Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday a busy day of track & field for Washington pro & collegiate athletes...

Thursday promises to be a very busy day for Washington's professional and collegiate track and field athletes.

In Rome, the Samsung Diamond League makes a stop in the Italian capital for the Compeed Golden Gala meeting, which has as its headliner Jamaica's Usain Bolt, who makes his 2011 outdoor debut against countryman Asafa Powell and French sensation Christophe Lemaitre.

After opening her season with a victory at the Drake Relays, Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who was in contention for the top prize in last year's Diamond League javelin competition, goes against a strong field that includes world record holder former University of Minnesota star and defending Diamond Trophy winner Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic.

Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Crawford faces countrywomen Lolo Jones, Danielle Carruthers, Dawn Harper, and Diamond Trophy leader Kellie Wells in the 100 meter hurdles.

In the women's discus, veteran Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way faces 2010 Diamond Trophy champion Yarelis Barrios of Cuba, and current leader Sandra Perkovic of Croatia.

The Compeed Golden Gala meet will be shown live online at (fee required) beginning at 11 am pacific/2 pm eastern time.

Start lists for this stop in the Samsung Diamond League tour are available here.

In Eugene, athletes from the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Eastern Washington look to extend their season another two weeks at the NCAA West Regional (or NCAA first round) meet at Hayward Field, where a 12th place finish is just as good as first place.

This is the second season of the current NCAA qualifying format, which gathers two fields of equally huge size in Eugene, Oregon for the West Prelims and Bloomington, Indiana for the East Prelims. Close to two thousand athletes will be in Eugene for the West Preliminary Rounds, encompassing all schools on the western half of the country.

Each individual event is filled with a field of 48 athletes, and over the three-day meet those events will be whittled down to only 12. The same process will also be going on in Bloomington, thus making for final fields of 24 athletes in each event in Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA finals June 8-11th.

Washington state athletes are in action at 10 am with the women's javelin featuring Pac-10 champ Marissa Tschida of Washington State against teammate Courtney Kirkwood, the Huskies' Amanda Peterson and Jordin Seekins, and Eastern frosh Emma Murillo.

The men's javelin follows later in the afternoon, with the Huskies' Kyle Nielsen and Joe Zimmerman attempting to punch their ticket to Des Moines with a top-12 finish.

For those who can't make it to Eugene, the University of Oregon will provide a free webcast of the meet at, starting at 3:30 pm Thursday, 3 pm on Friday, and 1 pm Saturday, which is when running events start each day.

Live results and a time schedule for each day's events are available here.

In Turlock, California, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, and Central Washington will have athletes competing at the NCAA Division II championships starting on Thursday.

Seattle Pacific qualified seven women, led by Brittany Aanstad in the javelin, the top seed in the javelin.

Western Washington will send eight athletes, led by defending NCAA D2 indoor and outdoor pole vault champ Ryan Brown, and top seeded Sarah Porter in the women's 10000.

Central Washington will have hammer thrower Torrie Self and pole vaulter Kati Davis as their two participants in the nationals.

The webcast of the NCAA Division II begins at 5:15pm here.

Live results are available here.

Finally, Spokane's Whitworth University will send ten athletes to the NCAA Division III championships in Delaware, Ohio.

Here is a link to Whitworth's release announcing their entries for the national championships.

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