Friday, January 15, 2010

UW Indoor Preview kicks off exciting series of meets at Dempsey Indoor...

The University of Washington plays host to the UW Indoor Preview Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, with nearly 1000 athletes expected to run, jump, and throw in the all day extravaganza.

The UW Indoor Preview will consist of athletes from the area, with a heavy sprinkling of runners, jumpers, and throwers from local colleges and clubs.

However, there will be a bevy of national and international caliber athletes making their 2010 season debuts Saturday, led by Ireland's Alistair Cragg (left/photo by Paul Merca), a two time Olympian at 5000 meters.

Cragg, a standout during his collegiate days at the University of Arkansas, is entered in both the mile and the 3000, where he has indoor personal bests of 3:55.04, and 7:38.59, and set an outdoor PR of 7:37.84 at last year's Nike Prefontaine Classic.

He's expected to meet former Indiana standout John Jefferson and former Iona All-American Tim Bayley in the mile. In the 3000, he's matched up against Jon Pierce, formerly of Stanford, who was a member of Team USA at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, as well as former Washington runner Eric Garner, and University of Portland freshman Trevor Dunbar, one of America's top prep distance runners in 2009.

Oregon's defending NCAA indoor and outdoor multi-events champ Ashton Eaton, a member of Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in the decathlon last summer, is entered in the pole vault, high jump, shot put and the 4 x 400 meter relay. He'll face Washington's Jeremy Taiwo, a NCAA indoor championships qualifier in the heptathlon in the shot put.

Another outstanding multi-eventer to watch is Oregon's reigning NCAA heptathlon champ Brianne Theisen, who is entered in the shot put.

Others to watch include Washington's Scott Roth in the pole vault, who cleared 18-0.5 in last month's Purple/Gold intrasquad meet; Canadian Olympians Ruky Abdulai, who competed in Beijing in the long jump, but is entered in the high jump, shot put and 60 hurdles, and Mike Mason (high jump); and former Cornell All-American Morgan Uceny, who finished fourth in the 2008 US Olympic Trials in the 1500 and 6th in the 800. She's entered in the mile, 800, and 600.

For most of the collegians entered in Saturday's meet, the goal is to register qualifying marks for the NCAA Division I and II championships in March.

While Division I schools Washington, Oregon, and Stanford will not have their full complement of athletes competing (particularly in the distances), there will be a host of athletes looking to score qualifying marks Saturday.

Division II schools Seattle Pacific and Western Washington will have a large contingent competing Saturday, with the women's 3000 meter run a race of special interest, as it matches the top two finishers in the Division II cross country championships, Jessica Pixler of Seattle Pacific and Sarah Porter of Western Washington, who made a late run at Pixler before falling short. Washington's Lindsay Flanagan, a frosh who was on the Huskies' 3rd place NCAA team is entered in the race, as is NCAA D-2 All American Lauren Breihof from Western, who won November's Seattle Marathon a week after the NCAA championships.

Western's defending NCAA indoor champion Emily Warman is entered in the triple jump.

Results from the UW Indoor Preview will be posted on the Huskies' web site, which you can click here. and will post video highlights from the meet.

NOTE: Parts 3 and 4 of the 2010 UW track & field team preview is now available. Part 3 talks about the sprinters, led by 2008 NCAA qualifier Falesha Ankton and NCAA qualifier Jeff Gudaitis. Part 4 talks about the throwers, led by hammer throwers Adam Midles and Elisa Bryant, along with javelin throwers Brooke Pighin and Kyle Neilsen.

You can read about the Husky sprinters here, and the Husky throwers here.

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