Thursday, March 29, 2012

The week ahead: Cougars return to LA; Eagles to Missoula, D2 schools in Bellingham...

The Washington State Cougars return to Los Angeles to compete in a double dual meet against Tennessee and the host UCLA Bruins at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA on Saturday.

The Cougar women's squad will be led by the tandem in the javelin of freshman Christine Kirkwood and older sister Courtney Kirkwood Simmons (left/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) from Othello, who are ranked 10th & 12th in NCAA Division I heading into this weekend with marks of 164-2 (50.05m) and 160-4 (48.87m) set at last week's USC Trojan Invite in LA.

WSU coach Rick Sloan has been a big proponent of scored meets over the years, noting that in the current collegiate track & field landscape, most meets aren't scored, with the emphasis being on chasing marks.

Speaking about this weekend, Sloan said, "I think the accountability of being part of a team and doing your part for the team outcome gets lost in those situations. I know that in years past, every time we come to the Husky Dual Meet, we seem to perform at a higher level because we are competing for the Cougs, instead of just for ourselves as individuals. That’s what I am looking forward to this weekend – having that type of a meet and that type of an atmosphere for our team.”

Courtesy of WSU, here's Sloan's weekly press conference and thoughts about this weekend's encounter with the Volunteers and the Bruins:

Washington State's full release can be read here.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington will head to Missoula, Montana for the Al Manuel Invitational hosted by the University of Montana.

According to EWU men's head coach Stan Kerr, the upcoming meet "is a good indicator to show us where everyone is at early in the outdoor season. We already know both Montana (Montana and Montana State) schools have very talented athletes. But we’re kind of all waiting for better spring weather to come in and let us see our top performances.”

Eastern Washington's release is available here…

Gonzaga will stay close to home and compete in the Sam Adams Classic hosted by Division III Whitworth University on Saturday.

Seattle University will head south to Salem, Oregon to compete in the Willamette Invitational, hosted by Willamette University.

Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and St. Martin's will head north to Bellingham for the Ralph Vernacchia Team Scoring meet hosted by Western Washington, with some events contested Friday night, and the majority of the meet held on Saturday.

NOTE:  The sports information offices at WSU, EWU, SeattleU, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

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