Friday, June 8, 2012

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry takes second in 400 at NCAAs for Oregon...

DES MOINES, Iowa--University of Oregon sophomore Michael Berry (left/photo by Mike Scott), a product of Seattle's Rainier Beach HS, finished a strong second in the 400 meter dash as day three of the NCAA track & field championships concluded on the blue oval of Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

Berry, a 2011 world championships gold medalist in the 4 x 400 meter relay, ran a personal best of 44.75, breaking his own school record of 44.86, set two weeks ago in Austin, but wasn't enough to overcome Florida's Tony McQuay, the winner of last year's USA championship, as the Gator junior ran 44.58 to add the NCAA title to his resume.

In the race, Berry bided his time and made a charge around the last turn, briefly taking the lead heading in to the straight, but McQuay had just enough to edge ahead and win in 44.58.

In the men's pole vault, the University of Washington's JJ Juilfs, the reigning Pac-12 champ was only able to muster up a best clearance of 17-4 1/2 (5.30m) and finished 13th overall, as Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts won with a jump of 18-6 1/2 (5.65m).

He came in at the opening height of 16-4 ¾ (5.00m) and cleared it with one attempt. Things got dicey at the next bar, however, as Juilfs needed a third attempt to get over 16-10 ¾ (5.15m)

Moving up to 17-4 ½, Juilfs vaulted over that bar on his first try, moving up to seventh overall as the field dwindled to 16 competitors. But at 17-8 ½ (5.40m), Juilfs was unable to clear. His second and third attempts saw him get well over the bar but hit it with his chest on the way down and dislodge the bar.

In the men's 5000, Oregon senior Chris Kwiatkowski from Bellingham finished 15th, running 14:05.38, as Southern Utah's Cameron Levins added the 5k crown to the 10000 title won two days ago, as the British Columbian ran 13:40.05.

Saturday, Washington will have Des Moines native Katie Flood in the women's 1500 finals, along with Megan Goethals in the 5000.

Oregon's Becca Friday from Bellingham is one of the top contenders standing in Flood's path to victory on the track where Katie made her mark as a prep athlete at nearby Dowling Catholic HS.

Goethals will go against favorite Jessica Tebo of Colorado, as the reigning Pac-12 champ from Sammamish looks to add the 5000 title to the array of NCAA Division II crowns won while at Seattle Pacific.

On the field, University Place native Andrea Geubelle of Kansas will look to add the outdoor triple jump title she won in March in Nampa, Idaho.

ESPNU will have live coverage of the NCAA track & field championships on Saturday starting at 9 am pacific.

Complete day 3 results are available here.

In a press release earlier on Friday, Eastern Washington University announced that the reason for pole vaulter Keisa Monterola's withdrawal from the NCAA championships was that her brother, Keldeson, was shot and killed in a robbery near their hometown of Caracas, Venezuela.

According to the Caracas newspaper El Universal, Keldeson was visiting his girlfriend when he was stopped by armed men and shot twice in the head. The gunmen fled with a BlackBerry cellular phone that he had possessed. He later died in a hospital emergency room.

Monterola, who placed fifth at the NCAA indoor meet, and is a former NWAACC champ at Clackamas CC, had planned to return to Venezuela after the NCAA meet. According to the release from the school, she will jump Sunday at the Ibero-American Championships in Venezuela, as she looks for the Olympic B standard of 14-5 1/4 (4.40m) that will get her on the Venezuelan Olympic team.

Eastern Washington's release can be accessed here.


On the pro circuit, the Samsung Diamond League circuit resumes in New York's Icahn Stadium with the adidas Grand Prix.

Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat will run the 1500 meters against a field that includes Augustine Choge of Kenya, Craig Mottram of Australia, and Americans Will Leer, Alan Webb, and David Torrence.

In the women's javelin, Kara Patterson, coming off a disappointing result in Rome, goes against long time rival Rachel Yurkovich, along with current Samsung Diamond League leader Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic.

The men's discus features former Husky Märt Israel, last year's fourth place finisher at the world championships, against WSU grad Ian Waltz, and Marysville native Jarred Rome, and a host of top Americans tuning up for the Olympic Trials.

Another WSU alum, Blessing Ufodiama, goes in the triple jump against Stanford alum Erica McLain and current Samsung Diamond League event leader Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan.

In the adidas girls Dream Mile, 2010 champ and incoming University of Washington freshman Maddie Meyers from Northwest School goes against a field that includes Glacier Peak's Amy-Eloise Neale, and outstanding California prep Cami Chapus.

The start list for the adidas Grand Prix is available here.  NBC Sports will have live coverage beginning at noon, pacific time.

Distance events are the primary focus of Saturday night's Portland Track Festival at Lewis & Clark College, as athletes try to chase down qualifying marks for the US Olympic Trials before the deadline of June 17th.

Tacoma's Brie Felnagle, who is qualified in both the 1500 and 5000 is entered in both events. Washington State alum Collier Lawrence, who has the auto mark in the steeplechase, drops down to the 1500, while world championships marathoner and UW alum Mike Sayenko, who has the auto in the 10000, drops down to 5000 meters.

The entry list for the Portland Track Festival is available here.

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