Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pixler wins mile run at UW Invitational to highlight stellar distance races...

Once again, the distance races were the highlight of an always stellar University of Washington Invitational indoor track & field meet that concluded its two day run at the Dempsey Indoor facility on Saturday.

Local track and field fans were treated to a spectacular solo run by Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler, as she shattered her own SPU and Great Northwest Athletic Conference mark by more than four seconds on, cruising around oval in 4 minutes, 33.46 seconds, just missing the facility record of 4:31.87, set by Canadian Courtney Babcock in 2006.

I’ve had shingles the past couple weeks, so I wasn’t quite sure whether it was a good idea to run or not,” Pixler said. “My plan was to see how I felt running on Friday and how I felt this morning. I still wasn’t completely sure, but I said I was just going to go for it. It was only a mile, and if I had a bad race, there wouldn’t be too much suffering.”

It felt awesome. I felt really relaxed and strong,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to go that fast at all. I was hoping to at least faster than the 4:37 for my PR. I thought a 4:35 would be awesome.”

Moments after Pixler's effort, 2009 USA world championship team members Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky duked it out in the men's mile run, with Solinsky breaking the old facility record of 3:56.00 set two years ago by Steve Sherer, as the Wisconsin alum led four men under four minutes in the race, winning in 3:55.75.

Rupp was second in 3:56.22, with Arizona's Abdi Hassan, a former Nathan Hale HS product third in 3:59.76, and Southern Utah's Cameron Levins fourth in 3:59.80.

Less than two hours later, Rupp returned to the Dempsey oval and won the 3000 meter run in 7:51.48, a time that is currently the second fastest mark in the world this season, pulling away from Scott Bauhs (7:51.65) and surprising Aaron Braun (7:51.68) of Division II Adams State, who led going into the last lap.

After his race, Rupp told me that his day wasn't quite done yet, as he was getting ready to go outside to Husky Stadium and do an interval workout, then finish with a weight training session.

It took a photo to decide the winner, as former Arizona State All-American Amy Hastings won the women's 3000 meter run over Mammoth Track Club training partner and 3-time US Olympian Jen Rhines (left/photo by Paul Merca) in 8:58.45, with Rhines running 8:58.47.

The duo traded pacing chores for each other; however, with 200 to go, Rhines appeared to pull away from Hastings, but Hastings covered the move on the final straightaway, and snuck through on the inside to garner the victory.

Afterward, a gracious Rhines acknowledged that she didn't feel that she quite have the victory as she knew of her training partner's foot speed. "I train with Amy every day, so I know what kind of wheels she has."

High schooler Ashton Purvis won both the 60 and the 200, running 7.43, and 23.79.

Other standout performances:

Oregonian Ryan "Zeus" Bailey, who currently holds the second fastest time in the world over 60 meters, won his specialty in 6.67, just 4/100ths off former Husky Ja'Warren Hooker's facility record, and 6/100ths off his time of 6.61 set last week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On the field, Canadian Olympian Ruky Abdulai won the women's long jump in 6.27m (20-7), a day after winning the pentathlon. Former University of Connecticut standout Deirdre Mullen, the fourth place finisher in the 2008 US Olympic Trials, won the women's high jump with a jump of 1.84 meters (6-0.5), just off the facility record of 1.87m (6-1.5).

Former University of Florida All-American Michael Morrison, who transferred to the University of California, won the two-day, seven-event heptathlon with a final score of 5710 points, a NCAA automatic qualifying mark, which would have been the best collegiate score in the country, except that Oregon's Ashton Eaton scored a collegiate record of 6256 Saturday at the Texas A&M Challenge meet.

A pair of Canadians--former University of Washington NCAA placer Carly Dockendorf, and Mike Mason--won the women's pole vault (4.32m/14-2), and men's high jump (2.25m/7-4.5), respectively, in their chase to earn selection for their country's World Indoor Championships team in March in Doha, Qatar.

2009 World Championships hammer throw competitor Michael Mai, currently based at Fort Lewis, won the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 23.05m/75-7.5.

Complete results from the UW Invitational can be accessed here.

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