Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The collegiate season roars to a close on the blue oval in Des Moines...

DES MOINES, Iowa--After what seems like an eternity, from the beginning of fall conditioning, through the indoor season, and varying conditions outdoors, the collegiate track and field season roars to a climax on the blue track of Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University as the NCAA track & field championships begin on Wednesday.

Wednesday will be a busy day for Washington athletes, as Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola (left/photo courtesy Eastern Washington University) along with the Huskies' Logan Miller and Georgia Reynolds, compete in one of the meet's first finals, the pole vault.

Monterola, who was fifth indoors, is aiming for a mark of 14-5 1/4 (4.40m), which is the Olympic B standard, as the Venezuelan federation has promised her an Olympic berth if she can clear it.

Washington's Miller, who was 11th last year, is shooting for a top-eight finish, and possibly an Olympic Trials automatic qualifying mark, as she's already posted a provisional jump of 14-4 1/2. Redshirt freshman teammate Reynolds was one of the biggest surprises of the West Preliminary round, clearing 13-8 1/4 in Austin, after clearing 13 feet for the first time at the Pac-12 meet in early May.

Two other field event finals occur on Wednesday--the women's javelin featuring Washington State's Courtney Simmons and Anna Adamko, and the men's long jump with Pac-12 champ Stephan Scott-Ellis of the Cougars.

Courtesy of Washington State University, here is a video interview with Simmons and Adamko:

The Husky men and the Cougar women are in action in the semifinals of the 4 x 100 meter relay. The Cougars have removed Shawna Fermin from the squad in order for her to concentrate on the 400, in which she's looking to get a qualifying mark for consideration to be selected to Trinidad's Olympic team.

After running on the second leg of the Huskies' 4 x 100 meter relay team, James Alaka will run in the semis of the 100 meter dash, as he's looking for the Olympic A standard of 10.18 or faster.

In advance of the NCAA championships, here's a link to a great piece on Alaka, courtesy of the UW:

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry runs in the semis of the men's 400, an event in which the Daegu relay gold medalist in the 4 x 400 is among the favorites, with the finals on Friday.

Day one ends with the men's 10000, with Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner of Stanford among those in the mix for All-American honors.

Des Moines native Katie Flood of the Huskies takes to the familiar blue oval at Drake Stadium on Thursday in the semis of the women's 1500, with Bellingham's Becca Friday of Oregon in the mix. Flood will have a large gathering of friends and family in the stands as she looks to capture the magic on the track where she was one of the most decorated distance runners in Iowa high school history.

Tahoma HS alum Derek Eager of UCLA and the Huskies' Jimmy Brookman will throw in the finals of the men's javelin, while Washington's AJ Maricich makes his NCAA championship meet debut in the high jump Thursday.

University Place native Andrea Geubelle of the University of Kansas will compete in the finals of the women's long jump.

The Huskies' James Alaka returns to the track for the semifinals of the 200 meters on Thursday.

Friday, Washington's JJ Juilifs competes in the finals of the men's pole vault, as does the Huskies' Alaka in the 100m finals, assuming he gets past Wednesday's semis.

The Cougars' Shawna Fermin will run in the finals of the women's 400 Friday, provided she survived Wednesday's semis.

Bellingham's Chris Kwiatkowski of the University of Oregon, who had toiled on the Duck distance squad, finally gets an opportunity to run on the big stage in the men's 5000 meter finals.

Saturday's final session is jam packed with finals, including the women's triple jump, where Andrea Geubelle looks to add an outdoor title to the indoor championship she won in Boise; the men's and women's 4 x 100 meter relays for the Husky men and Cougar women; the women's 1500 finals with Katie Flood and Becca Friday; the men's 200 finals for James Alaka; and the women's 5000 meter finals, where Sammamish native Jessica Tebo of the University of Colorado, looks to add an NCAA Division I championship to the host of Division II crowns she won at Seattle Pacific.

The NCAA championships will be streamed daily via ESPN will provide video coverage via during the Thursday and Friday events, and on ESPNU Saturday.

The men's start lists are available here; the women's start list is here.

The time schedule is available here.

Here are the releases from Eastern Washington, Washington State, and the University of Washington.

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

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