Friday, March 9, 2012

Dawgs win distance medley relay at NCAA indoor championships...

NAMPA, Idaho--When the baton was handed to Washington sophomore Katie Flood by freshman Baylee Mires (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) to begin the 1600 meter anchor leg on the distance medley relay in eighth place, there was no need to panic.

After all, the Huskies had been down that road before, coming from behind to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference title over Oregon and BYU on their home track two weeks earlier.

Much as she did in Seattle a fortnight ago, Flood simply ran the fastest 1600 leg, a 4:34.02, as the Washington Huskies took home the national championship in the distance medley relay, clocking 11:05.20 at Jackson's Track.

Fellow sophomore Chelsea Orr got things rolling for Washington with a 3:27.48 1200 meter leg which put the Huskies eighth in the twelve-team final, as Florida (3:23.84) and Oregon, with Bellingham's Becca Friday (3:24.74) took the lead.

In the 400 meter leg, senior Jordan Carlson got the Huskies to sixth with a 54.16 split, before handing the baton to Mires.

Mires ran 2:09.55 but was in eighth, over four seconds down, as BYU, Georgetown, Oregon, and Florida were ahead going into the 1600 leg.

For some strange reason, the leaders inexplicably slowed the pace down allowing teams like the Huskies, Dartmouth, and Nebraska to get back into the race.

Much as she did in the MPSF meet, Flood began picking through the field and seized the opportunity the other teams gave her, and about two minutes into her leg, found herself in position to make a move on the leaders.

In the final lap, Flood burst past Georgetown's Emily Infeld, then gave chase to Oregon's Anne Kesselring, the 2011 NCAA champion at 800 meters outdoors, going past her before the final turn, then gapped the Oregon runner, leading the Huskies to a 11:05.20 win, with the Ducks second in 11:05.85.

Dartmouth, which was one place ahead of the Huskies, stormed back to take third in 11:06.29, ahead of Georgetown (11:06.53) and Florida (11:08.60).

Afterwards, Flood told ESPN's Lewis Johnson, "The girls in front of me (Orr, Carlson & Mires) kept us where we needed to be the whole time. It was lucky for me that it turned out to be a strategic race up front."

When asked about the last few laps, Flood said, "I wasn't thinking about anything else except getting to the line first."

In the men's long jump, Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis finished 13th with a mark of 23-5 1/4 (7.14m).

Tacoma native Andrea Geubelle of Kansas was eighth in the women's long jump at 20-9 1/4 (6.33m).

Both Scott-Ellis and Geubelle return Saturday in the triple jumper, with Geubelle the favorite to win.

In other finals, Washington frosh JJ Julifs finished 17th in the pole vault with a jump of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m). Bellingham's Jake Riley of Stanford was 12th in the men's 5000 in 13:57.82.

The Washington men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley and Joey Bywater was tenth in 10:02.96, as they were tangled up early in the race and never recovered from the mishap.

In the women's 5000, Husky sophomore Megan Goethals was ninth in 16:12.89.

In qualifying races, Oregon sophomore Michael Berry from Seattle advanced to the finals in the men's 400 with the sixth fastest time, running 46.25. Before her 1200 meter leg on the distance medley relay, Becca Friday of Oregon and Bellingham ran 4:41.03, the fourth fastest time in the women's mile to advance to Saturday's final.

Saturday, Flood goes for an individual title in the women's 3000, along with Goethals. Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola looks to get the Olympic A standard in the pole vault and position herself for an NCAA title.

Complete day 1 results from the NCAA indoor championships are available here.

NCAA DIVISION II RECAP

At the NCAA Division II championships in Mankato, Minnesota, Seattle Pacific's McKayla Fricker advanced to the finals in the 800 meters, running 2:14.17.

In the women's pole vault, Western Washington's Karis Anderson finished fifth with a clearance of 12-9.5 (3.90m), while Central Washington's Kati Davis was eighth at 12-1.5 (3.70m). The Falcons' Terra Schumacher was 14th at 11-5.75 (3.50m).

Saturday, SPU's Ali Worthen and Katy Gross compete in the pentathlon, while Western Washington's Brittany Grandy goes in the high jump.

Day 1 results from the NCAA Division II championships involving Washington athletes are available here.

NOTE: Boise State University and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

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