Saturday, February 19, 2011

Western Washington men hold day 1 lead at GNAC indoor champs; Måkestad sets Norwegian indoor 1500 record...

NAMPA. Idaho - Western Washington University holds a slim lead in the men's standings and the Viking women had two NCAA Division II national provisional qualifying efforts at the eighth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships which got underway Friday on Jackson's Track at the Idaho Center Sports Complex.

The Viking men are first among eight teams after four events with 40 points. Pre-meet favorite Western Oregon, which has won the last three titles and four overall, is second at 36.33.

WWU is fifth in the women's standings following five events with 24 points. Seattle Pacific, seeking its eighth straight championship, holds a 48.50 to 40 lead over second-place Central Washington.

Seattle Pacific sophomore Katy Gross (far left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) started out with a personal-best time in the 60-meter hurdles, then came up victorious in the shot put and long jump, and ultimately wound up with nine more total points than Falcons senior teammate Jenifer Pike as they forged a 1-2 finish in the pentathlon on the first day of the meet at Jackson’s Track in the Idaho Sports Complex.

Falcon junior Ali Worthen captured the long jump title for the second time in three years. And junior Terra Schumacher took third place in the pole vault to pace a 3-4-7 SPU finish in that event.

Behind Worthen, Western's Tanya Bjornsson placed second in the women's long jump, her mark of 18-2 1/2 meeting the provisional standard.

In the distance medley relay finals, Western's women were second in 11:53.23. That performance came despite a mistake by the officials, which kept its second runner, who was attempting to get in position for the handoff, off the track for precious seconds.

Rachael Johnson ran the leadoff leg followed by Eleanor Siler, Megan O'Connell and Sarah Porter.

The Vikings also placed second in the men's distance medley relay with a time of 10:10.89. That quartet was made up of Nick Abraham, Toby David, Dylan Hopper and Jordan Welling.

Complete day 1 results are available here.

The Saturday session of the GNAC meet is being streamed online starting at 10 am here.


In Birmingham, England, former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad (left/courtesy set a Norwegian national record of 4:09.17 in the women's 1500 meter run Saturday at the Aviva Grand Prix indoor meet.

In a race won by Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi in a world leading time of 4:03.28, Måkestad eclipsed her previous personal best of 4:11.0, set in this meet last year.

For American distance running fans, the highlight of the Aviva GP meet was 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp setting a new American record in the 5000 meter run of 13:11.44 in finishing second to new training partner Mo Farah of Great Britain, who set a new European record of 13:10.60.

Farah, who recently announced that he would be coached by Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, and would move to the Portland area, worked in tandem with Rupp for most of the race.

On the final lap, Farah shot past Rupp on the backstretch, thrilling his countrymen, as he opened up a gap exiting the last turn.

Rupp lowered Washington State University grad Bernard Lagat's American record of 13:11.50 set at last year's Reebok Boston indoor meet.

Complete results from the Aviva Grand Prix indoor meet can be accessed here.

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

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