Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cougars Harris and Jensen 12th, and 7th in Jim Click Shootout multi-events...

TUCSON -- Washington State's Sean Harris (left/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) and Angela Jensen completed the first day of the decathlon and heptathlon, respectively, at the Jim Click Shootout Track and Field meet at the University of Arizona's Drachman Stadium Thursday.

Harris, a junior from Kent, Wash., scored a total of 3,375 points in the first day of the decathlon which was 12th-best of the 18 remaining competitors. Harris tallied lifetime-best marks in four of the five events Thursday. He ran the 100m dash in a PR time of 11.51 seconds, long jumped a PR distance of 20-feet, 1/2 inch (6.11m), threw the shot put a PR of 43-8 1/2 (13.32m) which was second-best on the day, cleared 5-11 1/2 (1.82m) in the high jump, and ran the 400m in a PR time of 52.95, taking nearly three seconds off his previous best time.

Jensen, a senior from Tacoma, has a first day total of 3,043 points after four events in the heptathlon, seventh-best among the 13 competitors. Jensen opened with a 100m hurdles time of 14.20 seconds, high jumped 5-1 3/4 (1.57m), threw the shot put a PR distance of 33-8 3/4 (10.28m), and ran the 200m dash in 25.47.

Damian Warner, competing unattached, leads the decathlon with 3962 points. Arizona State's Samantha Henderson leads the heptathlon with 3450 points.

Action resumes Friday with the final five events of the decathlon and the final three heptathlon events.

The rest of the Washington State team will compete in the Jim Click Shootout on Saturday, in the four-team, scoring format that features Ohio State, Minnesota, and the host Arizona Wildcats.

The Cougar women's squad, boosted by javelin throwers Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood, are ranked #22 in the current USTFCCCA national rankings.

Bowerman Award candidate Jeshua Anderson will make his 2011 outdoor debut in Tuscon, as he'll run both hurdles and a leg on the 4 x 400 meter relay.

The Washington State press release can be read here.

The University of Washington is off this weekend, while Eastern Washington heads to Missoula, Montana for the Al Manuel Invitational – a dual scoring meet between the Eagles, Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats. This will be the first meet of the outdoor season in which Eastern will take a full squad to compete.

In last year’s Al Manuel, the Eastern men defeated the both Griz (102-93.5) and the Bobcats (137-63). The women’s team outscored Montana State (95.5-93.5) but lost to Montana (105.5-93.5).

The full Eastern Washington release can be read here.

Seattle University heads to Oregon to compete in the two-day Willamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon.

In the Division II ranks, Western Washington, Central Washington, and Seattle Pacific will be in Tacoma to compete in the J.D. Shotwell Invitational, hosted by the University of Puget Sound.

Finally, University of Colorado grad student and Seattle Pacific grad Jessica Pixler is a finalist for the NCAA's Walter Byers Post-Graduate Scholarship, which is awarded by the NCAA to one male and one female student-athlete who have a record of outstanding academic achievement and have shown the potential for success in graduate study. It is named in honor of the former NCAA executive director who was instrumental in emphasizing academic excellence among student-athletes.

Pixler ran the fastest time in the world this season outdoors last Friday over 5000 meters, clocking 15:25.68 at Stanford.

You can read the Seattle Pacific release here.

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

Alan Webb leaves Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project group...

The major buzz around the world of American track and field over the last 24 hours is that Alan Webb (left/photo by Paul Merca), the American record holder in the mile, has decided to leave Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project training group out of the Beaverton campus.

Many outsiders felt that Webb was the odd man in a training group that is catered mainly to longer distance runners, as opposed to him, who is more of a middle distance runner.

The news of Webb's departure was reported earlier on Wednesday through a tweet posted by Race Results Weekly's David Monti, and confirmed by media partner Flotrack, and TrackFocus. LetsRun.com also got a statement from Ray Flynn, Webb's agent on his departure from the Salazar camp.

In a statement posted on TrackFocus.com, a Nike spokesman said, "We can confirm that Alan Webb has decided to make a change in coaches and training groups. He will pursue a group where he can train with more middle distance runners. We wish Alan all the best and continued success as one of the all-time great milers."

Where will Webb go? LetsRun has a list of coaches with a middle distance background where he could end up. Among those are retired Michigan coach Ron Warhurst (who coached Webb before); current Arizona distance coach James Li, who currently coaches Bernard Lagat; Australian Nic Bideau (who used to coach Craig Mottram); and, Jason Vigilante of Virginia (formerly coached Leo Manzano and currently coaches Robby Andrews). Webb could also possibly move to Eugene and train with Vin Lananna and Mark Rowland, where there is a middle distance group that includes Olympians Nick Symmonds and Andrew Wheating.

As they say, stay tuned…

TrackFocus.com has a great interview posted on its site with former UW assistant coach Kelly Strong (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), who is now an assistant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Strong, who I had the opportunity to work with a few weeks ago in Punta Umbria, Spain at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, speaks about her Spanish experience, along with the reasons why she left the University of Washington and ended up at CL/SLO with the web site's Doug Binder.

She also talks about her upcoming summer camp that will happen shortly after the USA Championships in Eugene, called the Cascade Distance Camp, in which she states, "The ultimate goal at the end of the week is that each individual leaves motivated and inspired to take themselves and those around them to new heights."

paulmerca.blogspot.com hopes to talk with Strong in depth about her camp and what she's up to soon.

You can read Binder's post with Strong here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you're a pro track & field athlete, you need to pay attention to this...

If you are a regular reader of this blog, there's a good chance that you follow us on our Twitter page as well.

Two items that have been tweeted and retreated over the last few days were written by track and field commentator Ato Boldon (left/photo by Paul Merca), who probably knows just a little bit about life on the professional circuit.

In a series of 140-character tweets, Ato wrote about the ten things retired track & field athletes know that active athletes don't.

In a follow up tweet, the reason why Boldon wrote this is because, “I put these out, not because I followed them all perfectly, not to preach, but because I didn’t in some cases,”

In light of the recent lawsuit against Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant over unpaid custom jewelry, Ato's #1 tweet makes a lot of sense for aspiring and current professional athletes, not only in track & field, but other sports.

10. Save some of all that free gear you constantly give away. It will end.

9. No one ever remembers the pain, but medals are forever. Push! No pro track athlete ever died from a workout. Post-career regret sucks.

8. No one from that shoe company you love so much loves you. Romance with no finance is a nuisance. The more in love you are, the less you make.

7. The competitors you think you hate so much now will be your friends when you are retired. Dont take it that seriously. Compete without hate.

6. Figure out what job you will do next, in early or mid-career, not post career. Few get to decide when they retire, most get forced out.

5. One day you’ll awake and won’t be fast anymore. Does your career define your whole life or existence? It shouldn’t! Have a life so you dont have to go get one after.

4. Make use of the best thing about being a track athlete – the travel. Years in exotic locales, but all you know is hotels and McDonald’s is pointless. Get outside, take pictures, learn something. Experience other lands.

3. Your career is infinitely more fun with a good training group. Choose your training group wisely. Chances are if you hate your career after, it’s because you hated your training partners, bounced around to several, or had none.

2. Europe can be wild and crazy and fun… and it can also shorten your career drastically if you are incapable of not acting a damn fool there. Euro “wine and men/women” have prematurely ended many a promising career.

1. Save your money like your life depends on it (it does) and make it earn more while you are earning a lot of it. And yes, get a pro to do this. “Your cousin who’s good with money” doesn’t count.

On another subject, Ato, in an exchange with sprinter Wallace Spearmon, tweeted his six rules of how the USA can fix the never-ending 4 x 100m relay problem.

Here's the link:

In a follow up, I asked if his rule #3 applies to the shoe companies ("Yup"), and "the politicians and network tv execs--remember Carl Lewis in 1996?"

In recalling the case in which politicians tried to campaign to put Lewis on the Atlanta 4 x 1 team, Boldon tweeted, "problem was they lost so he got to say HA.. his defenders say he would have "intimidated the other anchors". Not Bailey (referring to Canada's Donovan Bailey, who also won the 100m in Atlanta)."

Follow Ato Boldon on Twitter here...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In the "Oops, I forgot to post" department, or anatomy of covering world cross...

I'd meant to post this last Sunday night after the race, but completely forgot.

Anyway, here is the video of the press conference at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships of the three medalists from the women's 8k race--Vivian Cheruiyot, Linet Masai, and Shalane Flanagan (left/photo by Paul Merca).

This was shot using the new Apple iPad2 that I invested in specifically for the trip.

From a journalist's standpoint, having the video feature on the iPad2 is potentially a game changer in the way bloggers like myself cover events. In the months to come, I hope to cover more events using the new device.

At the world cross country championships, I used the iPad2 in conjunction with the Apple wireless keypad to write most of my posts, and tweets on Twitter (I also upgraded my wireless plan to include international data usage in order to tweet, particularly from the finish line).  Action images were shot using a Nikon D70S camera.

I did have my MacBook with me to process photos, and to do some of the heavy work; however, the laptop stayed in my room at the hotel during the meet.  With the course within walking distance (about a 15 minute walk) of the hotel, I walked with the iPad, keyboard, and cameras in my backpack. Some of the YouTube videos that I shot in Punta Umbria were done with a Flip Mino video camera.

Stanford Invite concludes with solid marks from Washington collegians...

PALO ALTO, California--For the schools and athletes who flew down from the Pacific Northwest to compete in Friday and Saturday's Stanford Invitational, rain and wind were the last things expected, as the athletes battled the elements and each other during portions of the meet.

Former Washington hurdler Falesha Ankton (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles final. clocking 13.49 in her outdoor professional debut competition.

Two places behind Ankton was WSU's Shaquana Logan, who ran a lifetime-best 100m hurdles time of 13.86 seconds for sixth place in the women's final after breaking the 14-second barrier in Friday's prelims with a time of 13.91w. Logan's hurdles time ties with three former Cougars for ninth-best in WSU history.

Washington's Maurice McNeal posted a speedy debut at 200-meters, winning his section in a time of 21.23 seconds, edging Oregon freshman Michael Berry, and placing fourth overall on the day.

The top Husky men's relays also had strong openings, as the 4x100-meter group clocked a 41.33 to place second overall. Sam Rucker led off, followed by James Alaka, Colton Dunn, and Ryan Hamilton on the anchor. In the 4x4, the Husky quartet of Rucker, Alaka, Dunn, and McNeal ran a 3:12.89 to again take second overall, with Dunn pulling triple duty for the day.

Another relay squad that had a solid outing was Seattle Pacific's women's 4 x 4, team of Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, BryAnne Wochnick and Crystal Sims, which posted a time of 3 minutes, 52.67 seconds. That was fast enough to win the first of the three heats. It also was the sixth-fastest time in Great Northwest Athletic Conference history. The record is 3:49.70 by Western Washington in 2009.

The Cougar women's 4x400m relay squad of Courtney Zalud, Anna Layman, Angela Jensen and Brittnay Crabb ran a season-best time of 3:48.72 for seventh place

On the field, Washington's Angus Taylor finished fourth in the invitational hammer throw with a best of 192-11 (58.80m), while Husky freshman triple jumper Kasen Covington also finished fourth in 49-3 3/4 (14.99m).

In the collegiate section of the discus, Eastern Washington senior Erica Chaney placed second with a mark of 154-0 (46.95m).

One notable mark from the high school section of the Stanford Invite, as incoming freshman Eleanor Fulton from Colorado won the top section of the girl's mile in 4:50.78. Fulton competed for Team USA at last year's world junior championships in Canada in the steeplechase.

The Huskies will resume competition in two weeks at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, while Washington State heads to Tuscon next week for the Jim Click Shootout, a scoring meet hosted by the University of Arizona in Tucson. Teams from Ohio State and Minnesota will join Arizona and WSU for the scored meet that includes the decathlon and heptathlon events which begin Thursday, March 31.

Eastern Washington heads to Missoula, Montana for the Al Manuel Invitational next week.

Complete results from the Stanford Invitational are available here.

Meanwhile at Husky Stadium, Washington's field event athletes and Western's Ryan Brown highlighted competition at the Spring Break Open meet, hosted by Club Northwest.

Brown won the pole vault in a NCAA D2 provisional qualifying mark of 16-4 3/4 (5.39m).

The Huskies got wins in the women's pole vault (Logan Miller, 12-9.5/4.00m), Taylor Nichols in the women's long jump (16-11.25/5.70m), Julian Bardwell in both the long and triple jumps (23-4.5/7.12m and 45-8/13.92m); Shaniae Lakes in the women's triple jump (37-4/11.38m); Connor Larned in the men's discus (157-0/47.86m); Jimmy Brookman in the men's javelin (187-6/57.14m) and high jumper AJ Maricich (6-2.75/1.90m).

Complete results from the Spring Break Open are available here.

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jessica Pixler impressive over 5000 meters at Stanford Invite...

PALO ALTO, California--Sammamish native Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy University of Colorado) ran the fastest time in the world in this young outdoor season as the Seattle Pacific graduate won the invitational section of the women's 5000 meter run at the Stanford Invitational Friday night.

Pixler, a graduate student at the University of Colorado who has outdoor eligibility remaining, clocked 15:25.58 to defeat US Olympian Jen Rhines, who was second in 15:32.70.

University of Washington freshman Megan Goethals finished fourth in 16:06.64.

Until Pixler's run, the fastest time in the world outdoors this season was by Brazil's Simone da Silva's mark of 15:27.69 two weeks ago in Sao Paolo.

Pixler, who Seattle sports fans voted in January as its female Sports Star of 2010 after a brilliant career at Seattle Pacific in which she won 12 NCAA Division II titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, may have put herself on the USTFCCCA's Bowerman Watch list after Friday night's race, which was a 18.49 second personal best, eclipsing her previous PR of 15:44.07, set in this meet last year.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here's the post-race interview with Pixler:



The Washington Huskies swept the 100 meter dashes, as Dominique Lauderdale and James Alaka emerged victorious.

Lauderdale won the women's final in a windy 11.54, while Alaka, a Pac-10 finalist from London, England, won the men's sprint in 10.37.

Eastern Washington's Brad Wall took home the victory in the men's 400, winning in 47.88.

In the men's 5000, three Huskies--Colton Tully-Doyle, James Cameron, and Max O'Donoghue-McDonald broke 14 minutes, with Tully-Doyle running 13:47.25, Cameron clocking 13:51.83, and O'Donoghue-McDonald just getting under the wire at 13:59.82.

In the women's 10000, sophomore Lindsay Flanagan became just the fifth Husky woman ever to go under 34 minutes, running 33:42.50.

Washington State's J Hopkins had the top time of the four sections of the men's 400m hurdles, running a season-best 52.25 seconds. Rashaun Johnson had the second-fastest time of the day at 52.44.

Cougar sophomore Shaquana Logan (13.91w) in the 100 meter hurdles and 110 hurdler Ramsey Hopkins (14.57) both qualified for the finals Saturday after clocking those marks in Friday's qualifying rounds.

Also qualifying for Saturday's final in the 100m hurdles was Washington grad Falesha Ankton, now competing for Brooks. She ran a wind-legal 13.52 in her outdoor season debut.

In the women's javelin, Seattle Pacific junior Brittany Aanstad threw the javelin 140 feet even (42.67 meters) to take third place in that event.

WSU's Stephan Scott-Ellis was third in the men's long jump at 24-3 (7.39m), while Eastern Washington's Kurt Williams was eighth at 22-5 3/4 (6.85m). In the women's long jump, Eastern's Brianna Okoro (17-10.75/5.45m) and Krystal Deyo (17-8.75/5.40m) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Complete results from day 1 of the Stanford Invitational can be accessed here (click on desired event).


NOTE:  The University of Colorado, Stanford University, Seattle Pacific, University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Things we missed from earlier in the week...

Couple of items we missed while en route home from Spain:

The USTFCCCA released its outdoor pre-season rankings earlier this week, and the University of Washington men's squad was ranked #21, and the Washington Sate women's team ranked #22.

Washington was ranked based off of the strengths of pole vaulter Scott Roth and javelin thrower Kyle Nielsen, along with decathlete Jeremy Taiwo.

Washington State earned its national pre-season ranking primarily off of javelin thrower Marissa Tschida, who is the leading returning thrower in the nation, along with fellow javelin thrower Courtney Kirkwood, high jumper Holly Parent, and 800 meter runner Anna Layman.

Heading the charts to start the season is the men of Florida and women of Texas A&M. The Gators are fresh off their second-straight national indoor title, while the Aggies, like their male teammates, will look to take third-straight national outdoor crowns.

For the second-straight year, the national men’s preseason rankings have the Gators at No. 1 and Texas A&M at No. 2.

Likewise on the women's side, for the second-straight year, the top three women’s preseason outdoor teams are No. 1 Texas A&M, No. 2 Oregon, and No. 3 LSU. Texas A&M’s women, like the school’s men, are back-to-back national outdoor champions.


Here's the link to the USTFCCCA press release...

In our preview of the Stanford Invitational, we stated that Jessica Pixler of Colorado was making her Buffalo debut, when in fact that's not true.

The Seattle Pacific graduate and current Colorado grad student, who has one outdoor season of eligibility remaining, won the CU Potts Outdoor Invitational last Saturday in Boulder, running 4:29.55 in a solo effort.

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



Pixler will run the 5000m at the Stanford Invitational.

Finally, here's a link to a new blog post written by Vancouver's Kara Patterson, as the American record holder in the javelin gets prepared for the 2011 season.

In between training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, she volunteers her time as a tour guide at the OTC, as well as the San Diego Humane Society.

In a recent email exchange, Patterson informed us that she's now being represented by Swedish agent Daniel Wessfeldt, who also represents Ingvill Måkestad and Ebba Jungmark.

The agency's web site is here...

By the way, we'll post a gallery of photos on our Facebook page that we haven't had a chance to from last Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria. Please stay tuned!

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cal Multi Event meet wiped out by weather...

BERKELEY, California--The weather was the winner of the Cal multiple events meet (left/photo courtesy University of California), as strong wind and rain forced the cancellation of much of the second day of competition Thursday at Edwards Stadium.

Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen and Crystal Sims never had a chance to finish the heptathlon.  Falcon teammate Nate Johnson was one event short of doing all 10 in the decathlon.

So while the athletes in the morning sessions – a group that included Falcon sophomore Johnson on the men's side, and SPU's Katy Gross and Jennifer Pike in the women's hep – at least got to contest most or all their second-day events, Worthen and Sims, along with numerous other competitors, never even got started.

Worthen and Sims both had gotten off to a solid start through Wednesday's first four events. Worthen was fifth in her group and seventh overall with 2,955 points. That total included 818 for her second-place finish in the high jump in which Worthen tied her career-best height of 5 feet, 5¾ inches. She also PR'd in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.11 seconds.

Sims was right behind Worthen in the standings, sitting sixth in the group and eighth overall with 2,930 points. Her highest finish was third in the shot put, and she set a personal-best height of 4 feet, 11 ¾ inches in the high jump to tie for eighth.

At least Falcon sophomore Gross and senior Pike had the opportunity to finish what they started. Gross, with consistent performances on Thursday of third place in the long jump, fourth in the javelin and fourth in the 800-meter run, wound up fourth in the group with 4,050 points.

Pike won the meet-ending 800 in 2 minutes, 41.86 seconds, and also was third in the javelin and tied for ninth in the long jump to total 3,849 points.

Despite not getting to pole vault because of the unsafe conditions, competition, Johnson still took fourth place in his group with 4,897 points. He picked up 456 of those with a discus throw of 97 feet even (29.57 meters) to take first place in that event.

Among the men not getting to compete in their final five events was former Seattle Pacific star Chris Randolph. Competing for Slo Wellness, Randolph had racked up 3,947 points on Wednesday to lead both Group A and the overall standings.

Results of the Cal Multis meet are available here.

NOTE: The University of California and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Washington schools off to the Bay Area for Stanford Invitational...

The University of Washington, Washington State, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Central Washington, and Eastern Washington track teams will send groups of athletes to Palo Alto Friday and Saturday to compete in the Stanford Invitational track & field meet.

The Stanford Invitational, which is one of the country's biggest early season meets, begins at 9am on Friday morning with the field events as the collegiate javelin kicks things off. The running events will begin at 11am with the fourth section of the men's 5,000 meters. The invitational sections of the distance events will all take place after 5pm.

Saturday once again begins at 9am with both the running and field events. Day 2 is more heavily sprints, hurdles and relays with the finals of many of the high school events.

GoStanford.com will provide live results from the Stanford Invitational, while media partner Flotrack.org will have video coverage.

The list of accepted entries is available here, while the complete time schedule is available here.

In the sprints, Husky sophomore James Alaka (left/photo by Paul Merca) is set to make his season debut in the 100-meters and likely on Washington's 4x100-meter relay, which finished in the top-15 at NCAA West Prelims last year.

The Stanford Invite will also feature the debut of Seattle Pacific grad Jessica Pixler, who is attending the University of Colorado as a grad student, and has one season of outdoor track eligibility remaining. She's running in the top section of the women's 5000 meter run.

The University of Washington's release can be read here.

While the majority of Washington schools are at Stanford, athletes not making the trip will compete at Husky Stadium on Saturday at the Spring Break Open Track & Field meet hosted by Club Northwest and Seattle University.

CAL MULTI EVENTS MEET, DAY 1 RECAP

Seattle Pacific got a head start on its Bay Area spring break trip as several of its multi-event athletes began competition Wednesday at the Cal Multi-Events meet on the campus of the University of California.

Falcons junior Ali Worthen sits in fifth place, seventh overall, and senior Crystal Sims is right behind her in sixth in their group and eighth overall after the first four events of the women's heptathlon.

Worthen, boosted by a second-place finish in the high jump, completed Wednesday's first-day competition with 2,955 points. Sims, whose top performance was third place in the shot put, is sitting in sixth with 2,930.

US Olympian Sharon Day of Asics won all four of Wednesday's events – the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, and 200-meter dash – to pile up 3,594 points.

In the B section, sophomore Katy Gross, winner of last month's Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor pentathlon title, is in fourth place with 2,669 points in the group and 13th overall.

Senior Jennifer Pike, runner-up to Gross in the GNAC indoor pentathlon, is fifth in the group and 16th overall with 2,440 points.

Seattle Pacific sophomore Nate Johnson is in sixth place among the 15 competitors in his group and is 18th overall at the midpoint of the men's decathlon at the Cal Multis, with a score of 2819 points.

The overall leader is former SPU multi-sport star Chris Randolph, now competing for the Slo Wellness club. He has 3,947 points.

Seattle Pacific's release can be read here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the UW, WSU, SPU, Western, Central, Eastern Washington, and Stanford University contributed to this report.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Washington freshman Katie Flood 19th in women's junior race at world cross country champs...

PUNTA UMBRIA, Spain--University of Washington freshman Katie Flood's (left/photo by Paul Merca) international debut performance was a strong one, as the Des Moines, Iowa native powered to a 19th place finish in the junior women's 6k race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Estadio Antonio Gil Hernandez in the Spanish resort city.

At the 11:30 am start time, temperatures were approximately 68 degrees as the 92 runners began the first of three 2k loops around the Punta Umbria Multisport Centre.

After the first lap, run in 6:39, Flood found herself in 26th place, but gradually moved up three spots, after running the second lap in 6:52.

A final lap of 6:47 allowed Flood to advance four places to 19th, nearly catching #1 Team USA runner Aisling Cuffe of New Windsor, New York.

Afterwards, Flood said, "I started out slower than I normally would to gauge myself against the other girls. From 1K on, I just steadily tried to move up."

"I could see Aisling, and I thought to myself, 'I need to go with my teammate! Get to Aisling, get to Aisling, sand at the end we were one person apart."

"This is the coolest cross country race I've ever run in!"

Here's a video interview with Flood, conducted after the end of the race:



For Team USA, the highlight of the meet was Portland's Shalane Flanagan earning the first individual medal since Deena Drossin turned the trick in 2003, finishing third in the senior women's 8K race, clocking 25:10.

Team USA placed three more runners in the top-20 with Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) and Blake Russell (Pacific Grove, Calif.) finishing 17th, 18th and 19th in 26:26, 26:27 and 26:30 respectively.

Alissa McKaig (Blowing Rock, N.C.) and Lisa Koll (Portland, Ore.) rounded out the U.S. finishers in 28th and 40th place, running 26:46 and 27:15.

The USA Track & Field release can be read here.

For more information on the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, please visit the meet's home page, linked here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flood and Team USA check out the Punta Umbria course...

PUNTA UMBRIA, Spain--University of Washington freshman Katie Flood (center, photo by Paul Merca) was one of the nearly 500 athletes who were out inspecting the course for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which starts and finishes at Estadio Antonio Gil Hernandez.

After the team photos were taken, the runners checked out the course on the Punta Umbria Multisport Centre, which consists of a two-kilometer manicured grass loop.

The course has two natural hills, plus a two-meter high artificial hill. The circuit also has three sets of three logs every eight meters positioned at approximately 700m, 1000m, and 1700m on the course, making nine logs the runners must traverse each lap.

Temperatures for Sunday's races are projected to be in the high 60s to low 70s.

After the course tour, Flood commented, "The course is really nice, and it's easy to follow. Great footing, and I really like it".

Former University of Washington assistant coach Kelly Strong (in red jacket), who was on the staff of the Huskies when they won the NCAA cross country title is the USA junior women's team leader.

Universal Sports will provide live coverage at universalsports.com beginning at 6am Eastern time, to 9:45 am (3 am to 6:45 am, pacific time).

Courtesy of USA Track & Field, here's a video I shot with senior women's team runner Shalane Flanagan, on her thoughts about the course.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Washington's Katie Flood named Team USA junior women's team captain...

PUNTA UMBRIA, Spain--University of Washington freshman Katie Flood (far left/photo by Paul Merca) was named as one of Team USA's four team captains for Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships at a team meeting Thursday night at the team hotel in the Spanish resort city.

Flood, the Pac-10 cross country newcomer of the year, finished third in the USA junior cross country championships in San Diego last month, running 21:43 over the 6k course at Mission Bay Park to earn her spot on the world championship team.

“I’m honored to be the team captain, and help lead this group of young women,” said Flood, the native of Des Moines, Iowa.


Here's the link to the USA Track & Field release announcing the captains.

Since making the team in San Diego, Flood set a personal best in the 3000, running 9:09.85 at the UW Final Qualifier, and finished 10th in the NCAA indoor 3000 last week in 9:22.59.

The junior women's 6k race will lead off Sunday's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, beginning at 11:30 am in Punta Umbria (3:30 am in Seattle).

Here's a video interview with Flood conducted Thursday night in Punta Umbria.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Washington Huskies add 15 new recruits to its 2011 class...

Washington track and field head coach Greg Metcalf announced the addition of 15 student-athletes to the Husky program this week, a diverse mix of nine men and six women that hails from around the country and has piled up the accolades in local, national, and in some cases, international competition.

The incoming group of talent is largely homegrown, with 11 athletes from the state of Washington. One athlete each hails from Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wyoming. Eight of the future Huskies have already won state track titles, with their senior seasons still in progress.

"We as a staff are very excited about how this current class has come together," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "This is a group that was very fired up to be at Washington and be part of what we're about. All of these athletes have been leaders on their respective teams and shown the hard work and passion that will allow them to continue to improve and be successful on the next level."

As referred to in earlier posts on this blog, the class is led by pole vaulter JJ Julilfs, the reigning Oregon 6A champ from Eugene who spurned the Ducks.

Metcalf also went out and put more emphasis on the men's distance events, adding Aaron Nelson of Walla Walla, who was third at the 2010 4A state cross country meet, along with Meron Simon of Federal Way, who was ninth in 2010, and Tim Cummings of Yakima was 18th in 2010 and seventh in 2009.

Tyler King of Coupeville was fifth at the 4A state meet as a junior in 2009 running for Oak Harbor, then competed for Coupeville at the 1A level in 2010 and won every race including the state title. The most recent signee is Dylan Morin of Sheridan, Wyoming, who has come on strong this year and just swept the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m at the 2011 indoor state championships.

"One of our goals was to reload our talent pool a little bit in the men's distances. Top to bottom, it's a larger recruiting class for us, but I think it's the right combination of personality and talent," Metcalf said.

On the women's side, Eleanor Fulton (above/photo courtesy University of Washington) leads the incoming class of 2011.

Fulton took second at the 2010 U.S. Junior Track Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, qualifying her for the IAAF Junior World Championships, where she ran for Team USA in Moncton, Canada and placed 12th overall. Her steeple PR of 10:25 would already rank second in school history.

Not just a steeple specialist, Fulton has won five Colorado state track titles, including three in a row at 1,600-meters. Her PRs of 2:10 at 800-meters and 4:45 in the mile could make her an instant contributor on the track, and Fulton has also achieved a lot on the cross country course. She was a 2010 Foot Locker All-American after placing 13th at the 2010 Foot Locker National Championships and has three top-five finishes at the Colorado state meet.

Washington's complete release is available here.

NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Notes from Dallas...

Just wanted to give the readers of the blog a quick heads up...I'm sitting here in Dallas awaiting to catch my flight to Madrid, then on to Punta Umbria for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site beginning on Wednesday night, and we'll have daily updates from Punta Umbria. Of course, we'll follow University of Washington freshman Katie Flood, fresh off a strong performance at the NCAA indoor championships, as she makes her international debut in the junior women's race.

Courtesy of the Punta Umbria local organizing committee, here's a promotional video:



Meanwhile, the IAAF has posted preliminary start lists for Sunday's races. You can access them here:

Some items omitted from the NCAA indoor track & field story on Friday & Saturday involving Washington athletes:

In the women's 3000, Sequim native Stephanie Marcy from Stanford finished seventh in a time of 9:21.20 to earn All-America status;

In the women's distance medley relay, Bellingham's Becca Friday ran the 800m leg for the Oregon Ducks, helping them to a second place finish, and earn eight key points as Oregon successfully defended its national indoor team championship.

Apologies extended to those omitted....

Our next update will be on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean...see you then!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

James Cameron, Jeremy Taiwo and Joe Abbott earn All-America status as NCAA indoor champs conclude...

COLLEGE STATION, Texas--All-American efforts from sophomores James Cameron and Jeremy Taiwo gave the Husky men's track team a boost today, as the Dawgs finished 18th at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at Gilliam Indoor Stadium Saturday, bringing the indoor season to a close.

Cameron capped off one of the best indoor seasons in school history with an eighth-place finish in the men's mile final today, adding another point to UW's team score. It was the first NCAA meet of any kind for Cameron, who became UW's fourth sub-four-minute miler just a week ago at the UW Final Qualifier.

"It feels amazing. I feel so blessed to be where I'm at looking at where I was about five months ago. It's been a night and day difference," Cameron said. "I felt like I had a good start, but the pace was fluctuating back and forth. I was trying to make a move and it wasn't working every time. Going into the bell lap I gave it everything I've got, and grabbed that eighth-place which is great, so I'm so stoked. It was so much fun."

Jeremy Taiwo, a redshirt sophomore indoors, finished up a mostly stellar heptathlon today, placing eighth overall and bettering his own school-record with 5,780 points. But the Renton, Wash. native was left to lament one event on each day of the competition that kept him from contending for first. Yesterday it was the shot put; today it was the pole vault, but he came away with four career-bests out of the other five events en route to becoming the first UW multi-event athlete to score at NCAAs since Jacob Predmore in 2000.

Taiwo clipped the first couple barriers in the 60m hurdles but then became increasingly clean and smooth, and he pulled away to win his heat in 8.14 seconds, a big PR that ranks ninth on the UW indoor Top-10 list.

Whereas the shot put threw a wrench into Taiwo's day on Friday, today it was the pole vault which gave him problems. He had set a personal-best in his previous heptathlon this season, clearing 15-7, but after a first attempt clearance at 13-9 ¼, Taiwo was unable to get over 14-9, which essentially put him out of contention.

Despite the setback, Taiwo capped off the event the way he began on Friday, with a new career-best. He was ninth going into the race, and said he "decided to run that race with a little bit of rage." He powered around the track for five laps, placing third in the 1,000-meters in a time of 2:34.35, and moving up to grab a point for the Dawgs.

Courtesy of gohuskies.com, here's a video interview with Taiwo after his eighth place finish.



Meanwhile, Washington State's Joe Abbott, a junior from Reno, Nev., ran a time of 1-minute, 50.14 seconds in the final to finish seventh overall after running a prelim time Friday night of 1:48.80. He earns first-team All-America status.

Fred Samoei, a senior from Alabama, won the men's 800m in a time of 1:48.33.

"I'm proud of the way I competed this weekend," Abbott said. "I fought my way into the final and while it didn't go as well as I hoped, I never quit. This will be great momentum for the outdoor season.

WSU's 4x400m relay squad of Greg Hornsby, Brandon Dawson, Jacob Sealby and Jeshua Anderson ran in the first of three final heats in the timed-section format.

Running the lead leg, Hornsby pulled a hamstring before the second turn of the first lap but gutted out the next 320 meters, running a 400-meter split time of 49.90 seconds. Dawson started his leg about 50-meters behind the field at the handoff but ran a split of 47.70 followed by Sealby's 47.49 split. Anderson, a two-time NCAA 400m hurdles champion, ran a split time of 46.93.

Texas A&M won the event with a time of 3:04.24.

The Cougar relay time was 3:12.01 which was 10th-best but the team was disqualified when Hornsby stepped out of the lane after he was injured.

University of Kansas sophomore Andrea Geubelle from Tacoma's Curtis HS finished eighth in the women’s triple jump. On her third attempt she jumped a distance of 13.02m (42-08.75ft.), which is an indoor personal best for the sophomore and third best in school history.

Husky freshman distance runners Katie Flood and Megan Goethals inished 10th overall in 9:22.59, while Goethals was just a second behind in 13th-place in a time of 9:23.48.

Washington senior distance runner Colton Tully-Doyle finished a disappointing 18th in the men's 3000, running 8:24.26

Complete results from the NCAA Division I championships are available here.

DIVISION II RECAP

At the NCAA Division II championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Western Washington University's Ryan Brown successfully defended his national championship in the men's pole vault, clearing 17-2 3/4 (5.25 meters), as the Vikings had three top 10 performances in final-day action Saturday.

"Ryan skipped the first two heights and was down to his third and final attempt at 16-2 3/4, but he kept his composure and cleared it," WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell said. "Then he got into a rhythm and it may have been his best competition as far as progression. It was amazing to watch."

The Vikings' Sarah Porter, hampered by a strained hamstring, placed third in the women's 5,000 with a time of 16:44.04.
Western's Jordan Welling (Sr., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) placed seventh in the men's 5,000, being timed in 14:58.85.

On Friday, the Western women's distance medley relay team placed ninth. The quartet, clocked in 12:15.45, included Rachael Johnson, Eleanor Siler, Megan O'Connell, and Lauren Breihof.

Siler did not qualify for the finals in the 400m.

Central Washington freshman Becca Clark finished sixth in the women's pole vault with a mark of 11-7 (3.53m) while Seattle Pacific pole vaulter Melissa Peaslee failed to clear a height Friday.


Complete results from the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Kansas, Western Washington University,  Central Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Scott Roth repeats as NCAA indoor pole vault champ...

COLLEGE STATION, Texas--University of Washington senior Scott Roth (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) successfully defended his NCAA indoor pole vault title Friday, clearing 18-0.5 (5.50m) further cementing his place in Washington history. Roth's clutch performance was the highlight of day one for the Huskies at the two-day national meet held at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

After suffering a hamstring pull one month back at the Husky Classic, Roth thought his chances for a repeat title were over. But after several weeks of rehab, he tested it earlier this week and felt he'd be able to give it a shot.

"I didn't really have expectations; I didn't expect to even be here this year," Roth said, referring to a hamstring injury that sidelined him over the past month. "So that made the feel of the meet entirely different. I just went out there and had fun, was relaxed and talking to people, so it was a really enjoyable competition for me."

After needing three tries to clear 17-6.5 (5.35m), the critical clearance came at 18-0 ½, as Roth cleared on his first try again, a third-consecutive make. Only Minnesota's Ben Peterson was also able to get over, but he did so on his second try, giving Roth the tiebreak edge. Peterson missed three shots at 18-2 ½, and Roth chose to forego his final attempt at the same height after two misses of his own, wanting to preserve his still tender right leg.

Fellow senior Ryan Vu tied for 11th in the pole vault in his final competition as a Husky. Vu was making his NCAA Indoor Championship debut, and matched his finish from the 2010 NCAA Outdoor meet. Vu cleared 17-2 ¾ on his second attempt, but was unable to make it up and over the next bar.

Courtesy of gohuskies.com, here is a video interview with Roth after the competiton.



James Cameron made the finals in the men's mile, finishing second in his heat in 4:01.33.

Husky Jeremy Taiwo sits in eighth place after day one of the heptathlon with 3,223 points, trailing Mantas Silkauskas of Kansas State who has 3,347. Fifth-place is just 23 points away from Taiwo. His 3,223 points is 143 points more than he had at the UW Invitational, his only previous heptathlon this year, when he set the school record.

Washington State's Joe Abbott made the finals in the 800m, as the former US junior champion ran a prelim time in the men's 800m of 1-minute, 48.80 seconds which was the fifth-best time of the 16 men running in the prelims, as well as fifth-fastest in his heat.

Cougar sophomore Holly Parent cleared 5-feet, 8 3/4 inches (1.74m) in the women's high jump for 15th place. Arizona sophomore Brigetta Barrett won the event after clearing 6-2 3/4 (1.90m).

Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner from Stanford finished 15th in the 5000 meter run, clocking 14:33.69.

Former Nathan Hale standout Abdi Hassan helped Arizona to a fifth place finish in the distance medley relay, as he ran 2:56.58 on the 1200m leg, as the Wildcats finished in 9:30.33. Michael Berry from Rainier Beach HS ran a 400 leg of 46.62, and had Oregon in good position, but anchor Matthew Centrowitz lost a shoe on the anchor leg, as the Ducks finished tenth in 9:48.00.


Complete day 1 results are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, the University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Streaming video info for NCAA indoor championships...

Just a quick note reminding folks following the NCAA indoor track & field championships that streaming video is available for the meets this weekend--that includes the Division II meet in Albuquerque, the Division III in Columbus, Ohio, and the Division I from College Station, Texas.

For the Division I championships, free streaming begins at 8 am pacific via ncaa.com until 2 pm pacific, when ESPN3.com takes over (for the ESPN3 feed, subscription is required).

All the other championship meets will be carried in its entirety via ncaa.com, according to the USTFCCCA web site.

If you're looking for the time schedule for the Division I meet, here it is.

Finally, live results from the Division I meet are available here.


NOTE: 
The USTFCCCA and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ryan Brown leads Western Washington into NCAA Division II indoor championships...

The final start lists are posted for Friday and Saturday's NCAA Division II indoor track & field championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Western Washington University will be led by defending pole vault champion Ryan Brown (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University).

Brown has the best mark in Division II of 17-5. That broke his school record of 17-1/2 set in 2010. At the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships on Feb. 19, Brown won the event for the fourth straight year, something that has happened just once before in league history

Brown will be joined by 5000 meter runner Jordan Welling, the reigning GNAC champ.

On the women's side, multi-time NCAA Division II All-American Sarah Porter will contest the 5000 meters in an expected matchup against Shippenburg (PA) standout Neely Spence, the reigning Division II cross country champion.

She'll be joined by Eleanor Siler in the 400 meter dash. Siler will run in the Vikings' distance medley relay, along with Lauren Breihof, Rachael Johnson, and Megan O'Connell.

Central Washington freshman Becca Clark and Seattle Pacific senior Melissa Peaslee are entered in the pole vault.

The complete men's start list is available here, while the women's start list is available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Six Cougars, seven Huskies in field for NCAA Indoor Championships...

Washington State University will be represented by six competitors at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships, March 11 & 12, at the Rhonda and Frosty Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center located on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas.

Joe Abbott (800m), Holly Parent (high jump) and the men's 4x400m relay squad of Greg Hornsby, Brandon Dawson, Jacob Sealby and Jeshua Anderson are set to compete.

For the Washington Huskies, they'll be led by defending NCAA pole vault champ Scott Roth, and Pac 10 pole vault champ Ryan Vu (left/photo of Vu, Roth with back turned, and vault coach Pat Licari by Paul Merca).

Also making the trip for the Dawgs are All-American heptathlete Jeremy Taiwo, along with 3000m runner Colton Tully-Doyle, and miler James Cameron, who stormed onto the NCAA field by becoming the fourth Husky in school history to break 4:00 in the mile with his 3:58.51 mark at last Saturday's UW Final Qualifier in Seattle.

Rounding out the Washington squad are freshmen 3000-meter runners Katie Flood and Megan Goethals, who both posted automatic qualifying marks at last week's UW Final Qualifier.

Other athletes with Washington affiliations competing at the NCAA championships include Stanford's Stephanie Marcy (Sequim) in the women's 3000; Stanford's Miles Unterreiner (Gig Harbor) in the 5000m; Arizona's Abdi Hassan (Nathan Hale) and Oregon's Michael Berry (Rainier Beach) in the men's distance medley; and Kansas' Andrea Geubelle (Curtis) in the women's triple jump.

ESPN3.com will stream LIVE portions of the NCAA Indoor T&F Championships, with NCAA.com/aggieathletics.com website streaming the remainder. ESPN2 will air tape-delayed broadcast of the NCAA D-I Indoor Championships on Wed., March 16 at 1:30pm ET.

The complete men's field is available here, while the complete women's field is available here.

The University of Washington's press release is available here, while Washington State's news release is available here.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cougar senior Anna Layman breaks school record in 800m...

AMES, Iowa -- Washington State's Anna Layman (left/photo courtesy Washington State University) broke a 19-year-old school record in the 800m and the men's 4x400m relay ran the second-best indoor time in WSU history Saturday at the Iowa State NCAA Qualifier Indoor Track and Field Meet at the Lied Recreation Center in Ames, Iowa.

Layman, a senior from Spokane Valley, ran a school indoor record time in the 800m of 2-minutes, 5.93 seconds which was fourth place. Layman, a two-time All-American in the outdoor 800m, bettered Jennifer Carpenter's 1992 school record indoor time of 2:06.62, run at Notre Dame.

"I felt pretty good in the race," Layman said from Ames. "We had a rabbit come through in about 59 seconds (for the first 400 meters). I did a good job of staying with the leaders through the third 200 meters which is something that I've really been working on. In the final 200 meters the top two runners pulled away and I did my best to stick with them. I'm really proud to get the school record. I've had my eyes on it for four years. Now I'm nervous and excited to see if I make it to the NCAAs."

The Cougar men's 4x400m relay team of Greg Hornsby, Brandon Dawson, Jacob Sealby and Jeshua Anderson ran a season-best time of 3:07.61, winning the third heat and fourth place overall, setting the second-best indoor time in WSU men's history.

"Greg Hornsby got out to a good start and opened up in 47.8 seconds, which is what we wanted because that first leg is always key," WSU assistant coach Mark Macdonald said. "I wasn't sure how the race was going during Brandon Dawson's leg because around the final turn he got pushed around and boxed in and stumbled a little bit. But he fought through it and handed off in 46.8 seconds. Once I saw that I knew we had a really good shot. Jacob Sealby ran a huge leg in 46.6 seconds. We were still second by just a little but he handed off and Jeshua looked awesome. When I saw how easy he was running and how fast he was running, I thought it was going to be a qualifying time. He went by the South Carolina guy with 200 meters to go and looked really strong at the end. Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do. Now we'll wait and see."

The current national rankings are available on the tfrrs.org site, which is available here.

In Tacoma, Western Washington University had three provisional national qualifying performances and three meet record efforts in winning both the men's and women's divisions Saturday at the University of Puget Sound Quadrangular Track and Field meet held at Baker Stadium.

Seattle Pacific junior Brittany Aanstad, a fourth-place finisher in the javelin at last spring's NCAA Division II championships, opened her new season with a toss of 142 feet, 0 inches (43.29 meters) to win by more than two feet. That put Aanstad onto the GNAC automatic qualifying list – the only Falcon to earn an automatic mark on Saturday.

The Viking men took nine events and finished with 89 points, 51 ahead of runner-up Seattle Pacific. The Western women won eight events, finishing with 66 points to 50 for the second-place Falcons.

Seattle Pacific's mens and womens recaps of the meet are available here; Western Washington's recap is available here.


The complete results are available here.

Both teams will compete at next week's Pacific Lutheran Invitational in Tacoma, with select athletes traveling to Albuquerque for the NCAA Division II indoor championships.

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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sophomore James Cameron joins exclusive UW fraternity by breaking 4 minute mile barrier...

SEATTLE--University of Washington sophomore James Cameron (left/photo by Paul Merca) put himself into elite company with his second place finish in the mile at the UW Final Qualifier meet at the Dempsey Indoor Saturday, breaking the hallowed 4 minute mile mark with his 3:58.51 clocking.

Pace maker Steve Finley took the group through 400 at 58 seconds, then 800 meters in 1:58, with the Oregon TC's Stephen Pifer and AJ Acosta, a NCAA scorer for the Oregon Ducks last year leading the charge.

The pace slowed in the third quarter as Pifer and Acosta cruised through at 3:00, as Cameron lurked in fifth, tucked behind Oregon's Mac Fleet, as they took flight at the 3:59.00 NCAA qualifying time.

After some jostling between Acosta and Cameron on the penultimate straightaway, Acosta shot into the lead with Cameron tucked in behind, as they began to pull slightly away from Fleet.

On the final straight, Cameron began to sneak past Acosta, but Acosta was able to hold on for the victory, clocking 3:58.39, with Cameron closing at 3:58.51, to join Austin Abbott (3:58,23), Eric Garner (3:58.93), and Greg Gibson (3:59.24) in a very exclusive club of Huskies.

Oregon's Fleet held on for third at 3:59.03, just 3/100ths off the auto qualifier.

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



After the race announcer read the unofficial time off the scoreboard, Cameron literally went into a sprint, hugging Husky coach Greg Metcalf, and assorted teammates, before jogging up the home straightaway to thank the fans gathered.

"I'd like to thank The Man upstairs for making this possible," the product of Mission Viejo HS in California said in the post race interview, referring to his faith, which in an interview earlier in the week with gohuskies.com, was part of the reason for his recent series of successes, which included running 8:00.17 in the 3000, and 13:54.77 in the 5000 at last week's MPSF championships.

"It was great to have AJ Acosta pull me along to that fast time, and to have a great field to help make it happen. Looking forward to Texas (for the NCAA championships at College Station) where they do it big!"

Almost lost in the shuffle was the Huskies' Joey Bywater, who nearly broke through, clocking 4:00.53 in fifth.

Another runner who did it big Saturday was Husky freshman Katie Flood, who towed fellow frosh Megan Goethals, Loyola Marymount's Tara Erdmann, and Sequim native Stephanie Marcy from Stanford under 9:13.00, as all four earned NCAA qualifiers in the women's 3000 meters.

Flood, who will represent the USA at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in two weeks in Punta Umbria, Spain, was one of a group of six runners pulled through the first two kilometers by former Husky All American Katie Follett in 6:09.

Flood and Goethals were content to sit in the back of the lead pack with Erdmann running on the point. Flood, the Dowling Catholic/West Des Moines, Iowa product moved to fourth with 600 to go, with Goethals, the 2009 Foot Locker champ from Rochester, Michigan who won the MPSF title last week tucked in behind.

On the final lap, the Washington duo shot past Erdmann and San Francisco's Eva Krchova, with Flood pulling away for the victory in a personal best 9:09.85, taking Goethals to a PR 9:11.56.

Erdmann hung on for third in 9:12.25, and Sequim native Marcy hit the NCAA qualifier on the nose at 9:13.00.

Other highlights included a good battle in the men's pole vault, as Washington alum and 2007 world champion Brad Walker (18-3.75/5.58m) defeated USA indoor runner-up Jason Colwick (17-7.75/5.38m); Oregon's Jamesha Youngblood getting the NCAA auto qualifier in the women's long jump (21-2.5/6.46m); and 2009 world championships team member Geena Gall of the Oregon TC breaking the Dempsey facility record in the 800 meters, running 2:02.56, and towing Sacramento State's Lea Wallace to a NCAA AQ of 2:03.07.


Complete results of the UW Last Chance Qualifier are available here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Måkestad gets fifth in qualifying at European Indoors & doesn't advance, plus notes...

PARIS, France--Norway's Ingvill Måkestad finished fifth in the first of three qualifying heats of the women's 1500 meter run at the European indoor championships Friday, and did not advance to Saturday's final.

The former Husky finished in 4:12.13, with the top two finishers--Yelena Arzhakova of Russia, and Poland's Sylwia Ejdys advancing automatically, running 4:10.29, and 4:11.04, respectively.

All of the qualifiers that didn't place first or second in the three heats came out of the third and final heat.


Afterwards, a disappointed Måkestad posted on her Twitter page, "Hate this feeling:( didn't qualify for the final... But this is where I am as of right now"

The European Indoor Championships continue until Sunday in Paris. Results from the women's 1500 qualifying rounds are available here.

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, former Tacoma prep standout Andrea Geubelle won the women's long jump at the Arkansas Final Qualifier meet Friday with a season best jump of 20-3.5 (6.18m).

Geubelle, who competes for the University of Kansas, and was a member of last year's world junior championships squad, is among the country's top triple jumpers going into the final weekend of qualifying for next week's NCAA indoor championships in College Station, Texas, with an indoor best of 42-8.25 (13.01m), ranked #12 in NCAA Division I.

The Washington State track and field men's 4x400m relay team of Greg Hornsby, Brandon Dawson, Jacob Sealby and Jeshua Anderson and women's 800m runner Anna Layman will travel to Ames, Iowa, for the March 5 NCAA Qualifier Meet, where they hope to replicate their feat two years ago, where they qualified for the NCAA indoor meet at Iowa State University's 300m track facility.

The Cougars are currently ranked #40 after running a season best of 3:10.80 at last week's MPSF meet, but need to hit the automatic qualifying mark of 3:06.50 or hope they are one of the top teams.

Layman has a season best of 2:08.70, also set last week at the MPSF meet. The auto qualifying time is 2:05.00.


Washington State's release can be read here.

Finally, Seattle Pacific and Western Washington will open their outdoor season Saturday at the UPS Outdoor Preview in Tacoma on the campus of the University of Puget Sound, along with Lewis & Clark College.


SPU's release can be read here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Måkestad ready to go in Paris at European Indoor championships...

Before I sign off, here's a link to a blog post by former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad (photo courtesy runingvill.wordpress.com) as she prepares to run in the 1500 meters at the European Indoor Championships in Paris.

Her semifinal round is scheduled Friday at 5:25 pm, Paris time (8:25 am, Seattle time), with the finals slated for Saturday.

In her two indoor races this season (Birmingham & Stockholm), she's set two consecutive Norwegian national records in the 1500, lowering it to 4:08.65 on February 22nd.

The link to her blog post is here (roughly translated from Norwegian to English via translate.google.com).

UW Final Qualifier set for Saturday at Dempsey Indoor Facility...

SEATTLE--For many of the contestants at Saturday's UW Final Qualifier at the Dempsey Indoor facility, the meet is a last chance for athletes to attain a qualifying mark for next week's NCAA indoor track & field championships in College Station, Texas.

However, there will be some notable post-collegians competing in Saturday's meet, which closes out an outstanding indoor season on one of the country's fastest facilities.

According to the entry lists posted by the University of Washington on its web site, 2007 world outdoor pole vault champion Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Mountlake Terrace makes a rare competitive appearance at the Dempsey, as the former Husky will contest the event against a field that includes Club Northwest's Levi Keller and former NCAA indoor and outdoor pole vault champ Jason Colwick.

All three competed at last week's USA Indoor championships in Albuquerque, where Colwick finished 2nd, Keller 4th, and Walker, who missed the entire 2010 season with an injury suffered at the 2009 Herculis meet in Monaco that forced his withdrawal from the world championships in Berlin, no-heighted.

They will face Washington's Pac 10 champ Ryan Vu, who jumps in his final home meet as a Husky, along with Jeremy Klas of Idaho, and MPSF champ Greg Woepse of UCLA.

Events of interest includes the men's mile, with Oregon's Mac Fleet looking for a 3:59.00 mile; the women's 3000 with Washington's Megan Goethals & Katie Flood, Tara Erdmann of Loyola Marymount, and the Stanford duo of Jessica Tonn and Sequim native Stephanie Marcy looking to duck under 9:13.00; the men's 400 with Oregon's Michael Berry, a world junior champ from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS; the women's 800 with Berlin world championships competitor Geena Gall of the Oregon TC against Lea Wallace and Renisha Robinson of Sacramento State; and the men's 3000 which includes Portland's Trevor Dunbar and Alfred Kipchumba going against the UW's Max O-Donoghue-McDonald in an attempt to get under 7:54.50.

With the last chance meets, there will be scratches, and late adds.

Entries for the meet are posted here. 

The final time schedule is available here.

Bernard Lagat opens 2011 outdoor campaign with victory in Melbourne...

MELBOURNE, Australia--Only five days after winning the USA indoor championships at 3000 meters, Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left, with Chris Solinsky/photo by Paul Merca) opened his 2011 outdoor season by winning the 5000 meters in the final event of the Melbourne Track Classic at Olympic Park, the opening meet of the IAAF World Challenge.

After pacemaker Brandon Bethke dropped out with four laps to go, Lagat took over pacing chores with Oregon TC/Portland's Chris Solinsky, with the idea that they get their IAAF world championships "A" standard of 13:20.00 out of the way early.

With less than a lap to go, Lagat began accelerating away from Solinsky, but was slightly surprised to have Australia's Ben St. Lawrence on his shoulder with 200 to go.

Coming off the final turn, Lagat's speed and leg turnover was too much for St. Lawrence, as the reigning world indoor champ at 3000m motored to the victory in 13:08.43.

St. Lawrence was rewarded with a personal best of 13:10.08, followed by Solinsky in 13:10.22.

OTC/Portland teammates Matt Tegenkamp (13:16.27) and Andrew Bumbalough (13:16.77) easily ducked under the world championships "A" standard in fourth and fifth.

Tegenkamp and Bumbalough were fourth, and second, respectively at last month's USA cross country championships in San Diego, and qualified to represent Team USA at the IAAF world cross country championships in Punta Umbria, Spain on March 20th.

Afterwards, Lagat told the on-field announcer, "My aim was for a lot of us to hit the time (13:20). I'm happy for all my American colleagues who came here to run with me, and this is fantastic!"

Complete results from the IAAF Melbourne Track Classic are available here.

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