Sunday, June 28, 2009

Diana Pickler wins USA heptathlon title; Cougs' Joe Abbott victorious in junior men's 800...

EUGENE, Oregon--Former Washington State standout Diana Pickler (behind Oregon's Kalindra McFadden/photo by Paul Merca) captured her first national outdoor title in winning the seven event heptathlon competition as the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships concluded its four day run at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, with a personal best score of 6,290 points.

Pickler was thrust into the lead after event leader Hyleas Fountain, who popped a wind-aided lifetime best in the long jump of 22-9 3/4 (6.95m) failed to start the javelin.

Fountain aggravated a neck problem during the long jump that occurred in Saturday’s high jump, and withdrew from the competition before the start of the javelin.

Pickler, who entered the day in second with 3768 points, jumped a wind-aided (+4.3 meters per second) mark of 20-9 1/4 (6.33m), worth 953 points, the followed it up with a toss in the javelin of 137-6 (41.90m), and ran 2:16.99 in the 800 meter run, to score 865 points in the final event,

After the competition, Pickler, a 2008 Olympian who made her second straight world championship team, said, “This is only my fourth heptathlon this year so I definitely felt it a lot in speed and timing. But I’m just looking at the big picture really and trying to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish in the next few months.”

On the long jump, which turned out to be the key event for here, she said, "I didn’t have my best jump ever but I felt really good about it.”

After the Olympics, Pickler first moved to Austin, Texas to train, then changed coaches and moved to Manhattan, Kansas to train with sister Julie under Kansas State coach Cliff Rovelto.

Former Rainier Beach High School star Ginnie Powell made up for the disappointment of an injury riddled 2008 season as she finished second in the 100 meter hurdles, running a wind-aided 12.47 to finish behind Dawn Harper, who ran 12.36 for the win.

Entering these championships, one of the questions about Renton’s Ryan Brown (left/photo by Paul Merca)was whether or not the former Washington Husky and 2006 NCAA champion over 800 meters would be able to raise his game up to the national and international level.

After a less than stellar first two seasons as a professional, Brown answered the bell, using his trademark kick over the last 200 meters to nab the third and final spot on the plane to Berlin, clocking 1:46.92 to finish behind defending national champion Nick Symmonds from Eugene (1:45.86) and Khadevis Robinson of Los Angeles (1:45.97).

In the last 250, Brown, who was positioned on the outside in fifth, made a strong move to advance to third entering the home straight, then held off a late challenge by 2008 Olympic Trials third place finisher Christian Smith, who ran 1:46.92.

"The race was a bit slower than I thought it would be, so I was hoping to just hang on and clean up the bodies after people started dying, but I think because of the wind it didn't go out as fast as maybe people wanted it to," Brown said to media partner Flotrack.org. "I was still cleaning up bodies but it was a little easier than I thought it would be."

"I battled injuries earlier this season, and it's just been a steady climb to get back to where I think I can be. I'm there; this was a huge goal of mine since I stepped off the track in the semis of the Olympic Trials last year. I thought I could be in this position," Brown told Flotrack. "It's an honor to be on a team with (Symmonds and Robinson). Early in the season I said I want to put my name next to those two guys, because they are the standard by which we measure ourselves. And I'm right next to them right now and that's exciting."

Powell, Pickler, and Brown join fellow national champions Kara Patterson (javelin) and Brad Walker (pole vault), along with discus throwers Jarred Rome, Ian Waltz and Aretha Thurmond in the women’s discus and defending double world champion Bernard Lagat on the plane to Berlin for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, which begin August 14th at the Olympic Stadium.

Washington State’s two-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson finished fifth in his specialty, running 48.77. Washington’s Mel Lawrence finished fifth in the 3000 meter steeplechase, clocking 9:48.27.

Washington State freshman Joe Abbott from Reno, Nevada swept from sixth place entering the bell lap to capture the national junior title over 800 meters in a time of 1:51.54.

His original plan was to make his move with 300 to go but was trapped on the rail.
“I tried to bide my time as much as I could, but I never took the lead until the last 20 yards. A win’s a win, so I’ll take it.”

“The goal coming into this meet was to try and make the US team, because that the epitome of US track & field. Championship racing is championship racing.”

Here’s the video interview with Abottt:



Fellow Cougar teammate J Hopkins from Everett finished fourth in the finals of the 400 meter hurdles, running 51.49.

“I thought going into the race that I would feel the wind a little bit more than I did, but it wasn’t too bad. I surged, and tried to run as hard as I could, and I nicked the last hurdle, and came off a bit off balanced. I’m disappointed that I missed the podium.”

“The fact that I haven’t run since Pac-10s makes me happier that I’m even running in this meet and be able to compete against this field. It helps that two of the guys in the finals will be in the Pac-10 next year.”

Complete results from the final day of competition at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: WSU track & field assistant media relations director Linda Chalich reported on their web site that freshman javelin thrower Courtney Kirkwood from Othello, who finished third in the junior championships with a toss of 146-9 (44.74m), has been invited to join the USA national team for the Junior Pan Am Games in Trinidad next month.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Washington's Kyle Nielsen wins Canadian championships in javelin...

TORONTO—University of Washington sophomore Kyle Nielsen from Langley, British Columbia won the javelin throw at the Canadian Track & Field Championships Saturday with a toss of 236-3 (72.01m) at Varsity Stadium.

Washington State graduate Anson Henry finished fifth in the 100 meter dash, running 10.50.

The Canadian championships conclude Sunday with coverage on CBC Sports, and online at cbcsports.ca

Brad Walker & Kara Patterson win national titles in Eugene...

EUGENE, Oregon--Pole vaulter Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace and javelin thrower Kara Patterson from Vancouver each emerged victorious as day 3 of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships concluded at Eugene’s Hayward Field.

Although all Walker needed to do to formally place himself on the team was simply compete in the meet, Walker’s 2009 season debut was successful as the 2007 world champion was a master of efficiency, needing only a total of two clearances to emerge victorious at 18-10 1/4 (5.75 meters).

Walker opened the season by clearing 18-2 1/2 (5.55m), then passed two consecutive heights before clearing 18-10 1/4.

“I came in knowing I had the bye to the Worlds being the defending World Champion so I wasn’t pressed, I wasn’t stressed. I thought everyone would clear 5.70 but I thought I had a good chance to win at 5.75.”

Walker jumped today off a shorter than normal approach, and felt he wasn’t close to being at 100% capable of what he’s able to jump.

He told usatf.org that he is scheduled to compete in London at the end of July with Monte Carlo and possibly one or two meets on the docket before the world championships.

Washington’s Scott Roth finished in a tie for eighth at 18-2 1/2.

In winning her second straight USA national title at Hayward Field, Patterson, who had only been throwing around 195 feet or so in the run-up to these championships, achieved the A standard for the world championships, and threatened the American record of 210-7 (64.19m) set by Kim Kreiner in 2007, as the Vancouver native threw 209-10 (63.95m) to become the second best American performer of all time.

“I was excited to get a PR and get the A standard!”

She explained that she had been working on the finish of her throw in practice. “I know that I still can do better than that (her winning throw). I don’t think I executed it as well as I could’ve, but to get a hint of things to come in the season is pretty exciting.”

Here’s a video interview with Patterson:



2007 world championships team member Ginnie Powell, formerly from Seattle’s Rainier Beach HS advanced to the second round of the 100 hurdles, running a wind-aided 12.68 to finish second in her heat.

In the 400 hurdles, Washington State’s two-time NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson moved on to Sunday’s final, running 48.89 to finish behind Olympic silver medalist Bershawn Jackson, who won with a time of 48.80.

In the women’s heptathlon, former Washington State standout Diana Pickler (left/photo by Mike Scott) currently stands second, as the Olympian scored 3768 points to conclude day 1 of the two-day event.

Despite trailing Olympic teammate Hyleas Fountain by 270 points, Pickler remained optimistic about her chances Sunday.

“I’m really excited about tomorrow. I was a bit conservative in the hurdles, and the high jump was solid. I have not competed in a while, so I’m pumped up for Sunday.”

Complete results from the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

The USA Junior Track & Field Championships, which are being held concurrently with the senior championships, had several significant competitors with Washington ties participating.

WSU freshman Joe Abbott from Reno had the top time in the junior men's 800m prelims of 1:49.78. He will run in the final Sunday at 4:25 p.m. PT. Abbott finished seventh in the Pac-10 800m race ran a PR time of 1:48.97 in the prelims of the NCAA West Regionals.

Abbott said, “The plan was to stay behind everyone until about 300 meters to go and then make my move to win the heat and get into the final.”

“Since the NCAA regionals, I’ve been training at home in Reno, which has been a lot warmer than in Eugene. When we’ve come here from Pullman, it would be like 50 degrees and then when we’d arrive in Eugene, it would be 70 or so and it would feel like it was about 100.”

WSU's J Hopkins (Everett) advanced to the junior men's 400m hurdles final after running a prelim time of 52.62, second place in the third heat and fourth-fastest time of the first round.

In the junior women's javelin championships, WSU's Courtney Kirkwood (Othello) took third place with a throw of 146-feet, 9 inches (44.74m), well-below her PR toss of 170-8 (52.01m), and just missed advancing to the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, July 31-Aug. 2, in Trinidad.

Washington’s Kelly McNamee finished third in the women’s high jump with a mark of 5-8 (1.73m).

Results from the USA Junior Championships can be accessed here.

The USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships conclude Sunday, with coverage on NBC Sports from 1-3 pm, pacific time. Events are also being streamed via usatf.org, and media partner flotrack.org.

Kendra Schaaf places second in 5000 at Canadian nationals...

The University of Washington's freshman phenom Kendra Schaaf (left/photo by Paul Merca) showed she's in fine form despite redshirting the track season this year as the Craven, Saskatchewan native took second in the 5,000-meter run at the Canadian Track & Field Championships Thursday night.

Schaaf lowered her PR to 15:52.74, finishing just behind Tara Quinn-Smith who won in 15:50.35. Quinn-Smith has won multiple Canada national titles in the 10k and marathon and is 10 years older than Schaaf. Third-place went to Danette Doetzel, who won the 10,000-meters at the NCAA Chamiponships earlier this month running for Providence.

Fellow Canadian Husky Anita Campbell (Vancouver, B.C.) was sixth in the same 5k final, running 16:21.17. Campbell just earned her first track All-American at the NCAA Championships as she placed third in the 10,000-meter final won by Doetzel.

Husky pole vaulter Ryan Vu, who has dual citizenship, qualified for the finals by clearing 4.60m (15-1) Friday night.

The Canadian Track & Field Championships continue until Sunday. Action can be viewed on CBC Sports and on cbcsports.ca.

NOTE: The University of Washington and Athletics Canada contributed to this report.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jarred Rome and Ian Waltz make yet another world championships team...

EUGENE, Oregon--Marysville-Pilchuck grad Jarred Rome finished second in the men’s discus, throwing 28-3 (63.48m) to highlight day two of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

He will be joined in Berlin by former WSU Cougar Ian Waltz, who finished third with a toss of 203-1 (61.91m).

Rome said that it was a relief to make his third world championship team, despite the disappointment of not making the Olympic team last year. He said that he is now down to 295 pounds, and feels quicker through the discus ring.

Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Washington State ran the second fastest first round time in the men’s 400 meter hurdles, as the two-time NCAA champion at this distance clocked 50.22 to win heat 3

“It was pretty windy out there today, but I’m used to Hayward by now. I ran a little bit too fast in the prelims last year so having that experience helped me today. I’ll be ready for the finals.”

Former Washington Husky Ryan Brown, the 2006 NCAA outdoor champion at 800 meters, advanced to his first USA outdoor final, as he placed second in his heat, running 1:47,81 to finish behind veteran Khadevis Robinson,

Current Husky Mel Lawrence finished fourth in her heat of the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase, running 9:56.42, and looking very comfortable in a race that was marred by the water jump barrier set incorrectly at the men’s height of 36 inches instead of the women’s height of 30 inches.

Here’s the video interview paulmerca.blogspot.com did with Lawrence:



In the men’s decathlon competition, former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph finished a surprising fourth, scoring 7766 points.

In the women's triple jump, Blessing Ufodiama (WSU '04), competing unattached, placed seventh in the women's triple jump with a best effort of 44-feet, 7 inches (13.59m), which came on her fourth attempt.

Among key athletes with Washington ties competing Saturday include Olympian Diana Pickler, who begins the two-day heptathlon, and Jeshua Anderson, who runs in the semi-finals of the 400 hurdles. 2007 world championships team member Ginnie Powell also begins her quest to make another team in the 100 meter hurdles.

2007 world pole vault champion Brad Walker makes his 2009 season debut Saturday, and will formally be a member of this year’s world championship team simply by competing,

Saturday’s meet will be televised by ESPN for two hours, starting at 4:30 pm, pacific time.

Complete results from the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

Doug Logan announces extension of Nike partnership...

EUGENE, Oregon--At the Track & Field Writers of America breakfast Friday morning, USATF CEO Doug Logan announced that the federation and Nike will extend their current partnership under a new agreement that provides innovative support for professional and emerging elite athletes.

Nike has been USATF's National Team Sponsor since 1991, but the new contract, which extends through 2013 with an option to renew through 2017, broadens Nike's support beyond the competitive arena.

Most significantly, it establishes a "Project 30 Fund" to aid up-and-coming athletes. Taking its name from USATF's Project 30 Task Force, which called for greater support for post-college athletes, the fund will be administered by USATF for athletes who lack shoe-company sponsorship but who have medal-winning potential, particularly in traditionally under-funded event groups.

USATF's High Performance Department, headed by Chief of Sport Performance Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, will oversee distribution of support, which may range from compensation for personal coaches and support staff to sponsorship of athletes at USATF High Performance Training Centers, among other possibilities. The partnership also includes a commitment by Nike to support numerous professional track athletes annually.

"Track and field was the cornerstone of Nike's founding, and we remain committed to being a partner in the future of the sport," said John Capriotti, Nike Global Director of Athletics Sport Marketing. "We are excited to add this new component of athlete-centered funding to our sponsorship of USA Track & Field."

As USATF National Team Sponsor and the world's leading creator of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories, Nike has specially designed uniforms for the last five Olympic Games. Under the new agreement with USATF, Nike maintains its status as exclusive sponsor and supplier of products to the World's #1 Track and Field Team while being USATF's official sponsor in the footwear, apparel and retail categories.

Nike will be a major sponsor of the USA vs. Jamaica Challenge meets in 2010 and will continue to sponsor USA Track & Field's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Nike will outfit all USATF teams in international competitions, including the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Pan American Games and World Junior Championships, among other meets. The agreement also continues Nike's sponsorship of USA vs. The World, first held in 2000, and of key stops on the Visa Championship Series, USATF's signature series of indoor and outdoor track and field meets.

Here is part one of a two-part video of Logan's announcement at the TAFWA breakfast in Eugene (part two will be uploaded later Friday):



As promised, here is part two of the announcement by Logan at the breakfast:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bernard Lagat formally gets spot on World Championship team; Aretha Thurmond earns ticket to Berlin...

EUGENE, Oregon--Bernard Lagat’s appearance at the USA Outdoor Track & Field championships in Eugene, Oregon took exactly all of 1:48.59, as the former Washington State standout formally placed himself on the World Championship team by finishing third in his heat of the 800 meters.

As defending world champion at 1500 & 5000 meters, all he had to do to put himself on the team was compete at the national championships.

After the race, I told him that it would’ve been more dramatic had he kept running past the finish line and the mixed zone and straight to a waiting car.

He told the media, “I felt alright out there. I wanted to run fast out there but I’m still trying to learn how to run the 800 meters again. I can’t even remember the last time I ran the 800. But it was a good run for me, another step in my training.”

Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way, the former Renton High & UW All-American and two-time Olympian made yet another world championship team, coming through with a clutch sixth round throw of 205-1 (62.51m) to finish second behind Olympic champion Stephanie Brown Trafton, who spun the platter 210-9 (64.25m).

Here’s the interview with Aretha after her competition:



Qualifying for the next round was the order of the day, as a pair of former Auburn prep standouts moved on to the finals in the men’s 1500.

Chris Lukezic finished second in his heat, running 3:45.60, while Jordan McNamara nabbed one of the last spots in finishing fifth in heat 4, clocking 3:41.15.

Former Washington Husky Ryan Brown ran the fifth fastest time of the day in the men’s 800 qualifying round, clocking 1:48.17 to advance to Friday’s semi-finals.

After the conclusion of day 1 of the decathlon, former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph stands sixth with 4032 points. Rickey Moody of Club Northwest and Puyallup, didn't finish the 400, after completing the first four events.

Among those competing Thursday but not advancing were Katie Follett of UW & Jessica Pixler from SPU in the women’s 1500; recent UW grads Jordan Boase and Austin Abbott in the men’s 400 and 1500, respectively; Shelton twins Andy & Alex McClary in the 1500 & 800; former Tacoma prep runner Craig Everhart in the men’s 400.

Former Eastern Washington standout Mattie Bridgmon was 19th in the women’s 10000 in 34:10.51. In the men’s 10000, former O’Dea HS runner Michael Kilburg was 20th in 29:48.14and ex-Husky Mike Sayenko failed to finish the 10000.

In the men’s javelin finals, former Husky and Boise State thrower Justin St. Clair was 18th at 206-2 (62.85m).

Complete results from the first day of competition are posted here.

In Friday’s competition, key Washingtonians to look for include Mel Lawrence in the women’s steeple, Jarred Rome & Ian Waltz in the men’s discus, and Ryan Brown in the semis of the men’s 800.

Don't forget to follow our live updates on our Twitter page (Twitter.com/paulmerca70601)!

Quick hello from Eugene!

Greetings!

paulmerca.blogspot.com is now here in Eugene for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships!

Some quick news here at the track: Olympic champion Bryan Clay is unable to go in the decathlon, as he tweaked his left hamstring in Tuesday's practice.

"I hurt my leg a little less than 48 hours ago," said Clay. "I had two little pops in my (left) hamstring. It didn't feel like anything too serious. I got back on the runway and tried to do another stride and I realized it was a little worse than I thought. We've been doing as much as we can the last two days. I've been in hyperbaric chambers, I've been getting acupuncture, massage, I've been taking ibuprofen, and doing everything we could do to get my leg felling better, but it's still feeling pretty bad."

Although Clay will not be eligible to compete at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships this summer in Berlin, Germany, he has his sights set on other goals. "After I sulk for a little bit, my coaches and I will get together and figure out what I'm going to do for the rest of the year," he said.

"We have our ultimate goal of coming out in the next three years and going after the world indoor record, the world outdoor record, and then of course, making another Olympic team. My goal is to be the only American to ever win three (decathlon) medals at three Olympics, so we're starting to look forward at this point."

En route to the track, we were also informed that seven-time world cross country champion Paul Tergat of Kenya has withdrawn from Saturday's Rock n Roll Seattle Half-Marathon.

"Paul was out jogging the morning before his flight and felt some pain in his lower back. With the length of the flight from Nairobi to Seattle, and the race itself, he decided it was best to pull out," said Matthew Turnbull, the Elite Athlete Coordinator for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. "It's a blow to lose any athlete so close to a race. Everyone associated with Rock 'n' Roll Seattle was looking forward to welcoming Paul to the inaugural event in what is going to be an exciting and long standing relationship here in the Pacific Northwest."

Meanwhile, hope you follow our tweets through our Twitter page (twitter.com/paulmerca70601) during today's competition. There's also a Twitter feed on the right hand side of this blog.

We'll post after each day's competition.

Don't forget that you can watch streaming video of the meet through our media partner, Flotrack.org.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Berhane Adere of Ethiopia added to RnR Seattle half-marathon field...

Veteran internationalist Berhane Adere (left/courtesy London Marathon) of Ethiopia has been added to Saturday's Rock n Roll Seattle Half-Marathon, joining seven-time world cross country champion Paul Tergat of Kenya in the field.

The 35-year old Adere has won the Chicago Marathon twice as well as the prestigious Dubai Marathon. She is a former world champion in the 10,000 meters, and her personal-best time in the half-marathon is 1 hour, 8 minutes, 17 seconds.

Race promoters have 25000 entries for both the half-marathon and marathon, which starts in Tukwila, and finishes at Qwest Field.

Here's the link to the Seattle Times article on Adere's entry.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's USA National Championships week in Eugene!

paulmerca.blogspot.com heads down to Eugene, Oregon for its coverage of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships beginning Thursday June 25th through June 28th.

As always, we’ll focus on those athletes with ties to the state of Washington who are doing battle for spots on Team USA for this summer’s IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Berlin, Germany.

Two athletes who don’t have to worry about making the team are are former Washington State standout Bernard Lagat in the 1500 and 5000, along with Mountlake Terrace’s Brad Walker in the pole vault.

Both Lagat and Walker are automatically on Team USA as defending world champions in their events from 2007. The only requirement for the two of them to punch their ticket to Berlin is show up and participate in the national championships.

Lagat, who recently ran 13:03.06 for 5000 at the Reebok Grand Prix meet in New York, is entered in both the 800 and the 5000.

Walker, who normally competes in a full slate of indoor meets during the winter months, and spring domestic meets, opens his 2009 season with the national championships. Walker’s laid low and concentrated on training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California after a disastrous showing at the Olympics in Beijing where he no-heighted in qualifying.

2008 Washington track & field Olympians Ian Waltz & Aretha Thurmond (discus); Kara Patterson (javelin) and Diana Pickler (heptathlon) roll into Eugene as favorites to earn spots on this year’s world championship team.

While not competing as much this spring as he has in the past, Waltz, the former Cougar, has thrown 206-0 this season at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

Thurmond has been a globetrotter this spring, competing in New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil, with a season best of 202-5, the third best throw in the country.

Kara Patterson will make her professional debut in Eugene as the defending national champion thanks to her victory at the Olympic Trials last year. The Vancouver native has a season best of 192-1.

After the 2008 season, which ended with an injury at the Olympics in the first event of the heptathlon, the 100 meter hurdles, former Washington State All-American Diana Pickler moved back first to Austin, Texas, then joined twin sister Julie in Manhattan, Kansas. Diana won the USA indoor pentathlon championships in March, but hasn’t attempted a heptathlon in 2009.

Some other significant post collegians to watch in Eugene include 2004 Olympian Jarred Rome from Marysville-Pilchuck HS in the discus; former Husky long jumper Norris Frederick, now a first year professional; Chris Lukezic from Auburn High School, a 2005 world championship team member at 1500 meters; and, 2007 national champion and world championship team member Ginnie Powell from Rainier Beach High, who was slowed by an injury last year that kept her off the Olympic team in the 100 meter hurdles.

Recent Washington grad Jordan Boase makes his professional debut in Eugene, as does NCAA All-American Austin Abbott. Current Huskies Scott Roth, Katie Follett, Mel Lawrence are among the top Dawgs entered in the meet. For Washington State, two-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson has the best chance of making Team USA among the Cougs entered in this meet.

Here’s the link to the declared entries to this week’s national championships.

The meet will be on TV on both ESPN and NBC, with the following air times:

Friday, June 26, 5-7 p.m. PT, ESPN
Saturday, June 27, 4:30-6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Sunday, June 28, 1-3 p.m. PT, NBC

Additionally, select senior events, along with the junior championships will be shown online through our media partner, flotrack.org.

Here’s a link to Washington State University’s release
for this week’s championships.

The USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships are happening in Eugene concurrent with the senior championships. The Junior Championships will serve as the selection meet for the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, July 31-Aug. 2, at Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Some of the most significant entries include Washington high jumper Kelly McNamee, Washington State’s Courtney Kirkwood in the javelin, Seattle Pacific’s Natty Plunkett in the 5000, Washington state 2A 800 meter champ Becca Friday from Bellingham, WSU’s Joe Abbott in the 800, Curtis HS sophomore Rahmel Dockery in the high jump, and former Mt. Rainier HS standout Ray Prentice, who attends Oklahoma State.

Here's the link to junior entries...

Look for our coverage of the championships throughout the week. Don’t forget to check our Twitter page (twitter.com/paulmerca70601) or the Twitter feed on the right side of this web site for periodic live tweets during the meet as well!

Media partner Flotrack.org to provide live webcasts of open & junior events at USA Championships...

USA Track & Field announced Tuesday that it will partner with Flotrack.org to provide live webcasts of both open and junior events at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. The Championships will be held Thursday through Sunday at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. This event is the selection event for the 2009 IAAF World Championships which will be contested in August in Berlin, Germany.

Flotrack, who is one of our web site's media partners, will supplement USATF's official television coverage with live, real-time coverage with race calls of every event at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships while also providing bonus, live, real-time coverage and race calls of select open events during the USA Outdoor Championships.

"As USA Track & Field continues to develop our web-based initiatives, Flotrack presents us with a popular platform to access our fanbase," said USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan. "Partnering with Flotrack will enable us to provide thorough coverage of our Championships and to expand the reach of our sport."

In addition to race coverage, Flotrack will provide fans with exclusive interviews with track & field superstars, as well as behind the scenes access to select areas such as at the practice track and trackside press conferences.

Coverage begins Thursday with full-day webcasts of all events with a focus on the early rounds of the 400m, 800m, 1,500m and open men's and women's 10,000m finals.

News and Video of the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be available at www.usatf.org and www.visachampionshipseries.com.

NOTE--USA Track & Field & Flotrack.org contributed to this report.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mel Lawrence named Pac-10 women's newcomer of the year...

Redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence (left/photo by Mike Scott) has been honored as the 2009 Pac-10 Track & Field Women's Newcomer of the Year, becoming the first Husky female to win any of the conference's postseason honors.

The Reno, Nevada native found her niche when she took up the steeplechase for the first time since high school at the UW-WSU dual meet in May. Lawrence crushed the school record in her first attempt, then went on to easily win the Pac-10 Championship, a first for UW in the event, breaking the meet record held by UW assistant coach Kelly Strong in 9:54.13.

After another dominant win at NCAA West Regionals, Lawrence headed to her first NCAA Outdoor Championships. She proceeded to finish third behind two seniors, one of which is the American record-holder and 2008 Olympian in the steeple, and was the only woman in the field to set a new personal-best, which she did by 12 seconds, running 9:40.98. That time crushed the Pac-10 Conference record of 9:46.43 held by former US world championship team member Lisa Aguilera.

The steeple has been a strength for Lawrence going back to her prep days. She won the 2006 U.S. Junior National Championship in the steeplechase with a meet record time of 10:15.

Lawrence also excelled at other distances, running 15:50.36 for 5,000-meters, a time that ranked in the Top-10 nationally. She also qualified for Regionals in the 1,500m with a best of 4:24.10. Her third-place NCAA finish earned her the first All-American honor of her track career, to go with the one she earned in the fall for cross country when she placed 25th overall as the third UW finisher on its NCAA Championship team.

Husky women's distance runners have now swept the Pac-10 Newcomer honors for cross country and track. Christine Babcock was named Pac-10 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year in the fall.

Next up for Lawrence is the U.S.A Track & Field Championships in Eugene, which begin this Thursday, June 25 and run through Jun 28. She will be among the top contenders, and certainly the youngest, in a group of steeplechasers looking to earn a top-three finish and make Team USA for the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

NOTE: The Pacific-10 Conference and the University of Washington contributed to this report.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jordan Boase signs with Doyle Management...

Bothell High School product Jordan Boase, who recently finished competing for the University of Washington, has signed an agreement to be represented by Doyle Management Group.

Boase earned several All-America honors while competing for the Huskies, and leaves Washington with a personal best of 44.82.

Boase is one of five new clients Doyle Management added to its roster, including Oregon javelin thrower Rachel Yurkovich, Duck distance runner Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, Georgia javelin thrower Chris Hill, and Georgia 400 hurdler Justin Gaymon.

Among Doyle's current clients include Olympic decathlon champ Bryan Clay, world shot put champion Reese Hoffa, and Federal Way's Aretha Thurmond, a three-time Olympian in the discus.

Doyle Management's release can be read here...

CATCHING UP WITH: Bryan Clay

On a cloudy Seattle day, paulmerca.blogspot.com had the opportunity to watch “The World’s Greatest Athlete”, 2008 Olympic decathlon champion Bryan Clay (left/photo by Paul Merca from 2008 Olympic Trials) do a workout at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington in preparation for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Eugene, Oregon.

Clay is no stranger to Seattle and the University of Washington, as he frequently spends time in the area during the off-season, as his wife Sarah’s (who attended high school at King’s in north Seattle and was a former Azusa Pacific javelin thrower) family still resides in the area.

Bryan began his successful 2008 Olympic campaign by competing at the Husky Preview meet by finishing second in the 60 hurdles in 7.93, placing second in the long jump in 7.42m (24-4.25), and winning the shot put with a toss of 15.69m (51-5.75).

In Wednesday’s workout, Clay concentrated on his pole vault technique, under the watchful eye of Husky vault coach Pat Licari, who is no slouch in this event, as he’s the coach to American record holder Brad Walker.

Here's highlights of Clay's practice Wednesday:



Between vaults, Clay got some good natured ribbing from Washington throws coach Reedus Thurmond about taking his personalized Nike spikes and throwing shoes with the gold swoosh and the name CLAY etched on the heels and putting them up for sale on eBay.

After the 90-minute training session, we had a chance to catch up with the Olympic champion.

Special thanks to former Yelm HS shot putter Jesse Roberge, who now is an associate of Clay’s agent Paul Doyle for helping set up the interview.

Talk about what you are doing here in Seattle in the run-up to the nationals—I understand that you are doing some speaking and media appearances.

I have some speaking engagements in the area. I’m speaking in Tacoma on Sunday (Father’s Day) at the Champions Centre, and my wife’s family is from here. It’s a nice change of scenery from California. I’m much more relaxed when I am here in the state of Washington.

(note: Since arriving in Seattle from Toronto on June 12th, Clay helped celebrate his wife’s birthday, taken his family to the Woodland Park Zoo, conducted interviews with the Seattle Times, KOMO & KING TV, Northwest Runner, and will be throwing the first pitch Friday night at the Seattle Mariners’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. All that in addition to preparing for next week's USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships).

Where are you going into the nationals?

I spent a lot of time doing PR work for my sponsors after the Olympics. We’ve been busy! That was expected after the Olympics.

(note: After the Olympics, Clay took a well-deserved break from training. Among his activities since Beijing included appearing on David Letterman, signing a deal with Wheaties, speaking at the Republican National Convention, pitching a new cross-training shoe for Nike, and helping the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid campaign).

I’m in good shape this year. I jumped 17 feet in practice today, which is a lot higher than what I was vaulting a few years ago. I’m hurdling well—I ran 14.00 in pouring rain (in Toronto at the Festival of Excellence) and a headwind. I started training for this season later than normal.

The idea is to be smart about your training and try not to get hurt and compete smart. If everything goes as planned, and I go to the championships with no injuries, then things will be ok. By the time world championships rolls around, I will be right where I need to be, as I’ll have six more weeks of training under my belt.

That’s the hard part about the US selection system is having to come off an Olympic year and be the Olympic champion, and still have to compete in the US championships to qualify (for Worlds). They say that this (the US championships) is the fairest way to pick the world championship team—I’m not the boss; I just do what I’m told.

I think about 8500 points is what it will take to make the world championship team. I see Ashton Eaton in there; Trey Hardee’s already scored over 8500 this season.

When you go into a big meet like the nationals, do you have certain benchmark workouts that you do that give you a certain sense of confidence, and what are they?

We always run a 320 at 400-meter speed in practice. This gives me an idea where I’m at. We always time touchdown times over the hurdles to see how fast we’re running between the hurdles. I’ll always know where I’m at in the shot put when I throw in practice.

You always like to be at a certain place before you start competing. I feel like I’m definitely there, but I’m just not as sharp as I’d like to be going into a meet like the nationals.

The decathlon’s a rough event—it’s not like running the 100 or 200. It’s a lot of work! My body for the last ten years has been beat up.

Take a hard look at how long most decathletes last—I’m pushing that envelope now—there’s only been a handful of decathletes that have gone more than two Olympiads. I’m looking to go one more.

Talk about the current state of the event in this country, with the young bucks (Ashton Eaton, Trey Hardee & Jake Arnold), the established guys (yourself, Paul Terek ), the old man (Tom Pappas), etc.

Anyone will tell you that there will always be someone else. On any given day, someone will have the meet of their life. You just have to make sure that when that someone has the meet of their life, that you are ready to respond to it. If you’re not, then you’re gonna get beat. I’m still waiting for the meet of my life; one of these days, I’m going to get it.

What’s the closest you’ve come to having the perfect decathlon?

If I was to go off where I was at, I would say that Athens (2004 Olympics, where he finished second) was almost the perfect meet, considering where I was at when I did it. That year, I scored 8400 early in the season 8660 at the Trials, then 8820 at the Games. The only bad events I had were the 400 where I ran 49.19, and the hurdles, where I ran 14.1 after hitting a hurdle hard.

I’ve grown since then, and my expectations have grown since then. At the Trials last year, I scored 8832, but had a bad shot put, and a bad long jump. At the Olympics I had a better shot put and a better long jump, but I had a bad high jump.

The day I have the perfect meet is the day that I break the world record.

You did something for the Seattle Marathon back in November that very few people in the local media picked up on with kids. Talk about that and how you got involved with the Seattle Marathon folks.

My niece was participating in the kid’s marathon, and because she was in it, I decided to come out and support her. The Seattle Marathon folks wondered if I could go and talk to some of the kids, so I made myself available. I helped cheer for the kids as they were finishing. You know, it was nothing big; I just hung out and had a good time with the kids.

I was able to take something from that experience and hope to do something similar to what I did in Hawaii and in Glendora, because I think what the Seattle Marathon is doing is such a great program.

I’ve read that you’d like to live here in Washington when you are finished competing. Could you elaborate on that?

I’d like to be able to give Sarah what she wants, and that’s to be close to family. If the opportunity became available, and I could provide for my family, then I’d love to come up this way.

My ultimate goal is to have a house here and in Hawaii! That’s the dream (laughs)!

The goals for 2009 & beyond…8891 (Dan O’Brien’s American record) & world record (Roman Sebrle of Czech Republic’s 9026)?

2010 is probably the best opportunity to go for the world record, as there’s nothing going on then. Gotzis is probably the best opportunity to go for it. I’m gonna go there and have the best meet that I possibly can. If it happens that I get the world record, then great. And if it doesn’t happen, oh well…hopefully I score well enough to win the meet and improve on my personal best.

Twitter & Facebook (1957 FB, 1804 TW on 6/17/09)—inspiration for your sites, and goals. Also, what’s the feedback been like from your followers?

Realistically, we are shooting to have as many people as we can get. I’d like to see my numbers around that of Oprah Winfrey and Ashton Kutcher, but realistically, I don’t know if that’s happening. I thought that we (he and his management group, led by agent Paul Doyle) would throw that number out there (8832, his decathlon personal best) and see if we could get that.

(note: Follow Bryan at
twitter.com/bryanclay; follow Bryan on Facebook here...)

The thing that’s so exciting is that people can follow me all the time. I’m updating from practice. I like letting people know how much practice sucks, and how painful it is. Sarah likes to take pictures of me laying on the ground after a hard workout with my phone at practice and posts it. It’s really fun to involve my fans in what I do on a day to day basis.

We actually had higher numbers on my Facebook page, but we didn’t have control over our page, so we had to start over and create a fan page. We lost a bit of following when we started over, but we knew that. With the fan page on Facebook, fans can interact with each other.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2010 Prefontaine Classic to be held July 3rd...

One of the rumors floating around Eugene during the Nike Prefontaine Classic was that the date would be moved to late June or sometime in July from its general location on the calendar of late May-early June

That rumor was confirmed by the IAAF which sent out this press release announcing the schedule of the 2010 Diamond League meets.

Below is the full text of the release, courtesy of the IAAF:

It has been agreed that the IAAF Diamond League will be composed of 14 cities across the globe in America, Asia, Middle East and Europe.

Yesterday at a meeting of the General Assembly of IAAF Diamond League held in Berlin, Germany, the 2010 Calendar was confirmed.


As well as the 12 meetings which were confirmed in Monte-Carlo on 2 March when the new circuit of elite Athletics Meetings was originally announced, at the time there were 3 other cities, Berlin, Doha and Rome which had expressed an interest in becoming part of the IAAF Diamond League.

Of this trio, the meetings in Doha and Rome fulfilled the necessary criteria of membership and were accepted into the IAAF Diamond League.


Work is on-going on a slightly altered distribution of events amongst the 14 meetings, and this schedule will be communicated at a later date.


An official launch of the 2010 IAAF Diamond League will take place on Saturday 22 August in Berlin, the penultimate day of the 12th IAAF World Championships
in Athletics (15-23 Aug 2009).

IAAF Diamond League 2010 Calendar

Doha (QAT) – Fri 14 May
Shanghai (CHN) – Sun 23 May

Oslo (NOR) – Fri 4 June

Rome (ITA) – Thu 10 June

New York (USA) – Sat 19 June
Eugene (USA) – Sat 3 July

Lausanne (SWI) – Thu 8 July
Gateshead (GBR) – Sun 11 July
Paris (FRA) – Fri 16 July

Monaco (MON) – Thu 22 July

Stockholm (SWE) – Fri 6 Aug

London (GBR) – Fri 13 and Sat 14 Aug

Z├╝rich (SWI) – Thu 19 Aug
Brussels (BEL) – Fri 27 Aug

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend roundup: June 12-14...

With most of the attention focused on the NCAA Track & Field Championships this past weekend, several post-collegians from the area competed in Portland at the Portland Track Festival at Lewis & Clark College, and at the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Vancouver, BC.

Mike Sayenko, formerly from the University of Washington, was gunning for a 13:52 qualifying standard for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Eugene.

Sayenko, who is already qualified for the national championships in both the 5000 and 10000, finished third in 13:56.92. Former O'Dea & University of Portland standout Michael Kilburg, who now is training with the Hanson's/Brooks Distance Project, finished ninth in 14:00.08.

The link to the Portland Track Classic can be accessed here.

Sunday, the area's post collegians moved north to Burnaby, BC for the Harry Jerome Track Classic, Canada's biggest invitational track meet.

Former Washington Husky Carly Dockendorf, who is aiming for the Canadian national team for Berlin this summer, won the pole vault with a jump of 14-3 1/4 (4.35m). Her old UW teammate Kate Conwell was third with a leap of 12-9 1/2 (3.90m).

Another former Husky, Ryan Brown, placed second in the 800m with a time of 1:46.52.

In the men's javelin, ex-Husky & Boise State thrower Justin St. Clair was third with a mark of 223-1 (68.00m). Current Husky Kyle Nielsen, who on Friday threw at the NCAA championships in Arkansas, finished third with a mark of 221-5 (67.49m). Former Spokane CC thrower Shae Murray was fifth with a toss of 220-9 (67.30m).

Washington alum Ashley Lodree was third in the women's 100 meter hurdles in 13.61. Husky frosh distance sensation Kendra Schaaf, who was redshirted during the track season, finished sixth in the women's 1500 in a time of 4:21.62.

Current Husky javelin thrower Brooke Pighin (left/photo by Mike Scott), who also competed in the NCAA meet on Friday, finished fourth in her specialty with a throw of 154-2 (47.00m).

Former Washington mile record holder Eric Garner was ninth at Jerome in the 1500, running 3:45.64.

Complete results from the Harry Jerome Track Classic can be accessed here.

NOTE: Here is the link to the current entries to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (senior men & women) to be held June 25-28 in Eugene, Oregon.

The link to the current entries for the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held concurrently with the senior meet is here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

WSU's Matt Lamb fifth in NCAA discus finals...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Washington State junior Matt Lamb (left/photo courtesy Washington State sports information) finished fifth in the men’s discus at the NCAA Track & Field Championships at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas, with a toss of 190-4 (58.01m).

Lamb, who entered the finals with the sixth best throw in the qualifying round of 192-11 (58.81m) got his toss in the fourth round of competition.

"All things considered, this was a pretty good way to end a mediocre season so I'll take it," Lamb said. "I'm about 30 to 35 pounds heavier than I was a year ago so I don't feel like I'm in the same throwing shape. I'm a lot stronger but I'm having a hard time transferring it into the discus. If I don't go to the USA nationals I'm going to relax and stay out of the weight room and get away from throwing for a little bit and focus on next season. I still have one more year and if I don't end up on the top of the podium I will be disappointed."

"I'm happy with his finish today because with the year he's had, this shows that he recovered so much," Cougar Associate Coach Debra Farwell said. "He is starting to get his form back and he threw over 190-feet both days. To finish fifth at the national championship is a huge boost of confidence for him."

In the men’s 1500, Washington senior Austin Abbott from Chehalis finished seventh in a time of 3:41.15. Former UW teammate Jordan McNamara, a product of Auburn Riverside HS, who now runs for the University of Oregon, finished eleventh in a time of 3:42.42.

McNamara had an opportunity to win Oregon’s first national team title with a seventh place finish. His eleventh place finish left the Ducks with 46 team points, and head coach Vin Lannana sweating out the final events as Texas A&M (left/photo by Mike Scott) won the national title with their second place finish in the 4 x 400 meter relay.

Oregon ended up in a three-way tie for second with Florida State and Florida with 46 points.

Washington’s Christine Babcock, the outstanding freshman from Irvine, California, placed 11th in the women’s 1500 in a time of 4:20.41.

In the final team standings, the Washington women, led by steeplechaser Mel Lawrence, and 10000 meter runner Anita Campbell, were nineteenth with 14 points. Washington State finished 58th with 3 points.

Texas A&M won the women’s team title, scoring 50 points.

Washington State, with Jeshua Anderson’s victory in the 400 hurdles finished 17th with 14 points. The Huskies were 20th with 13 points.

For the majority of these athletes, the NCAA marked the end of the 2008-09 season. However, a host of athletes with USA citizenship will compete in the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in two weeks at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Complete results from the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

Here's the final recap of how UW, WSU & other athletes with Washington ties fared at the NCAA track & field championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

MEN

Austin Abbott (UW): Seventh in 1500, 3:41.15
Sam Ahlbeck (WSU): Ran 8:49.88 in 3000 steeple semis
Jeshua Anderson (WSU): Won 400 hurdles in 48.47
Trent Arrivey (WSU): Ninth in high jump, 7-0.25 (2.14m)
Jordan Boase (UW): Ran 46.55 in 400m semifinals
Abdi Hassan (Nathan Hale/Arizona): Did not finish 1500m semifinals
Matt Lamb (WSU): Fifth in discus with throw of 190-4 (58.01m).
Barry Leavitt (WSU): Ran 50.55 in semifinals of 400 hurdles
Alex McClary (Arkansas/Shelton HS): Ran 1:49.72 in semifinals of 800m
Andy McClary (Arkansas/Shelton HS): Ran 3:47.50 in semifinals of 1500m
Jordan McNamara (Auburn Riverside/Oregon): Finished 11th in 1500m, 3:42.42
Zach Midles (UW): Threw 210-0 (64.01m) in hammer qualifying round
Kyle Nielsen (UW): Finished sixth in javelin, 231-6 (70.56m)
Jared O'Connor (UW): No-heighted in pole vault finals
Jake Riley (Bellingham/Stanford): Eighth in 10000, 29:14.53
Scott Roth (UW): Second in pole vault, 18-2.50 (5.55m)
Jake Schmitt (UW): Finished 22nd in 10000, 30:22.91.
Jake Shanklin (Spokane CC/Wyoming): Tenth in hammer throw, 207-11 (63.38m)
Robert Williams (WSU): Ran 14.74 in first round of 110 hurdles
Justin Woods (WSU)--Ran 10.35 in first round of 100; ran 21.23 in second round of 200

4 x 100 Relay Men Semifinal--Jeff Gudaitis, Kenjamine Jackson , Randy Bacon, and Joe Turner (UW): Ran 40.49, did not advance

WOMEN

Christine Babcock (UW): Finished 11th in 1500m final, 4:20.41
Elisa Bryant (UW): Threw 179-5 (54.68m) in hammer qualifying round
Anita Campbell (UW): Third in 10000m, 33:43.33
Kailey Campbell (UW): Ran 4:20.10 in semifinals of 1500
Lisa Egami (WSU): Ran 4:23.15 in semifinals of 1500
Katie Follett (UW): Twelfth in 5000, 16:52.76
Lorraine King (WSU): Ran 58.99 in first round of 400 hurdles
Mel Lawrence (UW): Third in 3000 steeplechase, 9:40.98
Kara Patterson (Skyline-Vancouver/Purdue): second in javelin, 190-2 (57.96m)
Brooke Pighin (UW): Seventh in javelin, 165-9 (50.53m)
Marissa Tschida (WSU): Sixth in javelin, 166-5 (50.72m)

NOTE: Special thanks to the sports information office of the University of Arkansas, the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the NCAA for assistance during the championships.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jeshua Anderson's NCAA title defense a success...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Washington State University sophomore Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Mike Scott) successfully defended his NCAA title and lowered his own school record time Friday night at the 2009 NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships at John McDonnell Field on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

Anderson, a sophomore from Woodland Hills, Calif., used his long, methodical strides to keep control of the race from the starting gun with only a slight wobble at the ninth hurdle. Anderson powered across the finish line with a school record time of 48.47 seconds and back-to-back NCAA titles. Johnny Dutch, a sophomore from South Carolina finished second in a time of 48.62.

This finish mirrored the 2008 USA Junior Outdoor Championships intermediate hurdles race where Anderson won in 49.28, setting a meet record in Columbus, Ohio, and Dutch took second with a time of 49.74. Anderson went on to run in the 2008 Olympic Trials and to win the 400m hurdles title at the World Junior Championships in Poland where he set the previous WSU record time of 48.68.

When questioned immediately following the race about the slight stumble after the ninth hurdle, Anderson told CBS television commentator Dwight Stones, "I need to work on my alternate leg more but my coaches said to come off of hurdle eight and try to run through it. Hopefully it looked better but that one was nasty. My legs are tired but all of this has been a blessing. I'm happy to be here and I thank God. I know Dutch was on me the whole time and we've been going at it since last year and I'm looking forward to years to come."

Dutch told Stones, "Me and Jesh have both been running hurdles for a while. I remember hearing about this cat back in high school. He is a good competitor, a strong competitor. He pushes me even though he's thousands of miles away."

"Jeshua ran pretty much to perfection tonight, except for that ninth hurdle, and some of that could be from feeling so good at the end of the race that he got a little close. We'll have to look at that on tape because we can't have that happen in two weeks and make the World team," WSU hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said. "The hamstring trouble has probably slowed his development a little bit but based on his races this year I felt he would be strong enough to win. The last month we have only been doing strength work and for the past three weeks I went to practice every day with the only goal of getting Jeshua to the line at this meet in one piece and healthy. The training has been cautious so that probably hurt his chances of a meet record here but with a sore hammy that is what you have to do."

Husky sophomore Scott Roth finished second in the men's pole vault, with a clearance of 18-2.50 (5.55m). His teammate, and last year's runner-up Jared O'Connor failed to clear the opening height of 16-8 3/4 (5.10m).

"I just got out-vaulted today. I had really great jumps in really good conditions. I was jumping well and I was happy with how it was going, but I just simply got out-jumped," said Roth. "It's really cool to jump with a guy like that because it's kind of a wake-up call. But I was still able to clear a lot of bars and to take second-place is very exciting."

Vancouver native Kara Patterson was the national runner-up in the women's javelin throw.

Patterson earns national honors for the second straight season, taking fifth in 2008 and second this year with a mark of 57.96 meters (190-02). She took the lead early, marking 57.47 meters (188-06) on her second throw and held that lead through the third round, before relinquishing it to eventual NCAA Champion Rachel Yurkovich of Oregon. The championship throw marked 59.62 meters (195-07).

"I'm disappointed with second place, but happy with what I've done for Purdue," said Patterson. "It's been great being able to come out here and wear my school colors on the national stage and score points for our team. I'm really excited that this is just another step in my career and can't wait to start competing professionally."

Sophomore Marissa Tschida from WSU finished sixth in the women's javelin final with a toss of 166-feet, 5 inches (50.72m). Tschida's best throw in the Friday final came on her second of six attempts after throwing 168-6 (51.36m) in the Wednesday qualifying round.

Washington's Brooke Pighin finished one place behind Tschida, with a mark of 165-9 (50.53m).

Washington's Mel Lawrence (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished third in the women's 3000 meter steeplechase, as the redshirt freshman from Reno, Nevada lowered her Husky school record to 9:40.98, finishing behind US Olympian Jenny Barringer of Colorado (9:25.54), and Michigan State's Nicole Bush (9:40.49).

Barringer and Bush are both seniors, making Lawrence a major threat next season. This steeplechase was the first time all year she was actually not alone in first from the gun, thus accounting for her big drop in PR.

"I tried to build over the last (thousand meters). I noticed I was getting closer and closer towards (Bush and Franek). I could hear Coach Metcalf's (advice) on the sidelines and I trust him with my life," Lawrence said. "I was digging that last hundred. I went over that last barrier and I was going for it and she just was just a little bit stronger than I was, but it was an awesome last hundred for me."

Husky sophomore Kyle Nielsen finished sixth in the men's javelin, throwing 231-6 (70.56m).

In the women's 5000, Washington's Katie Follett finished 12th, in a time of 16:52.76.

For the Huskies, one of the biggest surprises of the NCAA championships was senior Jordan Boase's failure to qualify for Saturday's finals in the men's 400 meter dash, an event in which he was favored to place in the top four.

In Friday night's semifinals, Boase only ran 46.55.

On the field, Washington State's Trent Arrivey finished ninth in the men's high jump finals, clearing 7-0.25 (2.14m). Ellensburg native Jake Shanklin, a former standout at Spokane CC who now competes for the University of Wyoming, was tenth in the hammer throw with a toss of 207-11 (63.38m).

Once again the weather delayed the meet with an early afternoon storm causing a delay to nearly all events.

WSU's Matt Lamb is their final competitor, and will throw the discus Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Central Time.

Other athletes with Washington affiliations competing on the meet's final day include the University of Washington's Christine Babcock in the women's 1500, and Austin Abbott in the men's 1500. Former Auburn Riverside and UW runner Jordan McNamara, who now runs for Oregon is in the men's 1500m field as well.

Both 1,500m finals will be shown live tomorrow on CBS, a telecast that starts at 10 a.m. Pacific. Seattle viewers can watch the meet on KIRO TV 7 (Comcast HD 107). Live results are available here, and live streaming of the meet is available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, the University of Arkansas, the NCAA, and Purdue University all contributed to this report.

Day 3 of NCAA Championships underway at 3 pm central time...

Photographer Mike Scott informs the mighty blogspot, "After Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, High Winds, and hail as big as baseballs...women's hammer will warm up at 2:30pm, followed by competition at 3:00pm. Revised schedule will eventually get posted at NCAA.com"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anson Henry seventh in Toronto matchup against Usain Bolt...

TORONTO--In the highly anticipated Festival of Excellence 100 meter dash featuring triple Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt from Jamaica, former Washington State University sprinter Anson Henry finished seventh.

Marred by cool temperatures at Varsity Stadium in Toronto, and a false start that resulted in the disqualification of Bolt's fellow countryman Marvin Anderson, the reigning world record holder cruised to the victory in a rather modest 10.00.

Bolt's victory was .25 seconds over his nearest competitor, Olympic 200m silver medalist Shawn Crawford of the USA.

Henry, a Canadian Olympian in 2008, and a world championships semi-finalist at this distance two years ago, ran 10.57.

In the men's one mile run, former Auburn High School standout Chris Lukezic finished sixth in a time of 3:58.31.

Results from the Festival of Excellence meet can be accessed through this link.

Washington's Anita Campbell finishes third in NCAA 10000...

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas--Washington's Anita Campbell (left/photo by Mike Scott) used a 76-second final lap to overtake West Virginia's Clara Grandt and finish third in the women's 10000 meter run at the NCAA track and field championships at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Campbell, a native of Vancouver, BC, clocked 33:43.33, just short of her personal best of 33:40.22 to garner her first All-American certificate on the track and become Washington's highest ever finisher in this event, eclipsing Regina Joyce's fifth place finish in the 1983 championships.

Providence's Danette Doetzel won the women's 10000 with a time of 33:25.71, with Cecily Lemmon from BYU second in 33:39.97, and Grandt fourth in 33:45.16.

Former Eastern Washington University standout Mattie Bridgmon, now a graduate student at the University of Oregon, placed seventh in the race, earning All-America honors with a time of 34:18.20.

"I've wanted (track All-American honors) for a while now," said Campbell. "When I was hurt last year, Coach (Greg) Metcalf called me after the 10k and said, `You wouldn't have been any worse than second today.' So I kind of had it in my head for a whole year. I knew this was the year to run it. I'm open, my coach doesn't lie to me, so whatever he thinks is best I'll probably do all right at it. It's a growing process, learning how to run it and manage it all."

In other finals, Bellingham's Jake Riley, who attends Stanford University, earned All-America honors by placing eighth in the men's 10000, running 29:14.53. Washington's Jake Schmitt finished 22nd in 30:22.91.

The Huskies' Austin Abbott broke the 22-year-old school record in the 1,500-meter run in his semi-final race.

Running in the first of three semifinal heats, Abbott placed second in 3:39.63, which was the second-best time among all 27 prelim runners. That time eclipsed Bruce Stirling's 1987 school record of 3:39.89. Abbott had been shooting for that record for much of the year, and thought his best chance might have passed at the Mt. SAC Relays.

On the final lap, he picked off runners and kicked to the finish on the outside to finish just behind Wisconsin's Craig Miller. After seeing his time, Abbott raised his arms in triumph. Abbott's previous PR was 3:41.62 set in a win at the Stanford Invite
this season.

In Abbott's heat, former Auburn Riverside & UW runner Jordan McNamara, now competing for Oregon placed sixth in 3:42.09 to earn the final spot in Saturday's finals.

Former Nathan Hale HS runner Abdi Hassan, now competing for the University of Arizona, did not finish his heat of the men's 1500.

Former Shelton HS runner Andy McClary, running for Arkansas was sixth in his heat in 3:47.50 and didn't advance. Twin brother Alex was eighth in his semifinal heat of the men's 800, running 1:49.72, and didn't advance to Saturday's final.

Washington State's Jeshua Anderson clocked the fastest time in the semis of the 400 hurdles, running 49.27 seconds with his nearest rivals, Johnny Dutch from South Carolina and Justin Gaymon from Georgia, running times of 49.48 and 49.49, respectively. WSU senior Barry Leavitt ran a season-best time of 50.55 which was the 12th-best time in the semifinals where the top 9 advance to the Friday night final.

Cougar senior Justin Woods ran a 200m first round time of 21.04 seconds to advance to the semifinals. Just an hour and 20 minutes later, Woods ran a time of 21.23 in the semifinals, and didn't advance to the Saturday final.

WSU's Matt Lamb advanced to the final of the men's discus throw with a season-best toss of 192-feet, 11 inches (58.81m) the sixth-best throw of the day. Lamb, a two-time All-America, opened with a throw of 183-1 (55.81m) and then fouled his second attempt. Lamb stepped into the ring and threw a season-best on his third and final attempt to advance to Saturday's finals.

Washington freshman Christine Babcock advanced to the finals in the women's 1500, finishing fifth in her semifinal with a time of 4:16.10. Teammate Kailey Campbell was eighth in the same heat as Babcock, running 4:20.10, and did not advance.

Washington State's Lisa Egami met the same fate in her heat of the 1500, placing seventh in 4:23.15.

Several Huskies will be competing in finals on Friday, starting with Scott Roth and Jared O'Connor in the men's pole vault. Kyle Nielsen and Brooke Pighin will compete in javelin finals, and Mel Lawrence (steeplechase) and Katie Follett (5,000m) will go for All-American honors in the distances. Jordan Boase has another round of 400-meter dash qualifying to get through as well. All track events will be shown live tomorrow on CBS College Sports TV.

For Washington State, Friday finalists include javelin thrower Marissa Tschida, high jumper Trent Arrivey, and 400 hurdler Anderson will attempt to repeat as national champion.

2008 US Olympian Kara Patterson from Vancouver's Skyview HS looks to win her first NCAA title in the javelin against Tschida and Pighin.

Ellensburg native Jake Shanklin, who attended community college at Spokane CC, and now competes for Wyoming, gets things started in the men's hammer throw finals at 1 pm, local time.

CBS College Sports Network (cable channel formerly CSTV) will broadcast Friday, June 12 from 4 - 7 p.m. PT. The CBS network will broadcast Saturday, June 13, from 10 a.m. - Noon PT.

Live results are available here, and live streaming of the meet is available here.

Here's the time schedule of UW, WSU & Washington affiliated athletes competing on Friday (all times are Central Time Zone)

1:00 p.m. Men's Hammer Throw Final--Jake Shanklin (Wyoming)
3:45 p.m. Men's Pole Vault Final--Scott Roth, Jared O'Connor (both UW)
5:30 p.m. Women's Javelin Final - Marissa Tschida (WSU), Brooke Pighin (UW), Kara Patterson (Purdue)
6:25 p.m. Women's Steeplechase Final - Mel Lawrence (UW)
7:00 p.m. Men's High Jump Final - Trent Arrivey (WSU)
7:25 p.m. Men's 400m Dash Semi-Final - Jordan Boase (UW)
7:30 p.m. Men's Javelin Final--Kyle Nielsen (UW)
8:05 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles Final - Jeshua Anderson (WSU)
8:15 p.m. Women's 5000m Final--Katie Follett (UW)

Jordan Boase interview, courtesy preracejitters.com...

Courtesy of media partner preracejitters.com, here's an interview Jay Hicks did with Washington's Jordan Boase following Wednesday night's race at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

Day 1 NCAA Champs, Jordan Boase - Washington from PreRaceJitters on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NCAA Wednesday night recap (finally over at 1:10 am central time)...

Washington State University had four competitors advance among the seven who competed Wednesday, the first day of the 2009 NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships, while the Huskies of Washington advanced seven athletes.

Inclement weather that included rain and lightning at John McDonnell Field on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, caused a weather delay that began at 5 p.m. Pacific Time with four field events qualifying rounds and six track races semifinals left to be contested. Competition resumed at 8:15 p.m. PT.

The final first round event held Wednesday night before the storm hit were the five heats of the men's 400m hurdles. Jeshua Anderson (above/photo by Mike Scott), the defending NCAA champion, won his heat and had the third-fastest time of the first round at 50.12 seconds. Barry Leavitt ran a season-best 50.55 seconds for second place in his heat to qualify automatically. Leavitt's time was the ninth-fastest overall.

Vancouver's Kara Patterson from Purdue, the current collegiate leader, led qualifying in the javelin with a toss of 179-7 (54.74m). Marissa Tschida threw the javelin 168-feet, 6 inches (51.36m), while Washington's Brooke Pighin threw 160-10 (49.03m) to advance to the finals as well.

Eastern Washington freshman Michelle Coombs only threw 142-6 (43.43m) and did not advance.

Two-time All-American high jumper Trent Arrivey (junior, Woodinville, Wash.) cleared both bars on his first attempt in the qualifying round Wednesday night. Arrivey managed the wet runway surface well and cleared 6-8 3/4 (2.05m) and 6-10 3/4 (2.10m).

After the three-hour rain delay, Washington's Jordan Boase finished second in his heat of the 400m, running 46.27. Jeff Gudaitis finished a distant sixth in his heat, running 1:19.71.

Washington's Mel Lawrence was third in her heat of the women's 3000 steeplechase, running 10:05.70.

In the men's pole vault, Scott Roth and Jared O'Connor advanced to Friday's final, each clearing 17-6.5 (5.35m). Washington's Andrea Peterson cleared 13-1.5 (4.00m) on her third attempt. However, misses on her first two tries proved to be the difference, as all vaulters who cleared 13-1.5 and advanced did so on their first try.

Here's a recap of how other UW, WSU & other Washingtonians fared Wednesday night:

Men's 100m Dash First Round - Justin Woods (WSU): 10.35, did not advance
Women's 400m Hurdles First Round - Lorraine King (WSU): 58.99, did not advance
Men's 3000m Steeplechase Semifinal - Sam Ahlbeck (WSU): 8:49.88, did not advance
4 x 100 Relay Men Semifinal--Jeff Gudaitis, Kenjamine Jackson , Randy Bacon, and Joe Turner (UW): Ran 40.49, did not advance
Javelin Men Qualifying--Kyle Nielsen (UW)--Threw 227-7/69.36m to advance to Friday's final
800m first round Alex McClary (Arkansas)/Shelton HS: ran 1:48.24 to advance to Thursday's semis.

Here's a list of UW, WSU & other Washington athletes competing Thursday (all times central time):

1:00 p.m. Men's Discus Qualifying - Matt Lamb (WSU)
5:50 p.m. Men's 110m Hurdles First Round - Robert Williams (WSU)
6:25 p.m. Men's 200m Dash First Round - Justin Woods (WSU)
7:00 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles Semifinal - Jeshua Anderson & Barry Leavitt (WSU)
7:25 p.m. Men's 800m Semifinal: Alex McClary (Arkansas/Shelton HS)
7:45 p.m. Men's 200m Dash Semifinal - Justin Woods (WSU)
7:55 p.m. Women's 1500m Semifinal - Lisa Egami (WSU); Kailey Campbell, Christine Babcock (UW)
8:10 1500 Meters Men Semifinal--Austin Abbott (UW); Andy McClary (Arkansas/Shelton HS)
8:55 10,000 Meters Women Final--Anita Campbell (UW)
9:45 10,000 Meters Men Final--Jake Schmitt (UW)

NCAA Championships--Wednesday afternoon update....

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas--A quick update from the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

In the men's hammer competition, Jake Shanklin, formerly from Spokane CC and now a senior at the University of Wyoming, qualified for the finals in the men's hammer throw with a toss of 210-9 (64.25m), achieved in the second round.

Washington junior Zach Midles wasn't as fortunate, as he missed qualifying for the finals with a toss of 210-0 (64.01m), finishing 13th overall, one place out of a berth in the finals, and three inches short of Pac-10 rival Jason Lewis of Arizona State.

The Huskies' Elisa Bryant finished eighth in her flight of the hammer, as the sophomore threw 179-5 (54.68m) and 21st overall.

Shanklin will compete in the finals on Friday at 1 pm, central time.

Action in the evening session gets underway shortly, with Washington State's defending NCAA champ Jeshua Anderson in action over the 400m hurdles, and Vancouver resident Kara Patterson of Purdue, the 2008 US Olympian in the qualifying flight of the women's javelin.

Live results are available here, and live streaming of the meet is available here.

NCAA Championships underway in Fayetteville, Arkansas...

The four day festival known as the NCAA Track & Field Championships is now underway in Fayetteville, Arkansas at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas, with ten athletes from Washington State University and nineteen athletes from the University of Washington competing in the meet.

All eyes will be on WSU sophomore Jeshua Anderson (left/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information), as the two-time Pac-10 and NCAA West regional champion looks to add another national title to his resume over the 400-meter hurdles.

Washington's 19 representatives is up from 13 a year ago and features several athletes that will be eyeing national titles and All-America honors. Eleven Huskies will be competing at the outdoor national meet for the first time in their careers.

Another athlete to watch out for is 2008 US Olympic Trials javelin champion Kara Patterson from Vancouver's Skyview High School. The Purdue University senior was heavily favored in last year's NCAA meet in Des Moines, Iowa, but only managed to place fifth, before rebounding a few weeks later to make the Olympic team.

Here's a link to an article from the Vancouver Columbian on Kara.

Here are links to the NCAA meet releases for the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Live results are available here
, and live streaming of the meet is available here.

Viewers are reminded that CBS College Sports (channel 412 on Seattle area Comcast) will show the meet on Friday live beginning at 4 pm pacific, and CBS Sports will telecast the meet starting at 10 am on Saturday.

Here's an interview with Washington coach Greg Metcalf, courtesy UW Sports Information:



Below is the list of times that athletes from Washington State and Washington will compete on Wednesday. A listing of times will be posted before the start of each day of competition, along with a recap.

Wednesday, June 10 - All Times are Central Time Zone

WSU
5:30 p.m. Women's Javelin Qualifying - Marissa Tschida
6:15 p.m. Men's 100m Dash First Round - Justin Woods
6:30 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles First Round - Lorraine King
6:45 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles First Round - Jeshua Anderson & Barry Leavitt
7:40 p.m. Men's 100m Dash Semifinal - Justin Woods
8:00 p.m. Men's High Jump Qualifying - Trent Arrivey
8:15 p.m. Men's 3000m Steeplechase Semifinal - Sam Ahlbeck

UW
10:30 a.m. Hammer Men Qualifying--Zach Midles
1:00 p.m. Hammer Women Qualifying--Elisa Bryant
4:30 Pole Vault Men Qualifying--Scott Roth, Jared O'Connor
5:15 4 x 100 Relay Men Semifinal--Jeff Gudaitis, Kenjamine Jackson , Randy Bacon, and Joe Turner
5:30 Javelin Women Qualifying--Brooklyn Pighin
7:15 400 Meters Men First Round--Jordan Boase, Jeff Guidaitis
7:15 Pole Vault Women Qualifying--Andrea Peterson
7:50 3000 Steeplechase Women Semifinal--Mel Lawrence
8:00 Javelin Men Qualifying--Kyle Nielsen
8:40 5000 Meters Women Semifinal--Katie Follett

Others with Washington affiliation competing Wednesday:

10:30 a.m. Jake Shanklin (Wyoming)--men's hammer Ellensburg/Spokane CC
5:30 p.m. Kara Patterson (Purdue)--women's javelin Skyview HS/Vancouver; Michelle Coombs (Eastern Washington)
5:45 p.m. Alex McClary (Arkansas)--men's 800 Shelton HS

NOTE: After a spectacular NCAA West Regional performance, WSU sophomore Marlon Murray will not be competing. Murray ran a 100m time of 10.57 for fifth, and a 200m time of 21.26 for third after running a PR prelim time of 20.99. He pulled up at 200m finish line with hamstring pull and was not able to fully rehabilitate in time for national meet.

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