Thursday, December 30, 2010

And now...the 2010 Mercanator Awards!

2010 was yet another banner year for paulmerca.blogspot.com, as the readership continues to expand, thanks to all of you loyal readers who have passed along the word about the blog.

As publisher, editor, and designated gofer for the blog, I must also give thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter for helping expand the readership. Those of you who are friends/followers on those two outlets are receiving notices every time a new post comes up.

I must also give a special tip of the hat to Martin Rudow, the publisher of Northwest Runner magazine, as he has done a lot through the magazine and nwrunner.com to help expand our readership.

Track & Field News, and various blogs too numerous to name (but you know who you are) also get thanks for linking stories we posted this year.

Once again, I must give my heartfelt thanks to the Track & Field Writers of America for awarding this site its 2010 Adam Jacobs Memorial Award for blogging.  With the number of outstanding blogs about the sport in this country written by people who are just as, or even more passionate about the sport as I am, I am humbled to have received this award for the site.

I also want to give a special shout out to the readers and contributors to the blog who gave us news tips and produced photos during the year.  Your contributions are very valuable to this site, and I thank you.

In 2010, paulmerca.blogspot.com ventured to several places around the country and around the world to give you what I feel is the best coverage of Washingtonians competing at the highest levels of the sport.

The major events covered this year included the USA cross country championships outside of Spokane; the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland; the Nike Prefontaine Classic and the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene; the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Burnaby, British Columbia; the Pacific 10 Conference cross country meet in Seattle; the Nike Spring 2011 running summit and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon; the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships from Eugene; and, the NCAA Cross Country Championships from Terre Haute, Indiana.

As we did to end 2009, we'll end 2010 with the presentation of the "Mercanator" awards in recognition of some of the performances and performers that we covered this year.

To some of the athletes receiving this award, winning a “Mercanator” award may not necessarily get you an extra bonus from your shoe company contract, but you will get the recognition from the readers of the mighty blogspot for a job well done this season, and a “BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!” from yours truly.

For those of you who don’t get an award or feel you’ve been jobbed out of a “Mercanator”—there’s 2011!

Enjoy, and thank you to all the readers for your support of this site!

Here are the disclaimers: Mercanator awards are generally limited to athletes who have affiliations with the state of Washington—either they were born in this state, currently reside in the state, or attend(ed) school in the state. Also, not all categories from previous editions were awarded this year…publisher's decision.

The "Thanks for the Memories" award--This award goes all the way to Bern, Switzerland to former Husky Christian Belz, who announced his retirement from elite running earlier this month.  After a two-and-a-half year period of struggling with injuries that took him out of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he just made the qualifying standard to run in last summer's European Championships in Barcelona as one of the lowest seeds, but managed to squeak out a sixth place finish.

Media relations award--
Mike Bruscas (University of Washington), Linda Chalich (Washington State University), Megan Saalfeld (Nike), Jesse Williams (Brooks) and Greg Walker (University of Oregon), with Paul Madison (Western Washington) receiving an honorable mention. Many of the stories that were posted this year couldn't happen without the help of these folks.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Distances:  Washington State alum Bernard Lagat. I almost should retire this award and/or call this the Bernard Lagat award.  What more can you say about a guy who wins the world championship indoors at 3000, and wins a 1500/5000 double at the IAAF Continental Cup, not to mention a national record outdoors in the 3000! Look for him to be a factor again in 2011.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Throws:  Jarred Rome.  While not having a year that was up to his standards, the Marysville-Pilchuck HS grad finished third in the USA Championships in the discus and was the eleventh best performer world wide at 219-0 (66.75m) on April 29th in Chula Vista.

An honorable mention goes to Washington's Kyle Nielsen in the javelin.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Vertical Jumps:  Scott Roth (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), pole vault.  You knew the current Husky was going to have a great year when he jumped 18-0.5 (5.50m) in the 2009 Purple/Gold Intrasquad meet! 

Roth won the NCAA indoor title in 2010, jumping 18-8.25 (5.70m), then finished third in the NCAA outdoor meet in a wacky competition filled with a weather delay and a large field of 24 jumpers in Eugene.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's sprints/hurdles:
  Jeshua Anderson, 400 hurdles.  The Washington State senior may have been denied a third straight NCAA title outdoors by Johnny Dutch of South Carolina, but Anderson was solid overall this season, winning the Pac-10s in a season best 48.63 and the NACAC Under-23 meet this year.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's sprints/hurdles:
  Ginnie Powell-Crawford.  The Rainier Beach HS grad was a model of consistency, receiving a #8 world ranking by Track & Field News this season.  She was fifth at the world indoors, and ran a season best of 12.63 in New York at the adidas Grand Prix,  her best time since 2007.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's distances:
  Ingvill MÃ¥kestad, 1500 meters.  The former Husky threatened the long standing Norwegian national record of 4:00.55 by Grete Waitz, running 4:02.20 in Rieti on August 29th, after a disappointing run in the European Championships in Barcelona, where she didn't make the finals.  For good measure, she broke the Norwegian national record in the 800 on September 1st in Zagreb, running 1:59.82, after taking it down to 2:00.82 in Goteborg on August 10th.

Honorable mentions go to Katie Follett (UW), Jessica Pixler (Seattle Pacific), and Sarah Porter (Western Washington).

Follett and Pixler get the nod for Race of the Year involving Washington athletes for their battle at the Mt. SAC Relays in April.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's vertical jumps
Carly Dockendorf, pole vault.  The former Husky and current Seattle Pacific assistant coach finished second at the Canadian national championships, tied her personal best of 14-7.25 (4.45m) in winning the Alki Swashbuckler Beach Vault on July 10th, and tied for third at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's multi-events:
  Diana Pickler.  The Washington State alum only competed once outdoors in a heptathlon, but it was good enough to score 6000 points and win the Drake Relays heptathlon with a final score of 6040.  Pickler also won the USA indoor pentathlon title in March, with a score of 4544 points.

Skyview of Vancouver grad Kara Patterson is the blog's 2010 Washington state track & field athlete of the year (Mike Scott photo)
TOP PERFORMER--Women's throwsKara Patterson.  The Skyview/Vancouver alum broke the American record in the javelin at the USA Championships in Des Moines with a throw of 218-9 (66.67m), and took down world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic a week later at the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

Patterson was in contention for most of the season for the Samsung Diamond Race trophy in the javelin against Spotokova, before finishing a disappointing ninth in Zurich. 

Patterson finished the season ranked #6 in the world, according to Track & Field News.

Kara also gets the nod as my Washington state track & field athlete of the year. 

Who will get the "Mercanator" awards for 2011? You'll have to follow the blog for a full year to find out!

PS--Just over two weeks until the start of the 2011 indoor season at the University of Washington!

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