Saturday, May 15, 2010

Washington's Ryan Vu takes upset victory in pole vault; Marissa Tschida wins javelin to highlight day 1 at the Pac 10s...

BERKELEY, California--A pole vaulter from the University of Washington scored a victory for the Huskies in the event.

But before readers assume that it was reigning NCAA Indoor champ and defending champion Scott Roth, think again.

For the second week in a row, Ryan Vu (left, in black, with Roth & Pat Licari/photo by Paul Merca) the Interlake HS grad scored a lifetime-best 17-7 3/4 (5.38m) clearance on his third and final attempt to stand atop the podium. The win was a bit of a shock in that Vu upset his own teammate, junior Scott Roth, who was the defending champion. Roth cleared 17-3 3/4 (5.28m) to settle for third-place.

"I'm still really speechless and am completely blown away," said the new Pac-10 champ. "Practice has been going well, but this is beyond what I expected. After I knew I had won the competition and tried to clear the next height, I was full of nerves and adrenaline. Still speechless, though, on winning a Pac-10 title."

Vu joins a distinguished list of Pac-10 pole vault champions to work with assistant coach Pat Licari. Roth, Brad Walker, and Kate Soma all won vault titles within the last 10 years and won NCAA Championships as well.

Washington State's Marissa Tschida (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the women's javelin, rifling the spear a distance of 173-feet, 3 inches (52.80m) on her sixth and final throw of the competition to defeat Washington's Brooke Pighin. Cougar teammates Courtney Kirkwood finished fourth with a toss of 154-6 (47.09m) and Jennifer Hamilton finished eighth with a throw of 145-8 (44.41m)

"I knew coming into the meet there was going to be a really good field. The Pac-10 has some really good throwers, so I knew it was going to be very competitive and I had to keep my head pretty level. My throws were okay; a little bit more up and down than I'd like. I was working toward a little bit more consistency than I got today, but I think overall, did the job, got done, not hurting. Hopefully the next two meets I can get my consistency down, keep it around 52, 53 and come off with more victories."

For the Huskies, junior Brooke Pighin placed second with a toss of 160-feet, 11-inches. Her counterparts in the men's javelin combined to score 11 points, led by junior Kyle Nielsen who was third with a mark of 239-7. Freshman Joe Zimmerman tossed a big PR of 233-5 to take fifth and fellow freshman Jimmy Brookman also had a PR heave of 213-3 to take eighth and tack on another point to the Husky total.

In other finals, UW senior Anita Campbell, who has battled injuries this spring, nearly ran her PR Saturday in the 10000, as she took fourth in 33:44.04.

In the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, Pac-10 record-holder Mel Lawrence gamely ran to third in 10:20.79. Lawrence could not run for a month earlier this season due to a torn hip flexor.

In the men's hammer, senior Zack Midles fouled his first two attempts and faced the prospect of missing the final but he gathered himself on his third throw and earned a legal mark, then had a top throw of 206-2 on his next attempt that wound up earning him third-place for the third-straight year.

On the track for the Cougs, Sam Ahlbeck finished fifth in the men's 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:53.87. Caroline Austin ran a PR time in the women's 3000m steeplechase of 11:08.45 for 12th place in the final.

Chelsea VanDeBrake was 20th in the women's 10,000m with a time of 37:27.96. In the men's 10k, Dan Geib finished 12th in a time of 30:01.34 and Justin Englund was 14th with a PR time of 30:15.51.

Stephan Scott-Ellis took seventh place in the men's long jump with a leap of 23-3 1/4 (7.09m). He will compete in the triple jump Sunday. In other men's field event finals, Jake Baertlein cleared 15- 1/4 (4.78m) in the pole vault for 13th place, Joe Bartlett threw the shot put 52-8 (16.05m) for 11th, and Jacob Weintraub threw the shot 52-7 1/4 (16.03m) for 12th.

Freshman Holly Parent took fourth place in the women's high jump after clearing the bar equal to her season-best height of 5-10 3/4 (1.80m). Christine Rice cleared 5-4 1/2 (1.64m) for a tie at 10th. Jasmine Johnson-McKeown tossed the shot put at PR distance of 43-0 1/4 (13.11m) for eighth place. Kjirsten Jensen threw the shot put 38-3 1/4 (11.66m) for 13th). Candace Missouri leaped a season-best long jump distance of 18-10 (5.74m) for 12th.

In the men's 10000, Bellingham's Jake Riley, representing Stanford University, finished third in a time of 29:10.93, while Everett HS grad Jeff Helmer finished ninth after leading early in a time of 29:42.58. Washington's Jake Schmitt, one of the early favorites, dropped out, while Alec Bromka (30:44.14) and Rob Webster Jr (30:54.16) finished 16th & 17th.

The complete media release from the University of Washington can be accessed here, while Washington State's release can be accessed here.

Complete results from the Pac-10 track & field championships can be accessed here.

Look for Twitter updates from the Pac-10 meet on this site, and on

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