Friday, May 29, 2009

Arrivey advances; Peterson highlights Husky efforts at NCAA West Regionals...

While he didn't defend his NCAA Western regional high jump title, Woodinville's Trent Arrivey from Washington State is assured a shot at another All-America certificate as Arrivey advanced to the national championship meet in two weeks with his fifth place finish Friday at Eugene's Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

The reigning Pac-10 high jump champ, Arrivey finished fifth with a clearance of 6-feet, 10 1/4 inches (2.09m), well-below his personal-best mark of 7-4 1/2 (2.25m) jumped earlier this season, but is relieved to advance on to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the NCAA championships in a fortnight.

In a meet where fifth place is just as good as a victory, the word advance took special meaning for five members of the University of Washington track team.

Senior pole vaulter Andrea Peterson (above/photo courtesy University of Washington) saved her best for what could have been her last, and in doing so made sure she would add one more meet to her schedule, as Peterson led five Huskies that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships today at the West Regionals.

Peterson turned in a massive PR in the women's pole vault to place second amidst an outstanding field and extend her season to her first NCAA Championships, which follows this weekend's meet in two weeks time. Peterson came in with a lifetime-best of 13-feet, 2.25-inches set indoors, and was only seeded 17th in the West Region, but she went up and over consecutive new PR's, ending at 13-9 ¾ which is the second-best vault in UW history behind former NCAA Champion Kate Soma.

"I'm in so much shock right now," said Peterson after celebrating with a large group of family and friends. "My idols have pole vaulted at UW. Absolutely phenomenal female vaulters, and to be second all-time is ridiculous, I don't even know how that happened! It's been really, really fun. It was a really good day."

Prior to this year, the fifth-year senior's lifetime outdoor best was 12-1 ½. Her win was reminiscent of current senior Jared O'Connor, who raised his PR by nearly a foot at last year's Regionals to go from the outside looking in to Regional Champion and second at the national meet. O'Connor will try to defend his title tomorrow afternoon.

"I peaked at the right time and I'm so excited that happened," said Peterson. "I've been battling injuries all year. I'm in awe. I had it in the back of my mind that this could happen because I'd been practicing really well, so as long as practice played over to the meet I felt this could happen."

Here's an interview with Peterson, courtesy of media partner

Javelin thrower Kyle Nielsen finished fifth with a throw of 225-8.

Another NCAA trip was booked soon after by another strong-armed thrower, as sophomore Elisa Bryant placed fifth in the hammer throw in a bit of an upset. Bryant was seeded just 11th coming in, but overtook five women with better marks this year to earn her first national outdoor bid. Her best throw was her second, which traveled 188-10. Sixth-place was just three inches short of Bryant and seventh was three inches short of that.

Five-time All-American Katie Follett maneuvered her way to a second-place finish in the 5,000-meter final in 16:24.52. Close behind was junior Anita Campbell who secured the third NCAA bid of her career in the 5k with a fourth-place finish in 16:25.49.

Campbell should also advance to nationals in the 10000, which along with the multi-events, is not contested at the regional championships, but relies on the current NCAA performance lists.

No athletes from Eastern Washington earned spots for the NCAA championships Friday. Their women's 4 x 100 meter relay team advanced to Saturday's finals.

The University of Washington's release can be accessed here, while Washington State's recap of Friday's competition can be seen here.

Complete results from Friday's competition can be accessed here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, and the University of Oregon all contributed to this report.

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