Thursday, October 25, 2012

All five Washington DI schools head to conference championship meets Saturday...

Pac-12 champ Katie Flood, Megan Goethals, &
Justine Johnson of UW (Paul Merca photo)

With the Division II schools getting their conference championships out of the way, last weekend, it's time for the state's five Division I schools to line up for their championship meet on Saturday.

DAWGS AND COUGS IN SOCAL FOR PAC-12S

Washington and Washington State are off to Santa Clarita, California, northeast of Los Angeles for the Pac-12 championships at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course.  The Pac-12 Network will be broadcasting this year’s championships on a tape delay basis, with Jim Watson and Dwight Stones on the call. The women’s 6,000-meter race will be up first at 9:40 a.m., followed by the men’s 8,000-meters at 10:40 a.m.  

All eyes will be on the Huskies' Katie Flood, the defending champion, as contenders such as Oregon's Jordan Hasay, Arizona's Elvin Kibet and Jen Bergman, Colorado steeplechase Olympian Shalaya Kipp and Stanford's Kathy Kroeger will try to unseat Flood, who also won the NCAA 1500m title last spring.

The road to the conference crown may be crowded, with the Dawgs, who are ranked #6 in the latest USTFCCCA poll, having to contend with #3 Oregon, #4 Stanford, and #5 Arizona, with defending conference champ Colorado at #21 and host UCLA at #24.

Washington is traveling All-American Megan Goethals, who has not raced this season.

Washington State will be led by senior Caroline Austin, who has won two meets this season, the Clash of the Inland Northwest, and the WCC Preview.

The Cougs are looking to improve upon their 11th place finish from 2011.

The Cougar men are going into the Pac-12s with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, after being bumped out of the USTFCCCA top 30, and being leapfrogged by their rivals from Seattle in the West regional rankings, where they're ranked #7 behind the Huskies, who are #6.

Defending Pac-12 champ Colorado (#2 in national poll) and Stanford (#3) are clearly the teams to beat, with Oregon (#8) and UCLA (#15) the other two nationally ranked squads in the meet.

Cougar senior captain Andrew Kimpel talked about the Cougs' prospects in this video, courtesy WSU Athletics:


The Husky men are hoping to put together their best all-around effort yet this season, after a solid day two weeks ago in Wisconsin that was close to being much better. 

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site to cover the Pac-12 championships.

ZAGS TO PORTLAND FOR WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pat Tyson's Gonzaga Bulldogs are off to Portland for the West Coast Conference championship meet at Fernhill Park, hosted by the University of Portland.

On the men's side, BYU and Portland are the teams to beat, while the BYU and San Francisco women's teams are the squads to watch.

The Gonzaga women will have some strong momentum heading to Portland after winning the Inland Empire Classic in Lewiston two weeks ago, led by Emily Thomas' third place finish.

Action at Fernhill Park gets under way with the women's 6k at 9am, and the men's 8k at 9:45.

EAGLES IN FLAGSTAFF FOR BIG SKY

Chris Zeller's Eastern Washington squad heads to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Big Sky championships, hosted by Northern Arizona.

Though the Eagles aren't particularly deep, Zeller is looking for his squad to have its best race of the year.

The Eagles will be led by freshman David Thor, and Berenice Penaloza, each of whom have been the first runners for EWU across the line this season.

The men's 8k gets underway at 9 am, with the women's 5k following at 10 am.

SEATTLEU TRAVELS TO RUSTON FOR WAC CHAMPS

Trisha Steidl's Seattle University Redhawks travel the furthest, as the newest members of the Western Athletic Conference travels to Ruston, Louisiana for their debut in the WAC title meet at Lincoln Parish Park.

The women will contest the championship race over a 5k course, which gets underway at 9 am local time, with the men racing over a 8k distance one hour later.

SeattleU's hopes for a high finish rests on the shoulders of Erik Barkhaus, who won the men's 10000 at last spring's Great West Conference meet, and who won the UW/SU season opening meet and the Emerald City Open at Lower Woodland a few weeks ago.

Hannah Mittelstaedt will be the Redhawks' top runner entering the WAC championship meet.

In the WAC coaches' pre-season poll, the Utah State men and the Idaho women were picked to win the championship meet, with SeattleU picked third in the men's championship and sixth in the women's race.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Seattle University, the University of Washington, and Washington State University, along with the Pac-12, WAC, WCC, and Big Sky Conference contributed to this report.

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