Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jessica Pixler named USTFCCCA Division II Track Athlete of the Year...

NEW ORLEANS--Jessica Pixler (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki/, a senior from Sammamish, Wash., was named by the United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association as its Division II track athlete of the year.

Pixler won her 12th overall NCAA crown with a dominant win in the 1500 meters, winning by nearly eight seconds (4:15.43) over Grand Valley State’s Monica Kinney (4:23.00), as she claimed the third NCAA outdoor 1500-meter title of her career. Earlier in the season, Pixler clocked 4:11.06 in a second-place showing at the Mt. SAC Relays, posting the second best all-time mark in Division II and ranks among the top 10 of Americans this season.

Pixler ended the season with the season best times of 2:04.89 in the 800 and 15:44.01 in the 5000. Pixler also won GNAC titles in the 800 and 1500, both in meet record fashion.

Pixler won the “triple crown” of USTFCCCA awards this year, having been named as the USTFCCCA Cross Country Athlete of the Year and the USTFCCCA Indoor Trach & Field Track Athlete of the Year earlier in the school cycle.

“That’s extremely difficult to pull off,” SPU head track coach Karl Lerum said. “Jessica is a phenomenal runner and arguably the most dominant runner ever in Division II.”

Added assistant track coach and head cross country coach Erika Daligcon, “It’s really wonderful for her to have this happen in her senior year. It shows that Jessica doesn’t take any racing opportunity for granted and is able to get out there and give 100 percent and show her love for racing and for competition."

PRO NOTES: The next stop on the IAAF's Diamond League circuit is this Friday at famed Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Norway for the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.

Fresh off his outdoor personal best in the 3000 meters in Ostrava, reigning IAAF 3000m world indoor champion and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat is entered in the men's 5000, where he is expected to face a formidable field that includes Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar, Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, and new American record holder in the 10000m Chris Solinsky of Portland.

Former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad of Norway is entered in the National section of the women's 800, where she will face former Florida State standout Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands.

Another former Husky, Aretha Thurmond, is entered in the women's discus against reigning Olympic champ Stephanie Brown Trafton, Sweden's Anna Soderberg, and Yarelis Barrios of Cuba.

The provisional start list for the ExxonMobil Bislett Games can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, with one month to go until the Nike Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene on July 3rd, no fewer than 41 Olympic or World Championships gold medalists have committed to the meet, its first as a member of the prestigious new IAAF Diamond League series.

“The fields are by far the strongest in the meet’s 35-year history,” says meet director Tom Jordan. “Unless fans have been fortunate enough to attend an Olympic Games, they will see more gold medalists at this year’s Pre Classic than at any other meet ever held in the United States .”

Taking as an example the short sprints, one of the most potent women’s 100-meter fields ever assembled will face off at Hayward Field on the July 4th weekend. Olympic and World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser heads a list that includes all three medalists from last summer’s Berlin World Championships—Kerron Stewart of Jamaica (silver) and Carmelita Jeter the U.S.(bronze)—plus Beijing Olympic silver medalist Sherone Simpson and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist and 2010 World Indoor 60-meter champion Veronica Campbell-Brown. The Prefontaine Classic will be one of the few times this year that the Big Four will go head-to-head.

The men’s 200 meters is similarly loaded, with American recordholder and 2007 double World Champion Tyson Gay meeting Berlin silver medalist Alonso Edward of Panama, Beijing bronze medalist Walter Dix, Beijing 100-meter silver medalist Richard Thompson, and the amazing Shawn Crawford, Olympic champion at 200 in 2004, and silver medalist in Beijing in 2008.

The 2010 NIKE Prefontaine Classic will be shown live on NBC from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. PT, and to an international television audience numbering in the millions. A 14th consecutive sell-out is anticipated, as ticket sales are well ahead of any previous year.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA, Seattle Pacific University, IAAF, and the Prefontaine Classic contributed to this report.

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