Friday, May 27, 2011

Three Cougars, two Huskies move on to Des Moines with top-12 finishes at West Regionals...

EUGENE--Pacific-10 champions Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, and Anna Layman, along with 800 meter runner Joe Abbott joined Washington State University teammates Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood by earning berths to the NCAA championships as the West preliminary round continued Friday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

For the fourth consecutive year, Anderson had the fastest 400m hurdles time coming out of the West Preliminary Round. His quarterfinal time of 49.59 sends the four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion to Des Moines for the national meet. Anderson is the national leader with a time of 48.13.

"Today, the first hurdle was all I really wanted to focus on and then each one because I didn't want to clip that and then lose my momentum," Anderson said. "Coach Mac (Mark Macdonald) wanted me to work on my right leg but I came off the eighth hurdle in cruise mode. These past few days I haven't been running like I've been running in practice. I've been cruising through and trying to make it through the rounds and get to the NCs. I learned about racing smart (as opposed to fast) through all these years of running against pros at the Olympic Trials and the USAs. They run a lot smarter and try and conserve as much energy as you can. That's the big plan: to hold onto whatever strength level you have and let loose once you get to the final. I'm sure I'll be running a fast time on that Mondo track in Des Moines."

Running the fourth-best time in school history, junior Joe Abbott advanced to the Des Moines races with a quarterfinal time of 1:46.84, the fifth-best of the day, and breaking his lifetime-best by a full second. Abbott started to kick with about 100 meters left in the race and made a valiant effort to get into the top three finishers for an automatic berth. He ran the final 20 meters shoulder to shoulder with Minnesota's Harun Abda with both diving at the finish line. Abda was awarded the automatic qualifying third place with a time of 1:46.81.

Two-time All-American Anna Layman punched her ticket back to the NCAA Championships with her quarterfinal time of 2:05.86; fourth place in her heat, eighth fastest time of the day, and the second of three qualifiers based on time, not place.

For the Huskies, sophomore Logan Miller cleared three straight outdoor personal bests to earn one of the twelve spots to the NCAA finals in Des Moines.

Her day almost ended right after it began, as Miller missed her first two attempts at 12-1 ½ (3.70m) but with her season flashing before her eyes she cleared on her third attempt. After getting over 12-7 ½ (3.85m) on her second try, Miller really got into the mix with a first attempt make at 13-1 ½ (4.00m), a new outdoor best.

On try number two at 13-3 ½ (4.05m), Miller went up and got around the bar clean for another career-best. That put her in position to advance, but she decided to cinch it up by once again raising her own personal bar. Miller cleared 13-5 ¼ (4.10m) on her very first try, then waited as the rest of the competition dropped off.

"It was a little unexpected," she said of all her PRs. "I started out really rough; I almost no-heighted. But the one that got me really pumped up was making 13-1 on my first try. Then 13-3 got me even more pumped up, and then making 13-5 on my first try, I don't know how that happened!"

The mark of 13-5 1/4 puts her in a tie for fifth on the all-time UW top-10 list.

Miller did the trick without the help of vault coach Pat Licari, who drove back to Seattle after the meet Thursday night to tend to wife Jean, who was undergoing heart surgery after a blood clot was found last week.

"Pat told me last night that he wouldn't be here, and that made me a little nervous, but luckily I had Scott (Roth), and Robby (Feagles) who were great coaches and I trust them a lot, so it worked out really well and we all had the same game plan," said Miller. "It made me a little more proud of myself and even more confident to do it without Pat here. It will be really exciting to go to nationals."

Freshman Maurice McNeal did not have his best day but it was good enough to advance the Federal Way product on to Iowa. Running out of the first of three quarterfinal heats, McNeal was towards the back halfway through the race but could see the field in front of him. He accelerated through the final two turns and came home in fourth, just missing the auto qualifying spot, but his time of 46.44 would wind up earning one of three time qualifiers.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon was second in his heat in 45.95. Demetrius Pinder of Texas A&M won the heat in 45.82.

"I wanted to conserve my energy but still place in the top three," said Berry. "There are a lot of heats but I wanted to make sure that I advanced. I still had a lot of energy left but I tried to catch as many people as I could on the final stretch."

Tacoma's Andrea Geubelle of Kansas finished eighth in the triple jump to earn a nationals berth in her second event of the meet, jumping 42-3 1/4 (12.88m).

The West preliminary round concludes Saturday. Complete results from Friday's competition are available here.


Seattle Pacific junior Ali Worthen shook off a tough day in the long jump, came back to set personal-bests in the final two events, and broke through the 5,000-point barrier for the first time, recording an All-American sixth-place finish in the hep on Friday afternoon at Warrior Stadium on the campus of Cal State Stanislaus University, scoring 5044 points.

“Once you're over 5,000, that's a landmark, and it takes you to the next level,” Worthen said. “I'm really excited that I made that, and I hope I can continue to build on it and keep going from there.”

Teammates Crystal Sims finished 12th overall on Friday with 4,837 points, and sophomore Katy Gross, who won the javelin portion of the hep competition, was 13th with 4,782.

Central Washington's Katilin Davis and Western Washington's Karis Anderson finished in a tie for seventh in the pole vault with a mark of 12-0 1/2 (3.67m), as both earned D2 All-America honors.

With her top-eight finish, Davis helped the Wildcats secure at least one All-American in outdoor track and field for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons. She is the 18th outdoor All-American for CWU -- including the ninth female -- since 2001.

Seattle Pacific's Melissa Peaslee was 12th at 12-0 1/2, while teammate Terra Schumacher was 14th at 11-8.5 (3.57m).

Day 2 results from the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

One footnote to Sarah Porter's win in the 10000m Thursday--according to a tweet posted by David Monti of Race Results Weekly, Porter was ruled ineligible for a short time because the NCAA determined that she took prize money.

However, hours before the race, Porter was reinstated by the NCAA.


In Delaware, Ohio, Whitworth's Tonya Turner smashed her own school record and finished third in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase on Friday at the 2011 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Turner stayed close to the front of the pack from the start of her race and when the lead group of three runners broke away at the 1,500 meter mark she went with them. That group of four steadily pulled away and Turner moved into third place with 600 meters to go. Her final time was 10:28.21.

Frank Lima finished in a tie for sixth in the high jump with a jump of 6-7 (2.01m) to earn All-America honors.

Whitworth's recap is available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, Western Washington, Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Whitworth contributed to this report.

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