Monday, May 24, 2010

The awards keep coming for Jessica Pixler, plus links...

Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki/ was named the West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and Falcons head coach Lerum was honored as the West Region Women’s Coach of the Year for NCAA Division II by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.

In addition, Erika Daligcon, Lerum’s assistant in track as well was the head cross country coach, was named the West Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

Pixler and Lerum thus swept this year’s USTFCCCA track honors, as they were named winners of their respective awards for the winter indoor season. Pixler also was named by the coaches organization as the West’s Female Cross Country Runner of the Year last fall.

Pixler won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles in the 800 and 1,500 meters on May 15 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore. Both of her times – 2:06.38 in the 800 and 4:24.01 in the 1,500 – were meet records. Pixler also anchored SPU’s victorious 4x400 relay team to end the meet as the Falcons won the team title with 224 points.

She has the top times in all of NCAA Division II in the 800, 1,500 and 5,000, and will contest the 800 and 1,500 at NCAA’s later this week in Charlotte, N.C.

Under Lerum's guidance the Falcons won their first GNAC team title since 2007, and its 224 points was the third-highest total in conference meet history.

Daligcon’s distance crew accounted for two wins (Pixler’s in the 800 and 1,500), factored into a third (Lisa Anderberg and Pixler ran the last two legs of the relay) and contributed 46 points to the winning total. Of Seattle Pacific’s six NCAA qualifiers, half are distance runners: Pixler, Anderberg (800) and senior Jane Larson (1,500).

The USTFCCCA release is available here...


Four links are of interest--the first is a column by the Seattle Times' Jerry Brewer on Pixler & Katie Follett (photographed above) and how their friendship developed at last month's Mt. SAC Relays, where they ran the two fastest collegiate times this season.

Brewer writes, "A thousand miles away from home, two Seattle distance runners became close on this April day.

A thousand miles away, Follett and Pixler dashed ahead of the pack, challenging each other, inspiring each other, exhausting each other.

A thousand miles away, they were alone together, legs churning, shattering school records, recording the top 1,500-meter times in women's college outdoor track this season.

Fittingly, the historic day ended with an even more stunning feat: Follett and Pixler had a conversation. It was a deep and revealing and meaningful one. Now, Seattle's two most accomplished collegiate distance runners don't merely know of each other anymore."

You can read Jerry Brewer's column here...

Next is an interview from with Pac-10 pole vault champion Ryan Vu, who upset heavy favorite and teammate Scott Roth to garner the title.

Vu, a graduate of Bellevue's Interlake HS, talks about the "surreal" experience of his Pac-10 win, the motivating factor of working with Roth, and the small prank that started his pole vaulting career.

Vu, Roth, and the rest of the Huskies head to Austin, Texas later this week for the NCAA West Regionals, with berths to the NCAA Championships in Eugene on the line.

You can read it here...

The second comes from ESPN RISE on University of Washington incoming freshman Katie Flood, who won the 800, 1500 & 3000 (the latter in a nation-leading 9:27.25) at the Iowa state high school meet in Des Moines for Dowling Catholic HS, and ran a leg on her school's winning 4 x 800 meter relay.

According to writer Brian Peterson, "...her display of strength and deceptive speed on the Drake blue oval in her final high school meet allowed her to make a mark on the track that will cement her legacy as Iowa's all time best distance prep."

You can read about Flood here...

Finally, here's an interesting thread we found on about the possibility that University of Washington sophomore Kendra Schaaf, the NCAA cross country runner-up last November, may transfer to another school.

According to the message board posts, North Carolina, Florida State, and West Virginia (the latter two because their distance coaches are Canadian citizens) are the most likely landing spots for Schaaf.

As a disclaimer, folks can take this thread with the proverbial grain of salt. The link to the thread is here.

As this blog stated in our Pac-10 preview, we don't know Schaaf's status, and are not going to speculate on the rumors which have been floating for the last month.

NOTE: Seattle Pacific University's sports information office contributed to this report.

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