Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jessica Pixler talks about transitioning to Colorado...

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's an interview with University of Colorado senior Jessica Pixler (left/file photo by Paul Merca), who graduated last June from Seattle Pacific University having won twelve NCAA Division II titles in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track.

Pixler, a graduate student at CU, talks about making the move from Seattle, where the majority of her friends and family are, to Boulder.

She had thoughts after graduation of running professionally in 2011, but felt that with the one season of outdoor track eligibility remaining (she missed the 2008 outdoor season with an injury, and wasn't able to compete at the Olympic Trials), that running in Division I would help ease the transition from Division II to the next level.


Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving links...

Now that you've stuffed yourselves with turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving, here are some links to get you back on track:

First are two videos, courtesy of the Daegu 2011 Local Organizing Committee for next year's version of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, which begin on August 27th, and run until September 4th.

This video gives an update on preparations for the world championships, including the installation of a new blue track:



The next video introduces "Sarbi", the official mascot of the Daegu 2011 organizing committee, who looks like a white rasta man.  We'll let you decide on what you think of Sarbi!



Next is a link to the list of events offered at each stop of the 2011 edition of the Samsung Diamond League.  You can read the events here.

The Nike Prefontaine Classic will be held in Eugene on June 4th, while the adidas Grand Prix will be held a week later at Icahn Stadium in New York.

Finally, here's a link to a post written by Kevin Liao of spikeduppsychedup.com on the woes of the four Pac-10 teams at Monday's NCAA cross country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Liao touches on some points that I suspected over the last few weeks of the season--that Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington have beaten up on each other, and that the results of this season-long battle royal finally showed up at nationals.

At the NCAA West Regionals in Springfield, several observers close to both schools came up to me and said that both Oregon and Stanford were training through the meet, as they were of the opinion that the Ducks and Cardinal, who won the Pac 10s two weeks earlier, didn't necessarily have to place in the top two to ensure a trip to Terre Haute.

Those same observers also stated that they were of the opinion that the Huskies were the team that needed the automatic top-two finish at the regional meet the worst, based on their sub-par showings at the Notre Dame and Pre-Nationals races.

Washington came away with the victory in Springfield, but their strong effort may have cost them (the same seven runners who competed at regionals for the Huskies also ran at the NCAA championships) in Terre Haute.

Stanford's chances at a possible podium finish went out the window when #1 runner Kathy Kroeger failed to finish.  After Jordan Hasay's third place finish and Alex Kosinski's 19th place effort, the next Duck to cross the line was Zoe Buckman in 81st.  Arizona's five runners ran close together, but their lead runners were not close to the front to make an impact in the team race.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bernard Lagat to receive Visa Humanitarian Award from USATF...

INDIANAPOLIS--Three-time Olympian and Washington State University graduate Bernard Lagat (left/file photo by Paul Merca) was named the 2010 Visa Humanitarian of the Year by USA Track & Field.

Lagat will be honored on Saturday, December 4 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Va. The event is held in conjunction with USA Track & Field's 2010 Annual Meeting.

"I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award for doing what I feel is the right thing to do - to help support our future generations," said Lagat. "I try to put my emphasis on helping children, be it in Haiti, here in the States, or back home in Kenya, because I truly do think we need to be giving them the best opportunities they can have, so that they too can grow up to be successful in something they love."

Generosity is nothing new for Lagat. Through the Bernard Lagat Foundation, which he created in 2004, he has paid for Kenyan high school students' tuition fees. His foundation is also a regular supporter of Beat Cancer Boot Camp, a training program designed to help cancer survivors stay active during treatment and remission. He also uses his talent to encourage children to be physically active, by assisting in Olympic 400m hurdler LaTonya Sheffield's Sports Extravaganza clinics.

Lagat continued to display generosity during the 2010 Indoor season. Lagat was twice named the Team USA Athlete of the Meet presented by Visa. He first received this honor for his record-breaking eighth Wanamaker Mile victory at the Millrose Games in NYC. The following week he once again earned recognition for setting the American Indoor record over 3,000 meters at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Without hesitation, Lagat decided to donate the $5,000 prize monies to UNICEF to help in the aid effort in Haiti.

He was also part of the Americas Team at the 2010 Continental Cup that donated all of their extra uniforms to the Haiti Relief Fund. In competition, Lagat won the men's 3,000 and 5,000m at Poljud Stadium in Split, Croatia. On the first night, in a tactical 5,000m, Lagat kicked a 51-second final lap to win the race in 13:58.23. It was more of the same the second night, as Lagat surged over the final 80m to win the 3,000m in 7:54.75, making him the only individual double winner in Split.

Following the close of competition, nearly 20 boxes of undistributed uniform shirts, shorts, pants, jackets and sneakers were sent to Haiti, which is still struggling to recover from the earthquake that devastated the poverty-stricken island nation.

"As a long-standing partner of USA Track & Field, Visa is proud to recognize Bernard for dedicating himself to helping others," said Michael Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship Management, Visa Inc. "Bernard continues to inspire both on and off the track, and we're proud to recognize him as the 2010 Visa Humanitarian of the Year."

"Thank you very much to Visa for choosing to celebrate the simple act of giving to others, and supporting our future generations. I hope this helps inspire others to support a cause they feel passionate about -- it doesn't have to be much, but every little bit counts," stated Lagat.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Washington finishes 16th in NCAA championships

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana--Washington's hope for a podium finish were dashed at the NCAA cross country championships Monday at the LaVern Gibson course, as the Huskies finished a disappointing 16th under warm, but extremely windy conditions.

Washington rolled into Terre Haute hot on the heels of their third straight NCAA West regional title nine days earlier, but their performance in Springfield, Oregon may have been fool's gold based on their regular season showing in October at both the Notre Dame Invitational, and the Pre-Nationals race on this course, when the Huskies needed a top two finish at regionals to ensure a return trip to Terre Haute, and not have to depend on earning an at-large berth.

As she had since the Pre-Nationals, freshman Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca) led the way for the Huskies with a 78th place finish in a time of 21:11.

Running in her final cross country race as a Husky, senior Mel Lawrence finished 101st in 21:21, followed by redshirt freshman Justine Johnson in 102nd in the same time. Junior Christine Babcock was 114th in 21:26, and sophomore Lindsay Flanagan rounded out UW's five scorers in 160th in 21:49, giving the Huskies a 1-5 split of 38 seconds.

Defending champion Villanova defended its national title with a low score of 120, led by individual winner Sheila Reid, who crossed the line in 20:07. Georgetown's Emily Infeld was second at 20:10, while Oregon sophomore Jordan Hasay took third in 20:13.

After Villanova, Florida State repeated its runner-up finish from 2009 with 154 points. Texas Tech took third with 165, and Georgetown took the final podium position with 167 points.

Future Pac 12 member Colorado finished sixth with 314 points, while Arizona was 11th with 372 points. Oregon was 12th with 378 points, and Pac 10 champ Stanford took 13th with 402 points.

Former Husky Kendra Schaaf, now at North Carolina, was 11th in 20:27.

Other runners with Washington connections competing Monday included Sequim's Stephanie Marcy from Stanford, who was 55th in 21:03, and Redmond's Devin McMahon from Cornell, who was 98th in 21:20.

"Coming in here, I think on a good day we could have scored under 200 points," said Greg Metcalf, the West Region Women's Coach of the Year. "It was out slow and we just were on the wrong side of it. When it breaks up and everyone's accelerating, then you're not getting by people like you should. We just didn't feel like ourselves today. We ran great at the last two races and then just didn't have much gas left today."

All-Americans a year ago, Lawrence and Babcock did not have full offseasons of training as they recovered from injuries. Without the two, UW could not have won a third straight West Region title, but neither were their usual selves today, just nine days after the hard run at Regionals. Campbell also was affected by an achilles injury since Pre-Nationals, but ends her outstanding UW career as an All-American on the track and two-time All-West Region performer in cross country. Lawrence will still have two full track seasons remaining.

"We'll return lots of pieces, walk away from this and learn," said Metcalf. "Katie, Justine, Libby, and Lindsay had never run at the NCAA meet before and for most runners it takes getting some experience to run well here. But I'm proud of our young women. We were dead at the Pre-National Meet, and came back to life."

In the men’s race, Bellingham native Jake Riley finished sixth to help Stanford to a fourth place finish.

The Sehome HS graduate stayed off the pace and found himself in the second pack with teammate Chris Derrick, and a trio of runners from Oklahoma State, as the Cardinal, ranked among the country’s top teams throughout the regular season tried to upend the defending national champs.

The Cowboys, coached by former Tumwater prep standout Dave Smith, repeated as national champions with a low score of 73 points. Florida State took a surprising second place finish with 193 points, followed by Wisconsin at 223, and Pac-10 champs Stanford fourth in 237.

Liberty’s Sam Chelanga repeated as the national champion in a time of 29:23, making a late surge to repel the challenge of former NJCAA champ Stephen Sambu of Arizona, who was four seconds back.

Oregon’s Luke Puskedra was third in 29:38.

Oregon finished sixth with 289 points, while Cal was 31st with 678 points. Future Pac 12 member Colorado was 15th with 366 points.

Among individuals with Washington ties competing in Terre Haute, Mt. Rainier HS’s Ryan Prentice of Oklahoma State was 167th in 31:46; former Skyline standout Matt Frerker was 237th in 33:10; and Stanford’s Miles Unterreiner from Gig Harbor was 239th in 33:30.

The final results from the NCAA Championships are available here.

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

Seniors Kailey Campbell and Mel Lawrence talk about their final UW race...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana--With several hours to go before the NCAA cross country championships Monday, seniors Mel Lawrence and Kailey Campbell (left/file photo by Paul Merca) talked about their final race as members of the University of Washington cross country team.

After what Campbell, from Seattle's Ballard HS called "a not so good start to the season", the Huskies, who started the season ranked #3 in the USTFCCCA poll and dropped all the way down to #20 after their appearance here in Terre Haute last month at the Pre-Nationals, appear to be on the upswing after winning the NCAA West Regionals in Springfield, Oregon on November 13th.

Pack running will be a key, according to Lawrence, from Reno, NV., as in the last two races (Pac 10s & Regionals), the Huskies' 1-5 split was 22 and 20 seconds, as opposed to 1:39 at the Pre-Nationals, and 48 seconds at Notre Dame.

Earlier in the season, the Huskies ran a 1-5 split of 54 seconds at the Sundodger meet at Lincoln Park, and 1:05 versus Washington State University in Ephrata back on September 3rd.

Here is video of Campbell and Lawrence, courtesy gohuskies.com.



Streaming video of the NCAA cross country championships will be available at ncaa.com, starting at 9 am, pacific time.


The direct link to the video is here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Washington women tour Terre Haute cross country course for Monday's NCAA Championships...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana--Took a walk around the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course, site of Monday's NCAA Cross Country Championships just to get a feel for what the runners will face.

The race course seemed firm, but could be interesting if the rains appear Sunday night.

Forecast for Monday's race includes a 50% chance of precipitation with a projected high of 68 degrees, and windy conditions of up to 20 miles per hour.

The University of Washington women's cross country team (from left, assistant coach Lauren Denfeld, Kailey Campbell, Katie Flood, Justine Johnson, Mackenzie Carter, Lindsay Flanagan & Mel Lawrence/photo by Paul Merca) took to the course shortly after noon, local time, looking very relaxed with little of the pressure of repeating as national champions, a position they were in at this time last year.

One thing that's come out of today's course tour is the fact that next year's NCAA cross country chanpionships will not be held in Portland, Oregon at Portland Meadows Race Track.

The word from several well-placed sources within the national cross country community attending this meet was that the University of Oregon was supposed to host the meet in 2011, but wanted it on a Saturday instead of the traditional Monday morning.

With that option out, the NCAA is working on a venue for next year's meet.  The 2012 meet will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Several of the women wore fake mustaches during their course run, playing along with media partner Flotrack's "Stashies for Nashies" promotion to hype the website's NCAA coverage.

Afterwards, UW coach Greg Metcalf talked to Flotrack about the pink mustaches.



One of the reasons for Washington's late run of success after a disappointing Pre-Nationals here in Terre Haute last month has been the return of junior Christine Babcock from a confounding injury.

Babcock, from Irvine, Calif., gave UW one its best freshman running seasons ever in the fall of 2008, after qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the 1500 her senior year. She became an All-American as the top freshman finisher and seventh overall at the NCAA championships (20:02). Her scintillating run led the Huskies to the team national title.

She continued that excellence in the spring of 2009 with one of the Huskies' best freshman track seasons ever. In the NCAA preliminaries she set her personal record in the 1,500 meters, 4:16. She finished 11th nationally in the 1,500.

Babcock appeared on her way to another national splash in cross country last fall when her right foot started swelling more with each race. She would run through the pain, endure a week of swelling, then race again. She still earned second consecutive selections as All-Pac-10 and All-America, but fell off to a 34th-place finish at the NCAAs.

To read the full story, please click here.

Don't forget that ncaa.com will provide live online coverage of the NCAA cross country championships, with the women's 6k race starting at 9 am, Seattle time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Western's Sarah Porter takes NCAA D2 West Regional title in Bellingham...

BELLINGHAM--Western Washington's Sarah Porter's (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) march to a NCAA Division II national cross country crown moved one step closer, as the senior won the NCAA Division II West Regional race at Lake Padden Park.

In cold conditions featuring three inches of snow that fell to the ground the night before, Porter won by a 40-second margin, covering the 6-kilometer course in 21:22, with GNAC rival Ruth Keino of Alaska Anchorage taking second in 22:02.

"Hey, we made it and we're looking forward to letting it all out in two weeks," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell. "Having the snow actually made the footing a lot better. It was more of a blessing than a hindrance."

Alaska Anchorage took both team titles, the men upsetting Chico State, the region's top ranked team, by five points to snap an eight-year winning streak by the Wildcats. The Seawolves won the women's crown for the second straight year.

The top four men's teams qualified for nationals. UAA won with 49 points, as all five of its scorers placing among the top 15 to earn West Region all-star honors. The Seawolves were led by Marko Cheseto who finished first for the second straight year. He completed the 10-kilometer course in 31:21.

Cheseto was followed by two WWU runners, as Jordan Welling placed second for the second straight year (31:30) and Bennett Grimes was third (31:40).

Blake Medhaug also earned all-region honors for the Vikings, finishing 13th (32:20). Completing WWU's scorers were Nick Abraham in 35th (33:30), and Chip Jackson in 40th (33:35).

Chico State, which had won the last eight regional titles, placed second in the 19-team field, with 54 points. Host WWU was third (93), its fourth straight top three performance at regionals, and Western Oregon fourth (125).

Saint Martin’s finished 11th with 302, followed by Seattle Pacific at 372, and Central Washington was 16th with 438 points.

The Seawolves won the women's championship by 15 points, 40 to 55, over Chico State. UAA had the next three finishers behind Porter, whose time of 21:22 over the 6-kilometer distance was 40 seconds better than the runner-up.

"I've been trying to be conservative at the start, but today I threw caution to the wind and was almost reckless," said Porter, who competed in snow and 14-degree temperatures two years ago at nationals. "I really wanted this for my team, Pee Wee and everyone who came out here today."

Six women's teams were national qualifiers in the field of 24. WWU was third (111), with Cal Poly Pomona fourth (183), Western Oregon fifth (211) and BYU Hawaii sixth (213).

Seattle Pacific was 12th with 311, followed by Saint Martin’s in 17th with 451 points, and Central Washington 18th with 479 points.

WWU's Lauren Breihof earned all-region honors by finishing sixth (22:52). Other Viking counters were Sierra Brisky 30th (24:09); Jessica Boyer 33rd (24:17); and Lacey Nation (So., Lakewood), 41st (24:21).

The Vikings prepare for the NCAA Division II championships in two weeks in Louisville, Kentucky.

The complete results from the NCAA West Regionals are available here.

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

Whitworth Pirates finish 17th & 28th at NCAA Division III championships...

WAVERLY, Iowa--The Whitworth University women's cross country team finished 17th and the men's squad finished 28th in the NCAA Division III cross country championships Saturday at the Max Cross Country Course on the campus of Wartburg College.

The Spokane school, coached by Toby Schwarz, was led by sophomore Joy Shufeldt (left/photo courtesy Whitworth University) from Portland's Franklin HS, who finished 44th (27th team), running the 6k course in a time of 21:57.

Other scorers for the Whitworth Pirates included senior Tonya Turner (22:23), senior Dana Misterek (22:30), senior Kathryn Williams (22:35), and senior Adrienne Ritchie (24:02).

On the men's side, Whitworth's top runner was senior Nicholas Gallagher, who finished 131st (97th team) in 25:40. Other scorers were junior Aaron Jenkins (25:43), sophomore Trevor Berian (25:51), junior Tyler Dudley (26:27), and junior Kalen Darling (27:06).

Freshman Robin Harkins from the University of Puget Sound, who qualified for the meet as an individual, finished in 189th place in 26:01.

Senior Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence was the women's individual champion in 20:50, and Middlebury took the women's team title.  Senior Anders Hulleberg won the men's title in 24:23 to help lead Haverford to the national title.

Complete women's results from the NCAA Division III championships are available here, while the men's results are available here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Links to tide you over...

While waiting for my flight to cover Monday's NCAA cross country championships in Terre Haute, here are some links to tide you over:

First is a link to the highlights of day 1 of the IAAF Council meeting in Monte Carlo, coinciding with the World Athletics Gala on Sunday, where the 2010 World Athlete of the Year award will be presented.

IAAF world indoor 3000 meter champion and Washington State University alumnus Bernard Lagat (left/file photo by Paul Merca) is one of the finalists for this award.

One of the most significant highlights (or lowlights, as friend of the blog Martin Bingisser writes) is the fact that competitive opportunities for hammer throwers have been reduced.

To read Martin's thoughts, please click here.

The standards for next year's IAAF World Track & Field Championships were released. To view it, please click here.

The 2011 IAAF World Athletics Calendar was finalized, including the dates for all of the meets in the Samsung Diamond League.

The Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene will be held Saturday June 4th, while the adidas Grand Prix will be contested a week later, with the Bislett Games in Oslo sandwiched in on the 9th, which could make things interesting for athletes who wish to compete in both US meets and the Bislett Games.

The calendar is available here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greg Metcalf named West Region women's cross country coach of the year by USTFCCCA...

University of Washington cross country coach Greg Metcalf (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as its West Region women’s cross country coach of the year.

Metcalf’s Huskies won their third-straight NCAA West Region title with a 73-77 victory over Oregon last Saturday in Springfield, Oregon.

UW had two runners in the race’s top ten, led by freshmen Katie Flood and Justine Johnson’s 6-7 finish, and had all five scorers in the top 25. Washington, ranked fourth nationally, finished third in the Pac-10 Championships earlier this fall.

This marks the third year in a row that Metcalf has earned the West Region honor from the USTFCCCA.

The USTFCCCA release can be read here.

The venerable publication Track & Field News has just published what is perhaps the most in depth archive of the NCAA Division I cross country championships, as it has the results from every championship race since its inception in 1938.

If you have a lot of time to spare, this is certainly a fascinating read.


The link to the archive’s home page can be accessed here.

A total of 10 team berths for the NCAA Division II national meet - six in the women's division and four in the men's division - will be available this Saturday when the NCAA Division II West Regional returns to Lake Padden in Bellingham for the fourth time since 1998.

Three GNAC men's teams are currently ranked in the Top 4 and three women's teams are ranked in the Top 6 in the latest West Region rankings.

Five of those teams are also nationally ranked. GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage is ranked eighth, host Western Washington is 10th and Western Oregon is 16th in the men's division.

The defending region champion Seawolves and Vikings, who finished 1-2 in the GNAC conference meet, are ranked fifth and seventh in the women's national poll.

In addition to the 10 team berths available for the national meet in Louisville on Dec. 4, the top two male and female individuals not on one of the qualified teams will also qualify.

Marko Cheseto of Alaska Anchorage is the defending men's regional champion, while Chico State is the eight-time defending men's team champion.

Sarah Porter of Western Washington finished second last year in the women's race in back of Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler and is coming off a win in the GNAC championships two weeks ago in Yakima.

The meet program for Saturday’s NCAA Division II West Regionals is available here.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and Track & Field News contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Washington women rebound to #4 in final USTFCCCA regular season harrier poll...

With a few days remaining before the nation’s top collegiate distance runners meet for bragging rights at the NCAA Division I cross country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on November 22nd, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its final regular season women’s poll Tuesday.

After beginning the season ranked third in the preseason poll, the University of Washington Huskies (from left, Liberty Miller, Lindsay Flanagan, Katie Flood, Christine Babcock, Kailey Campbell, Mel Lawrence, Justine Johnson & Mackenzie Carter/photo by Paul Merca) dropped to 13th, and then down to 20th in the national rankings. Their Pac-10 showing pushed them back up to 11th, and then Saturday's Regional victory boosted UW's standing back up to No. 4. The win was UW's first since the Sundodger Invitational back in September.

The Wildcats of Villanova maintained their #1 ranking, and will look to claim repeat national titles for the first time since their six-year title run from 1989 to 1994. Villanova has won eight national titles in women’s cross country, the most for a Division I squad. Only Stanford (5) and BYU (4) join Villanova in having won more than two.

No. 2 Florida State, runner-up in 2009, easily won the NCAA South Regional last weekend and will look to challenge Villanova for their first-ever national title. The Seminoles have reached a trophy finishes (top four) in each of the last three years.

Georgetown moved up two spots to No. 3 after they came within 11 points of Villanova in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. The Hoyas, with four in the top ten, scored just 40 points in their challenge of Villanova’s 29. Georgetown, making their 22nd appearance at the national meet, has three times finished third in the meet, with the last coming in 2001.

The Huskies in the 4 spot are then followed by No. 5 New Mexico, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 Colorado, No. 9 Arizona, and No. 10 Texas Tech.

The ustfccca.org release can be read here.

Courtesy of gohuskies.com, UW coach Greg Metcalf recaps the NCAA West Regional meet, where his women’s squad emerged victorious for the third year in a row, putting the Huskies in position to make another run at the podium on Monday.



paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Terre Haute to provide coverage of the NCAA cross country championships.


NOTE: The University of Washington sports information office and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Monday, November 15, 2010

USTFCCCA announces All-Region Recipients...

NEW ORLEANS--Justin Englund (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Washington State, along with Katie Flood, Justine Johnson, Christine Babcock, Mel Lawrence, and Kailey Campbell from the University of Washington women’s cross country team that won last week’s NCAA Western Regional championship race in Springfield, Oregon, were selected to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All Region team Monday.

Athletes of schools that are members of the USTFCCCA were selected based on a top-25 finish at one of the nine NCAA Regional championship meets held throughout the country last Saturday.

In reviewing the results from the NCAA West Regionals, it’s noted that Kyle King of Eastern Washington, who finished 19th, did not receive the USTFCCCA regional award.

An email from USTFCCCA spokesman Tom Lewis said that King was omitted because Eastern Washington is currently not a member of the organization.

Indiana State University will host the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on November 22, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The women’s race will begin at approximately 12:08 p.m. Eastern, followed by the men’s race at approximately 12:48 p.m.

A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast from noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, November 22, on NCAA.com. In addition, highlights from the championships will be included as part of the CBS NCAA Fall Seasonal Show scheduled to air on Saturday, December 18 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on CBS HD.

The USTFCCCA release, along with the names of the recipients, can be viewed here.

In other news from the USTFCCCA, the standards for the 2011 NCAA Division I indoor championship meet was released last week.

The most significant change is that there are no provisional qualifying marks for the meet; all automatic qualifiers will get entry into the meet, with the rest of the field being filled in descending order from marks submitted to tfrrs.org.

Standards for the D1 indoor championships can be viewed here.

In Division III, Whitworth’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in Saturday’s NCAA D3 Championships in Waverly, Iowa, hosted by Wartburg College, starting at 11 am eastern time with the men’s race, and the women following an hour later.

Additionally, Robin Harkins of Puget Sound in Tacoma will compete in the men’s race as an automatic individual qualifier.

The field for the NCAA D3 Championships can be viewed here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Video interview with Katie Flood & Justine Johnson...

As promised in our post earlier Saturday, here is a video interview with Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Justine Johnson of the University of Washington, as their 6-7 finish in the NCAA West Regional cross country championship meet in Springfield, Oregon led the Huskies to their third straight regional title.

Afterwards, UW coach Greg Metcalf said of the Huskies' performance, "The women coming here the goal was to automatically qualify. We've had success on this course. It went out like the last few Regionals, controlled through the first mile. Our team stayed in the right place. Katie and Justine, for two freshmen, they continue to run very confident and ran great to the finish line. Christine and Kailey battled and ran people down. Mel was a little tired today but she will be there at Nationals. Today we added some more momentum, now there's excitement; it's always fun to win cross country meets."

Here's how Katie and Justine saw the race:



NOTE:  In that earlier post, the University of Washington men's team was listed as eighth, when in fact they were sixth.  paulmerca.blogspot.com apologizes for the typing error, which was corrected when we arrived in Seattle.

Washington wins third straight NCAA West Regional Cross Country title...

SPRINGFIELD, Oregon—Reports of the demise of the Washington Husky women’s cross country program after a sub-par regular season may have been premature.

After mediocre performances at Notre Dame and Pre-Nationals in early October, and a bounce-back effort in Seattle at the Pacific 10 Conference championships, the Huskies are poised to make a run at a podium finish at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute with their victory at the NCAA West Regionals Saturday at the Springfield Country Club.

Under slightly drizzly skies and temperatures in the mid 40s at the start of the race, Washington was led to the line once again by freshman Katie Flood’s sixth place finish, covering the 6k course in 20:18.

Right behind Flood was redshirt freshman Justine Johnson (far left/photo by Paul Merca), who came through in seventh in the same time.

As was the case two weeks ago in Seattle, Christine Babcock, Mel Lawrence, and Kailey Campbell ran in a tight pack, placing 19-20-21, in 20:33, 20:37, and 20:38, respectively, giving Washington a 20 second 1-5 split, two seconds better than their efforts in Seattle.

Oregon’s Jordan Hasay took the victory in 20:02, with Cal’s Deborah Maier second in 20:07, and Oregon’s Alex Kosinski third in 20:10.

Washington’s final tally was 73 points, with the Ducks second at 77. Pac 10 champs Stanford finished third with 86 points, and Arizona took fourth with 90 points.

“We wanted to stay together as one pack,” said Johnson afterwards.

Johnson also said that they were trying to stay close to the Arizona and Oregon girls during the race, and make sure that they had numbers on those two squads.

At the start of the race, Flood found the going a bit rough, with the tight pack. However, she feels that their performance Saturday bodes well for the NCAA championships next week.

“This certainly gives us a lot of confidence going to Terre Haute,” said Flood..

Washington State finished 16th overall with a team score of 486, led by freshman Ruby Roberts, who placed 42nd in 21:07.

Caroline Austin was 96th in 21:54, then followed by Allison Clark in 104th at 21:58. Ramona Morshead was 124th at 22:16, and Courtney Zalud rounded out the Cougar scorers in 132nd in 22:22.

Eastern Washington’s Amy Kolin was 85th in 21:43.

In the men’s 10k race, Bellingham’s Jake Riley finished ninth in 30:15, as the #1 ranked Stanford Cardinal lost a two-point decision to Oregon 63-65.

Portland’s Trevor Dunbar won a photo finish over Arizona’s Stephen Sambu, with both clocked at 29:58, with Cal’s Michael Coe third in 30:00.

Boise State’s Jeff Howard from Spokane’s North Central HS was 17th in 30:33, while Eastern Washington’s Kyle King finished 19th in 30:35, while Gig Harbor’s Miles Unterreiner of Stanford was 22nd in 30:38.

Washington State’s Justin Englund was 25th in 30:40, and Gonzaga’s Chris Boyle from Seattle’s Blanchet HS was 27th in 30:42, giving Washington-affiliated runners six spots in the top 30, a point made by Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson.

The Washington Huskies rebounded from a mediocre performance two weeks ago at the Pac-10s, finishing sixth with 216 points, led by Rob Webster Jr’s 34th place finish in 30:51, right behind Skyline HS grad Matt Frerker of Portland at 30:50.

Other scorers for the Huskies included Joey Bywater in 40th at 30:58. James Cameron was 42nd in 31:01, followed by Mike Miller in 49th at 31:07. Gareth Gilna rounded out the scorers in 61st in 31:17.

Washington State, which hoped to get a top five finish, finished 14th with 396 points.

After Englund, the Cougars’ next runner was Andrew Kimpel in 64th at 31:17. Andrew Gonzales in 102nd at 31:49. Jono Lafler was 104th at 31:51, and David Hickerson rounded out the scorers in 115th at 32:01.

Complete results from the NCAA West Regionals are available here.

A video interview with Justine Johnson and Katie Flood will be up later Saturday evening.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dawgs, Cougs, Eagles & Zags head to Springfield for NCAA West Regionals...

The University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, and Gonzaga cross country squad are set to compete in Saturday’s crucial NCAA Western Regional championships at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Oregon, hosted by the University of Oregon.

Action gets underway at 9:45 am with the women’s 6k race, followed an hour later by the men’s 10k race.

The top-two finishing teams in both the men's and women's races earn automatic spots at the NCAA Championships, which are just nine days after Regionals on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Indiana. The West Region is one of nine Regions across the country, which account for 18 auto qualifiers, then 13 at-large spots are awarded to round out the field.

The UW women are in a solid position in terms of their NCAA chances but need a strong run this weekend to secure their fourth-straight NCAA bid. The Huskies have won the past two West Regional meets to get the automatic bid.

Washington breathed new life into its season at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago in Seattle, as the Dawgs turned in their best performance of the season to tie for third in the closest race in conference history. Just six points separated the top four teams, and Regionals looks to be a repeat of that battle as No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Oregon, and the No. 11 Huskies could all be neck and neck again.

Second-ranked Stanford is the favorite on the men's side after winning the Pac-10 meet and will face challenges from No. 3 Oregon and No. 13 Portland. The Huskies are unranked and injuries have made things tough of late, but UW has typically run its best late in the year when the distance moves up to 10,000 meters, as it does this weekend.

Courtesy of gohuskies.com, here is an interview with junior Christine Babcock (above/photo by Paul Merca) previewing the NCAA regionals:



For the Cougars of Washington State, it will be a difficult task at best for them to qualify an individual, much less a team for the NCAA championships on November 22, especially given the youth on both squads, as they will run one female upperclassman (Ashlee Wall Eskelen), and three men (Justin Englund, David Hickerson, and Peter Miller).

The Cougar men’s squad is hoping that they can sneak past some teams and maybe get a top five finish in Saturday’s race, according to this interview with Andrew Gonzales and Jono Lafler, courtesy of wsucougars.com.



Eastern Washington will send juniors Cody Barton, Kyle King and Bowe Ebding from the men’s team, along with senior Amy Kolin and junior Stephanie Dye from the women’s team to Springfield.

“The goal for Amy and Kyle is to qualify for the national competition,” said head coach Chris Zeller. “They are both equally capable of making it but like always it will depend on the day and how they’re feeling.”

“For the rest of the team, though it would be great for them to qualify for the national meet, this is a reward for working hard all season and performing well at the Big Sky Championships,” said Zeller. “The goal is for them to gain experience and extend their season. Hopefully down the road they will be in the same position that Amy and Kyle are in.”

Gonzaga will be led by senior Chris Boyle from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet HS, who is coming off a strong performance in the WCC Championships two weeks ago, where he placed fourth, after finishing tenth in last year’s meet.

Here are the teams and individuals competing Saturday:

Men’s Teams: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California , UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State, Idaho, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Oregon, Portland, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.

Men’s Individuals: Hunter Hays, Cal State Northridge, Gustavo Hernandez, Cal State Northridge, Juan Olea, Cal State Northridge; Cody Barton, Eastern Washington, Bowe Ebding, Eastern Washington, Kyle King, Eastern Washington; Chris Boyle, Gonzaga; Zachary Carpenter, Portland State, John Lawrence, Portland State, Andrew Salg, Portland State.

Women’s Teams: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California , UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Portland, Sacramento State, San Diego, San Diego State, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Saint Mary's, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State.

Women’s Individuals: Zitlalic Ley, Cal State Northridge, Lilyana Morejon, Cal State Northridge, Araceli Zainos, Cal State Northridge; Stephanie Dye, Eastern Washington, Amy Kolin, Eastern Washington; Melissa Hopper, Pacific; Jazmin Quiroz, Pacific; Katie Blue, Portland State, Karissa Fuller, Portland State, Julie Pederson, Portland State, Amber Rozcicha, Portland State; Zsofia Erdelyi, USC.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Oregon, University of Washington, Eastern Washington, Washington State, and Gonzaga contributed to this report.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Four Washington preps named to Track & Field News All-America team...

Four Washington prep athletes were named to Track & Field News’ 2010 High School All-America team in the December issue of the publication.

On the boys’ side, IAAF world junior 4 x 400 relay gold medalist Michael Berry (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) in the 400 meters from Seattle’s Rainier Beach HS, along with Seatown Express and USA world junior championships teammate Derek Eager (javelin) from Tahoma HS were both named to the squad.

National mile leader Maddie Meyers of Northwest School in Seattle, and javelin thrower Christine Kirkwood from Othello were the two girls selected to the All-America team, which places emphasis on high placing at the major prep invitational meets that occur after the close of the regular high school season.

Berry was ranked #2 in the 400, on the strength of his state 3A title, and his win at the Arcadia Invitational. Berry’s 4th place finish at the USA junior championships was thrown out due to a positive test for marijuana. Berry is now attending the University of Oregon.

Eager, the Washington state Gatorade track & field athlete of the year, ranked #3 on the strength of his second place finish at the USA juniors in Des Moines, Iowa, where he threw 230-5 (70.24m) to ace out Gresham’s Sam Crouser for the final spot on Team USA for the Moncton world championship meet. Eager now attends UCLA.

Meyers, who recently won her third straight state A cross country title, was the national leader in the mile, running 4:41.93 at the Jim Ryun prep invitational race in New York in June held in conjunction with the adidas Grand Prix meet. That earned her a #2 ranking by the publication.

Kirkwood, whose older sister Courtney was a NCAA qualifier in the javelin last season for Washington State University, was ranked #4 nationally, based on her third place finish at the USA juniors in Des Moines, where she threw 161-4 (49.18m). Kirkwood, now a senior at Othello, had a season best of 162-10 (49.64m).

Accidentally omitted from Tuesday’s story on the three UW athletes named to the Track & Field News All America team was the fact that Megan Goethals was also named to the team in the mile, in addition to the two mile. Goethals ran 4:43.05 in the 1600, which the magazine converted to a 4:44.30 for the mile.


WESTERN WASHINGTON CROSS COUNTRY SQUADS MOVE UP ONE PLACE IN USTFCCCA DIVISION II RANKINGS

The Western Washington men’s and women’s cross country teams each moved up one spot in the USTFCCCA national Division II rankings in the latest poll, released on Wednesday.

The men’s squad moved to #10 in the polls, up one notch from #11 after their second place performance in last week’s GNAC championships in Yakima.

The top nine teams in the national poll remained the same, led by #1 Adams State of Colorado, and GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage, which remained #8.

The Viking women’s team moved to #7 from the previous #8 spot, after they replicated the men’s second place team finish at the GNAC meet.

Grand Valley State of Michigan leapfrogged into the #1 spot nationally, while GNAC champions Alaska Anchorage dropped one place to #5 in the polls.

The final regular season poll will be conducted on November 24, after the NCAA Division II regional championships.

Western Washington will host the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday November 20th in Bellingham.

The complete poll can be accessed here.


QUICK LINKS…

First quick link is a story on gohuskies.com featuring Justine Johnson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who made a breakthrough, finishing 15th overall and third on the squad as UW just missed out on a third conference title in the closest race in Pac-10 history.

To read the full story, click here.

Meanwhile on the pro circuit, the reports of Ethiopian Haile Gebreselassie’s impending retirement may be premature, as agent Jos Hermens said that a sudden knee injury which forced the 37-year-old Gebrselassie out of Sunday's ING New York City Marathon left him in an emotional state which led to the rash announcement. Hermens has spoken to Gebrselassie by phone since the race.

Gebrselassie won two Olympic 10,000-meter gold medals, four outdoor world titles and set the marathon world record of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds in Berlin in 2008.

A few days ahead of the race in New York, Gebrselassie felt irritation in his knee, which started to get inflamed when he got to New York. Hermens said it was especially bad news since Gebrselassie was bent on using the race to defy critics saying he could not win a tactical race against top opposition.

To read the full story, please click here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Three Huskies named to Track & Field News High School All-America team...


Track & Field News selected University of Washington freshmen Sean Krinik (left/photo courtesy dyestat.com), Kasen Covington, and Megan Goethals to its 2010 High School All America team in the magazine’s December issue.

Krinik,out of Valencia High School in Placentia, California, was the national leader in the 800 meter run, and was undefeated in the 2010 outdoor season, running 1:48.20 to win the California state meet, then backed up his win by winning the New Balance Nationals meet, where he faced most of the country’s top prep runners.

In a University of Washington media release earlier this year after Krinik announced his intent to attend the UW, Husky coach Greg Metcalf said, “We needed a middle distance recruit and with Sean we are getting the No. 1 returning half-miler in the country. I think he adds an instant impact in the middle distance events and I'm very excited to follow him…then work with him in the fall.”

Krinik also finished fifth in the magazine’s voting for high school male athlete of the year, as Sam Crouser of Gresham HS in Oregon took the publication’s top honors.

Kasen Covington, out of Capital HS in Boise, was ranked by T&FN as the nation’s number two triple jumper with a best of 50-6 ¾ (15.24m), which was the #7 mark in the country this season. He won his third straight Idaho state 5A title in the event, and finished fourth in the USA junior nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.

UW jumps coach Pat Licari said of Covington, “We haven't had one of those kind of guys for quite a while now. He also jumps right around 24-feet in the long jump so he is going to be a good contributor for us in both the long and triple. He fits in great with our guys and will be a nice teammate for everybody.”

Megan Goethals from Michigan’s Rochester High School, took the #1 ranking in the two mile run, clocking a nation-leading 10:01.16 in winning the New Balance Nationals, which was the sixth fastest prep mark of all time.

Goethals ran in two meets this cross country season for the Huskies—at the Sundodger Invitational, and the Notre Dame Invitational.

WANJIRU & SHOBUKHOVA NAMED WORLD MARATHON MAJORS SERIES CHAMPS

Sammy Wanjiru (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia were crowned champions of the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors series at a press conference in New York Monday, and both were presented $500,000 USD for their respective accomplishments.

Wanjiru accumulated 75 points over the two-year series with a win at the 2009 Virgin London Marathon and back-to-back victories at the 2009 and 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathons. Wanjiru also won the 2008-2009 WMM series.

Shobukhova tallied 85 points over the past two years with a pair of victories at the 2009 and 2010 Chicago Marathons, a victory at the 2010 London Marathon and a third-place finish at the same event in 2009.

“Last year I promised I would be back here to defend my World Marathon Majors title and I’m proud to have fulfilled that promise,” said Wanjiru. “Being the Olympic Marathon champion is a dream for everyone, but to win the World Marathon Majors series means that you have to be strong and consistent over two years and I’m happy to have achieved this honor twice.”

Shobukhova has scored WMM points in all four of her career marathons, including victories in her last three. She unseated Germany’s Irina Mikitenko, victor of the last two WMM series.

“I want to thank the race directors and event organizers for the opportunity to compete in the World Marathon Majors,” said Shobukhova. “It is a great idea and serves not as pressure, but as a source of motivation for athletes to compete at their best at the world’s best races. After I won the 2009 Chicago Marathon I knew I had an opportunity to win the series title, and I’m proud to have achieved this goal and I hope to be back next year.”

In the series, which was established in 2006, the world’s top runners score points for top five finishes in the five events that comprise the World Marathon Majors: Virgin London Marathon, B.A.A. Boston Marathon, real,- Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and ING New York City Marathon. Athletes also earn World Marathon Major points at the Olympic Games every four years and IAAF World Championships every other year.

To read the full release, please click here.

NOTE:  The World Marathon Majors contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sarah Porter wins GNAC cross country title; Vikings finish second to Alaska Anchorage...

YAKIMA—Western Washington senior Sarah Porter (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) won the women’s individual title at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championships Saturday at the Apple Ridge Run cross country facility.

However, Western’s bid to win its first GNAC women’s team crown was derailed, as #4 ranked Alaska Anchorage placed four runners in the top six and five in the top 11 in winning their second consecutive team title with 27 points. Western Washington, ranked #8 in the current USTFCCCA national Division II was a distant second with 69 points.

Porter covered the women's 6,000-meter course in a winning time of 21:04, falling just one second short of the course record set last season by Jessica Pixler of Seattle Pacific.

"She (Porter) employed a different strategy today, going out very controlled and then waiting until the last 200 to 300 meters before really pouring on the steam," Western coach Pee Wee Halsell said. "She was upset at not getting the course record, but it was good to see her get that first title at a championship event."

Porter is the first Western woman to win a GNAC title since Ashlee Vincent took back-to-back crowns in 2001 and 2002.

Alaska Anchorage placed four runners in the top six and five in the top 11 in winning their second consecutive team title with 27 points. Western Washington was a distant second with 69 points.

Porter’s teammate Lauren Breihof was seventh in 22:37, while Seattle Pacific’s Natty Plunkett finished ninth in 22:44. St. Martin’s Joscelyn Minton rounded out the top ten in 22:49.

Seattle Pacific finished seventh with 160 points, while St Martin’s was eighth at 189 points, and Central Washington ninth with 233 points.

In the men’s race, Alaska Anchorage’s Marko Cheseto won his third straight GNAC individual crown, running 23:56, as he led the Seawolves to a 41-56 team victory over defending champ Western Washington.

Three Vikings finished among the top 10, all for the fourth time. They were Jordan Welling (Sr., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) fifth (24:34), Bennett Grimes (Sr., Pocatello, ID/Century) sixth (24:36) and Blake Medhaug (Sr., Bothell) eighth (25:16).

St. Martin’s Spencer Hunt finished ninth in 25:24, while teammate Kyle Van Santen rounded out the top ten, clocking 25:30, leading the school to a fifth place team finish with 175 points.

Seattle Pacific was sixth with 180 points, while Central Washington was ninth with 230 points.

All nine GNAC institutions are now eligible to compete in the NCAA West Regional November 20 at Bellingham, though some of the schools require their teams to finish at a certain position in the GNAC meet to advance to the regional meet (Seattle Pacific’s release stated the Falcons needed to finish fifth or better to advance to Bellingham. The Falcons will send Plunkett to the West Regionals).

Western Washington's release can be read here.

Complete results from the GNAC Championships can be accessed here.

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

Friday, November 5, 2010

Western women aim for first ever GNAC cross country crown...

Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington are expected to fight it out for both the men's and women's team titles in the 10th annual GNAC Cross Country Championships, hosted by Central Washington University at the Apple Ridge Run Cross Country Facility near Yakima Saturday.

However, it's likely just Round 1 for the two heavyweights as they will see each other again in two weeks in Bellingham for the NCAA Division II West Regional at Lake Padden and likely again on Dec. 4 in Louisville, Kentucky, for the national championships.

Between the two they have won seven of the nine previous men's titles. Alaska Anchorage, which is ranked eighth nationally, won men's titles in 2002, 2005 and 2008.

The Seawolves, who will be led by defending two-time champion Marko Cheseto, figure to have a slight edge over the defending champion Vikings, who have won three of the last four titles and four overall (2003, 2006, 2007, 2009) and are ranked 11th.

On the women's side, Seattle Pacific has won five titles since 2003, but the Falcons are in a slight rebuilding mode and nationally fourth-ranked UAA hopes to claim its second championship in a row.

The Vikings, meanwhile, who are ranked eighth nationally, will be going for their first ever GNAC women's team title.

Western athletes have won two individual women's titles (Ashlee Vincent in 2001 and 2002) and Sarah Porter (left/photo courtesy WWU Sports Information) hopes to make it three. A year ago, Porter was the runner-up to SPU's Jessica Pixler in the conference, regional and national meets and will be among the favorites in all three races this time around.

Porter is one of four Western Washington athletes looking to join an exclusive club by earning their fourth consecutive GNAC all-conference award with a Top 10 finish.

Only five others – all women – have accomplished that feat and only three – Pixler (2006-09), SPU's Jane Larson (2006-09) and UAA's Mandy Kaempf (2003-06) – have done it in consecutive seasons.

WWU seniors Bennett Grimes, Jordan Welling and Blake Medhaug all have an opportunity to become the first men to join the exclusive group.

Meanwhile, Cheseto will be looking to become the first male to win three consecutive conference individual titles. He won the 2008 title in a Apple Ridge record-time of 24:30.27 and repeated last season with a time of 24:50. No one else has ever won more than once in the men's conference meet.

Competition will get under Saturday on the Apple Ridge facility at 11 a.m. with the men's 8,000-meter race. The women's 6,000-meter race will follow at noon.

The meet program can be accessed here.

NOTE: The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Huskies move to 11th in USTFCCCA poll, plus other news...

After a tumultuous last month that saw the stock of the University of Washington women’s cross country team drop all the way down to number 20 in the last United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll, the Huskies rebounded and find themselves on the edge of the top ten.

In the poll released Tuesday, the Huskies are ranked 11th with three Pacific 10 Conference rivals ahead of them in # 4 Stanford, #6 Arizona, and #7 Oregon ahead of them.

Washington ran with the closest semblance of a full squad at last Saturday’s Pac 10 championships, as junior Christine Babcock, who was red-shirted last spring with a foot injury, competed for the first time all season in a Husky uniform, placing 19th in the 6k race, held at Jefferson Park Golf Course in south Seattle, after missing her and fellow All-American Mel Lawrence for most of the season.

In what was the closest team finish in league history, the Cardinal scored 62 points for the crown to No. 6 Arizona’s 65 and No. 7 Oregon and No. 11 Washington’s 68. The Cardinal is in the top five for the first time since September 30, 2008.

Here is video of Husky coach Greg Metcalf, recapping the Pac 10 Championships.



All four teams will prepare for the crucial NCAA West Regional cross country championships on Saturday November 13 in Springfield, Oregon, with the top two teams receiving automatic entries to the NCAA championships on November 22nd in Terre Haute, Indiana, with other teams having to wait for the NCAA to issue at-large berths on the Sunday or Monday following the Regionals.

FLOOD NAMED GOHUSKIES.COM STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Katie Flood (above/photo by Paul Merca), a freshman from Des Moines, Iowa, of the UW women's cross country team is the Gohuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 25-31.

Flood was the top finisher at the Pac-10 Championships held in Seattle for the first time in 10 years at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Saturday. Flood helped the then 20th-ranked Huskies tie No. 2 Oregon for third place in the closes overall team finish in conference history.

In just her second career college race, Flood placed sixth on the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20-minutes and 13-seconds. Flood had a late start to her season, coming off a stress fracture over the summer at the end of her All-American prep career, but has quickly made up for lost time, after competing for the first time just two weeks ago at Pre-Nationals where she was 23rd.

The UW release can be read here.



EVANS NAMED COACH OF SARA HALL AFTER DEPARTING MAMMOTH TC GROUP

Friend of the blog and UniversalSports.com writer Joe Battaglia reports that former Mercer Island HS runner, Stanford All-American and coach Dena Evans (far left/photo by Paul Merca) was named to coach Sara Hall, who with her husband, US Olympic Trials marathon winner Ryan, left coach Terrance Mahon and the Mammoth (CA) Track Club to coach himself, with advice from outside sources.

As Battaglia writes, “the one thing lost was how the decision impacted Hall's wife Sara, who suddenly found herself without a coach.”

"I felt that I would still benefit from a traditional coaching relationship, so I have decided to be coached by my college coach, Dena Evans," Sara wrote in a blog posted on Facebook. "Dena and I have worked together successfully in the past and she knows me better than almost everyone except my immediate family."

Hall will be based in the Bay Area for low-altitude training, in order to be close to Evans, who is based in the Palo Alto area.

While coaching at Stanford, Evans led the Cardinal to four consecutive Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships and finished in the top five at the NCAA Championships every year. Dena was named the 2003 NCAA and Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year, after leading Stanford to the national title.

Evans has served as team leader on two USA national cross country teams, taking the 2004 junior women’s squad led by Jenny Barringer to Brussels, Belgium, where they finished fourth.

As senior women’s team leader in 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland, she steered Team USA to a fourth place finish, led by Emily Brown’s 18th place finish, as the Americans missed the podium by three points.

Here's a link summarizing Evans' coaching career at Stanford.


Battaglia’s post can be read here.

Blog Archive