Sunday, April 18, 2010

Three time Olympian Aretha Thurmond wins discus at War Eagle Invitational, plus weekend recap...

Former University of Washington standouts Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Will Conwell each emerged victorious in the discus competition at the War Eagle Invitational on the campus of Auburn University on Saturday.

Thurmond, the three time Olympian, easily took the victory, throwing a facility record 199-8 (60.86m) on her fifth attempt of the competition.

Thurmond opened her 2010 season on April 3rd at Auburn, throwing 194-10 (59.39m) in another low-key setting.

Thurmond's next competition is at this weekend's Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Courtesy of, here is footage of Aretha's winning throw, along with commentary from Aretha's son, Theo:

Conwell, an Olympic Trials finalist two years ago, won the men's competition with a throw of 185-3 (56.47m), nearly ten feet better than his nearest competitor. Conwell recently left the Seattle area to train full-time at Auburn University under the tutelage of Auburn coach Jerry Clayton, who also coaches Thurmond.

Results from the War Eagle Invitational can be accessed here.


Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler broke yet another long-standing school record Saturday as she won the 800m run at the Beach Invitational in Cerritos, California, running a scintillating time of 2:04.89, crushing Susie Griffith's old school record of 2:06.6, set in 1977.

On Friday at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Pixler ran 4:11.06 in the 1,500 meters. That beat the SPU record of 4:13.12 set by Gitte Karlshoj in 1988 and also broke her own GNAC record of 4:17.68 from last season.

So from early Friday evening to mid afternoon on Saturday -- a span of about 20 hours -- Pixler rewrote a combined 55 years of Falcon track history. She now owns school records in the 800, 1,500 and 5,000. (She set the 5,000 mark of 15:44.07 at the Stanford Track & Field Invitational on March 26.)

Pixler wasn't the only Falcon shining in the 800. Senior Lisa Anderberg (Edmonds, Wash./Kamiak HS) was ninth in 2:11.03, just five-hundredths of a second off her personal best. Senior Jane Larson did run a personal best, taking 11th in 2:11.03. And senior Kate Harline (Orem, Utah) became a GNAC automatic qualifier with a 2:16.83, finishing 27th and beating her previous best by more than three seconds.

Junior Crystal Sims (Portland, Ore.) posted two career-bests for the Falcons on Saturday. She went 25.51 for 20th place in the 200 meters, and took her first run of the season in the 100, hitting the wire in 12.50, making her an automatic qualifier for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships. She already was on the GNAC automatic list in the 200.

Adam Stewart of Eastern Washington tied for first in the men's high jump, as he and Brandon Sheppard of Nebraska each cleared 6-9 1/2 (2.07m).

Complete results from the Beach Invitational can be accessed here.


While a select group competed at the Mt. SAC Relays, another group of Husky track & field athletes participated in the Mondo Invitational meet, hosted by Sacramento State University at Hornet Stadium, which has hosted both the US Olympic Trials and the NCAA Championships.

Fleet-footed freshman James Alaka got the win in the 200-meter dash, and put his name up on another Husky top-10 list in the process. Alaka won in 20.94 seconds, becoming just the eighth man in UW history to break 21-seconds. Alaka now ranks eighth all-time in addition to ranking fifth in the 100m dash with his time of 10.32 seconds from last Saturday.

Sophomore Ryan Hamilton matched his PR in the 100-meters, where he placed fourth in 10.76 seconds. He then came back to place fourth in the 200m in 21.85.

Senior Falesha Ankton had a good day of work, taking fourth in the 100-meters in 12.04 seconds, and running fifth in the 200-meters in 25.06. Nikki Codd was very strong in the 800-meter run, taking second in 2:08.31 which would rank her in the top-40 nationally heading into the weekend.

The Huskies got a win from senior Syreeta Martin, who took two seconds off her previous season-best in the 400-meter hurdles, winning in 1:02.44. In the same event on the men's side, junior Miles Timpe earned a win in 55.57 seconds.

All of Washington's three women's triple jumpers had season-bests, and in the case of Nicole Vielma, a big career-best. Vielma jumped 38-11, more than a foot past her old best mark. She was third, right behind sophomore Taylor Nichols, who closed in on the 40-foot mark with a season-best 39-7 ¾. That mark will get Nichols into 10th on the all-time Top-10 list. Sophomore Lindsey Fleishman was also fifth with an outdoor PR of 37-10. Nichols also placed third in the long jump with a season-best 18-1 ½.

Redshirt freshman Clayton Johnson had a major PR in the triple jump despite jumping into a headwind, as he won the event with a best of 47-feet, 8-inches, ten inches farther than his previous best. In the men's long jump, freshman Julian Bardwell was second with a best mark of 22-11 ¾ coming on his first attempt into a slight headwind.

Yet another win came from sophomore Richard Anderson in the shot put, who equaled his career-best at 52-6 on his first throw of the day. Anderson also had a big PR in the discus, throwing 155-8 to take third. Senior Zack Midles was second at 157-11, while the win went to sophomore Conner Larned, competing unattached, who threw 161-2. Midles also got the victory in the hammer throw, winning by more than 30 feet with a best of 200-7.

Here's a link to results from the Mondo Invitational.

The Huskies will be back in California next weekend for the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, hosted by Cal-Berkeley.


Emily Quatier and Ryan Endresen keep going faster. Natalie Nobbs keeps going farther.

All three of those Seattle Pacific athletes, along with veteran Jennifer Pike, found the win column on Saturday in their respective events at the Spike Arlt Invitational on the campus of Central Washington University.

Here's a link to SPU's release from the Spike Arlt meet.

Western Washington had five winners at the Spike Arlt meet, along with numerous GNAC Championship meet qualifiers.

The Vikings' winning efforts were Haida Ikeda (Fr., Issaquah) in the 800 meters (2:21.4), Danielle Slaughter (Jr., Spokane/Shadle Park) in the 1,500 (4:54.0), Tanya Bjornsson (Fr., Ferndale) in the 100 hurdles (15.42), Amanda Overdick (Fr., Lynnwood) in the high jump (5-5) and Elsa Couvelier (Sr., Bellingham) in the pole vault (11-3 3/4).

Here's a link to WWU's release from the meet.

Host Central Washington had three athletes-- freshman Anthony Wright (Lakewood/Lakes HS), sophomore Manuel Santos (Yakima/A.C. Davis HS), and junior Torrie Self (Kent/Kent-Meridian HS) -- who were double event winners on Saturday, including Wright, who won both the 100 and 200 meters with season's-best times. His time of 10.65 seconds in the 100 meters tied his mark from last weekend's meet at Spokane, while his handheld time of 21.5 seconds in the 200 was also victorious.

Santos, meanwhile, took victories in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. He won both races by narrow margins, taking the 5K by just 2.5 seconds over former Wildcat Trevor Kulvi and then earning an eight-second win in the 10K.

Self again led the Central women on Saturday, winning the discus and hammer events. Her toss of 170 feet, 9 inches in the women's hammer improved upon her NCAA Division II provisional national qualifying mark. She also won the discus with a toss of 139 feet.

Central's release can be accessed here.

Complete meet results from the Spike Arlt Invitational are available here.

NOTE: Seattle Pacific, the University of Washington, Western Washington, and Central Washington Universities all contributed to this report.

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