Monday, February 28, 2011

Seattle Times article on Husky Stadium project (and the new track complex)...

Before calling it a night, I'm posting a link to a story written by the Seattle Times' University of Washington football and basketball beat writer Bob Condotta.

Condotta writes that as part of the Husky Stadium renovation project, the school will construct a new outdoor track & field facility north of the current Husky soccer field.

You can access his story here.

Some immediate, off the top of my head thoughts come to mind:

a) Will it have multiple long/high jump/pole vault pits/shot rings capable of running a decathlon competition, or a meet like a NCAA regional championship, like for example, Texas/Arkansas/Indiana/Oregon?

b) What direction will the layout of the track be? I'm no weather/wind expert, but the way the track will be laid out will be a factor in how fast the facility will be, and how the javelin and the discus will carry;

c) Will there be a hammer ring built in the stadium. or will the hammer be relegated outside the stadium?

d) Will the facility be capable of receiving an IAAF Class 1 or Class 2 certification?

Here is a link to the tracks around the world certified by the IAAF as being in those classes. Note there are only four tracks in the USA that are certified as a Class 1 facility: Hayward Field in Eugene (photo above of start of 2010 Nike Prefontaine Classic mile by Paul Merca); Icahn Stadium in New York; Hutsell-Rosen Track on the campus of Auburn University; and, John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

e) What kind of seating capacity will it have? At the very least, it should have enough permanent seats to attract a meet like the Washington state high school meet. Hopefully the folks who control the purse strings on the track stadium project have the foresight to think about meets like the NCAA championships, the USA championships, and with temporary seating, an Olympic Trials or a meet like the IAAF Continental Cup or World Championships?!?

f) If you dare to dream big (IAAF world championships big), is there a place for a practice track to be built near the track complex, along with the necessary amenities the IAAF requires for an event like the world championships? 

I'm not suggesting that the UW buid a track stadium capable of hosting the world championships, but if someone is crazy enough with a pipe dream of hosting the world championships in Seattle using temporary seating around that could hold enough folks for a meet this big and can pull off the funding for a meet that big...hey, I'm just throwing this thought out!

None of us will know the answer to any of these questions until the UW makes drawings of the proposed track complex available to the public.

Zach Stanfield wins 400 meters at Great West indoor championships...

NEW YORK--Seattle University's Zach Stanfield (left/photo courtesy Seattle University) won the 400 meter dash to garner the Redhawks' second individual victory of the meet as the Great West Conference indoor track & field championship meet concluded at the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center Monday.

Stanfield, who raced in the finals of four events, won the 400 meter dash with a time of 48.76, placed fourth in the 200 meter dash in 22.21, and was fifth in the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.02.

He also competed in SeattleU's fifth-place 4x400 meter relay, along with Duncan MacKay, Zachary Schlachter, and Dan Auld, which finished in 3:24.88.

Both Seattle U's men's and women's teams moved up to fifth in the final standings, with the men collecting 55 points and the women ending with 46. South Dakota won both the men's and women's championships with 170.5 and 222 points, respectively.

SeattleU's press release from the Great West Championships can be read here.

Complete results from the Great West meet are available here.

THE INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT…

Former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad is entered in the 1500 meter run at the European Championships that begin Friday in Paris.

She'll run in a first round heat at 5:25, local time on Friday, with the finals scheduled the next day.

The link to the entry lists for the European Championships are available here; the timetable for the meet is available here.

Meanwhile, former Washington State Cougar Bernard Lagat is in Melbourne, Australia to contest the 5000 at the Melbourne Track Classic on Thursday.

Lagat, who won yet another USA Indoor title over 3000 meters on Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will face a field that includes Chris Solinsky, the American record holder in the 10000, Matt Tegenkamp, and Andrew Bumbalough, all of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Portland; Australian internationalists Craig Mottram and David McNeill; and, Kenya's Isaac Songok.

The link to live results from the Melbourne Track Classic is available here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ex-Husky Jordan Boase fourth in 400 at USA Indoor Championships...

ALBUQUERQUE--Former University of Washington standout Jordan Boase (left/file photo courtesy University of Washington) from Bothell finished fourth in the men's 400 at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships presented by BMW at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Michael Courtney, an All-American from Sam Houston State University utilized a disciplined game plan in winning his first USA Indoor title.

Courtney, who ran a consistent pace throughout, gained on early leader Tavaris Tate as he began to fade on the final straightaway. Courtney finally passed him with about 15m to go, winning the race in 46.11 seconds. Tate held on to finish second in 46.53, with James Howell third in 46.57 and Boase fourth in 46.79.

To get to the finals, Boase, who currently is training out of the Nike campus in Beaverton, ran 47.36 in the qualifying round on Saturday.

Jillian Camarena-Williams broke a 24-year-old record in the shot put, while Jenn Suhr broke her own record on her way to winning the women’s 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series title.

Camarena-Williams opened the second day of competition with a stunning 19.87/65-02.25 throw that broke the 24-year-old American record set by Ramona Pagel in 1987.

Suhr etched another line in the history books with a new American record of 4.86/15-11.25 in the Visa Women’s Pole Vault. Her mark also secured her  1,211 points to win the 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series title.

On the men’s side, Mike Rodgers sprinted to a world leader in the BMW Men’s 60m to clench the men's Visa Championship Series crown, clocking 6.48 seconds, and earning a check for $25,000, the same amount given to Suhr, the women's Visa champ.

Rodgers' mark was worth 1220 points on the IAAF points table used to determine the men's and women's champs.

Complete day 2 results from the USA Indoor Championships are available here.


WEEKEND COLLEGIATE RECAP...

In New York, Olympia native Emily Walters from Seattle University won the long jump Sunday in the first day of the Great West Conference championships at the New Balance Armory.

Walters jumped 18-3 (5.56m) to better her previous school record of 17-3 1/2 (5.27m).

The Great West conference championships conclude Monday. Seattle University's release can be read here.

Eastern Washington junior Brad Wall was one of three Eastern Washington athletes to earn Big Sky titles, as he won the 400 at the Big Sky Conference championships in Pocatello, Idaho on Saturday.

On Friday, Erica Chaney won the 20-pound weight throw with a mark of 57-6.5, and distance runner Kyle King won the 5000 meter run, clocking 15:23.63.

The Eagle men placed fifth in the team competition with 67 points. The Hornet men grabbed the team title with 133 points, just a half of a point ahead of Northern Arizona (132.5). The Eastern women placed eighth overall with 45.5 points. Sacramento State claimed the team title as they racked up 144 points.

Eastern Washington's recap of the Big Sky Championships can be read here.

At the SPU Last Chance meet on Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, Seattle Pacific pole vaulter Melissa Peaslee cleared 12 feet, 2¾ inches (3.73 meters). That not only was a season best, it was enough to launch her into the No. 8 spot in the national rankings.

“I'm ready for nationals,” a very bubbly Peaslee said after finishing her day's work. “I can get two good weeks of training in and get on bigger poles. It's my senior year, and I have nothing to lose anymore.”

While Peaslee is technically only a provisional qualifier, and the indoor meet typically allowing 12 to 14 competitors per event (13 pole vaulters made the field in 2010), she is far enough up the list to be off the bubble and bound for her third indoor nationals in Albuquerque in two weeks.

The results of the SPU Last Chance meet and the Seattle Pacific release can be read here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field, Seattle University, Eastern Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bernard Lagat wins yet another USA indoor championship...

ALBUQUERQUE--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) won yet another USA national title, capturing the men's 3000 meter run as the first day of the USA Indoor championships concluded at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Despite a valiant effort by new American indoor 5000-meter record holder Galen Rupp of Portland, Lagat, the reigning world indoor champion in this event ran 7:57.19 to earn the victory over Rupp, who clocked 7:59.91.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is video of the race.



In other events, former NCAA pole vault champion Jason Colwick, who is now training in Seattle under Husky vault coach Pat Licari, finished second with a leap of 17-8.5 (5.40m), behind Mark Hollis, who won at 18-4.5 (5.60m).

Club Northwest's Levi Keller was fourth at 17-4.5 (5.30m), and 2007 world outdoor champion and American outdoor record holder Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace failed to clear a height, as he begins his comeback from an injury-plagued last 18 months.

Fort Lewis' Michael Mai, a 2009 world championships team member in the hammer throw, was third in the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 77-10 (23.72m), a season best, but only one centimeter behind A.G. Kruger

Jake Freeman of the NYAC took the national title with a mark of 79-0 (24.08m).

The meet continues Sunday, with coverage on ESPN from 4:30-6 pm eastern time. Media partner RunnerSpace.com will also provide live coverage on the web.


Results from day 1 of the USA Indoor Championships are available here.

Freshman Megan Goethals surprises MPSF championship field by winning 3000m run...

SEATTLE--If there was an athlete who'd receive the award for the most unexpected win in a conference championship meet, that award would go to Megan Goethals (#2, left/photo by Paul Merca).

While she had the pedigree of being the national high school cross country runner of the year in 2009, and won the Foot Locker national cross country title as a senior out of Rochester, Michigan, the University of Washington freshman wasn't expected to be a factor for the Huskies during the indoor season, especially when she was shut down by the coaching staff about halfway through the cross country season due to health problems.

After an impressive outing at the Flotrack Husky Classic two weeks ago, Washington coach Greg Metcalf made the decision to line her up at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships at the Dempsey Indoor Facility Saturday, and the freshman took advantage of the opportunity to give the Huskies its only individual win of the meet, taking home the gold in the 3000 meter run.

Goethals was always near the front of the pack, with Stanford's Stephanie Marcy of Sequim and teammate Jessica Tonn doing the bulk of the front running until the last two laps, when Arizona's Hannah Moen tried to make a break for home.

It appeared as if Moen had broken away from the leaders, but Goethals stayed patient, and ran down the Arizona junior in the last 50 meters, winning 9:18.28 to 9:18.53.

Tonn finished third in 9:19.77, while Marcy was fourth in 9:19.96, and the Huskies' Katie Flood was fifth in 9:20.32.

While Goethals' winning time was marginally slower than the 9:18.09 personal best she set two weeks ago, her win provided a psychological boost to the entire Husky women's distance program, as numerous teammates stood in the alley way beyond the finish line to offer congratulatory hugs to the winner.

The Oregon Ducks won the women's championship meet, scoring 138 points to defeat second place Arizona by 10 points.

The Huskies finished fifth with 62.5 points, while Washington State was ninth with 16 points.

Stanford won the men's team title with a score of 107.5 points, with Arizona again finishing second with 102 points.

Washington State finished seventh with 63 points, while the Huskies were eighth at 57 points.

Besides Goethals' victory, the other top three finishes for the Huskies came from Joey Bywater, who earned a third place finish in the mile in 4:02.84; Taylor Nichols in the triple jump, who finished second with a jump of 40-7.5 (12.38m); and Kelly McNamee in the high jump, where she tied for third at 5-8.5 (1.74m).

Courtesy of the University of Washington, here is video of UW coach Greg Metcalf's thoughts on the MPSF meet.



For Washington State, top three finishes came from Greg Hornsby, who finished third in the 60 meter dash in 6.84; Bowerman Award candidate Jeshua Anderson was second in the 400 meters, running 47.13; Joe Abbott was second in the 800, running 1:50.86; and Stephan Scott-Ellis finished third in the triple jump with a leap of 50-10.25 (15.50m).

The Cougars' 4 x 400 meter relay team also cracked the top three, finishing second in 3:10.80, as Anderson couldn't quite catch Oregon anchor Michael Berry, the Rainier Beach HS grad.

Perhaps the best individual performance of the meet came in the women's high jump, as Arizona's Brigetta Barrett cleared an NCAA-leading mark of 6-3.5 (1.92m), a mark which ranks her in the top 15 in the world this season.

For many of the NCAA Division I schools, there will be several last chance qualifying meets for teams and individuals to compete in around the country, including one hosted by the University of Washington next Saturday.

Complete results of the MPSF Championships are available here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cougar women clock second fastest DMR time in school history...

SEATTLE--The Washington State women's distance medley squad of Courtney Zalud, Shawna Fermin, Anna Layman & Ruby Roberts (left/photo by Paul Merca) placed second behind the University of Oregon, as the Cougs clocked the second fastest time in school history in 11:18.14 to highlight a strong performance at day one of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships at the Dempsey Indoor facility on the UW campus.

A strong 800 meter leg by Cougar senior Anna Layman kept the Cougars in contention with Oregon's Becca Friday from Bellingham, before Zoe Buckman pulled away from Roberts on the anchor leg, and taking home the victory in 11:09.75, just off the meet record of 11:08.56 set by Stanford in 2008.

The Cougars' Stephan Scott-Ellis from Tacoma placed second behind Oregon's Vernell Warren in the long jump with a mark of 24-3 3/4 (7.41m), as Warren, the MPSF leader going into the championships won with a leap of 24-6.5 (7.48m).

For the Washington Huskies who were missing reigning MPSF and NCAA pole vault champion Scott Roth with a sore hamstring suffered two weeks ago, Ryan Vu's second place finish in the pole vault was the Dawgs' highest placing of the day, as he cleared 16-9.5 (5.12m) to finish behind UCLA's Greg Woepse.

Woepse's third attempt clearance at 17-3.5 (5.27m) snatched victory away from the grasp of Vu, who was in command for most of the competition.

Washington's distance medley relay teams both finished fourth, as the men ran 9:38.25, and the women's squad ran 11:20.85.

2009 All-American Elisa Bryant from the UW finished fourth in the 20-pound weight throw, throwing 58-6.5 (17.84m), as UCLA frosh Ida Storm threw a Swedish national record of 67-11 (20.70m).

In the women's 5000, Washington's Phoebe Merritt (16:34.50) and Lindsay Flanagan (16:36.20) finished 4th and 5th, respectively in a race won by Arizona's Hannah Moen.
Sequim native Stephanie Marcy of Stanford was third in 16:16.91.

Other highlights:

--The University of Oregon's distance medley relay squad of Mac Fleet, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry, Elijah Greer, and Matthew Centrowitz set a meet record of 9:26.78, the second fastest collegiate time ever run, behind only the University of Texas, who ran 9:25.97 in 2008;

--Cal State Northridge's Sherrina Lofton used a 2:18.35 800 to win the pentathlon and garner an automatic bid into the NCAA championships in two weeks, scoring 4092 points, currently the sixth best mark in Division I;

--Cal's Michael Morrison leads the heptathlon after four events with a score of 3157 points, 114 ahead of Oregon freshman Dakotah Keys, a prep All-American. Washington senior Andrew Ferleman (2995) and Husky frosh Kale Schmidt (2934) stand fifth and sixth;

--Stanford's Miles Unterreiner from Gig Harbor won an exciting 5000m race over Arizona's Mohamud Ige 13:48.13 to 13:48.15.

After day 1, Arizona State leads the women's competition with 54 points, as pre meet favorite Oregon stands third at 32. Washington is in a tie for sixth with 17 points, and Washington State is ninth at 13 points.

In the men's competition, Stanford leads with 40 1/2 points. Washington and Washington State are sixth and seventh at 19, and 16 points each.

The MPSF championships resume Saturday beginning at 11 am.

Day 1 results are available here.

The UW news release is available here, while the WSU release can be read here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MPSF Championships brings West's top collegiate squads to the Dempsey...

SEATTLE--Many of the West Coast's top collegiate track & field teams will assemble at the Dempsey Indoor for the annual Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor track & field championships that begins its two-day run on Friday.

This meet serves as the conference championship meet between the eight Pac-10 schools excluding Oregon State and USC, along with Big West squads from Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge, with the addition of UC Irvine's women's squad.

Defending champ Oregon is a heavy favorite to win the women's team title, while the team crown may come down to a battle of depth between #7 Stanford, #12 Oregon, #15 Arizona and #16 Washington.

UCLA enters the meet as the defending men's team champions.

On the men's side, key matchups to watch include Washington State's Jeshua Anderson (above/photo by Paul Merca) against Stanford's Amaechi Morton in the 400; the Cougars' Joe Abbott and Arizona's James Eichberger in the 800; the Oregon trio of Matthew Centrowitz Elijah Greer and Mac Fleet against Stanford's Andrew Berberick & Elliott Heath.

Heath will be a factor in the 3000 against the Huskies' Colton Tully-Doyle, while in the 5000, look out for Stanford's Chris Derrick, who has not competed yet this season, but was an NCAA scorer in the 10000 outdoors last year.

Nick Ross of Arizona in the high jump and the Huskies' Scott Roth in the pole vault are strong favorites to win their events, as Ross is #4 in the collegiate ranks this season at 7-4.5 (2.25m), and Roth is #1 at 18-1 (5.51m).

Oregon's Amber Purvis is a solid favorite to defend her 60m title, while Arizona State's Jasmine Chaney is the favorite in the 200 and 400m.

Defending 800 champ Anne Kesselring of Oregon will face teammate Zoe Buckman, but the Ducks' Jordan Hasay could steal the race (timed-final format) despite the fact that she's running in the first of three heats. However, the 800 will be after the mile, an event in which Hasay is the defending champ.

The NACAC junior cross country champion, Chelsea Orr of Washington, will contest the mile.

In the women's 3000, Husky fans will get to see Megan Goethals on the track in purple and gold for the first time after running 9:18.09 two weeks ago at the Flotrack Husky Classic as an unattached athlete.

Goethals, the 2009 Gatorade national high school runner of the year will face Oregon's Alex Kosinski, who has a NCAA automatic qualifier in the 5000m. 

Goethals will be joined by teammate Katie Flood, who is preparing to run as a member of Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Spain next month.

Perhaps the best field event matchup will be in the pole vault, as it pits defending MPSF champ Katerina Stefanidi from Stanford against Oregon's Melissa Gergel in their third matchup of the indoor season, with the Stanford star from Greece besting Gergel both times.

Oregon's Brianne Theisen, who holds the collegiate best in the pentathlon, will compete in three individual events--60 hurdles, high jump, and shot put, in which she will be a major factor in the hurdles and high jump.

In the high jump, Thiesen, who won the Pac 10 title last year, will face NCAA leader Brigetta Barrett of Arizona (6-3.25/1.91m) and Washington State's Holly Parent (6-0/1.83m).

Action gets underway Friday at 12:30 pm with the finals of the men's 35 pound weight throw, and concludes at 6:55 with the final event of the pentathlon, the 800.

The meet resumes Saturday at 11am with the heptathlon 60 hurdles, and ends four hours later with the women's 4 x 400 meter relay.

The start lists for the MPSF Championships are posted here; the conference news release, including the time schedule is available here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bernard Lagat & Galen Rupp to face each other in Albuquerque over 3000 meters at USA Indoors...

Washington State University graduate and reigning world indoor 3000 meter champion Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) is among the headliners for this weekend's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lagat, who won last year’s U.S. Indoor title in 8:12.60, earlier this month secured his fifth national indoor record at the Armory New Balance Track & Field Center in New York when he won the two-mile in 8:10.07, which bettered Doug Padilia’s two-mile record 8:15.02 set in 1990.

After the devastating earthquake that hit New Zealand over the last few days, 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp, who was originally scheduled to run a 10000 meter track race in Christchurch this Saturday, will fly back to the United States to face Lagat in a matchup between the current (Rupp) and former American record holders in the 5000 meter run indoors.

Rupp, the Portland resident and University of Oregon alum,  reclaimed the record last Saturday in Birmingham, England when he ran 13:11.44, taking Lagat's old record set last year in Boston down by 6/100ths of a second. The mark makes Rupp the 13th-fastest all-time performer in the world.

The owner of American Junior Outdoor records at 3,000m and 10,000m, Rupp will be in search of his first USA Indoor title in Albuquerque. He’ll face a tough foe in Lagat, the 2007 World Outdoor 1,500m and 5,000m champion, who will be anxious to defend his USA Indoor 3,000m title on Saturday.

The winner of a record eight Wanamaker Mile titles at the Millrose Games in New York, Lagat also owns U.S. national indoor records at 1,500m, one mile and 3,000m, in addition to USA Outdoor records at 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m.

Among other athletes entered in the USA Indoor Championships with ties to the state of Washington include former Huskies Jordan Boase (400m) and Brad Walker (pole vault); Jason Colwick (pole vault), the former NCAA indoor and outdoor champion from Rice University who is training post-collegiately under UW vault coach Pat Licari; and, Ft. Lewis based thrower Michael Mai (35-pound weight throw).

Walker, the 2007 world outdoor and 2008 world indoor champion and American record holder in the pole vault, is entered and declared despite not having a mark this season. Walker is attempting to bounce back after an injury-marred period beginning in July 2009.

The third and final event of the USA Track & Field 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the USA Indoor Championships will be televised live on Sunday, February 27, from 4:30 - 6 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.

The meet will also be webcast at www.usatf.org in partnership with RunnerSpace.com. The free webcast will run from 6 – 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday and from 11:30 – 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The declared entry list for the USA Indoor Championships can be viewed here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Norwegian national indoor 1500 record goes down again as Måkestad lowers to 4:08.65...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--Former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad (left/photo courtesy runingvill.wordpress.com) broke her own Norwegian national record in the 1500 meters at Tuesday night's running of the XL Galan indoor meeting at Ericcson Globe Arena.

Måkestad finished ninth in 4:08.65 in a very competitive race won by Ethiopia's Abeba Arigawi in a 2011 world leading time of 4:01.47, in which she lead from gun to tape after Russian pacesetter Irina Maracheva dropped out. 

Måkestad broke the national record she set in Birmingham, England on Saturday of 4:09.17

This was Arigawi's second straight world leading mark, having set the previous world leader in winning in Birmingham on Saturday

The former Husky was content to tuck in the field that included American Morgan Uceny, who set a personal best of 4:05.35 in finishing fourth, Sylvia Ejdys of Poland's PR of 4:05.38 (European leader), Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain's 4:06.86 in 6th, Renata Plis' 4:07.10 in 7th, and Hannah England's 4:07.13 in eighth.

Måkestad will face many of these same athletes in the Stockholm field at the upcoming European championships in Paris March 4-6th.

Former Washington State University high jumper Ebba Jungmark from Sweden finished in a tie for second with Estonia's Grete Udras clearing 6-2 3/4 (1.90m).

Russia's Mariya Kuchina won the event with a clearance of 6-4 (1.93m).

Results from the XL Galan meeting are available here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chelsea Orr gets gohuskies.com Student-Athlete Award; Måkestad back on track in Stockholm...

SEATTLE--University of Washington freshman Chelsea Orr (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), fresh off her victory at Saturday's NACAC Cross Country Championship race in Port of Spain, Trinidad, was named by gohuskies.com as its student-athlete of the week.

The Sammamish native earned the individual gold medal in the junior women's 4k race, clocking 13:54, to defeat Canada's Fiona Benson by six seconds. Orr also led Team USA to a team silver medal.

Other nominees include: Jacob Lamb (baseball), Matthew Bryan-Amaning (men's basketball), Conlin McCabe (men's crew), Trevor Simbsy (men's golf), Martin Kildahl (men's tennis), Kristi Kingma (women's basketball), Anya Alvarez (women's golf), Ruby Engreitz (gymnastics), Kaitlin Inglesby (softball), Denise Dy (women's tennis).

Meanwhile, former Husky Ingvill Måkestad is entered in Tuesday's 1500 meter run at the XL Galan meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.

Måkestad, who lowered her Norwegian national record Saturday in Birmingham, England to 4:09.17, will face a field that includes Hannah England and Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain, Morgan Uceny of the USA, Irene Jelegat of Kenya, and Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi, who won Saturday's Birmingham meet in a world leading time of 4:03.28.

They'll have to contend with Kalkedan Gezahegn of Ethiopia, the reigning world indoor champion from last year.

Other events of significance include a matchup in the triple jump between Swede Christian Olsson and Briton Phillips Idowu, with Olympic champ Nelson Evora of Portugal thrown in; new world junior pole vault record holder Angelica Bengtsson of Sweden against veterans Fabiana Murer of Brazil and Svetlana Feofanova of Russia; and what's being hyped as a world record attempt in the women's 3000 by Meseret Defar of Ethiopia.

Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan of the Oregon TC Elite/Portland is also listed in the field in the women's 3000.

Former Oregon Duck Matt Scherer is entered in the B section of the men's 800, and former Washington State University standout Ebba Jungmark is entered in the women's high jump.

The IAAF preview of the XL Galan meet is available here; the start lists are available here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ali Worthen's win in high jump helps Falcons win eighth consecutive GNAC indoor crown...

NAMPA, Idaho--Seattle Pacific University claimed its eight straight GNAC indoor track & field championship, led by high jumper Ali Worthen's (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) victory, and its all-around depth Saturday at Jackson's Track.

Off to a solid start on Friday with Katy Gross’ victory in the pentathlon and Ali Worthen’s in the long jump at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, the Falcons added just one more individual title on Saturday when Worthen took the high jump.

But they also added 78 more points to their Friday total, and that was enough give them their eighth consecutive team title, scoring 126.5 to top Simon Fraser, which finished second with 118 points.

Central Washington finished fifth with 80.5 points, while Western Washington was sixth with 74.5 points, and Saint Martin's was eighth with 10 points.

In the men's competition, day 1 leader Western Washington couldn't hold off the charge of Western Oregon, as they finished second with 135 points to WOU's 147.83 points.

Central Washington was third with 104.83, while Seattle Pacific finished sixth with 41, and Saint Martin's eighth with 11 points.

For Western, pole vaulter Ryan Brown won his fourth straight GNAC title, clearing a modest 15-9 1/4.

Other winners for the Vikings included Sarah Porter (17:18.68) and Jordan Welling (15:15.07) in the 5000m, Tim Clendaniel in the triple jump (46-11), Alex Tilley in the 60m dash (7.05), and Tanya Bjornsson in the 60 hurdles (8.98).

Central Washington got two wins in the shot put (45-10) and the 20-pound weight throw (53-7.5) from Torrie Self, who was named the outstanding female athlete of the meet.

The Wildcats got wins from Anthony Hogan (8.42) in the 60 hurdles and Katharine Lotze in the triple jump (38-5).

In addition to Worthen, Nathan Seeley (1:54.35) won the 800, and Nate Johnson (4576 points) won the heptathlon for the Falcons of Seattle Pacific.

Seattle Pacific hosts the Falcon Last Chance meet next Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor facility at the University of Washington following the conclusion of the MPSF Indoor championships.

Complete results of the GNAC meet and the recap are available here.

COUGARS GET TEN WINS AT WSU OPEN II MEET...

In Pullman, Washington State track and field competitors grabbed 10 wins and reached 11 lifetime-best marks Saturday at the WSU Open II Indoor track and field meet.

Cougar women claiming wins on the oval Saturday included Chanel James in the 60m dash with a time equaling her PR of 7.62 seconds in the prelims and then winning in a time of 7.65, Cindy Robinson in the 200m running a season-best time of 25.21, Ramona Morshead in the 3000m running a time of 10-minutes, 42.61 seconds, the 4x400m relay of Jalisa Williams, Courtney Zalud, James, and Veronica Elseroad-Wall in a time of 3:55.20.

In women's field events, joining Cassie Whitfield, Friday night's weight throw winner, were Christine Rice who high jumped a PR of 5-feet, 8 1/2 inches (1.74m), and Bianca Walton who triple jumped 37-10 1/2 and led a one-two-three Cougar women finish. Angela Jensen ran the top collegiate 60m hurdles time of 8.72, with Canadian Olympian and Idaho assistant coach Angela Whyte winning the hurdles in 8.14. Mary Barnett threw the shot put a PR distance of 44-10 3/4 (13.68m) for second place.

WSU men taking wins Saturday included Rashaun Johnson in the 200m with a time of 22.05, J Hopkins in the 400m dash with a time of 50.79, Andrew Gonzales in the mile with a PR time of 4:14.83, and Ross VanZanten in the high jump clearing 6-7 (2.01m). Garrett Gerling finished second in 60m hurdles with a PR time of 8.35, Joe Bartlett took second in the shot put with a PR throw of 55-7 1/2 (16.95m), and Drew Jordan took third place in the mile with a PR time of 4:19.53.

Cougars who reached lifetime-best marks at the WSU Open II meet included Sean Harris in the 60m dash (8.51m) and in the pole vault (14-9/4.50m), Nate Washington in the 60m dash (6.95), and Ashley Kenney in the shot put (42-2/12.85m).

The Cougars will compete in next week's MPSF Championships hosted by the University of Washington at the Dempsey Indoor Facility Friday and Saturday.

Complete results are available here.

NOTE: The GNAC, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Washington freshman Chelsea Orr from Sammamish wins NACAC junior harrier title...

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--University of Washington freshman Chelsea Orr (left/photo courtesy Mike Scott, USA Track & Field) from Eastlake High School in Sammamish won individual gold in the junior women's 6 km to lead Team USA to a silver medal Saturday, at the seventh annual North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships at Queen's Park Savannah in Trinidad.

In the first race of the day, Orr ran patiently in the lead pack during the first 2 km loop before taking control of the race at about 3 km.

With about 400 meters remaining, Orr held a seven second advantage over Fiona Benson of Canada with Benson trying to close the gap but Orr went on to a six second win, running 13:54.

Julia Foster (Albuquerque, N.M.) was the second Team USA finisher, running 14:13 for seventh. Sarah Fakler (Phoenix, Ariz.) ran 14:43 to finish 10th and Alexis Goldsmith (Orland Park, Ill.) ran 14:52 to round out the team finisher in 12th-place.

Canada scored 15 points to take the team gold medal, Team USA scored 30 to take silver and Puerto Rico scored 61 points for the team bronze.

In the last few weeks, Orr has strung together a series of solid performances, starting with a personal best in the mile of 4:47.51 in the mile at the UW Invitational in late January, and a PR of 9:26.73 in the 3000 at the Flotrack Husky Classic last week.

Orr finished seventh at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships a fortnight ago in San Diego, and is the first alternate for the world championship team that travels to Punta Umbria, Spain next month.

Orr graduated from Eastlake with personal bests of 2:14.76 in the 800, 5:02.70 in the 1600, and 10:56.0 in the 3200m.

The USA Track & Field release can be read here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Western Washington men hold day 1 lead at GNAC indoor champs; Måkestad sets Norwegian indoor 1500 record...

NAMPA. Idaho - Western Washington University holds a slim lead in the men's standings and the Viking women had two NCAA Division II national provisional qualifying efforts at the eighth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships which got underway Friday on Jackson's Track at the Idaho Center Sports Complex.

The Viking men are first among eight teams after four events with 40 points. Pre-meet favorite Western Oregon, which has won the last three titles and four overall, is second at 36.33.

WWU is fifth in the women's standings following five events with 24 points. Seattle Pacific, seeking its eighth straight championship, holds a 48.50 to 40 lead over second-place Central Washington.

Seattle Pacific sophomore Katy Gross (far left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) started out with a personal-best time in the 60-meter hurdles, then came up victorious in the shot put and long jump, and ultimately wound up with nine more total points than Falcons senior teammate Jenifer Pike as they forged a 1-2 finish in the pentathlon on the first day of the meet at Jackson’s Track in the Idaho Sports Complex.

Falcon junior Ali Worthen captured the long jump title for the second time in three years. And junior Terra Schumacher took third place in the pole vault to pace a 3-4-7 SPU finish in that event.

Behind Worthen, Western's Tanya Bjornsson placed second in the women's long jump, her mark of 18-2 1/2 meeting the provisional standard.

In the distance medley relay finals, Western's women were second in 11:53.23. That performance came despite a mistake by the officials, which kept its second runner, who was attempting to get in position for the handoff, off the track for precious seconds.

Rachael Johnson ran the leadoff leg followed by Eleanor Siler, Megan O'Connell and Sarah Porter.

The Vikings also placed second in the men's distance medley relay with a time of 10:10.89. That quartet was made up of Nick Abraham, Toby David, Dylan Hopper and Jordan Welling.

Complete day 1 results are available here.

The Saturday session of the GNAC meet is being streamed online starting at 10 am here.


AVIVA GRAND PRIX RECAP

In Birmingham, England, former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad (left/courtesy runingvill.wordpress.com) set a Norwegian national record of 4:09.17 in the women's 1500 meter run Saturday at the Aviva Grand Prix indoor meet.

In a race won by Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi in a world leading time of 4:03.28, Måkestad eclipsed her previous personal best of 4:11.0, set in this meet last year.

For American distance running fans, the highlight of the Aviva GP meet was 2009 Bowerman Award winner Galen Rupp setting a new American record in the 5000 meter run of 13:11.44 in finishing second to new training partner Mo Farah of Great Britain, who set a new European record of 13:10.60.

Farah, who recently announced that he would be coached by Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, and would move to the Portland area, worked in tandem with Rupp for most of the race.

On the final lap, Farah shot past Rupp on the backstretch, thrilling his countrymen, as he opened up a gap exiting the last turn.

Rupp lowered Washington State University grad Bernard Lagat's American record of 13:11.50 set at last year's Reebok Boston indoor meet.

Complete results from the Aviva Grand Prix indoor meet can be accessed here.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Western Washington and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ingvill Måkestad opens 2011 indoor season in Birmingham...

BIRMINGHAM, England--Former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad (photo courtesy runingvill.wordpress.com) makes her 2011 season debut at Saturday's Aviva Indoor Grand Prix Saturday at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Måkestad will contest the 1500 meter run, where she'll face former Florida State standout Hannah England, Abeba Aregawi from Ethiopia, and Irene Jelagat from Kenya.

Måkestad has spent the last month training in South Africa, after an outstanding season in 2010 where she broke the Norwegian national record in the 800 (1:59.82), and came close to the national record in the 1500 meters outdoors held by Grete Waitz, as she ran 4:02.20 in Rieti, Italy.

In last year's meet in Birmingham, she set her indoor personal best of 4:11.0.

Among the highlighted events is an attempt by Great Britain's Mo Farah to break the British record in the 5000 meters of 13:21.27 set by Nick Rose in New York 29 years ago.

Farah will face former Oregon Duck standout Galen Rupp in this matchup.

The complete press release can be read here; the start lists are available here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

UW frosh Chelsea Orr leads USA jr women's squad at NACAC cross country championships, plus links...

University of Washington freshman Chelsea Orr (left/photo by Paul Merca) leads the Team USA junior women's (19-under) squad into action at Saturday's North America, Central America & Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) cross country championships at Queen's Park Savannah in Trinidad.

Orr finished seventh at the USA cross country championships on February 5th, running 22:22 over the 6 km course at San Diego's Mission Bay Park.

This indoor season, Orr's run 4:47.51 in the mile at the UW Invitational, and 9:26.73 in the 3000 at the Flotrack Husky Classic, both personal bests.

The Eastlake HS grad will be joined in Trinidad by Julia Foster (Albuquerque, N.M.); Alexis Goldsmith (Orland Park, Ill.); and Sarah Fakler (Phoenix, Ariz.).

Orr remains the #1 alternate for the USA world championship team that travels to Punta Umbria, Spain next month.

In last year's meet in Trinidad, current Husky Lindsay Flanagan finished sixth in 14:08 over a 4 k distance, the same distance they will race this year.

Team USA looks to unseat the defending NACAC junior women's champions from Canada.

The USATF release can be accessed here.

LAGAT NAMED USATF ATHLETE OF THE WEEK...

In other USA Track & Field news, the federation announced that Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat was named its athlete of the week for breaking the American record in the two-mile run last Saturday in New York.

Lagat's time of 8 minutes, 10.07 seconds bettered Doug Padilia's 8:15.02 two-mile record set in 1990 at the Los Angeles Forum. Lagat won the race on the Armory's 200-meter track, running the final mile in 4:02. For his record-setting efforts the New York Road Runners presented Lagat a check for $10,000.

The USATF release can be read here…

COUGARS HOST WSU OPEN II INDOOR MEET...

In Pullman, Washington State University will host the WSU Open II indoor meet Friday and Saturday at their indoor practice facility. Expected athletes competing will come from Idaho, Spokane CC, Whitworth, Gonzaga, Lewis-Clark State, Eastern Oregon, and Linfield.

WSU's release can be read here…

Finally, here's a great piece on Washington prep sensation and 2010 world junior championships competitor Andrea Geubelle, the Curtis HS graduate, and current member of the University of Kansas track team.

On why she decided to attend Kansas, she pointed out that “My whole family lives in Kansas,” said Geubelle. “My parents grew up here so we’ve always been KU fans.”

“I had a lot of other perspective schools and then I met Coach (Wayne) Pate,” said Geubelle. ‘He coached the same way as my high school coach, so it seemed like a really good fit. He is a fun and outgoing guy and he has developed so many Olympians.”

Among those Pate coached over the years include 1988 USA outdoor long jump champion and current leader of the Seatown Express elite high school squad Eric Metcalf.

You can read the full story here...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Husky men's track team moves up in latest USTFCCCA poll; Eugene 2012 & hot topics...

The University of Washington men's track & field team vaulted to a season-high No. 16 national ranking today after the USTFCCCA compiled all the latest best marks from around the country. Big efforts from Husky seniors Colton Tully-Doyle (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Ryan Vu helped jump the Dawgs up four spots this week.

Men’s No. 1 Florida (168.05) gained points this last weekend in normal events – sprints and jumps, but a 3:56.84 run in the mile by Dumisane Hlaselo at the Dempsey last Saturday garnered the Gators additional ranking points as the fourth-best performance in the NCAA this year.

Washington has moved up each of the past three rankings periods after starting the year at No. 22. Tully-Doyle's school-record in the 3,000-meters earned him the NCAA Automatic qualifying mark and currently ranks him 11th in the NCAA. Vu didn't quite hit the auto mark with his 17-foot, 7-inch pole vault clearance, but that mark ties him for seventh nationally and will most likely be enough for him to join fellow senior Scott Roth at NCAA Indoors in the vault.

The Huskies are also getting big points from junior Jeremy Taiwo in the heptathlon, as he ranks third overall, and from their distance medley relay team, which is ninth nationally with a time of 9:39.29.

In the women's poll, number 1 Oregon (199.68) continues to add to their all-around qualifying marks. Sophomore Jordan Hasay recorded the NCAA’s best time in the mile last weekend with a 4:34.75 run at the Flotrack Husky Classic. Junior Alex Kosinski added the second-best time in the nation in the 5000.

In Division II, the Western Washington men's squad remains at #20. as the Blue Tigers of Lincoln (Mo.) move to the No. 1 men’s position for the second time this year as rival Saint Augustine’s moved to No. 2. Grand Valley State’s women are again at No. 1, a place they have held since the beginning of the season.

The Viking women's team dropped all the way down to #22 from their #11 ranking from the previous week.

As expected, Seattle Pacific's women's squad dropped out of the top 25.

The Division I release can be accessed here, while the Division II release is available here.

TICKETS FOR 2012 US OLYMPIC TRIALS AVAILABLE MAY 6TH...

paulmerca.blogspot.com received this release from the organizers of the 2012 US Olympic track & field trials in Eugene, Oregon.

The meet - which is being marketed as "TrackTown12" - will be hosted by the Oregon Track Club at Historic Hayward Field June 22 to July 1, 2012, in Eugene, Ore. All-session ticket packages for the eight-day competition will be available for general public purchase beginning May 6, 2011.

"Hayward Field is the perfect venue for selecting Team USA and showcasing America's best athletes as they prepare for outstanding performances at the London Olympic Games," said Vin Lananna, co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee and Associate Athletic Director at the University of Oregon. "We are excited to welcome fans from across the country to Track Town, USA and invite everyone to join us in a celebration of the world's #1 track and field team."

According to Lananna, the community is hard at work to ensure that TrackTown12 is the best track and field event ever. He expects it to surpass Eugene08 - which not only drew faithful fans from as across the nation, but also set the bar for green sporting events by winning the IOC's first-ever Sport and Environment Award. A ticket to Eugene08 was a hot commodity, and all-session packages sold out several months in advance. Tickets to TrackTown12 are also expected to sell quickly and a limited number of individual-day tickets will go on sale in April of 2012.

The complete release can be read here

HOT TOPICS…

Two of the hottest topics in track & field on the internet are the IAAF's decision to give the top sprinters byes from the first round of competition at the world championships and the Olympics, along with the questioning of marks set in the distance races at the Dempsey Indoor Facility at the University of Washington.

Essentially, athletes who are entered in the Olympics and world championships in the 100 and 200 meters who do not have either the A or B qualifying standard, would have to run the first round, in what is essentially a "play-in" round.

According to an IAAF release, "Notably, a “Preliminary” round in the men’s and women’s 100m, traditionally the event with the highest number of entrants and highest number of non-qualified athletes, has been introduced. The “Preliminary” round will be held before the main three rounds of the men’s and women’s 100m in order to give an opportunity to athletes who have neither the ‘A’ nor the ‘B’ standard to take part in the World Championships*. The qualification procedure from the “Preliminary” rounds will be determined depending on the number of final entrants."

One of the harshest critics of the system is retired sprinter-turned-broadcaster Ato Boldon, who expressed his dislike of the new system in a series of posts on his Twitter page.

Boldon writes, "In today's edition of "Let's alienate the purists" the top sprinters won't have to run the 1st round at worlds or in London. Seriously. WTF."

There are some who suggest that the IAAF gave the elite sprinters the bye into the second round in exchange for keeping the no-false start rule.

Boldon retorts, "Someone major will false start out of Daegu or London. Remember I said it. Then what? Does that help the sport?"

To read more about the byes in the sprints, here's an article from the BBC, and one from the Daily Mail.

The other hot topic of discussion is the annual griping on the message boards about the validity of the Dempsey Indoor track & field facility, in light of this past weekend's Flotrack Husky Classic, where 25 men broke 14 minutes in the 5000, 20 men dipped under 8 minutes in the 3000, and 7 men broke 4 minutes in the mile.

Much as Stanford is the place to go to run fast outdoors in the distance races, Seattle is the place to go run fast in the 800-5000 meters, thanks in part to its oversized 307-meter Mondo track.

University of Washington coach Greg Metcalf and assistant coach/meet director Jason Drake go out of their way to assemble the best collegiate and professional fields, in the middle distance and distance races, even so far as to provide rabbits (pacesetters) in many of the races, to create an environment conducive to running the fast times needed to meet and/or exceed the NCAA qualifying standards in those events.

I'm not an expert on track surveying, nor do I claim to be one. However I do know this: The folks who officiate many of the meets at the Dempsey are some of the most knowledgeable track & field officials in the country, and I am willing to bet that if there were any suspicions that the track is shorter, that they would dispel those rumors and/or do their due diligence and measure the track properly.

Here's the thread on the Track & Field News message board...

NOTE:  The University of Washington and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

High schooler Ryan Crouser of Oregon highlights UW Open meet with mammoth toss in shot...

SEATTLE--The small colleges and high schoolers took center stage at the Dempsey Indoor Facility on the campus of the University of Washington as the Huskies hosted the UW Open meet.

Ryan Crouser (left/photo courtesy nationalscholastic.org) from Barlow High School in Oregon took center stage, as he won the invitational high school shot put, spinning the 12-pound ball 74-5 (22.68m), the second longest throw indoors all time by an American high schooler.

After an opening throw in the 21 meter range, Crouser, who has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Texas, Crouser really got things going in the second stanza, pushing the ball 72-10.75/22.22m, to awaken the crowd clustered in the south end of the Dempsey hoping to witness history.

Two rounds later, the anticipation towards topping Fallbrook (California) prep Brent Noon's 20-year old record of 74-11/22.83m began building as Crouser threw 72-9.25/22.18m.

In round 5, Crouser got the crowd going in a rhythmic clap, as he threw a personal best 74-5/22.68m, setting the stage for one of the most eagerly awaited throws in the facility's history.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is video of his fifth round throw:



However the record was not to be, as Crouser fouled in round six.

Afterwards, Crouser said that he felt that his sixth round throw was technically better than his fifth round PR, but said that the shot rolled off his hand as he released the implement.

Canadian Olympian Angela Whyte from Edmonton, currently an assistant coach at the University of Idaho, came back to the Dempsey one day after winning both the hurdles and the long jump at the Flotrack Husky Classic to win the 60 hurdles in 8.31.

Complete results from the UW Open are available here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nelson wins 3000 to highlight Flotrack Husky Classic...

SEATTLE--Tim Nelson (left, in green/photo by Paul Merca) capped an exciting day of distance running at the Flotrack Husky Classic, as he led eighteen runners across the finish line under 8 minutes in the final heat of the men's 3000 meter run, winning in 7:49.95.

After pacesetter Max O'Donoghue-McDonald of the host University of Washington dropped out, NCAA cross country champ Sam Chelanga of Liberty took the lead before a host of runners, including former Stanford standout Garrett Heath, North Carolina State's Ryan Hill, Oregon's Matthew Centrowitz, and Nelson made a break for it.

Much as his brother Elliott tried to do in last night's 5000, Heath made a decisive move with over 200m to go, but Nelson stayed patient, and overtook Heath in the final straightaway.

After Nelson's 7:49.95, Heath crossed in 7:50.28, followed by Centrowitz in 7:50.59, then Hill at 7:50.78, and Chelanga at 7:50.92.

Current American record holder in the mile Alan Webb, who was a late entry, faded, finishing 6th in 7:51.85.

Washington senior Colton Tully-Doyle was ninth in 7:53.13, just in front of Oklahoma State's German Fernandez in 7:53.82. 2008 US Olympian at 5000 meters Ian Dobson was 14th in 7:54.39.

In total, 20 athletes cracked 8:00 Saturday, including the top two finishers in section 5, Matthew Mildenhall of Villanova (7:57.40) and John Sullivan of Stanford (7:59.71).

Ten collegians ducked under the 7:54.50 qualifying standard for next month's NCAA championships at College Station, Texas.

Though it did not have the depth of last year's race where 13 men ran under 4:00, seven men broke four minutes in the mile, led by facility record holder Chris Solinsky, who opened his 2011 season by lowering his own record to 3:54.52 from 3:55.76.

Solinsky, the American record holder in the 10000 meters, cruised to victory over BYU's Miles Batty who clocked 3:55.79.

In the women's 3000, Canadian veteran Malindi Elmore made short work of a strong field by running away with the race, clocking 9:04.70, a nearly 11 second margin over US Olympian at 800 meters Alice Schmidt who ran 9:15.20.

A surprising third went to UW freshman Megan Goethals, competing unattached, who stopped the watches at 9:18.09.

US Olympian at 10000 Amy Yoder Begley, competing for the first time since Achilles tendon sugary last fall, ran 9:19.58, while Huskies Katie Flood (9:21.88) and Justine Johnson (9:31.86) were 13th and 17th.

In another section, Washington frosh Chelsea Orr finished sixth in 9:26.73, as she preps for next week's NACAC cross country championships in Tobago.

The women's mile provided a minor upset, as former University of Kansas standout Lauren Bonds passed Oregon's Jordan Hasay on the final straightaway to win at 4:34.65 to 4:34.75.

Tacoma's Brie Felnagle was third in 4:36.28.

In the sprints, Washington State's Greg Hornsby won the 60 meter dash in 6.84, defeating Oregon's Heisman Trophy runner-up LaMichael James who ran 6.88.

Cougar teammate Jeshua Anderson won the timed-final 400 in 46.93, 3/100ths of a second faster than former Husky Jordan Boase, who won his heat decisively, but had no one to race.

The Huskies' Dominique Lauderdale was a surprise winner of the women's 60, running 7.48 to best a field that included high school sensation Hannah Cunliffe of the Seattle Speed TC, who was fourth in 7.59.

In the throwing events, one of the biggest surprises was the failure of former Auburn University star Cory Martin to register a mark in the shot put, fouling all three of his preliminary attempts.

USA world championships team member in the hammer Michael Mai of Ft. Lewis dominated the 35-pound weight throw, spinning the implement 76-3 3/4 (23.26m), four centimeters short of the facility record set by James Parker three years ago.

In the men's pole vault, former NCAA champ Jason Colwick was the only man to clear 18-1 (5.51m).

Complete results from the Flotrack Husky Classic are available here.

The University of Washington will host the UW Open meet Sunday, beginning at 8 am.

BERNARD LAGAT BREAKS AMERICAN RECORD IN THE TWO-MILE IN NEW YORK...

While the heats of the men's 3000 were going on, Washington State graduate Bernard Lagat took aim at Doug Padilla's American record in the two-mile run of 8:15.02, set in 1990.

Assisted by pacemakers Robby Andrews of Virginia, and Russell Brown of the Oregon TC, Lagat comfortably broke Padilla's record, clocking 8:10.07, the #10 performance of all-time.

Lagat's coach James Li watched the race unfold on my laptop at the Dempsey, but I was not able to get a reaction from Li after the race, as I was attending to other duties.


Here's a link to an interview Lagat did with Track & Field News' Sieg Lindstrom...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stanford's Elliott Heath leads 25 men under 14 minutes in 5000 at Flotrack Husky Classic...

SEATTLE--In a race that saw eighteen men break 14 minutes, Elliott Heath of Stanford (center/photo by Paul Merca) jumped the field with a little over 200 meters to go to win the fifth and final section of 5000 meter run at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor Facility.

Combined with the other sections, 25 men ducked under 14 minutes Friday night.

Oklahoma's Kevin Schwab did most of the early pacesetting, but with three laps to go, the field broke down to a group of five, led by Leonard Korir of Iona and Stephen Sambu of Arizona.

Heath, who had been tucked around third or fourth over the final laps, made his decisive move on the backstretch at the east end of the Dempsey, putting on a burst that surprised the opposition.

Heath cruised to victory in 13:37.77, with Korir second in 13:40.62, and Sambu, a former NJCAA champ third in 13:41.57.

Heath's mark is currently the second fastest collegiate time behind Liberty's Sam Chelanga's 13:37.55 on January 28th.

In the women's 5000, Tennessee's Jackie Areson pulled away from Oregon's Alex Kosinski to win the fastest section of the 4-section race, clocking 15:39.81 to lead six women under 16 minutes, and nab the fastest collegiate time in the country.

In a notable performance, Western Washington's Sarah Porter won section 3 of the 5000, defeating Bellingham native Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon 16:11.98 to 16:13.73, a school record for Porter, and the second fastest time in NCAA division 2 behind Shippenburg's Neely Spence.

Action really heats up at the Flotrack Husky Classic, beginning at 8 am Saturday.

Results from day one of the Flotrack Husky Classic are available here.

Media partner Flotrack goes live on the web beginning at 2:15 pm pacific time.

As an update to our earlier story previewing the meet, the men's shot put will feature rising star Cory Martin, as the former Auburn University standout takes aim at the current world leading mark in the event of 69-11 (21.31m) set by Ryan Whiting in winning the Millrose Games a fortnight ago.

Also, we've found out that former Oregon standout Nicole Blood will be added to the field, most likely in the mile...as they say, stay tuned!

LAGAT AIMING FOR AMERICAN RECORD IN TWO-MILE SATURDAY

Meanwhile in New York, Bernard Lagat will try to complete his set of American indoor records in a two-mile race at the Armory.

"Can Bernard put another feather in his cap and the exclamation point on his place as one of America’s all-time greats with another record run?” asked New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg. “His mastery of every distance from 1500 meters to 5000 meters is unmatched and a reflection of his work ethic, career longevity, and talent.”

"I’m really excited to take on ‘the deuce’ in New York,” said Lagat. “I’ve always wanted to take a run at Doug (Padilla)’s record (of 8:15.02, set in 1990), but I’ve never had the chance. Thanks to both New York Road Runners and the Armory for staging the race. I’m both fit and motivated, and I hope I can get that record. Then I’ll have the 'full set' from 1500 meters to 5000 meters."

NYRR is putting up a $10,000 bonus for any American man who wins the race and breaks the national record.

The NYRR Deuce Record Challenge race will be the featured attraction of the NYRR Saturday Night at the Armory III collegiate meet at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory on its state-of-the-art 200-meter track.

NOTE:  The New York Road Runners contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How many runners will break 4 minutes in the mile at the Flotrack Husky Classic?

If there's a story to be told about this weekend's Flotrack Husky Classic, it's a simple one: Come to Seattle to run fast.

Many of America's top collegiate teams will converge upon the Dempsey Indoor Facility for the two-day extravaganza, with the distance races taking center stage.

The biggest question surrounding the Flotrack Husky Classic is whether or not this year's crop of runners in the men's mile will top the 13 men who crossed the line under four minutes in 2010.

In last year's race, ten men broke four minutes in the fast section, and three more dipped under the magical barrier in the B section.

According to the entry lists posted by the University of Washington, 116 men are entered, and 95 women are listed in the mile alone.

American 10000 meter record holder Chris Solinsky and Dempsey facility record holder (3:55.76 set last year) Chris Solinsky (left/photo by Paul Merca) makes his 2011 debut in the same venue where he started his outstanding 2010 season.

NOTE: Just for fun, we've just added a poll on the right side of the blog asking how many runners you think will break 4 minutes Saturday!

In the women's mile, world championships competitor Geena Gall faces Oregon sensation Jordan Hasay, and former NCAA champion Brie Felnagle, now training in Tacoma under her high school coach Matt Ellis.

If you think that those fields are big, try this: 79 women and 77 men in the 800 meters; 86 women and 137 men in the 3000; and 97 women and 103 men in the 5000, that kicks off the meet on Friday night.

In the women's 3000, all eyes will be on 2008 US Olympian Amy Yoder Begley, who is on the comeback after Achilles tendon surgery during the fall. She'll face 2009 Berlin World Championships steeplechaser Bridget Franek, and Canadian Olympian Malindi Elmore.

Washington's Katie Flood, who finished third in last week's USA junior cross country championships in San Diego is also entered, as is teammate Chelsea Orr, who was seventh at nationals, and is tuning up for next week's NACAC cross country championships in Tobago.

The 2009 Foot Locker cross country champion Megan Goethals, one of UW coach Greg Metcalf's prize recruits, makes her indoor debut, though she will be competing unattached.

The men's 3000 may be one of the most intriguing races, as NCAA cross country champ Sam Chelanga of Liberty travels west to Seattle to face the likes of Oklahoma State sensation German Fernandez, Alabama's Emmanuel Bor, Ben Blankenship of Minnesota, Oregon's Matthew Centrowitz, Portland's Trevor Dunbar, along with US Olympian Ian Dobson, and pros Tim Nelson, Kyle Alcorn, and Garrett Heath.

In the men's 400, former Washington Husky Jordan Boase, now based in Portland, returns to the Dempsey to face his old nemisis, Washington State's Jeshua Anderson.

Among field events to watch are the women's pole vault featuring a rematch of last month's UW Indoor Preview in which Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi took the victory over Oregon's Melissa Gergel; the men's pole vault with Washington's Scott Roth facing teammate and Pac-10 champ Ryan Vu, along with former NCAA champ Jason Colwick, and Western Washington's Ryan Brown, the NCAA D2 champ.

The women's high jump could be a great battle between Cal's Kristen Meister, Washington State's Holly Parent and Washington's comebacking Kelly McNamee.

In the men's high jump, look for Washington State's Jovan Vukicevic, who makes his collegiate debut. Vukicevic, from Serbia, has a personal best of 7-5 1/4 (2.27m).

He'll go against former Cal standout Ed Wright, and Oregon State's Obum Gwacham.

In the men's long jump, former Husky Norris Frederick goes against a pair of multi-talented current Huskies, Kasen Covington, and Julian Bardwell, along with UCLA's Nelson Rosario, and Washington State's Stephen Scott-Ellis.

The men's 35-pound weight throw features 2009 Team USA world championship competitor Michael Mai, who had a dominating performance at last month's UW Preview.

As always, entries are fluid and subject to change, depending on scratches, adds, and deletions.

Action gets underway Friday night at 6 pm with the distance medley relays, and resumes Saturday at 8 am.

If you can't get enought track & field, the UW Open meet will be held Sunday at the Dempsey starting at 8 am.

The complete schedule for the Flotrack Husky Classic is available here.

Media partner Flotrack will offer live streaming of the meet on Saturday, with their coverage starting at 2:15 pm pacific time.

Update on Gonzaga runners hit by car near campus...

As a follow up to our post earlier Tuesday, Gonzaga cross country and track coach Pat Tyson reached out to paulmerca.blogspot.com and gave an update on the two runners who were injured after being hit by a vehicle while crossing the street Saturday night (February 5th) near campus.

Lara Tuthill (left/photo courtesy Gonzaga University) and Dana Walters were crossing the street at North Hamilton Street & East Sharp Avenue near the Gonzaga campus, when the two Zag runners were hit by a car driven by Sarah Burford.

According to a voice mail message left by Tyson, "Tuthill is still in the ICU and will be there for a few more days. She's got some swelling on the brain, so they've got to be cautious. She'll probably be pulled out of school and go home to Boise to recover during the spring."

Tuthill, a freshman from Bishop Kelly HS in Boise, which was the same high school attended by US Olympian Nick Symmonds, entered Gonzaga with high school personal bests of 2:24.80 in the 800, 5:11.81 in the 1600, and 11:14.34 in the 3200.

She was the sixth runner for the Zags at the West Coast Conference cross country championship meet, where she finished 46th.

Walters, out of San Diego, where he attended La Costa Canyon HS, was released from the hospital, and in fact, visited his Gonzaga teammates at practice.

Walters ran one race this past cross country season for Gonzaga, at the Inland Northwest Cross Country Challenge at Eastern Washington University, where he was 68th.

According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Burford, 33, was released on her own recognizance after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on two counts of vehicular assault.

Burford registered a blood-alcohol level of .093 on a portable Breathalyzer test administered after the crash.

You can read the newspaper's report here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What we missed over the weekend...

In the midst of scrambling this past weekend, here's what we've missed:

Erica Chaney (left/photo courtesy Eastern Washington University) from the Eastern Washington University track team inched her way toward a possible berth in the NCAA Championships as she broke the school record in the shot put Saturday (Feb. 5) at the Bronco Open in Nampa, Idaho.

With a toss of 51-7, Chaney surpassed the 20-year-old record of 50-11, which was set by Nancy Kuiper in 1991. That throw may have also earned the senior from Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep '06), a trip to College Station, Texas, to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships March 11-12.

Although her metric mark of 15.74 meters did not meet the automatic standard of 16.90, women's head coach Marcia Mecklenburg hopes her mark will rank high enough to garner an at-large berth. Those berths are given to participants at the end of the regular season in order to fill a minimum 14-person field in the event.

"This was a long time coming for Erica," Mecklenburg said. "I knew she always had it in her, and I'm happy she finally achieved it."

Chaney, who had already qualified in the weight throw, improved her season-best mark in that event as well. She placed fourth with a mark of 57-5 3/4.

Complete results from the Bronco Open are available here…

The USTFCCCA announced its weekly rankings for both Division I and II Tuesday. The UW men are ranked 20th in the Division I poll.

In the Division II poll, Western Washington is ranked #11 in the women's poll and #20 in the men's poll. Seattle Pacific is ranked #23.

Gonzaga's Chris Boyle finished 40th in the open men's race at the USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego, clocking 39:00 for the 12k course. Teammate Andrew Walker finished 65th in 41:22.

Former Colorado standout Brent Vaughn won his first national title, running 35:46.

Speaking of the Zags comes a disturbing report, posted on KREM-TV's site that two Gonzaga runners were hit by by a car last Saturday night by a vehicle while crossing the street near the school campus.

Spokane police say it was 33-year-old Sarah Burford that hit the two athletes while driving under the influence of alcohol. She appeared in court Monday on two counts of vehicular assault and was then released.

You can read the full story and see the video here.

Finally, one of the followers of the blog, Ken Goe of the Oregonian, has a great take on USATF president Stephanie Hightower's state of the sport report.

He contends, "If track and field ever is going to regain its foothold in the U.S. sports scene, somebody is going to have to care about the people who buy tickets and tune into televised meets."

"That isn't going to happen as long as the USATF thinks of itself as an insular organization existing primarily to cater to participants in the sport."


You can read his post here.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Eastern Washington University,  and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Huskies tweet their 2011-12 track & field recruiting class...

Through its Twitter page, the University of Washington has announced several of its track and field signees for the 2011-12 academic year.

Their signees include Eleanor Fulton of Highlands Ranch in Colorado (left/photo by Kirby Lee/imageofsport.com), Baylee Mires of Spokane's Mead HS, Tyler King from Coupeville, Haley Jacobson from Issaquah, Quinn Hale from Bellarmine Prep, Jaleecia Rowland and Meron Simon from Federal Way HS, Aaron Nelson from Walla Walla, and Joelle Amaral from New Jersey.

Though the UW hasn't officially announced it, the Eugene Register Guard reported that JJ Juilfs from Sheldon HS, the nation's top returning pole vaulter, will sign with the Huskies.

Fulton, from Highlands Ranch HS in Colorado, was the 2010 Gatorade girls track athlete of the year, capturing state 5A titles in the 1600 & 3200. She's a three-time state champ in the 1600. Fulton's also competed internationally, finishing sixth at the IAAF world youth championships in Italy in 2008 in the steeplechase, and made the finals at last year's IAAF world junior championships in the steeple, where she was 12th in 10:47.72, after setting a personal best of 10:25.89 in the semifinals.

Her PRs are 4:52.61 in the 1600, 6:37.31 in the 2000 steeple, and 10:42.20 in the 3200.

Mires, who has placed fifth in the state 4A cross country meet twice, has won both the 800 and 1600 at the state meet the last two years, and anchored the Panthers to a state title in the 4x400 relay. Her personal bests are 2:11.37 in the 800, and 4:53.52 in the 1600.

King is the reigning state A cross country champion out of Coupeville HS, after spending most of his prep career running for Oak Harbor HS. He won state titles in the A classification in the 1600 and 3200. He has personal bests of 1:55.34 in the 800, 4:15.28 in the 1600, and 9:20.52 in the 3200m.

Hale, from Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep HS, was second in the state 4A javelin last season, and has a personal best of 204-10.

Rowland, from Federal Way HS was second in the Washington 4A high jump with a personal best of 5-7. She was sixth in the state 4A triple jump with a PR of 37-0.25, and also has a long jump best of 16-7.

Her teammate Meron Simon finished ninth in the state 4A cross country meet this fall.

Nelson, from Walla Walla HS, was third in the state 4A cross country meet. and has track PRs of 4:30.79 in the 1600 and 9:18.65 in the 3200.

Amaral, from Randolph HS in New Jersey, ran 2:52.19 in the 1000 meters a few days ago at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City, and has personal bests of 4:52.29 in the 1600, and 10:37.75 in the 3200m.

Michael Bolliger, who scored 5319 in the heptathlon at the New Mexico Classic over the weekend in Albuquerque, is expected to sign with Washington State University, according to sources close to the WSU track program.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Washington frosh Katie Flood makes USA squad for world cross country championships...

SAN DIEGO--Replicating Lauren Saylor's effort in the 2008 USA Junior Championships on this same course, University of Washington freshman Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca) earned a berth on Team USA with her third place finish at Mission Bay Park Saturday.

Flood, who was touted as one of the favorites to make the team, went out early, but high school senior Aisling Cuffe from New York pulled away from the field to secure the victory in 21:13.

In the battle for second,Molly Grabill, a senior in high school from nearby Poway,  tussled with Flood.  Grabill inched forward, and opened a four second gap at the finish over Flood, finishing in 21:39, while the Husky freshman crossed the line in 21:43.

Washington frosh Chelsea Orr, who was in contention for one of the six spots for next month's world championship team that travels to Punta Umbria, Spain, faded in the last kilometer and finished seventh in 22:22.

Orr will travel to Tobago in two weeks as part of the American junior squad that competes in the NACAC Cross Country Championships.

Mackenzie Carter placed 16th in 23:10.

In recalling the last lap of the race, Flood said that "with about 1k to go (Grabill) made her move and I stayed back."

Describing the Mission Bay course, she said that it was deceptively tough, considering that when she ran on the course on Friday, it looked flat."

"Overall, I wished that I would have run faster, but I'm glad that I qualified for the team, which is what I came here to do."

"I'm excited to make the trip to Spain. It really didn't hit me until a few minutes after the race."

The USA Track & Field release is available here...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Katie Flood leads UW freshmen to San Diego for USA Junior Cross Country Championships...

With spots on the USA junior national team on the line, four University of Washington freshmen will head to San Diego for Saturday's USA Cross Country Championships at Mission Bay Park, where they will race over a 6 kilometer course starting at 11:45 am.

The Huskies will be led by Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca), the Pacific 10 Cross Country newcomer of the year, who was the top finisher for the Dawgs at the Pac 10, NCAA West Regionals, and NCAA championship meets last fall.

Flood is among the favorites to contend for one of the six positions on Team USA that will travel to next month's IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain, where one of her main competitors is high school senior Aisling Cuffe of New York, who was just named the 2010 Gatorade High School Runner of the Year in cross country.

Besides the world championship team that travels to Spain next month, athletes will have the opportunity to make the USA national squad that travels to Tobago for the NACAC Cross Country Championships in two weeks, a squad that Washington's Lindsay Flanagan competed on last year.

Also making the journey to San Diego for the Huskies are Mackenzie Carter, Liberty Miller, and Chelsea Orr.

Though she is not junior team eligible (athletes must be 19 years of age or under throughout 2011 to be eligible), Washington freshman Megan Morgan, who hails from nearby Torrey Pines HS in Del Mar, will run in the senior women's 8k race.

The last time the USA cross country championships were contested in San Diego, Washington's Lauren Saylor made the 2008 US junior team with a sixth place finish in 21:36. Saylor went on to place 38th at the world junior championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Washington State freshman Drew Jordan from Medford, Oregon will contest the junior men's 8-kilometer race at 12:30 pm, and attempt to become the second straight Cougar to make the USA junior team, behind current sophomore Andrew Kimpel, who was on the team that traveled to Bydgoszcz, Poland last year.

Courtesy of Washington State University, here is a video interview with Jordan giving his thoughts on the race:



Media partner RunnerSpace.com will have live online coverage of every race at the USA cross country championships, starting at 9:45 am, pacific time.

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