Monday, June 6, 2011

Dawgs and Cougs head to Des Moines for NCAAs, plus hot blogs...

The University of Washington will send eight men and three women, while Washington State will put up six men and three women into competition at this week's NCAA track and field championships in at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with competition getting underway on Wednesday.

The Huskies are led by reigning NCAA indoor pole vault champion and current US leader Scott Roth, as he aims for a national outdoor title that has eluded him throughout his collegiate career at Washington.

Roth, a six-time All-American, set the UW school record earlier this spring with a clearance of 18-9 1/4 at the Mt. SAC Relays. That mark remains the best by an American this year. His competition begins at 5:35 p.m. Central time Wednesday.

On the men's side, Washington State will be led by senior Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki,, who looks to win his third career NCAA title in the 400 meter hurdles, after losing last year's championship race to South Carolina's Johnny Dutch, who elected to turn pro after the 2010 meet in Eugene. Anderson is the current US leader at 48.13, a mark he set in winning the Pac-10 championships in Tucson last month.

Senior Marissa Tschida, the two-time Pac-10 javelin champ, leads the Cougars into Drake Stadium, and is the team's highest returning placer from last year's meet, where she was fourth.

The Huskies will be led by freshman Katie Flood, who makes her first collegiate appearance at Drake Stadium, a place where she dominated during her prep career. A graduate of Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines, she won six career junior titles at the Drake Relays, including four-straight 3,000-meter titles, and set a stadium record for high schoolers of 9:43.39 in the 3k last year. Flood also set the Iowa high school record at 1,500-meters on the Drake track last year, running 4:28.30.

Drake University will provide a free web stream of all parts of the meet that are not televised live. CBS will provide television coverage on Friday and Saturday. Saturday's coverage, from 12-2 p.m. (CDT), will be carried on the CBS network, with Ian Eagle calling the action, along with analysis and interviews from Larry Rawson, Carol Lewis and Dan O'Brien. Coverage on Friday, June 10, will be provided from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Central on CBS Sports Network on cable.

Washington's release is available here, while Washington State's is available here.


Former writer and LA Times Olympics reporter Alan Abrahamson, who is one of the most respected Olympic writers in the country, writes down some ideas on how track and field can move forward from its position as a sport that "…is going nowhere fast in the United States."

He asserts that it must do better, "especially because USATF, track and field’s governing body, is getting $4.4 million annually in grant money from the U.S. Olympic Committee, the most any governing body is getting, and with that kind of cash comes heavy responsibility."

Alan points out that there is a disconnect between the athletes, coaches, shoe companies, other sponsors, and yes, even the top leaders of the sport in this country and the fans.

Because of that, he asserts that there are only two meets that matter--the USA championships back in Eugene on June 23-26th, and the IAAF world championships in Daegu in late August.

The rest of the meets in the USA, including last weekend's Nike Prefontaine Classic, and this weekend's adidas Grand Prix in New York, and anything else that involves this nation's elite athletes, have pretty much "…devolved, regrettably, to varying degrees of noise, and everyone knows it."

To read Alan's thoughts on the state of the sport in the US, his ideas, and even thoughts on Eugene, please click here.

The other hot blog read is friend of the blog and American javelin record holder Kara Patterson, who writes in two separate posts on her competitions in both Eugene and Rome, which were part of the season-long Samsung Diamond League competition.

Patterson, who entered the Nike Prefontaine Classic undefeated in meets contested at Hayward Field, suffered her first career loss with her sixth place finish.

She states that she's making some transitions in her technical approach, as her coach Ty Sevin is working with her to throw the javelin with her legs and her whole body, instead of depending on her arm strength and flexibility.

Patterson noted that at Pre and at the Drake Relays, she reverted to her old habits.

You can read both of her posts here.

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