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

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