Friday, April 9, 2010

Huskies to Eugene for Pepsi Team Invite; Cougs to LA for Rafer Johnson/JJK Invite; most of state's colleges in Spokane & Bellingham...

The Washington track teams return to the Pepsi Team Invitational, hosted by the University of Oregon this Saturday, April 10, in Eugene. The Huskies will send over sixty athletes to compete at Hayward Field in the meet, which will be one of just two scored meets the Huskies have on their regular season schedule.

Competition begins Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. with the women's hammer and javelin throws, and will run until approximately 2 p.m. Comcast Sports Net (channel 179 on Seattle area Comcast boxes) will carry the meet live between the hours of 12 noon and 2 p.m with Joe Giansante, Prefontaine Classic meet director Tom Jordan and Nicole Abeytah on the call.

The Huskies will be going up against full squads from Oregon, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Illinois on the men's side, and Oregon, Texas A&M, and Missouri on the women's side. Washington will have its work cut out for it, as both the Texas A&M men and women won the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship, and the Oregon women won the 2010 NCAA Indoor title. The Aggies and Ducks are ranked first and second, respectively, on the women's side with the Huskies ranking 13th. The Texas A&M men rank second nationally with the Ducks third.

Scoring will break down as 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for the top eight places in each individual event, and 9-7-6-5-4 in the relays.

Returning to the Pepsi Team Invite gives Washington another look at Hayward Field, which will host the 2010 NCAA Championships this coming June.

Huskies to watch this weekend begin with Scott Roth in the pole vault, who will open up his outdoor season on Saturday after capturing the NCAA Indoor Championship back on March 12. Roth could be going after Brad Walker's school record of 18-6 1/2, after he cleared 18-9 1/4 during the indoor season. Roth's personal-best outdoors of 18-4 1/2 came last year at Hayward Field in his Pac-10 Championships win, so he should be comfortable in his surroundings.

NCAA mile runner-up Katie Follett (above/file photo by Paul Merca) is set to run the 1,500-meters for the second time this outdoor season. She opened with a PR of 4:15.04 at the Stanford Invite two weeks ago. Follett currently ranks third nationally, but the two women in front of her are Oregon's Zoe Buckman and Jordan Hasay, so it could be another battle at a very fast pace in the 1,500m. Senior standout Kailey Campbell, who ranks 10th nationally in the 1,500m with her season-opening time of 4:20.82, will drop down to 800-meters to bolster UW's mid-distance group.

Senior Anita Campbell is slated to make her 2010 season-debut on Saturday. Campbell placed third in the 10,000-meters at the NCAA Championships last year, and will be running the 5k on Saturday. She is the second-fastest 5k runner in school history with a best of 15:45.85.

Falesha Ankton should contend in the 100-meter hurdles, taking on a trio of outstanding Aggies including Gabby Mayo who was fourth at NCAAs last year. Former Regional qualifier Mo Huber also opens up the in the steeplechase, her first competition this season. Kelly McNamee in the high jump, and Shaniae Lakes and Lindsey Fleishman in the triple jumps compete for the first time outdoors. Brooke Pighin is the top seed in the javelin throw and went 160-feet in her season-opener at the Texas Relays last week.

For the men, freshman James Alaka will gear up for the 100-meter dash after opening with a 10.63 at Stanford. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle will look for a fast race in the 1,500-meters along with freshman James Cameron. In the 5k, senior Jake Schmitt will be in action after going sub-29-minutes in the 10k two weeks back.

In the field, aside from Roth, Zack Midles should contend for both the hammer and discus titles, and Angus Taylor will strengthen the hammer group and shoot for his first 200-foot toss. The men's javelin could be one of the most loaded fields, led by junior All-American Kyle Nielsen. Freshmen Joe Zimmerman and James Brookman have also looked very impressive in just one meet each.

Accepted entries for the Pepsi Team Invitational can be accessed here

Cougars to UCLA for Rafer Johnson/JJK Invite; others to Spokane...

Meanwhile, ten sprinters/hurdlers from the Washington State University track and field teams will compete at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational, at UCLA's Drake Stadium, April 9-10.

For the Cougars, they will run Shawna Fermin in the 200 & 400; NCAA qualifier Anna Layman in the 800; Brittnay Crabb, Veronica Elseroad-Wall and Caroline Hedel in the 400 hurdles; and Crabb, Elseroad-Wall, Fermin & Layman in the women's 4 x 400 meter relay (Hedel will be the alternate).

Brett Blanshan, Greg Hornsby & Nate Washington will run both the 100 and 200; J Hopkins and Dana Wells are entered in the 400 hurdles; and Hornsby, Hopkins, Washington & Wells will comprise the Cougars' 4 x 400 meter relay.

Most of the remaining Cougars will compete in Spokane Saturday at the Washington vs Oregon, Idaho & Montana III meet in Spokane at Spokane Falls CC. It's being scored as a Washington (WSU, EWU, CWU, Whitworth, Gonzaga, Seattle U, SPU and Spokane) vs. the “WORLD” Oregon (EOU, UP, Concordia, and TVCC), Idaho (University of Idaho, Northwest Nazarene, and LCSC) and Montana (University of Montana) dual.

Western to stay at home...

Looking for a 13th straight men's title and a fifth consecutive women's crown, Western Washington University entertains eight schools at the 29th annual Ralph Vernacchia Invitational Track and Field Team Meet on Friday (3 p.m.) at Civic Stadium.

Besides Western, the field includes British Columbia, Douglas College, Everett CC, Northwest, Pacific Lutheran, Saint Martin's, Seattle U., and Simon Fraser.

NOTE: The sports information offices at the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington & Spokane CC contributed to this report.

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