Thursday, February 25, 2010

Championship weekend: UW & WSU at MPSF, USA Indoors, etc...

In the world of domestic track & field, this weekend marks championship weekend, as many of the country's Division I conferences are involved with their championships, including the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor facility on the University of Washington campus.

The men and women of the University of Oregon enter the MPSF championships as the favorites, based on their #1/#2 national ranking by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Washington's hopes for a finish in the top half of the MPSF standings will rest on the performance of pole vaulter Scott Roth, and distance runners Jake Schmitt and Colton Tully-Doyle on the men's side, and All-American distance runners Katie Follett (mile), Mel Lawrence (3000), and high jumper Kelly McNamee.

Kendra Schaaf, the runner-up in last fall's NCAA cross country championships, will open her indoor season by running the 3000 in a matchup against Oregon's Jordan Hasay, the nation's top prep distance runner and Olympic Trials finalist.

Washington State will be led by Bowerman candidate Jeshua Anderson, who is entered in the 400 meter dash, and Trent Arrivey, the current NCAA co-leader in the high jump. On the women's side, 2008 NCAA outdoor qualifier Anna Layman and high jumper Holly Parent lead the Cougs.

The USA Championships' loss will be the MPSF championships' gain, as it was announced that Oregon's Olympian at 800m Andrew Wheating (left/photo by Paul Merca) will run the mile at the MPSF meet instead of running the 800 at the USAs in Albuquerque.

Start lists for the MPSF Championships can be accessed here

Seattle University, in its first year as a NCAA Division I school, heads to the Great West Conference championship meet in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Eastern Washington heads to the Big Sky Conference championships in Bozeman, Montana. Last year, Eastern's men had their best-ever finish by placing third with 81.5 points and the women were seventh with 48 points.

For the pros, berths to Doha, Qatar and the IAAF World Indoor Championships are on the line at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the featured races will be the men's 3000, as WSU hall of famer, and two-time world outdoor champ Bernard Lagat faces Galen Rupp in a rematch of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games 5000 meter run, in which Rupp forced the pace with a kilometer to go before Lagat won it on the final lap, setting a new American record of 13:11.50.

Among athletes with Washington ties entered in the USA Indoor Championships include Craig Everhart in the 400; Ryan Brown in the 800; Alex and Andrew McClary in the 1500; Eric Garner in the 3000; Norris Frederick in the high jump and long jump; Michael Mai in the weight throw; Ashley Lodree in the 60 meter dash and hurdles; and, Ginnie Powell & Falesha Ankton in the 60 hurdles.

Highlights of the USA Indoor Championships will be shown on ESPN2 on February 28th from 4-6pm, pacific time.

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