Wednesday, February 29, 2012

List of Washington affiliated athletes with Olympic "A" standard...

Ingvill Måkestad (photo by Paul Merca)
With the start of the London Olympics about 150 days away, paulmerca.blogspot.com is publishing a list of athletes who have affiliations with the state of Washington (they were born, went to school, reside) who have the Olympic "A" standard necessary to compete in London.

The Olympic A and B standards can be accessed through this link here.

Each country can send up to three athletes per event provided that all three have the A standard; each country can enter one athlete per event with the B standard. If that country has no athletes with either the A or B standards, they can enter ONE male and female athlete in the Olympic track & field competition, with the exception of the multi-events, steeplechase, and 10000 (this was the exception that got Marysville-Pilchuck high schooler Haley Nemra into the Beijing Olympics four years ago representing the Marshall Islands, even though she clearly had no business being in the meet).

At the US Olympic Trials, which will be held June 22-July 1 in Eugene (men's and women's hammer will be held June 21 at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton), the top three finishers in all events will be on the Olympic team PROVIDED all three have the necessary qualifying standards.

Note that these standards are NOT the same as the US Olympic Trials A & B standards, which gets you entry into the Olympic Trials.

The qualifying period for the Olympics began May 1, 2011, and ends July 8, 2012. For US athletes, it essentially means they have to get the standard at or before the Olympic Trials in order to go to London.

This list will be updated periodically once the outdoor season gets fully started and the start of the US Olympic Trials in June.

This list will include athletes from other countries with Washington ties, such as former Husky Ingvill Måkestad of Norway.

Please drop a note in the comments box if we've missed anyone or have an incorrect mark.

MEN

100m (10.18) none (James Alaka, GBR/Univ of Washington close at 10.23, 6/25/11)

200m (20.55) Jordan Boase, 20.52, 6/5/11 (James Alaka, GBR/Univ of Washington close at 20.59, 7/16/11)

400m (45.30) Michael Berry, 44.91, 5/14/11 (Jordan Boase, 45.34, 5/31/11 close)

800m (1:45.60) none

1500m (3:35.50) Bernard Lagat, 3:33.11, 7/8/11

Steeplechase (8:23.10) none

5000m (13:20.00) Bernard Lagat, 12:53.60, 7/22/11

10000m (27:45.00) none

110 hurdles (13.52) none

400 hurdles (49.50) Jeshua Anderson, 47.93, 6/26/11

20k walk (1:22:30) none

High Jump (7-7/2.31m) none

Pole Vault (18-9.25/5.72m) Brad Walker, 19-2.75/5.86m, 2/26/12. NOTE--Scott Roth's 18-9.25/5.72m was set 4/16/11, BEFORE the Olympic qualifying period began.

Long Jump (26-11/8.20m) none (Norris Frederick, 26-7/8.10m, 7/1/11 is close)

Triple Jump (56-5.25/17.20m) none

Shot Put (67-3.25/20.50m) none

Discus (213-3; 65.00m) Jarred Rome, 225-7/68.76m, 8/6/11; Märt Israel (EST), 219-9/66.98m, 5/12/11; Ian Waltz, 214-8/65.43m, 6/16/11

Hammer (255-11/78.00m) none

Javelin (269-0/82.00m) none

Decathlon (8200 points) none

20k Walk (1:22:30) none

WOMEN

100 (11.29) none

200 (23.10) none

400 (51.55) none

800 (1:59.90) none

1500 (4:06.00) Ingvill Måkestad (NOR) 4:03.79, 9/16/11 (Katie Mackey, 4:07.44, 5/21/11 is close)

5000 (15:20.00) none

10000 (31:45.00) none

100 hurdles (12.96) Ginnie Crawford, 12.73, 5/6/11

400 hurdles (55.50) none

High Jump (6-4.75/1.95m) none; Ebba Jungmark (SWE) close at 6-4.25/1.94m, 9/13/11 (her mark of 6-5/1.96m was set at the European Indoors, before the Olympic qualifying period began).

Pole Vault (14-9/4.50m) none

Long Jump (22-1.75/6.75m) none

Triple Jump (46-11/14.30m) none (Blessing Ufodiama, 46-1.5/14.06m, 6/4/11 close)

Shot Put (60-0.5/18.30m) none

Discus (203-5/62.00m) Aretha Thurmond, 209-5/63.85m, 6/30/11

Hammer (234-7/71.50m) none

Javelin (200-1/61.00m) Kara Patterson, 205-11/62.76m, 5/26/11

Heptathlon (6150 points) none

SOURCE: Track & Field News, IAAF, USA Track & Field

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Washington rockets to top ten in latest USTFCCCA indoor poll...

NEW ORLEANS--Once again, Katie Flood (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) has a hand in elevating the Washington Huskies up the charts in the eyes of the voters of the USTFCCCA national indoor track & field polls.

Thanks to her scintillating 4:28.8 1600 leg on Friday night that led the UW distance medley relay team to a new MPSF championship meet, Dempsey Indoor facility, UW school record, and a 2012 NCAA national leading mark of 10:55.01, the Huskies are ranked #10 in the latest USTFCCCA national polls released Tuesday.

Washington is the biggest mover in the polls, rocketing to the ten spot all the way from #23, helped not only by the DMR squad, but also by marks from Megan Goethals and Christine Babcock in the 3000, and pole vaulter Logan Miller.

The Huskies are one of four teams that competed in the MPSF meet ranked in the top ten.

Oregon remains #1 in the national poll, with California moving 11 spots up to #8, and BYU moving to #9 from #14.

Two MPSF teams are just outside the top ten, as Stanford is #11, and Arizona is #13.

In the men's national polls, Arkansas fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in the latest USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings. Two-time defending national champions Florida took over the nation’s top spot.

The USTFCCCA release is available here.

STUFF WE MISSED

In the middle of an extremely busy conference championship weekend, University of Kansas junior Andrea Geubelle, a graduate of Curtis HS near Tacoma, jumped a national leading mark of 44-7 (13.59m) in winning the Big 12 conference title in College Station, Texas.

Geubelle also finished second in the long jump with a mark of 20-3.5 (6.18m).

Results from the Big 12 conference meet are available here (click on event).

Finally, USA Track & Field announced in a release Tuesday its roster for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Based on their 1-2 finish in Sunday's pole vault competition, former Huskies Brad Walker and Scott Roth, and the fact that they both own the "A" standard in their event, both will head to Istanbul.

Seattle resident and UW alum Norris Frederick, the third place finisher in Sunday's long jump competition, will not be on the team, as he didn't have the standard, despite winner Ashton Eaton's decision to forego the long jump in favor of the heptathlon.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brad Walker wins fourth national indoor pole vault title; Roth earns spot on world champs squad...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--A pair of University of Washington alums, Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy Drake Relays) and Scott Roth, finished 1-2 in the men's pole vault at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships as both ensured their places on Team USA for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in two weeks in Istanbul, Turkey.

Walker, a former world indoor champion in 2006, and the 2007 world outdoor champion, opened with a make at 18-2 (5.54m), then passed two heights before clinching the win at 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) on his first attempt.

He then cleared 19-2 3/4 (5.86m) on his first attempt, then took three tries at 19-8 1/4 (6.00), missing all three times.

Walker's victory marked his fourth career USA indoor title.

Roth got the other ticket to Istanbul by making 17-11 3/4 (5.48m) on his first, then clearing 18-4 1/2 on his second attempt, a height cleared by third place finisher Mark Hollis on his third. That second attempt clearance proved to be the difference.

Afterwards, Walker said, “It was good. It was a good competition. You have to wait around sometimes indoors, and it wasn't a big deal."

“I'm happy with the way I felt and the way I jumped, but technically there are some things I can work on and improve.”

Roth's training partner and former NCAA champion Jason Colwick no-heighted, missing all three tries at 17-11 3/4 (5.48m).

One man who may or may not be going to Istanbul is Husky alum Norris Frederick, who finished third in the long jump with a best of 26-2 3/4 (7.99m).

Oregon alum Ashton Eaton, who is already going to Istanbul in the heptathlon, won the competition with a jump of 26-5 1/2 (8.06m) over Saturday's triple jump winner, Will Claye, who jumped 26-3 3/4 (8.02m).

The situation is muddied, as Eaton is already going to Istanbul in the heptathlon. If he were to try a LJ/heptathlon double, the qualifying round in the long jump on March 9th would start 30 minutes before the start of the heptathlon high jump, which is one of Eaton's specialties.

In the case of Claye, the triple jump qualifying round is in the morning of March 10th, with the finals in the long jump that evening. Additionally, Claye is the only one of the entrants at the USA indoors who has the qualifying standard of 8.15 meters (26-9) during the qualifying period, which began on January 1, 2011.

The qualifying standards and restrictions for the world indoors is posted here. If one is reading the standards correctly, it means that Claye is the only one eligible to represent the USA at world indoors. If Claye concentrates on the triple jump, that potentially means the USA will have no competitors in the long jump.

paulmerca.blogspot.com received a text from Frederick stating that he was waiting on USATF, as they were waiting on a decision from Eaton.

Bottom line? Stay tuned.

In other events, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek was third in the 800, running 1:49.96, while Seattle's Kevin Hicks was sixth in 1:50.12.

Former Husky Katie (Follett) Mackey was seventh in the 1500 with a time of 4:22.43, while Seattle's Rose Wetzel of Club Northwest was 18th in 4:34.29.

Complete day 2 results from the USA Indoor Championships are available here.

COLLEGIATE ROUND-UP

At the Great West Indoor championships in Sterling, Illinois, freshman Cali Cull from Seattle University won the women's triple jump title, with a mark of 36-5.5 (11.11m).

For the second straight day, Erik Barkhaus finished second in an event, this time in the men's 3000 meter run after posting a time of 8:33.81, just 1.25 seconds behind the winner.

The Seattle University women finished fourth in the team standings with 79 points, while the men finished in sixth place with 57.5 points. Utah Valley cruised to the conference titles in both men's and women's indoor track and field.

You can read SeattleU's complete release here.

At the Big Sky Conference meet in Flagstaff, Arizona, Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola won the women's pole vault title with a leap of 14-2 (4.32m) and was named the meet's outstanding female performer.

"I was aiming for 14-5, but I still feel great. I'm peaking off with 14-2. 14-5 would've been a PR and an Olympic 'B' standard. I'm really excited (to be the Venezuelan record holder) and I know I'll keep on jumping because I know that 14-5 will be there soon."

The Eagles also picked up victories from Steven Warner in the men's 60 hurdles (8.07) and its 4 x 400 meter relay squad of Collin Green, Michael Okoro, Brad Michael and Brad Wall, as they ran 3:12.11.

Michael and Wall finished 2-3 in the open 400, running 46.97, and 47.07, as Wall's hopes of winning a fourth straight Big Sky indoor title were snapped by Northern Arizona's Adel al Nasser, who ran 46.80 for the win.

The Eagle men's team finished third with 88 points, as Northern Arizona won with 215 points.  On the women's side, Weber State won with 132, while the Eagles finished eighth with 45 points.

Complete results from the Big Sky Conference championship meet is available here.

At the SPU Last Chance meet Saturday at the Dempsey following the conclusion of the MPSF meet, Seattle Pacific senior Schumacher and sophomore Fricker moved into the national top 12 on Saturday with strong performances in the pole vault and 800 meters.

Schumacher's clearance of 12-3.5 (3.75m) was a personal best and put her tied for tenth on the national Division II list.

Fricker climbed up to No. 12 in the 800 with an astounding run of 2 minutes, 12.67 seconds. That was nearly three full seconds better than the PR of 2:15.53 that she ran in winning the GNAC title last Saturday in Nampa, Idaho.

You can read Seattle Pacific's release and results here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field, the Big Sky Conference, SeattleU, and Seattle Pacific all contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bernard Lagat gets yet another USA national indoor title...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--The old man still has it!

In one of the most highly anticipated races of day one at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Washington State University alumnus Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) unleashed a 26 second final lap over the 200 meter Albuquerque Convention Center track to win yet another national title in the 3000 meters, running 7:47.54.

In what was hyped as the Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat match-up in the 3000m didn’t play out as most would have expected.

Rupp, Lagat and Lopez Lomong led the pack and quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the men in the field. However, with 700m to go, Rupp began to show signs that he was laboring and began to fade back from Lagat and Lomong.

While the two men entered the bell lap together, Lagat unleashed his signature kick and soared over the final 200m in only 26 seconds. Lomong took the runner-up spot in 7:51.75, while Rupp finished third in 7:57.36.

Afterwards, Lagat, who is the defending world champion in the 3000, and who plans to go to Istanbul, Turkey for the world championships in two weeks, said, “I came to the last lap and I thought ‘why not?’ I felt good. I came down Thursday and did a run and everything was feeling good. Every time I come here I feel so good. I felt like if I could outlast everyone at the end I would have it. I am the defending world champion and I want to be able to do it again.”

In other events, two-time world championships team member Michael Mai, who was based at Joint Base Lewis McChord before joining the Army World Class Athlete Program, finished second in the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 78-5 1/2 (23.91m).

Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek had the second fastest time in the 800 meter prelims, running 1:48.88, while Seattle resident Kevin Hicks, who represents the Self Esteem Through Athletics club, had the third fastest at 1:49.13. Both advanced to Sunday's finals.

In the women's 3000, won by reigning world outdoor 1500 meter champ Jenny Simpson in 9:19.15, Washington State alum Collier Lawrence finished seventh in 9:50.42, while Club Northwest's Lois Keller was one place behind at 10:05.21.

Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama finished fifth in the women's triple jump with a best of 44-2 1/2 (13.47m).

The meet concludes Sunday, with action available online via media partner runnerspace.com from 11am-3:10 pm pacific time, and on ESPN from 4:30pm to 6:30 pm, pacific.

Results from the USA Indoor Championships are available here.

COLLEGE RUNDOWN:

At the Westwood Sports & Fitness Complex in Sterling, Illinois, five different Seattle University athletes earned second place finishes as day one of the Great West Conference indoor championships got underway.

In the women's long jump, Katie Tougas finished second with a top effort of 5.38 meters (17' 8"), just one-quarter of an inch behind event winner Morgan Pressley of Houston Baptist.

The next close calls for Seattle U came in the 5000 meter run, as sophomore Hannah Mittelstaedt finished second in the women's race with a time of 17:40.90, just over four seconds behind Angela Baker of Utah Valley.

In the men's race, Erik Barkhaus finished second by just over four seconds with a time of 14:43.42, only 9/10ths of a second off the school record he set two weeks ago.

The women's distance medley relay team of Jennifer Stolle, Meeghan Bergmann, Sarah Bolce, and Sophie Curatilo finished second with a time of 12:27.02, only 5/100ths of a second behind Houston Baptist.

The men's distance medley relay quartet of Dan Auld, Zachary Schlachter, Collin Overbay, and Kelton Sears were only 41/100ths of a second behind the team from Texas-Pan American, finishing second with a school-record time of 10:25.41, almost nine full seconds faster than the previous mark.

You can read SeattleU's release here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and Seattle University's sports information office contributed to this report.

Arizona's Barrett and Cal's Maier highlight day 2 of the MPSF championships at the Dempsey...

SEATTLE--Arizona's Brigetta Barrett and Cal's Deborah Maier (left/photo by Paul Merca) were among the highlights of day two of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships at the Dempsey Indoor Facility on the University of Washington campus.

Barrett, the world's second ranked high jumper this indoor season, and the current collegiate leader at 6-5 1/2 (1.97m) eclipsed her own meet record of 6-3 1/2 (1.92m) as she went one centimeter better, finishing with a best of 6-4.

The Wildcat junior took three good shots at 6-6 1/4 (1.99m), but was unsuccessful, though she was close on two attempts.

"I was a little nervous heading into this meet because we changed my approach from ten steps to eight steps and doing that can make or break you," Barrett said. "I'm just glad it worked out well for me. I'm getting more and more comfortable and I'm ready to go for the collegiate record at the NCAA Championships, that's all I'm thinking about."

In the women's 3000, Maier won in a mild upset over Oregon's Jordan Hasay, the defending NCAA champion at that distance.

Maier led for most of the race before relinquishing the lead to Hasay with less than a lap to go. In a reversal of Friday night's distance medley relay, where she was outkicked by Washington's Katie Flood, Maier fought back and surprisingly passed Hasay on the inside in the final 60 meters to take the win in 9:02.35 to Hasay's 9:03.95, getting the meet record of 9:08.15 in the process.

Defending MPSF champ Megan Goethals of the University of Washington was relegated to third in 9:08.42, but earned an automatic NCAA qualifying mark.

Arizona's Julie Labonte set an MPSF Championship record, winning the shot put competition with a throw of 58-7.5 (17.87m), which also was a new facility record, besting Jill Camarena's old mark of 58-3 (17.75m).

Another Wildcat, distance runner Lawi Lalang clocked a time of 7:44.48 in the men's 3000, winning the race by 7.07 seconds. That mark is a personal best, school record, MPSF Championship record, the No. 2 time in the country this year and the No. 5 collegiate mark all-time.

Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis' bid for two victories fell just short as Arizona State's Chris Benard jumped 53-11 (16.43m) to set a new meet record. Scott-Ellis finished in the runner-up position in 52-1 3/4 (15.89m).

The Cougars' Joe Abbott tried to make a late charge at BYU's Miles Batty in the men's 800, but fell short as Batty, the new collegiate record holder in the mile, held on for the victory in 1:49.17, while Abbott was clocked in 1:49.47.

Michael Bolligar from WSU captured third place in the men's heptathlon with 5,406 points. He ended the first day's competition in second place and after the 60m hurdles (8.83) was in fourth place but moved up to third after pole vaulting 14-1 1/4 (4.30m). Bolligar ran the 1000m in a time of 2:39.43.

UCLA's Marcus Nilsson won the hept with 5700 points while Oregon's Dakotah Keys was second with 5,660 points.

In the women's team competition, Stanford took the win with 125 points, followed by Arizona at 110, and Oregon third with 108.33.

The Huskies were fifth with 56 points, and Washington State was tenth with 13 points.

In the men's team race, Arizona State won with 131.5 points, followed by Stanford at 81.5, and Oregon in third with 77 points.

Washington State was sixth with 61 points, while the Huskies finished eighth at 37.5 points.

Complete results from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships are available here.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, the University of Arizona, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Lagat/Rupp part deux highlights day one of the USA Indoor Championships...

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico--Two of the biggest names in American distance running will battle once again in Albuquerque, as Portland's Galen Rupp faces Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat in the men's 3000 Saturday (photo of Rupp & Lagat by Paul Merca) to highlight day one of the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

In 2011 Lagat and Rupp matched up in the 3,000m at the USA Indoor Championships with Lagat holding on for the victory.

The two have already seen success this indoor season and traded American records in a single weekend of competition. At the USA Track & Field Classic, Rupp broke Lagat’s American record in the 2-mile with a time of 8:09.72. Meanwhile, at the Millrose Games, Lagat regained the American record in the 5,000m from Rupp with a new indoor personal best of 13:07.15.

Also competing in Saturday's finals are Michael Mai, formerly from Joint Base Lewis McChord in the men's 35-pound weight throw, and WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama in the women's triple jump.

All other finals will be contested Sunday.

The time schedule for day one of the USA indoor championships are available here.

In Flagstaff, Arizona, Eastern Washington freshman Brad Michael broke the school record in the men's 400 in the semis Friday night to set up a showdown with teammate and defending Big Sky champion Brad Wall.

Wall is the three-time defending champion in the event.

“Brad Michael is as hard of working and committed athlete to the sport you could imagine,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “Michael came in and immediately embraced the opportunity to work with Brad Wall and Michael Okoro, two conference champions. He has fun with them and works his tail of to work with them. It has made the whole sprint group better.”

You can read Eastern Washington's day one recap here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another day, another record for Katie Flood & the Huskies...

SEATTLE--Katie Flood and national leading marks seem to go together like milk and cookies.

For the third straight meet, the sophomore from Des Moines, Iowa had a hand in a University of Washington school record and a NCAA leading time, as a 4:28.8 1600 meter leg by Flood led to the Huskies setting a new meet, Dempsey Indoor Facility, and school record, not to mention a national leading mark in the distance medley relay as the team of Chelsea Orr, Jordan Carlson, Baylee Mires, and Flood took the victory in 10:55.01 (photo of from left--Carlson, Mires, Orr & Flood by Paul Merca).

Orr, the sophomore from Sammamish's Eastlake HS, kept the Huskies in contention, as Bellingham's Becca Friday led Oregon through the first exchange in 3:20 on the 1200 leg, with Orr in third as she handed off to senior Jordan Carlson from Spokane.

Carlson appeared out of contention as Oregon, Cal and Stanford's 400 meter runners pulled away on the second leg.

In the 800 leg, fellow Spokane native Baylee Mires began chipping away, running what she admitted was a very fast first 400, a time she said was around 60 seconds. Though she started to fade a bit in the final 400, she gave the baton to Flood in fifth, as Mires was passed by runners from BYU and Stanford at the exchange..

Flood received the stick 30 meters down, as Cal's Deborah Maier took the lead with Oregon's Anne Kesselring, the NCAA 800 champ close behind.

Within a span of 500 meters, Flood moved the Huskies to fourth and set her sights on Maier and Kesselring, along with BYU anchor Katie Palmer.

With 600 to go, Flood had positioned the Huskies into second; however, Palmer and Kesselring, the 800 meter specialists, had the speed advantage over Flood if it came down to a 200-meter foot race.

With 250 to go Flood pounced to the front, opening up a gap of two steps over Maier and Kesselring. Kesselring jumped back to the front with 150 to go, but Flood retaliated with a final spurt down the homestretch to give Washington the victory over its Northwest rival 10:55.01 to 10:55.78,

Cal finished in third in 10:56.29, and BYU was fourth in 11:01.35, as the first five teams were under the old meet record, and the top four were under the NCAA automatic standard of 11:03.50.

Flood said patience was the key to the victory, as she demonstrated in her leg by not trying to get all of the deficit back early.

"I got excited since Baylee was coming in so hard. But after that I just tried to maintain, and keep moving up, and stay calm. I think it's always easier to battle like that when you have a team behind you that just worked their butts off and ran so hard, so when you cross the line you're not crossing for yourself, it's a lot easier to find that motivation."

Carlson, the lone upperclassman of the Husky foursome, could hardly contain her exuberance at her three teammates, stating that she'd waited four years for the opportunity to run with an outstanding group in the DMR.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is video of the DMR race:



In other events, Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis, the reigning Pac-10 triple jump champ, took the men's long jump with a second round leap of 25-5 1/4 (7.75m).

Afterwards, he predicted that he would try to go 54 feet in Saturday's triple jump competition.

"When the ASU jumper (second place Chris Benard) opened up with a 25-1, that hyped me up," Scott-Ellis said. "On my second jump I got great support from the crowd with the clapping and that just all together helped me to jump far with that semi-home meet feel."

Washington freshman JJ Julifs tied for third in the pole vault with a leap of 17-1 3/4 (5.23m) as UCLA's Michael Woepse took the victory at 17-7 3/4 (5.38m).

Michael Bolligar, a junior from Peoria, Ariz., is in second place after the first day of the men's heptathlon with 3,040 points. Bolligar ran the 60m dash in a time of 7.24, long jumped a PR distance of 23-8 1/4 (7.22m) which was the second-best mark on the day, threw the shot put a PR toss of 36-11 1/2 (11.26m), and cleared 6-7 (2.01m) in the high jump. Dakotah Keys of Oregon leads the heptathlon with 3,177 points.

Arizona State leads both the men's and women's team competition at the break, while Washington's s squads sit in fourth. The Washington State women are in tenth, and the men's team is in seventh.

Complete results from day one of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships are available here.

NOTE: The MPSF, the University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eagles head to Flagstaff and Redhawks to Illinois, while pros race in Albuquerque...

While Washington and Washington State are in Seattle for the MPSF Championships, Eastern Washington heads to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Big Sky Championships, led by pole vaulter Keisa Monterola and 400 meter runner Brad Wall (photo illustration courtesy Eastern Washington University).

“I expect the women to finish in the upper half,” said Eastern women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “I know we don’t have a lot of depth, but we have great individuals, and hopefully the mid-level athletes can step up and get us some points.”

“I’m looking for people to have their best performance of the season,” said men's coach Stan Kerr. “If that happens, great things will happen from a team point of view. Our men’s team feels like we will be finishing in the top three.”

Though he is currently ranked third in the conference going into the meet, Wall is the three-time Big Sky champion in the 400.

Eastern’s top individual is Monterola – who has already broken the conference record in the pole vault (14-4), qualified for NCAA Nationals and won three Big Sky Field Athlete of the Week Awards. She is not only looking to add to her already impressive résumé with a win in the pole vault, but Eastern coaches are also optimistic she will hit the Olympic B qualifying mark (14-5 1/4) to assure her a spot on Venezuela's team for this summer's Olympics in London.

“Since we’re going to be at a high altitude, I think Keisa will get the Olympic B standard,” said Mecklenburg. “I’m expecting her to win conference as well, but you never know what’s going to happen. The vault is a very competitive event, but she is definitely the best one out there.

You can read Eastern Washington's full release here.

SeattleU heads to Sterling, Illinois for the Great West Conference meet Saturday and Sunday, led by distance runners Erik Barkhaus and Matthew McClement, who are the conference leaders in the 5000.

On the women's side, senior Sarah Bolce leads the Redhawks into the championship meet ranked #3 in the mile and the 3000.

SeattleU's release is available here.

Several local pros head to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the USA Indoor championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center Saturday and Sunday.

USA Track & Field will webcast the meet, and will televise the meet Sunday from 7:30-9:30 pm, eastern time on ESPN2.

Among those looking to make the team to go to Istanbul, Turkey for the IAAF world championships in two weeks are Kevin Hicks (800); Bernard Lagat (3000); Brad Walker, Jason Colwick and Scott Roth (pole vault); Norris Frederick (long jump); and Michael Mai (weight).

On the women's side, Katie Mackey and Rose Wetzel (1500); Lois Keller (3000); and Blessing Ufodiama (triple jump) are among those trying to punch their tickets for Istanbul.

The complete declared entry lists are available here.

Washington and Washington State set to battle at the Dempsey in MPSF Championships...

It's conference time this weekend, as Washington State heads to Seattle for the MPSF Championships hosted by the University of Washington on Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor Facility, with Friday action getting under way at 12:30 with the men's weight throw finals, and Saturday starting at 10:30 am with the heptathlon 60 hurdles.

As the Pac-12 does not sponsor indoor track, the MPSF meet include every Pac-12 team which sponsors indoor track and field, including Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, and for the first time this year that includes Colorado men's and women's teams and the Utah women's team.

Also joining the fray for the first time this year is BYU out of the West Coast Conference. Three Big West Conference teams also are in the fold: Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State bring men's and women's squads, and UC Irvine brings their women's team.

All told that's 14 women's teams and 12 men's teams set to compete. Whereas most meets in the Dempsey often feature just a handful of athletes from each team, the MPSF stands out with the participants bringing complete teams limited to 27 athletes per team per gender.

The Oregon Women are the defending back-to-back MPSF Champions, while the Stanford Men claimed the 2011 Championship. Arizona brought home the runner-up in each gender last year, while the UCLA Men and Stanford Women earned the bronze.

Naturally, the distance races will be the highlight of the meet. On the women's side, athletes from the conference own every current number one NCAA ranking,

In the women’s 800-meter run, BYU junior Nachelle Mackie owns the top NCAA automatic qualifying time of 2:03.56. Only .23 seconds off that pace is fellow Cougar Katie Palmer, who ranks tied for second nationally. Both times were established in New York on Feb. 3.

The NCAA’s top mile (4:28.48) and 3,000-meter run (8:55.31) was run by the Huskies' Katie Flood.

Oregon junior Anne Kesselring carries the third fastest mile (4:32.61), as does California senior Chelsea Reilly in the 3,000-meter (9:00.86).

Finally, four of the nation’s top-six, and six of the top-10 in the 5,000-meter, hail from the MPSF.

This group is led by top-ranked Cal junior Deborah Meier (15:29.24), followed by No. 4 Oregon junior Jordan Hasay (15:45.54) and No. 5 Stanford sophomore Kathy Kroeger (15:46.26).

The three biggest names in the men's distances are the Arizona duo of Lawi Lalang (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Stephen Sambu, and Stanford's Chris Derrick.  Lalang set the collegiate record in the 5000 of 13:08.28 in New York, a race in which Sambu and Derrick all ducked under the Olympic "A" standard.  Also not to be overlooked is BYU's Miles Batty, the collegiate indoor record holder in the mile at 3:54.54.

Other athletes to watch:

--Oregon's Brianne Theisen, who is entered in several individual events, is the collegiate record holder in the pentathlon. She gives Oregon plenty of point potential;

--Arizona's Brigetta Barrett in the high jump, who is currently tied for #2 in the world this season;

--Oregon sprinters English Gardner and Michael Berry. Gardner is the conference leader in the 60 and 200 at 7.19 and 23.41, while Berry, the Seattle native who owns a world championship gold medal from Daegu in the 4 x 4, is the reigning Pac-10 champ at 400m and looks to unseat Stanford's Amaechi Morton, the defending MPSF indoor champ in the 400;

--Bryan McBride of Arizona State in the high jump, who has jumped 7-5 this season, will be in a battle with Arizona's defending champ Edgar Rivera-Morales and Nick Ross, the Pac-10 outdoor champ;

--UCLA's defending champ Michael Woepse and BYU's Victor Weirich, both of whom have jumped 18-5 in the pole vault this season;

--Arizona's Julie Labonte, the most dominant shot putter in the MPSF and the Pac-10 last year;

--Stephan Scott-Ellis of Washington State in both the long and triple jumps. He's the conference leader in the long jump at 24-8.5, and is the reigning Pac-10 champ in the triple jump.

The MPSF release can be read here. Washington's release is available here, while Washington State's release is here.

NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University and the MPSF contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nike+ now in basketball and cross training...

NEW YORK--It wasn't quite the end game of using the FuelBand technology and taking it to a Nike store to have a customized shoe that counterkicks.com speculated in a post Tuesday night, but it was close.

Day 2 of Nike's Innovation Summit (photo of Allyson Felix courtesy Nike) concluded with the introduction of Nike+ Training, and Nike+ Basketball, expanding upon the Nike+ system introduced several years ago for runners.

NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker unveiled the new NIKE+ technology at an event attended by U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz, and boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao.

The Nike+ Training programs consist of a series of short, sharp workouts, designed to help users get fitter, faster and stronger. Each workout is demonstrated on-screen to provide detailed guidance and motivation. During each drill or challenge data and feedback on the workout is delivered to the user’s phone via the Nike+ Training mobile app. Daily programs can be created based on how hard the user wants to train, and the app provides a digital community to share each day's workouts and challenges with.

Nike+ Basketball measures how high, how hard and how quick players play the game via the ‘Track My Game’ mode. The NIKE+ enabled basketball shoes track information on every movement during the game and deliver back information to the user, giving them a basis from which to improve.

“NIKE+ allows us to connect the physical world of sport with the social elements of digital to create a better sport experience for every athlete,” said Parker.  “It’s about much more than a shoe.  It represents a shift for NIKE from product, to product + experiences.”



Workout statistics can be shared and compared with friends via social networks allowing users to challenge each other and compete to top the Leaderboard.

The complete news release is available here.

NOTE: NIKE media relations contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Links to articles on Andrea Geubelle, Aretha Thurmond and Kenyan trials at Pre...

Here's a story, courtesy of kansan.com on horizontal jumper Andrea Geubelle from University Place, just outside of Tacoma, who was recently named by the Big 12 Conference as its female track & field athlete of the week.

The five-time All-American, competing at the University of Kansas, set two PRs at the Husky Classic in both the long (20-5.25/6.23m) and triple (43-7/13.28m) jumps two weeks ago.

“Getting a PR [personal record] in both events I think just kind of proved to everybody back home that things are going good here at KU and that the school I chose is working out for me and my coach is great,” Guebelle said. “Having that much support helped a lot but at the same time probably put a lot of pressure on me. And obviously coming back here (to Lawrence) and hearing I won Big 12 Athlete of the Week is awesome.”

To read the full story, please click here.

University of Washington alum and three time discus Olympian Aretha Thurmond returned to the USA after opening her 2012 campaign with two meets in Perth and Sydney, Australia, slightly earlier than her traditional season openers in April.

She was pleased with the fact that she opened the season with two meets over 60 meters (196-10) this early in the campaign.

You can read her assessment of her tour in Australia here.

Finally, here's a link to a report from Kenya, after we wondered in a post last week which athletes will be selected to run in the final Olympic trials races at the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said, “We will do mini-trials at an appropriate place after which we will select athletes to go for the Prefontaine trials. People should not play politics as we are looking for the best Kenyan team.”

You can read the full story here.

Nike introduces fast technology for the Olympics...

NEW YORK--Nike unveiled an array of new technological advances that track and field athletes will wear at this summer's Olympics in London at a media gathering featuring sprinters Carmelita Jeter and Walter Dix, and marathoner Abdi Abdirahman.

Nike CEO Mark Parker told the media, "Today we’ve unveiled technology we believe has the potential to change sports performance. Nike has always been committed to bringing the best innovations to athletes at every level and we’ve done that today in a powerful way".

"The Nike Flyknit upper redefines the idea of running footwear: Lightweight and virtually seamless, it acts like a second skin for the foot and is precision engineered in one piece and one layer to minimize waste, dramatically changing how footwear is designed and manufactured."

Among the technological innovations introduced included Nike Flyknit, a next generation upper based on the company's Flywire technology introduced four years ago at the Olympic summit in Beaverton.

Flyknit technology will be used in the Flyknit Racer, a featherweight (5.6 ounces or 160 grams for size 9) road racing shoe that Abdi Abdirahman wore to earn a spot on the US Olympic team in the marathon last month in Houston. That technology will also be used on its Flyknit Trainer+, an everyday running flat that weighs 220 grams or 7.7 ounces.

Another innovation introduced is the Pro Turbospeed suit (above/photo courtesy Nike) that many sprinters will wear in competition, particularly among Nike sponsored federations like the USA, Russia, China, and Germany. The company's sponsored athletes will debut those suits in pro competition beginning in April (paulmerca.blogspot.com has been told by several credible sources that the basic look of the national team uniforms for Nike sponsored federations will trickle down to its sponsored schools, like the University of Washington for the 2013 season--think a purple & gold version of the Russian speed suit!).

Nike Pro TurboSpeed is made with approximately 82% recycled polyester fabric, using an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles.

Spike shoe nuts will be happy to know that the Zoom Superfly R4 and the Zoom Victory Elite middle distance shoe were unveiled.

Once upon a time, Nike co-founder and Oregon track & field coach Bill Bowerman said that the ultimate track spike is a bare foot with nails.

Both the Superfly R4 and the Zoom Victory Elite (above/photo courtesy Nike) are edging closer to Bowerman's ultimate track shoe, as they've managed to shave some weight from its predecessors, yet maintain its support and traction features, using a dynamic Flywire upper that helps lock the foot down for a more personalized fit.

The Superfly R4 has an aggressive eight-spike Pebax plate to help sprinters get a strong push off, especially in the start and drive phases of the race, while the Zoom Victory Elite uses a carbon fiber plate for traction, support and flexibility.

According to a post by counterkicks.com, some of the shoes that were introduced at Nike's media bash are part of a big tie-in with the Nike FuelBand introduced to the public last month.

In the post, the web site says that Nike’s 2012 Olympics shoes (or footwear to come) features sensors in the footbeds that read everything you do.

The end goal is to combined the modularity their recent releases and take the data one step further by creating the ultimate custom fit shoe.

The FuelBand will read your style of running, and you'll allegedly be able to take your band to a Nike store with the personal data stored in the band, and have a custom made shoe, making it a game changer.

The company is expected to make this announcement Wednesday when the media summit concludes, according to counterkicks.com.

NOTE:  Nike Media Relations contributed to this report.

Huskies drop one spot to #23 in latest USTFCCCA women's Division I poll...

With the majority of conferences hosting championships this weekend, there was not much shifting in the latest USTFCCCA Division I National Computer Team Rankings.

The top four men’s teams stayed in the same spot, spurred by No. 1 Arkansas. Oregon still is the No. 1 team on the women’s side as LSU and Clemson switched positions, now standing at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

The University of Washington dropped one spot in the national women's rankings to #23, although the Huskies were idle last weekend.

Washington hosts the MPSF championships Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor Facility. The current MPSF performance list can be accessed here.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Katie Mackey: Same runner, new name...

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's a video interview with Katie Mackey (left/photo by Paul Merca), the University of Washington alum who has now moved to Portland to train under Sean Coster of Run Portland, after working with Husky coach Greg Metcalf through all four years at the UW, and her first pro season running for Bothell-based Brooks.

If the name doesn't quite ring a bell to casual track fans in the state of Washington, it's because you knew her as Katie Follett, the two time Pac-10 1500 meter champion, and key member of the Huskies' 2008 national championship cross country team, before getting married on New Year's Eve.

In this video, she talks about what she learned from her first full year running as a professional, and about how she's been accepted into the Portland running community after making the move from Seattle.

The former Katie Follett made me look like a genius four years ago when I worked for FOX Sports Net on its telecast of the Pac-10 track & field championships from Tempe, when she beat favored Lauren Centrowitz of Stanford and Nicole Blood of Oregon, after I told the graphics coordinator on the show to build a "hero" graphic of her to bank, since they had pre-built graphics of Blood & Centrowitz.

Mackey is entered in the 1500 at this weekend's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the top two finishers who have the necessary qualifying standards will represent the USA at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

The current list of accepted entries is available here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cougs, Zags & Eagles tune up for conference meets at Vandal Collegiate in Moscow...

MOSCOW, Idaho--With the focus of tuning up for the conference championships next week, Washington State, Eastern Washington, and Gonzaga competed Saturday at the Vandal Collegiate Indoor meet at the Kibbie Dome.

WSU alum Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca), the reigning USA and NCAA 400 hurdles champion took the victory in the men's 400, running 48.17.

The Cougars' Michael Bolligar won the high jump with a season-best 6-feet, 8 3/4 inches (2.05m), and captured the long jump with a distance of 22-6 1/2 (6.87m). He also ran a PR time in the 60m hurdles of 8.88 seconds.

Other Cougar men claiming victories included Dana Wells who continued to see his marks fall this season with a win in the 200m in a PR time of 21.90.Lee George won the mile in a PR time of 4:11.40, and Aric Walden won the 60m hurdles in a time of 8.19. Thrower Joe Bartlett won the shot put with a mark of 57-7 (17.55m).

Gonzaga's Robert Walgren won the 3000 in 8:31.78, and Eastern Washington won the men's 4 x 400 relay in 3:15.30.

On the women's side, Shawna Fermin won the 200m dash in a PR time of 24.35 seconds, the fastest time for a WSU woman this season.

Shaquana Logan led a foursome of Cougs to top five finishes in 60m hurdles. Logan won with a time of 8.52 followed by Devin Brooks (2nd, 8.82), Morgan Clem (4th, 9.09), and Andrea Smith (5th, 9.10).

Eastern's Keisa Monterola continued her hot streak, winning the pole vault with a jump of 13-11.25 (4.25m), and leading an Eagle 1-2-3 finish. Teammate Shene Davis won the long jump in 18-7.25 (5.67m).

Former Eagle Erica Chaney won both the shot put (49-8.25/15.14m) and the weight (57-10.25/17.63m).

Gonzaga's Emily Thomas won the 3000 in 9:57.00.

Eastern Washington next competes at the Big Sky championships in Flagstaff, Arizona next weekend, while the Cougars head to Seattle for the MPSF championships.  With the West Coast Conference not sponsoring indoor track, the Zags will wait two weeks to run in the Husky Last Chance meet in Seattle.

Complete results from the Vandal Collegiate meet are available here.

PRO NOTES:

Vancouver native Kara Patterson blogs about her victory in Saturday night's Sydney Track Classic, where she had a toss of 191-10 (58.47m).

The one thing that stands out from her post is the fact that she writes, "I had more intensity, confidence, fun, and connection than I have in a competition for a whole year."

To read the rest of her post, please click here.

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

Could the Kenyan Olympic Trials in the 10000 be held in Eugene?

Fellow blogger Jim McDannald of Track Focus broke the story Friday about the possibility that the Kenyan Olympic Trials races in the men's and women's 10000 meters (photo of Priscah Cherono, Linet Masai & Sally Kipyego at 2011 world championships in Daegu by Paul Merca) could be held in conjunction with the Nike Prefontaine Classic, scheduled for June 2nd at Hayward Field in Eugene.

This came up in a series of tweets posted Friday by Michel Boeting of @one4onesports and Ian Chaney (@chasechaney) who wrote:

So its decided that the 5.000m and 10.000m trials for #Kenyan Olympic team will be held in#Eugene early June; Men and women.@London2012 (Boeting)

and…Kenya's olympic trials for 5000m and 10,000m will be held at the Eugene meeting in June #IAAF (Chaney)

Curtis Anderson of the Eugene Register-Guard followed it up with a post on his paper's web site along with a quote from Pre Classic meet director Tom Jordan stating that it looks "promising" that it will happen.

My guess is that the Kenyan 10k trials will happen on Friday night the 1st.

Both the Register-Guard and Track Focus are awaiting word on whether the 5000 trials will be held there as well.

This begs the question of why Athletics Kenya would want the meet in Eugene?

It boils down to several factors, according to McDannald:

Lack of altitude, timing, weather conditions, and the almighty Swoosh.

You can read McDannald's post here, and you can read Anderson's post here.

Another question worth asking is which athletes will be selected by Athletics Kenya to RUN in the trials?  Do they have objective standards, and if so, what are they?  We assume that AK/Nike will pay to house and transport them to Eugene?

Only thing we can tell you…stay tuned!

Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen hits triple digits in winning 60 hurdles and anchoring 4 x 4 relay...

NAMPA, Idaho--Number nine was mighty fine for the Falcons of Seattle Pacific, as their athletes took seven of sixteen events en route to winning their ninth consecutive GNAC women's indoor track and field championship at Jackson's Track, the same venue that will host the NCAA Division I championships in three weeks.

Senior Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University)  from Coos Bay, Oregon led the Falcon charge, winning the 60 meter hurdles, and anchoring the 4 x 400 meter relay squad, en route to being named the most outstanding athlete of the meet, to give her seven overall victories in four years, which included a win Friday night in the long jump.

Along with those two individual victories and a relay win, Worthen was second in the high jump on Saturday, third in the 200 meters and fifth in the triple jump, giving her 38 individual points for the day. She wound up with 110 for her career, becoming the first GNAC athlete – male or female – to break 100 and passing SPU alum Chris Randolph as the most prolific scorer in conference history.

“I knew coming in what I was going to need to do to get it,” said Worthen, whose indoor career very likely will extend to the NCAA Division II nationals next month in the pentathlon, an event she did not contest in this meet in order to maximize scoring opportunities. “That 4-by-4 was so much fun, and I was so happy to end it here like that. I couldn't have expected any better.”

The 4 x 400 meter relay squad consisting of Emily Quatier, Kishia Mitchell, Myisha Valentine and Worthen sped to victory in a time of 3:53.59.

Other Falcon winners included Mitchell in the 60 meters (7.80), McKayla Fricker in the 800 (2:15.53), and Heidi Laabs-Johnson in the 5000 (17:42.79).

Senior Eleanor Siler of Western Washington won the 400 in a time of 56.70, beating the Falcons' Valentine, who finished second in 57.79.

With that victory, Siler took her third career GNAC crown in that event.

The Vikings finished a distant second behind Seattle Pacific, with the Falcons scoring 182 to Western's 97.5. Central Washington finished sixth with 54 points, and St. Martin's was eighth with nine points.

In the men's competition, Central Washington's Bryan Mack was one of winners for the Wildcats, as they finished second overall to Western Oregon with a team score of 110 to Western Oregon's 142.5.

Besides Mack's win in the 60, the Wildcats used three events to accumulate a large percentage of their points on Saturday. They scored 19 points in the heptathlon, 18 in the weight throw, and 14 in the triple jump.

Mack, who won the 2009 GNAC indoor title, took the 60 crown, running 6.90 to beat Western Washington's Alex Tilley, who ran 7.04.

The other winner for Central Washington Saturday was Scott Hunter in the pole vault (14-11/4.55m).

St. Martin's got an individual victory, as Sam Washington threw the 35-pound weight 55-11 3/4 (17.06m).

Seattle Pacific's Nate Johnson set a new meet record in the heptathlon, scoring 4860 points, eclipsing his old meet record of 4576, set last year.

Other Falcon winners included Nathan Seely in the 800, who captured his third GNAC title, cruising across the line in 1:54.10, and Seth Pierson in the mile, running 4:13.27.

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, here's a post race interview with Seely following his victory:



Western Washington finished third overall with 110 points. St. Martin's was fifth with 44.5 points, and the Falcons were 1/2 point behind the Saints at 44.

Seattle Pacific will host a last chance meet next Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington following the conclusion of the MPSF Championships, as individuals try to improve their marks before the NCAA Division II championships on March 9-10 in Mankato, Minnesota.

Complete results of the GNAC indoor championships are available here.

NOTE:  The GNAC, and the sports information offices at Central Washington, St. Martin's, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington contributed to this report.

Kara Patterson takes victory in Sydney; Thurmond third, while Lagat fourth in Birmingham...

SYDNEY, Australia--Kara Patterson (left/photo by Mike Scott) easily won the javelin Saturday night at the Sydney Track Classic at the Sydney Olympic Park with a toss of 191-10 (58.47m).

Competing against a domestic field, the Skyview/Vancouver graduate put it away in the opening round, throwing 187-2 (57.05m), with all six throws good enough to win.

The three time US national champion, competing in her second meet of this Australian tour, improved to 191-8 (58.42m) in round two, before getting her best toss of 191-10 in the fifth round.

In a very competitive event, University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond finished third in the discus with a toss of 197-3 (60.12m).

Reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton took the victory, spinning the platter 207-5 (63.23m), with local hero and 2009 world champion Dani Samuels taking second in 199-1 (60.68m).

Complete results from the Sydney Track Classic are available here.

At the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, Bernard Lagat, fresh off his American record in the 5000, finished fourth in the 1500, running a season best 3:36.20.

Lagat said before the race that he was aiming for a time around 3:33-3:34ish.

The WSU alum tucked in behind Augustine Choge and the pacemaker Justin Koech, as they went through 400 in 56.4. The pack then ran 1:54.6 at 800, then picked up to 2:52.6 through 1200 meters, as a group of three opened up a gap on Lagat.

Kenya's Nixon Chepseba took the win in 3:34.70, followed by countryman Bethwel Birgen in 3:34.88.

Ethiopia's Gebremedhin Mekonnen took third in 3:34.89.

Complete results from the Aviva Birrmingham Grand Prix are available here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

SPU's Worthen & Gross along with Central's Davis, Boyes, and Melo win GNAC indoor titles...

NAMPA, Idaho--Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen became the all-time leading women's point scorer in the history of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field championship meet Friday finishing first in the long jump with a leap of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m).

Worthen, a senior from Coos Bay, Oregon's Marshfield HS, came through in the final round to pass previous leader Emily Warman of Western Washington by 2 ¾ inches for her second straight title in that event and third in her four years as a Falcon.

“That's usually when I get my PRs and when I perform my best,” said Worthen, adding that she has found herself in late come-from behind situations “quite a few times” during her career. “I like to be challenged in competition – the more competition there is, the better I compete. “Emily is a great competitor, and I respect her.”

Worthen's victory was worth 10 points and moved her past former SPU star Jessica Pixler as the highest-scoring woman in GNAC indoor history. Worthen now has 82 points; Pixler finished with 76. Worthen has a chance for more on Saturday, and will be the top seed in the 60 hurdles finals after her best-ever time of 8.82 in Friday's prelims.

SPU, going for its ninth straight team title, leads with 41 points. Western Washington is second with 34 after Friday.

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, Worthen spoke about her last round victory.



Falcon teammate Katy Gross (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) won the pentathlon with a meet record score of 3,469 points, improving on her winning score last year of 3,297, which was the first year for the event.

Her mark is currently the 12th best score in Division II this season.

In other finals, Central Washington's Kati Davis beat Western Washington's Karis Anderson in the women's pole vault on fewer misses, as each jumped 12-5 1/2 (3.80m);

Davis' teammate Brennan Boyes won his second GNAC high jump title, setting a meet record with a mark of 6-9 (2.06m) in a jump-off with Western Washington's Logan Myers;

Central's Manny Melo won the long jump title with a leap of 23-2 3/4 (7.08m).

In the men's team race, Central Washington leads Western Washington 41-31 after four events.

The meet concludes Saturday.

Complete results of the GNAC championships are available here.

NOTE:  The GNAC, Seattle Pacific, and Central Washington's sports information offices contributed to this report.

Thurmond and Patterson continue their tour Down Under, while Lagat runs in Birmingham...


Throwers Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Vancouver and Renton native Aretha Thurmond continue their summertime tour of Australia as the duo compete in Saturday night's Sydney Track Classic at Olympic Park.

Thurmond faces the defending Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton and the 2009 world champion and home town favorite Dani Samuels in an exciting discus competition.

Thurmond opened her season last week in Perth, throwing 200-0 (60.96m) finishing second to fellow American Brown-Trafton.

Patterson, the three time US national champion in the javelin, faces a domestic field comprising of Karen Clarke, Emily Debrot, and Lauren Foote. Patterson threw 194-2 (59.18m) in her season opener in Perth.

Notable Americans competing in Sydney include Nick Symmonds of the Oregon TC Elite/Eugene in the 800 against Olympic 1500m champ Asbel Kiprop; former Idaho discus thrower Russ Winger; and Will Leer and David Torrence in the men's 1500.

The meet gets under way at 6 pm, local time (Sydney is 19 hours ahead of Seattle), and can be watched online here.

The start list for the Sydney Track Classic can be downloaded here.

In Birmingham, Bernard Lagat faces a strong field in the men's 1500m at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix indoor meet on Saturday in the British city.

Lagat, who set an American record in the 5000 last week in New York faces the world number two Bethwel Birgen, another victor in Karlsruhe, plus fellow Kenyan Nixon Chepseba, the winner in Dusseldorf last week.  There's also defending champion Augustine Choge of Kenya, and Ethiopia's Gebremedhin Mekonnen is also in the field.

The start list for the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix is available here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coos Bay native Ali Worthen of Seattle Pacific aiming for 100 career points at GNAC indoor championships...

Western Washington, Central Washington, St Martin's, and Seattle Pacific's track and field teams head out to Nampa, Idaho for the two-day Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor championships at Jackson's Track, which will host the NCAA Division I championships in a few weeks.

On the women's side, Seattle Pacific looks to have the inside track to winning its ninth straight GNAC indoor title, led by its do-it-all athlete, senior Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University), who is one of the meet's most compelling stories.

Worthen, who won long jump and high jump titles in both 2009 and 2011, has scored 72 career points in three previous meets and is just four points shy of the GNAC record of 76 held by SPU long-distance legend Jessica Pixler.

As this story via the Seattle Pacific sports information department notes, Worthen, who hails from the same high school (Marshfield/Coos Bay, OR) as the great Steve Prefontaine, could potentially become the first in GNAC history to score 100 career points in the GNAC indoor championships.

She needs 14 points to beat out another legendary SPU multi-eventer, Chris Randolph as the GNAC's most prolific indoor scorer ever, male or female. And, 28 points would put Worthen at the milestone of 100.

Worthen is entered in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, 60-meter hurdles, and 200 meters this weekend.

Worthen is one of three previous champions back for the Falcon women. Katy Gross won the pentathlon title last year and is the top seed in the event, while Brittany Aanstad was the 2010 high jump champion.

In all the Falcons have the top-seeded athlete in four individual events including Gross, Worthen (60 hurdles), Kishia Mitchell (60) and Heidi Laabs-Johnson (5000).

Worthen, Gross and Central Washington's Katharine Lotze in the triple jump are the only defending champions in the women's division.

Emily Warman of Western Washington won the 2010 long jump title and is the No. 1 seed. She will also compete in the triple jump, an event in which she was the indoor national champion in 2009.

Eleanor Siler of Western Washington is the top seed in the 400 and also will compete in the 200, two events in which she swept in 2010. She's going for her third 400 title also winning it in 2009.

In all the Vikings have four top seeds including Brittany Grandy in the high jump and Karis Anderson in the pole vault to match Seattle Pacific's women in that category.

On the men's side, Western Washington and Central Washington are seen as legitimate threats to win the GNAC title, with Western Oregon entering the meet as slight favorites.

Central Washington has three past champions, but just one - Brandon Roddewig in the high jump - from last season. And he's not competing in that event this year.

Brennan Boyes was the 2010 high jump champion and is the top seed, while Bryan Mack was the 2009 60 champion and comes in as the No. 1 seed. Manny Melo in the long jump is also a top seed for the Wildcats.

Alex Tilley of Western Washington is the only other defending champion as he returns as the No. 4 seed in the 60. WWU pole vaulter Cal Rosenberg is the Vikings' lone No. 1 seed.

Seattle Pacific returns two defending champions though it likely doesn't have the depth to challenge the top four.

Nate Seely looks to win his third straight title over 800 meters, while Nate Johnson is the reigning GNAC heptathlon champion.

Saint Martin's will be led by Sam Washington, who is seeded first in the 35-pound weight throw and is second in the shot put. SMU's last conference champ was John Riak in 2009 in the 5000.

The meet gets under Friday morning with the opening events of the men's heptathlon and women's pentathlon.

Finals are also scheduled Friday in the women's weight throw, long jump and pole vault and the men's high jump, long jump and shot put. Both distance medley relays will also be contested Friday along with prelims in the 60 and 60 hurdles.

The heat sheets for the GNAC championships are available here.  The meet program is available here.

NOTE:  Seattle Pacific University and the GNAC contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bernard Lagat speaks to writers on USATF teleconference Wednesday, plus Brad Walker in Ukraine...

USA Track & Field hosted a conference call Wednesday with members of the national media featuring pole vaulter Jenn Suhr, shot putter Jillian Camarena-Williams, and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat (left, with Galen Rupp/photo by Paul Merca).

Lagat established a new American record in the 5,000-meters Saturday at the 105th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York, running 13:07.15,  while Camarena-Williams bettered her own American record in the women's shot put at the USA Track & Field Classic in Fayetteville, Ark., and Suhr improved her own American record in the women's pole vault February 4 at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix.

One of the most interesting parts of this past weekend is the contention, notably by fellow blogger Jesse Squire, that the feats of Lagat, and others who competed at the Armory in New York, were slighted by USA Track & Field in its releases over the weekend, as they were running in a meet that went head to head with the USATF Classic in Fayetteville.

The Millrose Games were shown live on YouTube, while the USATF Classic was tape delayed and shown on ESPN2.

This is what Lagat, who holds seven American indoor and outdoor records had to say to the media Wednesday, a few days before he competes on Saturday at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, where he will contest the 1500 meter run.

On how his indoor season has been going
“I’m feeling good. Everything has felt good. Everything is going great. I am definitely looking forward to a few more races left.”

On qualifying for the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul:
“That is one of my objectives. My objective is to go to Albuquerque and win and if I am able to win there I would be happy to represent the United States at the World Indoor Championships. I’m looking forward to representing the United States again and to defend my title.”

On his race plans from last Saturday’s Millrose Games:
“The plan was to have a good 5,000 meters. That is the most important preparation for the outdoor season. I wanted to run hard and if I get the record that would be great. I wanted to treat indoor as a good preparation for outdoors. My plan is to make the world team for the indoor season.”

On maintaining a high level as an athlete:
“One of the things that has helped is I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t do too much in volume. At the end of the week, if I write down my mileage I might run as much as a high school runner. I don’t over-train. I try not to over-race. You can get hurt. At this point I have to listen to my body a lot. It’s about keeping your body fresh.”

On the chance of Galen Rupp racing the 3,000m at the USA Indoor Championships
“I would really like to have him come and run. He is one of the strongest runners right now. The USA is going to send a good team to the World Championships. He looks strong and he is in good health. That would be really nice to run against him. He is going in there and wants to win. I am doing the same thing. It will be interesting to see two strong guys going for the win. I think it will be pretty exciting.”
Unless things change, the Cougar hall of famer does not plan to contest the 1500 at the Olympic Trials as he did in 2008.

The complete recap of the teleconference can be accessed here.

BRAD WALKER SIXTH IN DONETSK

With all the happenings over last weekend between the Husky Classic, the USA Cross Country Championships, the UW Open, the Millrose Games, and the USATF Classic/Tyson Invitational in Arkansas, PLUS Aretha Thurmond and Kara Patterson opening their season in Australia, we completely overlooked Brad Walker, who went to the Ukraine to compete in Sergey Bubka's Pole Vault Stars invitational

The University of Washington alum and Mountlake Terrace resident finished sixth with a jump of 18-5 1/4 (5.62m) as France's Renaud Lavillenie took the victory with a leap of 19-1 (5.82m) on fewer misses over Germany's Bjorn Otto, who had the same mark.

Results from the meet are available here.

Alan Abrahamson, one of this country's most respected Olympic sports writers, actually traveled to the Ukraine to witness this event, and has a post on it on his site, 3wiresports.com.

You can read his account here.

Here's video of Walker clearing 18-5 1/4, courtesy of ChappellVideos/ucsspirit.com:



NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flood's nation leading marks in mile and 3000 boost Dawgs to #22 in USTFCCCA rankings...

The University of Washington women's track & field team have moved into the USTFCCCA national top 25 rankings for the first time this indoor season, placing themselves in the #22 position.

The Huskies are in the top 25 based on the strength of sophomore Katie Flood's (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) NCAA leading time of 4:28.48 at Saturday's Flotrack Husky Classic, as well as her 8:55.31 NCAA leading mark on January 27th at the UW Invitational.

Flood's performance, by all accounts, should move her from the "Receiving Mention" list to the "Watch List" when the USTFCCCA publishes its next Bowerman Watch list of athletes.

Fellow sophomore Megan Goethals contributed to the Huskies' national power rankings with her 15:54.89 school record time in the Friday portion of the Flotrack Husky Classic, a mark that ranks her #9 on the current NCAA Division I list.

For the nation’s women, two-time defending champion Oregon was unfazed by moving week as they stay at No. 1 – a place they’ve been since the preseason. Freshman English Gardner is among many Ducks with significant performance this season. The University of Oregon is followed by Clemson and LSU.

The national rankings on the men’s side still have Arkansas and Florida in the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. However, with the point margin between the squads at 166.98 to 166.09, it is a virtual tie for nation’s top spot.

Texas A&M has made a slow climb throughout the season, but now stand at No. 3 after a five-spot bump.

The complete USTFCCCA top 25 list is available here.  The organization's release is available here.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Linfield's Catherine Street sets NCAA D3 pole vault mark at UW Open...

SEATTLE--The three day track and field extravaganza at the Dempsey Indoor Facility at the University of Washington ended with Sunday's UW Open meet featuring an assortment of athletes ranging from 2008 US Olympian Sharon Day, who competed the day before at the Husky Classic to local high school stars, with collegiate tracksters comprising the majority of those in attendance.

Day, the reigning USA heptathlon champion and 2008 Olympian in the high jump, contested the 60 meter hurdles, where she was fifth in 8.82. She also threw the shot put 44-6.25 (14.28m) to get sixth in her flight.

The best performance of the meet was in the women's pole vault as Catherine Street of Division III Linfield College of Oregon (left/photo courtesy Linfield College) set a new NCAA D3 record, skying 13-9.25 (4.20m).

Links to releases from Seattle Pacific are available here, while Western Washington's release is available here.

Complete results from the UW Open are available here.

NOTE: Linfield College, the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Katie Flood fourth on all time collegiate mile list; Bernard Lagat does it again!

SEATTLE--Washington sophomore Katie Flood (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) continued her roll this winter at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor facility as she broke her second school record, as she ran 4:28.48, losing only by 7/100ths of a second to Kenya's world championships silver medalist in the 10000, Sally Kipyego, competing for the Oregon Track Club Elite/Eugene.

Flood ran near the front for most of the race, as Canadian Hilary Stellingwerff and Florida's Cory McGee did the early front-running.

With one lap to go, Flood made a move for the outside, while at the same time, Kipyego, who had been patiently sitting in the pack, moved to the front as well.

As they entered the homestraight, Flood made one more move to get at Kipyego, but she fell short.

According to Track & Field News, Flood's performance is the fourth best time ever indoors by a collegian, with only Jenny Barringer of Colorado (4:25.91), Kipyego of Texas Tech (4:27.19) and Vicki Huber of Villanova (4:28.31). All but Kipyego have competed in the Olympics during their careers.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's the replay of Flood's race:



Some of the highlights of the Husky Classic:

--Olympian Lopez Lomong won the men's 800, running 1:47.87, while Michigan alum and world championships competitor Geena Gall won the women's 800 in 2:03.12;

--Local fan favorite Norris Frederick won the long jump with a leap of 26-0 (7.92m);

--In a slight upset, Kim Conley won the women's invitational 3000 in 8:57.62, defeating former NCAA champion Lisa Uhl, who was third in 9:01.80;

--North Carolina State's Ryan Hill throws down a quick final lap of the Dempsey to run 7:43.04, which is an American leading mark

--Rice University alum Jason Colwick cleared 18 feet, as the former NCAA champ who now trains in Seattle under UW coach Pat Licari won with a mark of 18-1.75 (5.53m);

--In the women's pole vault, Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola was victorious, clearing 14-2 (4.32m) to beat pro Melinda Owen and Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi(13-10/4.22m), with former Husky Carly Dockendorf fourth with the same mark;

--Olympian Sharon Day won the women's high jump with a leap of 6-0.75 (1.85m). Tacoma prep standout Andrea Geubelle of the University of Kansas won the triple jump, bounding 43-7 (13.28m) and finished second in the long jump with a leap of 20-5 1/4 (6.23m);

Results from the Husky Classic are available here.


PRO RECAP:

We start things off with Aretha Thurmond opening the 2012 season at the Perth Track Classic in Australia, finishing second in the discus with a toss of 200-0 (60.96m) to finish behind Olympic champion Stephanie Brown Trafton, who won with a mark of 202-5 (61.71m).

Vancouver native and three time US champ Kara Patterson opened her season with a throw of 194-2 (59.18m) in Perth;

At the USATF Classic in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Powell won the 60 meter hurdles in a time of 7.97;

In the collegiate section of the USATF Classic (aka the Tyson Classic), Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis finished fifth in the men's triple jump after leaping 51-7 3/4 (15.74m) in his first attempt and then fouled the next five attempts. Shawn Swartz tied for eighth in the men's high jump after clearing 6-11 (2.11m) which equals his season-best.

At the Millrose Games at the Armory in New York, Jeshua Anderson finished second in the men's 500 meter run behind LaShawn Merritt, as Merritt ran 1:01.39, with Anderson close at 1:01.86.

In one of the most thrilling races of the night, WSU alum Bernard Lagat ran 13:07.15 to break the American record and beat training partner Lawi Lalang of the University of Arizona as Lalang set a new collegiate record of 13:07.15.

Lagat took out Galen Rupp's old American record of 13:11.44.

Courtesy of the Armory, here's video of Lagat's record run:



University of Washington alum Katie Mackey finished sixth in the women's 1500, running 4:11.51, as world champion Jenny Simpson took the win in 4:07.27

Results from the Millrose Games are available here.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, Washington State University, USA Track & Field, the University of Arkansas, and the Armory contributed to this report.

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