Sunday, March 28, 2010

Amazing day in Bydgoszcz!

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--Just returned to my hotel a little bit after 1 am after hanging out with the Team USA senior women's squad celebrating their third place team finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

As many of you know, I have been in Bydgoszcz, Poland working as a media assistant to USATF at the world championships.

Needless to say, it's been an amazing experience working with the four teams, and I feel honored to be a part of this experience. I've worked on ten world cross country teams, and it continues to be quite a thrill.

Here's the release that I helped write for USA Track & Field:

Led by 2008 Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan (Portland, Ore.), the Team USA senior women's squad won the bronze medal in the eight-kilometer team competition at the 38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday at at Myslecinek Park in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It was the first team medal in the senior women's event since 2003.

After the first lap of the two-kilometer loop course, Flanagan was positioned in 16th-place and with the next two laps she moved in to 10th-place. As the athletes faced the log-jump on the last lap, Flanagan faltered slightly slipping to 11th. Sprinting into the final 100 meters, Shitaye Eshete of Bahrain caught Flanagan and just out-leaned her at the line. Both were timed in 25 minutes, 20 seconds.Emily Chebet of Kenya took the overall individual title in 24:19 to lead Kenya to the team title over Ethiopia.

Behind Flanagan, Molly Huddle from Providence, Rhode Island (25:59) and 2008 Olympic marathon team member Magdalena Lewy-Boulet of Oakland, California (26:01) worked together and finished 19th and 20th, respectively.

Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), a three time world cross country participant for Team USA, rounded out the American scorers with her 25th place finish in 26:20, exactly one minute behind team leader Flanagan.

Five time world cross country championships team member Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.) and two time Team USA member Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.) rounded out the Americans' six member squad by finishing 38th and 41st respectively in 26:48 and 26:53.

In the senior men's 12-kilometer race, Patrick Smyth (Minneapolis, Minn.) led Team USA across the tape with his 36th place finish in 34:51. Ryan Vail (Stillwater, Okla.) was 45th in 35:04, while Bobby Curtis (Ardmore, Pa.) finished 48th in 35:08, and Scott Bauhs (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) was 53rd in 35:14.

Bobby Mack (Raleigh, N.C.) finished 67th in 35:36, and Ben Bruce (Eugene, Ore.) placed 80th in 35:56.

Kenya's Joseph Ebuya won the world title in 33:00, with Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea second at 33:06, and Moses Kipsiro of Uganda third at 33:10.

The Kenyans continued their dominance of this event, winning with a team score of 20. Eritrea was second with 46, and Ethiopia was third with 69 points. Team USA finished ninth with 182 points.

High school senior Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Mo.) led the American charge in the junior women's 6-kilometer race, finishing 18th in 20:08. National junior champion Shelby Greany (Suffern, N.Y.) was 29th in 20:35, while Duke University freshman Juliet Botorff (Newark, Del.) placed 35th in 21:00, and Georgetown University freshman Emily Jones (Harvard, Mass.) rounded out Team USA's scorers in 41st at 21:12.

Sophia Ziemian (Lewisburg, Pa.) was 45th in 21:21, and Laura Tremblay (Loveland, Colo.) was 51st in 21:31.

Kenya's Mercy Cherono led her country to a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the women's junior race, winning in 18:47. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo was second in 18:54, and Esther Chemtai was third in 18:55.

Kenya won the team title with a perfect 10 points, with Ethiopia second at 30 points and Uganda third with 81 points. Team USA finished sixth with 123 points.

University of Portland freshman Trevor Dunbar (Kodiak, Alaska) was the first one across the line for Team USA in the junior men's 8-kilometer race, with his 29th place finish in 23:36. Andrew Colley (Williamsburg, Va.), a freshman at North Carolina State University, was 42nd at 24:10, while high school senior Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.) finished 44th in 24:17. Washington State University freshman Andrew Kimpel (Spokane, Wash.) rounded out Team USA's four scorers in 54th at 24:37.

High school junior Ammar Moussa (Arcadia, Calif.) was 66th in 25:00, and Oklahoma State University frosh Michael Lynch (Stillwater, Okla.) was 84th at 25:23.

As in the women's junior race, it was a Kenyan sweep of the individual podium, led by winner Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku at 22:07, followed by teammates Clement Kiprono Langat two seconds behind, and Japhet Kipyegon Korir third at 22:12.

Kenya (10), Ethiopia (32), and Uganda (56) took the podium places, as Team USA was eighth at 169 points.

Athlete quotes:

Shalane Flanagan-I knew going into this that this would be the toughest race of the year. I was mentally prepared. I'm bummed individually, because I let two people pass me after the last log jump. It's a team sport, and I'm proud of how we ran. I think that all of us wanted this for Magda, and we all knew what a place on the podium would mean to her.

Emily Brown-Today went a lot better than the NACAC meet a few weeks ago. You always want to be a scoring member of the US team, but you look at the starting line at your teammates, and you realize that not only are you on the line with the best in the country, but some of the best in the world.

We knew who we were going against in the team race, and we knew that the people who weren't going to score needed to stay as high up as possible.

Amy Hastings-It was one of the toughest courses I've ever run on. We've talked about this all week, and even at USAs, we talked about how we would be contending for a medal. I knew Shalane and Molly and Magda were up there, and I tried to catch every single person. I had to do it for the team!

Magdalena Lewy Boulet-It's an incredible feeling to get on the podium! I knew that if I were to get a medal, that it would happen here with an incredible team. I'm so honored to be on the same team as some of the other girls. I knew we had it in us, so we went out hard.

I felt really good. We went out really hard the first 400, and things got a little physical the first part of the race. It was really good to work with Molly. We kept encouraging each other, and running people down.

The goal of making the podium-Check! Achieved!

Renee Metivier Baillie-It was rough for me, but I knew the team was out there, so that it kept me going, and luckily I got to outkick the last Moroccan, even though we got on the podium by a lot in the end. It was helpful to have the other girls on the team in front of me.

We've gotten fourth several times since I've come here, so it really means a lot to come home with some hardware.

Molly Huddle-Walking away with a medal was the goal coming over here. We got the medal and we talked about it.

The race was hard. There were times where I felt I wasn't moving, and felt like I was standing still. My coach thought that I could get top 20, so I think that it was a successful day.

Emily Sisson-It was a tough race, but I'm really happy with it. We all ran well.

I learned how to run with the group. I've never run with a group of talented runners in a big international race.

Shelby Greany-The race wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Getting out was hard, and I didn't run as well as I thought I would.

I learned how to handle myself in a big international race, and saw how the seniors handled their business, and how other countries handle themselves. It makes you want to train harder and get better.

Trevor Dunbar-I felt really good at the beginning. There were a lot of good people in front of me and that was motivation for me to catch them.

There are a lot of good people here and if you want to be with them, you've got to train hard, and get used to the hard pace.

Andrew Colley-I went out a bit unconservative in order to help get my teammates out and get us some elbow room. Hopefully we were able to do good as a team.

Walter Schafer-It went pretty much as planned. I think I was passing people every lap, and I'm pretty happy with my race.

This race will help me when I get into college next year. This is more of a race that I'm gonna have to get used to. This will make me less nervous when I race against others in the USA.

Ammar Moussa-I came out here with the intent of getting a good race in today. I made sure that I had plenty going into the 5k mark, and at that point I started rolling. I think I must have caught about 20-25 people.

I think what I get out of this race going forward, is that I'll be able to keep my cool and my composure knowing that I've run against the best guys in the world.

Michael Lynch-It was a faster course than what we all thought it would be. I wished I had placed a little higher. I went out easy, and thought I'd have more in the tank that what I actually had. I did what I could but I wished I could have done more.

Andrew Kimpel-It went ok. I think I went out a little conservative at the beginning. I got quite a few people at the end. I was the fourth man, and that gave me a little bit of confidence.

There are a lot of good people out here.

Patrick Smyth-I'm happy with my race, but not ecstatic. For my first world cross country championships, I more than held my own. I hope to be back here next year.

I knew the start was going to be crazy, but not be real conservative, so I wanted to get a good spot. I didn't really move up a lot.

This race will give me confidence going into the season.

Bobby Curtis-I got a little cramp in the middle of the race, lost a few spots, and struggled. It was tough out there.

I think everyone on the team thought they were capable of a top 40 finish, and Patrick was the only one who did that.

Ben Bruce-I was doing what I wanted to do for 2 1/2 laps, and then got hit with a stomach cramp that affected me for the next lap and a half. I just tried to relax and hold my position, and pick a guy or two off. It was a disappointing day, and it's disappointing to run bad in a race this big.

For more information on the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

Team USA senior women get third in Bydgoszcz!

This is the reaction in the mixed zone when Team USA found out that they had placed third in the senior women's race in Bydgoszcz, Poland:

It's race day in Bydgoszcz!!!

Greetings from the press room!

First of all, many apologies for not updating the web site with results from the Stanford Invite, as I'm playing press attache for Team USA at the World Cross Country Championships (big shout out to Kirby Lee of Image of Sport for taking this photo!).

I know you guys are wanting to see stuff, particularly from the Stanford Invitational.

With that in mind, I'll just set up links to the UW, WSU, and Seattle Pacific recaps of the meet. From what little time I've had to read on the meet, I am aware of the feats of Katie Follett, Jeshua Anderson (who won the 2008 world junior title in the 400 hurdles here in Bydgoszcz, and is well remembered by some of the local track junkies that I've met here), and Jessica Pixler.

It's a little bit after 10 am here at the course. The course is looking a little slick, as there was some rain last night, and rain Saturday. It is a bit muddy in spots, so footing will be tricky.

Below is the Saturday course preview release I wrote for USATF:

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--The 24 members of Team USA took to the two-kilometer loop course Saturday at Myslecinek Park for a final look before Sunday's 38th running of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

In contrast to the dry conditions that greeted Team USA as it trained on the course the previous three days, the course was soaked by rains that hit Bydgoszcz overnight, turning portions of the field into a quagmire, and potentially changing the dynamics of Sunday's race.

The weather forecast calls for a chance of rain and a temperature of about 48 degrees.

Shalane Flanagan--The footing is very tricky. The course and the weather are coming together for a great race.

The weather was a little bit too nice yesterday. I don't want to be working on my suntan before a cross country race, so it's shaping up to be a challenging course. I am prepared for the toughest championships in my life.

Ryan Vail—You’ve got some logs there that you have to jump over, and there are a lot of tight turns. I think the course is going to be slow. I think that the mud is going to be good for all of our guys—it’s going to slow down the front of the pack, and it’s going to give us the opportunity to beat guys we have no business beating.

Shelby Greany—The rains made the course softer.The start of the course is on a slanted hill, and with the mud, you’ll certainly see some people go down.

The logs that you have to navigate is taller than what I expected, and it’s surrounded on either side by mud. I think the muddy conditions make it easier for us to shine.

Trevor Dunbar—Everyone’s running in the same conditions, and it will slow the race down at the front, so it’s going to be important to get out fast.

I will do my best to do quick updates. What quick updates I will do will be via my Twitter page, which is http://twitter.com/paulmerca70601.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun in the sun in Bydgoszcz...

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--Another sunny day in Bydgoszcz greeted members of Team USA as several of them informally toured the course in preparation for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Several other members took the opportunity to run along the forest trails in the park, while others did sharpening work on the nearby track stadium where the 2008 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships were held, including 2008 Olympic 10000-meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Portland.

On the course, workers continued laying down dirt on parts of the course that were beaten up at the Polish national cross country championships a few weeks ago.

Here's a video interview I did with Washington State University freshman Andrew Kimpel (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Spokane's North Central High School, who finished fourth at the USA Championships last month to earn the trip to Poland.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Huskies, Cougars & Falcons at Stanford Invite...

Even though I'm nine time zones away, it's no excuse to skip over what the home teams are doing.

Most of the action centers at this weekend's Stanford Invitational, as both Washington and Washington State, as well as Seattle Pacific, will send athletes to Palo Alto.

"We knew heading into the year that we would be a much stronger overall team during the outdoor season and that is what we have been keeping our focus on," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "What Scott, Katie, Colton, and Mel achieved indoors was great for our program but they are ready to head outside. We expect to add some firepower outdoors and now that the Dempsey season has ended it will be fun for our student-athletes to go travel together and gel as a team."

Two of Washington's top seniors, Anita Campbell and Falesha Ankton (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), both only had outdoor eligibility remaining so they were forced to compete unattached in the Dempsey and train through the winter months.

Both will now be critical to the team's success outdoors. Campbell is the defending Pac-10 Champion at 10,000-meters, and was third in the event at last year's NCAA Championships. Ankton is UW's top hurdler, having scored at Pac-10s and reached the national meet in 2008. She set PRs in the short hurdles indoors running unattached and competed at the USA Indoor Championships in February.

The Huskies will also add a pair of All-Americans back into the fold, as javelin throwers Kyle Nielsen and Brooke Pighin get to let loose after watching their teammates compete all during the indoor season. Nielsen was sixth at NCAAs last season while Pighin was seventh, and both will be eyeing a higher spot on the NCAA podium this year.

Here's Washington's release, and here's Washington State's release...

Across the Bay at the University of California, several athletes from Washington State and SPU are competing a the Cal Multis meet.

Here's host school Cal's release on the first day of the meet...

Team USA captains named...

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--Here's a short video I produced for USA Track & Field with the four team captains--Ryan Vail, Trevor Dunbar, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, and Shelby Greany--elected by the squad Wednesday night for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Below is the official USATF release announcing the captains:



In preparation for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, members of Team USA's squad selected team captains during a team meeting Wednesday night.

Athletes earned their places on the Team USA roster at the 2010 USA Cross Country Championships in Spokane, Washington on February 13th.

2008 Olympic Women's Marathon team member Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, California) was selected as the women's captain by her peers.

Sunday's world championship race holds special significance for Lewy Boulet, who was born in Jastrzibie, Poland and emigrated to the United States in 1988, as the 36-year old will compete on Polish soil for the first time since leaving the country.

"Its very awesome to be selected as team captain by the girls! I guess it's because of seniority, as I'm one of the oldest on the team, and also because I was born and raised in Poland."

Three time USA world cross country team member Ryan Vail (Stillwater, Oklahoma) was selected as the senior men's captain. Vail finished sixth in the USA Cross Country Championships in Spokane, running 35:25.

In his previous appearances at the world championships, he finished 77th in the junior men's race in 2005 in St. Etienne, France, and 33rd in the senior race last year in Amman.

"I was selected by the guys based on my past experiences at world cross. This is my third team, and most of the guys on the senior team haven't competed at the world championships."

Providence College freshman Shelby Greany (Suffern, New York), the reigning national champion, was elected as junior women' team captain. Greany won the national title as she broke away from a pack of four runners on the final lap, stopping the clock in 20:27 over the 6-kilometer course.

"I didn't expect to be nominated, but the other girls suggested it. I don't think me being team captain changes our team dynamics at all. We're all very close, and we're here to help each other out."

University of Portland freshman Trevor Dunbar (Kodiak, Alaska), who won the national junior title by separating himself from the field early in the 8-kilometer race, clocking 24:04 despite a case of strep throat, was elected the junior men's team captain.

"I'm more than happy to accept the role, and be a good leader for the guys on our team."

Witam z Bydgoszczy!

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--Made it into Bydgoszcz around 8pm, local time Wednesday night. Not sure when the jet lag will hit me, but nonetheless, I'm happy to be here.

I am here assisting USA Track & Field with media operations here in Bydgoszcz.

Went out onto the course this morning, and as several members of the team ran, workers were busy filling parts of the course with dirt, and setting up the finish line area.

The course is in reasonable condition, considering that a few weeks ago at the Polish championships, it was a bit of a mudbath.

The projected weather forecast is for intermittent rain, with temperatures between 6 & 8 degrees celsius (about 43 to 47 degrees, fahrenheit).

This is what the runners will see as they approach the finish line, which is about 70 meters from where I took this shot this morning.

I'll have more posts as the week progresses!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One last link...

I have to give Ken Goe of the Oregonian mad props for the track and field blog on oregonlive.com!

Ken's blog is one of the most informative ones, especially with an emphasis on what's happening around the state of Oregon, particularly with the Oregon Ducks, the Oregon TC Elite, the University of Portland, and other elite track & field athletes residing in that state.

That being said, here's a link to a story he did on Trevor Dunbar (left/photo courtesy USATF), the University of Portland freshman and reigning USA junior cross country champion, who is en route to Bydgoszcz, Poland for this Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Running in adverse conditions is nothing new to Trevor, who is best remembered for this YouTube video of his preparation for the 2008 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Off to Bydgoszcz (or, Off do Bydgoszczy!)...

It doesn't matter how many trips overseas one has taken, but there's always a certain level of anxiety the night before a trip, and as always, I'm second guessing myself over what to bring to Bydgoszcz, Poland for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

As much as I can, I'm trying to follow the one creed that noted European travel expert Rick Steves preaches: Travel light!

However, that goes against the Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared.

If this video is any indication, looks like it's going to be muddy this weekend:



I will be working with USA Track & Field at the world championships as a media assistant, so the laptop and cameras are the most essential things I need. After seeing my share of baggage horror stories, I've learned to have enough survival gear in a backpack in case something gets lost.

In the meantime, see you on the other side of the planet! Wish my checked bag good luck (crosses fingers)…

PS--The football's packed (those who follow me on Facebook know what I'm talking about)!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Q & A with Scott Roth...

Here's a link to an article posted on gohuskies.com with NCAA pole vault champion Scott Roth (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), who won the indoor title last weekend.

Roth talks about how little time he had to savor his NCAA win, with finals this past week at the University of Washington, the lack of a true break (he's been vaulting non-stop since the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships), the types of poles he uses to jump high, and his thoughts on winning the title.

En route to winning the title in Fayetteville, he had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.

He said, "Yeah, man, you wonder how I'd ever be able to win the title being as absent-minded as I am. I was freaking out. Basically I packed my bag and I remember packing everything I needed for warm-ups, for the plane ride and whatnot. I guess I didn't even think of the uniform because how could I forget that? That's the one thing you can't forget, but I did. They ended up mailing one and everything worked out, but I was definitely scared. I was having visions of me jumping in a girl's uniform or something terrible like that."

To read the full story, please click here.

Weekend roundup: Marissa Tschida wins javelin at Trojan Invite; Oregon Preview & Dusty Lane Open recap...

In Los Angeles, WSU junior All-American Marissa Tschida (left/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) won the women's javelin throw with a heave of 172-feet, 8 inches (52.63m) at the Trojan Invitational hosted by the University of Southern California, just nine feet of her school record toss of 181-8 thrown last year.

Courtney Kirkwood tossed the spear 155-4 (47.36m) and Jennifer Hamilton threw the javelin 150-6 (45.87m), for fourth and fifth places, respectively.

The Cougar men's throwers also threw well Saturday. All-American Matt Lamb was second in the discus with a toss of 185-5 (56.53m), with Joe Bartlett seventh with a seven-foot PR throw of 167-9 (51.15m), and Jacob Weintraub 13th after throwing 142-9 (43.53m).

On the track, WSU women sprinters took advantage of the warm temperatures. Princess Joy Griffey took second in the 100m with a time of 11.91 seconds and third in the 200m with a time of 24.17. Jacki Hill ran a PR time in the 200m of 25.81 and Brianne Brown ran a time of 26.40. Shawna Fermin was the top Cougar in the 400m dash with a time of 55.59 followed by Hill (57.03) and Brown (57.74). Anna Layman finished fifth in the 800m with a time of 2:15.14. The 4x400m relay squad of Veronica Elseroad-Wall, Fermin, Griffey and Layman was second in a time of 3:46.30.

Two-time NCAA intermediate hurdles champion Jeshua Anderson ran a training race in the 800m with a time of 1:52.86 which was fifth-best in the race. Anderson, who is on the Bowerman Award watch list, is coming off a slight injury suffered two weeks ago at the Iowa State Last Chance meet.

Results from the Trojan Invitational can be accessed here...

In Eugene at the Oregon Preview at Hayward Field, Seattle Pacific freshman Amanda Alvarez won the triple jump on Saturday to highlight Seattle Pacific’s performances. Alvarez, from Vancouver's, Columbia River HS flew a college career-best 38 feet, 8¾ inches to win by nearly a full foot ahead of second-place Ashley Potter from Western Oregon (37-9½).

That put her onto the provisional list with room to spare. The NCAA Division II minimum is 37-10¾. The automatic mark is 39-10½.

Senior distance star Jane Larson from Fall City logged a 2:11.75 for third place in the 800 meters. That put her way ahead of the NCAA provisional standard of 2:14.50 and within reach of the automatic time of 2:10.00.

For SeattleU, senior Mara Becker continued to write her name in the school record book, setting a new outdoor standard in the high jump after clearing 1.62 meters (5'3.75") to finish in a tie for fifth place.

The other record to fall came in the men's 3000 meter run, as Erik Barkhaus broke his own school record by almost ten full seconds, finishing in 10th place with a time of 8:44.86.

Former Auburn Riverside standout Jordan McNamara, a member of the University of Oregon track team, but competing unattached, won the 3000 in a meet record time of 7:53.63.

Results from the Oregon Preview can be accessed here.


At the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane, freshman Stephan Scott-Ellis was a double-winner, taking the 100m dash in a time of 11.03 and then long jumping 23-0 3/4 (7.03m). André Jennings and Wesley McCann had a two-three finish in the 200m dash with times of 21.92 and 22.08, respectively. McCann was also the runner-up in the 400m dash (49.87) and Jennings was fourth (50.33). David Hickerson won the 800m with a PR time of 1:52.39, with Ian Smith second in 1:55.84. The men's 1500m saw Jono Lafler (3:51.48), Sam Ahlbeck (3:53.63), and Justin Englund (3:54.92) finish first through third. J Hopkins won the 400m hurdles in a time of 55.45.

Decathletes Kyle Schauble and Ramsey Hopkins ran and threw at this meet. Schauble won the 110m hurdles (14.98), threw the discus (100-9, 30.71m) and threw the javelin (169-9, 49.61m). Ramsey Hopkins ran a high hurdles time of 15.44, threw the discus 107-7 (32.80m) and threw the javelin (145-0 (44.20m). Schauble, R. Hopkins, McCann and J Hopkins ran on the winning 4x400m relay team. John Brenteson won the pole vault with a clearance at 14-9 (4.50m).

The Cougar women had a solid showing Saturday in Spokane. Cindy Robinson ran the 100m dash in 12.08, finishing behind Cougar signed recruit Chanel James (11.88), and won the 200m dash in a time of 24.81. Caroline Austin won the 800m race in a time of 2:15.17 with Marisa Sandoval fourth in a time of 2:23.09.

Heptathletes Angela Jensen and Jasmine Johnson-McKeown competed in several events. Jensen won the 100m hurdles (14.06) and threw the javelin a PR distance of 119-1 (33.30m). Johnson-McKeown ran the hurdles in 15.44, threw the javelin 106-9 (32.53m) and threw the discus a PR distance of 147-6 (44.96m).

The results from the Dusty Lane Open are available here.


Next week, Washington State, Seattle Pacific & SeattleU will have several athletes compete at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, as well as the University of Washington.

Finally, former University of Washington hammer thrower Martin Bingisser finished eighth in his specialty at the European Cup Winter Throwing meet Sunday in Arles, France.

Bingisser, who is the Swiss national champion in this event, threw 212-4 (64.72m).

Results from the hammer at the European Cup Winter Throwing meet can be accessed here.


NOTE: The sports information offices at Washington State University, Seattle Pacific, and Seattle University contributed to this report.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Links to pass along: SPU, SeattleU, etc...

Here are some links to whet your track & field appetite!

First is a story courtesy of Seattle Pacific's sports information office on how they won the national title in the distance medley relay at last week's NCAA Division II championships in Albuquerque, as second leg Jennifer Pike (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) was bumped on the final lap of her 400-meter leg.

Pike was on the inside lane as she rounded the final curve. It was then that she saw a runner from Grand Valley State moving up on her.

“The girl kept getting closer on my shoulder, so I tried to make my arms a little bigger -- otherwise, she would have stepped on my feet,” Pike said. “Coming around the corner, she kept getting closer, and on the last part of the curve, she nudged up against me and cut in front of me.”

From the nudge, Pike’s left foot hit the bar that ran around the inside lane of the track on the infield. All of a sudden, her speed was gone -- and her balance was going.

“From her cutting in front of me, I ended up slowing down because I hit that bar and because I would have stepped on her heels,” Pike said. “From that combination, my balance got thrown off.

“My arms were flailing -- I felt like one of those lawn decorations where their arms are going in circles,” Pike added with a laugh.

At the time, however, it was no laughing matter to Pike.

“I felt like, ‘No, I can’t fall -- not in this race. My three teammates are seniors. I can’t fall.’ ”

Did her experience as a hurdler help her stay up?

“I didn’t really think of that,” Pike said.

To read the full story, please click here…

Washington State University announced that they have signed sprinter Chanel James.

James is currently attending and competing for Community Colleges of Spokane. Last spring James captured three titles at the 2009 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Championships: the 100m dash, long jump and triple jump titles, and finished second in the 200m dash.

To read Washington State's release, please click here…


Seattle University competes this Saturday in Eugene at the Oregon Preview meet, hosted by the University of Oregon.

Several members of the SeattleU team competed in the PLU Invitational last week in Tacoma. Their release and results can be accessed here…

Central Washington, and Gonzaga will also send athletes to the Oregon Preview. They'll both also send a contingent to the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane, as will Washington State and Eastern Washington.

The University of Washington will not compete until next weekend's Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bernard Lagat wins second career world indoor title...

DOHA, Qatar--Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his second career world indoor championship this afternoon at the Aspire Dome, as he emerged victorious in the men's 3000 meter run.

After a pace of 4:11 through 1600, Lagat was positioned in third behind defending champion Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, as the pace quickened over the final laps.

With 600 to go, Bekele, the younger brother of world and Olympic champion Kenenisa, gradually tried to put the pressure on Lagat, as the duo broke away from the field.

Lagat, the 2004 world indoor 3000m champ as a Kenyan citizen, wound up and ran a 28 second final lap to finish with a final time of 7:37.97.

Spain's Sergio Sanchez finished second in 7:39.55, while Kenya's Sammy Mutahi caught a fading Bekele to get the bronze medal in 7:39.90. Bekele nabbed fourth place in 7:40.10.

The 35-year old Lagat became the oldest man in history to win gold at a World Indoor Championships - he is some 22 days older than the previous eldest - Gerard Lelievre of France, the 1985 5000m walk champion.

Afterwards, the new world champion told the IAAF, "My kids woke up at 7 am in the morning (in Tuscon, Arizona) to watch their daddy. So I needed to show them something. I did exactly what my coach (James Li) told me to do. During the last lap I felt a lot of energy from the crowd. I missed a lot since 2007 so I'm back. My long term goal is Olympic gold from London, most probably at 5km. And this season I want to run some fast times at 3 and 5 km."

Lagat's teammate and 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp came back strongly in the final laps to set a new personal best of 7:42.40 to finish fifth, a week after running a mile/800 double in Seattle at the Husky Last Chance meet, while the majority of the American team, including Lagat were already in Doha.

Complete results from the world indoor championships can be accessed here.

For more information on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, please visit www.iaaf.org.

NOTE: The IAAF contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quick comment from the editor...

Hope you enjoyed our coverage of both the NCAA D1 & D2 meets, plus the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships!

Our weekend coverage isn't done yet, as we have one more session of the world indoors to go from Doha, Qatar, featuring Washington State University hall-of-famer Bernard Lagat, who runs on Sunday morning, Seattle time.

Good night--see you Sunday!

Pixler wins fourth straight NCAA indoor mile title; WWU's Ryan Brown wins pole vault at NCAA D2 meet...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler ran to her fourth consecutive NCAA Division II indoor mile championship on Saturday afternoon at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Pixler posted a time of 4 minutes, 46.42 seconds, pulling away from Alexis Skarda of Mesa State on the fifth of the eight laps.

Pixler's fellow senior teammate Jane Larson, the runner-up in this meet last year, finished third in a time of 4:50.74.

Western Washington University's Ryan Brown (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) cleared 16-11 (5.16 meters) to win the men's pole vault.

Brown, who entered the competition as the national leader with a mark of 17-1 1/2 (5.22 meters), won on number of misses over Dan Novak of Minnesota State Mankato.

Both cleared their first height of 15-7 1/4 on the first attempt. Brown made 15-11 1/4 on his first try and Novak on his second, then both cleared on their second attempts at 16-3 1/4 and made 16-7 1/4 on their first tries. Brown then hit 16-11 on his first attempt and Novak on his second and both missed three times at 17-3.

"I came in feeling very good," said Brown. "I felt comfortable coming into it (winning vault), I got off the ground really well, and it was a good clean jump.

"I knew coming in that I had a target on my back, but the main thing I focused on was to keep my head into jumping and do as well as I could."

Brown becomes Western's 10th track and field individual national event champion and the second to accomplish that indoors. He placed 13th at nationals last year at 15-11.

The Vikings' Sarah Porter placed fourth in the women's 5,000 meters with a 17:26.05 clocking.

The women's 4x400 relay of Ellie Siler (So., Spokane/Lewis & Clark), Michelle Howe (Jr., Lakewood), Megan O'Connell (Jr., Sammamish/Skyline), and Sarah Brownell (Jr., Yelm) also finished fourth in a school-record time of 3:48.67.

Emily Warman (So., Sedro-Woolley), the defending national champion in the women's triple jump, placed 10th with a mark of 38-6 1/4 (11.74). Jordan Welling (Jr., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) finished 12th in the men's 5,000 with a clocking of 15:46.73.

Complete results from the NCAA Division II indoor track & field championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: Seattle Pacific University, Western Washington University, and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Washington's Katie Follett second in NCAA indoor mile; Oregon's Eaton sets heptathlon WR...

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas--Washington senior Katie Follett finished second in the women's mile at the NCAA indoor track & field championships at the Randal Tyson Track Complex on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Follett took the lead early, and tried to slow the pace down and make it a tactical race. However, Florida's Charlotte Browning took command of the race after the 800 mark and gradually pulled away from the field.

The senior dropped to third behind Florida State's Pilar McShine, but was able to reel her in on the final straightaway, and clock 4:36.39, behind Browning's 4:35.66. McShine's bronze medal winning time was 4:37.20, just ahead of Pac-10 rival and Oregon freshman Jordan Hasay, who ran 4:38.29.

Hasay's teammate Anne Kesselring finished sixth in 4:40.39.

The big buzz at the NCAA championships was Oregon senior Ashton Eaton (left/photo by Paul Merca), who broke the world record in the heptathlon, scoring 6499 points to eclipse fellow Oregon native Dan O'Brien's world record score of 6476, set at the 1993 IAAF world indoor championships in Toronto.

Eaton entered day two of the two-day heptathlon competition with a score of 3561, but opened with a facility record time of 7.77 in the 60 hurdles, worth 1040 points.

In the pole vault, he jumped 16-8 3/4 (5.10m), worth 941 points, and slightly below his personal best of 17-3 (5.26m).

Going into the final event, Eaton needed to run the 1000 meters in 2:34.58, almost 4 seconds under his personal best of 2:38.02.

And run he did.

Eaton set the record in dramatic fashion, running a personal-best of 2 minutes, 32.67 seconds in the 1,000 meters to finish with a total of 6,499 points in the heptathlon. Eaton's total broke the previous mark of 6,476 points, set on the same weekend in 1993 by Dan O'Brien.

Eaton's record-setting performance came much to the delight of the crowd at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which became increasingly charged as the track announcer repeatedly updated the Oregon senior's status. He was on pace from the get-go, staying easily within the 31-second per-lap pace outlined by coaches before the race.

That was for the first three laps.

"Then the last 400 is the last 400. It's go," Eaton said with a smile. "I heard 1:32, right on pace, and I was like, 'Alright.'"

Eaton let loose with a short celebratory yell as a television camera closed in on him a few meters after the finish line, but was calm and composed - at least outwardly - as he answered questions from a pack of reporters after posing for a picture in front of a scoreboard displaying his world-record mark. When pressed to express what he was feeling, though, Eaton conceded some post-race butterflies.

"I feel nervous, I guess," he said with a laugh.

Afterwards, the new record holder was asked how he felt, to which he replied, "I don't know. I've never had one before."

In the men's high jump, Washington State senior Trent Arrivey finished a disappointing 13th, jumping 7-0 1/4 (2.14m).

Arizona sophomore Abdi Hassan, formerly from Nathan Hale HS, finished tenth in the men's mile, running 4:05.36.

Washington's Mel Lawrence finished out of the top eight, finishing ninth in the women's 3000 meters, running 9:14.53.

Complete results from the NCAA Division I indoor track & field championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: The NCAA contributed to this report.

Ginnie Powell finishes fifth in world indoor championships...

DOHA, Qatar--Seattle native and Rainier Beach High School graduate Ginnie Powell (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fifth in the finals of the women's 60 meter hurdles Saturday afternoon at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Aspire Dome.

Positioned in lane 1, Powell, the reigning USA national champion ran 7.97 to finish fifth. Powell started strongly, as she had the fastest reaction time off the blocks.

American teammate Lolo Jones successfully defended her world indoor title, taking advantage of a great start, in a championship record time of 7.72. Canadians Perdita Felicien (7.86) and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (7.87) took second and third.

Complete results of the women's 60 hurdles are posted here.


For more information on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, please visit www.iaaf.org.

Ginnie Powell moves to finals at IAAF World Indoors...

DOHA, Qatar--Rainier Beach High School and University of Southern California graduate Ginnie Powell qualified for the finals in the women's 60 meter hurdles this afternoon.

Powell placed fourth in her semi-final at the Aspire Dome, running 7.99, in what turned out to be the faster of the two heats.

Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, formerly from the University of Nebraska, and a collegiate rival of Powell, won the semi final race in a time of 7.91.

The finals of the women's 60 hurdles will be contested at 6:25 pm in Doha (7:25 am in Seattle). The results are posted here.

NOTE: Finish line photo courtesy Seiko/IAAF.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jessica Pixler's legendary status at Seattle Pacific continues to grow...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--The legend of Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) continues to grow.

Pixler, who could potentially be one of the top American collegiate distance runners to draw looks from agents and shoe companies come the end of May, came from third place at the start of the 1,600-meter anchor leg and passed Shippensburg’s Neely Spence with about 30 meters left as the Falcons won the 4,000-meter distance medley relay at the NCAA Division II indoor track championships.

The all Washington-bred Falcon team of senior Jane Larson (Fall City, Wash./Cedar Park Christian HS), junior Jennifer Pike (Vancouver, Wash./Skyview HS), senior Lisa Anderberg (Edmonds, Wash./Kamiak HS) and Pixler (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake HS) won in a season-best, school record and Great Northwest Athletic Conference record time of 11 minutes, 29.88 seconds.

Shippensburg wound up second in 11:31.29.

“(Assistant coach) Erika Daligcon and I are unbelievable proud of this foursome,” SPU head coach Karl Lerum said. “It’s just huge to have three seniors get to come together one more time and get to go out together as national champions.”

This was the first time this particular unit had run together. Pixler, Larson and Anderberg were part of the team that posted an 11:32.23 at the UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 16 to earn an automatic ticket to the Albuquerque Convention Center for nationals.

Larson, leading off with the 1,200-meter leg, had the Falcons in second place behind Shippensburg with her time of 3:33.93. Pike took the baton for the 400-meter leg, clocked a 59.21 to keep the Falcons in second behind Shippensburg and just in front of Adams State. Then Anderberg ran her 800-meter leg in 2:15.39.

When Pixler took off for the final 1,600 meters, she was in third, 3.81 seconds behind Shippensburg anchor runner Neely Spence, who was her primary cross country challenger in the 2008 nationals on Spence’s home course in Pennsylvania. Adams State anchor Alicia Nelson was second, 43 hundredths of a second in front of Pixler.

Pixler caught up and passed Nelson. Then, she passed Spence with about 150 meters to go, saw Spence edge back in front briefly, then Pixler went ahead for good with about 30 meters to go. Pixler’s time was 4:41.36, five seconds faster than Spence’s 4:46.60.

Western Washington's squad of Courtney Olsen (Sr., Bellingham/Squalicum), Megan O'Connell (Jr., Sammamish/Skyline) and Rachael Johnson (Jr., Yakima/West Valley) and Sarah Porter (Jr., Hockinson) gained All-America status with a seventh place finish in the DMR, clocking 12:02.32.

The Vikings' Emily Warman (So., Sedro-Woolley) placed 11th in the women's long jump with a mark of 18-2 1/2 (5.55), and Anthony Tomsich (Sr., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) finished sixth in his heat of the men's mile with a time of 4:18.69 and did not advance to the final.

Pixler, the three-time defending champion in the mile, won her heat of that event on Friday in 5:04.07, clearly easing off the pedal in an event she is highly favored to win. That makes her the seventh seed for Saturday’s finals. Larson finished second in her preliminary heat in 4:58.33 and will be the second seed behind Alexis Skarda of Mesa State, who had the day’s top time of 4:58.07.

SPU senior Kate Harline finished 13th in the mile with a time of 5:14.52, and failed to advance to Saturday's final.

Eight WWU athletes, led by defending NCAA D2 triple jump champ Emily Warman, will go into action Saturday, while Pixler and Larson are the remaining Falcons in the meet, with both running in the mile, where Pixler looks to add national title number four in that event.

Complete results from the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: Seattle Pacific University, Western Washington University and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Scott Roth wins NCAA Indoor pole vault title...

Husky junior Scott Roth (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) vaulted his way into the history books Friday as he claimed the NCAA indoor pole vault title at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Arkansas.

Roth is the first individual track and field champion for the Huskies since 2007 and the third NCAA champ in the pole vault for UW assistant coach Pat Licari.

The runner-up at the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet, Roth had to out-jump the man who beat him for the outdoor title, Jason Colwick of Rice. The two came in ranked first and second, and the expected showdown eventually developed. Colwick passed all the way up to 18-0 1/2, while Roth came in at 17-6 1/2 and cleared that on his second attempt. Roth then passed up to 18-0 1/2 which he cleared on his first try and the rest of the competitors dropped away.

Roth chose to jump next at 18-feet, 4.25-inches, and after two misses, he came through with the clutch final attempt clearance that would ultimately prove decisive. Colwick would miss at 18-8 ¼ and Roth celebrated the win. With the victory in hand, Roth took one shot at 19-1 which would have been the Pac-10 record.

"It just feels so great knowing that all my hard work has paid off," said Roth. "Jason and I were going back and forth. He would pass a height so I would jump at it and then he would jump at one so I'd pass it and that's just the way things work when two guys are really close. It's a game of strategy knowing which ones you should jump at an which you should pass."

In regards to that critical third-attempt clearance, Roth said, "I was a little nervous but I felt so good on the first two that I was pretty confident on that third one. I went down and cleared it and that ended up being the bar that won the meet."

Senior Katie Follett started the day well for the Huskies by winning the first of two preliminary heats in the women's mile run. Follett led throughout much of the race, and wound up coasting to the finish in 4:41.84. Her time wound up being the fastest of the day. The ten remaining women will shoot for the NCAA title Saturday afternoon at 4:25 p.m. Pacific time.

Junior Colton Tully-Doyle, a San Diego native competing at his first NCAA Track Championships, hung in well against a phenomenal field in the men's 5,000-meter run. He placed 12th overall in a time of 14:07.50.

Washington State University freshman Holly Parent finished in a three-way tie for 12th place in the women's high jump.

Parent, from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, cleared 5-feet, 10 inches (1.78m) on her third attempt and did not clear the next height of 5-11 1/4 (1.81m) after three attempts. She cleared the opening height of 5-7 (1.70m) which was the highest opening bar for Parent this season, and cleared the second height of 5-8 3/4 (1.75m), both on her first attempts. Parent's lifetime-best indoor high jump is 5-11 1/2 (1.82m), which is sixth-best in WSU's all-time records and was the 13th-best high jump in Div. I coming into the NCAA meet.

Arizona senior Elizabeth Patterson won the high jump event after clearing a height of 6-4 (1.93m).

"Overall, I'm disappointed with my performance today," Parent said after the competition. "I feel I am capable of much better jumping than I did today. I am pleased I was able to clear the first two bars clean and I feel that I jumped well. My performance was average for me this season. I guess when I look at my competition from a results standpoint, I would like to have cleared 5-11 1/4 (1.81m) but I finished better than I was ranked. That's all I can ask for."

In the women's 5000, former Eastern Washington standout Mattie Bridgemon, now competing for the University of Oregon, finished 15th in 16:51.48. Eastern Washington senior Nicole Luckenbach finished 14th in the women's weight throw with a mark of 60-6.75 (18.46m).

Nathan Hale HS standout Abdi Hassan, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, qualified for the finals in the men's mile, running 4:03.11. Stanford's Jake Riley from Bellingham finished tenth in the men's 5000, running 13:59.85.

In Saturday's competition, three-time All-American Trent Arrivey competes in the men's high jump for WSU, while Washington will run Follett in the finals of the mile, and Mel Lawrence in the 3000, while Hassan will run in the men's mile finals.

Complete day 1 results from the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Scott Roth of Washington & Seattle Pacific's distance medley win national titles...

Washington's Scott Roth cleared 18-8 1/4 to win the NCAA Division I pole vault crown in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Meanwhile, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler, mired in third place when she received the baton, made up the deficit to lead the Falcons to an improbable victory in the women's distance medley relay in a new school record time of 11:29.88, as she caught Shippensburg's Neely Spence on the anchor leg.

Full details will be posted in our NCAA recap later on this evening.

Bernard Lagat advances to finals of 3000m with heat victory...

DOHA, Qatar--Washington State University graduate and two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his heat of the men's 3000 meter run this afternoon to advance to Sunday's finals at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Aspire Dome.

Lagat ran 7:59.99 ahead of defending champion Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia (8:00.29). Kenya's Sammy Mutahi (8:00.53) and Spain's Jesus Espana (8:00.65) also qualified for the final, taking the third and fourth automatic places.

Oregon grad and 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp earned the fifth spot, running 8:00.90 to advance.

Afterwards, Lagat told the IAAF, "The race did not go as I wanted to. It should be either fast or smooth. But in this race there was a lot of surging in this race. You need a rhythm to go on. It was little bit different today but I felt confident. I was able to keep the speed. I wanted to win this race just to say: Hey, I am here, I am coming up."

In contrast to Lagat's victory in semifinal #2, Kenya's Augustine Choge created his own slice of history by recording the fastest ever winning time in a 3000m heat, winning heat 1, and stopping the clock in an impressive 7:43.80.

In the women's 60 meter hurdles, Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Powell won her heat in 8.07, and advances to Saturday's semifinals. If successful, Powell will advance to the finals Saturday night.

After her heat Friday, Powell told USA Track & Field, "It was alright. I would have liked a faster time. I didn't have the best start because the gun is faint and it was echoing. The track is good though, it feels light and bouncy."

Sunday's finals will be held at 5:00 pm in Doha (6:00 am in Seattle), and will be shown live online at universalsports.com.

For more information on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, please visit www.iaaf.org.

NOTE: The IAAF media relations department contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Defending undercover champs Pixler & Warman lead SPU & Western to NCAA D2 Indoor Championships...

Seattle Pacific and Western Washington head to this weekend's NCAA Division II indoor track & field championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, led by defending champions Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) and Emily Warman.

Pixler, the defending champion in the mile, is seeded first in her event with a season best of 4:32.88, set at the Husky Classic last month. Senior teammate Jane Larson is seeded third in the mile at 4:48.75, while another senior, Kate Harline is seeded 13th at 4:58.49.

The Falcons' distance medley relay squad of seniors Lisa Anderberg, Larson, Pixler, and juniors Chrystal Sims and Jenifer Pike is seeded second behind Shippensburg of Pennsylvania.

Western Washington's defending sophomore triple jump champion Emily Warman is seeded fifth entering the national championships at 39-11.5/12.18m, and 12th in the long jump at 18-9.75/5.73m.

Junior Sarah Porter is seeded third in the women's 5000 at 16:47.07, while their 4 x 400 meter relay squad of sophomore Ellie Siler, and juniors Megan O'Connell, Michelle Howe and Sarah Brownell are seeded ninth at 3:51.20.

The Vikings' distance medley relay team of senior Courtney Olsen, junior Rachael Johnson, O'Connell & Porter are seeded fifth at 11:47.17.

The Western men's team will have senior miler Anthony Tomsich who is seeded eighth at 4:0746, junior Jordan Welling in the 5000 who is seeded ninth at 14:21.03, and top seeded junior pole vaulter Ryan Brown, who has a best mark of 17-1 3/4 (5.23m).

The complete list of women's accepted entries for the NCAA Division II championships can be accessed here. Accepted men's entries can be accessed here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NCAA Division I indoor track & field entries announced...

The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the participants for the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships

Washington State will send high jumpers Trent Arrivey and Holly Parent to this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday & Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Arrivey, a senior from Woodinville, has been among the leaders in his event this season, hitting an automatic qualifier and personal best of 7-4 1/4 (2.24m) at the Cougar Indoor Invitational in mid-January in Pullman.

Parent, a freshman from Victoria, BC, enters the NCAA championships ranked #13 with a season best of 5-11 1/2 (1.82m), set at the Husky Classic in Seattle on February 13th.

Eastern Washington sends senior Nicole Luckenbach, the Big Sky champion in the 20-pound weight throw to Fayetteville.

At the Big Sky,Luckenbach had a career-best mark of 65-9 (20.04m) to win the weight throw and set a new meet record. She broke the mark of 62-6 set by Northern Arizona's Anna Soderburg in 1996. Luckenbach's mark also broke her own school record that she set earlier this season.

The Huskies will be sending juniors Scott Roth and Colton Tully-Doyle on the men's side, and senior Katie Follett and sophomore Mel Lawrence on the women's side.

Roth is the No. 1-ranked vaulter in the NCAA and has the top clearance by an American this year at 18-9 ¼ (5.72m). Roth will be trying to dethrone defending NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Champion Jason Colwick of Rice who has the second-best mark.

Tully-Doyle has been the biggest surprise for UW this track season, running a school-record 13:48.86 in the 5,000-meters two weeks ago at the MPSF Championships to go with a 7:56.68 time in the 3000 that ranks second in school history. Tully-Doyle finds himself ranked eighth in the 5000 going to his first nationals.

Follett goes to her third and final NCAA Indoor Championships, and is ranked second nationally in the mile run with her school-record time of 4:34.98. Last year she placed fifth in the 3,000-meters and also ran on the distance medley relay.

Lawrence was the final addition to the NCAA field for UW, as she hit the AQ at the UW Final Qualifier Saturday, running 9:08.74 for 3,000-meters, a time that ranks her fifth among 3000m competitors in Fayetteville. Lawrence was 12th at 3,000-meters a year ago.

Former Nathan Hale HS standout Abdi Hassan, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, is entered in the mile, where he is ranked fifth entering the national championships, with a mark of 3:58.50.

Stanford's Jake Riley, a junior out of Bellingham, is entered in the men's 5000, where he's ranked #15 with a time of 13:52.87.

Former Eastern Washington University standout Mattie Bridgmon, who is a fifth year senior at Oregon, is entered in the women's 5000, where she's ranked #10 with a time of 16:02.48.

ESPN360.com will stream portions of the championships live beginning at 8 p.m. Central time, Friday, March 12, and 6:10 p.m. Central time, Saturday, March 13.

The complete list of men's entrants are listed here
, and the complete women's entries are listed here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

World Indoor Championships to be streamed on Universal Sports...

Just a quick reminder to the readership, particularly those who wish to watch the IAAF World Indoor Championships this weekend from Doha, Qatar, that the meet will be streamed live on universalsports.com.

Show times on universalsports.com are:

--Friday, March 12: 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET

--Saturday, March 13: 6:45 - 11:15 a.m. ET

--Sunday, March 14: 8:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET

The meet will also be shown in a one-hour highlight package on Friday on Universal Sports TV (channel 115 on Seattle area Comcast) starting at 4 pm, pacific/7 pm eastern, and on a two-hour highlight show Saturday & Sunday, also starting at 4 pm, pacific/pm eastern.

For more information on Universal Sports' coverage of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, please click the meet's home page, which can be accessed here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Diana Pickler wins third USA Indoor Combined Events national title...

Former Washington State University standout Diana Pickler (left/photo by Paul Merca) won her third straight USA indoor pentathlon title Saturday as day one of the USA Indoor Combined Events Championships concluded at the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.

The reigning U.S. women's heptathlon champion, Pickler had little difficulty in winning her third consecutive USA Indoor Pentathlon crown, making her the first ever to win that many titles in this event.

Pickler began the five-event competition with a win in the 60m hurdles in 8.31 seconds (1,059 points). Bettie Wade won the next two events, the long jump (1.85 meters/6 feet .75 inch - 1,041 points) and shot put (13.67m/44-10.25 - 772 points), before Pickler bounced back with a win in the long jump with a best effort of 6.28m/20-7.25 - 937 points.

2008 Olympic Games high jumper Sharon Day, who finished as the runner-up to Pickler at this event last year, capped off the competition with a win in the 800m in 2 minutes 14.63 seconds - 898 points, with Pickler finishing as the runner-up in 2:15.33 - 888 points.

Pickler's winning five-event tally of 4,544 points easily bettered her previous personal best of 4,442 points. Wade finished as the runner-up with a personal best total of 4,469 points, with Day finishing third with 4,467 points, also a career best.

The 2003 World decathlon champion and two-time winner of this event (2000 & 2002) Tom Pappas leads the men's heptathlon competition with three events to be contested on Sunday. Pappas' win in the shot put (15.90 meters/52 feet 2 inches - 845 points) propelled him into the lead with 3,327 points.

For former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph, the day ended in disaster in the men's high jump, as he no heighted and failed to score.

In the three events that he completed, he ran 7.41 in the 60 hurdles, long jumped 6.53 meters (21-5 1/4), and threw the shot 13.42 meters (44-0 1/2).

According to multi-events guru Frank Zarnowski's excellent newsletter, which you can download here, Randolph tweaked his right leg early in the competition before falling victim to the dreaded no-height and zero points in the high jump.

For more information on the USA Indoor Combined Events Championships, please click here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Minnesota's Ben Blankenship wins mile at UW Final Qualifier...

The University of Minnesota's Big 10 champion Ben Blankenship (left/photo courtesy University of Minnesota) won a thrilling mile run at the UW Final Qualifier meet Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor to earn himself an automatic qualifying mark for next week's NCAA championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Blankenship was content to let Galen Rupp, who was using this race as a tuneup for next week's IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar do most of the work, along with a designated pace setter from the Oregon Track Club Elite.

Once the OTC Elite pace setter dropped out at the 1200 mark, Rupp took command, but was slightly surprised to see Blankenship, along with former Oregon teammate AJ Acosta, and former University of Washington school record holder Eric Garner still with him with 200 to go.

In fact, Garner took the lead, but lost it as the runners entered the final straight, at which time Blankenship charged from the outside to take the victory in a time of 3:57.87, under the NCAA auto qualifying time of 3:59.00.

Acosta, who broke four minutes for the first time at this last chance meet two years ago, also got under the NCAA auto qualifier with a time of 3:58.08. Rupp finished third at 3:58.79, while Garner hung on to finish fourth in 3:59.32, to break four minutes for the first time since graduating from the UW.

Here's the video of the race, courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com:



Other highlights of the UW last chance meet included an automatic qualifying mark of 9:08.74, just off of her personal best and UW school record in the 3000 meter run by Mel Lawrence, with teammate Kendra Schaaf third in a time of 9:20.53, a provisional qualifying time.

Washington State's Lisa Egami finished fifth in the race in a time of 9:27.45, setting a WSU indoor school record.

Rupp finished his day by winning the 800 meter run in 1:50.64.

Perhaps the most bizarre finish to a successful series of meets at the Dempsey occurred in the men's pole vault.

As the competition drew to a close, Brian Porter of Texas Tech, Michael Arnold of Idaho State, Jeremy Klas, Brandon Estrada of USC, and Casey DiCesare of UCLA all thought they were jumping at 5.43 meters/17-9 3/4.

All but Estrada missed their three attempts at that height. However, the bar was remeasured, and it was revealed that all competitors were actually jumping at 5.50 meters/18-0.5, the NCAA automatic qualifying standard, instead of the announced height of 17-9 3/4.

After discussion between the officials and the meet referee, Porter, Arnold, Klas & DiCesare all received three attempts at 17-9 3/4, which none cleared.

The bottom line? Estrada got the victory and an NCAA auto qualifying mark of 18-0 1/2 for next week's NCAA championships!

Complete results from the UW Final Qualifier can be accessed here.

Finally in Ames, Iowa, the Washington State men's 4x400m relay squad of freshman Greg Hornsby, junior Jeshua Anderson, senior Reny Follett and sophomore Joe Abbottdid not finish their heat at the Iowa State NCAA Qualifier in Ames, Iowa, after Anderson pulled up with a hamstring injury. This WSU squad ran an NCAA PQ time of 3:09.35 at the MPSF Championships last weekend in Seattle, but was trying to better the 24th position in the national standings to score an invite.

UW's Lindsay Flanagan finishes sixth in NACAC Cross Country Championships...

University of Washington freshman Lindsay Flanagan (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished sixth in the junior women's (19-under) NACAC Cross Country Championships Saturday at the Mt. Irvine Golf Course on the island of Tobago.

Flanagan, who finished ninth at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships in Spokane three weeks earlier, clocked 14:08 over the four-kilometer course.

Canada's Genevieve Lalonde won the NACAC title with a time of 13:50, with Team USA's Madeline Morgan second at 13:53.

Canada's Caroline Pfister (13:56) and Chelsea Graham (14:00) finished third and fourth, and combined with teammate Ciara Kary's eighth place finish (14:30), led the Canadians to repeat as NACAC team champions with a low score of 16 points, as opposed to the Americans' 24 points.

Jamaica finished third in the NACAC team race with a score of 56 points.

Afterwards, Flanagan said, "It was a pretty tough course, with lots of rocks and lots of hills. The weather was tough to overcome, as it was 95 degrees but felt like 100. It was a really great experience though and am so happy to have made the trip"

Complete results from the NACAC Cross Country Championships can be accessed here...

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's Galen Rupp doing at the UW Last Chance meet?

While perusing the start lists for Saturday's UW Last Chance Qualifier meet, the name that jumped out was one Galen Rupp (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is entered in the mile and the 800.

Normally, I wouldn't question it, except that the majority of Team USA's World Indoor Championship squad, including 3000 meter champion and Washington State University hall-of-famer Bernard Lagat left for Doha, Qatar on Thursday.

Rupp, the 2009 Bowerman Award winner, 2008 Olympian, and two-time world championships competitor out of the University of Oregon, finished second to Lagat at last week's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In fact, according to tweets posted by among others, Sara Hall, Kerron Clement, Allyson Felix, and Lagat, the majority of them assembled in Washington, DC on Thursday for the flight to Qatar.

According to Ken Goe of the Oregonian, Rupp will indeed run both the 800 and mile Saturday, then leave for Amsterdam on Sunday, where he'll train for a few days before heading to Qatar.

Rupp is following a similar pattern that he did in late January when he ran both the mile and the 3000 at the UW Invitational (3:56.22/7:51.48) before heading to Boston to face Lagat at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games 5000, where he pushed Lagat to an American record 13:11.50, and broke his own indoor personal best and former American record, clocking 13:14.21.

Meanwhile, some events and athletes to watch Saturday include:

--men's 800. Besides Rupp, look for the top two finishers in the WAC conference meet, James Allred from Utah State & Josh Dalton from Idaho;

--women's mile. Emma Coburn, fifth in the Big 12 meet from Colorado, Shannon Murakami from UCLA, and Ashley Miller from Nebraska;

--men's mile. Rupp, along with Oregon's Scott Wall & AJ Acosta, Minnesota's Ben Blankenship the Big 10 champ, Summit League champ Cameron Levins, who broke 4 for the first time last month at the UW Invite;

--women's 3000 featuring Washington All-Americans Mel Lawrence & Kendra Schaaf; Summit League champ Sharla Manuele from Southern Utah, Tara Erdmann from Loyola Marymount, a NCAA track & cross country participant;

--men's 3000 with Wall from Oregon, MPSF scorer Alex Crabill from Tacoma, who attends UCLA, and the University of Portland trio of Alfred Kipchumba, Tommy Betterbed from Gig Harbor, and USA junior cross country champ Trevor Dunbar (Dunbar's redshirting indoors, but he's entered as an unattached athlete);

--women's high jump featuring Washington's Kelly McNamee against former Oregon standout Kalindra McFadden & WSU freshman Holly Parent, who was third in the MPSF meet;

--women's pole vault with three placers from last week's MPSF meet: Tori Pena (2d) from UCLA and her teammate Katy Viuf (t3rd), and Oregon's Jordan Roskelley; Olympic Trials participant Tori Anthony from UCLA; WAC champ K.C. Dahlgren from Idaho; and former NCAA participant Brooke Demo from Wichita State; and,

--men's pole vault featuring Pac-10 scorer Ryan Vu from UW; the top two finishers in the Mountain West indoor meet, Nick Frawley and Chase Cooper from Air Force; the Big Sky champ Michael Arnold from Idaho State; MPSF scorers Casey Roche from Stanford (3rd), Johnny Quinn (2nd) and Casey DiCesare from UCLA; and USC's NCAA participant Brandon Estrada (who is the son of CHIPS star Erik Estrada);

--and, women's weight throw, with Nicole Luckenbach, the Big Sky champ from Eastern Washington.

Many of the athletes named are on the cusp of securing their spots for next week's NCAA championships in Fayetteville, and are looking to improve their marks and positioning for the announcement early next week on who gets to go to nationals.

Action at the Dempsey gets underway at 11 am.

NOTE: WSU grad Diana Pickler is the leading contender as most of America's top multi-eventers assemble this weekend in Bloomington, Indiana for the USA Indoor Combined Events Championships.

Pickler, a two time indoor national champ in the pentathlon, looks to win her third title, and will face Olympian Sharon Day.

In the men's heptathlon, former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph is among the entries.

You can read the USA Track & Field release here...

Schaaf, Lawrence & Rupp highlight distance races at UW Final Qualifier, plus Pre Classic update...

College track & field's version of "March Madness" happens this weekend at seven sites around the country, including the Dempsey Indoor at the University of Washington, as athletes shoot to improve their overall rankings and assure themselves positions for next week's NCAA indoor track & field championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The distance races will be the highlight of the UW Final Qualifier meet, with strong fields in the women's 3000 and men's mile runs, led by the Washington duo of Mel Lawrence (left/photo by Mike Scott) and Kendra Schaaf, and by USA 3000m runner-up Galen Rupp of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Portland, who is tuning up for next week's world indoor championships in Doha, Qatar.

Several members of Oregon State's newly formed track & field team are entered, including running back Jacquizz Rodgers.

Here's a link to the UW's release about the Final Qualifier meet, and the start list for Saturday's action, which gets underway at 11 am.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Track Club announced that sprinters Sanya Richards-Ross and Tyson Gay, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, along with distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, will compete in the 36th annual Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on July 3rd.

These Fabulous Four are Ambassadors of the inaugural IAAF Diamond League circuit that kicks off in Doha, Qatar on May 14th and arrives in Eugene the first weekend in July.

Here's the link to the full release..
.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

UW's Lindsay Flanagan off to Tobago to compete in NACAC Cross Country Championships...

Team USA will compete against nine national federations this Saturday, March 6, at the sixth annual North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships at the Mt. Irvine Resort in Tobago.

The NACAC Championships will contest races for the open men's 8 km, open women's 6 km, junior men's 6 km and junior women's 4 km. In addition to Team USA, teams from Canada, Jamaica and Puerto Rico will be among those competing for team titles at the 2010 NACAC Championships.

The open women's 6 km squad will be led by 2009 USA Cross Country champion Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.), Emily Harrison (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Delilah DiCrescenzo (New York, N.Y.), Erin Nehus (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Alissa McKaig (Blowing Rock, N.C.).

Team USA's squad for the junior women's 4 km will be Kayla Hale (Indialantic, Fla.), Madeline Morgan (Birmingham, Ala.), Lindsay Flanagan from the University of Washington (photo courtesy USA Track & Field), Audrey Huth (Shelby Township, Mich.), and Kyle Blakeslee (Cannon Falls, Minn.).

The men's junior team will be led by USA Junior Cross Country Championships runner-up and World Cross Country squad member Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.) who will be joined by Erik Olson (Novato, Calif.), Jonathan Nelson (Provo, Utah), Taylor Monaghan (Tulsa, Okla.) and Jeffery Arnier (Arlington, Texas).

The Team USA Senior men's 8 km squad will be led by World Cross Country team member Bobby Mack (Raleigh, N.C.), Max King (Bend, Ore.), Stephen Furst (Raleigh, N.C.), Thomas Kloos (San Francisco, Calif.) and Michael Spence (Ogden, Utah).

NOTE: Jim Estes of USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend roundup: Nicole Luckenbach wins Big Sky weight throw title...

Senior Nicole Luckenbach (left/photo courtesy Eastern Washington University) set a new meet record en route to winning the weight throw title as the Eastern Washington University track and field team concluded the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships Saturday (Feb. 27) in Bozeman, Montana.

In team scoring, the EWU men were fifth with 77.16 points, while the women were sixth with 58 points. Northern Arizona won the men's title with 132 points and Sacramento State won the women's title with 167 1/2 points.

Luckenbach had a career-best mark of 65-9 to win the weight throw and set a new meet record. She broke the mark of 62-6 set by Northern Arizona's Anna Soderburg in 1996. Luckenbach's mark also broke her own school record that she set earlier this season with a throw of 61-11 3/4 to meet the NCAA provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA Championships.

Complete results from the Big Sky Conference meet can be accessed here.

Eastern Washington's release can be read here…

In Vermillion, South Dakota, the Seattle University women's track and field team finished sixth at the Great West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, but a couple of mistakes cost the men's team as it finished in eighth place Saturday at the DakotaDome.

The team of Meeghan Bergmann, Clare Obradovich , Elena Collins and Rachel Purcell finished fifth in the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:03.56, breaking the old mark of 4:04.11 set at the 2009 UW Invitational. The women finished sixth overall with 14.5 points, with South Dakota earning the conference championship over Utah Valley.

On the men's side, Zach Stanfield was SeattleU's top placer, as he finished third in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.31 seconds and sixth in the 60 meter dash in 7.04 seconds.

Complete results from the Great West Conference championships can be accessed here.

SeattleU's release can be read here.


One result omitted from our report on the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships had Jake Shanklin, a Ellensburg native and former Spokane Falls CC thrower, finishing ninth in the weight throw with a mark of 69-2.5/21.09m (thanks to sharp eyed reader Martin Bingisser!).

Former Washington State University high jumper Ebba Jungmark finished second in the Swedish indoor national championships with a mark of 6-1.25/1.86m.

Finally, here's a link to results from the SPU Last Chance meet held Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor and their press release, following the conclusion of the MPSF Championships.

NOTE: The sports information offices at Eastern Washington University, Seattle Pacific, and Seattle University contributed to this report.

Blog Archive