Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend roundup: April 17-18...

Here's a roundup of what happened in the world of Washington state pro and college track and field over the weekend, courtesy of the sports information offices at Drake University, the University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, and Washington State University:

At the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way finished fourth in the discus under rainy skies, throwing 182-1.

Former Auburn High School standout Chris Lukezic (left/file photo from 2005 World Championships in Helsinki by Paul Merca) was also fourth in the men’s invitational mile, clocking 4:01.80. Lukezic recently relocated to Colorado from the Washington, DC area after his longtime coach, Juli Henner was hired to be the distance coach at the Air Force Academy.

At the Oregon Relays in Eugene last Saturday, University of Washington junior Falesha Ankton won the 400-meter hurdles today in her first attempt at the distance since last season. Ankton finished just short of the Regional mark in 1:01.11, the fastest by a Husky this year.

Junior Jeff Gudaitis had an impressive day, running a PR in the 200-meter dash of 21.89 seconds that won his heat and was the fourth fastest of the day. He then took second overall in the 400-meter dash, running 47.60.

Washington's two women's relays each ran the fastest times for Husky quartets in two seasons. In the 4x100m, Falesha Ankton, Dominique Lauderdale, Jordan Carlson, and Bianca Greene carried the baton around the track in 46.28 seconds. Later in the evening, Joi Glass, Amber Finley, Syreeta Martin, and Carlson ran the 4x400m in 3:51.09.

In the field events, senior Jared O'Connor won the men's pole vault with a clearance of 16-7 1/4. Sophomore Brooke Pighin had another great day in the javelin, placing third with a throw of 157-5. Junior Zack Midles was also second in the hammer throw, with a solid mark of 206-11.

Taylor Nichols and Nicole Vielma took second and third in the women's triple jump, respectively, with marks of 38-9 1/2 for Nichols and a PR of 37-2 1/2 for Vielma.

In day one of the Oregon Relays, Joey Bywater of Lake Stevens, Wash., earned his first NCAA Regional trip by running 3:45.43 in the 1,500-meter run.

Sophomore Elisa Bryant posted her second Regional qualifier of the season, this one coming in the hammer throw, which he tossed 178-feet and 1-inch. Bryant is also qualified in the discus throw.

A number of other Huskies also enjoyed career-best outings Friday night. Freshman Allison Linnell dropped 13 seconds off her best steeplechase time, running 10:51.67, to just miss the Regional mark by less than two seconds. Linnell already ranks sixth on UW's Top-10 steeple list. In the men's steeple, David McCary dropped seven seconds from his personal best, placing sixth in 9:22.66.

Several PR's came out of the 1,500m runs. Senior Emily Collins ran 4:38.13 and freshman Kayla Evans was close behind in 4:40.77. On the men's side, junior Jake Schmitt got some work at a quicker pace than his usual longer distances, and PR'd in 3:50.75. Redshirt freshman Faisal Abdullahi also ran 3:53.92, five seconds faster than his season-best.

In the 5,000-meters, junior Brooke Anderson ran a significant best, crossing the line in 17:10.50, more than 13 seconds than her previous fastest.

Still more PR's came from sophomore Peter Follmer in the discus throw, who threw 165-7, and from freshman decathlete Jeremy Taiwo, who threw a very strong 175-3 in the javelin. UW's top javelin thrower, sophomore Kyle Nielsen, took third in a loaded field with a mark of 227-4.

Eastern Washington sent several athletes to Eugene, led by Nicole Luckenbach who broke her own school record in the hammer with a throw of 185-7 to finish fourth. It was her third throw this season of over 180 feet. Earlier this season she qualified for the NCAA West Regionals and Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships with a throw of 182-10 that broke Julie Nielson’s record of 182-8 set in 2001.

Michelle Coombs had a personal-best javelin throw of 148-3 to finish fourth. That mark ranks her eighth in school history. Ashley Stabl had a personal-best 400-meter hurdle time of 1:02.34 to rank seventh in EWU history. New conference qualifier Mari Bingham had a throw of 41-10 1/2 to finish seventh in the shot put.

On the men’s side, Armand Hopkins finished eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 46-4 1/2 to qualify for the conference championships.

Other BSC Championship qualifiers include Paul Limpf and Kersee Lind. Limpf qualified in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:33.64 and Lind qualified in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.38.

Back in Spokane, two Washington State University freshmen women reached NCAA Regional Qualifying marks in the javelin, and two more frosh women won other throwing events Saturday at the Duane Hartman Invitational Track and Field Meet at Spokane Falls Community College.

Courtney Kirkwood (Othello, Wash.) won the women's javelin with a lifetime-best and improved NCAA RQ mark of 170-feet, 8 inches (52.01m). Kirkwood's throw was a 10-foot improvement on her PR and the second-best toss in Cougar women's history, behind sophomore teammate Marissa Tschida's 175-11 thrown last week. Kirkwood's throw also broke Tschida's freshman school record of 161-8 thrown last year.

Jennifer Hamilton (Longview, Wash.) finished second in the javelin with a PR and NCAA RQ throw of 149-3 (45.49m), the ninth-best throw in WSU history, and the fourth Cougar woman to reach NCAA RQ in the javelin this season. Hamilton was also runner-up in the shot put by 1/4 inch to fellow frosh Anna Albrecht (Pullman) who won with a toss of 41-7 1/4 (12.68m).

"Courtney has been working hard to get caught back up in the javelin after training for the heptathlon all through the fall," Cougar Associate Coach and throws coach Debra Farwell said. "She has worked every day of the spring on the javelin. Last week she had a couple of good training days, worked on a couple of cues and she was back in sync with javelin throwing. Today she warmed up well and hit those cues. Today there was no doubt she was a javelin thrower."

Rounding out the Cougar freshman women's day, Kjirsten Jensen (Arlington, Wash.) won the women's hammer with a PR throw of 167-7 (51.07m) and Cassie Whitfield (Puyallup, Wash.) placed third with a PR throw of 156-0 (47.56m). Ashley Kenney (Spokane Valley) was the runner-up in the women's discus with a season-best throw of 146-2 (44.55m) and fourth in the shot put (38-8 3/4).

Barry Leavitt (senior, Benton City, Wash.) won the men's 400m hurdles with a season-best and improved NCAA RQ time of 51.30 seconds. Trevor Habberstad finished second in the intermediate hurdles with a time of 53.65.

Phil MacArthur (senior, Ione, Wash.) won the men's hammer with an NCAA RQ throw of 198-0 (60.36m), but has already thrown 199-5 this season. Conner Larned (freshman, Enumclaw, Wash.) finished second in the hammer throw with a toss of 153-8 (46.85m), a PR improvement of nearly 30-feet. Larned won the discus with a throw of 160-1 (48.80m) with Joe Bartlett second (157-7).

Other Cougar women winning events Saturday included: Morgan Clem (200m, 25.54), Emily Farrar (1500m, 4:42.28), Jalisa Williams (100m hurdles, 14.92), Lorraine King (400m hurdles, 1:00.95), Alexa Huestis (pole vault, 11-11 3/4), and the 4x100m relay team of Angela Jensen, Princess Joy Griffey, Candace Missouri and Clem (47.04).

WSU men claiming victories included: Joe Abbott (800m, 1:53.08), Trevor Habberstad (110m hurdles, 14.86), Beau Carrillo (pole vault, 15-1), Moreno Zapata (triple jump, 46-7 1/4) and the 4x400m relay team of Kyle Schauble, Abbott, Luke Lemenager and Bob Hewitt-Gaffney (3:21.38).

For Eastern Washington, Bonnie Berscheid had a season-best throw of 156-2 in the discus to win that event. The two-time defending Big Sky discus champion had already qualified for the regional and conference championships earlier this season with a throw of 155-9. Her career-best throw of 157-11 came last year at the NCAA West Regionals when she finished ninth.

New conference qualifier Irene Lowe had a high jump mark of 5-3 3/4 to win that event.

Gonzaga's team, composed entirely of distance runners, saw Laura Volcheff and Lindsey Drake posted second-place finishes on the women's side and Jared Graham ran a season-best in the men's 800 meters to highlight Gonzaga University's performance.

Volcheff was runner-up in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 11:45.71, just a half-second shy of her season best. Molly Funk, participating in the event for the first time this season, was seventh in 12:01.72.

Drake finished second in the 5,000 meters in 19:23.45 while Molly Moore was fourth in 20:15.70.

Graham posted the best Bulldog time of the season in the 800 meters, placing sixth in 1:58.03.

Ian Berge finished sxith in the men's 5,000 meters in 16:06.59, just shy of his season best of 16:06.05, while Brian Slamkowski was seventh in 16:09.73, shattering his previous season best of 16:09.73.

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