Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sarah Porter finishes fifth in NCAA D-II 10000 to highlight day 1 of championships...

Western Washington University's Sarah Porter (left/photo courtesy WWU Sports Information) placed fifth in the women's 10,000 meters Thursday night in opening-day action at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships being held at the LeGrand Sports Complex in San Angelo, Texas.

Porter, who was timed in 36:02.72, was an automatic qualifier in the event, being ranked fifth nationally entering the meet.

It was the second national outdoor appearance for Porter, who also has gone twice in cross country and indoor track. The finish earned her All-America recognition as she completed a sweep of earning that honor in all three sports during the 2008-09 academic year.

"Sarah led or was near the lead for the first half of the race," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "She had a solid race, but she just couldn't run that pace today in the second half."

The Vikings' Lauren Breihof (So., Vancouver/Mountain View) finished 14th in that event with a time of 37:32.45.

SPU sophomore Janae Larson (Puyallup, Wash.) ran to a 16th-place finish. Larson, making her first NCAA appearance, stopped the watches in 38 minutes, 40.83 seconds.

Western's Jordan Welling (So., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) placed 12th in the men's 10,000, being clocked in 31:24.50.

Ellie Siler (Fr., Spokane/Lewis & Clark) set a WWU school record in the women's 400 with a time of 54.59, 1.19 seconds better than her previous best. She won her heat and had the third best time of the prelims.

Heidi Dimmitt (Sr., Wenatchee), making her third outdoor national appearance, set a school record in the women's 400 hurdles. Her time of 1:00.31 was 1.26 seconds better than her previous best.

Dimmitt, who entered with the 12th-best time in NCAA II on the season, was second in her heat and had the fifth-best semifinal time overall. She placed fourth at nationals last year.

Both previous school records were set in 1994 by Brandi (Stevenson) Petz, now a Western assistant coach.

"They (Dimmitt and Siler) were really on today and this is where you want them to do that," Halsell said.

For the Falcons of Seattle Pacific, Jessica Pixler won her qualifying heat of the 1500 meters in 4 minutes, 31.43 seconds at the LeGrand Sports Complex, giving her the second seed for Saturday afternoon’s finals. Pixler actually had just the fourth-fastest prelim time, but is the No. 2 seed for finals by virtue of winning her heat.

Pixler (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) won her heat by nearly two seconds. Mary Dell of Shippensburg was second in 4:33.33.

Falcon junior Jane Larson (Fall City, Wash./Cedar Park Christian HS) finished fourth in her preliminary heat in 4:31.65, making her the seventh seed for the finals.

“It went about as expected,” Falcons coach Karl Lerum said. “They looked comfortable out there. Jessica ran with about a 30-meter lead early in the race, and then backed off at the end.

The Vikings' Anthony Tomsich (Jr., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) advanced in the men's 1,500 by placing fifth in his semifinal heat with a time of 3:52.96, a mark that was 11th overall.

Tomsich was an All-American in 2007, finishing fourth, before missing the 2008 season because of Achilles' tendinitis.

The only action for the Falcons on Friday will be in the pole vault. Sophomore Melissa Peaslee (Fox Island, Wash./Gig Harbor HS) comes in tied for the 16th seed.

On Friday, Western's Christy Miller (Sr., Boise, Id./Bishop Kelly) competes in the women's pole vault. Taking part in preliminary races will be Rachael Johnson (So., Yakima/West Valley) in the women's 800, Porter in the women's 5,000 and Welling in the men's 5,000.

Central Washington shot putter Krissy Tandle from Wenatchee looks to add the outdoor title to the indoor crown that she won in March.

On Saturday, the Vikings' Clara Cook (Sr., Wenatchee) competes in the women's high jump as will Tomsich in the 1,500 final, Siler in the 400 final, Dimmitt in the 400 hurdles final.

Saturday’s final day of competition will see Falcon seniors Jeeni Schantin (West Linn, Ore.) and Lauren VerMulm (Mount Vernon, Wash./Mount Vernon HS) compete in the javelin. Schantin comes in as the second seed with a throw of 160 feet, 1 inch, and VerMulm is seeded sixth at 148-8.

Finals in the men's and women's 5,000 and women's 800 are also that day.

Results from the NCAA Division II track & field championships can be accessed here.

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

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