Thursday, September 15, 2011

Huskies set to host Sundodger Invitational Saturday at Lincoln Park...

SEATTLE--The University of Washington hosts the annual Sundodger Invitational Saturday morning over the trails of Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

Hundreds of athletes will run over the Lincoln Park trails in a series of eight races this Saturday, as the Sundodger now includes expanded high school boys and girls events as well as the college invitational races featuring the Huskies. The first race goes off at 9 a.m., while the 11th-ranked Husky women compete at 11 a.m., and the UW men's team runs at 11:35 a.m.

The first two races will be the college open events, featuring athletes from a number of small colleges. The high school girls varsity 5k race is at 10:25, followed by the two invitational college races. Joining UW will be a number of local universities, with Oregon State being the only other Pac-12 team in the mix. Seattle Pacific, Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Western Washington will be among the other teams in the field. At 12:20, the high school varsity boys 5k will go off, followed by high school junior varsity boys and girls races.

Individual defending champions Lindsay Flanagan (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Max O'Donoghue-McDonald are both expected to defend their titles for the Huskies on Saturday.

Also expected to run for the women on Saturday is sophomore Justine Johnson, an All-West Region performer last year, junior Allison Linnell and sophomore Liberty Miller, both with NCAA Championship experience, and sophomore Breanna Huschka. Competing attached for the first time will be redshirt freshman Chelsea Orr, who won the NACAC Junior race last spring, and Phoebe Merritt, a sophomore transfer who had an excellent indoor track season last year. Also suiting up for the first time is Megan Morgan, who redshirted last season.

True freshmen Eleanor Fulton, who represented Team USA at last year's world junior championships in the steeplechase in Moncton, Canada, and Erin Johnson will also make their collegiate debuts.

O'Donoghue-McDonald will be joined by fellow senior Cameron Quackenbush. Junior Joey Bywater, coming off a strong track season, could contend for the title, and look for sophomores Michael Miller and Taylor Carlson to be up near the front. Redshirt freshmen Aaron Beattie, Danny Gibson, and Kevin Mangan will compete in uniform for the first time, and a number of Washington's large freshman class will run, though most will be unattached to keep open the possibility of a redshirt season.

One of the featured prep athletes competing in the Sundodger is American high school 2000m steeplechase record holder Maddie Meyers of class 1A Northwest School in Seattle, as the nine-time state champ and 2010 Foot Locker cross country national finalist races against predominantly class 3A & 4A schools.

Washington has a quick turnaround, as they depart next week for Minneapolis to take part in the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted annually by the University of Minnesota. One of the most prestigious early season meets, the Huskies have not competed at the Roy Griak since 2001.

NOTE: The University of Washington contributed to this report.

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