Friday, May 8, 2009

Quick link to Friday's Ken Shannon/Ken Foreman Invitational...

Here's a link to Friday's Ken Shannon/Ken Foreman Invitational track & field meet, to be held at Husky Stadium and co-hosted by the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University.

Seattle Pacific's release on the meet can be accessed here
. Both releases include a meet schedule and a start list.

The Huskies plan to rest most of their key athletes in preparation for next week's Pac-10 Conference meet in Eugene.

However, co-host Seattle Pacific along with some of the other teams that were supposed to run in last week's Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet at Western Oregon before a case of swine flu on campus forced cancellation of the meet, will treat it like a championship, as it serves as a last chance qualifier for the NCAA Division II meet in Texas later this month.

While the disappointment of not getting to compete for conference crowns was clear, SPU coach Karl Lerum and his teams understood the perspective of the matter. Numerous schools around the country closed because of swine flu cases, and events of all types were postponed or cancelled.

“What can you say -- no one expects this kind of thing to happen,” Lerum said. “But it’s understandable. There really was no alternative.”

Lerum said the cancellation drove home a point with the team.

“What Erika (assistant coach Daligcon) and I have talked about is the one thing you can learn from this meet is to seize your opportunities when you have them,” Lerum said. “You can’t know how many (of those opportunities) exist. You don’t know what injuries or life events lie in store.”

Initially, Lerum hadn’t intended to enter a full team in the Shannon/Foreman Invite. But he quickly revised those plans after the GNACs were cancelled.

“Anyone who is close (to an NCAA automatic or provisional time) will definitely get to try,” he said. “And any kid who wants to end their season on the track and not in a hotel room (which is where the Falcons were gathering for a team meeting just prior to the GNAC cancellation announcement) will get to go.”

The start time of the meet has been moved up half an hour this week, and now begins at 3 p.m. with the women's discus and women's pole vault, while the first track event, the women's steeplechase, goes off at 4:15 p.m. The evening's final event, the men's 4x400m relay, is slated to begin at 8:20 p.m. Admission is free for all fans.

This year's Shannon-Foreman meet will feature mostly Northwest student-athletes, with teams from Central Washington, Eastern Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, Portland State, UPS, Pacific Lutheran, and Seattle U. joining the Huskies and Falcons.

The Huskies' Austin Abbott is slated to run the 800-meters in what would be his final home appearance as a Husky. Expect Abbott to shoot for a PR in his final run, and try to set up two teammates, Brian Govier & Ryan Soberanis for possible NCAA regional qualifying marks.

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

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