:01.13, and Brittnay Crabb ran a time of 1:03.78 for 10th.

The WSU men's 4x400m relay team of Anderson, Hopkins, Abbott and Woods took fifth in a time of 3:13.40. The Cougars women's 4x400m relay team of Griffey, Crabb, King, Elseroad-Wall finished sixth in a time of 3:44.32, and a women's "B" team finished 11th in a time of 4:00.70.

In the women's 1500m, Sara Trané ran a season-best time of 4:30.25 for sixth and Marisa Sandoval finished 11th in a time of 4:52.61. Dominic Smargiassi took seventh place in the men's mile with a time of 4:17.72.

On the field, Anna Albrecht threw the shot put 39-0 1/2 (11.90m) for seventh, and Ashley Kenney threw the discus 140-5 (42.80m) for sixth.

"We had a good number of performances here that we can be very pleased with and they show that we are moving in the right direction," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "I was also pleased with how well the kids competed. They were winning races and in contention in races. Cougars were very prominently visible during the competition today. We had a lot of things to be excited about."

A selected group of Washington State competitors will compete in the Mt. SAC Relays next weekend in Walnut, Calif.

Complete results from the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invitational can be found here...

NOTE: The sports information offices of Seattle Pacific and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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