Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aretha Thurmond finishes fourth in discus to close out USA Outdoor Championships...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Three time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca), a University of Washington graduate, finished fourth in the discus as the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships concluded its five-day run at Drake Stadium.

Thurmond spun the platter 195-5 (59.57m) on her third attempt of the competition, as former University of Nebraska standout Becky Breisch won her second national title with a mark of 207-10 (63.34m).

Ryan Brown, a Washington graduate and 2009 world championships team member, finished a disappointing eighth place in the finals of the mens' 800 meter run, clocking 1:54.63, as Nick Symmonds of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Eugene won yet another national title, powering through in 1:45.98.

Another former Husky, Norris Frederick, never got his steps together, as he finished 18th with a mark of 18-5 (5.61m), sandwiched between two fouls.

In his final meet representing Washington State University, NCAA finalist Trent Arrivey of Woodinville failed to clear the opening height of 7-0.25 (2.15m).

With 2010 being a non Olympic/World Championships year, many of America's top track & field talents, including 2007 world pole vault champ Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace, chose not to compete in Des Moines.

Complete results from the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be obtained here.

COUGAR FRESHMAN FERMIN ADVANCES TO WORLD JUNIORS

Washington State freshman Shawna Fermin earned a trip to the World Junior Championships next month after her runner-up finish in the Girls Under 20 400m dash at the NAAA/Sagicor Track & Field Championships in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Saturday.

Fermin, from Victorville, Calif., ran the 400m in a personal-record time of 54.41 seconds. Fermin will now compete at the 13th Annual IAAF World Junior Championships, July 19-25, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jeshua Anderson gets fifth in 400h at USA nationals; Ginnie Powell Crawford fourth in 100 hurdles...

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Washington State's Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished fifth in the men's 400m hurdles final Saturday at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Anderson, a junior from Woodland Hills, Calif., ran a time of 49.14 seconds. Bershawn Jackson (Nike) won the final with a time of 47.32, while collegiate rival Johnny Dutch (South Carolina), who thwarted Anderson's three-peat bid at the NCAA championships in Eugene two weeks ago, placed second with a personal-record time of 47.63.

Michael Tinsley (adidas) was third in 48.72 and Justin Gaymon (Nike) was fourth in a time of 48.85.

In other action at the USA nationals, former Rainier Beach HS standout and national champion Ginnie Powell Crawford finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles in 12.90, as hometown favorite Lolo Jones took the victory in 12.69.

Recent Washington state 3A champ Michael Berry from Rainier Beach HS finished fourth in the junior men's 400, running a personal best 46.39. Berry, competing for Seatown Express, will most likely be on Team USA's pool in the 4 x 400 meter relay for next month's IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships in Moncton, Canada.

In the final day of competition at the national championships, Washington State senior Trent Arrivey will compete in the men's high jump. A trio of Washington alums--Aretha Thurmond (discus), Norris Frederick (long jump), and Ryan Brown (800 meters) will also be in action at Drake Stadium.

Sunday, the coverage will be on ESPN from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific and from noon to 1 p.m. on NBC.

Streaming video of the USA Championships will also be available via our media partner RunnerSpace.com for races that are not on the television schedule.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vancouver's Kara Patterson sets American record in javelin at USA Championships...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Third straight national title. Check.

Drake Stadium record. Check

Four throws over 200 feet in the series. Check.

American record. Check.

$25000 bonus check from Asics for American record. Please and thank you very much!

Those were the thoughts Vancouver native Kara Patterson (left/photo by Mike Scott) must have had as the Skyview High School alum accomplished all those feats Friday night in setting a new American record in the javelin of 218-9 (66.67m) at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Nearly a month's worth of frustration built up from not getting any meets to compete in, along with minor problems with her right shoulder and left Achilles tendon cumulated as Patterson won the meet on her first attempt, throwing 195-7 (59.62m), then strung together four throws of over 200 feet, climaxing with her American record on the sixth and final attempt of the competition.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is her throw:



Afterwards, a beaming Patterson told reporters, "I'm really happy. It's my best series ever. Four throws over 200 feet is pretty exciting and this whole season has been a lot about consistency because I'm really focused on always being able to throw that A standard and know that I can make a final at world championships and Olympics. So I'm very happy with how I did today."

Asked about throwing into a headwind, she said, "I don't know, as javelin throwers you always have to be conscious that a head wind means you have to keep the tip down a little and throw straight into it. For women's javelin, that can really help you. I mean Hayward always has a little head wind and last year for USA's, it was kind of the same thing. It was a screaming head wind and if you hit it just right, then it kind of takes it and lifts it up. I was told the wind died down a little bit as I started my approach on my sixth throw, so maybe that helped me out. I'm not really sure."

On her American record throw, the 2008 US Olympian said, "Well I've never had the clap start for me in a competition - like what happens in the long jump. And Karlee McQuillen of Penn State got the girls started and then the crowd got into it and I threw the American record. So the little extra energy, I guess, was good."

Northwest fans will get to see Patterson compete in next week's Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, as well as the Harry Jerome Track Classic on July 5th in Burnaby, British Columbia.

If you wondered what she did in the hours leading up to her American record, you can read her blog post here...

JAVELIN GOOD FOR WASHINGTONIANS

For Washington athletes competing in Des Moines, the javelin runway provided yet another winner, as University of Washington freshman Joe Zimmerman punched his ticket to Moncton, Canada for the IAAF World Junior Championships next month, as he dominated the field, emerging victorious with a personal best toss of 238-4 (72.65m).

"I've always been at nationals, but just never did good enough (to make the World Championships)," said Zimmerman, who finished fourth in the NCAA championships two weeks ago, and was the top freshman. "All year, I focused on nationals, and once that's over, it's all I can think about."

Finishing second behind Zimmerman, and earning a spot on Team USA was Tahoma High School graduate and 2010 Washington state Gatorade High School track & field athlete of the year Derek Eager, representing the Seatown Express Track Club run by former NFL star Eric Metcalf.

Eager, who will attend UCLA this fall, threw 230-5 (70.24m) to ace out Sam Crouser of Gresham HS in Oregon. Crouser, the national junior record holder in the event at 255-4, only threw 228-4.

DAY 3 SENIOR RECAP

Another day and another win was collected by Washington State grad Bernard Lagat, as the reigning world indoor champ at 3000 won the men's 5000 meter run in a modest 13:54.08.

Marysville-Pilchuck graduate Jarred Rome finished third in the discus with a mark of 200-3 (61.03m). WSU grad Ian Waltz, who became a father to a girl on Tuesday with wife and Olympic pole vault champ Stacy Dragila, finished sixth with a throw of 191-1 (58.25m).

Former Husky Will Conwell was 11th with a toss of 185-7 (56.57m), while former Cougar Drew Ulrick was 15th at 176-4 (53.76m).

In the men's hammer, 2009 world championships team member Michael Mai of the US Army, who is stationed at Fort Lewis, finished 11th with a throw of 227-10 (69.46m). Former Eastern Washington University thrower David Paul, a Yelm HS graduate, finished 14th with a mark of 221-3 (67.43m).

In the finals of the women's 100 meter dash, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Powell-Crawford finished eighth in 11.54, after running 11.43 in the semifinals. In her specialty, the 100 hurdles, Powell-Crawford won her heat in 12.92.

Washington's Falesha Ankton finished sixth in her heat of the 100 hurdles, running 13.63.

WSU's Jeshua Anderson advanced to Saturday's finals of the 400 meter hurdles, as he finished second in the semis, running 49.96.

Former Husky Ryan Brown, a 2009 world championships team member, finished third in his semi-final heat of the 800 meter run in 1:47.60, and advanced to the finals on Sunday.

Former Tacoma prep standout Craig Everhart failed to advance to the finals of the men's 400, running 47.01 to finish seventh in his semifinal race.

DAY 3 JUNIOR RECAP

Othello High School's Christine Kirkwood finished third in the javelin, missing out on a trip to the world championships, as she threw 161-4 (49.18m).

In the junior men's triple jump, University of Washington incoming freshman Kasen Covington placed fourth with a leap of 50-6 3/4 (15.41m).

The University of Oregon's Becca Friday from Bellingham finished fifth in the finals of the junior women's 800, running 2:09.53.

In qualifying action in the junior men's 400, Rainier Beach HS's Michael Berry from Seatown Express ran 46.68 to win his heat and advance to Saturday's finals.

Saturday and Sunday, the coverage will be on ESPN from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific and from noon to 1 p.m. on NBC.

Streaming video of the USA Championships will also be available via our media partner RunnerSpace.com for races that are not on the television schedule.

Brian Sell out of Rock 'n Roll Seattle Half Marathon...

SEATTLE--Olympian Brian Sell (left/file photo by Paul Merca), who was slated to race Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon alongside three of his Hansons-Brooks teammates, announced on Thursday that he will not be competing at this weekend’s event.

“I had plans for it but the last month hasn’t been up to snuff for me,” Sell said via telephone from the pre-race expo, where he was signing autographs for fans. “I’m going to grad school in the beginning of August, so everything is on hold right now. I might get out and just jog it, but we’ll see.”

Sell, who finished 22nd overall at the Olympic Marathon in Beijing, was the 2006 USA Half Marathon Champion and has also been the USA 25K champion on three different occasions. After a successful professional career as the poster boy for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, he decided to enroll in dental school at Penn State this fall. Rumors of retirement surfaced, but he recently told competitor.com, “I took the winter off in Detroit and now I’m having a lot more fun with running. It is much more fulfilling now that the pressure is off and I’m just going to have fun and see what I can do.”

Among the key entries in the RnR Seattle Half Marathon is former South Kitsap HS & Washington State University standout Drew Polley, who made his pro debut at this race last year, finishing fourth overall. He followed up the performance making his marathon debut in November, finishing as the top American (8th overall) at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio. At the Boston Marathon in April, Polley finished as the fifth-fastest American in 2:16:36, qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

“It’s kind of nice for it to come full circle because this is where I kind of got my foot in the door last year and kind of got my name going within the elite running community,” said Polley. “I definitely would like to finish in the top 3 and I’d be pretty excited about that.”

Leading the international challenge is Andrew Letherby of Australia, who ran his 1:03:17 PR for the half-marathon last year in Japan. A frequent competitor on Australian world cross country and half-marathon teams, Letherby, 32, also represented his country at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, where he earned the marathon bronze medal.

“Seattle offers a challenging but enjoyable course which the athletes will relish and we’re delighted to attract such an intriguing men’s race in the half-marathon,” said athlete coordinator Matt Turnbull. “With a predominantly American field looking to run under 65:00, it’s certainly going to be tough to predict the winner.”

Competing in the women’s half-marathon is Mari Ozaki, who owns a marathon PR of 2:23:30 and has represented Japan at numerous World Championships. Ozaki will be challenged by Australian Benita Willis, who won the 2004 World Cross Country Championships. 2000 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Lidia Simon of Romania rounds out the international contenders coming off a fourth place finish at the Osaka Marathon in January, where she posted a time of 2:27:11.

The race begins Saturday at 7:00 am, and winds through the shores of Lake Washington before finishing at Qwest Field. Seattle residents are advised that certain streets may be closed during the running of the RnR Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon.

NOTE: Competitor.com, the web site of the owners of the Rock 'n Roll Seattle Marathon & Half-Marathon, contributed to this report.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jeshua Anderson cruises to first round victory in USA Championships...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Washington State University's Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Mike Scott) ran the second fastest time of the day in winning his heat of the men's 400 hurdles at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium.

Anderson, who missed out on winning his third straight NCAA title in Eugene two weeks ago, returned to the site of his first NCAA title, and ran a very easy and controlled race out of lane 8, winning in a time of 49.61.

In other events involving Washington athletes, 2009 world championships team member Ryan Brown easily advanced to the next round, by finishing second in his heat of the 800 meters, running 1:47.50.

Former Tacoma high school standout Craig Everhart advanced to the next round in the mens 400 meters, running 46.30 to finish fourth in his heat.

Ginnie Powell-Crawford, a world championships finalist out of Rainier Beach High School in the 100 hurdles, competed in the 100 meter dash, and finished fourth in her heat in 11.39 to advance to the semis, running the seventh fastest time of the day.

Recent University of Washington grad Katie Follett, finished 6th in her heat of the women's 1500, running 4:16.20 in her pro debut. Follett, who just signed a professional contract with Bothell-based Brooks Sports, missed the time qualifier by almost 1 second, and was the 13th fastest runner in the heats.

Follett recently wrote a blog post reflecting on her four years at the University of Washington, the contents of which you can read here.

In the men's 10000, former Husky Mike Sayenko finished seventh in 29:26.89. In the women's 10000, Western Washington's Sarah Porter did not finish.

In the USA junior championships, Bellingham's Becca Friday, who was an NCAA qualifier in the 800 for the University of Oregon, ran the sixth fastest time of the day in her event, clocking 2:09.74.

Incoming University of Washington freshman Kasen Covington from Idaho finished fifth in the men's long jump, leaping 23-4 1/2 (7.12m).

University of Washington freshman Shayne Moore finished fifth in his heat of the 110 hurdles, running 14.35 in heat 3

Greg Hornsby of WSU ran 10.74 to finish fifth in his heat of the 100 meter dash. Teammate Shaquana Logan had the ninth fastest time in the 100 hurdles, running a personal best 14.15w, missing the final by a mere 1/100s second. Logan also long jumped Thursday and leaped 18-feet, 5 1/4 inches (5.62m) for ninth place.

A reminder that television coverage for the meet begins Friday when ESPN will broadcast the meet from 5-7 p.m. PDT. Saturday and Sunday, the coverage will be on ESPN from 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific and from noon to 1 p.m. on NBC.

Streaming video of the USA Championships will also be available via our media partner RunnerSpace.com for races that are not on the television schedule.

USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships kick into high gear...

DES MOINES, Iowa--The five day extravaganza known as the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships got underway Wednesday at Drake Stadium with the junior men's and women's decathlon and heptathlon kicking things off.

The seniors get going Thursday afternoon with new University of Washington grad Katie Follett (left/photo by Paul Merca) running in the first round of the women's 1500, and 2009 world championships team member Ryan Brown in the first round of the 800 meters.

Washington State's Anna Layman also competes in the first round of the 800 meters.

In the lone senior final on Thursday, former Husky Mike Sayenko will run in the men's 10000 at 8:20 pm, local time. Western Washington's Sarah Porter will run in the women's 10000 Thursday night at 8:55 pm.

Junior athletes competing Thursday include Washington State's Greg Hornsby in the 100, teammate Shaquana Logan (100 hurdles), Oregon's Becca Friday from Bellingham (800), along with University of Washington high hurdler Shayne Moore, and incoming freshman long jumper Kasen Covington from Idaho.

While there are no major national team berths on the line this year for the seniors, the juniors are vying for spots to compete at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships in Moncton, Canada.

ESPN and NBC Sports will provide live coverage of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In addition, media partner RunnerSpace.com will provide live streaming video of any events that are not carried on ESPN or NBC.



In other news happening in Des Moines in the lead-up to the championships, USA Track & Field on Wednesday introduced the first athlete recipients of Project 30 funds, designed to help athletes with high medal potential cover their training costs and living expenses.

Discus thrower Aretha Thurmond of Federal Way, a three-time US Olympian and University of Washington grad who currently trains in Opelika, Alabama, along with pole vaulter Brad Walker, another UW grad who was the 2007 IAAF world champion in the event, were named among the recipients of Project 30 monies.

Thirty-one athletes will receive a total of $800,000 in Project 30 funds in 2010, with $4 million to be spent over the four-year term of the program.

Project 30 athletes sign a contract with USATF and Nike, which sponsors the program, providing them with between $10,000-$50,000 per year. Project 30 athletes will receive Nike shoes and equipment and will compete annually at the USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, Nike Prefontaine Classic and the Penn Relays, and at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Track & Field. They will be asked to participate in press conferences, public appearances and marketing opportunities.

Officials from USATF and Nike selected the athletes in an exhaustive process that took into consideration a host of factors. Athletes who were "medal-ready" and "finals-ready" for major international championships were given first consideration, with athlete need also strongly factoring in. Athletes from all 43 events were evaluated.

"We looked at all 43 events and first picked athletes who had the greatest potential through 2013," USATF Chief of Sport Performance Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley said. "Our final group is a great mix of veteran athletes and future stars, but they all have one thing in common, and that is their potential to land on the medal podium at the World Championships and Olympic Games. Many athletes were either losing their shoe contracts or seeing them substantially reduced, and we are very pleased to be able to step in and assist athletes perform at their best."

Athletes without a pre-existing contract with a shoe company and those with Nike were considered for the program. Athletes under contract with other shoe companies are prevented by their contracts from signing with a competing company and therefore were not eligible for Project 30 funds.

The complete USATF Project 30 release can be read here.


Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Powell Crawford was one of several athletes participating in USA Track & Field's Win With Integrity event at the Wildwood Hills Ranch in St. Charles, Iowa, as the federation took its community outreach program aimed at educating youth, parents, educators and coaches about the positive results that come from leading a physically active, drug-free lifestyle while living with integrity.

A program in which the champions of track and field work directly with young people around the nation, Win With Integrity has evolved from a start-up program in 2004 into one of USATF's most successful initiatives.

Here's USATF video of Powell having fun with one of the kids from Wildwood Hills:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Great read on Rebekah Noble...

Ken Goe of the Oregonian, who is one of the top track & field writers in the country, and is one of the biggest fans of the blog, wrote an excellent piece on the trials and tribulations of former Rogers/Spokane runner Rebekah Noble (left/photo courtesy University of Oregon), who just earned her degree in sociology at the University of Oregon.

While at the University of Oregon, Noble won the NCAA outdoor title in 2006 in Sacramento over 800 meters during her freshman season, battling Minnesota's Heather Dorniden, and setting a personal best of 2:02.07 that ranked fifth all-time on the U.S. junior list and fourth all-time at the school.

Before entering Oregon, she won the 400 and 800 meters in the 2005 Washington 4A state championships with meet records of 54.14 and 2:08.61, won the USA junior championships at 800, and won the junior Pan-Am title in the 800 that year.

Noble's life on and off the track began unraveling in the spring of 2007, as she suffered a hamstring injury, broke a navicular bone in her right foot, lost her grandmother, and was suffering from a "medical thing" that she declined to be more specific with in her interview with Goe.

You can read Goe's article here...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Couple of blog entries from Washington Olympians on the road to Des Moines...

Here's a couple of blog entries as we get ready for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this week in Des Moines, Iowa:

Former Skyview HS/Vancouver standout and 2008 US Olympian Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) talks about what she's been doing in the run-up to the championships, especially after visa problems derailed her opportunity to compete in Brazil last month, and she wasn't able to get into the European meets she wanted to earlier this month.

You can read Kara's entry here...

Next, three time Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Renton HS and the University of Washington talks about competing in the women's discus on Sunday, and how the USA championships has one of the deepest fields, with six women entered who have thrown 60 meters (196-10) or further.

She's also excited that two of her training partners in Auburn, Alabama--former Husky Will Conwell, and Auburn University alum Cory Martin, who is the current world leader in the shot put--will be competing in Des Moines as well.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will not be on site in Des Moines for the USA Championships for the first time in a number of years, but we will still have coverage of the event, including tweets and photos from correspondents on site at Drake Stadium.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Måkestad & Bingisser compete in European Team Championship meets...

Former University of Washington track & field athletes Ingvill Måkestad and Martin Bingisser participated in the European team championship meets over the weekend.

In the SPAR European Team Championship meet held in Bergen, Norway, Måkestad,, representing the host country, finished sixth Sunday in the women's 1500 meter run, clocking 4:08.75, as Anna Mishchenko of Ukraine took the victory in a meet record time of 4:05.32.

On Saturday, Måkestad finished seventh in the 800 meters, running 2:04.81, as Nataliya Lupu won in 2:02.74.

In the second league championship meet held in Belgrade, Serbia, Bingisser, representing Switzerland, finished fifth in the hammer throw with a mark of 207-0 (63.11m), as Slovakia's Libor Chartreitag won with a toss of 251-10 (76.77m).

Bingisser's fifth place mark was worth three points for the Swiss team (one entry per event), as Switzerland won the meet, scoring 207 points and earning promotion into the first league for next year's European Team Championships.

Måkestad's Norwegian squad finished eleventh in the 12-nation Championship meet with 175 points, and will be relegated to the first league for next year's meet, where they will compete with Switzerland.

Greece (187.5), Norway & Finland (150) will be replaced by the Czech Republic, Sweden & Portugal for next year's meet.

Russia (379.5), Great Britain (317), and Germany (304.5) took the first three spots in Bergen.

Results from the SPAR European Team Championship meet in Bergen can be obtained here, while results from the European Team Championships--Second League meet in Belgrade, can be obtained here.

THREE COUGARS SELECTED FOR TEAM USA SQUAD FOR NACAC UNDER-23 CHAMPIONSHIPS NEXT MONTH…

Washington State University assistant coach Mark Macdonald dropped a note to the blog letting us know that 400 meter hurdler Jeshua Anderson, 800 meter runner Anna Layman, and javelin thrower Marissa Tschida were selected to compete in the NACAC Under-23 Championships July 9-11 in Miramar, Florida.

Athletes in the 23 and under category representing Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, St. Kitts/ Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turk and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands, and United States of America will bring an unprecedented showing of first class athletes to the City of Miramar.

University of Washington javelin thrower Kyle Nielsen, fresh off setting a personal best at the CALTAF meet in Calgary Saturday, also informed the blog that he will compete for Team Canada at the NACAC meet as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Washington's Kyle Nielsen sets javelin PR at CALTAF meet...

CALGARY, Alberta--University of Washington junior Kyle Nielsen (left/photo by Paul Merca), the third place finisher in the javelin at last week's NCAA Championships in Eugene, set a personal best at the CALTAF Track Classic at Glenmore Athletic Park Saturday, as he threw the spear 248-4 (75.71m).

Nielsen, the reigning Canadian national champion in this event out of Langley, British Columbia, entered the competition with a personal best 247-1 (75.32m) set at the Brutus Hamilton meet in Berkeley back in April.

On his fourth throw of the competition, Nielsen sped down the runway, and launched the spear to beat his former personal best by 15 inches.

Results from the CALTAF meet can be accessed here.

Nielsen is entered in the Harry Jerome International meet on July 5th in Burnaby, B.C., where he is entered in a field that includes Husky freshman Joe Zimmerman, before he defends his national championship at the end of July.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the link to the GNAC release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World championship medalist Bernard Lagat leads contingent of Washington athletes into Des Moines...

With only the late entry period of Friday June 18th remaining, 2009 world championship medalist Bernard Lagat leads a contingent of Washington affiliated athletes into next week's USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Lagst, who earned medals in the 1500 and 5000 at last year's world championships in Berlin, is entered in the 5000 meter run.

World championship team members Ryan Brown (800), Brad Walker (pole vault) Jarred Rome (discus), Ian Waltz (discus), Michael Mai (hammer), Ginnie Powell (100 hurdles), Aretha Thurmond (discus), and Kara Patterson (javelin) are also entered in the meet.

As he did last year, Walker (left/file photo by Paul Merca), the Washington grad who was the 2007 world champion in the pole vault will make his season debut at the USA Championships. Walker, the defending national champion from last year, couldn't defend his world title in Berlin after he injured himself in last year's Monaco Grand Prix.

With 2010 being a non-world championships/Olympic year, several notable athletes are not entered in the meet, including reigning national heptathlon champion and former WSU All-American Diana Pickler, NCAA indoor pole vault champ Scott Roth from the University of Washington, and Seattle Pacific's NCAA D2 1500m champ Jessica Pixler (note: the on-time entry deadline was Monday the 14th; athletes have up to Friday the 18th at 11:59 eastern time to enter; the final declaration period is from Sunday the 20th at 12:01 am eastern to Monday the 21st at 11:59 pm eastern).

Here's the list of athletes with Washington affiliations listed on the usatf.org site as having entered:

MEN

400m--Craig Everhart (open)

800m--Ryan Brown

5000m--Bernard Lagat, Mike Sayenko (provisional), Jordan McNamara (open), Colton Tully-Doyle (open)

10000m--Mike Sayenko

400 hurdles--Jeshua Anderson

High jump--Trent Arrivey (provisional)

Pole vault--Brad Walker

Long jump--Norris Frederick

Discus--Jarred Rome, Will Conwell, Ian Waltz (open)

Hammer--Michael Mai, Jordan Stray (open)

WOMEN

100m--Ginnie Powell

800m--Anna Layman (provisional)

1500m--Katie Follett

10000m--Sarah Porter

100 hurdles--Ginnie Powell, Falesha Ankton (provisional)

3000 steeplechase--Mel Lawrence (provisional)

Discus--Aretha Thurmond

Javelin --Kara Patterson (open)

Hammer--Kimery Hern

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Seattle high schooler Maddie Meyers wins Jim Ryun Dream Mile at adidas GP...

NEW YORK--Seattle high school sophomore Maddie Meyers (left/photo by Leo Collins, youthrunner.com) from Class 1A Northwest School turned a lot of heads in the Jim Ryun Dream Mile for the nation's top prep runners at the adidas Grand Prix meet at Icahn Stadium.

Meyers, a triple winner in the 800, 1600 & 3200 at last month's state meet, and who during the indoor season ran 4:46.77 at the UW Last Chance field to set the Washington state high school record indoors in the event, ran 4:41.93 to beat a field that included Florida state champ Shelby Hayes, and New York state champ Kelsey Margey.

Hayes, from Winter Park, FL., ran 4:43.00 for the runner up position, while Margey, out of Greenlawn, NY was third in 4:43.91.

Incoming University of Washington freshman Katie Flood from Des Moines, Iowa finished fifth in 4:44.51.

In the women's discus, three-time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way finished second behind Croatia's Sandra Perkovic (203-3/61.96m) with a toss of 200-9 (61.19m).

Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie (Powell) Crawford finished third in the women's 100 meter hurdles in a season best 12.63, behind world indoor champ Lolo Jones' world leading 12.55, and Canadian Perdita Felicien's season best of 12.58.

Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat, who set the American record in the 5000 meter run last week, took fifth in the 1500 meter run, as the reigning IAAF world indoor 3000m champ ran 3:34.36, as Kenya's Nicholas Kemboi took the win in a meet record time of 3:33.29.

Complete results from the adidas Grand Prix, part of the Samsung Diamond League circuit, are available here.

WSU'S Marissa Tschida places fourth in javelin on final day of NCAA championships...

EUGENE, Oregon--Washington State's Marissa Tschida (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished fourth in the women's javelin with a throw of 169-11 (51.79m) at the NCAA track & field championships to conclude the four day run at Hayward Field.

Cougar teammate Courtney Kirkwood finished 11th with a toss of 158-3 (48.24m).

In other finals, University of Washington senior Katie Follett tried to control the race from the front in the women's 1500 meter run, but faded to tenth, as she clocked 4:20.19.

Washington's Mel Lawrence placed eighth in the women's 3000 meter steeplechase, scoring the Huskies' lone point. Lawrence, who was third in this meet last year, stopped the watch at 10:10.60.

In the men's 5000, Auburn/Riverside grad Jordan McNamara was the beneficiary of a slow early pace, as the Oregon senior finished eighth in a time of 13:54.30. Sehome HS grad Jake Riley, who was third in the 10000 earlier in the meet, finished tenth, as the Stanford junior ran 13:55.80.

Texas A&M won both the men's and women's team titles, with a final score of 55 for the men, and 72 points for the women.

The Washington men's squad, led by javelin throwers Kyle Nielsen and Joe Zimmerman were 15th with a final score of 16.5 points, while Washington State tied for 33rd with 8 points.

Washington State's women's squad tied for 41st with 5 points, while the Huskies were 66th with 1 point.

Complete results from the NCAA Championships can be accessed here.

Lagat, Thurmond & Flood set to run in adidas Grand Prix in New York...

NEW YORK--The Samsung Diamond League circuit continues Saturday with the running of the adidas Grand Prix meet at Icahn Stadium in New York City.

The adidas Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC Sports beginning at 1 pm, pacific time (Channel 5 in Seattle, and 105 on Seattle area Comcast HD).

Washington State University grad and reigning IAAF World Indoor 3000 meter champion Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca), fresh off his American record in the 5000 meter run, will run in the men's 1500.

University of Washington graduate and three-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond will compete in the women's discus.

In the Jim Ryun high school dream mile, incoming University of Washington freshman Katie Flood from Des Moines, Iowa, will run in a field that includes many of the country's top prep standouts.

Start lists for the adidas Grand Prix are available here.


Meanwhile, the IAAF is delighted to announce that a tender process for the title sponsorship package of the IAAF Diamond League has been concluded successfully. Samsung, a leader in consumer electronics, has agreed to become the title sponsor of the IAAF Diamond League for the next 2 seasons starting in 2010, with an option to extend for an additional year.

The league will now be rebranded ‘Samsung Diamond League’ to be effectively implemented no later than the Lausanne Diamond League meet early July.

Samsung has acquired the first tier package of rights that includes a considerable number of benefits, such as title denomination, advertising boards, exposure on hurdles, on print material, on the official Diamond League website, first class hospitality package and numerous other promotional benefits.

Already a sponsor of the IAAF World Athletics Series and the Olympic Games (where athletics is the number one sport), Samsung is a key sponsor of athletics world-wide. This agreement also underlines a clear extension of Samsung’s strategic positioning in sport, where athletics plays a leading role thanks to its universality and massive media presence.

Samsung, was founded 70 years ago in Daegu, South Korea, operates in most countries around the world and has a net turnover of over 174 billion USD. The company currently employs 263,000 people world-wide and has its headquarters Seoul, South Korea.

Lamine Diack, IAAF President, said “I am delighted with this deal, particularly because it is with a world famous corporation that is already our partner for the IAAF World Championships series of events and the Olympic Games. Samsung understands athletics and we now have a powerful partner across all our most important properties.”

“We are very proud of our sponsorship of the IAAF, which is always associated with the highest level of athletic achievement and hosts the world’s top athletes. And now as title sponsor of the ‘Samsung Diamond League,’ we have the honor of connecting with loyal and dedicated athletics fans around the world," said Gyehyun Kwon, Vice President and Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing at Samsung Electronics.

Thank you!

I want to take this moment away from the blog to thank the members of the Track & Field Writers of America for awarding me the Adam Jacobs award for blog sites. As many of you who attended the breakfast Friday at the Eugene Hilton can attest, I was stunned and caught speechless by the honor.

This blog was started in March 2007, inspired by the work done by Charlie Mahler on his blog, "Down The Backstretch", which focuses on the feats of high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate happenings in the state of Minnesota. Charlie's blog continues to be a source of inspiration, and it's my hope that TAFWA recognizes his work sometime in the future.

One of the questions I am constantly asked by readers of this blog is why don't we cover high school track & field in the state of Washington? The answer is that the sites that cater to the prep scene, such as DyeStat & MileSplit do a very good job with that segment of the sport.

The reason why I started this blog is that in Washington, the collegiate and post-collegiate athletes tend to be forgotten in the grand scheme of things. Other than an occasional article in the big newspapers--usually either during the collegiate championship season, or in the run-up to the Olympics--collegiate and post-collegiate track and field tends to be largely ignored.

There's a list of folks that I want to thank, beginning with the track & field sports information directors for track & cross country at the University of Washington (Mike Bruscas & his predecessor Brian Beaky), Washington State University (Linda Chalich), Seattle Pacific (Dan Lepse), and the University of Oregon (Greg Walker & Geoff Thurner); the media relations folks at Nike (Jacie Prieto Lopez, Morgan Shaw, Heidi Burgett & Megan Saalfeld), and adidas (Lyn Famigletti); Ben Cesar, Heather Spears, and Vanessa Asell at Asics; the entire USA Track & Field media relations staff; and the coaching staffs at the various schools in the state of Washington that I cover.

I also want to thank Martin Rudow, the publisher of Northwest Runner magazine, for giving me a spot as a senior writer for the magazine; the media relations staff at the IAAF, led by Nick Davies; and the many newspaper, broadcast, photographers, and internet specialists who have a passion for the sport that I've met along the way.

When the blog was started, Facebook was only for college kids, and I had absolutely no clue was Twitter was. I've had to embrace the use of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter in order to expand the reach of this blog to a new audience.

As I looked around at the attendees at the TAFWA breakfast, I noticed one disturbing fact--there were not very many younger members in attendance, particularly in the new media field. If you run a web site, blog, produce online videos, or tweet about this sport, please get involved with TAFWA!

To the Jacobs family, who raised a fine son in Adam, I hope that this web site upholds the standards that he set out to attain before his untimely passing.

To the three women who mentored me in high school, college, and when I was starting out--Barbara Nilson, my high school journalism teacher at Seattle's Franklin High School; Lisa Fortini-Campbell, the advertising teaching assistant at the University of Washington who became a friend and a valuable resource; and Jeanne McKnight, the director of communications at the 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in Olympia, who took on a track nut on her staff--thank you for teaching me those valuable lessons in journalistic integrity, media relations, and public relations.

Thanks also go to my high school and college coaches, Don Bundy and Dixon Farmer, for instilling in me their passion and vision of the sport.

To former vice president Al Gore--thanks for inventing the internet. If there's no internet, blogging would not be a part of today's vocabulary! :-)

To the TAFWA selection chair, Parker Morse--I am humbled by this honor. Thanks!

To TAFWA president Jack Pfeifer, who actually coached me my senior year at Franklin--you got me again!

There are some other people that I've missed, including the folks who contributed photos, news tips, et cetera; you know who you are, and I thank you!

Finally, thank you to the athletes that we've covered, and the readers of the blog. This is not possible without you.

Thanks again!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jeshua Anderson's bid for third consecutive NCAA 400 hurdles title falls short...

EUGENE, Oregon--Jeshua Anderson's (left/photo by Mike Scott) attempt to win a third consecutive NCAA title in the men's 400 meter hurdles was derailed, as a late charge by long-time rival Johnny Dutch from South Carolina earned him the title.

Running out of lane 4, Anderson took an early lead as the hurdlers ran up the backstretch.

As they entered the home stretch, Anderson and Dutch, in lane 5, were even, but the Cougar started to show signs of fading.

It appeared that Anderson's form over the final two hurdles were less than perfect, while Dutch maintained his technique and made a strong charge to take the victory, 48.75 to 49.31.

It was a disappointing day for the Washington Huskies, as decathlete Jeremy Taiwo took a very nasty spill in the sixth event of the ten-event decathlon, the 110 hurdles.

Taiwo got out well but started clipping a few hurdles and slipping back. Trying to push back into the race, Taiwo got out of rhythm and caught his foot on the eighth hurdle, propelling himself down into the track head first at full speed. The impact knocked Taiwo unconscious for what paramedics later timed at 40 seconds.

Taiwo was taken to Riverbend Hospital for evaluation but cleared and released and he was back at Hayward later in the day to watch Midles in the hammer.

In the men's hammer throw, Washington's Zach Midles finished 18th in the hammer with a toss of 204-11 (62.47m).

Oregon's Jordan Stray out of Centralia finished ninth in the event, tossing the hammer 212-4 (64.73m).

In the men's high jump, Washington State senior Trent Arrivey closed out his collegiate career with a mark of 6-10.75 (2.10m) and a 20th place finish.

In the women's 5000 meter run, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle, running for North Carolina, was 14th in 16:14.95.

Competition at the NCAA championships concludes Saturday with a 10 am pacific time start, to accommodate CBS Sports' live coverage of the meet (channel 7 in Seattle, or 107 on Seattle area Comcast). Coverage is also available online via ncaa.com.

For the Huskies, Katie Follett (1500) and Mel Lawrence (3000 steeple) will compete Saturday, along with Oregon's Jordan McNamara of Auburn/Riverside in the 5000m.

Results from the NCAA Championships are available here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Husky duo of Kyle Nielsen & Joe Zimmerman finish third and fourth in javelin; Jake Riley gets third in 10000...

EUGENE, Oregon--The University of Washington duo of Kyle Nielsen and Joe Zimmerman highlighted the second day of competition in the NCAA track & field championships at Hayward Field, as they finished third and fourth in the men's javelin, as the Husky duo threw 241-6 (73.60m) and 233-7 (71.19m).

Nielsen and Zimmerman battled both the elements and the competition. Both were beneficiaries of throwing in the first flight, which had better conditions than the second.

In the men's 10000, Bellingham's Jake Riley (left/photo by Paul Merca), representing Stanford, finished third, running 28:57.41 in the 25-lap race.

Another third place finish went to Scott Roth of Washington, who cleared a modest 17-4.5, as the rain delay and the large field of 24 started marred the pole vault competition.

Pac-10 champ Ryan Vu finished 11th with a mark of 16-10.75 (5.15m).

After the first day of competition in the decathlon, the University of Washington's Jeremy Taiwo stands seventh with a score of 3944 points.

He started his day by winning his heat of the 100 meters, stopping the watches at 11.02. In the long jump, he managed a mark of 22-9 1/4 (6.94m), worth 799 points. In the shot put, he threw 39-3.25 (11.97m), worth 605 points.

He scored a decathlon personal best in the high jump with a clearance of 6-7 1/2 (2.02m) for 822 points, then concluded his day by running a personal best of 48.98 in the 400m.

Oregon's defending champion Ashton Eaton leads at the halfway mark with a score of 4500 points.

In the men's 200, Washington's James Alaka finished fourth in heat 3 in a time of 21.11.

The Huskies' Katie Follett easily advanced to the finals in the women's 1500 meter run, running in the lead for most of the race, before placing fourth in a time of 4:13.58.

Gabby Midles of Idaho via Camas High School finished 13th with a mark of 185-1 in the women's hammer throw.

In the men's 1500, Nathan Hale HS grad Abdi Hassan of Arizona finished tenth in heat 2, running 3:46.37.

Washington's Falesha Ankton scored a major personal best in finishing third in her heat of the 100 hurdles, in a time of 13.18, missing the finals by one place.

A video interview with Ankton is available here.

Teammate Mel Lawrence qualified easily for the finals of the women's steeplechase, finishing fifth in 10:06.09, running the sixth fastest time of the day.

Results from the NCAA championships are available here
.

Friday's competition will be televised live on CBS College Sports (channel 412 on Seattle area Comcast), beginning at 5 pm. The meet is also being streamed live via NCAA.com.

NOTE: An update to this report will be posted later Thursday evening...

Video interview with Washington's Falesha Ankton...

EUGENE, Oregon--University of Washington senior Falesha Ankton made her final race as a member of the Husky track team a memorable one, as she set a personal best in the 100 meter hurdles of 13.18 in finishing third in her semi final race at the NCAA track & field championships at Hayward Field.

We'll have a full recap of today's activities later on this evening, as there are several event still remaining here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WSU's Jeshua Anderson advances to NCAA 400 hurdles final with fastest time in semis...

EUGENE, Oregon--Day 1 of the NCAA track & field championships concluded, with Washington State's Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Mike Scott) cruising through the semi-finals of the 400 hurdles with the fastest time of the day.

Anderson, who had been running using a 13-stride pattern throughout most of the season, ran 49.21 to earn the top seed for Friday night's final.

In the mixed zone, Anderson said, "I have been working on alternating my lead leg. Today I ran 13 strides through 9 hurdles. I exerted a little more energy than I wanted to. It worked out and now I have a day to rest."

When asked what it will take to win the NCAA title for a third time, especially with a field that includes rival Johnny Dutch of South Carolina, and Stanford's Amaechi Morton, he said, "I don't think it's going to be a limit for anybody. I think a world record could be done on this track"

Mark Macdonald, the Washington State hurdles coach, said, "Jeshua looked very good today but so did Johnny Dutch and Amaechi Morton. On Friday, Jeshua needs to focus on his lane and run his race. He's ready."

Here's the video of the interview with Anderson in the mixed zone:



In other events, Wasihngton State's Anna Layman finished sixth in her heat of the 800, running 2:07.60. Bellingham's Becca Friday was fifth in her heat of the 800, running 2:09.13.

In the men's 100 meters, Washington's James Alaka ran 10.37 to finish sixth in his heat.

In the women's high jump finals, Washington State freshman Holly Parent failed to clear the opening height. Many of the first several jumpers in the 24-woman field were put at a competitive disadvantage as they were jumping in a heavy rain.

Washington's Anita Campbell, who was in the lead group for the first six kilometers, finished 15th in her final race as a Husky, running 33:44.57, one spot behind former Eastern Washington runner Mattie Bridgmon, now running for host Oregon, who clocked 33:43.64.

Thursday's finals include the men's pole vault with Pac-10 champ Ryan Vu and reigning NCAA Indoor champ Scott Roth of Washington; day 1 of the decathlon featuring the Huskies' Jeremy Taiwo; the women's hammer with Gabby Midles of Idaho, who attended high school in Camas; and the men's javelin with Washington's Kyle Nielsen and Joe Zimmerman.

On the track, Washington's James Alaka goes in the men's 200 semis, while Falesha Ankton of the Huskies goes in the 100 hurdles semi-finals. Washington's Katie Follett runs in the women's 1500 semis, while her teammate Mel Lawrence runs in the semis of the steeplechase. Arizona's Abdi Hassan, who graduated from Seattle's Nathan Hale HS, will run in the men's 1500 semis. Distance finals Thursday include the men's 10000 featuring Bellingham's Jake Riley from Stanford.

Day 1 results can be obtained here, while start lists for the men are here, and the women can be seen here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coverage of the NCAA Division I track & field championships starts Wednesday!

First of all, apologies for being quiet on the blog in the run-up to the NCAA track & field championships, as things have been crazy on the home front.

Washington State's Jeshua Anderson and Washington's Scott Roth lead their squads into Eugene for the NCAA track & field championships which begins Wednesday at Historic Hayward Field.

Anderson, a three time Pac-10 champ in the 400 meter hurdles, is looking to add a third NCAA title in his specialty, with South Carolina's Johnny Dutch, among others waiting in the wings to beat Anderson.

Husky pole vaulter Roth is shooting to add the outdoor NCAA title to the indoor championship he won this season in Fayetteville.

Washington will send eleven athletes to battle in Eugene, while the Cougars will have six athletes competing.

Washington's release can be read here, while Washington State's NCAA writeup can be read here.

Among some of the notables from the state of Washington competing include Brie Felnagle (North Carolina/Bellarmine Prep) in the women's 5000; Becca Friday from Bellingham (Oregon) in the women's 800; Centralia's Jordan Stray (Oregon) in the men's hammer; Bellingham's Jake Riley (Stanford) in the 5000 & 10000; Auburn/Riverside's Jordan McNamara in the 5000; Nathan Hale/Seattle's Abdi Hassan in the 1500; and Gabby Midles of Olympia in the women's hammer, representing Idaho.

The NCAA will provide live streaming of the championships; the link to the live stream is here. CBS College Sports (channel 412 on Seattle area Comcast) will show two hours of the meet live Friday beginning at 5 pm, pacific time, and CBS (channel 107 on Seattle Comcast) will have the meet Saturday from 10 am to noon.

Start lists are available here for the men and women, while live results are available here.

In the meantime, we'll see you when we arrive in Eugene mid-morning! Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for quick updates from the track!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just for kicks and giggles (part 2)...

In part one of our little fun exercise combining the results of the Pac-10 track & field championships with the results of the six schools (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma & Oklahoma State) from the Big 12 Conference that the Pac-10 is courting to form a super conference, the Oregon men's team dominated the Pac-16 championships.

We now turn our attention to the women's team competition in the Pac-16 championship meet, and to absolutely no one's surprise, the Oregon Ducks, led by do-it-all specialist Brianne Theisen (left/photo by Paul Merca) win this meet as well, outscoring runner-up Texas A&M 157-104 (heptathlon not scored due to difference in time schedule; the Pac-10 contested the multi events the week before, while the first day of the Big 12 multi-event competition was the day before the full meet got underway).

Oklahoma finishes third with 62, followed by Arizona at 61, Texas Tech 54, Texas 50, USC 47, Stanford 45, UCLA 44, Arizona State 31, and California 30.

Rounding out the field are Washington at 25, Washington State 24, Colorado 19, and Oklahoma State with 1, while Oregon State gets shut out.

In this little fantasy track & field championship meet, the Ducks score in every running event except the 400 hurdles and the 4 x 400 relay.

If you add the heptathlon, Oregon's margin goes up to 170-112 over A&M. UCLA jumps to 6th with 52, while Arizona State remains in tenth with 40 points.

Washington State earns a point, and tie Washington for twelfth at 25 points.

Attached as a .pdf file are the results of the Pac-10 championships, combined with the results of the six schools competing in the Big 12 championship meet:

Women P10_B12 Champs

We hope that this little fun drill will provoke discussion on what the ramifications of adding those six schools to the Pac-10 Conference will be in track & field.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just for kicks and giggles...

With all the talk over the past week over the Pac-10 Conference making a move in creating a super-conference by inviting Big 12 schools Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, we thought that just for fun, we'd combine the results of the two men's conference track & field championships, and see how a meet with all sixteen schools would come out.

Please note that in this combined meet, the decathlon was not scored, because the Big 12 held its multi-event competition one day before the start of the main meet, as opposed to the Pac-10, which held the multis one week before the start of the main meet.

Had the Pac-10 held its multis on the same schedule as the Big 12, it would have limited how many events Oregon's Ashton Eaton (left/photo by Paul Merca) would have scored.

Attached as a .pdf file is the combined results of the Big 12 and Pac-10 meets, with the results of the six schools not invited by the Pac-10 thrown out.

Combined Big 12/Pac-10 Men's Track & Field Championship meet results

Without the decathlon, the Oregon Ducks still win the super-conference meet with a score of 114 points, thanks to Eaton, and some big scores in the 800 and 1500 meter runs.

Stanford's big points in the 5000 and 10000 give them a 73-72 edge over Texas A&M for second, with Arizona State and USC tying for fourth with 69 points. USC's sprints and jumps edge in the Pac-10 meet is neutralized by Texas A&M, among other schools.

The Red Raiders of Texas Tech get sixth with 51.5 points, a half-point ahead of Oklahoma. Both the Washington Huskies & Washington State Cougars tie for eighth with 35, followed by Texas in tenth at 33.5 points.

Rounding out the sixteen-team meet are Cal at 32, UCLA at 29, Arizona 18, Colorado 13, Oklahoma State 6 and Oregon State 5.

If you score the decathlon, Texas A&M leapfrogs Stanford to get second, Arizona State breaks the tie with USC to get sole possession of fourth; the Huskies get sole possession of eighth, and Cal overtakes Texas for tenth. There are no changes in the final five places.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bernard Lagat adds American Record in 5000m to his resume...

OSLO, Norway--For distance running fans in the United States, the build-up to the mens 5000 meter run at the Exxon/Mobil Bislett Games was whether or not new American 10000 meter record holder Chris Solinsky of Portland was going to beat former world champion and Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat.

On the USA Track & Field fan page on Facebook, a photo illustration (left/courtesy USATF) was set up and a prediction contest set up for fans to guess the winner of the duel, with the prediction time used as a tiebreaker.

For the second time in nine months, the American record in the 5000 meter run was broken, as Lagat finished third in a time of 12:54.12, behind winner Imane Merga of Ethiopia (12:53.81), and countryman Tariku Bekele (12:53.97).

For most of the race, Lagat positioned himself between third and fifth place, never far off from the leaders.

With about 250 meters to go, Lagat, who was positioned on the rail in third, saw a gap open up on the inside and shot to the lead.

Tariku Bekele, the younger brother of reigning world and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele went with the former Cougar, as it appeared the duo had cleared themselves of the field as they entered the home straight.

However, Merga somehow gathered himself after Lagat and Bekele broke away, and accelerated coming off the final turn, surprising the duo as he swung into the outside lane to take the win.

After breaking the American record of 12:56.27 set by Dathan Ritzenhein set las year, Lagat told Universal Sports' Joe Battaglia, "Before, everyone was looking to run 12:58," Lagat said. "Now, they'll be looking to run 12:53."

Meanwhile, Solinsky, a member of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Portland group that trains out of the Nike campus in Beaverton, finished sixth in the race in a personal best of 12:56.66, running the third fastest time ever by an American, as four other runners behind Solinsky broke the 13-minute barrier.

This race gives the United States four active runners who have broken 13 minutes--Lagat, Ritzenhein, Solinsky, and Matt Tegenkamp (12:58.56).

In other events involving athletes with Washington affiliations, three time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way finished third in the discus with a throw of 202-9 (61.80m), in an event won by Germany's Nadine Muller, who spun the platter 209-9 (63.93m).

In the women's 800 (non-Diamond League race), former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad from Norway finished fourth in a time of 2:02.47. as Russia's Anna Balakhshina took the win in 2:01.65.

The IAAF Diamond League series resumes next week with two meets--the Golden Gala meet in Rome on Thursday, June 10th, and the adidas Grand Prix in New York two days later.

Complete results of the Exxon/Mobil Bislett Games can be accessed here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The links: Phil Shinnick, Brian Sternberg, Megan Goethals & Charlie Greene...

Here are some links to peruse (sorry for being a little late with these):

First is a link to a story written by former Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer John Hickey about former Huskies Phil Shinnick (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) and Brian Sternberg, who in a span of one hour, broke the world record in the long jump and pole vault at the California Relays in Modesto 47 years ago.

The duo drove from the Pac-8 track & field championships in Berkeley after a disappointing performance that afternoon and made it in time for the start of the meet in Modesto.

In that hour, Shinnick set the world record in the long jump with a mark of 27-4 (8.33m) that still stands as the school record in that event.

However, his mark has never been ratified by the IAAF because there was no wind gauge reading at the long jump (the wind gauge was being used for a sprint race).

Meanwhile, Sternberg broke the world record in the pole vault with a clearance of 16-7 (5.05m).

Several months later, Sternberg was injured and paralyzed badly after trying a double-back somersault with a twist on a trampoline in the gymnastics room at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, a jump he'd done effortlessly for years.

To read the full story, please click here...

Here's a story from milesplit.com on incoming Husky freshman Megan Goethals, who last week ran 10:00.15 for 3200m at the Oakland County Championships in Milford, Michigan, and is the seventh fastest all time in US prep history.

In this interview, she talks about her training, in which she says she's logging about 60 miles per week.

She also is fond of movies with comedian Will Ferrell, and in her comments about the UW program, said, "When I visited I loved the team and the Seattle area is beautiful! Obviously Coach Metcalf has been very successful, and I am very excited to run for him. The incoming freshmen are awesome and it will be nice to have so many girls to train with! I am really looking forward to living in Seattle and getting away from the Michigan winters!"

She hopes to get under 10 minutes at the New Balance Nationals for outstanding high school track & field athletes in Greensboro, NC June 17-19.

To read the full story, please click here...

One man I've had the pleasure of being associated with over the years through USA Track & Field is former world record holder in the 100-yard dash, Charlie Greene, a product of Seattle's O'Dea High School.

Greene, who was part of perhaps the greatest track & field team in history--the 1968 US Olympic team that dominated the Games in Mexico City, won a gold medal for his role as the leadoff man on that squad that set a world record of 38.24.

During his career, he became the third man to break 10 seconds in the 100 meters, and won an individual bronze in the 100 at the Mexico City Games.

He's currently undergoing rehabilitation after receiving a kidney transplant.

In an interview with Athletics Weekly, he said, “My new kidney is working well. It’s the body that’s old, and my biggest problem now is the neck surgery I had last year before the transplant. Those two things together have slowed the progress and caused problems, but I am back in a rehab facility and ready to do all of the hard work that’s required for me to walk again.”

You can read the full story and interview with Charlie Greene here...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thank you, Ken Griffey Jr!

We interrupt this blog of college and pro track & field in Washington state to pay homage and give thanks to Ken Griffey, Jr., who announced his retirement Wednesday.

I'll let the baseball guys talk about what he did in the sport here in Seattle, Cincinnati, and Chicago.

Speaking as a Mariner fan, I'm happy that he left the sport on his own terms, and that he's at peace with his decision to leave the game.

Here's a link to the story on the Seattle Mariners' web site announcing his retirement.

Courtesy of YouTube, here's his intro song:



And, here's a video I shot of Griffey coming to bat against the Texas Rangers on May 1st from the photographers' well next to the Mariner dugout while working as the TV timeout coordinator for FOX Sports with my iPhone:



Thanks for all you've done for baseball in Seattle, Junior!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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