Friday, September 30, 2011

Jono Lafler's 11th place finish leads Washington State to fifth overall at adidas Notre Dame Invite...

SOUTH BEND, Indiana--Jono Lafler's (left/photo by Paul Merca) 11th place finish in the invitational Blue race at the adidas Notre Dame Invitational led the Washington State Cougars to a surprising fifth place finish Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

Lafler covered the 5-mile course in a time of 24:20.

The WSU men's team finished in front of four nationally-ranked teams in this prestigious race in Indiana: No. 20 New Mexico, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 26 Ohio State, and No. 27 Eastern Kentucky. All four teams that finished ahead of the Washington State men in the Invitational were nationally ranked in the top 15 in Week 3. The Cougars' finish Friday will be a solid campaign for a national ranking in next week's USTFCCCA poll.

"For the men, big breakthrough, it was a huge day for the Cougs obviously beating a lot of ranked teams," Cougar Head Coach Pete Julian said. "It was a massive breakthrough for Jono Lafler. It was exciting to see him racing with the lead pack with a mile to go. We struggled a little today on the fifth man but we have depth there and some good guys who will come around. We left the meet on the men's side thinking we could have run better and maybe that's getting greedy. But fifth place in a stacked race like this and beating a lot of nationally-ranked teams is good for the guys and I'm really pleased for them."

Andrew Kimpel was next across the finish line for the Cougs in 30th place with a time of 24:47, and was followed closely by teammates Andrew Gonzales (34th) and Justin Englund (37th) with Todd Wakefield (96th) rounding out the scoring Cougars.

BYU's Miles Batty won the men's Blue race individual title in a time of 23:59, leading the BYU Cougars to the team title with 46 points.

In contrast to the men's outstanding run, Julian was disappointed in the performance of his women's squad, which placed 17th out of 28 teams with 420 points.

Once again, the first to finish for the Cougar women was sophomore Ruby Roberts Roberts finished 38th the 5,000m race in a time of 17: 42. The other Cougar women across the line were: Caroline Austin (54th), Sarah Bobbe (105th), Katie Fleischer (106th), and Courtney Zalud (124th).

Silje Fjortoft, a senior from Southern Methodist University, took first place overall in the women's 5,000m race (16:54). No. 7 Florida State won the women's team title with 54 points.

"It was a real disappointing day for the Cougar women," Julian said. "As fired up as we were about the men's performance we are as disappointed in the women and they are disappointed in themselves. We went right to the back right at the beginning and that is not what we practiced, not what we train and not what we talk about."

The men's results of the adidas Notre Dame Invitational are available here, while the complete women's results are available here.

In Missoula, Montana, the Gonzaga women's cross country team placed third in the Montana Invitational, led by Lindsey Drake's second place finish.

Drake, second last week at the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational to help the Bulldog women to second place, led six Gonzaga women in the top 20 Friday as the Bulldogs captured third with 56 points, behind Montana State's 36, and Montana's 47, with Eastern Washington fourth at 103.

Drake lost to MSU's Heather Haug over the 5k course by a mere three seconds, Haug claiming her first collegiate victory in 17:46 while Drake came across in 17:49 for the 5K course. Following Drake across the line for the Bulldogs were Maggie Jones in 18:53 for 13th place overall, Catherine Theobald in 14th in 18:54, Krista Beyer in 16th in 18:59 and Elizabeth Ryan in 19th in 19:18 to round out the Gonzaga scorers. Emily Albrecht was 20th in 19:31.

Eastern was led by Tonya Turner's 6th place finish in 18:18. She was followed by Katie Mahoney (23rd, 19:42), then Stephanie Dye (26th, 19:48), Angelica Rodriguez (34th,19:56), and Kimberly Macias (36th, 20:07).

In the men's 8k race, the Zags finished second behind Montana State 36-49, with Eastern Washington fourth with 90 points.

Montana's Lynn Reynolds took the victory in 24:44.

Tate Kelly, who missed the first two weeks with a quad strain, was seventh overall in 25:39 to pace the Zags. A pack of Bulldogs finished 10-12 and 14-16. Brent Felnagle returned finished 10th in 25:54, Willie Milam was 11th in 25:58 and Andrew Walker, competing for the first time this year after coming off an injury, was 12th in 25:59. Patrick Richie was 14th in 26:05, Robert Walgren 15th in 26:06 and Nick Roche 16th in 26:07.

For Eastern Washington, seniors Graham Vaux and Bowe Ebding placed fifth (25:35) and eighth (25:480, respectively. Sophomore Simon Sorenson finished 13th overall (26:03).

After those top three, freshmen Quin Olivas and Nathan Fall placed 40th and 51st, respectively, in 27:45 and 28:38.

The complete men's results from the Montana Invitational are available here, while the women's results are available here.

Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington will face each other at the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic Saturday on October 15th in Spokane, hosted by Spokane CC.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington contributed to this report.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cougar cross country teams head to South Bend for adidas Notre Dame Invite...

The Washington State cross country team heads to South Bend, Indiana to run in Friday's adidas Notre Dame Invitational at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

The Cougar men look to bounce themselves into the national rankings with a good performance in Indiana racing against eight nationally-ranked and 21 regionally-ranked teams in the five-mile Blue race, while the women's squad, fresh off a victory at the Erik Anderson Memorial race in Spokane Valley, will square off against six nationally-ranked and 25 regionally-ranked squads at Notre Dame.

In the women's race, ranked teams, according to the latest USTFCCCA polls include No. 2 New Mexico, No. 7 Florida State, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 22 Princeton, No. 28 Penn State and No. 29 BYU.

The men's race features No. 3 Stanford, No. 10 Florida State, No. 12 Princeton, No. 14 BYU, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 25 Ohio State and No. 26 Eastern Kentucky, and host and #23 ranked Notre Dame.

In talking about Friday's race, WSU coach Pete Julian said, "Our women have really surprised me this year. They are a good team and I don't really know how good they are and they don't know how good they are. I know that in the practices and the races we've done, they are light years ahead of where they've been, I'm excited to see how they do together as a team. Ruby Roberts is at a higher level than she was a year ago. It will be interesting to see if she is ready to make that jump to being one of the top collegiate women and not just the Northwest."

"We have three or four really strong men up front and based on experience Justin Englund (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Jono Lafler will be leading that charge of WSU men. Certainly guys like Drew Jordan or Andrew Gonzales or Andrew Kimpel wouldn't surprise me at all if one of those guys are our number one man."

Here's a video previewing the adidas Notre Dame Invitational, courtesy of Washington State University.



Meanwhile, Seattle University will host the Emerald City Open on Saturday at Lower Woodland Park, with the women's 6k starting at 10:30, and the men's 8k at 11:15 am.

Seattle Pacific will send athletes to the meet, as well as to the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon.

The Emerald City Open has traditionally attracted local schools, as well as unattached runners and redshirted athletes.

Both Eastern Washington and Gonzaga head to Missoula for the University of Montana Invitational, where they will run against Big Sky Conference foes Montana and Montana State.

The meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was changed to avoid a conflict with a home football game.

You can read Eastern Washington's release here; and, you can read Gonzaga's release here.

Polls, Kendra Schaaf, Usain Bolt, etc...

In this week's USTFCCCA polls, the Washington Huskies dropped to #20 in the Division I women's poll after being ranked #11 last week.

In the national Division II poll, Western Washington's men's team is ranked #21, dropping two slots, while the Viking women are ranked #17, moving up 4 spots.

In Division III, the Whitman women's squad is the only nationally ranked team this week at #35.

The USTFCCCA polls can be accessed via their web site.

Here's a link to a Running Times article on former Washington Husky Kendra Schaaf, who transferred to the University of North Carolina after the 2010 track season, two years after helping lead the Huskies to an NCAA national cross country championship.

In talking about the move from Seattle to Chapel Hill, Schaaf told Running Times, "I had been struggling with some injuries and what I wanted in a training philosophy was kind of different,” Schaaf says of her decision, adding, “I never regret going there. Those two years were awesome. I have great memories, but my life has changed and I needed something different.” 
 


The full article can be accessed here.

Finally, here's a link to an article from SI.com via Associated Press in which Usain Bolt is advocating a return to the IAAF's previous false start rule, which, had it been in force in Daegu, would not have contributed to his disqualification from the finals of the 100 meters, an event in which he was the defending world champion.

Bolt, who is in the United States on a Puma promotional tour as well as to raise money for his foundation, said in Beverly Hills,"They really should go back to one false start and charge it to the field. It's easier. Somebody makes one mistake and everybody can relax."

You can read the article here.

NOTE: The sports information offices at Washington State, Notre Dame, SeattleU, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ruby Roberts leads Cougars to victory at Anderson Invitational; Huskies 6th & 14th at Roy Griak...

SPOKANE VALLEY--Washington State's Ruby Roberts (left/photo by Paul Merca) cruised to victory, leading five Cougars across the line in the top ten in the women's 6k race at the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex.

Roberts, a sophomore from Kingston, led the way for the Washington State women, finishing in first place in front of the nearly 230 runners covering the 6,000 meters with a time of 20 minutes 54 seconds. Close behind Roberts, finishing as the runner-up with a time of 21:08 was Cougar teammate Caroline Austin.

Finishing third was Gonzaga's Lindsey Drake in 21:17.

Rounding out the scoring finishers for Washington State were Sarah Bobbe, Emily Farrar, and freshman Katie Fleischer, with finishing places of fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, as the Cougs won with a low score of 21 points.

"The women ran really strong and with a lot of poise and confidence," Cougar Head Coach Pete Julian said. "We withheld Allison Clark as she is coming back from a little bit of a quad strain and she is getting much better.

Seattle Pacific's Natty Plunkett led the way for the Falcons with her eighth place finish in 21:56.

The Anderson Invitational served as a preview of this coming November's NCAA Division II championships, which will be held on the same course.

Gonzaga finished second behind the Cougars with 114, with Western Washington third at 133 points, led by Rachael Johnson's 20th place finish in 22:28.

Seattle Pacific finished eighth at 298; Whitworth was 16th at 439; Eastern Washington was 20th at 615; Spokane CC 21st with 625; Whitman College 23rd at 733; and, Central Washington was 26th at 971.

In the men's 8k competition, Sean Gildea of Colorado School of Mines took the individual honors, running 24:04, as four other teammates cracked the top ten.

Saint Martin's Kyle Van Santen was fifth in 24:35, and Gonzaga's Nate Gesell was ninth in 24:51.

Colorado School of Mines took the team title with 27 points, with Gonzaga second at 95 points. Western Washington, led by Tyler Cannon's 20th place finish in 25:20, was third with 181 points.

Among Washington schools, Whitworth finished 10th with 313 points; Seattle Pacific 17th at 468; Spokane CC was 19th at 538; and Whitman was 25th at 987.

Complete results of the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational are available here.

In Falcon Heights, Minnesota, juniors Joey Bywater and Lindsay Flanagan each turned in Top-25 finishes today to lead the Washington cross country teams, as the Huskies ran at the Roy Griak Invitational outside Minneapolis for the first time since 2001.

The Husky women outpaced a trio of ranked opponents to finish sixth overall, while the men finished 14th out of 24 teams.

The 11th-ranked women were in great shape early on, but had some travails late in the race.

"It could have been a great day for our women but in the end we'll take it as a learning experience and just get better," said UW coach Greg Metcalf. "We got great runs from Lindsay Flanagan and Justine Johnson in their debuts. Christine (Babcock) looked fantastic but she took a fall. The way she looked I think she easily could have finished in the top-10. Eleanor Fulton was with Christine with 800-meters to go, but she just reached empty there on the tank. It was just an average day for Megan Goethals, she just needs to get one under her belt and she will run much better."

Flanagan led Washington with a 14th-place finish in 21:04 over the six kilometer course.

Following Flanagan was sophomore Justine Johnson, who made her season debut with a 26th-place effort in a time of 21:20. Senior Christine Babcock took 35th in 21:29, but was running in the top-15 before taking a fall and losing thirty places. Sophomore Megan Goethals was also in the top-15 early before dropping back to finish 56th in a time of 21:50. Sophomore Liberty Miller rounded out the scoring in 69th place, clocking 22:02.

Bywater led the Husky men with a 24th place finish in 24:40, followed by senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald, the winner of last week's Sundodger Invitational, in 34th at 24:47.

A pair of freshmen--Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon--were 67th in 25:18, and 87th in 25:31.

Senior Cameron Quackenbush capped the Husky scorers in 101st place in 25:41.

"It was a good day for Joey and Max (O'Donoghue-McDonald), who was bothered by a knee issue, so with that to deal with he ran very solid," said Metcalf. "Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon were really steady for us and showed that they belonged. But we just need Gareth Gilna and Michael Miller to be healthy and our team changes a lot."

Washington now has a few weeks to train before they head back to the Midwest, visiting Madison, Wisconsin for the adidas Wisconsin Invitational on October 14.

Complete women's results from the Roy Griak Invitational are available here, while the men's results are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Minnesota, University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Spokane Sports Commission contributed to this report.

Bernard Lagat gets Fifth Avenue Mile title in his fourth attempt...



NEW YORK--He's won world championships.

He's won Olympic medals.

He holds American records.

Until Saturday, he has never been called a winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile.

Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photos courtesy New York Road Runners), who has traditionally ended his season on the streets of New York, can finally be called a winner, as he crossed the finish line first in the professional section of the Fifth Avenue Mile.

In his previous three outings on the streets of New York, he finished second in a photo finish to Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis in 2008; placed fourth in 2009; and was passed late in the race by Amine Laalou of Morocco last year.

Cal alum David Torrence took the lead, closely pursued by Laalou. Then over the last 400 meters, Lagat shot past Torrence and Laalou on the right hand side, and cruised to the victory in 3:51 (3:50.5), with Laalou second at 3:52 (3:51.7), and Torrence third in 3:53 (3:52.4).

Afterwards, Lagat wrote on his Twitter page, "So Happy that my 2011 season has ended with a win at the #5thAveMile. Thank you@nyrrmaryruns, @d9monti, @nyrr for inviting to run in NYC!"

In the women's professional mile, former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin from Norway finished fourth, one spot off the podium, in a time of 4:25 (4:24.6), as world 1500m champion Jenny Simpson took the win in 4:23 (4:22.3), with world championship 10000 silver medalist Sally Kipyego from Kenya and the Oregon TC second in 4:23 (4:22.6), and world silver medalist at 1500m Hannah England from Great Britain third in the identical time as Kipyego.

On her Twitter page, she said, "What a great race to finish my season! 5th ave Mile was a blast!!! 4.24.6 and 4th place behind world medalists;)"

Courtesy of the New York Road Runners, here are video highlights of the Fifth Avenue Mile.


Watch live streaming video from nyrr at livestream.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

감사합니다! (Thank you)!

As a follow up to my post-Daegu wrap-up (photo of me courtesy David Monti), I'd like to take the time to thank some folks that helped make it possible for this web site to produce the sights, emotions, and sounds of the IAAF world track & field championships in Daegu.  Apologies in advance if I've left anyone out (and I know I probably did):

The USA Track & Field staff on the ground in Daegu, particularly Katie Landry in her first ever world championships;

The media relations staff at the Daegu 2011 local organizing committee;

Nick Davies, Anna Legnani, Yannis Nikolaou, Laura Arcoleo, Chris Turner and all the folks at the IAAF, all of whom I consider close friends after working with them for all these years at various world championships, both in track and cross country;

The IAAF mixed zone crew that was very helpful in grabbing tired athletes for interviews and flash quotes;

The folks at Nikon Professional Services in Daegu. The images you saw on the Facebook page, and on this web site were not possible without the loaner lenses and bodies to supplement my trusty Nikon D70 (try a Nikon D3S, and all those lenses used to capture the emotion of athletes running, jumping, and throwing).

Thank you for the hospitality at the photographers' dinner, the powerful photo mural of the Japanese earthquake this spring & entertainment featuring Drumcat and for the awesome photographer's backpack with compartments for all of the lenses and laptop (as a side note, thanks to all those photographers who took the time to advise me on using the D3S--it's not every day I get to play with a world class pro level camera!)

By the way, here's Drumcat:



The media relations staff at adidas, Asics, Nike and Puma for assisting with athlete interviews and feeding relevant information. Special thanks to Megan Saalfeld and John Capriotti at Nike, and Annie Adams at Asics for your hospitality!

The volunteer manning the desk at the Novotel that somehow got in touch with the bus driver after my iPhone fell out of my pocket. If you've lost a cell phone before, you know the feeling!



Ha Mi-yong, the lady who was our tour guide on the media tour of the surrounding area outside Daegu;

All the volunteers working in the stadium, transportation, and media services. A special tip of the hat to the young lady who arranged my travel from Daegu to Incheon airport, as this was the first world championship meet where I literally left the stadium immediately after the conclusion of the event to start the journey home (FYI, I was in the press room finishing up my story on Bernard Lagat's second place finish when I looked up on the monitors and saw the Usain Bolt anchored Jamaican squad set the only world record of the meet in the men's 4 x 100 meters, the final event of the meet);

Martin Rudow, the publisher of Northwest Runner, who has the faith and the belief that elite track and field is just as important to the readership as covering the local community races and offering tips for beginning recreational runners;

The staff at the Motel Ritz-Carlton, which was our home base during our stay in Daegu, along with the cast of suspects that I've traveled and worked with over several world championships: Brian Russell (NBC Sports), Cheryl Treworgy (prettysporty.com; daughter Shalane Flanagan was in the women's 10000), Randy Miyazaki (trackandfieldphoto.com); Jeff Hines and Patti Stirk (Runner's Gazette in Pennsylvania).


By the way, the world famous football did make it to Daegu!

A thank you to the folks at Alaska Airlines and Cathay Pacific, and especially to the flight attendant on the Hong Kong-Los Angeles leg, and the ladies at the Alaska Airlines lounge at Sea-Tac International Airport.

Finally, thanks to all of you who read this blog, and followed the journey of the athletes with ties to the state of Washington, as we chronicled their highs and lows in the months before the Daegu world championships.  Believe me, the athletes appreciate all of you that followed them!

감사합니다!

PS--Below is a screen capture of the nightly highlight show of the world championships by the host broadcasters...let's just say the jackets are interesting!

Huskies off to Minnesota for Roy Griak Invite; rest of state's teams in Spokane for Anderson Invite...

One week after winning its own Sundodger Invitational, the University of Washington cross country teams travel to Minnesota for Saturday's Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, just outside of Minneapolis.

The men will run in the invitational 8k Gold race at 10:20 am, pacific time, while the women will run in the invitational 6k Gold race at 11:10 am.

Competition will be especially fierce on the women's side, where eight ranked teams, including the 11th-ranked Huskies, will toe the line. Ranked opposition includes No. 8 Iowa State, No. 10 Arizona, No. 18 Penn State, No. 21 North Carolina State, No. 23 BYU, No. 26 Michigan State, and No. 30 Minnesota. Along with Arizona, the Huskies will also see Pac-12 rivals Arizona State and California. Arizona took the title a year ago.

The men's race also has a large and very competitive field, led by 10th-ranked Portland, 11th-ranked North Carolina State, and No. 24 Minnesota. Arizona, Arizona State, and Cal will give UW an early indication of how they stack up against some Pac-12 rivals, and the Big 12 and Big Ten will be well represented with the likes of Iowa, Iowa State, Penn State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Michigan State.

For the Washington women, they will be led into battle by senior Christine Babcock--the only remaining runner from the 2008 national championship team--along with junior Lindsay Flanagan, and sophomores Justine Johnson and Megan Goethals. The Dawgs will also run true freshman Eleanor Fulton, the team's top finisher at the Sundodger last week.

Sundodger champ Max O'Donoghue-McDonald leads the men along with fellow senior Cameron Quackenbush. Junior Joey Bywater got his season off well with a fifth-place Sundodger finish. Sophomores Taylor Carlson and Michael Miller Jr. will be ready to run, and Gareth Gilna makes his fall debut as well.

The University of Washington release is available here.

Most of the state's other Division I & II schools will head to Spokane for the Erik Anderson Memorial, hosted by Spokane Community College, at the Plantes Ferry Park in the Spokane Valley, the same course which hosted the 2010 USA Cross Country Championships.

For the Division II schools, this race is particularly important, as they will be previewing the NCAA Division II championship course, which will be held on November 19th, and again two years later.

Washington State will run its women's squad, led by sophomore Ruby Roberts (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Kingston, while it will sit out its men's team, with the exception of a few individuals, who will run unattached.

Here is a conversation with Roberts and Justin Englund of the Cougars.

Washington State coach Pete Julian previewed the Anderson Invitational during his weekly press conference:



Eastern Washington, which ran its full squads last week at Sundodger, will run essentially a B women's squad at the Anderson, and sit out its men's team.

Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, St. Martin's, Whitman, and Whitworth will also have squads at the Anderson.

A complete list of teams competing is available here.

Seattle University has the weekend off, as they prepare to host the Emerald City Open next week at Lower Woodland Park in Seattle.

NOTE--The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and the Spokane Sports Commission contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't stop the music, Katy Perry, Sleepless in Seattle, and Kentucky Fried Chicken...

With everything going on since returning from Daegu, including the start of the collegiate cross country season, writing recaps for both Northwest Runner and Track & Field News, work-related issues, the end of the international track season, and a pulled back muscle that resulted in two trips to the doctor, I never really had an opportunity to close out the world championships.

Well, here it is (finally)…

PLEASE DON'T STOP THE MUSIC…

During dead periods between races at the world championships at Daegu Stadium, music was played over the public address system, along with video highlights, the better to keep fans entertained and occupied, hard to do, especially during the morning sessions, which were primarily stacked with kids bussed in (left/photo by Paul Merca) from the local schools so as not to make the stadium look empty.

Even then, especially during the lunch hour, when the heat and humidity were at its highest point, many of the kids attending the morning sessions were found in the stadium concourses playing cards or games with their cell phones instead of watching heats of the 200 meters, except when Usain Bolt was on the track.

For the most part, the folks in Daegu did what they could between events to keep fans in the meet, using many of the things those who go to professional sports events around the world take for granted, including video shots of random fans, kissing couples, babies, and the ever present animation of Sarbi (left/courtesy Daegu 2011 organizing committee), the rasta dog and official mascot, demonstrating his technical prowess in each of the track and field events.

This made me think about the last few seasons announcing indoor track meets at the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor facility, where I've heard grumbling, particularly from some officials, that the music played at the Dempsey makes their jobs more difficult.

Taking their cues from meets around the world, where music is part of the experience of attending a meet and realizing that Husky indoor meets are just as much an entertainment option for folks wanting something to do on a winter Saturday afternoon, the UW coaching staff got proactive and made the decision to make music a part of the fan experience.

One argument that always gets overlooked is that the fans--yes, the ones who actually drive hours to the Dempsey from Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and even Nevada and California--actually liked being entertained.

The hard-core track and field fans will always be there, no matter what. They're the ones who have their conversion books handy, and are surfing the 'net with their smartphones looking for results and talking smack on the message boards.

It seems the marginal fans are the ones who get the short end of the stick. They're the ones who have to endure umpteen heats of the 3000 meter run, countless 60 meter dashes, and endless 400 meter races, not to mention they can't eat inside the facility, and have to step outside the building if they want to enjoy their own sack lunches (that is, if they brought something; otherwise, it's a hike to upper campus, the intramural building, or to University Village).

If certain track & field officials had their way, there would be no music between races, making the Dempsey a library between events.

I get that there's very little room for everyone at the meets. I get that an official might get distracted at the music when they're watching a 35-pound weight or a 16-pound shot fly in their direction, or that an athlete can't hear the official give instructions at the line. I get that in certain areas of the Dempsey, fans are literally an arm's length away from athletes trying to warm up for their events. Although the argument is flawed, I also understand to a point by the officials that the meets are for the athletes.

When the Dempsey was originally built a decade ago, track & field was almost an afterthought, except for some out of the box thinking by the family who donated money to build the facility, overriding the wishes of the former athletic director. Track and field fans were not given much thought at all.

Most of the spectators are very tolerant and understandable, not to mention grateful to the University of Washington that there's a world class facility that they can go to in the winter months to watch many of the country's best track and field athletes.

The athletes love having music playing at the Dempsey. I've had several non-competing athletes from the University of Washington say that they enjoy playing DJ at the meets when they're not running.

But kill the music and take away part of the atmosphere? Forget it!

That's the fastest way to alienate a fan base in a sport, which as Ken Goe of the Oregonian wrote back in June, "is (a sport) run by participants, for participants. It exists in a bubble of self-absorption, even while wondering what happened to the fans."

If we don't allow the fans to be part of the track & field experience, sooner (and not later), there will be no fans coming to meets.

MUSICAL THOUGHTS FROM DAEGU…

To those of you who follow the blog and myself via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, yes, I do set aside some time to read your posts on my timeline. It is appreciated, and helps give me an idea about what the readership is thinking.

Two songs regularly played over the public address system between events made me laugh out loud (or LOL in internet jargon): Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night", and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem".



In both cases, it made me think of Facebook/Twitter posts by followers of the blog.

Seattle Seahawks/Sounders FC team photographer Rod Mar posted about having to explain this line from the song to his daughter:

"Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois"

I also had a flashback to a post written by a Washington State University athlete, who simply wrote, "Kitty Purry" in her comment about attending the Katy Perry concert in Seattle in July.

Several times during the meet, particularly when athletes were marched out on the track for their events, "Party Rock Anthem" was played in the background.

The only thought I had while LMFAO played was, "I'll bet any amount of money that (hammer thrower) Britney Henry would get pumped up to throw right now!", after she tweeted about how she reacts whenever the song gets played.

OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM DAEGU…

Did you know that there's a chain of coffee shops in Daegu called "Sleepless in Seattle"?

I saw at least two of those, and in fact spent an entire morning (the penultimate day, while the men's 50k walk was happening three miles away) having my usual grande mocha with whipped cream and a pastry, while editing and posting the recap of the University of Washington's cross country race against Seattle University, watching the Oakland Raiders/Seattle Seahawks preseason game live online (thanks to a Facebook follower for sending me the link to watch the game for free!), and generally avoiding the walk at all costs.

Two of the more entertaining tweets during the walk came from Ashley Ryan, who is a traffic personality on several Seattle radio stations, wondering why no one in Seattle has ever bothered to open a coffee shop using that name, to which I replied, "Probably licensing issues".

Universal Sports' Joe Battaglia, who was sorely missed in Daegu by numerous folks covering the world championships, tweeted during the men's 50k walk, "(Sergey) Bakulin leads this racewalk by over 2 minutes. He has time to have coffee with @paulmerca70601 at Sleepless in Seattle and still win"

Battaglia also came up with several other witty remarks while covering the race walk remotely from New Jersey, most of which are available by following him on Twitter.

In keeping with themes from the 206, there was also a bar just two blocks from my hotel called the Seattle Cocktail Bar, conveniently located near that bastion of Korean cuisine that was a source of late night dinners after evenings at the track, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Given the food choices at Daegu Stadium that Karen Rosen wrote about here, Kentucky Fried Chicken was a good option. Besides, it was open 24 hours.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Five Washington affiliated athletes named to Team USA for Pan Am Games in Mexico...

INDIANAPOLIS--Five athletes with ties to the state of Washington were named to the 90-member Team USA squad for the Pan American Games, which will be contested in Guadalajara, Mexico between October 24-29th.

The squad includes four athletes who represented the USA in Daegu--2011 discus champ Jarred Rome (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Marysville; former Fort Lewis resident Michael Mai in the hammer; Rainier Beach HS grad and 4 x 400m relay gold medalist Michael Berry in the 400; and, Renton HS grad and two-time Pan Am discus champion Aretha Thurmond.

Also joining the four is another Rainier Beach HS grad, Ginnie Crawford, who was fourth in the USA championships in Eugene in the women's 100 meter hurdles.

Mai, who was second in the national championships, will be joined by his wife, high jumper Deirdre Mullen, who was fourth in Eugene. The couple were married at the end of July.

The USA Track & Field release along with the complete team roster for the Pan Am Games is available here.

Here is a link from ESPN.com, written in late August on the track & field stadium (Telmex Athletics Stadium), which was behind schedule.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Max O'Donoghue-McDonald wins second straight Sundodger Invitational...

SEATTLE--Washington senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald (left/photo by Paul Merca) cruised to his second straight Sundodger Invitational victory to lead the Huskies to the team title at Washington's annual home meet at Lincoln Park Saturday.

On a pleasant but overcast day, O'Donoghue-McDonald, a native of West Seattle who got his start in the sport by racing on the course as a middle schooler, ran the 8-kilometer men's invitational race in a winning time of 24:09 to beat former Eastern Washington standout Kyle King (24:13) and Idaho's Barry Britt (24:15), who was a member of Canada's senior men's team this past spring at the IAAF world cross country championships in Spain.

The Husky senior became the second man to win consecutive Sundodger titles, joining former University of Portland standout and eight-time Seattle Marathon winner Uli Steidl, who won it in 1994-95.

Washington placed three other men in the top ten to secure the team title 28-34 over second place Idaho.

In the women's invitational 6k race, post-collegian Allix Potratz-Lee of Oiselle took the win at 20:57 over Hannah Kiser of Idaho by two seconds, with Husky freshman Eleanor Fulton third at 21:03.

Behind Fulton, Phoebe Merritt, Liberty Miller and Megan Morgan all earned top ten finishes, as the Huskies won the team title 28-45 over second place Idaho, with Pac-12 rival Oregon State third at 65.

Washington, which races next week at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, sat out several key runners in the women's race, including sophomores Katie Flood and Megan Goethals, along with defending champion Lindsay Flanagan and Justine Johnson.

In the open women's race, freshman Maria Bernard of the University of British Columbia won in 21:41, as UBC took the team title with 47 points, ahead of second place Whitman (110) and third place Western Washington (141).

The men's open team results are being corrected due to a scoring error, and were not posted by the University of Washington.

In the high school girls' invitational, Kendra Weitz of Shadle Park took the 5k race in 17:22, beating US high school 2000 meter steeplechase record holder Maddie Meyers of Northwest School by six seconds, as Snohomish took the team title with 109 points.

Weitz' brother Nathan made it a sweep for the family, as the reigning Washington state 3A cross country champ took the boy's 5k race in 14:34, turning back the challenge of Wenatchee's Jacob Smith (14:42) and Nicholas Boersma (15:07).

Henry Jackson won the boys' team title by 8 points over Wenatchee 105-113, with Seattle Prep third at 132.

The link to the University of Washington recap of the meet is available here, along with links to the results of all the races at the Sundodger Invitational.

In Newcastle, England, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat took the men's mile at the Great North City Games street track meet between Team USA and Great Britain.

Lagat ran 4:06.01 to win over USA teammate Kyle Miller at 4:08.14, as Team USA won 7-3 over the Brits.

Results of the Great North City Games are available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington contributed to this report.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Notes for Saturday's Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park...

To help spectators follow the progress of the race, I'm posting my announcer notes for Saturday's Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park as a public service.

Both defending champions, Max O'Donoghue-McDonald (left/photo by Paul Merca), and Lindsay Flanagan from the University of Washington, are back to defend their titles.

Also available is a link to the University of Washington's preview of the meet, along with links to the start lists, time schedule, course maps, and starting box assignments, which you can also download.

The notes are in a .doc format.

The Sundodger Invitational begins at 9 am with the women's open race, and will include a high school section featuring five ranked boys' and girls' teams from around the state of Washington.
Sundodger Ancr Notes

Ebba Jungmark gets third in high jump at Memorial Van Damme meeting...

BRUSSELS, Belgium--Former Washington State high jumper Ebba Jungmark continued her late season surge, with a third place performance in the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme meeting Friday night. the final stop of the Samsung Diamond League series.

Jungmark, who did not make the finals at the world championships a few weeks ago in Daegu, was one centimeter short of her outdoor personal best of 1.94m (6-4 1/4) set a few days ago in Zagreb, as she jumped 6-4 (1.93m).

World champion Anna Chicherova won the event with a clearance of 6-8 3/4 (2.05m), just two centimeters short of her 2011 world best.

Discus thrower Aretha Thurmond finished a disappointing seventh in her event, as the former Husky, who was in third in the Samsung Diamond Trophy race heading into the Van Damme meet, got a mark of 193-7 (59.01m) and scored no points.

World champion Li Yanfeng of China won the discus with a throw of 217-5 (66.27m).

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin was 13th in a hyper-competitive women's 1500 meter run, as the Norwegian finished one place behind world champion Jenny Simpson, running a season best of 4:03.79.

American Morgan Uceny, the Samsung Diamond League leader in the event going into the Van Damme meet, made up for the disappointment of being knocked down in the world championship final in Daegu by taking the victory and the Diamond Trophy in a time of 4:00.06.

Highlights of the Memorial Van Damme included world leading marks in the 100 by Jamaica's Usain Bolt (9.76) and 200 by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26), and an American record in the men's 10000 by Portland's Galen Rupp (left/photo by Paul Merca), who ran 26:48.00 to finish third behind former world and reigning Olympic champion Keninisa Bekele of Ethiopia, who ran a world leading time of 26:43.16 for the victory.

Complete results of the Memorial Van Damme meeting, the final meet of the season-long Samsung Diamond League series, are available here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: The University of Washington contributed to this report.

Samsung Diamond League season 2 ends in Brussels Friday...

BRUSSELS, Belgium--Season two of the Samsung Diamond League comes to an end with the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme meeting, with several Samsung Diamond Trophies up for grabs.

Though the race is not part of the Samsung Diamond League finals (it was last week in Zurich), Jamaica's Usain Bolt asked meet organizers to add a 100 meter dash to the meet, and the current face of the sport got his request.

"I'm really looking forward to this", he said. "I really want this world year best and I feel good. I think I have it in me to run the fastest time of the year. The track in Brussels is simply excellent ", the triple Olympic champion of Beijing said. It is Bolt's fourth participation in the Memorial.

University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca), who missed the finals in the discus in Daegu, is still in the running for the Samsung Diamond Trophy in her event, as she currently is in third with 6 points, just behind Yarelis Barrios of Cuba at 10, and event leader Nadine Muller of Germany at 11.

Thurmond will also face world champ Li Yangfeng of China, and Olympic champ Stephanie Brown Trafton.

At the Memorial Van Damme, Samsung Diamond League meet points are doubled, with the scoring 8-4-2 for the top three finishers.

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin is entered in the women's 1500, while ex-Cougar Ebba Jungmark is in the women's high jump.

The start list for the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme is available here.

Meanwhile, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat will compete in the Great North City Games in Newcastle, England on Saturday.

The Great North City Games is an exhibition “street games” track meet pitting the United States versus Great Britain and Northern Ireland in select track and field events, which includes the mile, 100m hurdles, two-mile, 100m, 150m, pole vault and 110m hurdles.

Lagat will run in the mile.

The USA Track & Field release announcing the lineup is available here.

Bernard Lagat & Ingvill Måkestad Bovin in field for next week's Fifth Avenue Mile...

NEW YORK--Two-time Olympic medalist and multiple World Championships medal winner Bernard Lagat of the United States will continue his quest to add this crown to his glittering trophy case against a stellar field at the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, September 24th

The invitational mens race will feature defending champion Amine Laalou of Morocco and reigning U.S. 800-meter champion Nick Symmonds.

Lagat, the Washington State alum who now resides in Tuscon, Arizona, finished second in 2010 and 2008 and was fourth in 2009 in the race down one of the most famous thoroughfares in the world.

"I said I'm coming until I win it, so this year I'm going to win it and will be prepared for that," said Lagat, 36, who took the silver medal at the World Championships 5000 meters this month. "I'm going to be tough to beat in New York."

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin (above/photo by Paul Merca), who finished sixth at the world championships in Daegu in the 1500, and is the Norwegian record holder at 800m, will face world champ Jenny Simpson, and silver medalist Hannah England. This marks her first race on American soil since competing at the University of Washington during the 2003-04 academic season.

The Fifth Avenue Mile begins near East 80th Street and finishes at East 60th Street. The professional women's race is scheduled to start at 12:50 p.m., followed by the professional men's race at 1:05 p.m. A total prize purse of $30,000 for the men's and women's professional races will be offered, with the two winners each receiving $5,000. The iconic road race has been on the NYRR calendar since 1981.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jungmark gets third and a PR in Zagreb; Washington women ranked #11 in first USTFCCCA harrier poll of season...

ZAGREB, Croatia--Former Washington State standout Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Sweden finished third in the high jump at the Boris Hanzekovic Memorial meeting Tuesday night.

The meet, which is part of the IAAF's World Challenge series of meets around the world, featured numerous world champions in the field, including high jump champ Anna Chicherova of Russia, who turned back national heroine Blanka Vlasic, as each jumped 6-6 3/4 (2.00m), with the global champ winning on fewer misses.

Jungmark ended the day with a best of 6-4 1/4 (1.94m), an outdoor personal best for the former Cougar.

In other events, former Husky Ingvill Måkestad was seventh in the women's 800, running a season best of 2:00.93 on the same track where she set the Norwegian national record of 1:59.82 last year.

American Maggie Vessey led from gun to tape, taking the victory in 1:58.64.

In the men's discus, former Husky Märt Israel of Estonia was third with a best of 207-3 (63.16m), and Marysville-Pilchuck grad Jarred Rome was eighth with a throw of 198-0 (60.36m).

Zoltan Kovago of Hungary was the victor at 212-11 (64.91m).

Complete results from the Boris Hanzekovic Memorial meeting are available here.

USTFCCCA NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY POLL

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released its week one national cross country rankings for the 2011 NCAA Division I season, with the Oklahoma State men and Georgetown women rained number one.

The University of Washington women's squad, which won the NCAA West regional title last year, is ranked #11 in the first poll, while the men's squad received 5 votes, but didn't make the top 30.

You can read the USTFCCCA release here.

Washington hosts the Sundodger Invitational Saturday at Lincoln Park.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Israel, Rome, Måkestad and Jungmark set to participate in Zagreb meeting Tuesday...

ZAGREB, Croatia--Discus throwers Mårt Israel and Jarred Rome, along with middle distance runner Ingvill Måkestad and Ebba Jungmark are among the participants in Tuesday night's Boris Hanzekovic Memorial meeting, which is part of the IAAF World Challenge series of meets.

Rome and Israel both threw in Berlin on Sunday, where the Marysville native finished fifth at 207-1 (63.13m), and the former Husky from Estonia was seventh at 204-5 (62.32m).

Måkestad, coming off a season best in the 1500 of 4:04.12 in Rieti last Saturday, drops down in distance to the 800, where the former Husky is the Norwegian national record holder in the event at 1:59.82, set at this meet last year.

Former Washington State standout and 2008 NCAA indoor champ Jungmark faces off in the high jump against Blanka Vlasic, who is one of the meet's headline attractions.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt (100m), and Vlasic are the meet's headliners.

The start lists for the Zagreb meet are available here (click on an individual event).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rome and Crawford each earn fifth place finishes in Berlin; Israel seventh...

BERLIN, Germany--Marysville native Jarred Rome finished fifth, and former Washington Husky Mårt Israel placed seventh in the discus at the ISTAF meet at the Olympiastadion.

Rome, who did not make the finals at the world championships in Daegu, opened with a toss of 191-9 (58.45m), then threw his best mark of 207-1 (63.13m) in the fourth round.

Israel, the surprise fourth placer at the world championships, never really got untracked, throwing his best mark of 204-5 (62.32m) in round one.

The popular local hero and two time world champion Robert Harting took the victory with a best of 220-6 (67.22m).

In the women's 100 meter hurdles, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford, who competed in Zurich on Friday, rebounded with a fifth place finish, crossing the line in 12.97, as 2008 Olympic champion and UCLA grad Dawn Harper won in 12.68.

On a warm sunny day, fans were entertained by some great marks, including world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica's winning time of 9.82 in the 100; Eugene's Jesse Williams following up his world championship in the high jump with a win at 7-7 3/4 (2.33m); popular wins in the pole vault and hammer by Silke Spiegelburg at 15-5 1/2 (4.71m) and Betty Heidler at 253-11 (77.40m), and of course, the triumphant return to the Olympiastadion of Berlino (above/photo courtesy ISTAF Berlin), the wildly popular mascot of the 2009 world championships.

Complete results of the ISTAF Berlin meet are available here (scroll either men or women, then event).

Photo images from Sunday's meet are available here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bernard Lagat wins 3000 in Rieti, plus Saturday cross country recap...

RIETI, Italy--One year after setting an American record of 7:29.00 on this track, Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) returned to Rieti, and won yet another 3000 meter race Saturday afternoon at the Rieti athletics meeting in the Italian town.

Lagat, the Washington State alum who finished second last Sunday in the 5000 at the IAAF world championships in Daegu, took the victory in a time of 7:32.13, as he bested a field that included world championship 5000 meter finalist Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya (3rd in 7:32.71), and Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia (4th in 7:34.71).

The race came down to the wire in the final lap with Lagat, Kenya's Vincent Chepkok, Longosiwa and Bekele fighting it out until the final straight.

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad finished seventh in the women's 1500 in a season best of 4:04.12, as Mariem Selsouli of Morocco won in 4:01.40.

Results of the Rieti meeting are available here (click on a particular event).

In Yakima, Seattle Pacific's men's squad (31 points) and Western Washington's women's team (20 points) were victorious at the Apple Ridge Run Invitational in Yakima over the same course that will host the GNAC championships next month.

Seattle Pacific's Jordan Wolfe took the men's 6k title in 20:15, besting Central Washington's Manuel Santos by seven seconds, as the Falcons placed four runners in the top ten.

In the women's race, Katelyn Steen of Western won the 4k race in 15:43, as the Vikings put all five scorers in the top ten.

Complete results and scores from the Apple Ridge Run are available here.

In Sunriver, Oregon, the Gonzaga Bulldogs surprised 16th ranked Oregon 26-33 in the men's 4 mile competition, while #4 Oregon scored a perfect 15-50 decision in the women's 5k race.

Oregon's Ben DeJarnette won the men's race in 19:40, while Willie Milam (19:50) and Patrick Ritchie (20:05) went 2-3 for the Zags to lead the Spokane school to victory.

Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson dismissed the notion that Oregon didn't race four of their top six runners, including projected top runner Luke Puskedra, and sat their true freshmen in what was the season opening meet for the Ducks.

Oregon's Claire Michel (16:46) led six Ducks across the line in front of the Bulldogs' Lindsey Drake (17:17).

Complete results of the Oregon/Gonzaga dual are available here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lagat and Måkestad to race in Rieti, while it's week two of the collegiate cross country season...

While the Samsung Diamond League season is now down to one meet in Brussels, there is still some pro action going on back in Europe.

Saturday, world championship silver medalist Bernard Lagat races over 3000 meters in Rieti, Italy at a track where he's had success over the past few years, and a venue known for its fast times, especially in the middle distances.

Another Washington affiliated athlete looking to make her mark in Rieti is world championships 6th placer Ingvill Måkestad (left/photo by Paul Merca), as the Norwegian, who ran for the University of Washington looks to top her personal best of 4:02.20 set in this meet last year.

The start list for Rieti is available here.

On Sunday, former Husky surprise world championships 4th placer Märt Israel from Estonia, along with Marysville native Jarred Rome will contest the discus at the ISTAF meet in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, the same venue where the IAAF world track & field championships were held in 2009.

The start list for the ISTAF meet in Berlin is available here.

Saturday marks week two of collegiate cross country season for the state's colleges and universities.

Western Washington and host Central Washington will open its 2011 campaign at the Apple Ridge Run Invitational in Yakima, with the women racing 4k, and the men 6k, in what has traditionally been a preview of the GNAC championship.

Seattle Pacific, fresh off of two meets in Fairbanks last week, will also send a men's and women's squad to Yakima.

Seattle Pacific's release previewing the meet is available here.

In Sunriver, Oregon, Gonzaga will face the University of Oregon in a dual meet at the Meadows Golf Course over a 5k distance for women and four miles for the men.

According to Duck alum and Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson, "It's a really nice buzz since we're the only team that gets to run a dual meet against a national power, and the reason we are doing it is it creates a lot of buzz, a lot of energy and it will be on the website. When you're looking at recruiting we're not afraid to shadow what we believe is the best. We want our kids exposed to what the best is and hope it will motivate them to train at a higher level."

Gonzaga's complete release previewing the dual against Oregon is available here.

NOTE:  Gonzaga University and Seattle Pacific University's sports information office contributed to this report.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crawford finishes seventh at Zurich Weltklasse...

ZURICH, Switzerland--Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished seventh in the women's 100 meter hurdles at the Weltklasse meeting in the Swiss city.

Crawford, a former NCAA and USA champion in this event who did not make her third world championship squad, ran 13.12, as Australia's Sally Pearson, who won the world title in Daegu last week, continued her winning ways, stopping the clock at 12.52.

Reigning Olympic champion Dawn Harper, who finished third in Daegu, was second in 12.81, while Canada's Phylicia George took third in 12.84.

The Samsung Diamond League finals in the women's 100 hurdles takes place next week at the Van Damme meet.

Nine winners from Daegu emerged victorious in the penultimate meet of the 2011 Samsung Diamond League season highlighted by wins by world champs Yohan Blake in the 100; Vivian Cheruiyot in the 5000; Brittney Reese in the long jump; and 100 meter champ Carmelita Jeter in the 200.

The Samsung Diamond League concludes its season at next week's Van Damme meeting in Brussels.

Complete results of the Weltklasse meeting are available here.

Ginnie Crawford returns to hurdle wars in Zurich...

ZURICH, Switzerland--Rainier Beach High School graduate Ginnie Crawford, who did not participate in the IAAF world track and field championships in Daegu as a result of finishing fourth at the US championships back in June, returns to the wars at the Weltklasse meet Thursday night.

While the 100 meter hurdles is not a Samsung Diamond League event--the finals in this event happens at next week's Van Damme meet in Brussels--Powell will face a field that includes all three medalists from Daegu--Australia's world champion, Sally Pearson (left/photo by Paul Merca), and the USA's Danielle Carruthers, & Dawn Harper.

In the current Samsung Diamond League standings, Pearson holds a slight lead over Carruthers 12-11, based on the strength of three wins at Lausanne, Birmingham, and Monaco.

Crawford is currently tied for sixth with one point.

One surprising entry missing from the Zurich meet is former Husky Märt Israel, who was not on the entry list at this meet, which is the final Samsung Diamond League meet of the year in the discus, despite a fourth place finish in Daegu.

Vancouver's Kara Patterson, who didn't have a strong showing in Daegu, and who threw in all six Samsung Diamond League meets leading up to the finals, did not get invited. Patterson, who planned to compete in Berlin, assuming she got into Zurich, has ended her 2011 season.

The start list for the Zurich Weltklasse meet is available here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lagat is an oh-so-close second to Mo Farah in world champs 5000 final...

DAEGU, Korea--Washington State University alumnus Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) earned his sixth career IAAF world track & field championships medal with a second place finish in an exciting men's 5000 meter run as the championships concluded its nine day run at Daegu Stadium, in a time of 13:23.36.

After a moderately paced first kilometer crossed in 2:50.90, the pace began picking up in the third kilometer, with Lagat tucked in behind eventual winner Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Beaverton based Nike Oregon Project.

In the fourth kilometer, the pace sharply accelerated to 2:42, setting up for what eventually became a kickers' race, as Farah jumped out to the lead entering the last lap, and held on for the victory in 13:23.36.

Lagat's plan was to try and run down Farah with 80 to go, but was bumped and boxed entering the home straight.

"My finish was strong, but I felt myself boxed, and I just couldn't get out. I'm not making any excuses. I was waiting until 80 meters to go to move, but got boxed."

Talking about his race plan, he said, "I was keying on Mo Farah, because he was the strongest runner, and so I kept on his shoulder the entire way. I was in position until I got bumped and boxed."

Looking forward to 2012, Lagat said, "I need to learn for 2012 that in order to position yourself to win, you have to stay out of trouble."

Complete final day results from the IAAF world track & field championships are available here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekend roundup: Collegiate cross country opens up around the state...

In Spokane, the Washington State men's and women's cross country teams won the team titles at the Clash of the Inland Northwest Cross Country meet hosted by Eastern Washington and Gonzaga at Mead High School Saturday.

The Cougar men dominate the field with eight of the top nine places being claimed by WSU. Justin Englund, Andrew Kimpel, Andrew Gonzales and Jono Lafler finished first through fourth with Todd Wakefield, Drew Jordan, Richard Shroy and Matt Cronrath taking sixth through ninth places. Englund's winning time for the 6,200 meters was 18-minutes, 33 seconds.

The Cougar men's team was the overall winner with 16 points, followed by Idaho (65), Gonzaga (76), Eastern Washington (97), and Whitworth (133).

Ruby Roberts (left/photo by Paul Merca) was the top finisher for the Cougar women, taking fourth place with a time of 14:24 for the 4,200m course. Caroline Austin finished fifth and Allison Clark took sixth while Sarah Bobbe, Emily Farrar and Katie Fleischer were 10th through 12th, respectively. Former Idaho standout, Allix Potratz-Lee, now running for the Oiselle club, won the women's race in a time of 14:10.

"It was really great to see the men run in a tight pack and run with confidence and poise. It certainly was a good starting point for this season," Cougar Head Coach Pete Julian said. "The women looked strong and came into the season quite fit and comparing today to two years ago, this team is light years ahead of that team. I'm very pleased with where both teams are and this will be a good springboard for the whole season."

For Eastern Washington, freshman Katie Mahoney led the Eagles by placing 20th. For the men, senior Bowe Ebding finished in 15th.

"The girls that went ran pretty well," Eastern coach Chris Zeller said. "All of the young women stepped up nicely. (Sophomore) Micaela Rasmussen (28th place) did really well. She's much stronger than last year.  Sophomores Megan Auch and Kimberly Macias did really well also. They stepped up their game. I was pleased with all three of them."

With some of his top runners participating unattached or sitting out due to injury, Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson thinks the meet gave him a good idea of where the teams stand early in the season.

The Bulldogs have a dual meet with the University of Oregon in Sunriver, Ore., next Saturday followed by the Erik Anderson Memorial at Plantes Ferry in Spokane prior to heading to the University of Montana, a meet "we'll use for more for  grooming," according to Tyson.

Washington State's release is here; Eastern Washington's release is here; and Gonzaga's release is here, with a link to the complete results of the men's and women's competition.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, Seattle Pacific's Natty Plunkett took the women's short course race, and the Seattle Pacific men's squad took the team title in the Alaska Nanook Invitational meet against Montana State Billings and Alaska Fairbanks.

Seattle Pacific's recap of the meet is available here.

Friday, the University of Washington easily defeated SeattleU 15-48 in the men's 4.5 mile race at Magnuson Park in Seattle, and 16-39 in the women's 3 mile, with Taylor Carlson credited with the win in the men's race at 22:33, and freshman Eleanor Fulton, competing unattached, getting the win at 17:13 over NCAA track qualifier Megan Goethals in the same time.

SeattleU's release is here; the University of Washington's release is here, along with a link to results.

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

Mike Sayenko finishes 37th at Daegu World Championships marathon...

DAEGU, Korea--University of Washington graduate Mike Sayenko (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Bellevue was the second American across the line, as he finished 37th in the marathon Sunday morning on the streets of Daegu.

Sayenko crossed the line in a time of 2:22:49, well below his personal best of 2:14:27 set last October at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Kenya's Abel Kirui successfully defended his world marathon title from Berlin, winning in a time of 2:07.38.

Mike Morgan was the top American, placing 31st in 2:18:30. Other Americans included Jeff Eggleston in 39th at 2:23:33, Nick Arciniaga in 41st at 2:24:06, and Sergio Reyes in 45th at 2:29:15.

Afterwards, Sayenko said, "Coming into the race, I was battling plantar fascia problems (on the left foot) ever since the Chicago Marathon. Through the first kilometer, I could already feel it. It got pretty rough around 6k, and I wasn't sure I'd actually finish the race."

The Sammamish HS product had taped his left foot, a practice that he'd done since picking up the plantar fascia problem.

"I was running with some Spaniards up until 15k, when I got dropped. At that point, the pain got pretty rough, and all the negative thoughts started popping up. Then I started getting into a zone; running by myself helped, then I got into a groove, running 3:25 kilos. I ran like that the rest of the way, and started picking people off. The pain in the foot calmed down, though it never got worse, but I felt it the rest of the way."

"My goal was to finish in the top 20-25, and it wasn't exactly the race I was looking for."

With the US Olympic Marathon trials coming up in January, he is going to take some time off, and visit the UW Medical Center for some shock wave therapy on the foot.

Later this evening, Washington State University grad Bernard Lagat will run in the finals of the men's 5000 meters as the IAAF world track & field championships concludes its nine-day run at Daegu Stadium.

Complete results of the men's marathon are available here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

While we're here in Daegu, the 2011 collegiate cross country season's under way...

While the focus for this web site has been on the happenings of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships here in Daegu, for many of the area's colleges, this weekend marks the opening of the 2011 cross country season.

Seattle Pacific opened on Thursday with the Alaska Nanook Invitational Long Course meet in Fairbanks, winning the men's team competition with a low score of 27 points over Montana State-Billings and host Alaska Fairbanks, led by Jacob Wahlenmaier's (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) second place finish in 26:37 over an 8k distance.

In the women's 6k, Falcon senior Natty Plunkett won her second straight Nanook Invitational title, running 22:59, as the Falcons finished second with 42 points behind Alaska Fairbanks (33), but ahead of Montana State Billings (51).

Saturday, the Falcons race the same two teams again on the 4k short course distance at 11 am pacific time.

The Seattle Pacific release is available here.

In Seattle, the Washington Huskies, ranked #11 in the pre season USTFCCCA women's national poll run a low-key open meet Friday against cross town rival SeattleU at Magnuson Park.

But in order to comply with schedule restrictions and be able to head to the team's annual fall camp next week, Washington still needed an official race at the start of September. Low-key will be the reality of Friday's run and the results should not be expected to provide any real insight on the season to come.

"Generally we would go to Magnuson Park and do a tempo run, so we decided to have a meet there and bring in Seattle U. so those are the reasons for it," says Metcalf. "We'll put five people in uniform and make sure that it counts, but other than that it's just to cross a box off our schedule, and we'll really debut at the Sundodger Invitational on September 17."

Across town, SeattleU just returned from its preseason camp as they get ready to race the Huskies.

Redhawk coach Trisha Steidl is pleased that her team will maintain a normal routine for the first month, as they are in town for the meet against the Dawgs, along with the Sundodger Invite in two weeks at Lincoln Park, and their own Emerald City Open on October 1st at Lower Woodland.

"The team is going to be all together for the first three races, which we have never done in the past, so I think that will help bring in this huge group of freshmen that we have. When we get that bonding, it won't be just for team cohesiveness, but it will also put the team in a competitive atmosphere. We'll take advantage of getting good recovery after these races because we're not going to be traveling," she said.

The UW's release is here, while SeattleU's release is here.

Across the state, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and Idaho will race in the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet on Saturday at Mead HS in Spokane over a 6200 meter course for men, and a 4200m women's course.

"Idaho will definitely be a challenge to us... probably more of a challenge than we would welcome at this time of the year. They have a really strong women's team. Their women were WAC champions last year. And they have more or less everyone back. So I think that will be a good test for our women to see if we can run with them. I'm kind of curious to see where we are, just because they are more of an experienced team," said Cougar coach Pete Julian

"On the men's side, Idaho has two really strong men up front, whereas we have maybe ten strong men - but maybe not the two front-type runners. I think for us to win on the men's side will be quite a challenge."

Julian's Eagle counterpart Chris Zeller, who has a large group of freshmen on his squad, said, "I’m excited to see the freshman compete,” he said. “More than anything they need to just get out there for some college racing experience. Once they have that, there is less anxiety, they have a better feel for a collegiate race and they get some of the kinks worked out.”

In Spokane, Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson took a different approach with his team in preparation for the season ahead, especially with his pre-season training camp.

"Camp was a little more select. We decided to have an invitation only camp - 18 men and 18 women - and our goal was to indoctrinate them with getting away from just being satisfied, just being here at Gonzaga," Tyson said on the eve of the season opener. "Our goal was to create an accountability of high expectations. One of those is the no bar scene, another was adequate rest which can be a challenge when you are multi-tasking high academics and the last one was a disciplined summer, what are you doing during the summer, what are you doing to build a strong base. Those are the things we need to do as a foundation, then let's go and chase some dreams. We focused on acing the classroom and being the best runner you can be."

Washington State's release is here; Eastern Washington's release is here; and, Gonzaga's release is here.

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

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