Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ginnie Powell wins first USA Indoor title...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--Rainier Beach High School graduate and two-time USA Outdoor 100m hurdles champion Ginnie Powell (left/photo by Paul Merca) added the first USA Indoor title of her career to her resume by winning the Visa Women's 60m hurdles final in 7.87 seconds at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Powell won a tough battle and a spot on Team USA for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Doha, Qatar in two weeks against three-time USA Indoor champion and two-time USA Indoor Visa Championship Series winner Lolo Jones.

Jones pressed Powell all the way to the finish before finishing as the runner-up in 7.89 seconds.

Former Husky Ashley Lodree made the finals after running 8.20 in the semis, and finished eighth in 8.39. Current Husky Falesha Ankton, who doesn't have indoor eligibility remaining, failed to advance to the finals, running 8.44.

Afterwards, Powell said, "I was really focused and strong and confident. I put it all out there on the track. (Coach) Bobby (Kersee) told me to really sprint off the last hurdle and I did."

Former Husky Norris Frederick finished third in the men's long jump with a mark of 25-10.75/7.89m. However, neither Frederick nor the two finishers ahead of him will advance to the world championships, as none have attained the world indoor qualifying standard of 8.10m/26-7.

In the women's 60 dash, Lodree finished fourth in her semi-final in 7.46, and didn't advance to the finals.

Twins Alex and Andy McClary from Shelton finished ninth and tenth in the men's 1500, running 3:55.39 & 3:55.81, respectively.

Two marks we overlooked from Saturday's competition was former Husky Eric Garner, who finished 15th in the men's 3000, running 8:42.98. Former Tacoma high school standout Craig Everhart failed to advance to the finals in the men's 400, running 47.48 in his section.

Complete results from the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bernard Lagat wins first USA indoor title and earns trip to world indoor championships...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--Bernard Lagat's (left/photo by Paul Merca) uncanny kick with 150 meters remaining was the difference between winning and losing in a highly competitive men's 3,000m race as the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships opened in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The 2007 World Outdoor Championships 1,500m and 5,000m gold medalist, Lagat was in a heated battle throughout with 2008 Olympic Games and 2009 World Outdoor Championships 10,000m finalist Galen Rupp and 2009 USA Outdoor Championships 5,000m runner-up Chris Solinsky in the mix the entire way.

Lagat, the Washington State University graduate who owns U.S. Indoor records in the 5,000m, 1,500m, mile and 3,000m, captured the first U.S. Indoor title of his career in crossing the finish line first in a modest 8:12.60 in the nearly mile-high altitude of Albuquerque.

"I didn't know how I was going to feel with the altitude. I actually didn't feel anything after about five laps. I just wanted to have fun. I was running on the inside. I wanted to be able to keep an eye on who was going to make a move. I just wanted to win and make the team. I wanted to maintain the lead. I wanted to make sure I was going to be number one. I wanted to win and make the team. That is what I came here for."

Lagat and Rupp will head to Doha, Qatar in two weeks for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships as members of Team USA.

Rupp finished as the runner-up in 8:13.49, with Solinsky placing third in 8:13.45.

In other events, Ft. Lewis's Michael Mai finished fourth in the 35-pound weight throw, with a toss of 77-8/23.67m; former Washington Husky Norris Frederick finished eighth in the men's high jump at 7-1.5/2.17m; and former Husky Ryan Brown failed to advance out of the qualifying round of the men's 800, running 1:51.48 for third in his heat.

The USA Indoor championships continue on Sunday, with television coverage on ESPN2 beginning at 4 pm, pacific time.

Day 1 results can be accessed here, and start lists for day 2 can be accessed here.

NOTE: Tom Surber of USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Youth score majority of team points for Huskies; Cougs disappointed with team finish at MPSF Championships...

The University of Washington's freshmen and sophomores accounted for the lion's share of the team points on the final day of the MPSF Championships at the Dempsey Indoor facility.

Kendra Schaaf (left/photo by Paul Merca), the runner-up at last fall's NCAA cross country championships, made her long-awaited track debut after battling a minor foot injury. Schaaf, who has freshman eligibility in both indoor and outdoor track, finished fourth in 9:27.24.

Freshman James Alaka finished fourth in the 60 meter dash in a time of 6.78 to put himself into a tie for sixth on the all-time UW indoor list in that event with UW high jump school record holder Rick Noji, and football All American Napoleon Kaufman.

Senior Katie Follett broke up the freshman-fest with a strong mile run of 4:39.91 that was good for third-place in her final Mountain Pacific meet. Follett is already assured of a spot at NCAA Indoors and still ranks second in the NCAA with a mile time of 4:34.98.

The Washington State Cougars were led by two time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson, who finished second in the 400 meters, running 46.38, behind Arizona State's Donald Sanford who ran down Anderson in the home stretch to win in 46.19. The Cougars' 4 x 400 meter relay team of Anderson, Greg Hornsby, Reny Follett, and Joe Abbott finished third in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:09.35.

Thirds were the theme of the day for the Cougs, as freshman Stephan Scott-Ellis in the triple jump (50-8.75/15.46m), freshman Holly Parent in the women's high jump (5-10.5/1.79m), and current NCAA high jump co leader Trent Arrivey (7-1.5/2.17m) all earned 3-spots Saturday afternoon.

Some of the outstanding marks at the MPSF championships Saturday included Oregon Olympian Andrew Wheating winning the mile in 3:58.20, after a modest first 1200 of around 3:03; Duck freshman teammate Jordan Hasay winning the women's mile in a meet record 4:35.01; another Duck, Amber Purvis winning the women's 60 in a facility record 7:30; a great duel in the women's high jump between Arizona teammates Brigetta Barrett and Elizabeth Patterson, with Barrett winning with a jump of 6-2.25/1.89m; Stanford's Greek pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi gambling on a third attempt to win her event in a NCAA auto qualifying mark of 14-1.25/4.30m; and, California's Mark Matusak running down Bay Area rival Elliott Heath of Stanford on the final lap to win a thrilling men's 3000 in 7:59.67.

The UCLA Bruins won the men's MPSF team title, scoring 108.5 points, with Washington State tied for sixth with 59, and the Washington Huskies ninth at 41 points. In the women's competition, Oregon won with a team score of 133, with the Cougars seventh at 45 points, and the Huskies eighth at 34 points.

"We had a lot of PRs in this meet but we have to be better in order to be competitive," WSU head coach Rick Sloan said. "I'm looking forward to the outdoor season because we will add events where we are strong and people haven't been competing during the indoor season. We have good depth in the steeplechase, the intermediate hurdles, the javelin and discus. Our team gets a lot stronger because these competitors are very good at what they do outdoors."

"Today was a barometer of where we're at but we expect to get better and we will," said UW coach Greg Metcalf. "A lot of people are coming along and coming back and the focus of our program is to be our best in May and June."

Complete results of the MPSF championships can be accessed here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Scott Roth sets new personal best and MPSF meet record of 5.72m/18-9.25

For a guy who wasn't sure that he was even going to compete today, Washington's Scott Roth (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) made jumping Friday at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor track & field championships worth his while.

The Husky woke up Friday with doubts that he would jump in the MPSF meet due to a sore back.

However, that back did not seem to bother him, as Roth cleared a personal best of 5.72 meters/18-9.25 to take the collegiate lead in the pole vault, and tied the fourth best mark in the world this season in winning the MPSF title.

The mark was one centimeter over the previous championship meet record set by Oregon's Tommy Skipper in 2006.

Roth's path to the MPSF title wasn't without some stress, as UCLA's Johnny Quinn was actually ahead of Roth in the competition before the Husky cleared 5.41m/17-9 to secure the victory.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack.org, here's the video of Roth's jump.



Washington's Mel Lawrence won the women's 5000 with a strong surge over the last 800 to break away from Stanford's Stephanie Marcy, crossing the line in 16:11.82, nearly seven seconds ahead of Marcy's 16:18.77.

The first seven runners across the line all earned NCAA provisional qualifying marks.

In the men's 5000, Stanford's Elliott Heath broke away from Washington's Colton Tully-Doyle to win the MPSF title in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 13:47.14, just .14 off the NCAA auto qualifying mark.

Tully-Doyle's runner-up time of 13:48.86 should get the Husky into the NCAA meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas in two weeks.

Washington State's Princess Joy Griffey took second place in the women's 200m dash with a season-best time of 24.34 seconds. In the men's 200, WSU's Marlon Murray was third in a season best 21.63 seconds.

On the field, Kjirsten Jensen threw the 20-pound weight 55-feet, 6 1/4 inches (16.92m) for third place and Cassie Whitfield threw 55-3 3/4 (16.89m) for fifth place for the Cougars.


The meet resumes Saturday with a host of finals.

Results from the MPSF Championships can be accessed here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Championship weekend: UW & WSU at MPSF, USA Indoors, etc...

In the world of domestic track & field, this weekend marks championship weekend, as many of the country's Division I conferences are involved with their championships, including the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor facility on the University of Washington campus.

The men and women of the University of Oregon enter the MPSF championships as the favorites, based on their #1/#2 national ranking by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Washington's hopes for a finish in the top half of the MPSF standings will rest on the performance of pole vaulter Scott Roth, and distance runners Jake Schmitt and Colton Tully-Doyle on the men's side, and All-American distance runners Katie Follett (mile), Mel Lawrence (3000), and high jumper Kelly McNamee.

Kendra Schaaf, the runner-up in last fall's NCAA cross country championships, will open her indoor season by running the 3000 in a matchup against Oregon's Jordan Hasay, the nation's top prep distance runner and Olympic Trials finalist.

Washington State will be led by Bowerman candidate Jeshua Anderson, who is entered in the 400 meter dash, and Trent Arrivey, the current NCAA co-leader in the high jump. On the women's side, 2008 NCAA outdoor qualifier Anna Layman and high jumper Holly Parent lead the Cougs.

The USA Championships' loss will be the MPSF championships' gain, as it was announced that Oregon's Olympian at 800m Andrew Wheating (left/photo by Paul Merca) will run the mile at the MPSF meet instead of running the 800 at the USAs in Albuquerque.

Start lists for the MPSF Championships can be accessed here
.

Seattle University, in its first year as a NCAA Division I school, heads to the Great West Conference championship meet in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Eastern Washington heads to the Big Sky Conference championships in Bozeman, Montana. Last year, Eastern's men had their best-ever finish by placing third with 81.5 points and the women were seventh with 48 points.

For the pros, berths to Doha, Qatar and the IAAF World Indoor Championships are on the line at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the featured races will be the men's 3000, as WSU hall of famer, and two-time world outdoor champ Bernard Lagat faces Galen Rupp in a rematch of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games 5000 meter run, in which Rupp forced the pace with a kilometer to go before Lagat won it on the final lap, setting a new American record of 13:11.50.

Among athletes with Washington ties entered in the USA Indoor Championships include Craig Everhart in the 400; Ryan Brown in the 800; Alex and Andrew McClary in the 1500; Eric Garner in the 3000; Norris Frederick in the high jump and long jump; Michael Mai in the weight throw; Ashley Lodree in the 60 meter dash and hurdles; and, Ginnie Powell & Falesha Ankton in the 60 hurdles.

Highlights of the USA Indoor Championships will be shown on ESPN2 on February 28th from 4-6pm, pacific time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ingvill Makestad sets Norwegian national record in mile...

Former University of Washington standout Ingvill Makestad (left/photo courtesy runingvill.wordpress.com) set a Norwegian national record in the women's one mile run with her fifth place finish in Saturday's Aviva Indoor Grand Prix meet in Birmingham, England.

The former Husky was towed to a clocking of 4:28.49 in a race that was won by Ethiopia's Gelete Burka in a world leading time of 4:23.53, and included several world championship and Olympic finalists.

Makestad's mark is currently the fifth fastest time in the world this season.

Earlier this season, she ran 4:11.30 for 1500 meters in Stockholm, also a Norwegian national record.

Complete results from the women's mile at the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix can be accessed here.

Here's the video of the race:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seattle Pacific wins yet another GNAC indoor championship; Western finishes second in both meets...

NAMPA, Idaho--Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) won the women's 800 and mile each for the third time in four years to lead Seattle Pacific to its seventh straight women's team title at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor track-and-field championship meet Saturday at Jackson's Track in Nampa.

Pixler, who set meet records in both events, was selected the Outstanding Female Performer. The men's award went to Western Oregon's Matson Hardie who set a meet and GNAC record in winning the long jump.

Seattle Pacific won its seventh straight women's team title, while Western Oregon won its third straight men's title and its fourth overall.

Western Washington finished second in both divisions. The Falcon women outscored the Vikings 179 1/2 to 159 1/2. WWU's score was the highest ever for the runner up in the meet.

The Falcons came up big in the distances, even bigger in the jumps. Add in a pole vault victory for junior Melissa Peaslee, the high jump title for Brittany Aanstad, plus depth points from all over the lineup, and Seattle Pacific racked up 179½ points, enough to beat perennial challenger Western Washington by 20.

Since the GNAC started indoor track in 2004, Seattle Pacific has been the only school to claim the women’s crown. As expected from the outset, this one was tight: The 20-point margin matched its smallest ever. In 2006, the Falcons prevailed over Central Washington, 154-134.

“They earned it,” SPU coach Karl Lerum said. “This is just a really inspirational group. Pixler comes out and sets three meet records (both of her individual events and as part of the distance medley relay), Tash hasn’t run since last March and she sets a meet record, Peaslee is on her way and looking like herself again, and Jane Larson comes out and has a total warrior performance in the mile, 800 and DMR.”

Western Washington University's Ellie Siler had a hand in three event victories and Sarah Porter won the women's 5,000 meters in NCAA Division II national automatic qualifying time.

Siler took the 200 in the national provisional qualifying time of 25.03, a school, meet and GNAC record. She won the 400 (56.93) for the second straight year and ran the lead leg as the 4x400 quartet placed first in a meet record time of 3:55.21.

Porter won the 5,000 in a meet and school record time of 16:47.07 to lead a 1-2-3 sweep of that event for Western. Lauren Breihof was second in 17:32.30, and Courtney Olsen third in 17:43.72. Breihof improved her national provisional time and Olsen met the standard.

Jordan Welling had the top performance for the Western men, winning the 5,000 for the second time in three years in a meet record time of 14:51.53, and anchoring the victorious distance medley to a meet-record time of 10:18.80. Completing the medley were Bennett Grimes, Andrew Gray and Nick Abraham.

In all, Western won six women's events and four men's events, setting eight school records.
Other victories for the Western women were by Michelle Howe in the 60 hurdles, and Emily Warman in the long jump.

Howe won the 60 hurdles for the third straight year, having a time of 9.02 in the final after winning her preliminary in a school-record 9.00. With Howe and Siler on the victorious 4x400 relay were Sarah Brownell and Megan O'Connell.

Warman won the long jump with a mark of 18-3 3/4, and was second in the triple jump (38-4) where she is the defending national champion.

While the Falcons didn’t win the long jump, they did put together an astonishing 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 finish behind Warman. Junior Crystal Sims led that effort with a second-place finish at 17-7½.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Lerum said. “But it’s such a great crew and a fun group that I’m not surprised they did it.”

That performance gave SPU a 29-10 scoring advantage in the long jump. It was one of four events in which they scored more than 20 points. The others were the high jump (26), pole vault (24) and mile (23).

“That’s how you win championships,” Lerum said. “It makes us a tough team when we can put in big bunches of points like that.”

SPU freshman Nathan Seely came into the men’s 800 as the fourth seed with a 1:56.45. He cut that by almost two seconds and won by half a second over Western Oregon’s Mike Schmidt (1:55.38).

Complete results from the GNAC Championships can be accessed here.

Seattle Pacific hosts a NCAA Division II last chance qualifying meet next Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, following the conclusion of the MPSF Championships.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Western Washington University and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Lagat fourth at Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham...

BIRMINGHAM, England--Bernard Lagat (left/file photo by Paul Merca), the Washington State University hall of famer and 2007 world outdoor champ at 1500 and 5000 meters, suffered his first loss of the 2010 indoor season Saturday, as he finished fourth in the Aviva Grand Prix 1500 meter run.

Deresse Mekkonen (left, leading Lagat) of Ethiopia, the reigning world indoor champion, who was supposed to race Lagat at the Millrose Games in New York last month, outsprinted Kenya's Augustine Choge, to win in a time of 3:33.10, the fifth best performance indoors all-time.

Choge finished with a personal best indoor mark of 3:33.74, while Lagat languished in fourth in a season best mark of 3:35.49, just behind third place finisher Gideon Gathimba of Kenya, who ran 3:35.40.

Lagat is scheduled to run the 3000 at next weekend's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is the qualifying meet for next month's IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Complete results of the men's 1500 at the Aviva Grand Prix meet can be accessed here, while a results summary of the meet can be viewed here.

WSU throwers, UW vertical jumpers shine at Vandal Collegiate...

MOSCOW, Idaho -- Washington State indoor track and field competitors reached 28 personal-record marks Friday night at the Vandal Collegiate Meet in the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, as the Cougars tuned up for their conference championships next weekend.

It was a good evening for the Cougar throwing corps. Sophomore weight throwers Kjirsten Jensen (left/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) and Cassie Whitfield tossed PRs with Jensen's 61-feet, 2 1/4 inches (18.65m) a five-foot improvement and just 4 1/4 inches from an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark. Jensen was runner-up to EWU's Nicole Luckenbach who threw an NCAA PQ mark of 61-11 3/4 (18.89m). Whitfield's 58-8 (17.88 m) was third place. Jensen's mark is the fourth-best in WSU history and Whitfield's mark is sixth-best all-time.

Jasmine Johnson-McKeown, a freshman multi-events competitor, continues to make a name for herself in the throwing events as she tossed the shot put 44-9 (13.64m) for second place Friday.

WSU sophomore Joe Bartlett put the shot a PR distance of 54-6 (16.61m) for second place and junior transfer Jacob Weintraub tossed a distance of 54-4 3/4 (16.58m) for fourth place.

The Washington Huskies sent a limited number of athletes to the meet, primarily its pole vaulters.

Scott Roth won the men's competition with a modest 17-7 3/4 (5.38m), while Bryce Borer finished tenth at 15-2 1/4 (4.63m). Jeremy Lashinske and Ryan Vu no-heighted.

In the women's vault, Kelly Mudlo and Ally Wojciechowski finished fifth & seventh, both clearing 11-8.5 (3.57m). Logan Miller and Taylor Fjeran finished eighth and 13th, respectively, with both clearing 11-2.5 (3.42m).

Kelly McNamee won the women's high jump with a mark of 5-8 (1.73m).

Complete results from the Vandal Collegiate can be accessed here.


NOTE: Here's a link to the UW's release announcing its fall 2010 recruiting class, led by 2009 Foot Locker champ and Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year Megan Goethals from Michigan.

Washington State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

WSU & UW to send athletes to Vandal Collegiate; GNAC championship meet preview...

Both Washington and Washington State University are expected to send a group of athletes to compete in Friday's Vandal Collegiate indoor track & field meet at the Kibbie Dome on the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Field events begin at 3 p.m. in the Kibbie Dome and running events are set to start at 4 p.m., while the men's and women's discus will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, beginning at 11 a.m. The meet is expected to conclude Friday around 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the GNAC holds its conference meet Saturday in Nampa, Idaho.

The meet gets underway at 9 a.m. at the Jackson's Indoor Track at the Idaho Center Sports Complex with the women's shot put and high jump. The first running event will be the prelims of the women's and men's 60 hurdles at 11 a.m. Fans can follow the action on the GNAC web site which will be updated with results periodically during the meet.

Western Oregon is the two-time defending men's team champion, but will have to fight off both 2005 and 2006 champion Western Washington and 2007 champion Central Washington. Seattle Pacific has won all six previous women's titles but should receive a stiff battle this season from the Vikings, who were second in both divisions last year.

WOU does appear to have a slight edge in the men's race with 16 individual athletes among the top 3 seeds in their events, including four No.1s - Matt Kaino in the 400, Andy Loscutoff in the 60 hurdles, Matson Hardie in the triple jump and Jason Slowey in the shot put. Kaino could also be a factor in the 200, though he didn't run that event this winter.

The Wolves, who also will be the favorites in the men's 4x400 relay, also have four athletes who have the second-best seed marks and six with the No.3 best marks.

Western Washington, ranked #23 in the current USTFCCCA Division II poll, has only nine Top 3 seeds - three No.1s, two No.2s and four No.4s, but the Vikings appear to have the best depth with 25 other athletes with marks that rank them in the Top Eight. Those totals don't include Anthony Tomsich who didn't have a qualifying time in the 800, but is entered as a wild card.

Tomsich is the No.1 seed in the mile with a best of 4:07.06. The Vikings other top-seeds are two-time defending pole vault champion Ryan Brown, who has the nation's best vault this winter (17-1 ½), and Jordan Welling, the 2008 champion, in the 5000. He brings a time of 14:20.03 into the meet. Tomsich, Brown and Welling have all set GNAC records this winter in those events.

Brown and Welling are among eight male athletes who already have a conference championship on their resume.

Western Oregon's Ashtin Mott won both the 60 and 200 in 2008. He's entered in the 200 and 400 this year.

Central Washington has three defending champions in four events - Bryan Mack in the 60, Rendel Jones in the triple jump and Tyler Fischer in the weight throw and shot put. However, only Fischer (in the weight throw) comes in as the top seed.

Two other Wildcats - Brennan Boyes in the high jump and Anthony Wright in the 60 - are the top seeds.

Maurus Hope of Northwest Nazarene is back to defend his title in the 400. Hope, who is the No. 1 seed in the 200, comes in as the No. 4 seed in the longer event. Justin Felt of Seattle Pacific is the top seed in the long jump, an event he won in 2007. Another top seed is Northwest Nazarene's Matt Stark in the 800.

In the women's meet, Western Washington, ranked #22 in the current USTFCCCA poll, has 16 athletes ranked among the top three in their events, including six No.1s, four No.2s and four No.3s. Seattle Pacific, ranked #8 in the current USTFCCCA poll, has 13 (three No.1s, seven No.2s and three No.3s), but that doesn't include Jessica Pixler in the 800 or Latasha Essien in the 60 who are entered as wild cards.

Essien and Pixler are among five past GNAC champions in the SPU lineup.

Essien is the three-time 60 champion and will attempt to join Central Washington's Krissy Tandle as the only athlete in meet history to win the same event four times and the first to do it four years in a row. Tandle won the shot put in between 2005 and 2007 and again in 2009.

Pixler swept the 800 and mile titles in 2007 and 2008 before losing to Ashley Puga in classic races last year and she has a GNAC-record best time of 4:32.88 this winter in the mile. She hasn't run the 800.

Ali Worthen is the defending champion in the high jump and long jump, though she comes in as only the 12th seed in the latter event. She is the second seed in the high jump behind teammate Brittany Aanstad.

Melissa Peaslee won the pole vault title in 2008 and after having back problems the past two seasons comes into the meet as the No. 1 seed.

SPU's Jane Larson won the 5,000 title each of the past two seasons but will opt to run the mile and 800. She is the No. 2 seed in both events.

Western Washington has two returning champions among its six No. 1 seeds. Ellie Siler is the favorite to win the 400 again where she has a seed time 2-1/2 seconds better than any one else.

Michelle Howe will be seeking her third straight title in the 60 hurdles and brings in a 2010 best time of 9.02, significantly better than the second seed time of 9.22 by Terra Schumacher of Seattle Pacific.

WWU's other top-ranked women include Joana Houplin in the 60, Sarah Porter in the 5,000 and Emily Warman in the long jump and triple jump. Warman didn't win either one at the conference meet last year finishing second in both events but she did go on to claim the NCAA national title in the triple jump setting a GNAC record with a mark of 39-3.

Laura Vonarx of Northwest Nazarene was the triple winner a year ago and returns this season with the fourth-best mark.

In addition to the WWU and SPU women other athletes who enter the meet with the best marks include Sarah Kathrein of Western Oregon in the 200, Annan Applebee of Western Oregon in the 800, Joy Warrington of Northwest Nazarene in the shot put and Torrie Self of Central Washington in the weight throw.

If the women's team race comes down to the relays, Western Washington and Seattle Pacific will each enter one of the two events as the favorite. The Vikings have the top-seed in the 4x400, while Seattle Pacific has the top-seed and a GNAC-record time of 11:33.13 in the distance medley.

On the men's side, Western Oregon's best 4x400 time of 3:17.45 is a GNAC-record and provisional national qualifying mark and is nearly six seconds better than anyone else in the conference. None of the GNAC's men's title contenders have run the distance medley this winter.

Here's a link to meet information
, including start lists.

NOTE: Washington State University, the University of Washington, and the GNAC Conference all contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

UW Open results available...

Here's the link to Sunday's UW Open indoor track & field meet, held at the Dempsey Indoor, featuring many of the region's NCAA Division I & II, along with NAIA, junior college, and high school track & field athletes.

Close to 1000 athletes participated in Sunday's meet on the campus of the University of Washington.

Results can be accessed here...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The greatest weekend of track & field and cross country in Washington state history!

Just got home to Seattle from a long day in Spokane at the USA Cross Country Championships, and what a weekend in both venues!

In Spokane, Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein & Shalane Flanagan showed their dominance over the field as they romped to victories in the mens open 12k and womens open 8k titles.

In the junior men's race, Portland's Trevor Dunbar built up a 17 second lead after only four kilometers, and cruised to victory in the 8-kilometer race.

Washington State freshman Andrew Kimpel (left/photo by Paul Merca) earned a spot on Team USA by placing fourth in the junior men's race, as the graduate of Spokane's North Central HS ran 24:19 to punch his ticket to Bydgoszcz, Poland.

In the junior women's 6k race, Providence College freshman Shelby Greany broke away from pack of four runners to secure the victory on the final lap of the 6-kilometer race.

Greany ran 20:27 to finish five seconds clear of high school senior Emily Sisson from Chesterfield, Missouri, who ran 20:32.

Meanwhile at the friendly confines of the Dempsey Indoor, what can you say about perhaps the best all around track and field meet in the facility's history?!?

The meet started off Friday night with an American best in the distance medley relay, as the Oregon Track Club Elite's foursome of Nick Symmonds, Matt Scherer, Tyler Mulder, and Will Leer covered the 4,000-meter relay course in 9:21.77 (it should be noted that they will not get credit for an American record because it was contested on an oversized track).

Oregon's Nicole Blood (15:51.59) led six women under 16:00 in the 5000 meter run, while Adams State's Aaron Braun led eleven men under 14 minutes, running 13:42.22.

The hits kept coming in the Saturday session!

What can you say about these numbers--five women under 4:40 in the mile, led by Florida's Charlotte Browning in a facility record 4:31.24, with Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler second at 4:32.48, and UW's Katie Follett third at 4:34.98?

In the men's mile, how about 13 men under 4 minutes in the mile, three of which were in the B section, and one (UCLA's Marlon Patterson) missing the 4 minute mark by .45?

In the men's 800, Oregon's Olympian Andrew Wheating tearing up the race in the B section, by running 1:46.34, and setting a new facility record?

In the women's 800, how about world championship 1500-meter bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury being a non-factor in the race?

How about freshman sensation Jordan Hasay of Oregon running away with the women's 3000 in 9:12.25? In the men's 3000, EIGHTEEN men under 8:00 in the fast section, and four in the B section? Not to mention a facility record by Northern Arizona's David McNeill at 7:47.52, taking down among others, Oklahoma State's German Fernandez!

And if that wasn't enough, how about Ryan Bailey, the sprint find of this indoor season, running a facility record 20.84 in the 200, and 6.61 in the 60?

If you thought this was awesome, how about on the field, where Olympian Jesse Williams cleared 7-7 (2.31m) for a facility record, and ex-Husky Carly Dockendorf cleared a Canadian indoor record of 14-6 (4.42m)?

Honestly, this was the best weekend of track & field and cross country in the state of Washington.

Period.

Complete results from the Husky Classic can be perused here...and results from the USA Cross Country Championships are available here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dathan Ritzenhein, Emily Brown & four other athletes speak to media at USA Cross Country Champs presser...

SPOKANE--Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein (left/photo by Paul Merca) , along with fellow teammates Billy Nelson & Blake Russell, 2009 USA Cross Country champion Emily Brown, and emerging athletes Scotty Bauhs & Patrick Smyth spoke to members of the media Friday afternoon in advance of Saturday's USA Cross Country Championships at Plantes Ferry Stadium.

In this video, USA Track & Field's Jim Estes asked each of the runners for their thoughts going into Saturday's national championship race.



Saturday's national championships begin at 9:45 am with the masters womens race, followed an hour later by the masters men. The four championship races that determine berths for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland start at 11:45 with the junior women's 6k.

The junior men's 8k follows at 12:30 pm, followed by the senior women's 8k at 1:15, and concludes with the senior men's 12k at 2 pm.

Flotrack will provide live streaming video from the USA Cross Country Championships.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Husky Classic & USA Cross Country Championships headline distance running weekend in Washington state...

If you love middle and long distance running, the state of Washington is the place to be this weekend, as many of the country's top runners converge upon Seattle for the two-day Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington, and in Spokane's Plantes Ferry Sports Stadium for the USA Cross Country Championships.

The Husky Classic is packed full of stars, including World Championship medalist Shannon Rowbury (left/photo by Paul Merca) who is entered in the 800; Olympic Trials finalist Jordan Hasay (w 3000); world championship team member Bridget Franek (w 5000); and Canadian Olympian Ruky Abdulai (w LJ & 60 H), not to mention the plethora of NCAA championships qualifiers and All-Americans.

On the men's side, US Olympic team 800 meter runners Nick Symmonds (DMR) and Andrew Wheating (800) are among the headliners, along with indoor sprint find Ryan Bailey (60 & 200), Washington State's Bowerman Award candidate Jeshua Anderson (400), former world championship team members Duane Solomon & Ryan Brown in the 800; and, former prep sensation German Fernandez (mile/3000).

Incidentally, the field events are outstanding, headlined by Dempsey Indoor favorites Scott Roth (PV), and Norris Frederick (LJ/HJ), and a pair of Olympians in Canadian Mike Mason and American Jesse Williams in the men's high jump.

On the other side of the state, Dathan Ritzenhein looks to take his third career USA Cross Country title on Saturday, while 2008 Olympic 10000 bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan aims for national title number four.

Both the Husky Classic and the USA Cross Country Championships will be webcast live on flotrack.org.

The start list for the Husky Classic can be viewed here
. The entries for the USA Cross Country Championships can be navigated here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Spokane for coverage of the USA Cross Country Championships beginning Thursday evening.

Links to pass along: Kara Patterson, Ritz, USA Cross Country, & Cougs...

Here are some links to some relevant news:

--A release from USA Track & Field, where Vancouver native and 2008 US Olympian in the javelin Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca), along with former Seattle Pacific decathlete Chris Randolph have each received an Elite Athlete Development grant of $4000 to aid in their training.

According to the release, athlete recipients must meet minimum performance and financial need standards to be eligible and agree to participate in the Win With Integrity youth outreach program.

Patterson currently resides in San Diego after graduating from Purdue, and trains at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

--USA Track & Field's release on Saturday's USA Cross Country Championships in Spokane, where Dathan Ritzenhein and Shalane Flanagan look to take their third and fourth individual harrier titles, respectively.

The junior races have a lot of athletes with Washington ties that have legitimate shots at making the team for next month's world cross country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland including Washington State's Andrew Kimpel; Central Kitsap's Shane Moskowitz; and on the women's side, Washington's Lindsay Flanagan.

--Speaking of Dathan, here's a link to a story written by Ken Goe of the Oregonian on how he's thrived since moving from Eugene to Portland under coach Alberto Salazar;

--The Oregon Track Club Elite plans to go for the American record Friday night of 9:25.77 in the distance medley relay (1200-400-800-1600) at the opening session of the Husky Classic on Friday night.

--Washington State's press release for this weekend's Husky Classic and USA Cross Country Championships, plus an announcement on cross country coach Pete Julian's first recruiting class, which includes Redmond's Mack Young, the 2008 state 4A harrier champ.

--Speaking of WSU, here's a link to a feature in the school's student newspaper on pole vaulter Kendall Mays.

--In the current USTFCCCA rankings, the WSU men are ranked #25, and the UW women are #23. In Division II, Seattle Pacific's women's team is ranked #9, and Western Washington ranks #24.

--Finally, here's a link to a story on the Nebraska athletics web site on former O'Dea HS, USA Track & Field Hall of Famer and 1968 Olympic relay gold medalist Charlie Greene, who is battling diabetes, and needs a kidney transplant.

That's all for now...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cougars set a baker's dozen PR's at Runner's Soul Open Indoor...

MOSCOW, Idaho--A baker's dozen of lifetime-best marks were achieved by Washington State track and field competitors at the Runners Soul Open Indoor meet Saturday in the University of Idaho Kibbie Dome.

Sophomore Morgan Clem (left/photo courtesy Washington State University) from East Wenatchee won the women's 60m dash in a personal-record time of 7.75 seconds after equaling her previous PR time of 7.80 in Friday night's Vandal Indoor meet. Clem also took third place in the 200m dash in a PR time of 25.56.

Freshman Cindy Robinson (Norwalk, Calif.) won the women's 200m dash in a time of 25.12 after finishing third in the 60m dash in a time of 7.89.

Sophomore Brittnay Crabb (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) won the 400m in a time of 58.22.

Devin Brooks, the former state champion from Seattle's Holy Names Academy who is running unattached after transferring from New Mexico State, led a first-through-third WSU finish in the 60m hurdles. Brooks ran a time of 8.77, followed by Jalisa Williams in a time of 8.89 and Shaquana Logan's time of 8.91.

A pair of Cougar 4x400m relays finished first and second as Jacki Hill, Shawna Fermin, Williams and Logan ran a time of 3:54.07 for first place, and Crabb, Brianne Brown, Caroline Hedel and Robinson finished second in a time of 3:54.77.

The full story can be read here, while results can be accessed here.

NOTE: Washington State University's sports information office contributed to this report.

More magic from Bernard Lagat as he claims American indoor 5000m record...


BOSTON--
Washington State University track & field hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) claimed the American indoor record in the 5000 meter run in his first attempt at the undercover version of the distance at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games at the Reggie Lewis Center.

After winning his eighth Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in New York last week, Lagat stated that his goal in Boston was to break the American record, held by Portland's Galen Rupp.

Rupp, who came down with cold-like symptoms earlier in the week, prepared for his confrontation with the two-time Olympic medalist and 2007 double world champion by running a 3:56.22 mile/7:52.48 3000 double at the Dempsey Indoor during last week's UW Invitational.

Despite the enlistment of pace-setters, Lagat's goal looked unlikely as the field was more than two seconds behind record pace early on. By the 3,000m mark, the record seemed so improbable that the in-stadium announcer had stopped announcing lap splits.

But with 1000m to go, Rupp, seized the lead and pushed the pace. Lagat and Ethiopians Dejen Gebremeskel and Bekana Daba covered the move, the pace benefiting from Rupp's efforts.

With 300m to go Lagat narrowly escaped being boxed in and moved to the front. Employing his miler-trained kick, he took the win and set the American Record in 13:11.50. Gebremeskel pushed his way to second in 13:11.78 with Bekana Daba taking third in 13:11.78.

Rupp also wen under his former American record of 13:18.12, as he ran 13:14.21.

According to tweets posted by The Running Network's Larry Eder, Lagat finished the final lap of the race in 27.30 over the 200 meter oval, a very impressive split on a banked board track.

Afterwards, Lagat, who normally doesn't like to set the pace, told reporters, "I realize it is not an easy thing (to lead), but as long as you are comfortable you can do it."

Rupp, the 2009 Bowerman Award winner out of the University of Oregon, and member of the last two world championship teams at 10000 meters, said that he took the lead with a kilo to go because he didn't want the race to come down to Lagat's superior finish.

"He's just a little bit faster than me," Rupp said.

Here's the post-race video interview, courtesy RunnerSpace.com featuring Rupp and Lagat.



Lagat and Rupp said they hoped to run as the American team in the 3,000 meters in the World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, in March if they qualify at the U.S. championships in Albuquerque, N.M., later this month.

Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Powell finished third in the women's 60 meter hurdles, running 8.06 to finish behind winner Damu Cherry and Canada's Perdita Felicien.

Complete results from the Reebok Boston Indoor Games can be accessed here.


The Reebok Boston Indoor Games will be shown on a delayed basis Sunday starting at 11 am pacific time on ESPN2.

So...where's Katie Flood?

UPDATE (February 9th)--The post on the University of Washington track team's Twitter site says, "2009 NTN Individual champ Katie Flood signs with the Dawgs!"

With this, and the subsequent post stating that Libby Miller of California's Simi Valley HS, who finished 14th in the 2009 Foot Locker championship race has also signed a national letter of intent, the Huskies are poised to have the best cross country/distance running recruiting class in recent memory in NCAA Division I!

UPDATE
(February 7th)--According to a post on dyestat.com, Katie Flood will officially sign her national letter of intent to attend the University of Washington on Monday. In that post, Flood's high school teammate Ashlie Decker, will sign with the University of Minnesota.

In response to the series of posts we've put up on the University of Washington's recruiting class (as of 5 pm, Saturday afternoon, the school hasn't made an official announcement, though they've Tweeted the names of their recruits), one of the five readers of this blog asked about Katie Flood.

Using the power of Google, we did some research on Flood (left/photo courtesy RunnerSpace.com), the winner of the Nike Cross Nationals back in December, and found that she made a verbal commitment to the University of Washington, according to television station KCRG-TV9 in Iowa back in January...here's the link.

Flood, who currently attends Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines, Iowa, also won the Nike Cross Heartland regional meet, and finished eighth in the Foot Locker national championships in San Diego, one week after winning the Nike Cross Nationals.

On the track, she's run 2:11.16 for 800, 4:33.92 for 1500, and 9:42.17 for 3000. She's won six Iowa 4A titles on the track, and won the Iowa state 4A cross country title last fall.

Until the University of Washington officially receives her National Letter of Intent, they naturally can't comment or tweet about her per NCAA regulations. Besides, verbal commitments don't mean a hill of beans, as UCLA found out when javelin thrower Sam Crouser reneged on his verbal commitment and signed with the University of Oregon.

Back in December, there was a thread on both letsrun.com and dyestat.com stating that Flood was intending to attend the UW. Of course, I paid little heed to the letsrun posters, given the propensity for folks to hide behind anonymous screen names and post nonsense like Nike being a puppet company run by the Chinese and USC and UCLA being the only schools to produce Olympic and World Championship medalists for the USA--but I digress.

IFF (if and only if--from high school math)
Flood's verbal to attend Washington comes into fruition, the Dawgs potentially have one of the best recruiting classes for cross country and track distance running by any NCAA D-1 schools in a long time (I don't claim to be an expert on recruiting, but some of my five readers think that it's one of the best classes).

Washington's signed Megan Goethals, the Foot Locker champ from Michigan; Megan Morgan from California, the 17th place finisher at Foot Locker; another Californian, Chloe Curtis from Redondo Union HS; and, Mackenzie Carter from Fayetteville-Manlius HS in New York.

Add them to returning runners Kendra Schaaf, Mel Lawrence, Christine Babcock, Lauren Saylor (who didn't run in the '09 NCAA, but ran on the '08 national championship squad), Kayla Evans, Lindsay Flanagan, and Kailey Campbell, and you potentially have a team that may be better than the '08 NCAA champs.

So, what's the bottom line? Wait until Washington officially tweets or issues a press release to find out for certain if Katie Flood will "Go Purple. Be Gold" as their marketing motto for the current school year states.

Friday, February 5, 2010

WSU's Kendall Mays gets NCAA provisional qualifier at Vandal Indoor...

MOSCOW, Idaho -- Washington State pole vaulter Kendall Mays (left/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) won the women's event with an NCAA Provisional Qualifying height of 13-feet, 4 1/4 inches (4.07m) Friday night in the Kibbie Dome at the 35th Annual Vandal Indoor meet.

Mays, a redshirt junior from Spokane, won the women's pole vault over Idaho's K.C. Dahlgren who also cleared 13-4 1/4 but had more missed attempts. Mays' height is just one inch under her lifetime-best clearance of 13-5 1/4.

Cougar freshman heptathlete Jasmine Johnson-McKeown (San Bernardino, Calif.) was a double winner, taking the discus competition with a toss of 158-8 (48.37m) and winning the 60m dash in a lifetime-best time of 7.69 seconds. WSU freshman Cindy Robinson (Norwalk, Calif.) took second place in the 60m dash in a PR time of 7.71.

Other Cougar women winners were Princess Joy Griffey in the 200m (24.39) and the 4x400m relay team of Veronica Elseroad-Wall, Brittnay Crabb, Jacki Hill, and Caroline Hedel (3:51.20).

WSU men were victors in the middle distance races. David Hickerson (Spokane) won the 800m in a PR time of 1:54.35, and Dominic Smargiassi (Auburn) won the mile in a PR time of 4:17.15.

The Cougar men's 4x400m relay also won as Wesley McCann, Dana Wells, Joe Abbott and Jason Stoker ran a time of 3:20.28.

Eastern Washington also competed in the Vandal Indoor, with the Eagles getting victories from Sarah Frey (56.77) in the 400 meters; Nicole Lukenbach in the 20-pound weight throw (60-8.5/18.50m); Chad Butorac in the men's 200 (22.36); and, Brad Wall in the 400 (48.75).

Washington State and Eastern Washington will have a contingent of athletes competing in Saturday's Runners Soul Open back at the Kibbie Dome.

Complete results from the Vandal Indoor can be accessed here.


QUICK NOTES: According to the University of Washington track team's Twitter page, the Huskies have received national letter of intents from hurdler Tate Latimer from Tahoma HS in Tacoma, and chief rival Kayla Stueckle from Emerald Ridge HS in Puyallup, the reigning state 300 hurdles champion.

The Huskies also announced that Mackenzie Carter of Fayetteville-Manlius High School in New York has also signed a national letter of intent, potentially giving Washington one of the best incoming freshman classes in the nation.

Carter finished 17th in last December's Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

NOTE: The Washington State University sports information office contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts from a passionate track & field blogger...

Every once in a while, I will skim through a link forwarded to me by one of the five readers of this site and see what's out there in the blogosphere.

Conway Hill's "The View From The Finish Line" is perhaps one of the most thought provoking blogs on the sport of track and field.

He writes about the issues surrounding the sport not from the viewpoint of a current or former athlete, coach, reporter, commentator, federation shill, PR hired gun, shoe company executive, or agent, but from the vantage point of the fan.

In a post last week, Hill wrote about the Super 60 dash at the Millrose Games, featuring a number of current and former NFL stars trying to run and comparing themselves to the current crop of sprinters.

As Hill writes, "But what really caught my eye, and compelled me to comment on the issue, was the quoting of USA Track and Field CEO, Doug Logan on the subject. His quote:

'This is the year 2010. This is a sport that to a large degree has been passed by -- by other sports who have had the intelligence of understanding the demographic of what they're trying to sell that to,' Logan told The Associated Press on Tuesday after USATF announced the special race.

'It does nothing to destroy authenticity. It does nothing to denigrate the true competition. It is truly trying to inject something that is entertaining and yet congruent with the sport,' he said."

Conway goes on to say, "Now the one thing that I agree with Mr. Logan on is that the sport has been passed by by other sports that have done a much better job of selling themselves to the public. I disagree, however, that this sort of "marketing" is some New Millennium methodology that will bring the sport the attention that it needs."

"Everyone keeps looking for some marketing genius to come up with the perfect plan to get track and field on track (especially in this country). When in reality the fundamental flaw of this sport is its inability to get a substantial number of its star athletes on the track at any one venue outside of a national championship or global major!"

I wish Conway could see how right he is just by coming to Seattle to watch a meet at the Dempsey!

At last weekend's UW Invitational, the Husky coaching staff set up the meet schedule so that the best races were run from the 3pm-6pm time slot (coincidentally, after the end of the UW/WSU basketball game happening 100 meters away at Hec Edmundson Pavilion).

In that time slot, folks saw: Dierdre Mullen, the fourth place finisher in the high jump at the 2008 US Olympic Trials, challenge the facility record; Michael Mai, a member of the USA World Championships team in the hammer throw, toss the indoor 35-pound weight; Jessica Pixler of Division II Seattle Pacific run the fastest time by any collegian this season in the mile; a facility record in the men's mile by world championships team member Chris Solinsky; and Galen Rupp win the 3000 almost two hours after taking Solinsky to the wire in the mile.

While the UW Invitational may have lost some luster after Pac-10 rivals Oregon, Stanford, and Washington State opted to travel to Texas A&M for the Big 12/Pac 10/SEC Challenge meet, there were enough quality events for fans to watch, particularly in the distance races. Granted, the allure of running fast times on a super-fast Mondo track is enough to lure many top college teams to the Dempsey in the middle of winter in Seattle.

To read Conway's complete post, please click here..
.

Three more athletes commit to Huskies...

According to the official Twitter page of the University of Washington track & field team, the Huskies have three more athletes officially signed to national letter of intents.

The three are sprinter Matt Anthony, the reigning Oregon state 4A champion in the 100 & 200 out of Ontario HS in Ontario, Oregon; Sean Krinik (left/photo courtesy dyestat.com) from Valencia/Placentia HS in Placentia, California, who is the current state champ at 800 meters; and, Kasen Covington, a two-time Idaho state 5A champion in the triple jump from Capital High School.

Covington, who visited the Seattle campus in early December and offered his verbal commitment over the Christmas holiday, opted to cancel a January visit to Tennessee. He chose the Huskies over intrastate rival Washington State.

“I really liked the city, I liked the campus, and it’s pretty well-known for jumps in the Pac-10,” said Covington, a 2009 All-Idaho first-team defensive back in football. “I can go there and be the guy, be the main triple jumper from the get-go," he told Jesse Zentz of the Idaho Statesman.

“It’s awesome to be committed,” he said. “I have been waiting for it, and now that it’s over, I can go through the season without that pressure on my shoulders. The Pac-10 is definitely where I wanted to go. I want a high level of competition throughout college.”

Though Covington had told Zentz of his verbal intent to attend Washington in late December, the school could not comment until the national letter of intent was in their possession.

Covington has a personal best of 49-10 3/4, set last April.

Anthony has personal bests in the 100 of 10.64, and 21.92 over 200 meters, and has also run 49.44 in the 400.


Krinik has a personal best in the 800 meters of 1:51.42.

The University of Washington is expected to issue a media release in the next few days to make the official announcements on their initial signees for the 2010-2011 season.

NOTE: Links to their marks are provided courtesy of dyestat.com, and athletic.net

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2009 Foot Locker champ Megan Goethals commits to Huskies...

2009 Foot Locker Cross Country champion Megan Goethals (left/photo courtesy Foot Locker) of Rochester High School (Rochester Hills, Mich.) , who is the Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of 2009, has committed to the University of Washington as part of their 2010 recruiting class.

Goethals completed an unbeaten season by winning the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships with a time of 17:06.9, during which she out-leaned junior and three-time Gatorade Texas Runner of the Year Chelsey Sveinnson at the tape to produce the most exciting finish in the event's 31-year history.

The 5-foot-8 senior also shattered her own state meet course record by 16 seconds in 16:54.8, repeating as Division 1 champion despite a stiff headwind.

Goethals, who owns six course records in the state of Michigan, added regular-season victories at the Spartan Invitational, the West Bloomfield Invitational, and the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships in 2009.

Goethals has maintained a 3.66 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, she has volunteered on behalf of Meals on Wheels as well as US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer, a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities.

The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, announced Megan Goethals as its 2009-10 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year on national letter of intent day.

You can read the release from Gatorade here.

On the track, Goethals won Michigan state titles in the 1600 (4:51.20) and 3200 (10:37.50). She was second at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in the mile (4:51.33), and second in the 2 mile at the same meet (10:20.25).

The University of Washington has also received a national letter of intent from Torrey Pines High School in California senior Megan Morgan.

During the past cross country season, Morgan won the Mt. SAC Invitational cross country meet, running 16:59 over a 3-mile course, and finished second in the CIF State Cross Country Championships, running 17:16 for 5000 meters.

She was a Foot Locker finalist, finishing 17th in the national championship race in San Diego, running 18:02.

In September, competing on the three-member U.S. junior women's mountain running team, Morgan captured the silver medal at the World Mountain Running Championships held in Madesimo, Italy, a ski resort town in the Alps.

Morgan's time of 22:35 on the 4.34-kilometer course was 17 second behind individual champion Can Yasemin of Turkey. The field included 46 runners representing 35 countries.

On the track, she's run 5:01.93 in the mile, finishing second at the Golden West Invitational, and 10:31.91 for 3200 meters. She finished eighth in the CIF state meet last year.

UPDATE (7:45 pm)--The UW track & field team's Twitter page reports that Chloe Curtis, who ran 4:49.02 for 1600 and 10:47.70 over 3200 meters, has also signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Washington. Curtis currently attends Redondo Union High School in California.

Lagat earns USATF Athlete of the Week honors...

Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) has been named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after winning a record-eighth Wanamaker Mile Friday night at the 103rd Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

A two-time Olympic medalist and the 2007 double world champion out of Washington State University, Lagat became the only athlete ever to win eight Wanamaker Mile trophies after he ran a blazing last lap to win in 3:56.34 and break his tie with Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan for the most victories.

Now in its ninth year, USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on the USATF website.

Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

NOTE: Vicky Oddi of USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Pixler honored by GNAC again; Falcons ranked #7 in first USTFCCCA indoor poll...

Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) has added to her record-setting collection of Great Northwest Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week Awards. The Seattle Pacific senior was honored on Monday as the Athlete of the Week for women’s track after rewriting her own standard in the mile at last Saturday’s UW Invitational.

Pixler (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) cruised to an 11-second victory at Dempsey Indoor on the University of Washington campus in 4 minutes, 33.46 seconds. That shattered her old Falcon and GNAC record of 4:37.83, which she set last Feb. 14 at the Husky Classic, and also was an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Division II indoor championships. Pixler is the three-time defending NCAA champion in the indoor mile.

Pixler now has 27 Athlete of the Week honors for her career, with 15 for track (10 indoor, five outdoor) and 12 for cross country.

Thanks to her efforts, and the strength of their distance medley relay squad, the USTFCCCA has recognized Seattle Pacific as the #7 ranked women's track & field team in the country, according to their poll released Tuesday.

Western Washington University, led by distance standout Sarah Porter, is ranked #16 in this week's poll.

The current list of the top 25 teams in NCAA Division II can be accessed here.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Countdown to Spokane & USA Cross Country Championships begins...

The USA Cross Country Championships at Plantes Ferry Sports Stadium in Spokane on February 13th will welcome runners of Olympic proportions.

Shalane Flanagan (left/photo by Paul Merca), Max King and Billy Nelson will be amongst the slate of our nation’s top runners competing for their slot on the USA National Team which will compete against the world at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland.

Shalane Flanagan earned the bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10,000m. A member of the Oregon Track Club/Elite, she is currently the American record holder for the outdoor 5,000m and 10,000m, and the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m. Shalane’s complete running bio can be viewed at http://www.usatf.org/athletes/bios/Flanagan_Shalane.asp.

Originally from Bend, OR, Max King was a qualifier for the USA Olympic Trials in the steeplechase. At the 2009 USA Cross Country Championships Max finished 9th, and earned his slot on the World Championship Cross Country team for the third time (06’, 08’, 09’). For more information on Max’s career please visit http://www.runnerspace.com/Maximus.

Billy Nelson, also a member of the Oregon Track Club/Elite, was a runner-up for the US Olympic team in 2008 in the 3,000m steeplechase, finishing ninth in the 2008 Olympic Games opening rounds with a time of 8:36.66. Billy’s complete running bio can also be found at http://www.usatf.org/athletes/bios/Nelson_Biily.asp.

For more information on events please contact the Spokane Regional Sports Commission at 509.456.5812 or at www.spokanesports.org.

Current entries can be checked here...


NOTE: The Spokane Regional Sports Commission contributed to this report.

Post mortem from the UW Invitational...

Galen Rupp, who ran a 3:56.22/7:52.48 mile/3000 double at last Saturday's UW Invitational, may or may not run in Saturday's Reebok Boston Indoor Games, as he was showing cold symptoms while training on Monday, according to Ken Goe of the Oregonian.

Rupp (left/photo by Paul Merca), the former University of Oregon All-American and 2009 Bowerman Award winner, is expected to face Washington State University hall of famer and Berlin world championships medalist Bernard Lagat in the 5000 on Saturday.

In Goe's blog, coach Alberto Salazar says, "We'll wait and see. I've given him the day off. If he fights off the cold, he'll be rested and run fantastic."

Here's the post race interview I did with Galen as part of the on-field meet presentation at the Dempsey after his 3000, where he describes that he was finishing his day with some track work at Husky Stadium. The video is courtesy RunnerSpace.com:



If not, well, "Distance runners can't run well with a cold," Salazar said. "At this level, it's the difference between 13:05 and 13:15."

OTC Elite/Portland's Dathan Ritzenhein was a late scratch in the 5,000 at the UW Invitational because of a sore foot. Salazar said the injury isn't serious.

To read Goe's blog entry, click here...


UPDATE: The USTFCCCA Division I rankings were just posted, and the Washington State men's team dropped to #25 from #21, while the Huskies dropped out of the top 25. The UW women's team dropped to #18 from #13.

The Division I rankings can be accessed here...


Division II rankings are expected to be posted later on Tuesday, with both Seattle Pacific and Western Washington expected to make the top 25 women's teams, along with the Viking men's squad.

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