Friday, May 25, 2012

Berry blazes to fourth fastest 400 time in the world this season at NCAA West Prelims...

AUSTIN, Texas--University of Oregon sophomore Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca), a product of Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, emphatically let the doubters know that he will be one of the leading contenders for the NCAA 400 meter title in Des Moines in two weeks with a strong run to highlight day 2 of the NCAA West Preliminary rounds Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Berry won his quarterfinal round and broke his own Oregon school record, clocking 44.86.

According to the IAAF lists, his time is currently the fourth fastest in the world outdoors this season, bettered only by LaShawn Merritt (44.19 and 44.73), and Kirani James of Grenada at 44.72.

After a solid opening 200 meters, Berry hit the accelerator going into the turn and cleared the entire field heading on to the back stretch. He maintained his speed over the last 50 meters to run the fastest time in the NCAA this season.

"I just wanted to get back in race form and run my race and go hard the last 150 meters," said Berry. "I wasn't trying to break a record today, but I'll take it and can hopefully build on it."

Here is video of Berry's race:

Washington's Logan Miller and Georgia Reynolds, along with Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola all advanced to Des Moines, as all cleared 13-8 1/4 (4.17m).

Miller easily qualified, clearing all three bars attempted on the first try. while Reynolds, a redshirt freshman from Mt. Si High School, and Monterola, both needed two attempts at 13-4 1/4 (4.07m) and 13-8 1/4 (4.17m) to punch their tickets to Iowa.

Courtesy of the University of Washington, here's a video interview with Miller and Reynolds:

On the track, Washington's James Alaka advanced to nationals, as the British national from London ran a wind-aided 10.22 to move on to Des Moines.

Washington State junior Shawna Fermin took third in her quarterfinal heat of the women's 400, running a time of 52.97 to advance to the national finals in Iowa.

With two days of competition in the books, Washington will have four athletes going to Iowa--Alaka, Miller, Reynolds, and javelin thrower Jimmy Brookman, while Washington State has Fermin, along with long jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis, and javelin throwers Courtney Simmons and Anna Adamko.

Monterola is the lone competitor from Eastern Washington advancing so far.

Washington's release is available here; Washington State's day 2 recap is here; and, Eastern Washington's release can be accessed by clicking here.

The meet concludes Saturday.

Complete results are available via this link.

The timing issue from Thursday night's women's 10000 was resolved, with Gonzaga's Emily Thomas finishing 24th in 35:55.98, and Bellingham's Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon 32nd in 36:26.72.

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

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