Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sophomore James Cameron joins exclusive UW fraternity by breaking 4 minute mile barrier...

SEATTLE--University of Washington sophomore James Cameron (left/photo by Paul Merca) put himself into elite company with his second place finish in the mile at the UW Final Qualifier meet at the Dempsey Indoor Saturday, breaking the hallowed 4 minute mile mark with his 3:58.51 clocking.

Pace maker Steve Finley took the group through 400 at 58 seconds, then 800 meters in 1:58, with the Oregon TC's Stephen Pifer and AJ Acosta, a NCAA scorer for the Oregon Ducks last year leading the charge.

The pace slowed in the third quarter as Pifer and Acosta cruised through at 3:00, as Cameron lurked in fifth, tucked behind Oregon's Mac Fleet, as they took flight at the 3:59.00 NCAA qualifying time.

After some jostling between Acosta and Cameron on the penultimate straightaway, Acosta shot into the lead with Cameron tucked in behind, as they began to pull slightly away from Fleet.

On the final straight, Cameron began to sneak past Acosta, but Acosta was able to hold on for the victory, clocking 3:58.39, with Cameron closing at 3:58.51, to join Austin Abbott (3:58,23), Eric Garner (3:58.93), and Greg Gibson (3:59.24) in a very exclusive club of Huskies.

Oregon's Fleet held on for third at 3:59.03, just 3/100ths off the auto qualifier.

Courtesy of media partner, here is video of that race:

After the race announcer read the unofficial time off the scoreboard, Cameron literally went into a sprint, hugging Husky coach Greg Metcalf, and assorted teammates, before jogging up the home straightaway to thank the fans gathered.

"I'd like to thank The Man upstairs for making this possible," the product of Mission Viejo HS in California said in the post race interview, referring to his faith, which in an interview earlier in the week with, was part of the reason for his recent series of successes, which included running 8:00.17 in the 3000, and 13:54.77 in the 5000 at last week's MPSF championships.

"It was great to have AJ Acosta pull me along to that fast time, and to have a great field to help make it happen. Looking forward to Texas (for the NCAA championships at College Station) where they do it big!"

Almost lost in the shuffle was the Huskies' Joey Bywater, who nearly broke through, clocking 4:00.53 in fifth.

Another runner who did it big Saturday was Husky freshman Katie Flood, who towed fellow frosh Megan Goethals, Loyola Marymount's Tara Erdmann, and Sequim native Stephanie Marcy from Stanford under 9:13.00, as all four earned NCAA qualifiers in the women's 3000 meters.

Flood, who will represent the USA at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in two weeks in Punta Umbria, Spain, was one of a group of six runners pulled through the first two kilometers by former Husky All American Katie Follett in 6:09.

Flood and Goethals were content to sit in the back of the lead pack with Erdmann running on the point. Flood, the Dowling Catholic/West Des Moines, Iowa product moved to fourth with 600 to go, with Goethals, the 2009 Foot Locker champ from Rochester, Michigan who won the MPSF title last week tucked in behind.

On the final lap, the Washington duo shot past Erdmann and San Francisco's Eva Krchova, with Flood pulling away for the victory in a personal best 9:09.85, taking Goethals to a PR 9:11.56.

Erdmann hung on for third in 9:12.25, and Sequim native Marcy hit the NCAA qualifier on the nose at 9:13.00.

Other highlights included a good battle in the men's pole vault, as Washington alum and 2007 world champion Brad Walker (18-3.75/5.58m) defeated USA indoor runner-up Jason Colwick (17-7.75/5.38m); Oregon's Jamesha Youngblood getting the NCAA auto qualifier in the women's long jump (21-2.5/6.46m); and 2009 world championships team member Geena Gall of the Oregon TC breaking the Dempsey facility record in the 800 meters, running 2:02.56, and towing Sacramento State's Lea Wallace to a NCAA AQ of 2:03.07.

Complete results of the UW Last Chance Qualifier are available here.

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