Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kara Patterson sets NCAA Mideast Regional record in javelin

Reigning Olympic Trials champion Kara Patterson from Vancouver won the javelin at the NCAA Mideast Regionals in Louisville, Kentucky.

Patterson set an NCAA Mideast regional meet record, throwing the spear 192-1 (58.56m) to break the previous mark of 185-11 (56.68m) set by Irina Kharun of Indiana in 2003.

In other action involving athletes from Washington state, Andy McClary from Shelton, who now attends Arkansas finished third in the men's 1500, running 3:49.18. Twin brother Alex finished seventh in the men's 800, running 1:54.12.

Lagat falls short in attempt to run sub-13 for 5000; runs his fastest time since 2006

Former Washington State standout and double world champion Bernard Lagat's bid to break 13 minutes for 5000 meters came up a bit short, as he ran 13:03.06 to finish second behind Kenya's Micah Kogo at the Reebok Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium in New York City.

Lagat's time in Saturday's nationally televised stop on the Visa Championship Series tour was the fastest he's run over the distance since the 2006 season, when he set his personal best over the distance of 12:59.22.

Kogo's winning time was the fastest 5000 ever run on American soil, eclipsing Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia's mark of 13:04.05, set in this meet last year.

Three time Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way finished second in the women's discus behind Olympic teammate and 2008 gold medalist Stephanie Brown-Trafton, throwing 202-5 (61.71m) to the Olympic champion's meet record of 209-10 (63.97m).

Former University of Washington and Boise State thrower Justin St. Clair finished fifth in the men's javelin with a toss of 224-6 (68.43m).

In the men's 1500 meter run, Auburn High School graduate Chris Lukezic was a distant eleventh in a time of 3:43.15, as 2008 US Olympian Leo Manzano cruised to the victor in 3:34.14.

Complete results from the Reebok Grand Prix can be accessed by clicking this link.

Boase, Lawrence, Roth, Anderson & Woods win NCAA regional titles in Eugene...

Mel Lawrence of Washington set a personal best of 9:52.77 to win the steeplechase at the NCAA West Regionals Saturday at Eugene's Hayward Field.

Lawrence once again controlled the women's steeplechase from start to finish, lowering her PR and school record once again in a time of 9:52.77.

Jordan Boase won the 400 meters, running 45.94, with teammate Jeff Gudaitis finishing fourth in 46.90.

An ecstatic Gudaitis said afterwards, “"In the 400, I was coming in sixth and I knew there were five guys that had run faster than me so I just had to go out hard," said Gudaitis. "It was nice having Jordan to my inside because he came out harder so I knew I had to push it too. That just made me run faster. From being an alternate last year at NCAA's to this year I'm in two events, it's really exciting."

Husky sophomore Scott Roth won the pole vault with a clearance of 17-11 (5.46m). Defending champion Jared O'Connor finished in a tie for fifth with a mark of 17-3 (5.26m), but won the jumpoff against UCLA’s Johnny Quinn by clearing 17-7 for the final automatic bid to the national championships.

Roth took three attempts at Brad Walker’s school record by attempting 18-8, but was unsuccessful.

Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson successfully defended his NCAA West regional title, winning the 400 intermediate hurdles in 50.31. Senior Barry Leavitt finished fourth to earn an automatic spot in the NCAA championships in two weeks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Washington State's Justin Woods won the 200 meters, and led teammate Marlon Murray to a third place finish. Woods ran 20.90, while Murray ran 21.26.

Woods finished second in the 100, running 10.33, with Murray scoring a fifth place finish in 10.57.

Lisa Egami took third in the women’s 1500, running 4:23.84.

Sam Ahlbeck of Washington State squeezed out the fifth and final auto qualifier to Fayetteville in the 3000 steeplechase, running 8:58.92.

Cougar sophomore Marissa Tschida was fifth in the javelin, as she threw 159-5 (48.60m), nosing out Eastern Washington freshman Michelle Coombs, who threw 153-4 (46.73m).

WSU's Matt Lamb finished fifth in the men's discus with a toss of 190-11 (58.20m). Teammate Robert Williams earned a spot to the national championships in the 110 hurdles with a fourth place finish, running a wind-aided 13.71.

The Huskies' 4 x 100m relay team of Gudaitis, Kenjamine Jackson, Randy Bacon and Joe Turner finished third in 40.18, scoring an unexpected national championship berth.

Washington's Zack Midles was fourth in the hammer throw, with a toss of 210-9 (64.23m), after being in sixth until letting loose his best throw in the sixth and final round.

In the men's 1500, former Nathan Hale standout Abdi Hassan was fourth in 3:42.05, and former UW runner Jordan McNamara from Auburn, now competing for the University of Oregon finished fifth in 3:43.10. The Huskies' Austin Abbott was tenth in 3:51.59.

At-large selections will be announced this coming Tuesday, with the NCAA meet again set for June 10-13th.

Complete results from the NCAA West regionals can be accessed by clicking this link.

Pro news: Lagat, Lukezic, Thurmond & St. Clair compete in Reebok Grand Prix...

Four athletes with Washington ties are among the competitors in Saturday's nationally-televised Reebok Grand Prix track meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island in New York.

The Reebok Grand Prix is the fourth stop of USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series.

Reigning double world champion Bernard Lagat, formerly from Washington State, is part of a field that organizers hope will produce the first sub-13:00 for 5000 meters ever on U.S. soil. The field will include 2009 World Cross Country champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, Kenyans Micah Kogo, Edwin Soi, and Haron Lagat, Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico, Abdi Abdirahman of the U.S., and Sam Chelanga, the 2008 NCAA Cross Country runner-up from Liberty University.

Former Auburn High School standout Chris Lukezic, who was spiked two weeks ago at the adidas Track Classic in Carson, California, hopes to bounce back from that disappointment as he runs the 1500 in a field that includes Alan Webb, Steve Sherer, and 2008 Olympian Leonel Manzano.

Fresh off her tour on the Brazilian circuit, three-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way will spin the discus against Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton, and long-time rival Suzy Powell-Roos.

The men's javelin features former University of Washington and Boise State thrower Justin St. Clair.

NBC Sports will provide coverage of the Reebok Grand Prix from 4:30pm to 6:00pm EST.

The link to the web site of the Reebok Grand Prix is here...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kasen Williams wins WIAA state 4A high jump title...

You might not know the name now, but if you love prep track and field, and especially prep football, remember this name--Kasen Williams (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Skyline High School in Sammamish.

In a bit of a mild upset, Williams won the Washington state 4A high jump title, clearing a personal best of 6-10 to defeat two seven-foot jumpers in sophomore Rahmel Dockery of Curtis in Tacoma, and reigning state champion Anthony "AJ" Maricich of Mead in Spokane.

Williams' previous personal best was 6-6.

Williams finished second earlier in the day in the triple jump with a mark of 47-10.5. He'll contest the long jump on Saturday.

If you follow prep football, Williams is one of Washington's premier wide receivers, and caught the winning pass from quarterback Jake Heaps (one of the country's top high school quarterbacks) in a nationally-televised game over Bothell on October 30th.

His father, Aaron, was a former Washington state high school triple jump champion out of Tacoma's Wilson High, and a standout wide receiver for the University of Washington, playing in the 1981 and 1982 Rose Bowls for the Huskies.

Here is the Seattle Times' recap of Williams' day at the state meet.

Here is a video paulmerca.blogspot.com produced for media partner flotrack.org, including Williams' winning jump and a post-event interview.

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 Flotrack.org.



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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cougs, Dawgs & Eagles head to Eugene for NCAA West Regionals...

The second leg of the postseason for Washington, Washington State & Eastern Washington happens at Oregon's Hayward Field for the NCAA West Regional Championships. Regionals are essentially the turnstile for the NCAA Track & Field Championships in mid-June, with athletes needing top-five finishes to earn automatic bids to the national meet. The competition runs Friday and Saturday, May 29-30.

Washington & Washington State were at Historic Hayward Field for the Pac-10 Championships less than two weeks ago, and the Huskies came away with five individual titles, its most since 1998. Washington State is coming off a fourth place team finish in the men's competition.

Competition begins on Friday at 2:40 p.m. with the men's javelin and runs until the 5,000-meters at 7:30 p.m. Things pick back up Saturday at 12 p.m. with the men's discus and go until 4:50 when the final of the men's 4x400m relay takes place.

Washington's loaded women's distance crew will have some decisions to make, as multiple athletes are qualified in several events. Two-time Pac-10 1,500-meter champion Katie Follett ranks fourth in the 5,000-meters, sixth in the 800-meters, but just 11th in the 1,500 despite her Pac-10 win in Eugene. Redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence, the Pac-10 steeplechase champ, is also ranked fifth in the 5k and qualifying for nationals in both would be a tough task. Junior Kailey Campbell and freshman Christine Babcock also both have excellent times in both the 800m and 1500m and could double or choose to focus on one or the other.

The women have five total qualifiers at 5,000-meters including Follett, Lawrence, Pac-10 10,000-meter champ Anita Campbell, and sophomores Kenna Patrick and Lauren Saylor. Junior Falesha Ankton, second in the region in 2008, will look for her second NCAA bid in the 100m hurdles. Sophomores Brooke Pighin and Elisa Bryant lead the women's throws. Pighin ranks 7th in the region in the javelin and Bryant is 11th in the hammer throw. Both are looking to make their first NCAA Outdoor meet. Andrea Peterson and Lara Jones in the pole vault, and Kelly McNamee in the high jump hope to add another meet to their 2009 season with big leaps.

Leading the men will be senior All-Americans Jordan Boase (400) and Austin Abbott (800/1500). Both have racked up five All-American honors, and will certainly be bent on advancing to one last NCAA meet.

The men have a very real shot at sending three vaulters to nationals, with Pac-10 champ Scott Roth leading the way. Senior Jared O'Connor is the defending West Region pole vault champ, and junior Ryan Vu has come into this own of late and scored at the Pac-10 Championships.

Senior sprinter Joe Turner is qualified in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay and could run all three. Turner just missed an NCAA bid last year, finishing 6th in the 200m. Jeff Gudaitis also was one place away last year in the 400m dash, and is back again this season.

Washington State University will be represented by 15 men and 13 women competitors, including reigning NCAA regional champs Jeshua Anderson at 400 hurdles, and Trent Arrivey in the high jump. Pac-10 400 hurdles champ Lorraine King leads the Cougar women's squad into Eugene.

Eastern sends Aaron Mettler, John Clevenger, Cody Irby, Chelsi Friese, Krystal Deyo, Nicole Luckenbach, Michelle Coombs and Amanda Peterson. Stephen Praast and the women's 4x100 relay team earned automatic berths to regionals by placing first in their events at the Big Sky Conference Championships.

Start lists for the men's competition can be accessed here. Women's start lists can be accessed here.

For those planning to drive to Eugene, the time schedule can be accessed here.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hot link of the day: UW Daily feature on pole vaulters Ryan Vu, Jared O'Connor & Scott Roth...

In the run-up to Friday & Saturday's NCAA West Regional track & field championships in Eugene, The Daily of the University of Washington has a feature on the Husky pole vaulters.

For the first time in school history, the University of Washington has three 17-foot vaulters in the form of sophomore Scott Roth, junior Ryan Vu (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), and senior Jared O'Connor.

Roth is the most accomplished of the trio, as the current Pac-10 pole vault champ has a wealth of experience competing internationally while still a high school student, and O'Connor is coming off a 2008 season where he placed an unexpected second in the NCAA outdoor meet in Des Moines.

But perhaps the most improved vaulter is Vu, out of Interlake High School in Bellevue, who was stuck at 16 feet for two years before focusing on fixing key mistakes during the off-season instead of making big heights.

To read the rest of the story, please click here...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hot link of the day: RW interview with Bernard Lagat...

In advance of Saturday's Reebok Grand Prix meet in New York on Saturday, Runner's World Online's Peter Gambaccini interviewed Bernard Lagat, who is entered in the men's 5000 meter run.

The Reebok Grand Prix is part of USA Track & Field's Visa Championship Series cumulating with the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in late June in Eugene, Oregon. The Reebok Grand Prix will be televised by NBC Sports.

The field will include 2009 World Cross Country champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, Kenyans Micah Kogo, Edwin Soi, and Haron Lagat, Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico, Abdi Abdirahman of the U.S., and Sam Chelanga, the 2008 NCAA Cross Country runnerup from Liberty University. Bernard Lagat ran his own 5000-meter best of 12:59.22 in London in 2006.

The goal for the field is to go under 13:00, a feat never accomplished on American soil. Gambaccini writes that the promoters have assembled two pacemakers to ensure that the pace is fast enough to go sub-13.

After Reebok, Lagat will run the 3000 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on June 7th, then run the 5000 at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships three weeks later.

As the defending world champion at 1500 and 5000 from Osaka, all the former Washington State standout needs to do to go to Berlin is simply compete in Eugene at the nationals.

He joked, "I don't have to do much of anything. I can go in there and try and run against Kerron Clement in the 400 hurdles. No problem. I will do, what, 66 (seconds)? I can do that. I will be the slowest man in the history of the 400 hurdles (laughs)."

To read the full interview, click here...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Aretha Thurmond concludes Brazilian tour with fourth place finish in Belém...

Aretha Thurmond's Brazilian tour concluded Sunday as the former Renton High School and University of Washington standout finished fourth in the discus at the 25th edition of the “Grande Prêmio Brasil Caixa/Governo do Pará de Atletismo” in Belém.

The Federal Way resident threw 195-1 (59.46 meters) to finish behind Cuba's Yarelis Barrios (203-7/62.05m), Cuba's Yarisley Collado (202-3/61.65m), and Nicoleta Grasu of Romania (198-6/60.50m), the same three women she faced in Uberlândia.

The IAAF's account of the meet can be accessed by clicking here.

Results from the meet can be accessed here.

Here is video of Aretha throwing, courtesy of arethathrows.com:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

No surprise--Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler wins her second career NCAA D-II 1500m title...

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Just two weeks ago, Jessica Pixler was in the swimming pool, working out in the water because of a sore hamstring.

By this week, she was back on the track -- and back on top of the NCAA awards podium, too.

Battling the wind, the Seattle Pacific junior captured the second NCAA Division II outdoor 1,500-meter title of her career on Saturday afternoon. She fended off Wisconsin-Parkside’s Jessica Monson at the wire to prevail by 63 hundredths of a second at the LeGrand Sports Complex.

Pixler (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) stopped the watches in 4 minutes, 26.75 seconds, with Monson right behind her in 4:27.38. SPU teammate Jane Larson (Fall City, Wash./Cedar Park Christian HS) was fifth.

“I just thank God I was able to run today and was able to run pain-free,” Pixler said after her earning her fourth NCAA championship this school year (she won cross country last fall and added a pair of indoor track titles during the winter) and the eighth of her career (two cross country, four indoor track and two outdoor track).

“I was hoping to PR in the race and to run even splits, but I went out a little too fast and that came back and got me in the end,” Pixler added. “I was just thankful to be out running.”

Larson hit the wire in 4:32.45. This was her first time in the NCAA 1,500. Larson ran in the now-discontinued 3,000 meters as a freshman and sophomore, taking second place in that event last year.

Both Pixler and Larson earned All-American status.

Pixler came into Thursday’s preliminaries at the top seed with a 4:17.68 and won her heat in 4:31.43, the day’s fourth-fastest time. Among those ahead of her was Northwest Nazarene rival Ashley Puga, whose 4:29.41 on Thursday made her the top seed for Saturday’s final.

But Pixler took charge of the title race right away and never let up.

“Jessica went out real aggressive, and built about a 30-meter lead,” Falcons coach Karl Lerum said. “There was a pretty stiff wind at the time of the race. Under normal conditions, she would have been fine. But she had to work really hard the first two laps.”

Of Pixler’s eight NCAA crowns, this one, with the winning margin of 63 hundredths, was the closest. Her previous close call was in the outdoor 1,500 in 2007. Pixler, then a freshman won that by 1.87 seconds.

Larson also had plenty of hard work to do on Saturday after getting boxed in with a group right at the start.

“I was trapped in the middle of that. I had to get out around it,” Larson said. “Going into 800, I had to make a move. The only way to do that was to run way out on the corner. I started gaining some ground, but with 200 meters to go, I got passed by one girl, then two more on the straightaway.”

Even so, Lerum was plenty pleased with Larson’s performance.

“Jane ran such a gutsy race,” Lerum said. “She made big moves in the first part of the race. She went out and she wasn’t running any conservative race. She was going for it.”

Jeeni Schantin of the Falcons let go with her best throw of the day on the first try, tossing the javelin 153 feet, 11 inches, to take third place in that event on Saturday.

The Seattle Pacific senior, making her second appearance in the D-2 nationals, moved up one spot from her 2008 finish. Schantin (West Linn, Ore.) improved more than eight feet from last year’s performance of 145-9.

“Jeeni had a very comfortable first throw,” Lerum said.

Fellow Falcon senior Lauren VerMulm (Mount Vernon, Wash./Mount Vernon HS) wound up 10th at 137-10. She was going for her fourth All-American honor, but that required a top-8 finish. Schantin did earn All-American for the second straight year.

Linda Brivule of Abilene Christian repeated as javelin champion, winning with a throw of 162-11. She set the meet record last year at 169-9, and came into this year’s meet as the top seed at 184-6½.

Seattle Pacific finished with 20 points to tie for 11th in the team standings.

For Western Washington, senior Heidi Dimmitt from Wenatchee (left/photo courtesy WWU) placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, as did freshman Ellie Siler (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) in the 400, and sophomore Sarah Porter (Hockinson) finished seventh in the 5,000 to earn All-America honors.

It was Porter's second All-America effort in three days as she placed fifth in the 10,000 (36:02.72) on opening-day Thursday.

Porter, who had the best time in Friday's 5,000 semifinals (17:15.90), was clocked in 17:02.19 in the final.

"She led for the first two miles," Halsell said. "That was the strategy she needed to win, but it cost her a little at the end. It was a tough double for her."

It was the second straight year that Dimmitt received All-America recognition in the 400 hurdles as she placed fourth in 2008. She entered the competition with the 12th best time nationally in Division II.

Making her third consecutive national appearance, Dimmitt finished fifth with a time of 1:00.83.

"She had an amazing career," said Halsell of Dimmitt.

Siler, who ranked 16th nationally, was clocked in 55.46 as she placed fifth in the 400. Just 1.03 seconds separated the first five finishers.

"It was fun seeing a freshman get after it," said Halsell.

Both Dimmitt (1:00.31) and Siler (54.59) broke school records in preliminary heats Thursday.

Two other Vikings competed in finals Saturday. Clara Cook (Sr., Wenatchee) tied for 11th in the women's high jump, clearing 5-6; and Anthony Tomsich (Jr., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) placed 11th in the men's 1,500 with a time of 3:59.20.

The Vikings placed 17th in the women's team standings with 14 points.

Complete results from the NCAA Division II championships can be accessed by clicking here.

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

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 2 NCAA Division II Championships recap...

Sophomore Melissa Peaslee from Seattle Pacific had a tough day in the pole vault at the LeGrand Sports Complex on the campus of Angelo State University. Peaslee came up short on all three tries at the opening height of 11 feet, 9¼ inches.

Western Washington's Krissy Miller finished 14th with a mark of 11-9.25 (3.59m).

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day among athletes from Washington schools, Central Washington's Krissy Tandle from Wenatchee was a distant twelfth in the shot put, only throwing 44-5.5 (13.55m).

After her opening round throw, Tandle, the reigning NCAA Division II indoor champion, fouled two straight times, and was unable to advance to the finals and obtain three more throws.

Preliminary action on the track saw Western's Rachael Johnson finish sixth in her heat of the 800 meters, clocking 2:14.69.

Western's Sarah Porter, who finished fifth in the 10000 meters Thursday night, won her heat of the 5000, clocking 17:15.90, the fastest time of the evening.

Porter is on a collision course to face NCAA Division II cross country champ Neely Spence of Shippenburg, who was the top finisher at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan in March. Spence ran 17:20.44 to finish second in her heat Friday.

Jordan Welling of WWU, who finished twelfth in the 10000 Thursday night, finished eighth in his heat of the 5000, running 14:53.67, and will not advance to Saturday's finals.

The NCAA Division II championships conclude Saturday on the campus of Angelo State University.

Complete results from the NCAA championships can be accessed by clicking here.

Aretha Thurmond fourth in Uberlandia...

Federal Way's Aretha Thurmond continued her Brazilian tour with a fourth place finish on Wednesday at the Grande Prêmio SESI/Caixa de Atletismo, which took place in the Brazilian city of Uberlândia.

Under cool conditions, Thurmond threw 195-3 (59.51m) to finish behind Cuba's Yarelis Barrios (208-2/63.45m), Nicoleta Grasu of Romania (207-9/63.34m), and Cuba's Yarisley Collado (205-4/62.60m).

To read the IAAF's account of the meet, click here.

Courtesy of arethathrows.com, here is video footage of her throwing:

Hot link of the day...

Here's a quick link to an open letter that Universal Sports' Alan Abrahamson wrote to USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan, and an even quicker response from Logan himself.

Abrahamson, who is one of the country's most respected Olympic sports writers, points out the flaws behind last week's adidas Track Classic in Carson as an example of why USATF needs to take over ownership of track and field at the professional level.

He writes, "First and foremost is this: USATF needs to own the sport of track and field in this country. Right now, it does not. Who does? Shoe companies? Agents? Coaches? Promoters? It’s not clear. But what is clear is this: If your federation is going to work with people who put on meets under the USATF aegis, the responsibility is then on you to insure the meet is up to acceptable standards. If it doesn’t go well, what entity is most vulnerable to looking bad? Yours. Who has ultimate authority and responsibility? You."

"To continue the thought: Do you see the NFL ceding that authority – granting individual promoters the right to put on its games? The NBA? Major League Baseball? Hardly. So that’s the case in track and field because – why, exactly?"

As a friend of mine from California who covers the sport on a regular basis at the national and international level continues to harp on various message boards, including letsrun.com, for pro track and field to be more relevant to the general sports fan, it must be relevant in America's biggest cities, including Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.

Abrahamson, who called the meet, "seriously not good" continues with his analysis of last week's adidas meet in Carson by writing, "But no one would make any sort of entertainment connection at the Carson meet – even though it’s but a 20-minute straight shot down the Harbor Freeway from the Staples Center, and that whole Lakers scene. You’re a former concert promoter. Jack Nicholson would look good in the front row watching Allyson Felix, wouldn’t he?"

While attendance at this year's meet was slightly better, there were far too many empty seats at the Home Depot Center in Carson. For a meet of this caliber, having 4500 butts in the seats is just plain embarrasing. There has been talk that this meet will be moved in 2010 to another venue outside LA, most likely Sacramento.

Logan admitted in an interview with Abrahamson Thursday before the announcement of Benita Fitzgerald Mosley that, “It was not our finest hour as a sport. We will get better. Many of the issues you’ve addressed are right on point. Needless to say, I have a healthy respect for the track fans and for the following that our sport has in the Los Angeles area that were not well served over the weekend.

“We’re in the process of trying to pull apart the things we can do on a go-forward basis. We did not cover ourselves with glory this past weekend.”

To read Abrahamson's open letter, click here.

To read Doug Logan's response, click here.

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.

Paul Tergat to run Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Seattle...

The Competitor Group, the promoters of the first annual Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon and Half-Marathon, announced that they have signed Kenyan Paul Tergat (left/photo courtesy IAAF) to run the half-marathon on Saturday June 27th.

Tergat, 39, is a two-time World champion at the Half marathon distance (1999 / 2000).

Tergat, two-time Olympic 10,000m silver medallist from the Atlanta and Sydney Games, recently won the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan with a time of 2:10:22. He held the World record in the marathon from 2003 to 2007, as the first runner in history to break 2:05 with a time of 2:04:55.

Tergat is also a five-time IAAF World Cross Country Champion.

“I’m excited to be part of the first Rock ‘n’ Roll event in Seattle. I’m very happy with my races in 2009 and I’m hoping that will continue at the end of next month,” said Tergat, who will be running his first race in the U.S. since the ING New York City Marathon last year. “I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll in Virginia Beach back in 2002 and I’m looking forward to be being part of another great event. I’ve yet to decide on my plans for the rest of the year but I am enjoying my running at the moment and looking forward to a competitive half marathon.”

Tergat’s PB in the half marathon is 59:17, set in 1998, which at the time was the world’s best and is still one of the top-20 all time fastest times ever recorded for the distance. He is the fourth fastest marathon runner in history and his marathon PB currently ranks as the sixth fastest ever run.

“We are thrilled to have Paul Tergat race in Seattle,” said Matt Turnbull, elite athlete coordinator for the event. “Paul is one of the true icons of athletics and has been a champion whether it be on the track, roads or cross-country.”

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon are now sold out with 25,000 participants, according to its web site.

Around the track: NCAA Division II gets underway; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley expected to be named USATF chief of sport performance...

The NCAA Division II track and field championships get underway Thursday at the LeGrand Sports Complex in San Angelo, Texas hosted by Angelo State University.

Seattle Pacific will send six women to San Angelo, led by top-seeded junior Jessica Pixler in the 1,500 meters and three-time All-American senior Lauren VerMulm in the javelin.

Western Washington sends nine athletes to San Angelo, led by distance runner Sarah Porter, who hopes to earn her third All-American honor this school year to add to her accomplishments during the cross country and indoor track seasons.

National indoor shot put champion Krissy Tandle is Central Washington's lone entrant in the national championships, as she takes aim at her second national title.

Here are links to press releases from Seattle Pacific and Western Washington.

Also, here's a link to Angelo State University's web site for live results of the Division II championships.

USA Track & Field will hold a national teleconference at 11:30 am pacific time Thursday, where CEO Doug Logan and president Stephanie Hightower are expected to announce the hiring of Benita Fitzgerald Mosley as the organization's first chief of sport performance.

Mosley (left/photo courtesy Women's Sports Foundation), a 1984 gold medalist in the 100 meter hurdles, was on the Project 30 committee along with Olympians Carl Lewis, Deena Kastor, and Federal Way's Aretha Thurmond, that made several major recommendations to the federation, including a more professional national team staff, and the termination of the national relay program.

According to the Washington Post's Amy Shipley who broke the story, Fitzgerald Mosley was a natural choice for the position, as she is still close to the sport, but has remained apart from the internal politics of USA Track & Field.

Currently serving as President and CEO of Women in Cable Telecommunications, Fitzgerald Mosley previously worked with the USOC in various administrative and developmental capacities, including as Director of Olympic Training Centers from 1997-2000. She is a trustee and past president of the Women's Sports Foundation Board of Trustees. A native of Virginia, she was named Top Female Sports Figure of the Century from the state by Sports Illustrated.

UPDATE: Here is a link to USA Track & Field's official press release announcing the hire of Fitzgerald Mosley.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Usain Bolt breaks world 150 meter best...

In a specially staged race in Manchester, England on Sunday, Jamaica's Usain Bolt broke the world best at the rarely contested 150 meter sprint at BUPA Great City Games on a track laid in the center of this northern English city.

The 22-year-old Bolt clocked 14.35 seconds for the 150m straight dash, smashing the previous world's best.

IAAF media consultant and BBC statistician Mark Butler confirms that the previous fastest legal time in a 150m race was 14.8 sec by 1980 Olympic 200m champion Pietro Mennea of Italy who ran his time in Cassino, Italy on 22 May 1983.

Here is video of the race:



Bolt's race brought back memories of an event I actually covered twelve years ago in Toronto--the much hyped match race between 1996 Olympic 100 meter champion Donovan Bailey and 200/400 champion Michael Johnson in June 1997 at the SkyDome.

Despite the outcome of the race, which saw Johnson pull up with an injury at around the 60 meter mark, that event, which was supposed to net the winner $1 million (the fine print--each received an appearance fee around $500,000 with the winner receiving another $500K) probably gave the sport the most attention in a post-Olympic year.

Here's the race:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Updates from a couple of 2008 Washington Olympians...

Javelin thrower Kara Patterson from Vancouver won her third Big 10 championship in the javelin for Purdue University on Saturday, throwing the spear 188-6 (57.47m).

Discus thrower Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way, the former Renton HS & UW All-American, finished fourth in the Rio Grand Prix Caixa de Atletismo meet in Brazil Sunday, throwing 191-8 (58.44m).

According to a post on arethathrows.com, Thurmond is next scheduled to compete on Wednesday in Uberlandia, Brazil.

Here is video of Aretha throwing in Rio, courtesy arethathrows.com:

Washington's Katie Follett & WSU's Jeshua Anderson defend Pac-10 titles...

Katie Follett (left/file photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Washington successfully defended her conference title in the 1500 meter run at the Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Follett, from Ft. Collins, Colorado, withstood the challenge of Stanford's Alicia Follmar in winning her second straight Pac-10 title in a time of 4:26.62, nipping Follmar by 4/100ths of a second.

Husky teammate Kailey Campbell, a graduate of Seattle's Ballard High School, finished sixth in 4:29.24, while Lisa Egami of Washington State was one place behind in 4:29.87.

"That was an exciting race," said Follett. "It actually played out a lot like last year. When I got out I wasn't really anticipating being in the lead, which is what happened to me last year, and it kind of worked for my advantage. I was able to go out at a more conservative pace and then I was in a good position with 400 meters to go when it kind of started to break up. So I felt good about my position and coming into the last hundred meters I was thinking about Mel's race yesterday and Anita's race yesterday and I was just really fired up."

Washington senior Jordan Boase captured the elusive Pac-10 title, as he emerged victorious in the men's 400, circling the oval at historic Hayward Field in 45.64, defeating USC's Joey Hughes by .29 seconds.

"I felt fine, I tried to go out hard and then coast to the line," said Boase. "I know I don't have to run real fast yet, so I hoped to hold back the final 200, and that's what I did."

Washington State's Jeshua Anderson finished fifth with a time of 46.73, while fellow Cougar Reny Follett was seventh in 47.68.

In the men's 200, Boase, who was a mild favorite to add the furlong title, suffered a cramp in the race, and limped home in eighth place (39.58).

Ahmad Rashad of USC won the race in 20.82, with Washington State's Justin Woods second in 20.91. The Cougars' Marlon Murray was sixth in 21.37.

Anderson, the reigning NCAA, USA junior, and world junior champion successfully defended his 400 hurdles title, running a dominant 48.90, the fourth fastest time by an American this year.

Cougs Barry Leavitt (51.00), Trevor Habberstad (51.67), and J Hopkins (51.86) trailed Anderson in places 4-6 and 7.

Anderson said, “I was looking to run in the 48’s. Once I got past the wind in the first part of the race, I finished strong in the last segment.”

While his winning jump was modest at 7-2 1/4 (2.19m), Washington State's Trent Arrivey from Woodinville left Hayward Field with a Pac-10 title in his pocket. Teammate Ryan Deese placed fifth in the event with a jump of 6-8.75 (2.05m).

"I'm glad I could do my part to help my Cougs place well at this meet," Arrivey said at the conclusion of the meet. "I dedicate this title to my good friend and training partner Shawn Swartz, who was just diagnosed with leukemia and couldn't be here this weekend. We're all thinking about him and hoping for the best."

Another Cougar who made the winner's circle was Lorraine King, as the senior from Fontana, California won the 400 meter hurdles in 57.51.

A happy King said, “Finally! Other teams don’t even know what we have been through. I knew I could do this, I did this in last Sunday’s practice, and I thought why can’t I do this now?”


“This is a huge blessing to get through this. Getting to this point, knowing who I am, it brings everything together.”


The University of Oregon won both the men's and women's team titles, scoring 158 and 165.5 points, respectively.

Washington State (91) finished fourth in the men's competition, while Washington finished ninth again with 52 points.

Washington, thanks to its efforts by Follett, along with Mel Lawrence and Anita Campbell from Saturday's steeple and 10000, finished sixth with 63 points, while Washington State was ninth with 44 points.

Complete results from the Pac-10 Championships can be accessed here.

The University of Washington's recap of the meet can be accessed here. Washington State's meet summary can be accessed here.

Ex-Cougars Lagat and Waltz winners at adidas Track Classic...

Bernard Lagat (left/file photo from 2008 adidas Track Classic) opened his 2009 outdoor campaign by winning the 1500 meter run at the nationally-televised adidas Track Classic Saturday evening at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

With good early season splits of 56.2, 1:54.9 and 2:54.9, the two-time Olympic medalist and 2007 double World champion from Washington State University won the race in 3:36.38, defeating a field that included Canada's Nate Brannen and former Auburn High School standout Chris Lukezic.

Lukezic was in the main pack when he was spiked by a competitor, then lost his shoe at the 500 meter mark. According to a post on his Twitter account, Lukezic said he felt good about his chances before the mishap.

Afterwards, Lagat said, "I was feeling good all the way. Even at the bell I wanted to go. So I had to wait, wait, wait. So I went at about 150 and it worked out."

Another former Cougar, discus thrower Ian Waltz won his specialty, spinning the platter 202-5 (61.70m) to beat training partner and Marysville-Pilchuck HS grad Jarred Rome by four inches.

The victorious Rome said, "I'm just happy to be healthy. Last year at the (Olympic) Trials I tore my adductor muscle in my stomach. I'm finally throwing pain free."

"I feel like I'm a month or two behind where I need to be but that's okay because Worlds are in August".

"No matter which meet it is, it's about winning no matter what the distance."

Former Rainier Beach HS standout and two-time world championships competitor Ginnie Powell finished seventh in the women's 100 meter hurdles, running 13.06.

Roosevelt HS grad and recent University of Washington grad Norris Frederick's struggles on the pro circuit continued as he finished seventh in the long jump, with a mark of 24-0.25 (7.32m).

Complete results from the adidas Track Classic, which is part of USA Track & Field's 2009 Visa Outdoor Championship Series, can be accessed here.

USATF's Visa Championship Series moves on to New York for the Reebok Grand Prix meet on May 30th, before returning to the West Coast and the Nike Prefontaine Classic on June 7th.
NOTES: As announced on our Twitter feed Saturday night, 400m runner Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion at that distance, announced at the adidas meet that he was reuniting with Baylor coach Clyde Hart. Wariner and Hart separated last year over a financial dispute.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scott Roth, Mel Lawrence, and Anita Campbell each win Pac-10 titles...

EUGENE--Scott Roth soared to the men's pole vault title and Mel Lawrence and Anita Campbell reasserted the UW women's distance stranglehold on the conference with huge victories in the steeplechase and 10,000-meter run.

Roth secured his first career Pac-10 title when he was the only vaulter to make it over 17-feet, 11-inches. But the sophomore did not stop there, as he then cleared a new personal-best 18-4 ½ on his first attempt. That vault was the second-best in the NCAA this season and tied for the 10th-best in the world in 2009.

With momentum on his side, Roth had the bar raised to 18-9 ½, which would have been the best mark by a collegian this year and a school record, but on his first attempt, the bar was knocked off by a gust of wind as Roth started his vault, and he came down awkwardly on the ground on the aborted attempt. Roth was fine, but chose to call it a day after that.

Roth joins Olympian Brad Walker as the only UW champions in the pole vault in the past 30 years. Walker won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. Also vaulting great for the men today was senior Jared O'Connor, who placed fourth with a clearance of 17-5, and junior Ryan Vu who was eighth at 17-0 ¾.

"Things went very well for me today," said Roth. "This is my first big win, I've vaulted at Nationals and things like that, but I've never won a big meet so it's very exciting for me. These were some of the best conditions I've jumped in in my entire life. The crowd gives you energy, plus warm temperatures, family and teammates cheering me on, there was a good tailwind, and it's Pac-10's, so all of that gets you amped up."

Courtesy of media partner runnerspace.com, here is video of Roth's winning jump.



In the women's steeplechase, redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence ran away from the field and set a new Pac-10 meet record of 9:54.13 in just the second steeplechase of her college career. The win surely made her coaches proud, although the previous meet record was held by current UW assistant coach Kelly Strong from her days at Arizona State. Lawrence's time is the second-fastest mark in Pac-10 history.

Lawrence went to the front from the moment the gun was fired. She held the lead for several laps until USC's Zsofia Erdelyi made a move to the front. Her lead would not last for even a full lap, however, as Lawrence picked up the pace and really started stretching her lead until she wound up winning by nearly 20 seconds. This is the first ever Pac-10 steeplechase title for a Husky woman.

"I definitely wanted to get down to something around 10-flat. I thought that would give me a chance to win," said Lawrence. "I was feeling really good, really relaxed. I wasn't sure what to expect, it's just my second steeple of the year, but I think my coaches have prepared me pretty well for it. I was trying to work to a thousand meters to go. That's where I wanted to pick it up."

Lawrence, who had several notable second-place finishes in national meets during her All-American high school career, and also took second at this year's Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, was glad to be on top of the podium this time around.

"It feels really good (to win). Me and my high school coach, my sister, and my family joke that I'm always the bridesmaid, never the bride, so I'm really happy that I got this," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said that she and Coach Strong had brought up the record earlier in the week.

"(Coach Strong) told me this week that if her record was going to go down, she had a specific person she wanted it to go down to," said Lawrence.

In the last women's event of the evening, junior Anita Campbell earned her first career Pac-10 title by winning the 10,000-meter run by an incredible 61 seconds. Campbell had opened up a sizeable lead after just a few of the 25 required laps.

She then maintained a 50-meter lead for most of the race, before the gap widened again towards the end. Campbell came across the line in 34-minutes, 13.27-seconds. Second-place Kate Niehaus of Stanford finished in 35-minutes, 14.24-seconds.

This is Campbell's first year running the 10k and it was just her second attempt at the distance this year. Last year at this time Campbell was sidelined with an injury, and a Pac-10 title to her name provided a great full-circle type feeling.

"Last year was really hard, I wasn't able to run at all, so this feels like redemption," said Campbell. "Coach Metcalf has been trying to get me to run 10k for three years now. My first couple years I wasn't ready, it's a big commitment, but now it's a good race for me."

Campbell becomes the third Husky woman to win the Pac-10 10k. Anna Aoki won in 1998 and 2001, and Kate Bradshaw took the title in 2000. Campbell's winning time was the fastest of all four, however. The wins from Lawrence and Campbell made the Dawgs two-for-two in distance events thus far in the meet, a familiar story from the fall when both women ran on UW's Pac-10 and NCAA Champion cross country team.

"To have two young women come here and win Pac-10 titles is something of an historic day," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "Mel Lawrence, in her first Pac-10 steeple, to break Coach Strong's meet record was very cool. Mel was patient, she ran classy, it was fantastic. Anita Campbell, that performance was just gnarly. She wins by 61 seconds in hot conditions, that's a dominating win and she is as tough a young woman as there is on the planet in my opinion."

Several Cougs added team points for Washington State during the Saturday finals. Sara Trané (Pixbo, Sweden) was not able to successfully defend her two-time steeplechase crown as the Cougar senior finished fifth in the event with a time of 10:24.05. Cougs Amanda Andrews (10:58.51) and Emily Farrar (11:17.88) ran well behind their PR times to finish 14th and 17th, respectively. In the men's 3000m steeplechase, Sam Ahlbeck (junior, Renton) finished fifth in a time of 8:56.43 and David Hickerson was ninth in a time of 9:23.10.

Marissa Tschida (sophomore, Missoula, Mont.) led a trio of Cougars into scoring in the women's javelin with her fourth-place finish with a toss of 159-3 (48.54m). Jennifer Hamilton (freshman, Longview) took sixth place with a throw of 153-6 (46.78m) and Courtney Kirkwood (freshman, Othello) took seventh with her throw of 147-6 (44.97m). All three Cougar women have thrown PRs and NCAA RQs already this season.

Phil MacArthur (senior, Ione) took seventh place in the men's hammer with a throw of 199-5 (60.79m), tossed on his fifth attempt. MacArthur has a PR of 202-10 and has thrown an NCAA RQ mark of 201-6 this season. Joe Bartlett (freshman, Reno) finished eighth in the men's shot put with a toss of 53-5 1/2 (16.29m).

The Pac-10 Track and Field Championships continue Sunday afternoon beginning at noon in Eugene.

Complete results from day 1 of the Pac-10 meet can be accessed here.

NOTE: The Pacific-10, and the sports information offices of Washington and Washington State all contributed to this report.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finally, some love for Kara Patterson...

One US Olympian we haven't been giving a lot of love to is Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca), currently a senior at Purdue University.

Patterson headlines the women's efforts for the Boilermakers, and is looking to win her third Big Ten Championship in the javelin in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, and improve upon her NCAA Division I-best toss of 58.41 meters (191-08), set at the Arizona State Invitational on March 28th.

She owns the Big Ten and conference championship record in the event, hurling an American collegiate record and Olympic qualifying mark of 61.56 meters (202-00) on her first throw at the 2008 conference meet. Patterson is sitting on a four-meter lead in the event and hopes to repeat as the Big Ten Women's Field Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships.

Patterson has had a low-key season, and has thrown sparingly so far in 2009, throwing at the Drake Relays and at the Georgia Spec Towns Invitational.

Bernard Lagat among headliners at adidas Track Classic...

Bernard Lagat (hip 9 on left/photo by Paul Merca) is among the headliners scheduled to compete in the adidas Track Classic Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Lagat, the former Washington State standout, makes his 2009 outdoor season debut in the men's 1500, which features the entire 2008 U.S. Olympic squad of Bernard Lagat, Lopez Lomong and Leonel Manzano. Lagat, the American record holder at 1500m, is the reigning World Champion at 1500m and 5000m - the first man ever to win that double.

Also in the men's 1500 field is former Auburn HS grad Chris Lukezic.

First year pro Norris Frederick, the Roosevelt HS and UW grad, is entered in the men's long jump where he'll face 2004 Olympic champ Dwight Phillips.

Training partners Ian Waltz, formerly of Washington State, and Jarred Rome from Marysville-Pilchuck HS square off in the men's discus.

Ginnie Powell, formerly from Rainier Beach HS, will run in the women's 100 meter hurdles, after competing in last week's grand prix meet in Doha, Qatar.

Among the marquee athletes headlining this year’s meet: three-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix; 2004 Olympic 400m Champion Jeremy Wariner; and Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jamaica’s sprint queen.

Other athletes competing in this year’s event include Jenn Stuczynski, the second highest pole vaulter in history, and Ethiopia’s World Cross Country Champion, Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam.

The adidas Track Classic will begin at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. PDT.

Produced by Global Athletics & Marketing, Inc., the adidas Track Classic is the second stop on USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series.

PAC-10 track & field championships this weekend in Eugene...

Washington State University and the University of Washington make the trek to Eugene for the Pacific-10 Conference Track & Field Championships, Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17, at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

Washington State returns two defending champions in Jeshua Anderson (400m hurdles - 2008) and two-time winner Sara Trané (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the steeplechase, while the University of Washington has defending champ Katie Follett in the women's 1500, and two of their four runners from last year's winning 4 x 100 meter relay team in Jordan Boase and Joe Turner.

Boase leads the conference in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes and is entered in both. Last year he took second in the 400 and ran the lead-off leg on UW's title winning 4x100m relay. Also entering as the favorite based on best marks is sophomore pole vaulter Scott Roth. He is the only conference vaulter to have cleared 18-feet this year, though competition could come from his own teammates, as senior Jared O'Connor and junior Ryan Vu have both cleared 17-6 1/2 this year, which ties for the fourth-best mark in the Pac-10.

Anderson (400H), and Trent Arrivey (HJ) are the Cougs most likely to contend for individual conference titles, while two-time defending Pac-10 steeple champ Sara Trané may face a battle against the Huskies' Mel Lawrence and USC's Zsofia Erdelyi.

As usual, the Pac-10 is loaded with teams ranked among the Top-25 by the USTFCCCA. On the men's side, Oregon is the nation's top-ranked team and the defending Pac-10 Champions. Arizona State ranks sixth, followed by Stanford (10th), Washington (14th), USC (16th), California (17th), and Washington State (21st). Oregon also is the highest-ranked women's team at No. 2, with fifth-ranked USC and seventh-ranked Arizona State also in the Top-10. UCLA (13th), Stanford (15th), and Washington (17th) also dot the upper echelon of the rankings.

FOX Sports Net will air a two-hour tape delayed show starting Thursday, May 21. Barry Tompkins and Dwight Stones will call the action, while color commentary will be provided by Tom Feuer. Lindsay Soto will provide additional commentary from the infield. Check the local listings for the airing dates of the championships on your FOX Sports Net regional carrier.

Also, please note that our media partner, runnerspace.com has a special page set up for the Pac-10 track & field championships, which you can access here...

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, the University of Oregon, and the Pac-10 Conference all contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

RunnerSpace Live (May 13th edition)...

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is this week's RunnerSpace Live...enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mart Israel fifth in La Jolla discus challenge...

Former Washington Husky Mart Israel finished fifth in the La Jolla world record discus challenge Tuesday on the campus of the University of California-San Diego.

Fellow training partner from Estonia and the reigning world and Olympic champion Gerd Kanter won the competition with a toss of 227-11 (69.47m).

Israel had a best throw of 206-0 (62.79m) which he completed in the fifth round.

The complete results from Tuesday's competition is up at Kanter's web site.

World record discus challenge (part 3) in La Jolla Tuesday...

As reigning world and Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter from Estonia and his training partner and former Husky Mart Israel's annual southern California training session winds down before the start of the international season, the duo will compete in yet another world record discus challenge meet in La Jolla, California on Tuesday.

You can follow the world record challenge here on Kanter's web site...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend roundup: May 9-10...

PAC-10 Multi-Events

Husky freshman Jeremy Taiwo made quite an impression in his first completed decathlon, as the Renton, Wash. native placed third at the Pac-10 Multi-Event Championships, which wrapped up Sunday at Oregon's Hayward Field.

Taiwo, a graduate of Newport High, picked up six points for the Huskies heading into the main Pac-10 Championships which take place next Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17, also at Hayward Field.

An All-American indoors in the heptathlon, Taiwo had only attempted one previous decathlon and was unable to finish due to a nagging injury. Today, not only did he finish the two-day endurance test, but he posted one of the best scores in the NCAA this season and in Husky history.

Taiwo finished with 7,299 points, placing just behind Oregon's Marshall Ackley, who was second with 7,337, and Oregon's Ashton Eaton, the 2008 NCAA Champion in the event, who scored 8,091. Taiwo trailed Ackley by just eight points heading into the final event, the 1,500m run, but Ackley took second in the event to Taiwo's third-place finish to hold off the rookie.

Sophomore Andrew Ferleman, also a Newport High grad and a Bellevue native, posted a significant personal-best as well today with 6,357 points. That was nearly 300 points higher than his previous best. Ferleman finished 10th overall.

On the women's side, senior Liz Fuller just barely missed out on scoring points for the Dawgs in the heptathlon, as she placed ninth with 4,844 points. Eighth-place was just 37 points out of reach.

Fuller, out of Vancouver, Wash., missed her career-best heptathlon score by just one point. A fifth-place showing in the shot put was her best single event finish.

For Washington State, Angela Jensen, a sophomore from Tacoma, had personal-best marks in the final three heptathlon events Sunday and finished 10th overall with a lifetime-best of 4,842 points.

In the decathlon, Kyle Schauble, a junior from Kennewick, tallied 6,556 points for ninth place while freshman Sean Harris, from Kent, earned a PR of 6,231 points for 11th place.

OREGON TWILIGHT

Former University of Washington standout Ryan Brown finished third in the 800 meters Saturday at the Oregon Twilight meet in Eugene.

Brown, now competing for Asics, ran 1:48.54 behind the winning time of 1:47.63 by Kevin Hicks of the Oregon TC Elite.

Another former Husky, Bruce Jackson, finished ninth in that race in 1:49.97.

In the discus, former Husky and Olympic Trials finalist Will Conwell was third in 189-4 (57.70m).

The Oregon Twilight was highlighted by the Ducks' squad of Matthew Centrowitz, Andrew Wheating, Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, and Galen Rupp breaking the collegiate record of 16:04.54 in the 4 x 1 mile relay set by Michigan in 2005, and the Hayward Field record of 16:05.0 set by the Oregon TC in 1968.

Nike's Jesse Williams, a 2008 US Olympian, cleared 7-8 (2.34m) to win the men's high jump.

Complete results from the Pac-10 multi-events, and the Oregon Twilight meet can be accessed through this link, which takes you to the University of Oregon track team's home page.

In other news, pole vaulter Brad Walker, who was originally listed on the start list at the Osaka Grand Prix meet on Saturday, did not make the trip to Japan.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Kendra Schaaf sighting (as well as a Ginnie Powell viewing)...

Recently, a reader of paulmerca.blogspot.com sent a private note wondering about where Kendra Schaaf was, as she was not a factor for the Washington Huskies during the indoor or for that matter, the outdoor season.

The talented freshman from Canada made a low-key appearance at the Ken Shannon/Ken Foreman Invitational at Husky Stadium Friday night, winning the women's 1500 meter run in 4:23.55.

Turns out that Schaaf, the two-time defending Canadian cross country champion, is being redshirted this season after a long 2008 campaign which included appearances at the world junior cross country and track championships, as well as a full fall campaign which included winning the Pac-10 harrier title and helping Washington score the first perfect score of 15 in conference history en route to winning the NCAA title in November.

Here's the UW recap of the meet, which can be accessed here.

Here's the SPU meet summary...

In other track & field action Friday, former Rainier Beach HS and USC standout Ginnie Powell made her 2009 season debut at the Doha Super Grand Prix meet in Doha, Qatar. Powell finished seventh in the 100 meter hurdles, running 13.15, in a race won by Olympic bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada.

Results of the Doha meet can be accessed here.

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.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yet another Kara Goucher post--she wants in on Berlin World Championships marathon!

In looking at the stats for the mighty paulmerca.blogspot.com, one of the most popular searches within the site is for Kara Goucher (left, leading Canada's Megan Metcalfe at the 2006 World Cup in Athens/photo by Paul Merca).

We can add another post to keep the Kara Goucher fans happy, as Sieg Lindstrom of Track & Field News reports on their site that the Portland resident has thrown her name into the hat to run the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, which will happen on August 23rd, the final day of the meet.

Lindstrom writes, "Goucher, whose 2:25:53 race to 3rd place at last fall's New York City Marathon was the fastest-ever debut by a U.S. woman, had planned after her followup 3rd-place run in Boston last month to take a break from marathoning for a time and possibly start a family with husband Adam. But finishing within 9 seconds of the win in the tactical Boston race after leading for most of the closing stages left her hungry for more.

"You know I finished Boston and at first I was really angry and disappointed in myself and I just wanted another shot," Goucher said. "I desperately wanted to do London [the Sunday after the Monday, April 20, Boston race] and after discussing it that night, again Tuesday and then again Wednesday when I was in New York City with [coach Alberto Salazar] and Nike and the rest of my team--especially my husband--we just decided London was not smart for my overall development and my overall career. I kind of had to let that thought go.

"I can be crazy sometimes," said Goucher, whose idea of lining up in London hadn't sat well with Salazar even though she recovered quickly in the days after Boston, "but in the discussion for London the World Championships came up and I just felt like I wanted before I took a break I just wanted to give it one more crack."

Should Goucher follow through with her intent to run the marathon in Berlin, she would potentially face Great Britain's Paula Radcliffe, who defeated her in New York last fall.

Here's an interview with Radcliffe where she talks about her ambition of winning a second world championship to go with the one she won in Helsinki four years ago.

To read the full story, please click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Former Husky Mart Israel finishes second in Chula Vista discus challenge...

Former University of Washington discus thrower Mart Israel finished second to Estonian countryman and training partner Gerd Kanter at the Chula Vista Discus Challenge Tuesday at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

Israel, who was enrolled at Washington during the 2006-07 academic year, but never competed for the Huskies due to the transferring of credits from the school he attended in Estonia to the UW, threw a 2009 season best of 216-8 (66.05m) to finish behind the reigning world and Olympic champion's winning toss of 229-2 (69.86m).

Former Washington State Cougar Ian Waltz, a two-time US Olympian, finished seventh in his opening meet of the 2009 season, throwing 206-0 (62.79m).

Weekend roundup: May 2-3...

Here's a quick roundup of what happened with some of the top track & field athletes with Washington state affiliations over the weekend, focusing primarily on the post-collegians:

At the Stanford Invitational, former Auburn HS runner Chris Lukezic finished fourth in the 1500 meter run, clocking 3:37.32.

Also at Stanford, former Renton HS and University of Washington All-American Ryan Brown was third in the 800 meters, running 1:49.03.

In Kingston, Jamaica, another former Husky, Norris Frederick finished fifth in the long jump with a mark of 24-3 1/2. Frederick is currently training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California under 1984 Olympic triple jump champion Al Joyner.

Ex University of Washington pole vaulter Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace, the reigning world outdoor champion in that event, is scheduled to open his 2009 season on May 9th at Osaka Grand Prix meet in the Japanese city, according to the meet's web site.

Walker, who is also training at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista under Dan Pfaff after Pfaff's training group in Stockton, California lost its funding, has an automatic spot to compete in this summer's world championships in Berlin (provided he competes in the USA Championships in Eugene next month) by virtue of being the defending world champion.

Another reigning world champion, former Cougar Bernard Lagat, is in the middle of his annual high altitude training session in Flagstaff, Arizona, according to several readers of the mighty blogspot.

Lagat, the defending world champ at 1500 and 5000 meters, is scheduled to open his outdoor season on May 16th at the adidas Track Classic in Carson, California.

Part two of the Chula Vista discus world record challenge continues on Cinco de Mayo, featuring reigning world champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia, along with Kanter's training partner, former Husky Mart Israel, and two time US Olympian and ex-Cougar Ian Waltz.

For those of you who want to follow the Chula Vista Challenge live, you can click here to check out Kanter's web site!

You know things are rough!

Here's a link to a great piece written by Joe Batagglia of Universal Sports about the plight of US sprinter Darvis "Doc" Patton, who made the finals of the men's 100 meter dash in Beijing.

His reward? A thank you (if even that), and a notice that he was dropped by adidas.

“I did a new store opening appearance with Jeremy Wariner just before Thanksgiving,” Patton said in a recent phone interview with Universal Sports. “Two weeks later, I found out that adidas was dropping me. My agent (Claude Bryan) said he didn’t want to tell me on my birthday. I didn’t expect it at all. It was a complete shock. It was like thank you, but no thanks.”

Very few track & field athletes were able to cash in on their Olympic feats from Beijing. Two of the most visible athletes in the sport who did were Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who had his deal with Puma upped substantially, plus got a deal with Gatorade; and Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva (above/photo by Paul Merca), who declined to re-sign with adidas after 2008, but cashed in on a deal with Li Ning of China, which will use her to try and break into the world track & field market.

To read the full article, please click here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

NBC Sports and IAAF agree to enhanced broadcast deal...

The IAAF is delighted to announce a new agreement for broadcasting coverage across the USA with NBC/Universal Sports that includes the IAAF World Athletics Series of competitions for the period 2010-2015 and the ÅF Golden League, the IAAF’s premier level of one-day meetings in athletics, for 2009.

The significant increase in accessibility of athletics' premier global event, the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, across the USA comes from a combination of free-to-air, cable and internet TV agreements.

This is a major step forward for the IAAF who, together with their commercial partners, Dentsu Inc., not only renews its current NBC partnership but also extends it by agreeing terms for broadcast by Universal Sports, NBC’s cable, satellite and broadband arm.

Owned by General Electric, NBC is one of the leading terrestrial broadcasters in the USA, and this deal enhances their showcase of the best track and field in the world, as they are already the USA rights holders for the Olympic Games.

All other IAAF World Athletics Series events will receive extensive coverage on Universal Sports and the total coverage will exceed exposure under the current IAAF agreement for this territory.

IAAF has also agreed to a further deal with Universal Sports/NBC for the ÅF Golden League 2009, the premier level of 1-day meetings which pitches the world’s best athletes against each other in pursuit of a $1 million Jackpot.

Significantly, the ÅF Golden League will now get terrestrial coverage in the USA: NBC has indeed agreed to cover the Zurich and Brussels meetings and is also looking to produce highlight packages of the other meetings.

Universal Sports has agreed to cover all 6 ÅF Golden League meetings live or delayed on the same day.

This additional agreement shows a strong commitment from NBC/Universal Sports to become the home of international athletics not only through IAAF events but also through its Olympic and national coverage of athletics.

IAAF President Lamine Diack, welcoming the package of TV deals for the USA, said: "This is an improved agreement for the premier events of our sport. I am delighted that now, American fans will not only be able to enjoy World Championship athletics but also the ÅF Golden League across the three mediums of terrestrial, cable and internet. We continue to move closer to achieving one of our key strategic goals which is to have a genuine impact in households across the USA."

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