Saturday, June 19, 2010

This and that from the world of track & field this week...

Many apologies for being away from the site this week, as I took a few days off.

News from around the world of track and field never takes any days off, so let's catch you up:

The NCAA Division II championships committee announced that Spokane will host the 2011 and 2013 NCAA Division II cross country championships, with the venue being the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in the Spokane Valley (photo of Andrew Kimpel at USA Championships in Spokane by Paul Merca).

The meet will be hosted by both the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the Spokane Regional Sports Commission, which recently hosted the 2010 USA Cross Country Championships in February.

The 2011 championships will be held Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex. The 2013 championships will be Saturday, Nov. 23 at the same site.

“We are always excited and honored anytime we have the opportunity to host an NCAA Championship in our community,” Eric Sawyer, President and CEO of the Spokane Regional Sports Commission said.

“We are excited about working with Eric Sawyer, Chris Frye (Vice President of Sports Marketing and Research for the Sports Commission) and the Spokane Sports Commission in bringing two more NCAA national championships to Spokane,” GNAC Commissioner Richard Hannan said.

On the heels of a successful USA Championship meet in February, Frye attended the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in late March to research the event and obtain ideas.

Here's the link to the GNAC release:

Speaking of the NCAA, the collegiate governing body has decided to continue with the same format for next year's Division I track & field championships, eschewing a proposal written jointly by the NCAA Track & Field Sport Committee and the USTFCCCA called the "24/8 plan".

In the 24/8 plan endorsed by the USTFCCCA, the top 24 athletes based on the current performance lists would advance to the national championships, plus the top 8 conference champions not among the top 24 on the performance rankings.

In the current format, the NCAA held a West (Austin, TX) and East (Greensboro, NC) regional meet, which was essentially a first and second round of the NCAA Championships, chopping a field of 48 athletes (96 total in both regions) with 24 advancing to the NCAA Championships in Eugene.

At the NCAA Championships in Eugene, heats in the running races were held up to the 3000 steeple (5000 & 10000 were straight finals), and all field events were held as finals.

While the running events seemed to run okay in Eugene, I felt that the field events were hurt by having a 24-man final, especially in the vertical jumps, where the competition seemed to drag on.

Next year's NCAA Championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here is the USTFCCCA release on the post-season format...

Meanwhile, several athletes with Washington ties will compete in the USA Junior Track & Field Championships next week in Des Moines, Iowa, with berths for the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships in Moncton, Canada in late July on the line

Washington State will enter sprinter Greg Hornsby (100m), and hurdler/jumper Shaquana Logan (100/400h/LJ). The University of Washington has pole vaulter Logan Miller entered in the meet, while the University of Oregon will send Bellingham's Becca Friday (800/1500m) to Des Moines.

Notable high schoolers include 400m runner Michael Berry (Rainier Beach HS) and 400 hurdler Robert Shelby (Federal Way HS), with both representing the Seatown Express club coached by former NFL running back and 1988 USA outdoor long jump champion Eric Metcalf.

Christine Kirkwood of Othello, the younger sister of WSU javelin thrower Courtney Kirkwood, and reigning Washington state 2A champion, is entered in the javelin.

The entry list for the USA junior championships are posted here.

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