Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kara Patterson returns to Des Moines with furthest throw at Drake Relays...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Returning to the same venue in which she set the American record of 218-8 (66.67m) at last year's national championships, Vancouver native Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) opened her 2011 season by launching the javelin the furthest in the university/college section of the Drake Relays Friday.

The Purdue graduate, who along with Alicia DeShasier, were listed in the results as guest competitors, threw 189-5 (57.74m) to easily beat DeShasier, who threw 175-7 (53.52m).

The official results list Long Beach State senior Randi Hicks as the official winner of the university/college section of the javelin with a toss of 165-11 (50.58m).

Former Washington Husky Norris Frederick competes Saturday in the invitational high jump at the Drake Relays.

The link to full results from all events at the Drake Relays is available here.

In Philadelphia, WSU grad Bernard Lagat opens his 2011 outdoor campaign as part of Team USA in the Nike Men's Distance Medley Relay in the USA vs the World portion of the Penn Relays.

Lagat will run the leadoff 1200 meter leg for Team USA-Red with Michael Tinsley (400), Duane Solomon (800) and Russell Brown anchoring on the 1600 leg, against squads from Kenya, Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Morocco, and the USA Blue team featuring Nick Symmonds and Leo Manzano.

The full listings of teams are available here. The USA vs the World portion of the Penn Relays will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 5 pm, pacific time Saturday.

Husky men, Cougar women prevail in final UW/WSU dual meet at Husky Stadium...

SEATTLE--As dual meets go, it was closer than expected, especially in this in-state rivalry meet, but in the end, form held true, as the Washington men's squad and the Washington State women's team emerged victorious in the final dual meet between the two squads at Husky Stadium.

The Washington men took the victory by a 83-80 margin in one of the oldest continuous dual meets in collegiate track and field, while the WSU women prevailed 92-71 over the Huskies, despite Washington capturing individual wins in 10 of 19 events.

"I think both of our teams came out swinging and they competed incredibly well today," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "I think today's meet was the right way for us to close out our dual meet history with the Cougars in Husky Stadium."

Both men's and women' javelin competitions were worthy of at least a Pac-10 final, as Washington State's All-American Marissa Tschida (left/photo by Paul Merca) repeated as the javelin winner with a season-best toss of 177-feet, 2 inches (54.54m), and freshman Jaclyn Onosko contributing a point in third place with a PR throw of 135-8 (41.35m), with new Washington school record holder Amanda Peterson splitting the Cougar duo with a mark of 171-11 (52.41m).

In the men's javelin, it was a Husky sweep, as 2010 US junior champion Joe Zimmerman got the better of reigning Canadian champ and NCAA finalist Kyle Nielsen, winning with a mark of 239-9 (73.09m) to Nielsen's 239-2 (72.89m), with James Brookman of Washington making a major breakthrough with a toss of 227-2 (69.24m).

The men's steeplechase proved to be one of the day's turning points. Sophomore Michael Miller Jr. came in with the No. 3 time in the field, and WSU's Andrew Gonzales was the only entry to have broken nine minutes, but Miller held strong down the final stretch to get the victory in a 12-second personal-best of 8:57.32.

For the Husky men, one of the keys of the meet was the performance of freshman Maurice McNeal, who refused to fold under pressure in the heat of an in-state rivalry meet.

McNeal ran the leadoff leg on the Huskies' 4 x 100m relay team that clocked a season best 39.93, beat the talented Jeshua Anderson in the 400 with a PR 46.63, and finished second to teammate James Alaka in the 200 21.00-21.02, a season best for both runners.

Alaka repeated as champion of the 100 as well, winning the 100 in 10.44, then saluted the crowd by pointing a la Billy Hicks in the 1975 meet. Hicks, whose taunt of the Cougars' Gary Minor in the 1975 meet was captured in the Seattle Times, attended the meet and the post event alumni function afterwards.

Afterwards, WSU coach Rick Sloan tipped his hat to the frosh from Federal Way, saying, "The men's short relay was an event we thought we had to have," Sloan said. "Maurice McNeal was the difference maker for the Huskies in the meet: he won the 400 dash, took second in the 200m and they would not have won the 4x1 relay without him. He hurt us. We ran fast on the men's 4x100m relay and should have won the race but we didn't pass the baton well and that hurt us at the start of the meet. We really made a charge at the end of the meet to get back into it."

It was field event power that gave the Cougars the victory in the women's meet, as they finished first through fourth in the shot put with Jennifer Hamilton's heave of 41-11 1/4 (12.78m) just edging Ashley Kenney, the discus winner at 158-3 (48.42m), who put the shot a PR distance of 41-10 /12 (12.76m). Mary Barnett took third place points with a toss of 41-3 3/4 (12.59m) followed by Kjirsten Jensen, a second-place point-scorer in the hammer (165-11/50.58m), who tossed the shot 41-1 (12.52m).

Holly Parent won the high jump with a leap of 5-8 1/2 (1.78m) and Christine Rice's clearance at 5-6 1/2 (1.69m) took second place.

Cougars went one-two in the long jump as Shaquana Logan won with season-best leap of 18-11 1/2 (5.78m), and Candace Missouri finished second with a season-best distance of 18-10 1/4 (5.75m).
Two of the biggest surprises on the track came in the 400 and 400 hurdles, as junior Jordan Carlson from Spokane set a UW school record of 54.18 to beat WSU's Shawna Fermin at 55.68.

Freshman hurdler Kayla Stueckle, who had to score somehow during the meet for the Huskies to have a chance at an upset, won the 400 hurdles in 59.84.

Though nowhere near 100 percent, NCAA steeple All-American Mel Lawrence won her specialty in 10:27.66, and 2008 US Olympic Trials 1500m qualifier Christine Babcock was gutty, running 4:42.71 for fifth in the 1500 in 4:42.71.

Courtesy of, here is a video interview with UW coach Greg Metcalf.

Complete results from the meet are available here.

Here are links to the UW and WSU press releases.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My dope sheet for Friday's UW/WSU dual meet at Husky Stadium...

For those of you planning to attend Friday's annual dual track & field meet at Husky Stadium between the University of Washington and Washington State, there are several underlying themes surrounding the meet.

This is the final dual meet that will be contested at Husky Stadium, and the next to last track meet held on the oval, with next week's Ken Shannon Invitational closing out track & field at the venerable oval.

We'll save our sentimental posts about Husky Stadium for later…we've got a dual meet to analyze.

Based on the entry list sent by the University of Washington Thursday afternoon, I have the Cougars, ranked #21 in the most recent USTFCCCA national poll winning the women's competition decisively by a 102-61 margin.

In a dual meet situation, it's not necessarily your front line athletes that determine the outcome, but it's the way your secondary runners, jumpers and throwers respond to the moment at hand.

The Huskies will dominate the 1500 and 3000 meter runs, and have NCAA scorer Mel Lawrence, who has not competed outdoors this season entered in the steeplechase. They also will have the services of 2008 Olympic Trials competitor Christine Babcock, who is entered in the 800m, and high jumper Kelly McNamee, who has NCAA championship meet experience.

They will not have NCAA competitor Brooke Pighin in the javelin, who is still recovering from an injury.

Washington State appears to have everyone available according to the entry lists.

My bullet points on the women's meet:

--If you don't get to Husky Stadium by 3 pm, you'll miss perhaps the best event of the meet, period in the women's javelin. The javelin, even without Pighin is an event worthy of an NCAA final, with the top three throwers in the conference in Washington State's Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood against the Huskies' Amanda Peterson, the Eastern Washington transfer who set the UW school record with a toss of 174-2 (53.09m) in Eugene a few weeks ago.

Tschida, Peterson, and Kirkwood are currently 2-3-4 in the country entering this week's meet.

--The women's 800 could be a swing event, if Christine Babcock is healthy and ready to go. Babcock, who has been battling a foot problem for almost a year, if nothing else, provides an inspirational presence for the other Huskies in the 800, especially going against 2008 NCAA qualifier Anna Layman of Spokane and teammate Courtney Zalud, who has been on a roll as of late.

--Washington freshman Kayla Stueckle must step up in both hurdle races, or else it's a long day for the Huskies in the 100 and 400, as the Cougs have depth there.

--Someone from the Husky horizontal jumps crew must step up and try to split the Cougars' Shaquana Logan and Candace Missouri in the long jump, whether it's Sarah Schierman, or Shaniae Lakes, and Taylor Nichols, who are better triple jumpers. I have the Dawgs favored to go 1-2 in the triple jump.

In contrast, I have Washington winning the men's meet by a score of 93-70.

Having said that, this meet is a lot closer than my projected score indicates; in fact, I am of the belief that it could go down to the last few events before we have a winner.

Here are my bullet points in the men's meet:

--Both the long and triple jumps are key events for both squads. Initially, I had the Huskies going 1-2 in the long jump and 1-3 in the triple jump, but that's before WSU announced that Stephan Scott-Ellis, who hasn't seen action outdoors this season due to injury, would be entered. His presence makes him the favorite on paper to take both horizontal jumps, which he did last year.

The Huskies will need clutch performances from frosh Kasen Covington in the triple jump and Julian Bardwell in both jumps to come through. Multi event specialist Jeremy Taiwo is also entered in the long jump.

--You'd think that the steeplechase would be an event that the distance-oriented Huskies could put up a 8-1 or 9-0 point total on their counterparts, but watch for frosh Andrew Gonzales from the Cougs, who has run 8:59.46 this season.

Washington has sub-4 miler James Cameron entered, so Gonzales must take it out early for the win. If Gonzales lets Cameron dictate the pace, WSU will have blown an opportunity to get some early swing points.

--The men's 800, featuring WSU's 2009 US junior champ and NCAA qualifier Joe Abbott, could be an intriguing event, if the Huskies decide to employ team tactics to block Abbott. Washington will counter with senior Ryan Styrk, who ran 1:49.93 indoors, and soph Brad Whitley, who has run 1:51.39 this season.

--The Cougars' hurdlers, led by two time NCAA 400h champ Jeshua Anderson, must collectively go 18-0 on the Huskies to counter their weaknesses in the four throwing events--shot put, hammer, javelin, and discus, where Joe Bartlett is their only front line thrower.

--In both pole vaults, the Huskies have a decided edge up front with US leader and two time NCAA indoor champ Scott Roth, and Logan Miller on the women's side. Behind those two, it is a crapshoot between the two schools for depth. As a subplot, Roth last year no-heighted at last year's meet in Pullman, which was interrupted by bad weather during the meet.

The weather forecast for Friday's meet calls for partly cloudy skies and a high of about 56 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of precipitation. The wind that comes off of Lake Washington could come into play.

Attached as a .pdf file is my dope sheet for Friday's meet, which you can use as a guide to watching the meet, or use as lining for your bird cage. Events in red are potential swing events that could change the outcome of the meet.

UW/WSU dopesheet

Brad Walker teams with Kylie Hutson to win Drake Relays Vault in the Mall...

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa--While Mountlake Terrace resident and University of Washington graduate Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy Drake University) finished second in the men's competition at the Vault in the Mall competition at the Drake Relays, he and Kylie Hutson combined to win the co-ed team competition Wednesday night.

Walker, the 2007 world champion in the event, cleared 18-1.25 (5.52m) to tie for second, as 2008 US Olympian Derek Miles won the men's competition, clearing 18-5.25 (5.62m).

In the unique format held as part of the Drake Relays meet, ten of the top men's and women's vaulters in the US and Mexico were paired together to created five two-person teams.

Hutson, a Indiana State alum who was ranked #6 in the US last year and had never cleared 15 feet in her career, came through to win the women's individual title, clearing 15-1 (4.60m), 15-3 (4.65m) and 15-5 (4.70m) on consecutive first attempts, before a raucous crowd of about 2500 people at the Jordan Creek Town Center, to give the Hutson/Walker team a combined total of 33-6.25 (10.32m).

"I jumped on her back and let her carry us through the competition," said Walker.  "I sat back and enjoyed her effort. Anytime someone has those personal records its fun to watch. For her to set personal records at really high heights like that is really impressive."

"We were cheering each other on," Hutson commented about the team aspect of the competition.  "We were ready to go and that definitely helped in the competition today."

The Drake Relays recap of the Vault in the Mall can be read here.

Speaking of the Drake Relays, Vancouver's Kara Patterson will open her 2011 season Friday.  Patterson returns to the same venue where she set the American record in the javelin of 218-9 (66.67m).

In other news, here's a link to a piece written by the Oregonian's Ken Goe on Jordan Boase, who was the surprise winner of the 200 meters at the Kansas Relays last Saturday.

Boase, who now trains on the Nike campus under coach John Parks, won the race in 20.72 in less than ideal conditions, beating Olympic silver medalist Darvis "Doc" Patton.

Most of the USA's top discus throwers are in Maui Thursday and Friday for the Altius Track Crew Throwdown at the War Memorial Sports Complex in Wailuku, including Aretha Thurmond and Ian Waltz, who is organizing the competition.

This is the same venue where Suzy Powell set the American record in 2007 of 222-0 (67.67m).

NOTE:  The sports information office at Drake University contributed to this report.

UW track team to sell "Let's Roll" bands at UW/WSU dual to help sprinter Jeff Gudaitis...

Whether you support the Crimson & Grey of Washington State, or the Purple & Gold of the University of Washington at Friday's dual meet at Husky Stadium, members of the UW track team will be selling purple and black rubber bracelets to help Husky sprinter Jeff Gudaitis (below/photo courtesy University of Washington) defray some of his medical expenses.

Gudaitis, who is a fifth-year senior on the track team, was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, and had his thyroid removed before Christmas.

In this piece written at by Gregg Bell, he writes about how Gudaitis in late March was isolated in a far corner of the UW Medical Center, away from other patients, months after the removal of his thyroid.

"They (doctors from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) brought in this little aluminum suitcase," Gudaitis told Bell.

"Inside that was a metal pod. It said, `RADIOACTIVE' on it. And inside that was this little pill. One of the doctors goes, `All right. Swallow this as fast as you can. And then we are going to run out of the room.'"

The pill was radioactive iodide. It's a chimney-sweep treatment taken months after thyroid-removal surgery, with the hopes of eradicating remaining cancer from the body.

That was a $60,000 pill he swallowed.

Members of the team, led by sprint coach Raul Sheen, track strength coach Audra Smith, and volunteer assistant coach and recent Husky grad Falesha Ankton will sell the bands, which are $5 each at the meet, and at the post-meet alumni function.

According to Ankton, the team has raised $2500 to help Jeff out, whose expenses has gone into six digits. Portions of his medical costs are covered by his family's insurance.

Gudaitis is planning to petition the NCAA to compete as a sixth-year senior in 2012.  He missed the 2010 season with a foot injury, after a career that took him to three NCAA championship meets.

Here's a link to Bell's piece at

Here's a link to a piece that Bell wrote on Gudaitis at the end of January after he had his thyroid removed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cougar women's squad remain in the USTFCCCA top 25; Seattle Pacific now #8 in women's D2 poll..

NEW ORLEANS--Washington State's women's squad remains among the country's top 25 teams in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll.

The Cougars dropped two spots to number 21 from #19 in this week's poll.

Traditionally, the largest "moving week" of them all is week four as preseason data gets thrown out and teams are scored based only on the season in question. As a result, a big number of changes swept through the top 25 this week.

In the women’s rankings, LSU and Texas A&M swaped spots, resulting in the first No. 1 ranking for LSU this season. Two-time defending national champions Texas A&M had been ranked in the top spot since the preseason.

On the men’s side, Texas A&M moves up a spot to take over No. 1 for the first time this season. The two-time defending champions are followed by No. 2 LSU who moved to their season-high post after being ranked fifth last week. After winning another ACC title, Florida State moved to a season-best notch at No. 3. Florida, who had been ranked No. 1 since the preseason, slipped to No. 4.

The link to the complete USTFCCCA Division I poll is here.

Both Washington State squads head across the Cascades to face Washington at Husky Stadium on Friday.

Speaking of the Cougars, here is a link to their weekly press release touting the Washington meet in Seattle.

Friday's meet is either the 100th meeting (according to WSU records) or the 96th meeting (according to the UW) of the two men's squads. WSU lists the series score as 62-36-1, while UW says its 60-34-1 in favor of the Cougs.

In the women's competition, Washington leads the series 20-15, with the Cougs winning the meet nine of the last ten years. Two years ago, the Huskies pulled off the victory at Husky Stadium, winning 81 2/3 to 81 1/3.

In Division II, Seattle Pacific's women's squad made a substantial jump in the national rankings, moving up to number 8, eleven spots from #19 in last week's poll.

Western Washington dropped from #16 to #22 in this week's poll.

The Viking men's squad moved up to #14 from last week's spot at #18.

Abilene Christian’s men and Grand Valley State’s women stayed at their top posts for another week.

The USTFCCCA Division II poll is available here.

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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend roundup, April 24th: Highlights from Cougar Invitational & WWU Twilight...

In Pullman, Washington State track and field competitors broke meet records and 10 reached lifetime-best marks Saturday under sunny skies at the 11th Annual Cougar Invitational Track & Field meet held at the Mooberry Track Complex.

WSU All-American javelin throwers Marissa Tschida (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Courtney Kirkwood opened the meet by both surpassing the meet record set in 2008 by Lynnea Braun, then at Spokane CC, of 161-feet, 7 inches (49.26m). Tschida, a senior from Missoula, threw the javelin 172-4 (52.52m) for the event win, and Kirkwood, a junior from Othello, threw a distance of 167-10 (51.17m) for the runner-up spot.

Courtney Zalud, WSU sophomore from Colbert, Wash., ran a meet record time in the women's 800m with a lifetime-best time of 2 minutes, 8.85 seconds, surpassing former Cougar All-American Alishia Booterbaugh's time of 2:09.94 run in the 2000 meet.

Complete results from the Cougar Invitational are available here.

In Bellingham, Sarah Porter (Sr., Hockinson) broke a 24-year-old school record in the women's 3000 meters, highlighting Western Washington University performances Saturday at the 11th annual Viking Twilite track and field meet at Civic Stadium.

Porter won the event in 9:35.75, breaking the school standard of 9:38.76 set by Jennifer Eastman in 1988.

The other WWU school record came in the men's hammer throw, where Michael Hoffman (Jr., Bellingham/Sehome) was a NCAA Division II automatic national qualifier with a meet-record mark of 206-3 (62.87m).

Ali Worthen, a SPU junior, went 19 feet, 7 ½ inches (5.98 meters) to win the long jump. It shattered her previous career best of 18-0 ½ / 5.50 meters set on April 9 at the War IV meet in Spokane. Not only was it easily an NCAA provisional mark, it pushed her all the way up to No. 3 in all of Division II, pending the outcome of other results this weekend. And, Worthen is just 1 ¼ inches away from making it an automatic trip to Turlock, Calif., for next month's nationals.

Falcons senior Melissa Peaslee cleared the 12-foot mark for the first time this spring to win the pole vault and gain a spot on the NCAA provisional list. Peaslee went 12-1 ½ / 3.70 meters. Her previous best this year was 11-5 ¾ / 3.50 meters just last week at the Spike Arlt Invitational in Ellensburg. Her career best is 12-5 ½ / 3.75 meters.

Complete results from the WWU Twilight meet are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices at Washington State, Western Washington, and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Falesha Ankton and Scott Roth among winners at Oregon Relays...

EUGENE--Former Washington Husky Falesha Ankton (left/photo by Paul Merca) set a meet record in winning the 100 meter hurdles as the Oregon Relays concluded its two-day run at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

Ankton, who now competes for Brooks, cruised to a .45 second victory to break the old meet record set in 1992 by Washington's Claudine Robinson.

Ankton, who is a volunteer coach at the UW, also finished sixth overall in the 100 meters, running 12.01.

Courtesy of media partner, here is video of Ankton's race:

Washington senior Scott Roth easily won the men's pole vault, clearing 18-0.5 (5.50m), to beat Club Northwest's Levi Keller, who cleared 16-10.75 (5.15m).

Former NCAA champ Jason Colwick, who trains post-collegiately in Seattle under UW vault coach Pat Licari, failed to make his opening height of 17-6.5 (5.35m).

Club Northwest's Jenny Brogdon won the women's high jump with a mark of 5-8 (1.73m).

The Huskies' Shaniae Lakes won the women's triple jump with a personal best of 41-3.25 (12.58m).

Eastern Washington's Erica Chaney won the women's shot put with a best throw of 50-3.5 (15.33m).

Former Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Jordan Kent won the men's 400 in 47.23, defeating Washington sophomore James Alaka, who clocked 48.06.

Complete day 2 results from the Oregon Relays can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, in Lawrence, Kansas, former Husky Jordan Boase scored an upset in winning the men's 200 meter dash at the Kansas Relays.

Boase rode a 3.0 wind to win in 20.72 to beat Brandon Christian (20.87) and heavily favored Darvis "Doc" Patton (20.90).

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here is a video interview with Boase.

On Friday, former Tacoma prep standout Andrea Geubelle finished second in the women's triple jump with a mark of 42-3.25 (12.88m).

Results from the Kansas Relays can be accessed here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Felnagle wins 5000; Oregon frosh Michael Berry from Seattle runs down ex-Seahawk WR Kent in 200m...

EUGENE--Bellarmine Prep HS and North Carolina grad Brie Felnagle from Tacoma ran to victory in the women's 5000 meter run as day one of the two-day Oregon Relays meet concluded under windy conditions at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Felnagle, who ran a road mile on Sunday in Boston, steadily pulled away to earn the victory, stopping the clock in 15:43.87, almost nine seconds ahead of 2009 world championship team member and Penn State grad Bridget Franek, who ran 15:52.81.

Courtesy of media partner, here is the video of Felnagle's 5000-meter race.

In the men's 200 meter dash, Oregon freshman Michael Berry (center/photo courtesy University of Oregon), the 2010 state champ at 400 meters from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS, came from behind to overtake Oregon grad and former Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Jordan Kent.

Kent, a three-sport letterwinner at Oregon (football, basketball, track) who was cut by the St. Louis Rams after his stint with the Seahawks, charged off the turn in the lead, but was run down by the younger Berry over the last 15 meters, winning in 21.10 to Kent's 21.26.

"I got out kind of slow but my last 120 meters were pretty good," said Berry. "I wanted to PR today but I got pretty close. I need to start out on the race better."

Washington freshman triple jumper Kasen Covington rode a 2.4 meter-per-second tailwind to a third place finish, jumping 51-0 (15.54m).

Seattle Pacific's Brittany Aanstad placed second in the women's javelin, throwing the spear 148-8 (45.31m).

The meet resumes Saturday beginning at 11 am, with a full slate of events.

Complete results from the Oregon Relays are available here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Western men drop two spots; women move up one, while Seattle Pacific women gain five spots in USTFCCCA D2 poll...

Western Washington University's men's track & field team dropped two positions, while its women's squad moved up one position in the most recent United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II poll released on Tuesday.

In the women's national poll, Seattle Pacific moved up five spots from its #24 position in last week's poll, thanks to strong performances by heptathletes Crystal Sims and Ali Worthen at last week's Mt. SAC Relays multi events meet in Azusa, California.

Grand Valley State’s women moved back to their preseason post at No. 1 after gaining an abundance of top-notch marks in distance events at the past weekend’s Mt. SAC Relays. Abilene Christian’s men again keep the nation’s top spot, but Saint Augustine’s is on the move, jumping from No. 5 to No. 3 in this week’s release.

In the NCAA Division III rankings, Spokane's Whitworth University is ranked #6 in the women's national poll, and #7 in the men's poll.

Whitworth prepares for the Northwest Conference championship meet this Friday and Saturday in McMinnville, Oregon.

Seattle Pacific will send athletes this weekend to the Oregon Relays in Eugene, and to the Western Washington twilight meet in Bellingham, hosted by the Vikings.

Washington State University hosts the 11th annual Cougar Invitational meet in Pullman this Saturday, with Spokane CC, Gonzaga, Idaho, and Great Falls sending athletes to the meet.

The start lists for the meet are posted here.

Eastern Washington heads to Eugene for Friday and Saturday's Oregon Relays meet.

Here's a link to their release previewing their entries, which includes shot putter Erica Chaney and long sprinter Brad Wall.

Seattle University, Central Washington and the University of Washington will also send squads to Eugene for the Oregon Relays.  Central will also send athletes to Bellingham for the WWU Twilight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick notes on Scott Roth, the passing of the legendary Grete Waitz, & USTFCCCA rankings...

Some quick stuff this morning:

The Pac-10 Conference named Scott Roth (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, as its men's field event athlete of the week for his efforts at the Mt. SAC Relays over the weekend, in which he cleared 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) to set a new University of Washington outdoor school record in the event, and take the US outdoor lead in the event.

Roth's clearance earned him the `A' Standard necessary to compete at the 2011 IAAF World Championships starting in August in Daegu, Korea should he earn a spot on Team USA.

This is the second week in a row that a Husky has earned one of the four weekly Pac-10 track and field honors. Sophomore James Alaka earned the men's track distinction last week. Roth is the first Husky men's field athlete to earn the honor since Will Conwell in 2006, and the first UW pole vaulter since Walker got the nod in 2002.

Sad news out of Norway, as the great Grete Waitz passed away from cancer at the age of 57.

Waitz was a nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon, won the 1983 IAAF world championship in the marathon in Helsinki, earned a silver medal in the 1984 Olympic marathon, and was truly one of the pioneers of the women's distance running movement.

Here is a link to the New York Times' article on Waitz' death…

The current USTFCCCA national rankings were released Tuesday, and there are no changes in the top five men's and women's teams.

Florida, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Florida State and LSU lead the men, while Texas A&M, LSU, Oregon, USC, and Clemson lead the women.

Washington State's women's team is ranked #20, while the Washington Huskies dropped out of the top 25.

The Huskies will compete in the Oregon Relays this weekend, while Washington State stays at home and hosts the Cougar Invitational.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, Pac-10 Conference, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What did we learn about the Boston Marathon? My two cents' worth on the race...

I must admit that there will be a buzz about Monday's Boston Marathon for many months to come.

The weather conditions on the hallowed Hopkinton to Boston route were ideal for those athletes battling it out over the 42.195 kilometer distance (that's 26.2 miles), with an essentially downhill course, and the benefit of a tailwind pushing the runners to the finish.

With apologies to Jesse Squire, who writes and produces the excellent "Track & Field Superblog", what did we learn from Monday's Boston Marathon?

1) I love the attitude that Arizona State grad Desiree Davila (left/photo by Paul Merca) took going into the race.

In her post race press conference, she said "We knew what kind of time could contend here. Main goal was to learn how to run up front, to learn how to win."

“I gave it all I had. It was the most incredible experience of my running career. My legs were shot. There was nothing left.”

Davila Monday ran the third fastest time in the event by an American, finishing in 2:22:38, two seconds short of the victory, battling eventual winner Caroline Kilel of Kenya to the tape, and only trailing Deena Kastor and the legendary Joan Benoit Samuelson on the American all-time list under all conditions.

When I saw the quote from Davila reposted on Twitter by Hanson's/Brooks Distance Project teammate and reader of the blog Jenny Scherer, I replied, "as much of a wack job as Charlie Sheen's been, I applaud Desi's mentality- #winning. More USA runners need to have (that) mindset (of winning)"

To follow up on my statement, I've always felt that the perceived inferiority complex that seemed to permeate elite American distance runners had to change if they were ever to compete against the world's best.

Starting with Meb Keflezighi and Kastor in 2004 at the Olympics, Kara Goucher in 2007 at the world championships, and Shalane Flanagan in the Beijing Olympics, more and more American distance are taking the mentality that they can compete with the world's best on the biggest stages of the sport.

Although she came up short, that winning mentality is going to take Davila a long way at the international elite level.

2) Despite a fourth-place finish, Ryan Hall made the race honest, clocking the fastest time ever by an American, 2:04:58.

Hall led the race at the half-way mark in 61:58.

He said afterwards, "I didn't plan on going through the half in under 62," he said.

"But the weather was great, I felt good, and the guys were helping to push the pace. I figured I'd be aggressive, get some quicker splits and try to get ahead of schedule, and we definitely did that."

Winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, who ran an unbelievable 2:03:02, said "He (Hall) made the race fast for all of us."

"Once I got in front I felt good and kept pushing. It is easier for me to run by myself and keep my own pace, and not respond to other runners."

3) Despite the aiding wind, altitude drop, and point-to-point course (none of the times from Monday's race will count for world record purposes), we must celebrate the fact that that was one hell of a marathon race.

According to the rules of the I.A.A.F., marathon records must be set on a loop course instead of a point-to-point course, meaning that the starting point and the finish line cannot be farther apart than 13.1 miles, or 50% of the race distance.

The I.A.A.F. rules also state that the overall decrease in elevation from a course's start to finish can't be greater than one meter per kilometer, or about 138 feet. The Boston course descends about 470 feet.

The athletes know the rules going into the Boston race.

As I told a friend of mine in an email exchange, these are great times, and we should celebrate the accomplishments of these athletes. However, the times run in Boston today are like sprint marks set in Mexico City or El Paso, and jump marks in Sestriere, Italy--aided.

Using the sprints analogy, I compared what Mutai ran today to Usain Bolt running a 9.4-something in Mexico City with a maximum allowable 2.0 meter per second tailwind.

4) Especially on the women's side, the 2012 US Olympic marathon trials in Houston on January 14th could be one hell of a race!

Unlike the 2000 US Olympic Trials in Columbia, South Carolina, which was the nadir in American women's marathoning, when this country sent only one athlete to the Olympics, some talented sub 2:30 marathoner is going to be left home.

America's best marathoners since 2010 are Davila, Goucher (who by the way set a personal best of 2:24:52 Monday in fifth), Magdalena Lewy-Boulet (2:26:22 from last year's Rotterdam Marathon); Amy Hastings (2:27:03 in her debut last month in Los Angeles); Shalane Flanagan (2:28:40 in New York last year, and oh by the way, the American record holder in the 10000, bronze medalist at the Olympics in the 10000, and the third place finisher at last month's world cross country championships); Stephanie Rothstein (2:29:35 this year in Houston); and a name American marathon fans better learn after her run in Boston on Monday, Clara Grandt, who ran 2:29:54 in her debut at the distance, placing 16th and finishing as the third American behind Davila and Goucher.

To quote a great American philosopher, Bart Scott of the New York Jets. "Can't wait!"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Felnagle gets fourth at BAA Invitational road mile...

BOSTON--Tacoma native Brie Felnagle finished fourth in the Boston Athletic Association Invitational road mile Sunday.

Competing on a three-lap course that ended on the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon, the former Bellarmine Prep and University of North Carolina All-American was steps away from a very heated battle between 2009 champion Anna Pierce, Serbia's Marina Muncan and Treniere Moser which took some time before a winner was declared.

Muncan was declared the winner in 4:58.7, with Pierce and Moser second and third at 4:58.8.

Felnagle's final time was 4:59.1.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here is the finish of the race:

Results of the BAA Invitational Mile are available here.

In Ellensburg on Saturday, Central Washington's Torrie Self, currently fourth on the NCAA Division II performance list this season in the hammer, had the top performance of the day at the Spike Arlt Invitiational meet, hosted by the Wildcats.

Self won the hammer with a top throw of 181 feet, 2 inches (55.23m) on her second toss of the day, topping the previous stadium record of 177 feet, 1 1/4 inches by Jennifer Dunkin of Western Oregon at the 2003 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.

Host Central Washington swept both team titles, scoring 203.5 points to Seattle Pacific by 12.5 points, and scoring 237.5 to beat runner-up Spokane CC which scored 123.5 points.

Most of the state's Division II schools will be in action next week at either the Western Washington University Twilight meet in Bellingham, or the Oregon Relays in Eugene.

Complete results from the Spike Arlt Invitational are available here.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Central Washington University contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scott Roth sets Washington outdoor school record in winning pole vault at Mt SAC...

Scott Roth clears the bar at 18-9 1/4 (5.72m)

WALNUT, California--University of Washington senior Scott Roth (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, literally vaulted to the top of the American outdoor list this season with his winning mark in the pole vault of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) in the invitational elite section of the Mt. SAC Relays Saturday.

Roth defeated a strong international field that included Mexican Olympian and Mt. SAC graduate Giovanni Lanaro and Japanese Olympian Daichi Sawano, who finished second and third respectively with marks of 18-5 1/4 (5.62m) each (Lararo was second on fewer misses) .

Roth opened with a first attempt clearance at 17-9 1/4 (5.42m) before passing 18-1 1/4 (5.52m), and going straight to 18-5 1/4 (5.62m), a height he successfully navigated on his first attempt, putting the pressure squarely on Lanaro and Sawano.

With Lanaro clearing 18-5 1/4 on his second attempt and Sawano on his third, Roth put the hammer down on his older competitors with a first attempt clearance at the winning height of 18-9 1/4, a mark that eclipsed the UW school outdoor record of 18-6.5 (5.65m) held by Brad Walker that was set in 2003, and tied Roth's all-time personal best, set indoors last year.

With the victory in hand, Roth took three unsuccessful shots at 19-0 3/4 (5.81m), a mark which would have given him the world lead in the event this season, and would have overtaken Walker's all-time UW best of 19-0 1/4 (5.80m), set indoors in 2003.

Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Crawford took home the victory in the invitational elite 100 meter hurdles, running 12.86 into a -1.1 headwind, a mark that's currently the second fastest in the world outdoors this season.  She also ran a leg on the Kersee All-Stars 4 x 100m relay team that won in 43.10.

Courtesy of media partner, here is video of Crawford's victory in the 100m hurdles:

In the Olympic Development 100m hurdles, former University of Washington standout Falesha Ankton was third in 13.28, as Canadian multi-event specialist Jessica Zelinka won in 13.04.

Husky sophomore James Alaka set a season best of 10.34 in the 100 meters in finishing fifth in the invitational elite 100m, won by Norway's Jaysuma Ndure in what briefly was a world leading time of 10.03.

Alaka also led the Huskies to victory in the Olympic Development 4 x 100m relay , running 40.30, to beat Iowa State (40.73), and Pac-10 rivals Washington State (41.00), and Arizona (41.18).

The sophomore from London, England was also entered in the invitational elite 200, but he posted on his Twitter page after the meet that, "Hammy was hurting had to shut it down. Disappointed I can't run the 200".

In the women's invitational elite high jump, Washington State's Holly Parent finished in a tie for seventh at 5-8 3/4 (1.75m).

Washington State's Joe Abbott ran a season best of 1:48.95 in finishing third in the Olympic Developmental elite 800.  The Cougars' Anna Layman also ran a season best of 2:06.12 in finishing fifth in the women's Olympic Developmental elite 800.

Washington's Angus Taylor finished eleventh in the invitational elite hammer throw with a mark of 201-2 (61.32m).

Results from the Mt. SAC Relays are available here.

Several athletes from Washington State University, Eastern Washington and the UW also competed at the Beach Invitational, hosted by Long Beach State at Cerritos College.

Links to the results from the Beach Invitational are now available here, along with links to releases from the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Cougars' J Hopkins wins university/open section of 400 hurdles at Mt SAC...

WALNUT, California--Washington State's J Hopkins from Everett, along with the men's 4x400m relay team scored wins during the collegiate/open competition Friday at the 53rd annual Mt. SAC Relays at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut.

J Hopkins and Dana Wells finished one-two in the men's 400m hurdles with Hopkins winning in a time of 51.46 seconds, and Wells was the runner-up in a lifetime-best time of 51.67.

The Cougar men's 4x400m relay won in a season-best time of 3 minutes, 7.87 seconds. Seeing action for the first time in the outdoor season was lead leg Greg Hornsby, followed by Jeshua Anderson, Brandon Dawson and Jacob Sealby.

Courtesy of media partner, here is video of the Cougars' victory:

In the invitational men's javelin, the University of Washington's Kyle Nielsen finished fifth overall, with a toss of 234-6 (71.49m). Teammate Joe Zimmerman finished tenth overall and eighth in his flight with a mark of 221-10 (67.61m).

In the women's javelin, new school record-holder Amanda Peterson had a solid follow-up to her incredible debut last week. The transfer from Eastern Washington threw 165-4 (50.40m) on her fourth attempt to win her flight and place fifth overall as the top collegian.

In the much anticipated invitational women's 5000 meter run, American record holder Molly Huddle won in a world-leading time of 15:10.63, defeating American steeplechase record holder Jenny Simpson, who ran 15:11.49.

Washington alum Katie Follett finished twelfth in a time of 15:37.84.

Courtesy media partner, here is video of that race:

Originally, Sammamish native Jessica Pixler, who had the best time in the country this season going into the meet, was entered, but was not on the line at the start of the race.

In the Olympic Development Elite section of the women's 5000, Western Washington senior Sarah Porter was fourth overall, in a school record and NCAA D2 auto qualifying time of 15:57.02.

Here is a link to the University of Washington's recap of the meet, and a link to Washington State's meet summary from the Mt. SAC Relays.

Western Washington's recap is available here.

The meet concludes Saturday with a full slate of events.

Live results from the Mt. SAC Relays are available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Friday, April 15, 2011

UW's Justine Johnson fourth overall in University/Open women's 1500 at Mt. SAC...

WALNUT, California--The University of Washington's Justine Johnson (far left/file photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth overall in the women's University/Open 1500 meter run Friday morning at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Running in section 8, Johnson ran 4:22.57 and finished fourth, as the top three overall finishers--Caroline Jepleting of Texas Tech, Rebecca Tracy of Notre Dame, and Mason Cathey of Saucony Hurricanes--all finished ahead of her.

Former Seattle Pacific standout Jane Larson finished tenth in Johnson's section, running 4:26.96.

In other sections of the women's University/Open 1500, Washington State's Caroline Austin was second in section 2 in 4:32.81.

In section 1 of the 10-section University/Open men's 1500, Washington's Joey Bywater was seventh in 3:46.14, and twelfth overall.

Washington State's Matt Cronrath won section 2 in 3:46.69, with teammate Todd Wakefield third in 3:47.61. Joe Abbott of WSU was seventh in that heat in 3:48.55.

In section 4, former Washington prep standout Nectaly Barbosa was fourth in 3:47.25, just ahead of UW's Ryan Soberanis in 3;47.69.

Section 6 saw the Cougars' David Hickerson finish second in 3:49.70.

The Mt SAC Relays continues throughout the day, ending close to 11 pm, pacific time.

One of the feature races of Friday night's session at the Mt. SAC Relays is the showdown in the women's 5000 between Seattle Pacific grad and University of Colorado grad student Jessica Pixler and Oregon's Jordan Hasay, in a star-studded field that includes American record holder Molly Huddle.

Live results from the Mt. SAC Relays are available here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trio of Falcons make noise in Mt SAC multi events; Roberts sets WSU frosh record in steeple...

AZUSA, California--Seattle Pacific University alum Chris Randolph (left/file photo courtesy Thorpe Cup) finished strongly to take third in the decathlon at the Mt SAC Relays with a final score of 7664 points.

Randolph, who now resides in San Luis Obispo, California, opened day 2 with a clocking of 14.88 in the 110 hurdles.  He followed up with a mark of 146-5 in the discus (44.63m), vaulted 15-9 (4.80m), threw the javelin 183-9 (56.02m), and ran the 1500 in 4:49.34.

Washington's Jeremy Taiwo, who began the day in tenth place, made a charge to grab seventh place with a final two-day total of 7335 points.

Florida's Grey Horn was the overall winner, with a final score of 7791 points.

In the Mt SAC heptathlon, Seattle Pacific's Crystal Sims finished twelfth with a final score of 4933 points, as Vancouver's Canadian Olympian Ruky Abdulai took the victory with a final score of 6105 points, which is the leading score in the world so far this season.

In the California International section of the heptathlon, Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen finished sixth overall with a final score of 4922 points,

With their scores, Sims and Worthen catapulted themselves into second and third on the current NCAA Division II performance list in the event.

“It's just a peek at what these two are capable of,” SPU head coach Karl Lerum said of the two-day efforts by Worthen and Sims. “They went out and had fairly solid marks across the board. They had some nice ones, but they also had a couple that I thought they could do better on.

Washington's Sarah Schireman was 24th at 4370 points, while teammate Shelby Williams was 25th at 4312 points.

Back in Walnut, the main portion of the Mt. SAC Relays got underway Thursday at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mount San Antonio College with distance races taking center stage.

Washington State freshman Ruby Roberts, from Kingston, Wash., ran a time of 10-minutes, 40.24 seconds, which was third-place in the Women's Open A section of the 3000m steeplechase. Roberts' time is the WSU freshman school record, replacing Meghan Leonard's 2005 time of 10:44.91, run in Seattle. Roberts' time, run in just her third steeplechase, is also the sixth-fastest all-time in Cougar women's records.

Andrew Gonzales, a redshirt-freshman from Kennewick, Wash., ran a lifetime-best time of 8:59.46, for 13th place in the Men's Olympic Development Elite 3000m steeplechase. The Cougar lowered his PR by 22 seconds Thursday night.

In the Open/B section of the steeplechase, Western Washington's Eric Brill was 14th in the first heat, while Washington's Greg Drosky was ninth in the second heat at 9:14.15. Washington's Aaron Beattle was 11th in 9:16.48, while teammate Mike Miller was 15th in 9:29.28.

In the invitational elite women's steeple, Club Northwest's Lois Ricardi Keller was seventh in 10:12.85. In the Olympic Development steeple, Washington's Mackenzie Carter didn't finish.

Results from the Mt. SAC Relays main meet are available here, while multi-event results are available here.

NOTE: The sports information office of Washington State and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Shoe company news: Brooks announces new lightweight line; Nike extends USOC deal...

Bothell's Brooks Sports announced that the company will release a new line of footwear that promotes natural ride, an aligned footstrike and a unique running experience in a lightweight package.

Available for purchase at select retailers and on October 1, 2011, the Brooks PureProject collection is rooted in biomechanical performance, yet lightweight and intuitively designed to promote a natural footstrike, allowing runners to more completely connect to their runs.

"Our dedication to delivering the 'perfect ride for every stride' with our core running shoes is how Brooks became the #1 footwear brand at specialty retail earlier this year," said Jim Weber, Brooks president and CEO. "Now, with the Brooks PureProject collection, we are giving runners the biomechanical excellence they expect from Brooks in a lightweight package-letting runners experience more with less."

The company will release four different models that feature an "Ideal Heel" that allows the foot to land in a more forward position; a toe box split that allows the big toe to operate independently; a flexible band over the instep that gives the arch the right amount of reinforcement; an anatomical last; and the company's BioMoGo midsole technology.

Brooks' complete release is available here.

Meanwhile, Nike and the US Olympic Committee announced that the Beaverton-based company extended its sponsorship through the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The USOC has been partners with Nike since 2005, and the company also has apparel contracts with USA Basketball, USA Track & Field and a number of other sports.

The USOC release can be read here.

Randolph ninth, Taiwo tenth in Mt SAC Relays decathlon; SPU's Sims 12th in heptathlon...

AZUSA, California--After five events in the Mt. SAC Relays decathlon competition, the University of Washington's Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) stands in tenth place.

Taiwo ended day one of the two day competition with a score of 3824, 67 points and one place behind former Seattle Pacific standout Chris Randolph.

Taiwo's first day marks included a 11.05 100 meter dash; 22-8 in the long jump (6.91m); 41-1 in the shot put (12.52m); 6-4 1/4 in the high jump (1.94m), and 50.42 in the 400m.

For Randolph, his first day marks included a 11.21 100m; 23-7 1/4 in the long jump (7.19m); 44-9 in the shot put (13.64m); 6-2 in the high jump (1.88m); and 49.96 in the 400m.

Eric Broadbent is the first day leader with 4152 points, followed by David Klech of Oregon at 4126, then Grey Horn of Florida at 4080.

In the Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon, Seattle Pacific's Crystal Sims stands eleventh after the first day with a score of 3067 points.

She ran 14.85 in the 100 hurdles, then high jumped 5-2 1/4. Sims threw the shot 37-5 (11.51m), and ran the 200m in 25.16.

US Olympian Sharon Day leads after four events with a score of 3546, followed by Canadian Olympian Ruky Abdulai at 3534 points. Liz Roehrig stands third at 3488 points.

In the accompanying California Invitational heptathlon, Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen is in ninth at 3009 points (14.75/5-7 (1.70m)/32-5.5 (9.89m)/26.47).

Washington's Sarah Schireman is 26th at 2683 points (15.21/5-1 (1.55m)/29-4 (8.94m)/26.77), while Husky teammate Shelby Williams is 29th at 2620 points (16.31/4-9.5 (1.46m)/36-1.5 (11.01m)/26;31).

The meet resumes Thursday.

Complete day 1 results are available below.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Washington schools head to Cali for Mt. SAC Relays...

California...knows how to party
California...knows how to party
In the citaaay of L.A.
In the citaaay of good ol' Watts
In the citaaay, the city of Compton
We keep it rockin! We keep it rockin!

With apologies to 2Pac, the University of Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Western Washington, and Seattle Pacific will send squads to southern California this weekend for the Mt. SAC Relays, with other athletes competing in the Long Beach Invitational at Cerritos College.

The Mt. SAC Relays, on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, is by far the biggest track and field meet on the west coast, attracting dozens of elite professionals along with top college competitors and on down to hundreds of high school athletes.

The Relays got underway with day one of the multi-event competition Wednesday, held at Azusa Pacific in Azusa.

Washington's Jeremy Taiwo, Kale Schmidt, and Andrew Ferleman, and Seattle Pacific grad Chris Randolph were on the start list for the decathlon. Huskies Sarah Schireman and Shelby Williams were entered in the heptathlon, as well as Crystal Sims of the Falcons.

Results were not posted on either the Mt. SAC or the Azusa Pacific site at the time of this post.

One of the more interesting non-entries of the Mt. SAC Relays is Washington State's Jeshua Anderson, who is entered in the 400 hurdles at the Long Beach Invitational, but not in the invitational section at Mt. SAC.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing events from a collegiate perspective is the women's elite 5000 meter run at 7:30 pm Friday night, featuring a matchup between Oregon's Jordan Hasay and Colorado's Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy University of Colorado) from Sammamish, with a field of pros that includes American 5000m record holder Molly Huddle; US steeplechase record holder Jenny Simpson; Pixler's long-time Division II rival Neely Spence of Shippensburg; and several other pros, including Washington grad Katie Follett of Brooks.

The releases of Washington, Washington State, and Eastern Washington are available by clicking the links embedded by their school name.

Other notable pros with Washington connections competing include Ginnie Crawford and Falesha Ankton in the 100 meter hurdles.

The start lists for the Mt. SAC Relays are available here.

The live results link to the Mt SAC Relays are available here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 2 USTFCCCA polls have WSU & UW women's track teams in top 25...

NEW ORLEANS--Both the Washington State University and University of Washington women's track teams are ranked in the top 25, according to the latest polls released by the United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Tuesday.

Washington State remains in the #18 position, while the Washington Huskies, thanks to javelin thrower Amanda Peterson's school record performance in last Saturday's Pepsi Team Invitational at Hayward Field in Eugene, catapulted from outside the top 25 at #32 to #20 in this week's poll.

Peterson, a junior transfer from Eastern Washington University via Gig Harbor's Peninsula HS, rifled the spear 174-2 (53.09m) to break the 2004 UW school mark set by US Olympic Trials qualifier Megan Spriestersbach of 173-7 (52.90m), and garner the only individual win on the women's side on the day.

Florida, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech are the top three men's teams in this week's poll, while Texas A&M, LSU and Oregon are the top three squads in this week's rankings.

The top eight men’s teams remain unchanged from a week ago while the top three women’s squads remain in their previous-week positions.

According to the USTFCCCA, the purpose and methodology of the national team computer rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national-title race – not as a method to compare teams head-to-head.

The current USTFCCCA poll can be accessed here.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Flash Man" James Alaka of Washington named Pac-10 Men's Track Athlete of the Week...

WALNUT CREEK, California--The Pacific-10 Conference announced Monday that Washington sophomore sprinter James Alaka (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named its track athlete of the week for his performance at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Oregon over the weekend.

Alaka won both the 100 (10.53) and 200 meter (21.18) events and then ran a leg on the victorious 4x100 meter relay team that clocked a season-best 40.24 seconds.

The London, England native becomes the first Husky male to win the honor since sprinter Jordan Boase picked up the award in 2008.

After competing unattached during the indoor season, Alaka is off to a strong start, winning the 100 at the Stanford Invitational last month, before getting his two individual wins at Hayward Field.

The other athletes honored by the conference were: Mike Morrison, California (men's field athlete); English Gardner, Oregon (women's track athlete); and, Julie Labonte, Arizona (women's field athlete).

Courtesy of media partner, here is video of the Huskies' winning 4 x 100m race, with Alaka running second leg.

NOTE: The Pacific-10 Conference contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Washington's Amanda Peterson sets school record in javelin; Michael Berry impressive for Ducks...

EUGENE--University of Washington junior Amanda Peterson set a new school record in the javelin at Saturday's Pepsi Team Invitational at Eugene's Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon, as the Huskies finished fourth in the women's four-team scoring competition.

The third-ranked Oregon women won with 205 points, followed by Nebraska with 195.5, No. 16 Stanford with 143.5 and Washington with 112.

Peterson, a junior transfer from Eastern Washington University via Gig Harbor's Peninsula HS, rifled the spear 174-2 (53.09m) to break the 2004 UW school mark set by US Olympic Trials qualifier Megan Spriestersbach of 173-7 (52.90m), and garner the only individual win on the women's side on the day.

Nearly pulling off the upset of the day was freshman Katie Flood, as she took second in the 1,500-meters in 4:18.80, a ten second PR over her prep days. Flood nearly chased down NCAA indoor mile champion Jordan Hasay of Oregon, who held on for the win in 4:18.61.

The Husky men finished third, as the host Ducks, currently the No. 10 team in the country claimed the title with 195 points, with No. 8 Nebraska next with 181 points, Washington with 159 and No. 9 Stanford with 121.

Sprinter James Alaka won both the 100 and 200, running 10.53 and 21.18 into a headwind. He also contributed a leg on the Huskies' winning 4 x 100m relay team, as they got the stick around the oval in 40.24.

The Huskies earned a victory in the men's javelin, as Kyle Nielsen won with a mark of 233-10 (71.27m).

One of the most impressive performances of the meet came from Oregon's Michael Berry (left/photo courtesy University of Oregon), a freshman from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS, who won the 400 in 45.79, and anchored the Ducks to victory, as they ran 3:10.93 in the 4 x 400m relay.

In his first meet since winning the NCAA indoor title in the pole vault, Husky senior Scott Roth cleared 18-0.5 (5.50m) to win the event.

Results from the Pepsi Team Invitational are available here.

In Austin, Texas, Washington State's Marissa Tschida, a senior from Missoula, Mont., won the javelin at the Texas Relays with a throw of 173-feet, 3 inches (52.80m) while teammate Courtney Kirkwood finished fourth after throwing 160-9 (49.00m). Tschida's mark was 3 1/2 feet below her season-best javelin throw.

"I love the Texas Relays," Tschida said. "It is my favorite meet of the year. The atmosphere, the competition and the weather are always great. Winning here feels amazing, and winning against this level of competition makes it so much more of an accomplishment."

Jeshua Anderson of the Cougars was not able to capture his fourth consecutive Texas Relays 400m hurdles title, finishing third with a final time of 50.41 seconds.

The WSU men's 4x400m relay squad of Brandon Dawson, Jacob Sealby, Anderson and Nate Washington finished seventh in the university race, running a time of 3 minutes, 11.95 seconds.

Results from the Texas Relays are available here via

In Spokane, the Idaho women (124.25) and the Eastern Washington men (129) took top honors in the Spokane Community College WAR 4 meet pitting schools from Washington against schools from Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.

Complete results are available here.

NOTE: The University of Oregon, University of Washington, Washington State University, and the University of Texas contributed to this report.

Ryan Brown gets NCAA auto standard at Vernacchia Team Classic...

BELLINGHAM--Western Washington University's Ryan Brown (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) cleared the NCAA Division II automatic national qualifying standard in winning the men's pole vault and both the Viking men and women continued their winning streaks at the Ralph Vernacchia Team Track and Field Classic on Friday at Civic Stadium.

Brown, the defending national outdoor champion and a two-time indoor national champion in the pole vault, tied his own meet record by clearing 16-10 3/4 (5.15m).

Western won the men's team championship for the 14th consecutive year with 300 points. British Columbia was second in the 11-team field with 122.

The Viking women took top honors for the sixth consecutive time with 251 points. Simon Fraser was second in the 14-team field with 174-1/2.

Results from the meet are available here.

In Friday action at the Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas, Washington State's Nate Washington ran the fastest time for the Cougars in the 100 meter dash preliminaries of 10.51W (wind of 4.6 meters per second) for 20th place. Marlon Murray ran his first sprint of the season and finished 31st in a time of 10.60W while Brett Blanshan was 39th in a time of 10.66w.

The Cougar trio, along with Brandon Dawson, teamed up in the 4 x 100m prelims, and ran 40.92, good for 12th place.

Ashley Kenney finished fifth in Section B of the women's discus after throwing a distance of 153-feet, 3 inches (46.71m).

Saturday, Jeshua Anderson will look for a four-peat as he defends his 400-meter hurdles title at the Relays. He'll also run a leg on WSU's 4 x 400m relay.

Javelin throwers Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood are also in action Saturday. Live video feed and results are available from the Texas Relays at

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jeshua Anderson advances to 400H finals at Texas Relays; WSU & UW in weekend action...

AUSTIN, Texas--Three-time defending Texas Relays champion Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Washington State University opened his quest for a four-peat by advancing to the finals of the 400 hurdles Thursday as the Texas Relays got underway.

Anderson, a senior from Woodland Hills, Calif., ran a 400m hurdles prelim time of 50.94 seconds. His time was fourth-fastest of the 54 runners in the prelims where the top nine times advanced to the final. Texas Tech's Jamele Mason ran the top prelim time of 49.97 seconds. WSU's J Hopkins ran a time of 53.22 which was 18th-best on the day.

Anderson is the three-time Texas Relays intermediate hurdles champion and a two-time NCAA intermediate hurdles champion, finishing second at the national meet last year. He is the WSU record-holder in this event with at time of 48.47 and has the national season-best time of 49.33.

At Texas, WSU will have Brett Blanshan, Marlon Murray, Nate Washington in the 100 meters. Brandon Dawson (4 x 100m) and Jacob Sealby (4 x 400m) will see relay duty for the Cougars. On the women's side, Washington State has Ashley Kenney in the discus and Marissa Tschida & Courtney Kirkwood in the javelin.

Heat sheets and results from the Texas Relays are available here.

The larger group of Cougars will compete in Saturday's SCC War IV at Spokane CC, where Washington teams from CC of Spokane, Central Washington, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Seattle Pacific, Seattle University, Washington State and Whitworth are competing against the “World” teams from Eastern Oregon, Treasure Valley, Lewis-Clark State, Northwest Nazarene, University of Idaho, Boise State University, Great Falls University and University of Montana.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington heads to Eugene for the Pepsi Team Invitational scoring meet against Oregon, Stanford and Nebraska, one of two scoring meets the Huskies have on their schedule this season.

This will be the first outdoor meet with the full Husky squad in action. Two weeks ago the Stanford Invitational lured a big group of distance runners and sprinters, but many of UW's top field event athletes will be competing for the first time this weekend.

Senior Scott Roth will open up his outdoor season in the pole vault on Saturday, competing for the first time since winning the NCAA Indoor Championship last month. He'll be joined by sophomore transfer Robby Fegles, who vaulted last year for Lane CC, set to wear his new Husky jersey for the first time.

Also entering into their first action of the year are UW's All-American javelin duo of senior Kyle Nielsen and sophomore Joe Zimmerman. Nielsen and Zimmerman were third and fourth, respectively, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season. NCAA prelim qualifier Jimmy Brookman gives UW a third big javelin arm.

The distance battles on the women's side between Washington, Oregon, and Stanford should be fierce as usual. At 1,500-meters, freshmen Katie Flood and Megan Goethals will run against Oregon's NCAA mile champion Jordan Hasay. Sophomore Lindsay Flanagan has the top seed time in the 5,000-meters, coming off a great 10k run at Stanford that ranked fifth in school history. Freshman Mackenzie Carter will make her collegiate debut in the steeplechase as well.

Washington's sprints group will look to build off an impressive opening weekend at Stanford. Sophomore James Alaka comes in as the favorite in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and will be joined by junior Ryan Hamilton. Sophomore Colton Dunn and freshman Maurice McNeal will run the quarter-mile, with McNeal coming off a very impressive 21.23 opening at 200-meters at Stanford.

The men's 1,500-meter race boasts a loaded field with numerous All-Americans and NCAA competitors. Senior Colton Tully-Doyle and sophomore Joey Bywater, plus junior Ryan Soberanis and redshirt freshman Gareth Gilna give UW strong representation in one of the day's top fields.

At 5,000-meters, junior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald will look for a strong encore from his Stanford 5k where he broke 14-minutes for the first time. Sophomore Rob Webster Jr. and freshman Aaron Beattie will also run. Sophomore James Cameron, on a roll since the indoor season began, will try out the steeplechase this week after running the third-best 5k in school history at Stanford.

Action at Hayward Field gets underway at 11:30 am. For those not able to drive to Eugene, Comcast Sports Net (channel 179 on Seattle area Comcast) will have live TV coverage of the meet from 12:30pm-3 pm with announcers Rich Cellini, Tom Jordan, Brad Barquist and Jill Savage.

In addition, the University of Oregon will stream the meet live in HD on for $9.95

The entry lists for the meet are available here.

Finally, Western Washington's multi-events meet got underway Thursday in Bellingham with Michelle Howe, who had top times in both the 100-meter hurdles (15.13) and 200 (27.11), leading the heptathlon with a four-event total of 2,580.

In the decathlon, Central Washington's Jason Caryl leads 10 decathlon participants with 3,344 points. He had top efforts in the 100 (11.50), long jump (21-3 1/4) and 400 (52.45).

The multi-events resumes Friday at 9 am, along with the Ralph Vernacchia Team Classic at Civic Stadium, with field events at 2:30 pm, and running events at 3:30.

Besides Western, the field includes British Columbia, Central Washington, Everett CC, Evergreen State, Green River CC, Northwest, Olympic CC, Pacific Lutheran, Saint Martin's, Seattle U., Simon Fraser, Skagit Valley CC and Puget Sound.

You can read Western's preview of the meet here.

NOTE:  The University of Texas, University of Oregon, University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UW Husky track & field/XC alumni & friends gathering April 29th following UW/WSU dual...

Running this notice as a public service to all University of Washington track & field alumni and friends who read the blog.

In conjunction with the annual UW/WSU dual meet at Husky Stadium on Friday April 29th (before anyone starts screaming, the meet is indeed being held on a Friday, as the UW Spring Football Game is the next day), the Husky track & field program will host an alumni gathering at the Founder's Club beginning at 8 pm following the meet.

After the meet, UW coach Greg Metcalf will announce the news about the future track & field facility that will be built, as the track around Husky Stadium will be removed.

Cost is $25 per person, and UW friends and alumni are urged to RSVP Kristin Metcalf at

UW track and cross country alums are also urged to visit both the University of Washington Track & Field Alumni, and the Washington Husky Track & Field page on Facebook, by clicking the links to the pages.

Links of the day--an update from Kara Patterson, plus the lack of dual meets...

Today's links of the day include a blog entry from Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who writes about setting a practice PR in a training session.

Patterson, who set the American record in the javelin last season, writes, "I set a training goal last year to throw 60 meters in practice. I never achieved that, but I raised it this year because of the success that I saw in competition during 2010. So, although I'm really happy about meeting last year's goal today and setting a new practice personal record :), I'm more excited about striving toward this year's aspirations."

You can read the entry here.

Incidentally, she will open her 2011 campaign at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa at the end of the month, and she also let us know that she has a new agent in Daniel Wessfeldt from Sweden's JRS Sport Management. His firm also represents former Washington State high jumper Ebba Jungmark and ex-Washington middle distance runner Ingvill MÃ¥kestad.

The other top link of the day is a preview of Saturday's Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, featuring the Huskies, Ducks, along with Stanford and Nebraska.

The Oregonian's Ken Goe writes that college track & field's lack of emphasis on team scoring is one of the biggest reasons why there's a decline in popularity with the general public.

Ken's right.

My first exposure to a collegiate track meet was as a ninth grader at Sharples Junior High School in Seattle, when the University of Washington gave away tickets for a dual meet at Husky Stadium against San Jose State, which by the way, used to be a track powerhouse.

On the meet program, there was a picture of San Jose State's Mark Schilling and the UW's Greg Gibson, as one of the feature races was a race between the two (can't remember whether it was over 880 or a mile).

The fact that there's only 12.6 total men's scholarships and 18 for women in Division I track & field makes it difficult to field complete teams. In fact, the trend for most schools nowadays is to bank scholarship money on certain event groups instead of fielding well rounded teams; i.e., the UW women's team, Oklahoma State, and Portland are the three schools that come immediately to mind, as they put the majority of their money on distance runners.

In their defense, those schools, and many others, get the most out of their money banking on an event group, as distance runners can cover cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. So from an economic standpoint, I don't blame them.

As an aside, I should note that in the late 70s and early 80s, the UW put a lot of scholarship money in the throws when Ken Shannon was the head coach.

But that's not a track team.

Oregon coach Vin Lananna points out in Goe's article, “I’ll be quick to follow up and say as long as we have a ludicrous number of scholarships, 12.6 for men and 18 for women, it makes it very difficult. It’s a great idea, a great concept. But it’s really hard. There are 21 events in track and field and 12.6 grants. We don’t even have a starting lineup.”

You can read Goe's article here.

Blog Archive