Saturday, March 31, 2012

Washington State men sweep Bruins and Vols in double dual; Western men & SPU women win Vernacchia...

LOS ANGELES--Senior Joe Abbott's (left, #751/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) win in the 800 meter run and more importantly, his anchor leg in the 4 x 400 meter relay proved to be the difference as the Washington State University men claimed seven event wins en route to dual meet wins over both UCLA and Tennessee Saturday at the double dual meet at Drake Stadium.

The Cougar men defeated Tennessee 92 to 66, and overtook the host Bruins 85.5 to 77.5.

The Cougar women had four event wins but were edged by UCLA 82 to 81 and surpassed by No. 14 Tennessee 99 to 63. The UCLA men defeated Tennessee 115 to 46, and the Tennessee women beat UCLA 96 to 67.

"It was an exceptional day for Cougar track and field, both men and women and I'm so proud of our teams," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "Defeating UCLA men and Tennessee men was as good as we could have hoped for entering the meet. And we really had to battle all day long, right down to the final event, to get those wins. Joe Abbott and the UCLA anchor ran neck-and-neck the entire last leg of the men's four-by-four, and Joe beat him by half a stride and that was the difference in the meet."

Abbott won the men's 800m run in a time of 1:48.57 which is a UCLA dual meet record, and David Hickerson finished fourth (1:53.41). Abbott ended the day anchoring the 4x400m relay team of Ryan Barrett, J Hopkins, and Brandon Dawson to a second-place finish in a time of 3:14.62.

WSU All-American Stephan Scott-Ellis was a double-winner, first taking the men's long jump with a leap of 24-feet, 9 1/4 inches (7.55m), then finished his day with a victory in the triple jump with a leap of 50-5 1/4 (15.37m).

Lee George won the men's 1500 in a PR 3:47.93, while J Hopkins took the 400 hurdles in 51.52, and Andrew Gonzales won the 3000 steeple in 8:59.23 to round out the Cougar winners.

On the women's side, freshman Christine Kirkwood (Othello) led a first through fourth Cougar finish in the javelin, throwing 158-4 (48.26m), a UCLA dual meet record. Courtney Kirkwood Simmons was second to her sister after throwing a distance of 146-10 (44.75m), with Anna Adamko third (PR 146-6/44.66m), andJaclyn Onosko finished fourth (141-4/43.07m).

Caroline Austin (junior, Chehalis) led a one-two Cougar finish in the women's 3000m steeplechase, winning in a time of 10:47.01, which is a UCLA dual meet record, with Emily Farrar second in a time of 10:53.01.

Shawna Fermin claimed the women's 400m dash in a time of 53.86, which is a UCLA dual meet record time, and then claimed third in the 200m with a time of 24.20.

Christine Rice took the Cougars' final win of the day in the high jump with a leap of 5-8 1/2 (1.74m).

Complete results from the UCLA-Tennessee-WSU double dual are available here.

In Bellingham, the Western Washington University men's track and field team extended its string of team championships in the WWU Ralph Vernacchia Meet to 15 on Saturday at Civic Stadium, but the Viking women had their string of victories snapped at six, narrowly finishing second behind Seattle Pacific University.

WWU easily won the men's team title with 217.5 points, well ahead of second place Central Washington at 119.5.

By winning the final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay, Seattle Pacific took home the team title, as the Falcons finished with 142 points to 140 for the Vikings, the closest finish since 1995. British Columbia was third with 125.

Pole vaulter Cal Rosenberg led the charge for the Vikings, with a NCAA D2 provisional qualifier, clearing 15-9 (4.80m) in rainy conditions to finish behind WWU alum Ryan Brown, who cleared 16-8.75 (5.10m) for the win.

One of the best marks of the day was set by Canadian Olympian Mike Mason, who won the high jump with a mark of 7-2 1/2 (2.20m).

Some of the top marks included a win by Karis Anderson of Western in the pole vault, clearing a NCAA D2 provisional mark of 12-7 1/2 (3.85m), along with Seattle Pacific javelin thrower Brittany Aanstad, who won with a NCAA D2 provisional mark of 141-11 (43.27m), though she's thrown farther this season.

Complete results of the Ralph Vernacchia meet are available here.

In Salem, Oregon, Zach Stanfield of Seattle University won the 100 meters in 10.74, and the 200m in 21.75 at the Willamette Invitational.

SeattleU's Katie Tougas won the long jump with an outdoor PR of 17-6.75 (5.35m).

Complete results from the Willamette Invitational are available here.

Former Western Washington All-American Sarah Porter won the 5000 meter run late Friday night at the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Porter, who now competes for North Carolina based Zap Fitness, won section I of the 5000 in 16:02.06, over seven seconds ahead of Brittany Copeland of East Carolina (16:09.67).

Complete results from the Raleigh Relays are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Washington State, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Seattle University and North Carolina State University contributed to this report.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

(Sponsored post) Thanks to DistancePreps.com!

Special thanks to the sponsor of this week's posts on paulmerca.blogspot.com, DistancePreps.com!

For webcasts, videos, interviews and articles with an emphasis on what's happening in the state of Florida, visit DistancePreps.com!

The week ahead: Cougars return to LA; Eagles to Missoula, D2 schools in Bellingham...

The Washington State Cougars return to Los Angeles to compete in a double dual meet against Tennessee and the host UCLA Bruins at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA on Saturday.

The Cougar women's squad will be led by the tandem in the javelin of freshman Christine Kirkwood and older sister Courtney Kirkwood Simmons (left/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) from Othello, who are ranked 10th & 12th in NCAA Division I heading into this weekend with marks of 164-2 (50.05m) and 160-4 (48.87m) set at last week's USC Trojan Invite in LA.

WSU coach Rick Sloan has been a big proponent of scored meets over the years, noting that in the current collegiate track & field landscape, most meets aren't scored, with the emphasis being on chasing marks.

Speaking about this weekend, Sloan said, "I think the accountability of being part of a team and doing your part for the team outcome gets lost in those situations. I know that in years past, every time we come to the Husky Dual Meet, we seem to perform at a higher level because we are competing for the Cougs, instead of just for ourselves as individuals. That’s what I am looking forward to this weekend – having that type of a meet and that type of an atmosphere for our team.”

Courtesy of WSU, here's Sloan's weekly press conference and thoughts about this weekend's encounter with the Volunteers and the Bruins:



Washington State's full release can be read here.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington will head to Missoula, Montana for the Al Manuel Invitational hosted by the University of Montana.

According to EWU men's head coach Stan Kerr, the upcoming meet "is a good indicator to show us where everyone is at early in the outdoor season. We already know both Montana (Montana and Montana State) schools have very talented athletes. But we’re kind of all waiting for better spring weather to come in and let us see our top performances.”

Eastern Washington's release is available here…

Gonzaga will stay close to home and compete in the Sam Adams Classic hosted by Division III Whitworth University on Saturday.

Seattle University will head south to Salem, Oregon to compete in the Willamette Invitational, hosted by Willamette University.

Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and St. Martin's will head north to Bellingham for the Ralph Vernacchia Team Scoring meet hosted by Western Washington, with some events contested Friday night, and the majority of the meet held on Saturday.

NOTE:  The sports information offices at WSU, EWU, SeattleU, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

adidas ClimaCool Seduction hits market...

Our friends at adidas were kind enough to pass along some news about their new ClimaCool Seduction running shoe (left/photo courtesy adidas Media Relations), which hits the market early next month.

“This next generation of ClimaCool blends a dramatic new design with tons of breathability to give you a carefree ride for every run this summer,” said Mikal Peveto, director of running for adidas America.  “Seventy-five percent of the body’s energy is used to keep from overheating, so the ClimaCool Seduction is designed to keep your feet cool by providing as much ventilation as possible.”

The ClimaCool design helps reduce foot temperature and in-shoe moisture for maximum comfort during warm workouts.

Soccer stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham, and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, are featured with singer Katy Perry in the latest adidas brand campaign featuring the shoe, which will retail for $100.



ARE BRAD WALKER AND LINDSEY VONN AN ITEM?

According to this link forwarded to us by one of the five regular readers of the blog, pole vaulter Brad Walker, the reigning US indoor champion and bronze medalist at the world indoors a few weeks ago, is now associated with 2010 Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn.

According to bild.de, Walker was recently spotted with Vonn at the World Cup finals in Schladming, Austria, where she won her fourth career overall WC title.

Here's another link, courtesy of the Austrian Times.

NOTE: adidas Media Relations contributed to this story.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend roundup: Peyton Scoring Meet and Spring Break Open recap...

At the Peyton Scoring Meet on Saturday in Tacoma, the Puget Sound women's squad, and the St. Martin's men's team took top honors in the meet hosted by the University of Puget Sound.

St. Martin's 67 points on the men's side was good enough for the team win. Pacific Lutheran finished second with 63 points, the Loggers had 52 points in third and Olympic College had 14 points.

In the women's team competition, UPS scored 66 points to top St. Martin's by five, with Pacific Lutheran third with 45 and Olympic College with 23 points.

St. Martin's was led by thrower Sam Washington (left/photo courtesy St. Martin's University), the newly minted GNAC weight throw champ, who took a shot/disc double at 50-10.75 (15.51m) and 152-11 (46.60m), and pole vaulter Kevin Johnson, who cleared 13-11.75 (4.26m)

UPS' Andrea Leiken won two individual events--the 200 (26.38) and the 400 (58.22), and was part of the Loggers' winning 4 x 400m relay (4:08.27).

Complete results from the Peyton Scoring Meet are available here…

In Seattle, meet records were set in the men's steeple by John Ricardi (9:21.65), Katelyn Steen of Western Washington in the women's steeple (11:14.11), and Washington's Michelle Fero (56.35) in the 400 at the Spring Break Open meet hosted by Club Northwest on Saturday, with competition primarily from Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, and athletes from the University of Washington who didn't travel to Los Angeles for the USC Trojan Invitational.

Complete results from the Spring Break Open meet are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of St. Martin's University and the University of Puget Sound contributed to this report.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Husky vertical jumpers and WSU's Joe Bartlett shine at USC Trojan Invite...

LOS ANGELES-- Washington sophomore high jumper A.J. Maricich (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) cleared the coveted seven-foot mark in the high jump for the first time in his collegiate career, and pole vaulters Logan Miller and Robby Fegles soared to victories, while Washington State's Joe Bartlett was a double winner at the USC Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium.

Maricich, a Spokane native, nearly hit the seven-foot mark several times during the indoor season, and now starts his outdoor campaign with a new PR, clearing 7-0 ¼ (2.14m) to take the victory.

Miller was the only vaulter to clear 13 feet on the day, with a best of 13-2.5 (4.02m).

In the men's vault, Robby Feagles took the victory over heralded freshman teammate JJ Julifs 16-7.5 (5.07m) to 16-1.75 (4.92m), though Feagles broke a pole in the process.

Cougar senior Bartlett won the men's shot put with a heave of 57-feet, 6 1/4 inches (17.53m), and later in the afternoon won the discus with a throw of 169-4 (51.61m). Teammate Oliver Henry took second in the discus with a throw of 163-4 (49.78m), just one inch under his lifetime-best thrown last weekend in Spokane.

"My series in the shot put really gave me and Debra (Coach Farwell) a lot of encouraging signs," Bartlett said. "Now we know for sure we're moving in the right direction. Not only was the weather gorgeous but we had our first crack at beating some Huskies at this meet. It's nice to be able to get out in the sunshine and not have to brave the elements of the Palouse!"

Washington's 4x100-meter relay got a nice opener, placing second behind Texas A&M and edging out USC, Washington State, and BYU in a time of 40.13 seconds. Matt Anthony led off, handing to James Alaka, thenMaurice McNeal and Ryan Hamilton anchored.

WSU coach Rick Sloan said after the meet, "We got the outdoor season officially underway last weekend and this weekend got to see more performances in better weather."

"Now we regroup and get ourselves together and get ready for the dual meets next weekend. We're limited to 34 of each gender and we need to find the best 34 that have the best likelihood of scoring points for us."

Washington State returns to LA for a double dual against Tennessee and UCLA next weekend, while the Huskies head to Austin for the Texas Relays.

Washington's meet recap is available here, while Washington State's is available here.

The complete results from the USC Trojan Invitational are available here.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freshman Christine Kirkwood makes strong debut for Cougs at USC Trojan Invitational...

LOS ANGELES--Washington State freshman Christine Kirkwood (left/photo courtesy Washington State University) made a strong debut in the javelin as the Cougars and Huskies opened up competition at the USC Trojan Invitational Friday night at Loker Stadium

Kirkwood placed second in the women's javelin with a collegiate debut toss of 164-feet, 2 inches (50.05m). Her older sister, All-American Courtney Kirkwood Simmons finished fourth with a toss of 160-4 (48.87m). BYU's Allyson Wardell-Andersen edged Kirkwood to win the competition with a throw of 167-11 (51.19m).

The Huskies' Amanda Peterson (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) was fifth at 159-3 (48.53m), followed by fellow senior Brooke Pighin in sixth at 154-10 (47.19m), and teammate Jordin Seekins in seventh at 140-2 (42.72m).

WSU's Anna Adamko threw 137-7 (41.95m) for ninth and Jaclyn Onosko threw the spear 129-2 (39.37m) for 10th.

In the men's javelin, reigning Pac-10 champ Cooper Thompson of USC took the victory with a toss of 235-2 (71.69m), with the Huskies' Joe Zimmerman second at 228-9 (69.72m).

Washington State's Sam Ferenchak was third at 216-9 (66.07m), while Washington freshman Curtis Claussen was fifth at 207-4 (63.20m). Cougar frosh Derek Byrne was ninth at 183-4 (55.88m).

In the men's hammer, Washington's Angus Taylor was fifth at 187-11 (57.27m), while teammate Conner Larned was sixth at 171-0 (52.13m). USC alum Trey Henderson won with a toss of 227-0 (69.18m).

The Huskies' Elisa Bryant had a rough go in the women's hammer, as the senior fouled all three preliminary throws. Hungary's Eva Orban won at 225-3 (68.66m).

On the track, Phoebe Merritt was the only Husky competing, finishing fifth in the 3000 in 9:51.49, as USC's Zsofia Erdelyi, a former Pac 10 steeple champ won in 9:36.21.

In the men's 5000, former Gonzaga assistant coach Forest Braden finished third in 13:59.46, while Oregon's Chris Kwiatkowski from Bellingham was fourth in 14:02.46. Texas A&M's Henry Lelei won in 13:50.03.

The USC Trojan Invitational continues Saturday with a full slate of events.

Complete day 1 results from the USC Trojan Invitational are available here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

(Sponsored post) Thanks to RestWise!

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Cougars leave the cold and Huskies open outdoor campaign at USC Trojan Invite...

Both Washington and Washington State will leave the cold and occasionally snowy confines of their campuses and fly south to Los Angeles for this weekend's USC Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California.

For the Huskies, who will have no home meets this season while a new track & field facility is being built, this marks the beginning of their outdoor campaign, having taken last week off for winter quarter final exams, while the Cougars competed at last week's Dusty Lane Open in Spokane.

Washington's long throwers will make their season debut, with the javelin the event with the most depth for the Huskies, featuring school record holder Amanda Peterson and Brooke Pighin (left/photo by Paul Merca), a Pac-10 scorer and former All-American who redshirted last season on the women's side, and Joe Zimmerman and newcomer Curtis Clauson.

The Cougars will counter with their 1-2 punch in the javelin on the women's side, in sisters Courtney (Kirkwood) Simmons and Christine Kirkwood from Othello.

According to the start list published by USC, reigning Pac 10 100 and 200 champ James Alaka will run the 400 meters.

Both the Huskies and Cougars will go to Los Angeles without some key competitors from the NCAA indoor championships, as jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis of Wazzu, and the Huskies' Katie Flood, Megan Goethals, Baylee Mires, and Chelsea Orr are not listed in the entries.

Washington State has no competitors in the meet from 800 meters on up.

Courtesy of Washington State University, here's a preview of the meet with Cougar coach Rick Sloan.



Most of the area's schools, including Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington will compete in Saturday's Spring Break Open meet at West Seattle Stadium, hosted by Club Northwest. Other area schools, including St Martin's, will head to Tacoma for the Peyton Scoring Meet, hosted by the University of Puget Sound.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Former Spokane prep standout Britney Henry opens with 70-meter hammer toss in Eugene...

EUGENE--With the exception of the University of Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington, the state's Division I & II schools headed down Interstate 5 to compete in Sunday's Oregon Preview meet at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

While the host Ducks or pros from the Oregon TC Elite dominated the meet, winning the majority of the events, athletes from the state of Washington made an impact in Sunday's meet, contested under cold conditions, with occasional snow flurries greeting the participants early in the meet.

Hammer thrower Britney Henry (left/photo courtesy thebritneyhenryproject.blogspot.com), formerly from Spokane's Lewis & Clark HS, set a meet record, throwing 232-1 (70.73m) to eclipse her old meet record of 218-8 (66.67m), as all four of her throws were better than the old meet record.

Henry currently resides in Chula Vista, as the Oregon alum is training full time at the Olympic Training Center.

Seattle University's Zach Stanfield won the men's 200 with a time of 21.89, competing in the second of the two-section event.

St. Martin's Sam Washington won the discus with a toss of 144-5 (44.01m).

Western Washington's Emily Warman won the women's triple jump with a best of 38-5 (11.71m).

Club Northwest's Jenny Brogdon won the high jump with a leap of 5-7.75 (1.72m).

On the track, the best mark of the day was by Sally Kipyego of the Oregon TC Elite, as the world championships silver medalist in the 10000 missed her meet record in the 3000, running 8:53.83, just off the mark of 8:51.07 she set last year.

Complete results from the Oregon Preview are available here.

NOTE: The sports information office of the University of Oregon contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

(Sponsored post) Thanks to RaceReady!

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Just a short note on behalf of paulmerca.blogspot.com and the members of The Relay Network that this week's posts are brought to you by RaceReady.

RaceReady running shorts and shirts are 100% made in the US from ultra-lightweight performance fabrics.

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Nike Prefontaine Classic to host Kenyan Olympic Trials race at 10000...

We're a little late with this, but as several track and field blogs have reported over the last few days, after weeks of speculation, meet director Tom Jordan officially announced that the Prefontaine Classic (photo of Moses Mosop from 2011 Pre Classic by Paul Merca) will host the Kenyan Olympic Trials in the men's 10000 meters on Friday June 1st, one night before the main portion of the meet.

The race will be a part of a special “Hollister Night at Hayward”, in honor of the late Geoff Hollister, a Nike executive who was instrumental in the creation of many of Oregon’s most notable track & field and running events, including the Prefontaine Classic. Hollister Night will precede the main Eugene Samsung Diamond League meet on Saturday, June 2nd.

“We are honored that Athletics Kenya has asked the Pre Classic to host its men’s 10,000-meter selection race for the London Olympics,” said meet director Tom Jordan. “That it will be part of Hollister Night at Hayward makes it even more special.” Thanks to title sponsor Nike, Inc., there will be no admission charge for the Friday evening program.

The race will feature the top 15 Kenyan athletes in the event as identified by Athletics Kenya, the national governing body. The race will be comprised exclusively of Kenyan athletes. As with the U.S. Olympic Trials, no pacesetters will be provided, promising a race of strategy and suspense over the 25 laps.

The top 2 finishers will automatically make the team to London, with the 3rd member being selected by the federation.

In addition, Hollister Night at the Pre Classic will feature the men's discus, women's triple jump, and women's hammer.

NOTE:  The meet management of the Prefontaine Classic contributed to this report.

Cougs, Zags & Eagles open 2012 outdoor season at cold & blustery Dusty Lane Open...

SPOKANE--Washington State, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington got the 2012 outdoor season started at the cold and blustery Dusty Lane Open meet hosted by Spokane Falls Community College.

The WSU women captured seven wins, while the Cougar men took five wins to open the 2012 campaign.

On the track, Shaquana Logan led a first through fourth finish for the WSU women in the 100m hurdles, running a time of 14.25 seconds.  Brittney Crabb won the 400m hurdles in a time of 1:05.93.

Caroline Austin and Ruby Roberts finished one-two in the 800m with times of 2:17.18 and 2:19.80, respectively. The 4x400m relay squad of Bria'una Watley, Austin, Jacki Hill and Courtney Zalud won in a time of 4:04.60.

In women's field events, Carly Fitzpatrick won the pole vault after clearing 11-feet, 5 3/4 inches (3.50m), and Christine Rice won the high jump with a leap of 5-5 3/4 (1.67m). Long jumpers Zoe Moller and Lauran Johnson finished one-two after both reached a distance of 17-6 (5.33m).

For the Cougar men on the track, Todd Wakefield (above/photo courtesy Washington State University) led a first through fourth WSU finish in the 800m with a time of 1:53.93. Josiah Sims won the 110m hurdles in a lifetime-best time of 14.88. J Hopkins led a one-two-three WSU finish in the 400m hurdles with a time of 53.53.

Lee George won the 1500m in a PR time of 3:56.82. All American triple jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis ventured outside his jumping element and captured the 100m dash in a time of 11.43 after running into a stiff headwind.

Gonzaga's Emily Thomas won the women's 1500 in 4:42.70.

Eastern Washington's Brad Michael won the 400 in 48.18, as well as the 200 in 22.22. Nicole Nida of the Eagles won the women's 200 in 25.78. Kyle King won the 5000 in 14.45.82. Michelle Coombs won the javelin at 147-11 (45.10m). Eastern alum Erica Chaney won the discus at 144-10 (44.14m).

The Cougars head to Los Angeles for the USC Invitational March 23-24.

Complete results from the Dusty Lane Open are available here.

NOTE: The sports information office of Washington State University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Outdoor season begins Saturday for Washington State & Gonzaga, and Sunday for SeattleU...

Washington State and Gonzaga open their outdoor season this Saturday as they'll compete at the Dusty Lane Open meet in Spokane hosted by Spokane Falls CC.

For the Cougars, Saturday's meet is an opportunity for some of their athletes to get outside and into some competition, which will primarily consist of schools from Eastern Washington, Idaho, and post collegians. Eastern Washington University will not have athletes competing in this meet, but St. Martin's will cross the Cascades to compete in Spokane.

Jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis (above/photo courtesy WSU), who earned All-America honors in the triple jump at last week's NCAA championships in Nampa, Idaho, will contest the 100 and 200 meters, according to the WSU press release.

Courtesy of WSU Athletics, here's video featuring head coach Rick Sloan:



The University of Washington is currently in winter quarter finals this week, and will not open their season until next week in Los Angeles at the Trojan Invitational.

Seattle University, Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and Western Washington will travel down Interstate 5 to compete in Sunday's Oregon Preview at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

For the Redhawks, this will be their outdoor season opener, while Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and Western Washington have already contested meets outdoors.

THIS & THAT:

Here's a link to a column written by columnist Steve Kelley in Wednesday's Seattle Times on Katie Flood's experience after the Husky distance medley relay team won the NCAA title in Nampa last Friday.

In the piece, Kelley states that Flood was in testing for four hours after the race until she was able to produce a specimen. The fact that she had run a hard race, was dehydrated, and that she was sick the day of the race contributed to her not being able to produce a sample.

You can read Kelley's column here.

He wrote, "The right thing for the NCAA drug testers to do would have been to excuse Flood around midnight and ask her to return the next day. They should have shown more compassion. Flood could have taken her test after Saturday's 3,000-meter race, her final race of the meet."

The only problem with Kelley's argument (and he should know better, as he's covered the Olympics, which has stricter protocols than the NCAA) is that if you let anyone take a test afterwards, you undermine the credibility of the testing, and you open the door for potential cheating of the system--there are stories of folks who have snuck vials of clean or another person's urine into testing.

If this had been a basketball player on the winning team at the NCAA Final Four picked for testing and he was excused so he could go party afterwards, and returned for testing the next morning, you can bet someone would call the NCAA on it!

If Flood was sick at the time of testing, I'd question whether the NCAA had a doctor in the testing area who could have made a determination on whether or not she could receive IV fluids without affecting the integrity of the testing by creating too diluted a sample.

On the bright side, it's better that Katie learn about the post competition testing protocol at the NCAA than at a bigger meet like the Olympic Trials or world championships.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

paulmerca.blogspot.com thanks RaceSplitter...

RaceSplitter

paulmerca.blogspot.com thanks RaceSplitter for sponsoring The Relay Network (paulmerca.blogspot.com, TrackFocus, Writing About Run, Track Superfan, and the House of Run podcast) this week to promote their excellent and powerful race timing application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

RaceSplitter is the solution for “do it yourself” race & split timing — providing coaches with real-time splits & standings during the race, and organizers with an affordable alternative to chip-timing.

If you're a high school coach looking for help putting on a dual or triangular cross country race, you can do what organizers of trail running, mountain biking, ultras and even 10k events are using RaceSlitter to plan and time their events, and publish results afterwards (And for $25, RaceSplitter makes a great backup timer for events using chip systems).

In the past, nordic ski and cross-country coaches wanting to give their athletes split times and standings were left to fumble with stopwatch and paper. RaceSplitter changes the game — providing the right data, right when you need it!

Courtesy RaceSplitter is a video introducing their timing system:

   

For more information on RaceSplitter, please click this link.

RaceSplitter is available for $24.95. To download RaceSplitter, please visit the App Store.

The master tactician strikes again: Bernard Lagat wins world indoor 3000m title...

ISTANBUL, Turkey--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) proved that even at the age of 37, he still has the moxie to compete against the world's best, as he won his third career world indoor championship, and second straight title at 3000 meters Sunday on the final day of the IAAF world indoor track & field championships at Atakoy Athletics Stadium.

From the start, the pace was honest, as Kenya's Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi took to the front, running no slower than 32 seconds for each of the first eight laps of the 200 meter track. Lagat was always within striking distance of the two Kenyans, before Mo Farah of Great Britain, who trains in Portland under coach Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project took to the front.

With 400 meters to go, the two Kenyans took the lead back from Farah, and Lagat, positioned perfectly, responded to their attack.

With one lap to go, Lagat put on his trade mark finishing kick, completing the final circuit around 26 seconds to take the victory in a season best of 7:41.44, and become the oldest man to win a world indoor title at this distance, and also tie Ethiopia's Haile Gebreselassie as the only two men to win three world championships at this distance.

In what was a close finish behind Lagat, silver went to Choge in 7:41.77, bronze to Soi in 7:41.78 and fourth to Farah in 7:41.79.

However, Soi was disqualified for infringement on the last straightaway, moving Farah to third.

UPDATE:  Soi was reinstated to third after an appeal by the Kenyan federation.

In the mixed zone, a beaming Lagat told the media, "It feels so good. I played it safe, I just wanted to make sure I stayed safe, i.e. not get behind position seven or so, i.e. within reach of the two Kenyans. I was my position and I was not going back. When Mo Farah hit the front I told myself 'I am going with him'. With only four laps to go, it was easy for me. I knew it was now or never. I felt that I still had enough energy. This is a great boost-up for my confidence, for sure. I did it in Turkey and I know I can do it again in London."

"I might be 37 years old but my quick finish is not dying away. Now I cannot wait to go home and to see my family."

Here is more with Lagat from the mixed zone, courtesy of the IAAF:



Complete day three results from the IAAF world indoor track & field championships are available here.

NOTE: The IAAF contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

University Place native Andrea Geubelle wins NCAA triple jump title...

NAMPA, Idaho--University Place resident Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) moved up seven spots from her placing at last year's NCAA indoor track & field championships to win the women's triple jump title Saturday at Jacksons Track at the Idaho Center, outside of Boise.

Geubelle, who claimed an eighth place finish in the long jump on Friday night, opened with a foul, as eventual runner-up Michelle Jenije of Florida State took the early lead with a first round jump of 44-5 1/4 (13.54m), which turned out to be her best of the day.

After a second round jump of 42-8 1/4 (13.01m) put the Curtis High School grad in fourth, she put everything together in round 3, jumping a personal best of 44-10 1/4 (13.67m) to take the lead, which bettered her previous best of 44-7 (13.59m) which she set at the Big 12 championships on February 24th.

Bellingham native Becca Friday from the University of Oregon finished fourth in the mile run, clocking 4:40.24, to help the Ducks win their third straight NCAA indoor title.

"I saw a lot of girls in front of me and I decided I needed to get up there," said Friday. "In the back of my mind I was hoping for top three, but I'm definitely happy with fourth."


Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry (above, photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) won the first section of the two-section final in the men's 400 meters, running off the pace in the first lap, and charging for the win in a season best 45.93. However, his time didn't hold up, and he finished third overall.

Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola became the school's first All-American in indoor track, as she finished fifth in the pole vault with a jump of 14-1 1/4 (4.30m).

“Keisa did a great job competing for EWU,” said Eastern pole vault coach Eric Allison. “She gave the school an All-American. She stepped up and competed well against the nation’s best competition. I’m very proud of her.”

Stephan Scott-Ellis of Washington State University, a junior from Tacoma, triple jumped a distance of 52-feet, 1 inch (15.87m) to take seventh place at the national meet and earned his first All-America certificate.

"I felt a little overwhelmed at first but got more comfortable and was able to relax and put out a decent jump," Scott-Ellis said. "I'm just ready to get back to work and prepare for outdoors."

One night after powering UW to a dramatic victory in the distance medley relay, sophomore All-American Katie Flood proved even she still gets tired, as Flood lacked the second and third gears she's shown on the track this indoor season in the 3,000-meter final, placing ninth overall, with fellow sophomore Megan Goethals battling for an 11th-place finish as well.

Flood tried to stay out of traffic in the tightly bunched field early in the race, but was running in lane 2 for most of the second kilometer, a fact pointed out by ESPN commentators Dwight Stones and Larry Rawson on the web cast.

When the real racing began with around 500 meters to go, Flood could not respond, as she finished ninth in 9:19.69, over four seconds in back of winner Emily Infeld of Georgetown, who ran 9:15.44

Goethals finished two spots behind Flood in 9:24.68.

According to Husky coach Greg Metcalf, "She was sick with the flu a week ago and then was dehydrated last night after a monster effort, but she wanted to still give it a shot today and I thought she ran smart and gave a great effort but she just didn't have her legs tonight."

Complete day 2 results from the NCAA indoor championships are available here.

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


Special thanks to advertising partner RaceSplitter for sponsoring the content of this week's blog posts here as well as the other members of The Relay Network.


To get more information on RaceSplitter, and how it can solve your "do it yourself" race and split timing, and provide an alternative for race organizers to chip timing, click this link!  Thanks!

Jungmark and Walker claim medals at IAAF world indoors...

ISTANBUL, Turkey--On her 25th birthday, former Washington State University standout Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca) picked up a most unexpected birthday present--a silver medal in her first major world international meet, finishing in a three way tie for second with a jump of 6-4 3/4 (1.95m).

Jungmark, along with Italy's Antonietta Di Martino, and reigning world outdoor champ Anna Chicherova, were clean through the first four heights--6-0 1/2 (1.84m), 6-2 (1.88m), 6-3 1/2 (1.92m), and 6-4 3/4 (1.95m), but all three missed at the eventual winning mark of 6-6 (1.98m), a mark cleared only by winner Chaunte Lowe of Team USA.

Afterwards, the former Cougar, who won an NCAA indoor title in her one season at Washington State in 2008, and won the bronze medal at last year's European indoor championships, said to Swedish television SVT, "I am completely shocked. It has not gotten to me."

"I am very happy to have won my first World Championships medal on my birthday. My parents are here and I am going to celebrate with them and the Swedish team. My country has always been strong in the high jump and I am happy to keep that traditition. This medal helps me dream high for the Olympics."

In the men's pole vault, former Washington Husky Brad Walker, who won a world indoor title in 2006, returned to the podium, finishing third, with a jump of 19-0 1/2 (5.80m), as Renaud Lavillinie of France took the victory with a clearance of 19-6 1/4 (5.90m), with Germany's Bjorn Otto finishing second, also at 19-0 1/2 (5.80m).

Another Washington Husky, Scott Roth, failed to clear the opening height of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m).

Afterwards, Walker, the American record holder, who has battled injuries over the last several years, said, “I have never left a World Indoor Championships empty handed. This is my first bronze, but I am happy to get on the podium. I had to make a third attempt and I thought that would get me a medal. I just had to put it together. I am happy with my result and I know what I need to sort out between now and London."

Complete day 2 results are available here.

NCAA DIVISION II RECAP

In Mankato, Minnesota, Seattle Pacific senior Ali Worthen from Coos Bay, Oregon closed with a career-best time in the 800-meter run, helping her lock up an All-American sixth-place finish with 3,763 points – also a career best -- in the women's pentathlon at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Teammate Katy Gross from Everett wound up 13th with 3,071 points. Gross was added to the competition on Wednesday as the result of a late scratch by a competitor who already had been entered into the meet.

Another Falcon, sophomore McKayla Fricker delivered a PR of her own in the individual 800 title race. Using what has become a trademark late kick, Fricker moved from last place all the way up to fifth, securing All-American status in 2 minutes, 11.69 seconds.

Western Washington University freshman Brittany Grandy from Sedro Wooley placed 14th in the women's high jump with a leap of 5-4 1/2 (1.64m).

Complete results from the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

NOTE: The IAAF, USA Track & Field and the sports information offices at Seattle Pacific and Western Washington contributed to this report.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dawgs win distance medley relay at NCAA indoor championships...

NAMPA, Idaho--When the baton was handed to Washington sophomore Katie Flood by freshman Baylee Mires (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) to begin the 1600 meter anchor leg on the distance medley relay in eighth place, there was no need to panic.

After all, the Huskies had been down that road before, coming from behind to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference title over Oregon and BYU on their home track two weeks earlier.

Much as she did in Seattle a fortnight ago, Flood simply ran the fastest 1600 leg, a 4:34.02, as the Washington Huskies took home the national championship in the distance medley relay, clocking 11:05.20 at Jackson's Track.

Fellow sophomore Chelsea Orr got things rolling for Washington with a 3:27.48 1200 meter leg which put the Huskies eighth in the twelve-team final, as Florida (3:23.84) and Oregon, with Bellingham's Becca Friday (3:24.74) took the lead.

In the 400 meter leg, senior Jordan Carlson got the Huskies to sixth with a 54.16 split, before handing the baton to Mires.

Mires ran 2:09.55 but was in eighth, over four seconds down, as BYU, Georgetown, Oregon, and Florida were ahead going into the 1600 leg.

For some strange reason, the leaders inexplicably slowed the pace down allowing teams like the Huskies, Dartmouth, and Nebraska to get back into the race.

Much as she did in the MPSF meet, Flood began picking through the field and seized the opportunity the other teams gave her, and about two minutes into her leg, found herself in position to make a move on the leaders.

In the final lap, Flood burst past Georgetown's Emily Infeld, then gave chase to Oregon's Anne Kesselring, the 2011 NCAA champion at 800 meters outdoors, going past her before the final turn, then gapped the Oregon runner, leading the Huskies to a 11:05.20 win, with the Ducks second in 11:05.85.

Dartmouth, which was one place ahead of the Huskies, stormed back to take third in 11:06.29, ahead of Georgetown (11:06.53) and Florida (11:08.60).

Afterwards, Flood told ESPN's Lewis Johnson, "The girls in front of me (Orr, Carlson & Mires) kept us where we needed to be the whole time. It was lucky for me that it turned out to be a strategic race up front."

When asked about the last few laps, Flood said, "I wasn't thinking about anything else except getting to the line first."

In the men's long jump, Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis finished 13th with a mark of 23-5 1/4 (7.14m).

Tacoma native Andrea Geubelle of Kansas was eighth in the women's long jump at 20-9 1/4 (6.33m).

Both Scott-Ellis and Geubelle return Saturday in the triple jumper, with Geubelle the favorite to win.

In other finals, Washington frosh JJ Julifs finished 17th in the pole vault with a jump of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m). Bellingham's Jake Riley of Stanford was 12th in the men's 5000 in 13:57.82.

The Washington men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley and Joey Bywater was tenth in 10:02.96, as they were tangled up early in the race and never recovered from the mishap.

In the women's 5000, Husky sophomore Megan Goethals was ninth in 16:12.89.

In qualifying races, Oregon sophomore Michael Berry from Seattle advanced to the finals in the men's 400 with the sixth fastest time, running 46.25. Before her 1200 meter leg on the distance medley relay, Becca Friday of Oregon and Bellingham ran 4:41.03, the fourth fastest time in the women's mile to advance to Saturday's final.

Saturday, Flood goes for an individual title in the women's 3000, along with Goethals. Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola looks to get the Olympic A standard in the pole vault and position herself for an NCAA title.

Complete day 1 results from the NCAA indoor championships are available here.

NCAA DIVISION II RECAP

At the NCAA Division II championships in Mankato, Minnesota, Seattle Pacific's McKayla Fricker advanced to the finals in the 800 meters, running 2:14.17.

In the women's pole vault, Western Washington's Karis Anderson finished fifth with a clearance of 12-9.5 (3.90m), while Central Washington's Kati Davis was eighth at 12-1.5 (3.70m). The Falcons' Terra Schumacher was 14th at 11-5.75 (3.50m).

Saturday, SPU's Ali Worthen and Katy Gross compete in the pentathlon, while Western Washington's Brittany Grandy goes in the high jump.

Day 1 results from the NCAA Division II championships involving Washington athletes are available here.

NOTE: Boise State University and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Jungmark and Lagat move on to finals at IAAF World Indoors...

ISTANBUL, Turkey--Former Washington State University standouts Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Bernard Lagat advanced in their respective events as day 1 of the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships concluded at the Ataköy Athletics Arena.

Jungmark, the 2008 NCAA indoor high jump champion from Sweden, cleared a season best of 6-4 3/4 (1.95m) to advance to Saturday's finals.

Jungmark's clearance is significant, not only for the fact that she moves on to the finals, but that she now has the Olympic "A" standard out of the way.

Afterwards, she said, "I am not really surprised about my SB of 195. The 195 was probably the best jump I ever did in my life. It was hard for me at the beginning because they would allow us only one test jump which is not enough for me. I am used to have three or four. But it got better for me during the competition."

Looking forward to the finals, she said, "I feel fast and light and the surface here is very good. Let's see what will happen."

Cougar hall of famer Lagat, the defending world champion had a little bit of a rough go as a group of five runners entered the final straightaway together.

After a relatively slow first 1600, covered in 4:27, the pace began ramping up as the pack approached 2000 meters, with Great Britain's Mo Farah, who trains in Portland with Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project, and Kenya's Augustine Choge near the front.

Pinned to the inside of the track with nowhere to go in the final 100 meters, he appeared to get bumped entering the final straight, and ran a step inside the curb before getting back on the track.

Lagat finished third in 7:57.68, just behind Choge (7:57,49) and Farah (7:57.59) to advance to Sunday's final.

Arizona State alum Ryan Whiting, who is coached by University of Washington throws coach TJ Crater, won the shot put with a world leading mark of 72-2 1/4 (22.00m) in round five to overtake early leader David Storl of Germany.

Saturday, former Huskies Brad Walker and Scott Roth will compete in the men's pole vault finals, while Jungmark goes in the women's high jump finals.

Complete day 1 results from the IAAF world indoor track & field championships are available here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Viewer's guide to the NCAA Division I and IAAF World Indoor Championships...

Here's a viewers guide to watching both the NCAA and IAAF world indoor championships from Nampa, Idaho and Istanbul, Turkey, along with a listing of athletes with Washington ties competing in both meets

NCAA MEET SCHEDULE

FRIDAY

5:15 pm Women's mile prelims--Becca Friday (Oregon); Men's long jump--Stephan Scott-Ellis (Washington State)

6:00 pm Men's 400 prelims--Michael Berry (Oregon)

6:30 pm Men's pole vault--JJ Julifs (Washington)

7:15 pm Women's long jump--Andrea Geubelle (Kansas)

8:05 pm Men's 5000--Jake Riley (Stanford)

8:25 pm Women's 5000--Megan Goethals (Washington); Bronwyn Crossman (Oregon)

9:05 pm Men's Distance Medley Relay--Washington

9:25 pm Women's Distance Medley Relay--Washington, Becca Friday (Oregon)

SATURDAY

5:00 pm Women's pole vault--Keisa Monterola (above/photo courtesy Eastern Washington University)

5:30 pm Men's triple jump--Stephan Scott-Ellis

6:25 pm Women's mile finals--Becca Friday

6:30 pm Women's triple jump--Andrea Geubelle

6:55 pm Men's 400 finals--Michael Berry

8:10 pm Women's 3000--Katie Flood (Washington); Megan Goethals

ESPN3.com will stream the meet live on Friday from 4:30-8:45 p.m. PT and Saturday 10 from 5-8:15 p.m. PT. NCAA.com and broncosports.com will stream what ESPN3 is not covering on Friday (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. PT) and Saturday (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. PT). A tape delay of the championship will air Sunday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

IAAF WORLD INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS


Here is the list of athletes with Washington ties who are competing in this weekend's IAAF world indoor track & field championships in Istanbul, Turkey, along with their competition schedule.

Note that former Washington State standout Ebba Jungmark from Sweden is competing at the world championships.

Here is the link to USA Track & Field's media guide to the world championships.

FRIDAY

11:30p Thursday/9:30 am Friday Women's High Jump Qualifying--Ebba Jungmark (Sweden)

9:15 am/7:15 pm Men's 3000 semifinals--Bernard Lagat

SATURDAY

7:00 am/5:00 pm Men's Pole Vault--Brad Walker, Scott Roth

8:15 am/6:15 pm Women's High Jump Finals--Ebba Jungmark

SUNDAY

5:10 am/3:10 pm Men's 3000m Finals--Bernard Lagat

UniversalSports.com will offer live online pay-per-view package of all three days of the meet for $14.95, as well as a daily highlights show on Universal Sports (check your cable provider for channel listing; Seattle area Comcast no longer offers Universal Sports).

NCAA DIVISION II Notes

Seattle Pacific University will send four athletes--pentathletes Ali Worthen and Katy Gross, pole vaulter Terra Schumacher, and 800 meter runner McKayla Fricker to Mankato, Minnesota for the NCAA Division Ii indoor championships Friday and Saturday.

Gross was a late addition to the field on Wednesday when a late scratch opened the door for her.

This is Gross' first trip to indoor nationals, but is her second nationals overall. She competed in the heptathlon at last year's NCAA outdoor championships in Turlock, Calif., placing 13th.

Western Washington will send pole vaulter Karis Anderson and high jumper Brittany Grandy to indoor nationals, while Central Washington sends pole vaulter Kati Davis.

Schumacher, Anderson, Davis and Fricker compete Friday, while Worthen, Gross and Grandy compete Saturday. Fricker will run on Saturday if she can get past Friday's preliminary heats.

Streaming video of the meet will be available via ncaa.com

How Megan Goethals raced against OCD and won...

I led off my recap of the 2011 MPSF indoor track & field championship meet by writing, "If there was an athlete who'd receive the award for the most unexpected win in a conference championship meet, that award would go to Megan Goethals (#2, left/photo by Paul Merca)."

"While she had the pedigree of being the national high school cross country runner of the year in 2009, and won the Foot Locker national cross country title as a senior out of Rochester, Michigan, the University of Washington freshman wasn't expected to be a factor for the Huskies during the indoor season, especially when she was shut down by the coaching staff about halfway through the cross country season due to health problems."

Fast forward one year later, and Goethals is back, entered in both the 3000 and the 5000 at the NCAA indoor track & field championships, which begins Friday in Nampa, just outside of Boise, Idaho.

The road to Nampa was filled with many obstacles for Goethals, who was diagnosed after the September 2010 Notre Dame Invitational cross country race as having obsessive-compulsive disorder, not to mention the fact that she was underweight, which were the "health problems" that forced Husky coach Greg Metcalf to shut her down for three months.

UW Director of Writing Gregg Bell posted what I think is a very compelling and inspirational story about the struggles Goethals faced, and how she overcame them to get to where she is today.

You can read Bell's story here...

The picture I shot of Goethals being hugged by nearly every member of the Husky women's distance team after winning last year's MPSF meet is one that remains vivid in my mind, in that it wasn't the fact that she had just won a race--they were celebrating Goethals' victory over adversity, a foe that could have easily ended her collegiate running career, as described in this Running Times piece by Rachel Sturtz.

Goethals is one young lady that you can't help but root for.

Bell ends his piece by quoting Megan on what she's done to get where she is today:

"All my hard work has gotten me to this. I just have to believe in myself and my abilities."

"Sometimes I have feelings like, `What if that happens again?' I know it's not going to. I just have to keep reminding myself of that."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Istanbul 2012 stats book now available for download, plus NCAA indoor notes...

With the IAAF world indoor championships coming up this weekend, here's the link to the home page for all the happenings in Istanbul.

Among the things you'll find on the website are the start lists, event previews, and the time schedule, along with links to live radio broadcasts of the meet.

True stats nuts can rejoice with the official stats handbook, which is available as a four-part download.

This comprehensive guide has results of every round from each of the previous editions of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, as well as important facts and figures from the Championships, an analysis of performance trends, superlatives, and listings of multiple medal winners and placing tables.

To download the book, click the link above, then go to the General Info box on the lower left hand side of the web site.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in Istanbul include former Husky pole vaulters Brad Walker and Scott Roth, along with defending world indoor 3000m champ Bernard Lagat.

Former UW coach Orin Richburg is the sprints coach for Team USA, while Spokane's Jim Murphy is on the USA staff as a manager. Current UW throws coach TJ Crater is traveling as a personal coach to USA shot putter Ryan Whiting.

In preparation for this weakend's NCAA indoor track & field championships in Nampa, Idaho, the USTFCCCA has released its final national team indoor computer rankings.

Coach Greg Metcalf's University of Washington Huskies enter the championships ranked #10 in the women's national poll, no change from last week's poll released after the conference championships.

The Huskies will head to Nampa led by USTFCCCA West Region women's indoor track athlete of the year Katie Flood, who is entered in the 3000 and the distance medley relay. Flood has the fastest collegiate time in both the mile and 3000, but will drop the mile at nationals in favor of the distance medley.

Besides Flood, the Huskies will travel Megan Goethals, who is entered in the 3000 and 5000, along with the distance medley relay squad consisting of Flood, Chelsea Orr, Jordan Carlson, and Baylee Mires.

The Washington men's team will travel its distance medley relay team of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley and Joey Bywater, along with pole vaulter JJ Julifs.

Washington State only has one competitor going to Nampa in long/triple jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis.

Eastern Washington sends pole vaulter Keisa Monterola to the championships.

Notable athletes with Washington ties entered in the NCAA championships include Oregon's Michael Berry from Seattle (400); Kansas' Andrea Geubelle from Tacoma (LJ/TJ); Oregon's Becca Friday (mile/DMR) and Bronwyn Crossman (5000) from Bellingham; and Stanford's Jake Riley (5000) from Bellingham.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Katie Flood voted by coaches as USTFCCCA West Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, plus hot links...

NEW ORLEANS--University of Washington sophomore Katie Flood (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) was named by the USTFCCCA as its Division I West Region indoor female track athlete of the year.

This award was voted on by the head coaches in each region. She's the second Husky to win the award, as Katie Follett won the honor in 2010 en route to finishing second in the mile.

Flood, a sophomore from Des Moines, Iowa, recorded the fastest collegiate times this season in the Mile, 3000-meters, and as a member of Washington's top-ranked Distance Medley Relay (10:55.01). Her mile time of 4:28.48 is the fourth-fastest in NCAA history indoors, and her time in the 3000-meters of 8:55.31 ranks among the top ten ever recorded indoors by a collegian, and the No. 5 time by an American collegiate indoors or outdoors. All three times are Washington school records.

She is entered in the 3000 at this weekend's NCAA indoor championships in Nampa, Idaho, as well as in the distance medley relay.

HOT LINKS:

Here is the link to the participants competing in this weekend's NCAA Division I championships in Nampa…

The list of accepted entries for this weekend's NCAA Division II meet in Mankato, Minnesota is available here

Here's a link to a preview from the IAAF of the top matchups at this weekend's world indoor championships in Istanbul.

One of the key duels is WSU alum Bernard Lagat vs Portland resident Mo Farah of Great Britain.

You can read the IAAF preview here…

Finally, friend of the blog and three time US javelin champion Kara Patterson has set up a Facebook page for those interested in following her road to London. She will periodically post updates on training, upcoming competitions, and links to her blog.

Here's a sneak peek of what you can expect to see on Kara's Facebook page:



To visit her page, click here...

NOTE: The University of Washington, the USTFCCCA, the NCAA, and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Western's Hoffman & SPU's Aanstad get NCAA PQs at outdoor season opener in Tacoma...

TACOMA--While the Division I schools were competing at the Dempsey Indoor facility in Seattle, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Lewis & Clark opened the 2012 outdoor season at the UPS Quad meet, hosted by the University of Puget Sound.

Western Washington won 12 of 19 events to win the men's competition with 110 points.

Seattle Pacific was second with 39, followed by Puget Sound 29 and Lewis & Clark 15.

WWU placed first in 11 women's events, finishing with 92 points. Puget Sound was runner-up with 44, followed by Lewis & Clark 39 and Seattle Pacific 18.

The Vikings' Michael Hoffman (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) won three events, posting a NCAA Division II provisional national qualifying mark and meet record in the men's hammer throw.

Hoffman tossed the hammer 185-7, breaking his own meet standard set last year, in leading a 1-2-3-4 sweep by the Vikings. He also placed first in the shot put (44-8) and discus (139-5).

Seattle Pacific senior Brittany Aanstad opened the season with a toss of 141-4 to get an NCAA Division II provisional qualifier.

Aanstad finished second in the javelin at last year's NCAA championships.

Complete results from the UPS Quad meet are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices at Western Washington and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

OTC/Portland's Bumbalough & Jager go 1-2 to close out Dempsey Indoor season...

SEATTLE--Andrew Bumbalough (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Evan Jager of the Oregon Track Club/Portland turned in the top marks of the day as the 2012 indoor season concluded, as the Huskies hosted the UW Final Qualfier meet at the Dempsey Indoor.

Bumbalough, the Georgetown University alum, and world championships competitor in the 5000 last year, pulled away from Jager, a world championships competitor in the 5000 from the 2009 meet in Berlin, to win the men's 3000 in a meet record time of 7:44.45, just over a second away from the facility record of 7:43.08 set by North Carolina State's Ryan Hill at last month's Husky Classic.

Jager, who had been battling injuries over the last few months, finished strongly in second in a time of 7:46.42.

Pending the results of other last chance indoor meets from around the country, Bumbalough's time is the second fastest time run by an American this season regardless of track size, with only Hill's mark faster.

World championships marathoner and Washington alum Mike Sayenko finished fourth in 8:04.12.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is video of the men's 3000:



In the women's 3000, Stanford freshman Aisling Cuffe, the 2011 USA junior cross country champion, powered to victory, ducking under the 9:10 NCAA qualifying mark with a time of 9:07.79, setting a new meet record.

In the process, she pulled Loyola Marymount's Tara Erdmann under the NCAA standard, running 9:08.85, which marked the second consecutive year that Erdmann had qualified for nationals in the 3000 at this meet.

In the men's mile, former Army standout John Mickowski led four men under four minutes, including world championships steepler Dan Huling in becoming the 83rd-86th men to crack the barrier since the Dempsey opened for racing in 2002.

Other highlights:

--Arizona State's Bryan McBride cleared 7-3 3/4 (2.23m) to win the men's high jump and put himself in a position to get into the NCAA championships (NCAA standard is 7-4.25/2.24m);

--The Huskies' JJ Julifs won a jump-off with former Husky Ryan Vu and Western Washington alum Ryan Brown in a personal best of 17-8 1/4 (5.39m), which ties him for 14th on the NCAA D-1 list, which should get him into the NCAA meet;

--Nevada's La Tijera Avery leaped 6-0 (1.83m) to win the women's high jump, but will be on the bubble to get into the championship meet;

--Oregon State's Laura Carlyle won the mile in 4:37.57, over three seconds up on the Huskies' Chelsea Orr, but will have to wait to find out whether or not she gets into the NCAA meet. Orr will be in the meet as a member of the Huskies' distance medley relay squad;

--With reigning NCAA, USA, and World University Games 400 hurdles champion Jeshua Anderson doing the heavy work, Washington State senior Joe Abbott ran a season best time of 1:48.65, but will not be good enough to get into the NCAA championship meet.  Anderson finished in 1:53.64.

Complete results from the UW Final Qualifier are available here.

In South Bend, Indiana, Oregon sophomore Michael Berry from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS finished second in the 400, running 46.16, a time that should be good enough to get him into the NCAA championships at the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame.

Washington's Maurice McNeal finished sixth in Berry's race and seventh overall, running 46.73.

In the men's 60, the Huskies' James Alaka finished second in his heat in 6.95, but did not advance to the finals.

800 meter runner Brad Whitley ran 1:52.77 in his head and finished 33rd overall.

In Friday night's long jump, Tacoma native Andrea Geubelle of the University of Kansas took the victory, leaping 20-10.75 (6.37m), just off the NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 21-2 (6.45m). Geubelle is one of the collegiate leaders in the triple jump, and should get into the NCAA long jump contest.

Complete results from the Alex Wilson Invitational are available here.

NOTE: The University of Washington and the University of Notre Dame contributed to this report.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Washington's DMR sets second school record in two weeks at Notre Dame...

SOUTH BEND, Indiana--The University of Washington's distance medley relay squad of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley, and Joey Bywater (photo of team from left, Soberanis, Bywater, Whitley, and McNeal courtesy University of Washington) moved themselves one step closer to a spot in next week's NCAA indoor championships with a solid fifth place finish in their section at the Alex Wilson Invitational, running their second school record in two weeks, clocking 9:31.68.

This meet has traditionally been a competition where teams on the bubble try to make their cases to get into the national championships by chasing the qualifying standard, which for this year is 9:31.00.

In the first section, Ohio State won with a time of 9:31.71, with Oregon second at 9:31.91, with Seattle native Michael Berry running the 400 leg for the Ducks.

The Fighting Irish, competing on their home track, took the victory in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 9:29.72, with Wisconsin second, also in an an auto qualifying time of 9:30.86.

Arkansas (9:31.48), and Villanova (9:31.52) finished ahead of the Huskies, as the Dawgs, using the same order as they did at last week's MPSF championships, where they set a school record of 9:35.05, running 9:31.68.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here is video of the race:



With Friday night's results, the Huskies dropped to tenth on the national performance list, with BYU (9:29.00), Indiana (9:29.12), Texas A&M (9:29.71), Notre Dame (9:29.72), Oklahoma (9:30.13), Wisconsin (9:30.86), Stanford (9:31.24), Arkansas (9:31.48), and Villanova (9:31.52) are ahead of the Huskies.

All four UW runners, along with sprinter James Alaka, are expected to compete in individual events Saturday, while the rest of the Husky squad will compete in the UW Final Qualifier in Seattle.

Complete results from Friday night's session at the Alex Wilson Invitational are available here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's the last chance to watch the Husky track team this season at home on Saturday...

The University of Washington's 2012 home track and field season ends Saturday when the Huskies play host to the UW Final Qualifier meet, one of a handful of meets approved by the NCAA as last chance opportunities to qualify for next week's NCAA championships at Jackson's Track in Nampa, just outside of Boise, Idaho.

With the new track and field facility replacing Husky Stadium under construction next to the baseball and soccer stadiums, this will be the final opportunity to watch the Husky track teams in action at home, as they will contest all of their outdoor meets this season away from campus.

The Final Qualifier is the smallest and quickest of meets on the Dempsey schedule, as teams will only send a handful of athletes with realistic chances of making it to nationals. However there will also be a large UW contingent simply using the meet as a last chance to set PRs and build momentum for outdoors, in addition to the group still looking to reach Boise. Action begins in the field and on the track at 11 a.m., and the meet should be wrapped up by 3 p.m.

While most of the Husky squad will be competing at home, the men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley, and Joey Bywater will be traveling to Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational meet to try to improve on their time and make the NCAA cut as well. Notre Dame has traditionally been the place to run for DMRs on the final weekend.

The Huskies currently rank seventh nationally, but do not have the auto mark and therefore want to keep their place with a good showing. All four Huskies may also run open events, as McNeal is ranked 22nd in the 400-meters and Bywater and Soberanis are in the top-50 nationally in the mile.

Washington State is sending a small group of athletes, including 800 meter runners Joe Abbott (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Nick Smith, high jumpers Shawn Swartz and Jovan Vukicevic, and sprinter Ryan Barrett, along with volunteer coach and reigning USA and NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson, who is entered in the 800, and most likely doing pace setting chores for Abbott. Gonzaga is sending a group of distance runners across the Cascades, primarily to obtain competitive experience.

Courtesy of WSU Athletics, here's a video interview with Abbott:



On the track, two of the biggest races with implications for Washington are the women's mile and 3000.

In the mile, sophomore Chelsea Orr, junior Justine Johnson, freshman Eleanor Fulton, and sophomore Mackenzie Carter will all run in the fast heat and chase the NCAA mark of 4:37.00 in a very strong field which could have Katie Flood, the national leader in both the mile and 3000, setting the pace for a few laps. The Oregon duo of Jordan Hasay and Bellingham native Becca Friday are entered, along with WSU alum Collier Lawrence, and Oregon State's Laura Carlyle.

In the 3000, the Huskies' Mel Lawrence and Christine Babcock will run against Stanford's Aisling Cuffe and Jessica Tonn, along with Loyola Marymount's Tara Erdmann.

The men's 3000 has Oregon TC/Portland standouts Evan Jager and Andrew Bumbalough entered, along with world championships marathoner and Washington alum Mike Sayenko.

Besides the men's high jump, both pole vaults will be very competitive, as the top seeds vie for those NCAA invitations.

The men's field includes Idaho's Jeremy Klas in a matchup with Husky freshman JJ Julifs, while on the women's side, Utah State's Sonia Grabowska faces the UCLA duo of Tori Anthony and Allison Koressel, NCAA Division II record holder Catherine Street of Linfield, and the Huskies' Logan Miller.

The start lists for the UW Final Qualifier are available here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com Joins The Relay Network

paulmerca.blogspot.com has joined forces with several national and regional track and field/running web sites to create The Relay Network.

The Relay Network is the premier network reaching track & field, cross country, and marathon communities, and presents a unique opportunity to connect their product or service to an engaged and active audience.

The network includes the popular podcast House of Run; the Track & Field Superfan, Track Focus, and Writing About Running.

paulmerca.blogspot.com also wishes to thank Splitcaster for its sponsorship this week to promote their excellent and powerful race timing application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, a new app that I had the opportunity to use at last week's MPSF Championships at the Dempsey.

Splitcaster is a brand new way to time track, running, swimming, cycling and speedskating races. With Splitcaster, you’ll not only know the times for each split you record, you’ll also know the distance and pace for those splits and the estimated finish time as the race unfolds.

You can download the Splitcaster app here.

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

Washington sophomore Katie Flood now on Bowerman Watch List

NEW ORLEANS--The USTFCCCA announced Thursday that University of Washington sophomore Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca) is now on The Bowerman's Watch List, as it tracks the country's top female collegiate track and field athletes.

Flood (Des Moines, Iowa) has NCAA bests in the mile, 3000 meters, and as a member of Washington’s DMR squad this season, along with Chelsea Orr, Jordan Carlson, and Baylee Mires.

Flood holds the NCAA’s No. 1 seed in three events — the mile, 3000 meters, and DMR. On her home oversized track, Flood has notched times of 4:28.48 (mile), 8:55.31 (3000m), and 10:55.01 (as anchor of DMR) this season. The DMR time is fifth all-time collegiately on all tracks, Flood’s mile time is fourth all-time collegiately on all tracks, and the 3000-meter time is in the collegiate all-time top ten on all tracks.

The complete release from the USTFCCCA can be accessed here.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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