Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Husky men's track team moves up in latest USTFCCCA poll; Eugene 2012 & hot topics...

The University of Washington men's track & field team vaulted to a season-high No. 16 national ranking today after the USTFCCCA compiled all the latest best marks from around the country. Big efforts from Husky seniors Colton Tully-Doyle (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Ryan Vu helped jump the Dawgs up four spots this week.

Men’s No. 1 Florida (168.05) gained points this last weekend in normal events – sprints and jumps, but a 3:56.84 run in the mile by Dumisane Hlaselo at the Dempsey last Saturday garnered the Gators additional ranking points as the fourth-best performance in the NCAA this year.

Washington has moved up each of the past three rankings periods after starting the year at No. 22. Tully-Doyle's school-record in the 3,000-meters earned him the NCAA Automatic qualifying mark and currently ranks him 11th in the NCAA. Vu didn't quite hit the auto mark with his 17-foot, 7-inch pole vault clearance, but that mark ties him for seventh nationally and will most likely be enough for him to join fellow senior Scott Roth at NCAA Indoors in the vault.

The Huskies are also getting big points from junior Jeremy Taiwo in the heptathlon, as he ranks third overall, and from their distance medley relay team, which is ninth nationally with a time of 9:39.29.

In the women's poll, number 1 Oregon (199.68) continues to add to their all-around qualifying marks. Sophomore Jordan Hasay recorded the NCAA’s best time in the mile last weekend with a 4:34.75 run at the Flotrack Husky Classic. Junior Alex Kosinski added the second-best time in the nation in the 5000.

In Division II, the Western Washington men's squad remains at #20. as the Blue Tigers of Lincoln (Mo.) move to the No. 1 men’s position for the second time this year as rival Saint Augustine’s moved to No. 2. Grand Valley State’s women are again at No. 1, a place they have held since the beginning of the season.

The Viking women's team dropped all the way down to #22 from their #11 ranking from the previous week.

As expected, Seattle Pacific's women's squad dropped out of the top 25.

The Division I release can be accessed here, while the Division II release is available here.

TICKETS FOR 2012 US OLYMPIC TRIALS AVAILABLE MAY 6TH...

paulmerca.blogspot.com received this release from the organizers of the 2012 US Olympic track & field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

The meet - which is being marketed as "TrackTown12" - will be hosted by the Oregon Track Club at Historic Hayward Field June 22 to July 1, 2012, in Eugene, Ore. All-session ticket packages for the eight-day competition will be available for general public purchase beginning May 6, 2011.

"Hayward Field is the perfect venue for selecting Team USA and showcasing America's best athletes as they prepare for outstanding performances at the London Olympic Games," said Vin Lananna, co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee and Associate Athletic Director at the University of Oregon. "We are excited to welcome fans from across the country to Track Town, USA and invite everyone to join us in a celebration of the world's #1 track and field team."

According to Lananna, the community is hard at work to ensure that TrackTown12 is the best track and field event ever. He expects it to surpass Eugene08 - which not only drew faithful fans from as across the nation, but also set the bar for green sporting events by winning the IOC's first-ever Sport and Environment Award. A ticket to Eugene08 was a hot commodity, and all-session packages sold out several months in advance. Tickets to TrackTown12 are also expected to sell quickly and a limited number of individual-day tickets will go on sale in April of 2012.

The complete release can be read here

HOT TOPICS…

Two of the hottest topics in track & field on the internet are the IAAF's decision to give the top sprinters byes from the first round of competition at the world championships and the Olympics, along with the questioning of marks set in the distance races at the Dempsey Indoor Facility at the University of Washington.

Essentially, athletes who are entered in the Olympics and world championships in the 100 and 200 meters who do not have either the A or B qualifying standard, would have to run the first round, in what is essentially a "play-in" round.

According to an IAAF release, "Notably, a “Preliminary” round in the men’s and women’s 100m, traditionally the event with the highest number of entrants and highest number of non-qualified athletes, has been introduced. The “Preliminary” round will be held before the main three rounds of the men’s and women’s 100m in order to give an opportunity to athletes who have neither the ‘A’ nor the ‘B’ standard to take part in the World Championships*. The qualification procedure from the “Preliminary” rounds will be determined depending on the number of final entrants."

One of the harshest critics of the system is retired sprinter-turned-broadcaster Ato Boldon, who expressed his dislike of the new system in a series of posts on his Twitter page.

Boldon writes, "In today's edition of "Let's alienate the purists" the top sprinters won't have to run the 1st round at worlds or in London. Seriously. WTF."

There are some who suggest that the IAAF gave the elite sprinters the bye into the second round in exchange for keeping the no-false start rule.

Boldon retorts, "Someone major will false start out of Daegu or London. Remember I said it. Then what? Does that help the sport?"

To read more about the byes in the sprints, here's an article from the BBC, and one from the Daily Mail.

The other hot topic of discussion is the annual griping on the message boards about the validity of the Dempsey Indoor track & field facility, in light of this past weekend's Flotrack Husky Classic, where 25 men broke 14 minutes in the 5000, 20 men dipped under 8 minutes in the 3000, and 7 men broke 4 minutes in the mile.

Much as Stanford is the place to go to run fast outdoors in the distance races, Seattle is the place to go run fast in the 800-5000 meters, thanks in part to its oversized 307-meter Mondo track.

University of Washington coach Greg Metcalf and assistant coach/meet director Jason Drake go out of their way to assemble the best collegiate and professional fields, in the middle distance and distance races, even so far as to provide rabbits (pacesetters) in many of the races, to create an environment conducive to running the fast times needed to meet and/or exceed the NCAA qualifying standards in those events.

I'm not an expert on track surveying, nor do I claim to be one. However I do know this: The folks who officiate many of the meets at the Dempsey are some of the most knowledgeable track & field officials in the country, and I am willing to bet that if there were any suspicions that the track is shorter, that they would dispel those rumors and/or do their due diligence and measure the track properly.

Here's the thread on the Track & Field News message board...

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

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