Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jordan Boase runs to a season best in finishing third in Ostrava...

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic--Former University of Washington standout Jordan Boase (far left/photo courtesy IAAF) finished third in the 400 meter dash in the 50th anniversary of the Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting.

Boase, who now trains out of the Nike world campus in Beaverton, finished behind Jamaica's Jermaine Gonzales (45.07) and Chris Brown of the Bahamas (45.17), as the Bothell HS grad ran a season best of 45.34, eclipsing his previous 2011 best of 45.65, set in Dakar on Saturday.

The meet's headliner, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, sped to his second 9.91 clocking of the season, leaving his compatriot 0.06 in his wake. But Bolt insisted that his performance, despite the time, was not identical to his season opener in the Italian capital last week.

“I felt better in this race, and that’s a good sign, like I’m actually running again, so that’s a really good sign,” Bolt said. “I had a good first 50 meters and as long as I get to 50 meters first, I’m not going to let you pass me.”

Complete results from the Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting are available here.


DIVISION II and III ALL AMERICANS ANNOUNCED BY USTFCCCA

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the men and women that earned USTFCCCA All-America distinctions for the 2011 NCAA Division II and III Outdoor Track & Field seasons.

In Division II, All American awards went to NCAA pole vault champ Ryan Brown of Western Washington on the men's side, along with teammates Karis Anderson (pole vault), Monika Gruszecki (javelin), and Sarah Porter (5000/10000). Gruszecki and Porter won national titles in the javelin, and 10000, respectively.

Kati Davis of Central Washington (pole vault), and the Seattle Pacific trio of Brittany Aanstad, Carly Andrews (both in javelin), and Ali Worthen (heptathlon) also earned Division II honors from the USTFCCCA.

In Division III, Whitworth's national champ Carter Comito (discus) and Frank Lima (high jump) earned All-America honors on the men's side, while Elizabeth Mattila (400 hurdles) and Tonya Turner (steeplechase) earned it on the women's side for the Pirates.

The USTFCCCA release can be accessed here.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend roundup, May 29th: Jungmark, Crawford & Israel in Hengelo; Boase in Dakar...

With the bevy of collegiate meets happening across the country, the professionals took a bit of a backseat in our coverage this weekend, but there was plenty of action.

Most of the action involving Washington affiliated pros took place in Hengelo at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games on Sunday.

In the women's high jump, former Washington State standout Ebba Jungmark of Sweden finished sixth with a mark of 6-2 (1.88m). Levern Spencer, a University of Georgia grad from St. Lucia was the winner at 6-4.25 (1.94m).

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished seventh in the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 12.92, as Danielle Carruthers won in 12.64.

Former Husky Märt Israel from Estonia finished ninth in the men's discus with a toss of 200-2 (61.01m). Robert Harting of Germany took the victory at 223-10 (68.23m).

Complete results from the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games are available here.

In Dakar, Senegal on Saturday, former Pac-10 champ Jordan Boase from the University of Washington finished second in the 400, losing to Sudan's Rabah Yousif, 45.64 to 45.65 in his 2011 season opener at this distance.

Boase, who endured 26 hours of travel to get to Dakar, stated that he did not sleep well due to allergies. He also stated that they were held in the call room for 35 minutes before they were allowed to step on the track.

Complete results from the Meeting De La Ville De Dakar are available here.


OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN

One glaring omission from our NCAA West Regional Preliminaries coverage was in Thursday's men's 10000, where Bellingham native Jake Riley of Stanford was fourth, running 29:13.75, just ahead of teammate and Gig Harbor native Miles Unterreiner.

Western's Ryan Brown and Monica Gruszecki return to top spot in NCAA D-2 podium...

TURLOCK, California--The Western Washington Vikings had two national champions Saturday - Ryan Brown (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) in the men's pole vault and Monica Gruszecki in the women's javelin - and a second-place finish in the women's 5,000 by Sarah Porter, who won the 10,000 on Thursday.

It was the fourth national championship for Brown, who also won back-to-back indoor pole vault titles in 2010 and 2011, and the second for Gruszecki, who won the javelin as a freshman in 2007. They are the first Vikings to win multiple individual national championships.

Brown defended his national outdoor title in the pole vault by clearing a winning height of 17-1 3/4 (5.23 meters). Brown, who entered the championships as the national leader with a clearance of 17-2 3/4, then missed two attempts at 17-3 and a meet-record effort at 18-2.

"I really came into this competition confident and ready to go," said Brown. "It started raining midway through, but nothing could hold me back."

Gruszecki won her javelin title with a school-record toss of 163-6 (49.85 meters), bettering her previous best by more than six-and-a-half feet. It came on her second throw, after an opening toss of 154-0 that would have been enough to win.

"You don't feel a thing when you hit it just right," said Gruszecki. "It was almost effortless ... This has been coming all season, and this was the competition I came in the freshest for."

Behind Gruszecki were Seattle Pacific junior Brittany Aanstad, who saved her best throw of the day for last, flinging the javelin 151 feet, 1 inch, and Falcon teammate Carly Andrews, who threw a career-best 144-9 to finish second and third, respectively,

Saturday's performance moved Aanstad up two places from her fourth-place finish in 2010. It also made her an All-American for the second straight year. Andrews earned her first All-American honor.

Porter, who almost didn't get to compete in the championships due to an question about her participation in a road race that awarded prize money, led for much of the race in the women's 5,000, but was passed just before the bell lap by Neely Spence of Shippensburg, Pa., who pulled away to win for the second straight year in 16:17.30. Porter was well ahead of the rest of the field at 16:23.08.

The Western women tied for sixth in the final team standings with 29.5 points, their best ever placing in the NCAA II outdoor meet,

Seattle Pacific finished in a tie for 15th with 17 points.

The Western men's squad finished 28th with Ryan Brown's 10 points.

Abilene Christian won the men's team title with 68 points, while Grand Valley State took the women's team title with 82.5 points.

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

DIVISION III RECAP

In Delaware, Ohio, Whitworth's Carter Comito won the NCAA Division III title in the men's discus, spinning the platter 182-2 (55.52m) on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Comito's win was dramatic, as he needed a throw of 166-5 (50.73m) after two straight fouls just to make the finals.

With his win, Whitworth's men finished tied for 21st place in the final standings with 12 points. North Central (Ill.) edged Wisconsin-La Crosse 58-56 to win the national title.

Senior Elizabeth Mattila from Ferndale went after the 400 meter hurdles with an intent to win. Running out of lane seven she was in second place with 80 meters to go, but had minor trouble on the final hurdle. That was enough for other runners to overtake her at the end. She still broke her own school record in a time of 1:01.09 and finished in sixth place to earn the second All-America honor of her career.

The Pirate women finished in 28th place with nine points. Wisconsin-Oshkosh rolled to an easy team championship with 80 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Wartburg's 59 points.

Whitworth's complete release is available here.

AROUND THE NCAA--In the NCAA Division I East Regional Preliminary Round, contested in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of Indiana University, former University of Washington standout Kendra Schaaf (left/photo by Mike Scott), competing in her first full collegiate outdoor track season, qualified for the NCAA championships in the 5000 meter run.

Schaaf, now competing for the University of North Carolina, had the second fastest time out of the East regionals, clocking 16:15.37.

Two days earlier, Schaaf missed qualifying in the 10000 meter run after getting tangled up in the latter stages of the race.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Washington's prize frosh duo of Megan Goethals & Katie Flood qualify for NCAAs...

EUGENE--The investment in freshmen Megan Goethals (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) and Katie Flood paid dividends for the University of Washington track team as both women qualified for the NCAA championships Saturday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon with strong outings at the NCAA West preliminary round.

Goethals, last year's number one ranked prep distance runner out of Rochester, Michigan, won heat one of the women's 5000 meters in a personal best of 16:02.64, just ahead of Pac-10 champ Jordan Hasay, who jogged it in in 16:04.39, after qualifying earlier in the meet in the 1500.

Flood, the Des Moines, Iowa native, had to turn on the afterburners in her heat of the 1500, running 4:23.44, to run down several athletes in the final 100 meters to get the fifth and final automatic qualifying spot and a trip home to the NCAA championships at Drake University, a track that she's familiar with during her prep career.

Washington's 4 x 100 meter relay team of Maurice McNeal, James Alaka, Colton Dunn and Ryan Hamilton advanced to the NCAA championships with a time of 40.29, as they finished second in heat 3, behind the Pac-10 champions from Washington State, who ran 40.26 with a squad of Greg Hornsby, Nate Washington, Brett Blanshan, and Marlon Murray.

Alaka, the Pac-10 champ at 100 and 200 meters, made up for a disappointing showing in Friday's 100 meters by qualifying for nationals in the 200, running 21.17, earning one of the three time qualifiers.

Among notable qualifiers from the state of Washington, Oregon's Becca Friday from Bellingham advanced to the nationals in the 1500, running 4:17.93 to win her heat; and, Sequim's Stephanie Marcy from Stanford advanced in her second event, finishing second in her section of the 5000m in 16:04.12.


Complete results from day 3 of the NCAA West Preliminary round are available here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Three Cougars, two Huskies move on to Des Moines with top-12 finishes at West Regionals...

EUGENE--Pacific-10 champions Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) and Anna Layman, along with 800 meter runner Joe Abbott joined Washington State University teammates Marissa Tschida and Courtney Kirkwood by earning berths to the NCAA championships as the West preliminary round continued Friday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

For the fourth consecutive year, Anderson had the fastest 400m hurdles time coming out of the West Preliminary Round. His quarterfinal time of 49.59 sends the four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion to Des Moines for the national meet. Anderson is the national leader with a time of 48.13.

"Today, the first hurdle was all I really wanted to focus on and then each one because I didn't want to clip that and then lose my momentum," Anderson said. "Coach Mac (Mark Macdonald) wanted me to work on my right leg but I came off the eighth hurdle in cruise mode. These past few days I haven't been running like I've been running in practice. I've been cruising through and trying to make it through the rounds and get to the NCs. I learned about racing smart (as opposed to fast) through all these years of running against pros at the Olympic Trials and the USAs. They run a lot smarter and try and conserve as much energy as you can. That's the big plan: to hold onto whatever strength level you have and let loose once you get to the final. I'm sure I'll be running a fast time on that Mondo track in Des Moines."

Running the fourth-best time in school history, junior Joe Abbott advanced to the Des Moines races with a quarterfinal time of 1:46.84, the fifth-best of the day, and breaking his lifetime-best by a full second. Abbott started to kick with about 100 meters left in the race and made a valiant effort to get into the top three finishers for an automatic berth. He ran the final 20 meters shoulder to shoulder with Minnesota's Harun Abda with both diving at the finish line. Abda was awarded the automatic qualifying third place with a time of 1:46.81.

Two-time All-American Anna Layman punched her ticket back to the NCAA Championships with her quarterfinal time of 2:05.86; fourth place in her heat, eighth fastest time of the day, and the second of three qualifiers based on time, not place.

For the Huskies, sophomore Logan Miller cleared three straight outdoor personal bests to earn one of the twelve spots to the NCAA finals in Des Moines.

Her day almost ended right after it began, as Miller missed her first two attempts at 12-1 ½ (3.70m) but with her season flashing before her eyes she cleared on her third attempt. After getting over 12-7 ½ (3.85m) on her second try, Miller really got into the mix with a first attempt make at 13-1 ½ (4.00m), a new outdoor best.

On try number two at 13-3 ½ (4.05m), Miller went up and got around the bar clean for another career-best. That put her in position to advance, but she decided to cinch it up by once again raising her own personal bar. Miller cleared 13-5 ¼ (4.10m) on her very first try, then waited as the rest of the competition dropped off.

"It was a little unexpected," she said of all her PRs. "I started out really rough; I almost no-heighted. But the one that got me really pumped up was making 13-1 on my first try. Then 13-3 got me even more pumped up, and then making 13-5 on my first try, I don't know how that happened!"

The mark of 13-5 1/4 puts her in a tie for fifth on the all-time UW top-10 list.

Miller did the trick without the help of vault coach Pat Licari, who drove back to Seattle after the meet Thursday night to tend to wife Jean, who was undergoing heart surgery after a blood clot was found last week.

"Pat told me last night that he wouldn't be here, and that made me a little nervous, but luckily I had Scott (Roth), and Robby (Feagles) who were great coaches and I trust them a lot, so it worked out really well and we all had the same game plan," said Miller. "It made me a little more proud of myself and even more confident to do it without Pat here. It will be really exciting to go to nationals."

Freshman Maurice McNeal did not have his best day but it was good enough to advance the Federal Way product on to Iowa. Running out of the first of three quarterfinal heats, McNeal was towards the back halfway through the race but could see the field in front of him. He accelerated through the final two turns and came home in fourth, just missing the auto qualifying spot, but his time of 46.44 would wind up earning one of three time qualifiers.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon was second in his heat in 45.95. Demetrius Pinder of Texas A&M won the heat in 45.82.

"I wanted to conserve my energy but still place in the top three," said Berry. "There are a lot of heats but I wanted to make sure that I advanced. I still had a lot of energy left but I tried to catch as many people as I could on the final stretch."

Tacoma's Andrea Geubelle of Kansas finished eighth in the triple jump to earn a nationals berth in her second event of the meet, jumping 42-3 1/4 (12.88m).

The West preliminary round concludes Saturday. Complete results from Friday's competition are available here.

DIVISION II RECAP

Seattle Pacific junior Ali Worthen shook off a tough day in the long jump, came back to set personal-bests in the final two events, and broke through the 5,000-point barrier for the first time, recording an All-American sixth-place finish in the hep on Friday afternoon at Warrior Stadium on the campus of Cal State Stanislaus University, scoring 5044 points.

“Once you're over 5,000, that's a landmark, and it takes you to the next level,” Worthen said. “I'm really excited that I made that, and I hope I can continue to build on it and keep going from there.”

Teammates Crystal Sims finished 12th overall on Friday with 4,837 points, and sophomore Katy Gross, who won the javelin portion of the hep competition, was 13th with 4,782.

Central Washington's Katilin Davis and Western Washington's Karis Anderson finished in a tie for seventh in the pole vault with a mark of 12-0 1/2 (3.67m), as both earned D2 All-America honors.

With her top-eight finish, Davis helped the Wildcats secure at least one All-American in outdoor track and field for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons. She is the 18th outdoor All-American for CWU -- including the ninth female -- since 2001.

Seattle Pacific's Melissa Peaslee was 12th at 12-0 1/2, while teammate Terra Schumacher was 14th at 11-8.5 (3.57m).

Day 2 results from the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

One footnote to Sarah Porter's win in the 10000m Thursday--according to a tweet posted by David Monti of Race Results Weekly, Porter was ruled ineligible for a short time because the NCAA determined that she took prize money.

However, hours before the race, Porter was reinstated by the NCAA.

DIVISION III RECAP

In Delaware, Ohio, Whitworth's Tonya Turner smashed her own school record and finished third in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase on Friday at the 2011 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Turner stayed close to the front of the pack from the start of her race and when the lead group of three runners broke away at the 1,500 meter mark she went with them. That group of four steadily pulled away and Turner moved into third place with 600 meters to go. Her final time was 10:28.21.

Frank Lima finished in a tie for sixth in the high jump with a jump of 6-7 (2.01m) to earn All-America honors.

Whitworth's recap is available here.

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nielsen and Tschida win javelin at NCAA West regionals; Sarah Porter wins 10000 at NCAA D-2...

EUGENE, Oregon--University of Washington senior Kyle Nielsen (left/photo by Paul Merca) erased a twenty-two year old school record as he unleashed the javelin 253-5 (77.24m) to win the NCAA West preliminary round and advance to the NCAA finals in Des Moines, Iowa in two weeks.

Nielsen has been chasing Darryl Roberson's 1989 school record of 249-6 for the past three years, since he first earned All-America honors as a sophomore. His previous career-best was 247-1, coming in 2010. This year, Nielsen had been impressively consistent, but had yet to land a huge throw, with a season-best of 239-11. That changed in round one, and Nielsen followed it up with another big bomb of 246-6, before passing his final three attempts after fouling in round 3.

"First meet this year that I've really felt a hundred percent on. As soon as I was on the runway for that first throw everything felt in the right position, I felt totally prepared. I'm happy I finally got that," said the Langley, British Columbia native. "Working on my attack angle, working on lowering my release because I'd been throwing a little too high this year, and on the runway I hit my steps right and everything fell together."

Joining him on the plane to Des Moines in two weeks are fellow javelin thrower Joe Zimmerman, who finished sixth in the qualifying round (top twelve advance to the nationals) with a toss of 235-1 (71.67m) on his fifth attempt, after being on the bubble through the first three rounds.

Eastern Washington's Aaron Mettler fouled on all three attempts.

Another Husky who advanced to the nationals was pole vaulter Scott Roth, who was one of ten athletes to clear 17-0 3/4 (5.20m) despite tricky conditions and a rain delay to tie for seventh.

Pac-10 javelin champ Marissa Tschida had the best throw in the women's javelin first round of 174-feet, 10 inches (53.29m) and will advance to the NCAA semifinals next month in Des Moines. Tschida, a senior from Missoula, Mont, is a two-time All-American and will be competing in her fourth NCAA Championships. She is the WSU record-holder and had the top throw in the country entering this competition at 183-9 (56.02m).

Teammate Courtney Kirkwood, a junior from Othello, Wash., took 10th-place in the javelin first round with a throw of 162-5 (49.52m), and is among the 12 from the West to advance to the semifinals round.

Washington's Amanda Peterson finished a disappointing 16th, throwing 156-8 (47.75), five feet short of 12th place and a spot in the national championships.

In other events, Tacoma's Andrea Geubelle of Kansas advanced to Des Moines with an 8th place finish in the long jump, leaping 20-3.5 (6.18m). 

In the 10000 meter run, Pac-10 champ Stephanie Marcy of Stanford, a Sequim HS grad, finished fourth in 33:31.95, while Bellingham's Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon was ninth in 33:36.74.  Washington's Lindsay Flanagan was 18th in 34:04.13.

The men's 10000 saw Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner of Stanford taking fifth in 29:14.46.

The University of Washington's release can be read here, while Washington State's release is available here.

Complete day 1 results from the NCAA West preliminary round are available here.

Action continues Friday at Eugene's Hayward Field.


DIVISION II AND III RECAP

In Turlock, California, Western Washington University distance runner Sarah Porter had the greatest accomplishment of her illustrious career, winning the women's 10,000 meters in opening-day action Thursday.

Porter's time of 33:17.39 broke her own school record as well as bettering meet and stadium standards. The old meet record was 33:24.24 set by Robyn Root from Cal Poly SLO in 1985. Porter's clocking, which was just over 12 seconds off the all-time NCAA II standard of 33:05.80 set by Seattle Pacific's Bente Moe in 1987, qualified her automatically for the USA Championships later this summer.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet, but it feels really awesome," said Porter, a senior from Hockinson. "I know that I wanted to go out from the gun, and I figured going off by myself would be the best way to go."

Following Porter's race, two Vikings competed in the men's 10,000, Jordan Welling (Sr., Burlington/Burlington-Edison) finishing 11th in 30:13.87 and Bennett Grimes (Sr., Pocatello, ID/Century) 14th in 30:40.71.

In the first day of the heptathlon competition, Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen stands in sixth place with a score of 3117, while teammates Crystal Sims (3062) and Katy Gross (2871) are in eighth, and fourteenth places, respectively.

Worthen also competed Thursday in the long jump finals, placing 17th with a jump of 17-1 1/4 (5.21m).

Central Washington's Torrie Self finished 15th in the women's hammer, throwing 162-10 (49.63m) in her only fair mark of the day.

Seattle Pacific's release can be read here, while Western Washington's release is available here. Central Washington's release is here.

In the NCAA Division III championships in Delaware, Ohio, Tonya Turner and Elizabeth Mattila of Whitworth advanced to the championship finals of their respective running events.

Turner (Sr., Spokane, Wash.) finished third in her heat of the 1,500 meter run with a new school-record time of 4:29.13. Her heat was the faster of the two, and she was one of ten automatic qualifiers to Saturday's championship final.

Mattila (Sr., Ferndale, Wash.) finished second in the third and final heat of the women's 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.62 to advance to Saturday's finals.

Whitworth's release is available here.

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

Kara Patterson takes fourth in Rome Diamond League meet...

ROME, Italy--American record holder Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Vancouver finished fourth in the women's javelin at the Compeed Golden Gala meeting Thursday night in the Italian capital with a throw of 205-11 (62.76m), as Maria Abukamova of Russia took the victory with a mark of 214-7 (65.40m).

After the competition, she said on her Twitter page, "Got passed in the last round and didn't respond well, but I'm pretty happy. For now."

One consolation is that she now has the "A" standard needed to compete in Daegu this summer.

In the women's discus, US Olympic veteran Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way, the Renton HS & University of Washington graduate, finished fifth with a mark of 202-4 (61.68m).

Sandra Perkovic of Croatia took the victory with a mark of 215-1 (65.56m), followed by Cuba's Yarelis Barrios at 210-7 (64.18m) and Nadine Muller with 207-3 (63.17m).

Running in lane 7, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford finished 12.89 in seventh, as Dawn Harper wins in a season best of 12.70.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt opened up his 2011 campaign, winning the featured 100m dash in 9.91, running down countryman Asafa Powell (9.93) in the last 20 meters.

Complete results from the Compeed Golden Gala meet are available here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live results are available here.

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

The plot thickens regarding the USATF CEO search...

As Jesse Squire posted on tracksuperfan.com, he inferred the possibility that current USA Track & Field president Stephanie Hightower (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), who has denied in the past her interest in the position, may be a candidate to be the next chief executive officer of the federation, filling the vacancy left after Doug Logan's termination last September.

Now, Chicago Tribune Olympic writer Phil Hersh writes that the possibility of Hightower getting the CEO position is real.

Citing an interview with with former Nike executive Steve Miller, who headed the CEO search committee for USATF, and who is currently the CEO of the Andre Agassi Foundation, Miller told Hersh, "It is very possible she could become the CEO."

Since the search committee was formed last fall, they have not found a viable candidate for the position. It was rumored that Oregon head coach Vin Lananna would be the next CEO, but according to Hersh's report, he changed his mind.

Hersh writes that, "There is a feeling the entire interview process may have been flawed because all potential candidates are aware of Hightower's interest in the job and may fear she would interfere with the CEO's ability to run the federation -- thereby compromising the CEO's security."

Ken Goe of the Oregonian has an interesting take on all this--he writes, "USATF is for and about the athletes, which isn't good for its long-term viability. If track and field is to be a major U.S. spectator sport in somewhere other than Eugene and at some time other than the Olympic Games, somebody needs to speak for the fans."

Goe adds that the next CEO should be a person who looks at the overall health and well-being of the sport, otherwise, "U.S. track and field will continue to devolve into a self-absorbed, participant sport, holding meets in mostly empty stadiums, watched only by friends, family members and the other participants."

This is just a thought--if Hightower isn't the next chief executive officer of USATF, could there be the possibility that Ian Stewart, currently the head of endurance at UK Athletics, might be in play, as this thread on letsrun.com suggests?

After all, he is somewhat involved in the successful Aviva series of meets in Great Britain, including the annual Diamond League meet in London, through his work in the past with Fast Track, the British sports marketing agency.

Oh by the way, he happens to be married to Hightower.

I might be completely wrong on this, but anything's possible here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Follett surprises once again with US leading time in 1500m at Occidental...

LOS ANGELES--Katie Follett's name may now be a part of the conversation for one of the three spots for this summer's USA world championship team after yet another outstanding effort at the Occidental High Performance meet Saturday night on the campus of Occidental College.

Follett (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) bested a field that included world championships bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury and Treniere Moser, a former US national champion, to win in a new personal best and American season leading mark of 4:07.44, besting her previous personal best of 4:08.95, set three weeks ago at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto.

After sitting in the first five spots for the first half of the race, the University of Washington grad, who now runs for Brooks, made a decisive move with about 225 meters to go, passing former Tennessee standout Phoebe Wright on the final straightaway, and perhaps surprising Moser, who made a late charge at Follett, but was a few steps too late.

Moser closed past Wright to finish in 4:08.10, with Wright getting third in 4:08.60.

Former Bellarmine Prep and North Carolina standout Brie Felnagle closed to finish fifth in 4:10.12.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here is video of Follett's race.



Follett will need to run 4:05.90 or faster to attain the all-important A standard to get a spot on Team USA for Daegu later this summer, and place in the top three at the USA championships next month in Eugene.

The link to the IAAF standards for Daegu is here.

In other races at the Occidental High Performance meet, Auburn Riverside grad Jordan McNamara won the B section of the 1500 meters in a time of 3:42.26.


Complete results from the Occidental High Performance meet are available here.

In Tuscon, the throwers took center stage in day two of the Tuscon Elite throwers only meet at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

As she did on Thursday, Spokane prep standout and University of Oregon alum Britney Henry won the hammer with a mark of 224-4 (68.37m).

University of Washington volunteer coach Kimery Hern of Club Northwest finished tenth with a throw of 196-1 (59.77m).

In the mens discus, former Washington State star Drew Ulrick was fourth with a toss of 184-7 (56.27m), just ahead of former Husky Will Conwell with a throw of 181-8 (55.38m).

As he did on Thursday, Ft. Lewis' Michael Mai placed second in the men's hammer with a throw of 240-1 (73.19m).


Complete results from the Tuscon Elite throwers meet are available here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spokane prep star Britney Henry wins day 1 of Tuscon Elite hammer, plus links...

With this weekend being the dead period between the conference championships and the NCAA regional meets/NCAA Division II championships, high performance meets in Tuscon and Los Angeles take center stage.

Back at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona, the Tuscon Elite throwers meet got underway Thursday, as Lewis & Clark/Spokane HS grad and University of Oregon alum Britney Henry (left/photo courtesy thebritneyhenryproject.blogspot.com) won the hammer with a mark of 228-6 (69.64m).

Former Georgia Tech standout Kimery Hern, who is now a volunteer assistant throws coach at the University of Washington, finished ninth with a mark of 197-9 (60.28m).

In the men's discus, former Washington State thrower Drew Ulrick was fifth with a throw of 194-9, while former Husky Will Conwell, now competing for Club Northwest was seventh at 189-4 (57.72m).

In the men's hammer, Ft. Lewis resident Michael Mai was second with a throw of 237-4 (72.33m).

The Tuscon Elite meet resumes Saturday. Day 1 results are available here.

In Los Angeles, the Occidental HIgh Performance meet takes place Saturday night on the campus of Occidental College, with the middle distances the emphasis.

University of Washington graduate Katie Follett is entered in the 1500 in a field that includes 2009 World Championship bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury, Canadian Olympian Malindi Elmore, and world championships competitor Bridget Franek, who is dropping down in distance.

In the men's 1500, Auburn/Riverside HS grad Jordan McNamara is entered in the B section.

In the A section, scheduled to run are US Olympians Lopez Lomong, Leo Manzano, Matt Tegenkamp, and Nick Symmonds, with Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand scheduled to be one of the pacesetters.

Media partner Flotrack will provide streaming video of the Occidental high performance meet starting at 6:45pm, pacific time.

Start lists for the Occidental meet are available here.

In our post of the NCAA regional start lists, one notable absence on the women's side is Colorado's Jessica Pixler, who tracksuperfan.com reports is out of the meet with a stress fracture in her foot.

Finally, several news organizations have reported that USA Track & Field and former CEO Doug Logan have reached a settlement over his wrongful termination suit.

You can read the link from the Los Angeles Times here, which was written by long time track & field writer Gene Cherry of Reuters.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NCAA West preliminary round entries released; multi media featuring Anna Layman & James Alaka...

The declared entries for next week's NCAA west preliminary championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon were released Thursday.

The University of Washington will be led into Eugene by double Pac-10 sprint champ James Alaka, along with decathlon champ Jeremy Taiwo, who will contest the 110 hurdles in Eugene.

With the multi-events the only event not contested in the preliminary championships, Taiwo has a spot in the NCAA championship meet in Des Moines, Iowa on June 8-11 at Drake University.


For the Washington State Cougars, leading the way into Eugene are 400 meter hurdler Jeshua Anderson, its men's 4 x 100 meter relay squad, triple jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis, 800 meter runner Anna Layman (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com), and javelin thrower Marissa Tschida, all of whom won titles at last week's Pac-10 championships in Tuscon.

Other notables from Washington that will compete in next week's meet in Eugene include Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry, the Pac-10 400m champ from Oregon; Eastern Washington's Brad Wall, the Big Sky 400m champ; Eastern's Erica Chaney, the Big Sky shot put champ; Stephanie Marcy from Sequim, the Pac-10 10000m champ; and Tacoma prep standout Andrea Geubelle from Kansas in both the long and triple jumps.

The complete NCAA west regional men's declared list is available here, while the women's list is available here.


MULTI MEDIA FEATURING WSU'S ANNA LAYMAN AND UW'S JAMES ALAKA…

Below are a couple of multi-media links featuring Washington State University senior Anna Layman, and University of Washington sophomore James Alaka, both of whom emerged victorious at the Pac-10 championships last weekend.

Layman talks in this video about her race, in which she snuck past Arizona's Christina Rodgers to garner the victory.



Alaka was interviewed by KIRO FM 97.3/mynorthwest.com's Bill Swartz, who describes the "Flash Man" as a running contradiction.

The native of London, England searched the internet for a place to attend college. He picked rainy Seattle. He chose the University of Washington, a program with little success when it comes to track and field sprinters.

As James explained, "If I had stayed in London, I would have been running in the rain. Why not go overseas, get a new experience, enjoy the new lifestyle, get a good education. I could also compete against top quality competition every week. That's like a no brainer."

To read the full interview, please click here (there is a link within the story to the audio interview).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kara Patterson blogs about the hoops elite track athletes go through, plus hot links...

Friend of the blog, Vancouver's finest, and American record holder in the javelin Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) writes on the US Olympic Committee's web site about the trials and tribulations elite track and field athletes go through to get to either a world championships or Olympic Games.

In what is essentially "Elite Track & Field for Dummies", Kara breaks down the steps that America's best have to go through to get to either the world championships or the Olympics, complete with a flow chart.

She also writes in the beginning of the blog that, "It’s so difficult sometimes to get people to understand professional track and field that I’m tempted to lie and say that yes, I am in fact a basketball player, because YES, I’m SO TALL.  Once, someone innocently and naively asking questions about what I do said, 'So, your sport doesn’t matter in non-Olympic years?'  That felt good."

To read her blog, please click here.

The air time schedule for the Pac-10 track & field championships, held in Tuscon last weekend is now available.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Pac 10 meet will air on Thursday afternoon at 5 pm on Root Sports/Northwest (formerly FOX Sports Northwest), unless the Seattle Mariners game versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim goes into extra innings, in which case it will be joined in progress.


Here is a link to the document listing air times of the Pac-10s for other parts of the country.

The University of Washington men's squad and the Washington State women's team moved up in the latest USTFCCCA top 25 poll released Tuesday.

The Husky men moved to #20 from #23 in the poll, while the Cougar women moved seven spots up to #16 from #23 in the last poll.

After their respective conference championships, Florida’s men and Texas A&M’s women regained their top positions in the national rankings, a place held by both in the preseason.

The top 25 poll can be accessed here.

In Division II, the Western Washington men's team dropped to #22. In the women's national poll, Seattle Pacific remained at #8, while Western Washington moved two spots up to #11.

Abilene Christian and Grand Valley State remain the #1 team in the country in the current men's and women's polls.


The USTFCCCA Division II poll can be accessed here.

The list of accepted entries for next week's NCAA Division II championships were released Tuesday, with 620 participants (310 men/310 women) accepted by reaching the automatic/provisional standards over the course of the season.

The championships will be held May 26-28 in Turlock, California, at the Al Brenda Track Complex.  California State University, Stanislaus, will serve as host of the championships.

The accepted entries can be accessed here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bellevue's Mike Sayenko named to USA squad for world championships in marathon...

University of Washington and Sammamish High School graduate Mike Sayenko (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named to the five-man squad that will contest the marathon at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea this summer.

Sayenko, who ran for the Huskies from 2003-2007, and competes professionally for Strands.com, was selected to Team USA based on his 2:14:27 performance at last year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, in which he placed tenth overall, and was the second American across the line.

The men's squad includes Nick Arciniaga, Sergio Reyes, Jeffery Eggleston, and Mike Morgan.

Sayenko's University of Washington bio can be accessed here; his Team Strands bio is here.

Here's a video with Sayenko, shot the day before he set his personal best in Chicago:



The women's squad for the world championships includes Portland's Kara Goucher and Tera Moody, who return from the Berlin squad of two years ago, along with 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials champ Colleen De Reuck, and world cross country team veterans Kathy Newberry and Alissa McKaig.

The full USA Track & Field release can be read here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Alaka's future so bright, he's gotta wear shades after winning Pac-10 sprint double...

With apologies to the 1980s band Timbuk 3, University of Washington sophomore James Alaka (center/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com)'s future is so bright that he's gotta wear shades after receiving the gohuskies.com student-athlete of the week award after taking the 100/200 sprint double at last weekend's Pac-10 Conference championship meet in Tuscon, becoming the first Husky to take the sprint double since Ja'Warren Hooker turned the trick in 2000.

Despite competing while sick with a cold, Alaka claimed his first title in the 100-meters, as he accelerated through the middle of the track and leaned across the line for the win in 10.29 seconds, edging Arizona State's Ryan Milus who was second in 10.34.

An hour later, the British national, nicknamed the "Flash Man", used a late surge in the final ten meters to run down USC's Joey Hughes, throwing himself across the line to get the victory in 20.85 to Hughes' 20.87,

Courtesy of gohuskies.com, here is a video interview with Alaka.



Next up for Alaka is the NCAA preliminary rounds May26-28 in Eugene, with trips to the NCAA championships on June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa on the line.

NOTE: The University of Washington contributed to this report.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lagat among headliners at Nike Prefontaine Classic; Patterson to defend javelin title; remembering Wanjiru...

In what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive fields, Washington State grad Bernard Lagat is one of the headliners in the two-mile run at the Nike Prefontaine Classic on June 4th at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Among those confirmed are Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Mo Farah of Great Britain, Nike Oregon Project teammate Galen Rupp, and the Oregon TC Elite duo of Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp.

According to the press release, it may take something faster than Craig Mottram's 8:03.50 meet record at the 2007 edition of this meet to win this year's race.

You can read the full release here.

Among those with Washington ties who are listed entries at the Pre Classic include defending javelin champion Kara Patterson of Vancouver, and former WSU standout Ian Waltz.

The preliminary entry list for the Nike Prefontaine Classic stop on the Samsung Diamond League tour is available here.

Upon landing in Seattle Sunday evening, I was a bit disturbed and saddened to see a series of tweets reporting the death of 2008 Olympic marathon gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Kenya at the age of 24, who either committed suicide or fell off a balcony to his death in Nyahururu, Kenya.

I had the opportunity to cover the final marathon that he ran, which was last fall's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which letsrun.com called a race for the ages.

On the streets of Chicago, Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede, who won London earlier in the year, thought that he had gotten rid of Wanjiru not once, but twice in the 26 mile, 385 yard battle.

But Wanjiru somehow willed his way to catch up with, pass, and defeat Kebede, breaking the tape in 2:06:24, leaving Tsegaye 19 seconds behind to claim not only the $70000 first place check, but the $500,000 check for winning the World Marathon Majors series.

In the last few months, Wanjiru was involved in a car accident, arrested on attempted murder against his wife, assault of a body guard, and illegal firearm charges. I got the sense that most of his non-running issues began after he moved back to Kenya after winning the Olympic marathon (he was training for at least six years in Japan)

In 2009, I interviewed him, along with a group of reporters in San Francisco at a Nike media event.

Here is the video:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend roundup, May 15th: Erica Chaney of Eastern Washington wins weight double; Falcons do it again at GNACs...

While our coverage of Washington's collegiate and pro action this weekend focused on the fortunes of the University of Washington and Washington State University track and field teams at the Pacific 10 Conference championships here in Tuscon, there was a plethora of action involving the state's other schools:

At the Big Sky Conference meet in Sacramento, Erica Chaney (left/photo courtesy EWU) of Eastern Washington broke the school record in the shot put Friday with a toss of 51-3 to break the previous school record of 50-11 set in 1991 by Nancy Kuiper. Chaney won the event by more than two feet over Sacramento State’s Andrea Behring (48-11), who led until Chaney’s final throw of the co
mpetition.

The next day, she turned around and won the discus title with a toss of 155-4.

Other Eagle winners included Brad Wall in the 400 (46.93) and Michael Okoro in the 200 (21.38).

Eastern Washington's meet recap is available here.

In the GNAC championships in Monmouth, Oregon, Seattle Pacific's Kishia Mitchell turned in a sprint double (12.29/25.52), had a hand in their winning 4 x 100m relay (meet record 47.23), and Crystal Sims won the 100 hurdles, while do-it-all specialist Ali Worthen took last week's heptathlon, long jump and high jump to lead the Falcons to yet another conference crown.

Ray Zoellick of the Falcons was an upset winner in the pole vault (14-11/4.40m) after defending NCAA champ Ryan Brown of Western Washington no-heighted.

Western Washington University's Michael Hoffman won the men's hammer for the second straight year and Tim Clendaniel placed first in the men's triple jump with a NCAA Division II provisional national qualifying effort in helping the Vikings finish second in both the men's and women's divisions.

All American Sarah Porter won the 10000 in 36:33.87, and Monika Gruszecki won the javelin with a toss of 156-11 to avenge a loss to Seattle Pacific's Brittany Aanstad (148-5).

WWU's Jordan Welling won the men's 10000 in 30:25.75, and Ben Elder won the discus at 167-1.

Central Washington's Kati Davis won the pole vault with a mark of 11-11.75 (3.73m). Teammate Torrie Self took a weight double, winning the discus (143-8) and hammer (175-5).

Seattle Pacific's release is here; Western Washington's release is here.

At the Great West Conference championships in Orem, Utah, Dylan Burnett won the javelin with a school record throw of 70.66 meters (231-10).

Burnett’s throw also earned him the Most Outstanding Performance award for the meet and beat the Seattle University record by seven meters.

Seattle University's release is available here.

Moving to the pros, at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on Sunday, Aretha Thurmond finished fourth in the discus with a toss of 200-1 (60.98m).

The Diamond League Shanghai results are available here.

In Manchester, England, Ginnie Crawford finished second in a time of 12.87 in the 100 hurdles behind Danielle Carruthers (12.73) as track & field took to the streets.


You can read the athleticsweekly.com report here.

NOTE: Seattle Pacific, Seattle University, Western Washington, the GNAC, Eastern Washington, and athleticsweekly.com contributed to this report.

Anderson gets Pac-10 title number four; the Flash Man, Layman, Scott-Ellis & WSU 4x1 bring it...

TUSCON--To quote the famous American philosopher Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, it was time to "Bring It" at the Pacific 10 track and field championships at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki/trackandfieldphoto.com), James Alaka, Anna Layman, Stephan Scott-Ellis, Michael Berry, and the Washington State men's 4 x 100 meter relay brought it Saturday night as one of the best championships in recent memory concluded.

Anderson won the 400 meter hurdles in a new meet, WSU school, and stadium record time of 48.13, and joined Steve Prefontaine of Oregon, Rick Brown of California, Randy Williams of USC, Scott Neilson of Washington, Balazs Kiss of USC, Jerome Davis of USC, and Aaron Aguayo of Arizona State as the only men to win four individual conference titles in the same event during their career at their schools.

Anderson was pressed early by USC's Reggie Wyatt and Stanford's Amaechi Morton on the backstretch before taking command late, crossing the line in a current US best time of 48.13, the second fastest performer in the world this season, and the fourth fastest time in the world, behind three marks by South Africa's LJ van Zyl.

In the big picture, Anderson now is in a major position to challenge for one of the spots on this summer's world championship team that goes to Daegu.

However, he must get past the NCAA first round and championship meets before he exercises any thoughts of wearing that USA uniform.

After the 400m hurdles win, Anderson told the media, "It feels good. I'm glad I was able to break my personal record which is two years old. I'm happy with my time and I know that I can keep running and keep getting faster."

YOU CAN'T GET A GOOD PHOTO WITHOUT FLASH...

Washington's James Alaka (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki/trackandfieldphoto.com) became the first man in Washington history to score the 100/200 sprint double since Olympic relay pool member Ja'Warren Hooker turned the trick in 2000.

Alaka claimed his first title in the 100-meters, as he accelerated through the middle of the track and leaned across the line for the win in 10.29 seconds, edging Arizona State's Ryan Milus who was second in 10.34.

An hour after the 100m final. Alaka, competing despite a cold, was in the middle of the pack coming off the curve, but hit top speed down the homestretch and just caught up to USC's Joey Hughes, the 400-meter champion, passing him at the line to win in a time of 20.85 compared to Hughes' time of 20.87.

The Flash Man walked away from Drachman Stadium as the athlete of the meet for scoring the most points for their team.

Washington State's Anna Layman won the women's 800m run in a lifetime-best time of 2-minutes, 3.48 seconds, grabbing the win by out-leaning Arizona senior Christina Rodgers (2:03.52) at the line.

"From the gun I was committed to staying with Christina Rodgers for the first 700 meters and take my chances of passing her with 100m meters to go," Layman said. "All year long I knew this was how it was going to go because she is a tough runner and I knew she was going to take it out fast. So if I could just be mentally tough and go with, I would have a chance."

The Cougar men's 4x100m relay team of Greg Hornsby, Nate Washington, Brett Blanshan and Marlon Murray won the conference title with a time of 39.48 seconds, the second-best time in WSU history, beating Arizona State (39.51) and their cross state rivals, Washington (39.62).

Murray, speaking to the media in Tucson after the relay race said, "This feels really good. We came out, executed and did exactly what our coaches told us. We knew our handoffs had to be prefect and we had to run well. We are not done. We are looking forward to regionals and a national championship. I have to thank my teammates who put me in a position to win. Last year we were down with a couple injuries but we came back, had a great race, and now we have to move forward."

Stephan Scott-Ellis, a sophomore from Tacoma, won the triple jump with a PR leap of 52-feet, 2 inches (15.90m), the 10th-best triple jump in school records. Scott-Ellis, who finished fifth in the long jump Friday with a PR distance, only had two measured triple jumps Saturday, with the winning effort coming on his fourth round try.

Oregon's Michael Berry, a freshman from the University of Oregon from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS, made a strong charge down the final straightaway to win the men's 400 in a time of 44.91

Washington's Scott Roth, one of the favorites in the men's pole vault, finished fourth, as tricky wind conditions played havoc with the field.

Windy conditions prompted Roth to use a short approach, and he cleared his first height with ease, but trouble came up at 16-9 ½, where Roth needed a third attempt to get up and over. Only three other vaulters made that height, but Roth was unable to clear the next bar at 17-1 ½ despite moving back to a full run-up. He had to settle for fourth-place.

The Huskies' Megan Goethals, impatient with the way the field decided to run slow, finished second in the 5000 meter run, taking out the pace, and building up close to a ten-second lead.

A pack of three runners finally tracked her down with four laps to go, but Goethals hung with them rather than fading. On the final lap, she had enough left in the tank for a big finishing kick, as she tried to chase down multiple NCAA Champ Jordan Hasay of Oregon. For a second it looked like Goethals just might pull it off, but Hasay was able to hold on for the win in 16:24.10 with Goethals in second in 16:25.13.

In the final men's team scoring, Oregon repeated as men's team champs with 129, followed by host Arizona at 111 and a three-way tie for third at 99 between USC, UCLA & Arizona State at 99. The Cougars were seventh at 85, and the Huskies were eighth at 81 points.

Oregon won the women's team title at 154.5 points to Arizona's 150. The Cougars were seventh at 49, and the Huskies a disappointing ninth at 37 points.

Complete results from the Pac-10 track and field championships are available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, the University of Arizona, and the Pac-10 Conference contributed to this report.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

WSU's Tschida repeats as women's javelin champ...

TUSCON-- Marissa Tschida (left/photo courtesy Washington State University) successfully defended her Pac-10 conference crown in the women's javelin as the Cougar senior threw 183-9 (56.02m), a new collegiate leader and season best.

Washington State teammate Courtney Kirkwood leapfrogged in the final round to pass Washington's Amanda Peterson for third, throwing 166-7 (50.79m) to Peterson's 166-0 (50.60m).

"I was happy to get that throw out there. It's been right there trying to come out for a while and it felt great," Tschida said. "Not my most consistent day, but a great day none-the-less."

The quest by the Cougars' Jeshua Anderson's to become the eighth man in Pac-10 history to win the same event four years in a row is now a step closer, as he recorded the fastest time of the day, running 48.92, which is the American collegiate leader

Highlights of Friday night's action:

--Stanford's Stephanie Marcy, a product of Sequim, won the women's 10000 in a modest 35:47.37, surviving a move by home town favorite Jenniver Bergman of Arizona;

--Washington State's Anna Layman posted the fastest time in the women's 800 of 2:05.54, as she and teammate Courtney Zalud qualified for the finals in that event;

--James Alaka and Maurice McNeal of the Huskies may be key factors in the sprint finals Saturday, as they both qualified in the 200, with Alaka qualifying in the 100 as well, and McNeal clocking the fastest time in the 400, a new UW frosh record of 45.60, ahead of Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon;

--The Huskies finished 2-3-4 in the men's javelin, as Kyle Nielsen (237-10), Joe Zimmerman (235-8), and Jimmy Brookman (226-5) turned the trick.

Complete day 1 results from the Pac-10 championships are available here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Problems with Blogger...

Would like to apologize to those of you who have come to the site via Facebook or Twitter to find a couple of stories missing.

I was just made aware of an issue involving Blogger, which hosts paulmerca.blogspot.com.

You can read about the issues here at status.blogger.com.

With the Pac-10 Conference and other conference meets around the country involving teams from the area, along with some pro action this weekend, this puts a crimp in what we can post.

I am here in Tuscon at the Pac-10 Championships, where I am serving as the stadium announcer for the meet.  The plan is to post a few hours after the conclusion of the meet...keep your fingers crossed!

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Links of the day--Taiwo winning Pac-10 decathlon with torn ligament, & Peterson's revival at UW...

If you are wondering why Washington decathlete Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) didn't get to 8000 points at last weekend's Pac-10 Conference decathlon championships in Tuscon, there's a good reason why.

A few days after winning the Pac-10 title with a score of 7742 points, University of Washington team doctors told him that that he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, and will need Tommy John surgery.

Turns out that he hurt the elbow at last month's Mt. SAC Relays decathlon in Azusa while throwing the javelin, and while warming up in Tuscon, the elbow hurt to the point that he threw with his left hand.

"The idea came from me just knowing I had to do what I had to do to score," he said. "I mean, I might as well. It's better than no points in the event."


You can read Gregg Bell's story here.

One of the brightest stories on the Washington track team is the development of former state prep champ Amanda Peterson, who quit the sport last year, and moved home after one season at Eastern Washington University.

Upon her return to Gig Harbor, she discovered that she had repeatedly pushed herself past her body’s capacity to recover. It created a physical condition – Overtraining Syndrome – that endangered her health and threatened to end her athletic career.

With medical help, along with a new perspective on sport and life, she has flourished at Washington, breaking the UW school record at the Pepsi Team Invitational with a toss of 174-2, a mark 20 feet farther than her best at Eastern.


Dave Boling's column from the Tacoma News-Tribune can be read here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com is on our way to Tuscon to cover the Pac-10 Championships.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WSU's Jeshua Anderson looks for fourth straight Pac-10 400 hurdles title...

Conference championships take center stage this week, as Washington and Washington State head to Tuscon for the final Pacific-10 Conference track and field championships.

The Cougars' Jeshua Anderson (center/photo by Paul Merca),  the three-time Pac-10 400 meter hurdles champ, has the opportunity to become the eighth man in conference history to win an individual event four times, a feat accomplished by Oregon's Steve Prefontaine (1970-73, 3 mile); Cal's Rick Brown (1971-74, 880); USC's Randy Williams (1972-75, long jump); Washington's Scott Nielson (1976-79, hammer); USC's Balazs Kiss (1993-96, hammer); USC's Jerome Davis (1996-99, 400m); and, Arizona State's Aaron Aguayo (2004-07, steeplechase).

His quest begins Friday night at 8:35 pm, with the finals the next day at 8:10 pm.

Javelin thrower Marissa Tschida from WSU looks to repeat as conference champ, as she won last year with a mark of 173-3 (52.80m).

For the Huskies, who already enter the meet with a conference champ in Jeremy Taiwo, who won last week's decathlon, their best opportunities for adding to their total lie with pole vaulter Scott Roth, the current American leader in the event at 18-9.25 (5.72m), and one of the two javelin throwers in Kyle Nielsen (239-11/73.13m) or Joe Zimmerman (239-9/73.09m).

The Huskies' 4 x 100m relay team, which ran 39.93 at Husky Stadium, could surprise and pull the upset over favored UCLA, which has run 39.78 this season.


Washington State's press release is here. A link to Washington's press release is here; in the meantime, here is the Pac-10 Conference preview of the meet.

FOX Sports Net will provide a two-hour delayed telecast of the meet, starting on May 19th.

The Eastern Washington Eagles will head to Sacramento for the Big Sky Conference meet.

Both the men's and women's team placed fourth last outdoor season – a best-ever finish for the women. While the Eagles have a number of athletes who could claim titles in their respective events, head coach Marcia Mecklenberg says that it will take a team effort to achieve another high placing.

Six Eastern athletes who have previously won Big Sky titles will compete in the championships this week, including four men and two women. The women's 4x100 meter relay team will also go for its third-consecutive title. Junior Brad Wall won the 400 meters in 2010 with a school-record time of 46.78. Senior Aaron Mettler was the champion in the javelin in 2008 and 2009. Senior Stephen Praast won the outdoor high jump in 2009, while junior Adam Stewart claimed the indoor title that same year. Junior Brianna Okoro will try to defend her 200 meter title. Erica Chaney won the weight throw this past indoor season.


Eastern's release is available here.

Seattle University heads to Orem, Utah for the Great West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Utah Valley University.

Headed into the championships, Dylan Burnett (Lynnwood, Wash.) is ranked first in the GWC in the javelin with his school record throw of 63.49 meters (208-4), which is more than six meters farther than his nearest ranked competitor. Michael Van Nuland (Newcastle, Wash.) is ranked second in the 3000 meter steeplechase after setting a school record time of 9:28.97.

Emily Walters (Olympia, Wash.) is ranked third in the long jump (5.56m), and fifth in the triple jump (10.99m), and also set a school record in the 100 meter hurdles in 15.13, each of which she will be competing in over the next couple of days.


The Redhawks' complete meet preview is available here.

Western Washington, Central Washington and Seattle Pacific head to Monmouth, Oregon for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet this weekend, with the Falcon women favored to win yet another team title.

The Falcons, ranked #8 in the current USTFCCCA Division II poll, got off to a great start in their quest for a GNAC title with their 1-2-3-4 finish in the heptathlon last week.

Links to their press releases will be up when it is available.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will cover the Pacific-10 Conference championships from Tuscon, Arizona, and will post tweets (twitter.com/paulmerca70601) on the web site as well; tweets are located on the right hand side of the web site.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pole vaulter Peaslee & decathlete Taiwo each earn conference honors...

Seattle Pacific pole vaulter Melissa Peaslee (left, with SPU vault coach Carly Dockendorf/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific), and the University of Washington's Jeremy Taiwo were each named as the athlete of the week by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and the Pacific-10 Conference for their performances over the weekend.

Peaslee cleared 12 feet, 6 ¾ inches (3.83 meters) last Saturday in the Ken Shannon Invitational meet at Husky Stadium to earn the GNAC honor. That was 1 ¼ inches better than her previous SPU and conference record of 12-5 ½, which she set last season. Peaslee's all-time PR is an indoor mark of 12-9.

Saturday's performance elevated her into the No. 7 spot on the NCAA Division II list, far enough up to assure of a trip to Turlock, Calif., for the national championships on May 26-28.

This marks the third straight week and the fourth time this outdoor season that the Falcons have won the weekly women's track award. Junior Ali Worthen got it on April 4, followed by the relay team of Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, BryAnne Wochnick and Crystal Sims on April 25, and junior javelin thrower Brittany Aanstad on May 2.

Meanwhile, Taiwo captured the coveted 2011 Pac-10 decathlon title this past Friday and Saturday at University of Arizona's Drachman Stadium, scoring a career-best 7,742 points. He could have been the first decathlete in the NCAA this year to break the 8,000 point barrier, were it not for an elbow injury that forced Taiwo to throw the javelin with his non-dominant left hand and thus finish last in that event by a wide margin.

The score ranks him sixth nationally this season. Taiwo gave the Huskies 10 big points to work with as they head into the rest of the Pac-10 Championships this Friday and Saturday in Tucson.

Taiwo joins sprinter James Alaka and pole vaulter Scott Roth as winners of the weekly Pac-10 award this season.

NOTE: The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the Pacific-10 Conference contributed to this report.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Athletes bid farewell to Husky Stadium track & field venue at Ken Shannon Invitational...

Turn out the lights
The party's over
They say that
All good things must end
Call it tonight
The party's over
And tomorrow starts
The same old thing again

If the late Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dandy Don Meredith were still alive, he would've grabbed the announcers' microphone and crooned those lines, as the University of Washington and the athletes running, jumping, and throwing around Husky Stadium bid farewell to 91 years of track and field history at the Ken Shannon Invitational.

With predominantly local schools and clubs providing the competition at the Ken Shannon Invitational, none of the stadium records, the majority of which were set at the 1990 Goodwill Games, were challenged during the afternoon of competition.

Throughout the course of the meet, announcers Bill Roe and Paul Merca talked about the history of track and field at the stadium, which will be refurbished and reconfigured to be a football-only facility.

Some of the highlights:

A trio of recent Husky alums--Norris Frederick in the long jump (24-9.25/7.55m); Katie Follett (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 800m (2:07.36); and Falesha Ankton in the 100 meter hurdles (13.61) helped close out Husky Stadium with victories.

Two-time All-American senior Kyle Nielsen of the UW took a few throws in the javelin in his final home appearance, slightly upping his season-best on his first throw which traveled 239-11, which also gives him back the team lead by two inches over All-American Joe Zimmerman.

Watching Nielsen was former Husky Tom Sinclair, the 1979 NCAA Champion in the javelin, who got to take one last throw in the stadium during warm-ups.

In the women's pole vault, Seattle Pacific's Melissa Peaslee and the Huskies' Logan Miller tied with a mark of 12-6.75 (3.83m), with the Falcons' Terra Schumacher third in a PR 12-2.75 (3.83m). That puts both Peaslee and Schumacher in the top ten in NCAA D2, pending the results of meets around the country.

In the men's pole vault, former Husky Ryan Vu won in a jumpoff over Husky junior Robby Feagles, as the Lane CC transfer set a PR of 16-9.5;

SPU's Brittany Aanstad finished second with a mark of 159-4 (48.58m) in the javelin behind Canadian Krista Woodward (171-7/52.30m) to extend her NCAA D2 lead in that event.

In a meet named after one of America's premier throws coaches, it was fittingly a Washington thrower that concluded 91 years of track and field at Husky Stadium, as discus thrower Richard Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) closed the meet by winning the event, spinning the platter 166-0 (50.61m) .

Washington track and field will move to a brand new facility located north of Husky Soccer Stadium, with the complex expected to be ready for the 2012 outdoor season.

Complete results from the Ken Shannon Invitational are available here.

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jeremy Taiwo becomes fifth Husky to win the Pac-10 decathlon title...

TUSCON, Arizona--Washington junior Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo courtesy University of Arizona) took home the victory in a spirited two-day decathlon battle with Oregon senior David Klech, scoring a personal best of 7742 points, but made things interesting in the final two events.

With his victory, Taiwo became the fifth Husky to win the Pac-10 decathlon title, joining Brian Mondschein (1977), Gary Gefre (1979), Steve Erickson (1985) and Mike Ramos (1983, 84, 86).

Pending the results of various conference championship meets around the country, Taiwo's score currently ranks him number six in NCAA Division I.

After opening day two of the competition with a solid 14.41 clocking in the 110 hurdles worth 922 points, the Newport HS grad threw the discus 118-10 (36.22m), worth 588 points.

A personal best of 15-9 3/4 (4.82m) in the pole vault put him in position going into the penultimate event, the javelin, to possibly challenge the 8000-point barrier.

However, due to an elbow injury, he opted to throw left-handed, only propelling the javelin 107-9 (32.85m), worth 340 points. Taiwo's personal best in the javelin is 176-2 (53.70m), which is worth 644 points.

"Not trying to sound overconfident, but I trusted my athletic ability enough to still be able to win even if I threw with my left hand, so I wasn't feeling like taking a risk," said Taiwo.

With a solid lead over Klech entering the 1500 meters, he could've coasted and still taken the victory, but he chased down and passed the Oregon senior on the final lap to place second overall in a time of 4:18.69, worth 821 points.

Despite the win, Taiwo knows that there is more in the tank.

“I’m happy with the win,” Taiwo said. “I wish today would have went a little better. I didn’t get any sleep last night so I was scared coming into today. I just went out today and my goal was to stay close to my personal records. I knew coming in I would have to throw with my left hand since I messed up my right arm. I’m just really glad I could help my team out and give us a good start. I’m feeling healthy.”

Husky senior Andrew Ferleman wrapped up his final collegiate decathlon in 12th-place, scoring 6,281 points and getting his biggest point total in the 110-meter hurdles where he was fourth overall in 15.25 seconds for 820 points.

Though he failed to finish the 1500 meters, WSU sophomore Sean Harris finished 13th overall with a final score of 6248 points.

Harris opened Saturday with a 110m hurdles time of 15.29 seconds, fifth-best of the day, which popped him up from his first-day ninth place finish into seventh place. He had the top discus throw of 131-feet (39.93m) and then pole vaulted a lifetime-best height of 14-2 (4.32m) to remain in seventh and only five points behind sixth place. Harris threw the javelin 161-1 (49.11m) and moved into sixth place going into the final event. He started the 1500m race and nearly completed one lap before his leg spasms forced him to stop running.

In the heptathlon, Washington State's Angela Jensen finished fifth and Shaquana Logan was seventh in her multi-event debut.

Jensen, a senior from Tacoma, tallied 4,967 points for her fifth-place finish, while Logan, a sophomore from Tacoma making her debut in the heptathlon, took seventh place with a score of 4,859 points. Samantha Henderson, a senior at Arizona State, won the heptathlon title with 5,470 points.

Jensen leaped 17-6 1/4 (5.34m) in the long jump and moved up to sixth place. She threw the javelin 113-1 (34.58m) and moved to within 10 points of fifth place. Jensen ran the 800m in a season-best time of 2:28.13.

Logan long jumped 18-3 1/4 (5.57m) and then in her initial javelin competition threw a distance of 63-3 (19.29m) which moved her down to seventh place. Logan ran the 800m in 2:26.17, the second-fastest time of the day.

"Both Angela and Shaquana competed well and were solid throughout the competition," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "Shaquana did about what we expected, competing in events she had never performed before."

Washington sophomore Sarah Schireman moved up to finish ninth for the second year in a row, but set a new career-best in the process with 4,657 points, while freshman Shelby Williams was tenth in a season-best 4372 points.

Schireman, an Everett native, made her biggest gains in the javelin today, as she threw a 14-foot personal best mark of 107-4. She carried that momentum to another PR in the 800-meters, as she placed third in the final event in 2:26.63. Williams had a PR in the long jump to start the day, going 17-0 ½. Her 81-4 javelin throw was also a four-foot best.

Complete results of the decathlon are available here; complete heptathlon results are available here.

The Pac-10 championships resume on Friday at Drachman Stadium.

NOTE: The University of Arizona, the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Pac-10 Conference contributed to this report.

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