Thursday, May 31, 2012

Patterson finishes seventh in Rome at Compeed Golden Gala...

ROME, Italy--Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Mike Scott) finished seventh in the javelin Thursday night at the Compeed Golden Gala meeting at the Stadio Olimipico.

In her second meet of a short European tour that started in Ostrava, Czech Republic last week, the four-time US national champion threw a best of 183-6 (55.94m) in the second round of competition, after opening with a foul.

After fouling on her third throw, Patterson could never really get untracked, with her sixth round toss of 181-5 (55.30m) the second best of the evening.

As she did in Ostrava, defending Olympic champion and Minnesota alum Barbora Spotakova won with a world leading throw of 225-2 (68.65m), and move into first place in the javelin in the season-long Samsung Diamond League standings with 6 points in two meets.

Marysville's Jarred Rome finished sixth in the discus, as he threw a best of 197-5 (60.19m) in an event won by Ehsan Hadadi of Iran with a mark of 218-11 (66.73m).

On the track, former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin finished tenth in the 1500 meters, as the Norwegian ran 4:06.09, as Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi ran to a world leading time, meet record and national record time of 3:56.54.

Complete results of the Compeed Golden Gala are available here.

EUGENE IS STOP NUMBER FOUR IN SAMSUNG DIAMOND LEAGUE

paulmerca.blogspot.com will have coverage of Saturday's Nike Prefontaine Classic from Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon, the next stop of the worldwide Samsung Diamond League tour.

The meet proper actually gets underway Friday night with Hollister Night at Hayward, with two Diamond League events contested--the men's triple jump, and the women's discus, featuring University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond.

Kicking things off at Hayward Field is the women's hammer throw, with Spokane native Britney Henry among the entries, as she goes for the Olympic A standard.

The men's international mile has Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara entered in a field that features former Oregon teammate and 2011 world championships bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz.

Washington alum Katie Mackey goes in the women's national 1500 as she looks to attain the Olympic A standard in a field that includes reigning world champion Jenny Simpson.

Closing out Friday's Hollister Night at Hayward is the Kenyan Olympic Trials in the 10000, where ten entries, led by Micah Kogo with a personal best of 26:35.63, have run under 27 minutes.

The top two finishers will represent Kenya in London, with the third being selected by Athletics Kenya.

Saturday, former Washington State standout Ebba Jungmark of Sweden makes her return to the Pacific Northwest, as the 2008 NCAA indoor champ and this year's world indoor championship silver medalist in the high jump competes against reigning world indoor champ Chaunte Lowe of the USA and world outdoor champ Anna Chicherova of Russia, along with the University of Arizona's Brigetta Barrett.

Although not a Diamond League event, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle is entered in the women's 3000 against a strong field of America's best, with Texas Tech alum Sally Kipyego, the world championships silver medalist at 10000 dropping down in distance.

Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek will serve as the pace setter in the men's 5000 featuring the defending Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia against reigning world champ Mo Farah of Great Britain, along with Americans Galen Rupp and Matt Tegenkamp, and Kenya's Augustine Choge.

The meet's final event, the Bowerman Mile, features Washington State alum Bernard Lagat as he drops down in distance to face Olympic champ Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, along with Olympic teammates Lopez Lomong, Leo Manzano, and Andrew Wheating.

The start list for the Nike Prefontaine Classic is available here.

NBC Sports will provide live coverage of the Nike Prefontaine Classic, beginning at noon, pacific time on Saturday.

Media partner RunnerSpace.com will offer streaming coverage of Friday's Hollister Night at Hayward. It will also be streamed via preclassic.com.

Seattle sports and entertainment personalities unite to support Norris Frederick's dream of Olympic glory...

SEATTLE--What Seattle track and field athlete can pull together some of the area's leading sports and entertainment personalities, and gather 200 or so of his closest friends together for an evening of fun, and oh by the way, raise money to defray some of his training expenses in the run up to next month's US Olympic Trials in Eugene?

Norris Frederick (center, with from left:  Paul Merca, Kam Chancellor, Phillip Lomax, and Roy Lewis/James Van Wyck photo).

The former University of Washington and Roosevelt HS long jumper, fresh off of winning two competitions at the Tuscon Elite meet in Arizona, brought in to MAKERS in downtown Seattle, former Husky football standouts Roy Lewis, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, and Victor Aiyewa, and Greg Lewis, along with the Seahawks' Kam Chancellor; members of the Seattle Mist Lingerie Football League team; and Olympic Trials qualifiers Mike Sayenko and Jason Colwick, along with several of Frederick's training partners, along with former teammates to mingle and meet many of Norris' friends in support of his quest to make the US Olympic team.

Such is the popularity of Frederick within the Seattle sports community that he enlisted local sports radio personality Dave 'Softy' Mahler to act as host of the event, which included an auction of several autographed sports items

In an era where even elite professional track and field athletes in the United States are struggling to make ends meet, Frederick and his friends took the bull by the horns and created an event using the power of social media to get the word out.

Seattle resident and X-Factor finalist Phillip Lomax performed, including his rendition of Rhianna's "Please Don't Stop the Music", which he sang for the internationally renowned artist in the finals of the X Factor.

Afterwards, Frederick told paulmerca.blogspot.com that he will compete next at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic in Burnaby on June 10th.

Frederick, who does not have the Olympic A standard in the long jump of 26-11 (8.20m), isn't too concerned about getting the standard, noting that it will take that much to be in position to make the team next month, and isn't chasing marks in the lead in to the Trials.

The Washington alum was appreciative of the gathering of friends and supporters who assembled to help in his efforts to make the team.

PATTERSON IN ROME FOR COMPEED GOLDEN GALA THURSDAY

Vancouver's Kara Patterson will throw the javelin at Thursday's stop of the Samsung Diamond League series of meets, the Compeed Golden Gala at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The four-time US national champion will face off against reigning Olympic champ Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic; world champ Mariya Abakumova of Russia, Christina Obergfoll of Germany, and Sunette Viljoen of South Africa.

Marysville's Jarred Rome is entered in the men's discus, where he'll face current Samsung Diamond League points leader Piotr Malachowski of Poland, along with Gerd Kanter of Estonia and Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania.

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin, a finalist at last year's world championships in Daegu will contest the 1500.

UniversalSports.com will have live online coverage (pay-per-view) of the meet starting at 9 am, pacific.

The start lists for the Compeed Golden Gala are available here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The real reason why Central's Kati Davis no-heighted at the NCAA D2s, & other vaulting misadventures...

Thanks to the power of Twitter, I happened to read a tweet posted by KING 5 news anchor Allen Schauffler asking Brad Walker asking why pole vaulters can't get a break with the airlines.

Shauffler tweeted, "Hey @SkyWalkerPV check out this news script from tonight. Can't you PVrs catch a break with the airlines?"

He then proceeded to post this picture (left/photo courtesy Allen Schauffler, @schauffKING5) of a script from Sunday night's news about Central Washington's Kati Davis (below/photo by Paul Merca), the GNAC runner-up, who no heighted Friday at the NCAA Division II championships in Pueblo, Colorado after she was forced to jump with borrowed poles, because her poles didn't make it to Colorado with her when she left Ellensburg on the Tuesday before the meet.

According to the press release from Central Washington, "Davis' supply of poles, which she had taken at the beginning of her trip earlier this week, was lost in luggage and did not make it to Colorado until Friday afternoon when they arrived in Denver, a two-hour driving trip from Pueblo (under normal conditions). However, heavy traffic between Denver and Pueblo resulted in a tardy arrival of Davis' poles, meaning that she had to start the competition -- scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time -- with borrowed poles."

Schauffler's tweet to Walker referred to an incident involving the former Husky and current American record holder, who, after competing in the Shanghai Diamond League meet on the 19th, was stuck for an extra day in Shanghai because the airlines refused to let him travel with his poles.

In a series of tweets, Walker stated that in departing Shanghai, he bought four liters of water worth about $30 AFTER clearing security, only to have all of them confiscated before boarding the plane, "And that was after I got into it with the supervisor who refused to let me fly with poles and had to stay an extra night in amazing China"

Walker sums up what vaulters have to put up with when they travel by saying, "it's a stress no other track and field athletes will ever understand! Imagine just flying with a pair of spikes. One can dream."

NOTE:  You can follow Allen Schauffler, who will be covering the London Olympics this summer for KING5 on Twitter at @schauffKING5; Brad Walker can be followed at @SkyWalkerPV; and of course, if you're not doing so already, you can follow this very blog at @paulmerca70601!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

SPU senior Brittany Aanstad wins NCAA Division II javelin title...

PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific senior Brittany Aanstad (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Lake Stevens popped a lifetime best of 168-1 (51.21m) in the penultimate round to set a school and GNAC conference record, and most importantly, garner the NCAA Division II national title in the javelin on the final day of competition Saturday at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

Aanstad's performance eclipsed the 25-year-old Seattle Pacific school record of 167-2, set by Anita Sartin in 1987. It beat the Great Northwest Athletic Conference mark of 163-6 (49.85m) set by Western Washington's Monika Grusezki, which gave her last year's national championship.

Most importantly, it bettered the B standard needed to compete in next month's US Olympic Trials in Eugene.

“I'm as excited as heck – it was a long time coming,” Aanstad said. “That was an unreal competition. I told myself it was going to come down to who was going to be a competitor. I knew if I wanted to do a good job, I had to be a good competitor.”

Fort Hays State sophomore Makayla McPhail seemingly had things under control, throwing 160-9 (49.00m) in round one.

Aanstad opened with a toss of 143-4 (43.69m), but progressively improved in every round, though she was in fifth at the end of the third round, before unleashing the winning toss in round five.

As she unleashed the javelin in the fifth stanza, Aanstad, who was sitting in fourth at that moment, didn't think that it was that good a toss.

“I walked off the runway and looked over at (SPU head coach) Karl (Lerum), and I was thinking, 'I have one more left,'” Aanstad said. “But Karl was clapping and the crowd was going wild, so I thought, 'Maybe it was better than I thought it was.'"

Western Washington freshman Katie Reichert from Kelso finished seventh, with a best of 152-5 (46.47m).

Earlier in the day, WWU's Alex Harrison from Edmonds finished 15th in the men's javelin with a toss of 192-10 (58.79m).

SPU's Ali Worthen finished her meet on Saturday with a 20th-place finish in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches (1.65m). On Friday, Worthen came from behind to grab the bronze medal in the heptathlon with a career-best total of 5,297 points.

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

NOTE: The sports information office of Seattle Pacific and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Washington's Goethals, Juilifs, Flood, Maricich, and Alaka along with UW & WSU relay teams qualify for nationals...

AUSTIN, Texas--In this meet, twelfth is just as good as first.

Washington's Megan Goethals (left/photo by Paul Merca), Katie Flood, JJ Juilifs, AJ Maricich, James Alaka, and the men's 4 x 100 meter relay squad all earned the right to move on to the NCAA finals in Des Moines, Iowa, as they qualified in their events on the final day of the NCAA West Preliminaries at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Additionally, Washington State's women's 4 x 100 meter relay squad also advanced to the NCAA finals in two weeks.

Goethals, a sophomore and former Foot Locker national cross country champion from Rochester, Michigan, won the first of two semifinal rounds in the 5000 meters, running the fastest time of the day in 15:46.82 to advance to her second straight national championship meet in this event.

Pac-12 champion and Sammamish native Jessica Tebo of Colorado was content to run in the pack, as the sixth-year senior and Seattle Pacific alum finished third in the heat in 15:54.13, making sure she was in the top 5 to automatically advance to Des Moines.

In the women's triple jump, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle of the University of Kansas had the best jump of the day, jumping a windy 46-6 (14.17m) on her first attempt, and passing her remaining attempts.

In the men's pole vault, Husky freshman JJ Juilifs cleared five consecutive heights on his first attempts, climaxing with a first clearance of 17-8 1/2 (5.40m) to ensure a ticket to Iowa.

In the women's 1500, Katie Flood ran fast enough to ensure a second straight berth in the NCAA championships in her hometown, finishing second in her semifinal race, clocking 4:17.05.

Bellingham's Becca Friday of Oregon finished second in the other semifinal, running 4:16.79 to move forward to Des Moines.

Another Bellingham native earned a berth in the NCAA national finals, as Chris Kwiatkowski, a fifth year senior at the University of Oregon had the third fastest time in the men's 5000, running 14:07.19.

7-2 1/2 (2.20m) was the magic height, and the Huskies' AJ Maricich cleared that bar on his second attempt, as he was one of five jumpers to successfully navigate the height to qualify for the national championships.

The Huskies' James Alaka qualified for his second individual event, as the two-time Pac-12 champion finished third in his semi-final over 200 meters, running 20.61 to get an automatic berth to Des Moines.

Earlier in the day, Alaka ran the second leg of the Huskies' 4 x 100 meter relay team that squeezed out the final berth to Des Moines, running 39.98 to place 4th in the first of three heats, and sweat out the results of the other two heats to see if he and teammates Sam Rucker, Maurice McNeal and Ryan Hamilton would advance to Iowa.

As it turned out, the Huskies had the 12th fastest time in the three heats (top three teams on place, plus the three fastest times advance), garnering the final spot by 2/10ths of a second.

Like the Huskies, Washington State's 4 x 100 meter relay team had to sweat out and watch two other heats before learning whether they would be going to Iowa.

The Cougars, comprised of Chanel James, Cindy Robinson, Candii McFarland, and Shawna Fermin, finished fifth in their heat in a time of 44.92, after Kansas was disqualified for a pass outside the zone.

Washington State's time was good enough to gain the 12th and final spot to Des Moines.

Oregon's Michael Berry from Seattle's Rainier Beach HS, who qualified Friday in the 400, was a last minute replacement to run the anchor leg on the Ducks' 4 x 100 relay team that earned a place in the national championships, as they ran 39.86, just ahead of the Huskies.

Complete day 3 results from the NCAA West Preliminaries are available here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Berry blazes to fourth fastest 400 time in the world this season at NCAA West Prelims...

AUSTIN, Texas--University of Oregon sophomore Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca), a product of Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, emphatically let the doubters know that he will be one of the leading contenders for the NCAA 400 meter title in Des Moines in two weeks with a strong run to highlight day 2 of the NCAA West Preliminary rounds Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Berry won his quarterfinal round and broke his own Oregon school record, clocking 44.86.

According to the IAAF lists, his time is currently the fourth fastest in the world outdoors this season, bettered only by LaShawn Merritt (44.19 and 44.73), and Kirani James of Grenada at 44.72.

After a solid opening 200 meters, Berry hit the accelerator going into the turn and cleared the entire field heading on to the back stretch. He maintained his speed over the last 50 meters to run the fastest time in the NCAA this season.

"I just wanted to get back in race form and run my race and go hard the last 150 meters," said Berry. "I wasn't trying to break a record today, but I'll take it and can hopefully build on it."

Here is video of Berry's race:



Washington's Logan Miller and Georgia Reynolds, along with Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola all advanced to Des Moines, as all cleared 13-8 1/4 (4.17m).

Miller easily qualified, clearing all three bars attempted on the first try. while Reynolds, a redshirt freshman from Mt. Si High School, and Monterola, both needed two attempts at 13-4 1/4 (4.07m) and 13-8 1/4 (4.17m) to punch their tickets to Iowa.

Courtesy of the University of Washington, here's a video interview with Miller and Reynolds:



On the track, Washington's James Alaka advanced to nationals, as the British national from London ran a wind-aided 10.22 to move on to Des Moines.

Washington State junior Shawna Fermin took third in her quarterfinal heat of the women's 400, running a time of 52.97 to advance to the national finals in Iowa.

With two days of competition in the books, Washington will have four athletes going to Iowa--Alaka, Miller, Reynolds, and javelin thrower Jimmy Brookman, while Washington State has Fermin, along with long jumper Stephan Scott-Ellis, and javelin throwers Courtney Simmons and Anna Adamko.

Monterola is the lone competitor from Eastern Washington advancing so far.

Washington's release is available here; Washington State's day 2 recap is here; and, Eastern Washington's release can be accessed by clicking here.

The meet concludes Saturday.

Complete results are available via this link.

The timing issue from Thursday night's women's 10000 was resolved, with Gonzaga's Emily Thomas finishing 24th in 35:55.98, and Bellingham's Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon 32nd in 36:26.72.

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

Ali Worthen earns spot on podium with third place finish in NCAA D2 heptathlon...

PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific senior Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) was aiming for a top three podium finish entering this week's NCAA Division II heptathlon championship.

She got it.

After starting the day in fifth place, the Marshfield HS standout put together three strong performances – one of them a personal best – and moved up to claim the women's heptathlon bronze medal at the NCAA Track & Field Championships.

Worthen finished with 5,297 points – also a career-best mark. Defending champion and pre-meet favorite Lindsay Lettow of Central Missouri won easily, as expected, with 5,748 points, the third-highest total in meet history. Teammate Erin Alewine was second with 5,371. Cheryl Bourne of Ashland (Ohio), also in the medal hunt going into the final event, wound up fourth with 5,237.

“I'm just ecstatic. I wanted top-3, and I knew what I had to do,” said Worthen. “I'm so happy to know now that it's done.”

She began day 2 with a strong performance in the long jump, stretching the tape out to 18-8 1/2 (5.70m), her second best mark of the season.

Worthen followed it up with a personal best of 116-0 (35.36m) in the javelin, then ran 2:23.12 to gain 782 points and the third place spot.

Worthen's finish made her an All-American for the fourth time in her career – twice outdoors, twice indoors. Last year, she finished sixth in the hep at Turlock, Calif., with 5,044 points. In February, she took sixth in the indoor pentathlon, and finished fourth in the indoor high jump as a freshman in 2009.

Western Washington's Emily Warman bettered her own school record in finishing sixth in the triple jump, as she had a mark of 40-7 (12.37 meters) on her first attempt. That was two inches further than the WWU standard she set earlier this season. Warman came into the competition ranked 13th nationally.

Western senior Alex Harrison finished seventh in the decathlon, with a final score of 6677 points.

Also placing in the top eight and earning All America honors was Viking pole vaulter Karis Anderson, who tied for eighth with a clearance of 12-3 1/2 (3.75m).

Central Washington's Kati Davis no-heighted, missing two attempts at 11-9 3/4 (3.60m) and one at 12-3 1/2 (3.75m).

Seattle Pacific's Nate Seely did not advance to the finals in the men's 800, running 1:56.99 for sixth in his semifinal heat.

Saturday, Worthen competes in the high jump finals, while the Falcons' Brittany Aanstad and Western's Katie Reichert are in the women's javelin. Harrison will throw in the finals of the men's javelin.

Day 2 results from the NCAA Division II championships are available through this link.

PATTERSON SIXTH IN OSTRAVA

At the Ostrava Golden Spike meet in the Czech Republic, Vancouver's Kara Patterson finished sixth with a throw of 196-10 (60.00m) on Friday.

Patterson got her best throw on her second attempt, after opening with a toss of 196-2 (59.79m) to momentarily hold third place at the end of the first stanza.

In a tweet posted after the meet, she said that she was, "not satisfied but not totally bummed! Better than all but one of my Europe meets last year, and I felt pretty achy."

Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic gave the field notice that she's ready to defend her Olympic title, winning in a meet record and 2012 world leading mark of 222-4 (67.78m), with reigning world champion Maria Abakumova second at 211-1 (64.34m).

Patterson moves on to Rome for the Golden Gala on May 31st.

Complete results from the Ostrava Golden Spike are available here.


NOTE: The sports information office of Seattle Pacific and Western Washington contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Walker wins low-key competition at Olympic Training Center...

CHULA VISTA, California--University of Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) won the pole vault competition Thursday at the OTC Pre-Olympic Series V meet at the US Olympic Training Center.

Walker, who competed in last week's Samsung Diamond League stop in Shanghai, took the victory with a jump of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m).

In another section of the men's pole vault, Club Northwest's Levi Keller took the victory, jumping 17-6 3/4 (5.35m).

Another Washington alum, Carly Dockendorf, finished fourth in the women's pole vault, as she aims for the Olympic A standard of 14-9 1/4 (4.50m) to improve her chances of making Canada's Olympic team. Dockendorf cleared 14-1 1/4 (4.30m).

Results of the OTC-Pre Olympic series are available here.

NOTE: OTC resident and Vancouver native Kara Patterson competes Friday in the Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting in the Czech Republic against a field that includes Olympic champ Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic, and reigning world champion Maria Abakumova.

The IAAF meet preview is available here.

Live results will be posted via the meet's web site, accessible here.

SPU's Ali Worthen in fifth at the break in NCAA D2 heptathlon...

PUEBLO, Colorado--After day 1 of the heptathlon competition at the NCAA Division II track & field championships, Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen (left/photo by Paul Merca) is in position to grab a top-three finish, as she currently stands fifth.

Worthen, the senior from Marshfield HS in Coos Bay, Oregon, totaled 3,177 points on Thursday, which is 25 more than she had earlier this month on the way to her second consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship. As expected, defending champion Lindsay Lettow of Central Missouri is on top with 3,464, and teammate Erin Alewine is second with 3,349. Cheryl Bourne of Ashland (Ohio) is third with 3,239, meaning that Worthen is just 62 points out of the medals heading into Friday's events.

“I'm pretty happy with how I did,” Worthen said. “I'm about where I thought I would be and where I was planning to be. So hopefully on Friday, I can come back and hold on to that spot or move up.”

She started her day with a personal best of 14.28 in the 100 hurdles, worth 939 points.

Worthen then cleared 5-6½ in the high jump for 842 points and fourth place. She was ninth in the shot put at 33-9¼ (548 points), then placed third overall in the 200 in 25.43 seconds.

The senior finished sixth in last year's nationals with a score of 5044.

Meanwhile, Western Washington's Alex Harrison is 11th after day 1 of the decathlon, with a score of 3329 points.

The two-time GNAC champ opened the competition by tying his season best time of 11.54 seconds in the 100 meters. He posted marks of 19-11 (6.07) in the long jump, 43-9 (13.33) in the shot put and 5-8 1/2 (1.74) in the high jump before finishing with a 52.14 clocking in the 400. The high jump mark and 400 time were both season bests.

Three-time GNAC hammer champ Michael Hoffman finished 15th in his specialty, throwing 192-6 (58.67m).

Friday, Western's Karis Anderson and Central's Kati Davis compete in the pole vault, while Nate Seely of the Falcons goes in the 800. Western's Emily Warman will compete for a national title in the triple jump.

The NCAA will provide a live webcast of the meet via ncaa.com

Complete day 1 results are available here.

NOTE: The NCAA, Seattle Pacific University, and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Three Cougs, UW's Brookman, along with former Washington preps Unterreiner, Geubelle & Eager qualify for NCAAs...

AUSTIN, Texas--Washington's Jimmy Brookman, Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis, Anna Adamko (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Courtney Simmons, along with Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle, Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner, and Tahoma's Derek Eager all punched their tickets to Des Moines for the NCAA track & field championships in day one action at the NCAA West Preliminary round at sun drenched Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

The Huskies' Brookman threw a personal best of 233-11 (71.29m) in flight 2 of the 3-flight men's javelin competition.

Brookman became UW's first qualifier for Des Moines, as his 233-11 mark stood up for fifth place overall. It will be his first career trip to the final NCAA site. Not bad for an athlete that was planning to redshirt the season until just a month ago. Brookman had Tommy John surgery last year after the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, and expected to use a redshirt this year.

Eager, competing for Pac-12 rival UCLA, finished eighth overall, qualifying for Des Moines with a toss  of 230-3 (70.19m) on his sixth and final throw, after being on the bubble for most of the competition.

In the women's javelin, Washington State's Anna Adamko, from Vancouver, Wash., threw a lifetime-best distance of 159-7 (48.65m) to take the 10th spot of the advancing 12 throwers. Two-time All-American Courtney Simmons from Othello threw a distance of 159-2 (48.51m) to claim the final spot in Des Moines. Adamko, who came into the prelims with the 33rd-best mark of the 48 competitors, tossed her PR javelin on her final attempt of the day while Simmons threw her qualifying mark on her fifth attempt.

Pac-12 long jump champ Scott-Ellis jumped 25-feet, 2 3/4 inches (7.69m) with a 3.3 meters per second wind, for the 12th and final spot from the West Region. Scott-Ellis, an All-American in the event, reached his best mark on his first attempt followed by three fouled attempts. He leaped 24-7 3/4w (7.51m) on his fifth attempt and then passed on his sixth try, having already sewn up his trip to Des Moines.

Scott-Ellis' high school teammate at Curtis, Andrea Geubelle of the University of Kansas, qualified for Des Moines in the long jump, as the University Place, Wash. native jumped to a distance measuring 6.52 meters (21-4.75 ft.) on her third try to set a new personal best for Geubelle

In the men's 10000, Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner finished eighth in 30:15.20 to secure his spot to the NCAA finals. Bellingham's Chris Kwiatkowski of Oregon was 15th in 30:32.68, and Eastern Washington's Kyle King was 32nd in 31:33.31.

In qualifying races Thursday, among those advancing to quarterfinal rounds for Washington were Kayla Stueckle in the women's 400H (58.84); Katie Flood (4:22.02), Chelsea Orr (4:25.18) and Christine Babcock (4:26.10) in the 1500; Jordan Carlson in the women's 400 (53.56); Maurice McNeal in the men's 400 (47.02); and James Alaka in the 100 (10.34).

Cougars advancing on the track to the quarterfinal round included Shawna Fermin in the 400 (53.85); Joe Abbott in the 800 (1:48.81), and J Hopkins in the 400 hurdles (52.44).

Bellingham's Becca Friday advanced in the women's 1500, running 4:25.14.

A timing issue delayed the results of the women's 10000, involving Bellingham's Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon, and Gonzaga's Emily Thomas, the first Bulldog to qualify for the NCAA preliminaries in school history.

Complete day 1 recaps written by the University of Washington, Washington State University and Eastern Washington are available by clicking the school's name.

Results from the NCAA West Preliminaries are available here.

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

SPU, Western and Central Washington send athletes to Pueblo for NCAA D2 championships...

PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen along with Western Washington's Alex Harrison and Michael Hoffman will help kick off the NCAA Division II track & field championships on Thursday as they begin competition in the heptathlon, decathlon and hammer.

Worthen, the senior from Coos Bay, Oregon's Marshfield High, enters the NCAA championships as the GNAC conference champ in the heptathlon, and the fourth seeded entrant with a score of 5199.

Harrison is seeded 11th with a best of 6772, set at the California Invitational Multi Events meet at Azusa Pacific in April.

Hoffman has a season best of 205-1 (62.51m), set at the Western Washington twilight meet on May 4th.

On Friday, Western's Karis Anderson and Central Washington's Kati Davis (above/photo by Paul Merca) compete in the finals of the women's pole vault. Both competed in the indoor nationals in March, and at last year's outdoor nationals, where both tied for seventh. Davis has a season best of 12-2 3/4 (3.73m), while Anderson has a best of 12-7 1/2 (3.85m).

Seattle Pacific's Nate Seely, the GNAC 800 champ, is seeded eighth with a time of 1:50.61.

Rounding out Friday's competitors, Western's Emily Warman, the 2009 NCAA indoor triple jump champ, will make her first outdoor appearance. She's seeded 13th with a best of 40-5 (12.32m).

On Saturday, SPU's Brittany Aanstad goes in as the number one seed at 161-11 (49.35m), while the Vikings' Katie Reichert goes in at #7 with a season best of 148-4 (45.21m).

Worthen competes in the high jump on Saturday, and Harrison will participate in the javelin.

The NCAA Division II time schedule is available here.

Seattle Pacific's release is available here, while Western Washington's is available here.

Central Washington's release is available here.

The NCAA will webcast the Division II championships via ncaa.com. Live results will be available via this link.

NOTE:  Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington's sports information offices, along with the NCAA and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Call it whatever you want--the road to Des Moines, Iowa starts Thursday...

Hey, I just met you,
and this is crazy,
but here's my number,
so call me, maybe?

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry
With apologies to Carly Rae Jepsen, whatever you want to call it--the first round of the NCAA championships, or the West Regionals--the road to the NCAA track & field championships begin Thursday for the athletes from Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, and Gonzaga, along with several athletes with Washington ties competing for other schools.

The NCAA West Preliminaries begin Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, where the 48 qualifiers in each individual event are whittled down to the final 12, who move on to Des Moines, Iowa in two weeks.

A similar preliminary meet is being held for the eastern half of the country in Jacksonville, Florida, where the top 48 get pared down to 12.

Naturally, the large fields in the events will make for long days, which some critics contend make this three day meet unwatchable for all but the hardiest of hard core fans.

The field events will all have just one round, with the 48 athletes in each event split into flights based on their entry marks. The top 16 after three rounds in the jumps/throws will get three more attempts. Track events from 100-meters up to 1,500-meters will have two rounds apiece in Austin, plus two more rounds in Des Moines, so the eventual champions in those events will have run four races to win.

The Huskies are sending 31 men and women to Texas, while the Cougars will have a squad totaling 26 men and women. Eastern Washington sends six athletes to Austin, while Gonzaga sends its first runner in school history to the meet in the form of 10000 meter runner Emily Thomas.

The releases for the four schools are available here:

--Washington
--Washington State
--Eastern Washington
--Gonzaga

Those with Washington ties in the top eight in the field of 48 (24 relays) include on the women's side: Washington State's Shawna Fermin (400); Washington's Katie Flood (1500); Colorado's Jessica Tebo from Sammamish (5000); Washington's Logan Miller (pole vault); and, University Place native Andrea Geubelle of Kansas (long/triple jumps).

Men with Washington connections ranked in the top eight include: Washington's James Alaka (200); Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry (above/photo by Paul Merca) of Oregon (400); Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner of Stanford (10000); Washington's JJ Juilfs (pole vault); Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis (long/triple jumps); and, Tahoma HS grad Derek Eager of UCLA (javelin).

You can watch streaming video of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds here each day beginning at 9 am pacific.

The start lists for the men's West Preliminary rounds are available here, while the women's West Preliminary round start lists are available here.

Courtesy of the USTFCCCA, here's the brackets for the national championships, which will help fans understand the concept of advancement from Austin or Jacksonville to Des Moines.

Texassports.com will have live results posted here once the meet gets underway.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Come join Norris Frederick's fundraising dinner on May 30th...

Friend of the blog and US Olympic Trials long jump qualifier Norris Frederick (left/photo by Paul Merca) informs paulmerca.blogspot.com that the 11-time All-American from the University of Washington and Roosevelt HS alumnus will host a fundraising dinner on May 30th at Makers in the Belltown district of Seattle.

The évent, touted as "The Olympic Dinner", presented by Elite Level Marketing, Umpqua Bank and Gourmet Your Way, is a chance for the community to meet and support Frederick in his bid to make the 2012 US Olympic team in the long jump.

This event, which will be emceed by Sports Radio KJR personality Dave "Softy" Mahler, features a number of former and current Seattle professional athletes, Olympic competitors, and influential members of the media. There will be a live jazz band, and a silent auction, in addition to complimentary food and beverages.

Among the items up for bid include tickets to a Portland Trailblazers game, along with accommodations; a scenic flight around Seattle; the opportunity to have a personal chef visit your home and cook dinner, and other items.

Frederick is riding the wave of two straight victories at last weekend's Tuscon Elite meet at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

Tickets for the event, priced at $30 per person, can be purchased through this link at Brown Paper Tickets.

The complete news release from Elite Level Marketing is available here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will have coverage of the event.

NOTE: Elite Level Marketing contributed to this report.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

List of Washington affiliated athletes qualified for the US Olympic Track & Field Trials...

Jessica Tebo & Katie Flood (Paul Merca photo)
Listed below in a downloadable document are the athletes with ties to the state of Washington who have achieved automatic qualifying marks to next month's US Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon on June 22nd through July 1st (the hammer will be contested June 21st in Beaverton at NIKE World Headquarters).

Because of the fluid nature with athletes achieving provisional or "B" standard marks, those athletes are not listed. Athletes will have until June 17th to achieve a qualifying mark for the Olympic Trials.

The qualifying standards for the Trials are available here, as well as on the downloadable document.

One notable mark not listed in the sheet is Scott Roth's mark of 18-9.25/5.72m, which was set at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16, 2011, BEFORE the Olympic qualifying period began on May 1st of last year. Roth is currently a provisional qualifier, but should make the cut, as the top 24 athletes over 18-0 1/2 (5.50m) should get into the meet (he has a 2012 best of 18-4.5/5.60m).

An updated sheet will be published sometime after the NCAA championships and before the June 17th deadline. I anticipate publishing the names of provisional qualifiers who look to get into the meet.

The Olympic Trials time schedule is available here.

As always, corrections and amendments are welcome. Please leave any corrections, amendments, etc. in the comments section...thanks!

OlyTrials Qualifiers 2012

UPDATE #2: List of Washington affiliated athletes with Olympic "A" standard...

James Alaka of the University of Washington got the Olympic A standard in the 200 at the Pac-12 Championships (photo courtesy European Athletics)
After the conclusion of various conference championship meets, and key domestic invitationals, here is the second updated list of athletes with Washington affiliations who have met the Olympic Games "A" standard, which was published on February 29th and April 17th.

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

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.

Here's a link to the qualifying standards for the US Olympic Trials. Note in many cases, the Olympic Games standards are tougher than the standards to gain entry into the Olympic Trials.

Updated marks since April 17th are noted in red, including meet where mark was set.

The next update to this list will be sometime after the NCAA championships and before the US Olympic Trials qualifying period closes on June 17th.

As always, please leave a note in the comments section if there's anyone we missed/overlooked/have an incorrect mark...thanks!

MEN

100m (10.18) none (James Alaka, GBR/Univ of Washington close at 10.22, Pac-12 Championships, 5/13/12)

200m (20.55) James Alaka, GBR/Univ of Washington, 20.45, 5/13/12, Pac-12 Championships; Jordan Boase, 20.52, 6/5/11

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 (Jordan McNamara, 3:36.48, 5/18/2012 at USATF Oxy High Performance, is close)

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, 4:06.57 at USATF Oxy High Performance, 5/18/12 is close)

Steeplechase (9:43.00) none

5000 (15:20.00) Jessica Tebo (left/photo by Paul Merca), 15:19.43, 4/29/12 at Payton Jordan Invitational; (Brie Felnagle, 15:22.39, 4/6/12 is close)

10000 (31:45.00) none

100 hurdles (12.96) Ginnie Crawford, 12.66, 5/5/12, St. Maarten

400 hurdles (55.50) none

High Jump (6-4.75/1.95m) Ebba Jungmark (SWE), 6-4.75/1.95m, 3/9/12

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 (Britney Henry, 232-1/70.73m, 3/18/12 is close)

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

Heptathlon (6150 points) none

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

Kara Patterson & Britney Henry set new stadium records in day 2 of Tuscon Elite meet...


TUSCON--Vancouver's Kara Patterson (above/photo by Paul Merca) launched two throws over 60 meters in day two of the Tuscon Elite meet, as she defeated long time friend and rival Rachel Yurkovich to win the women's javelin competition Saturday night at Drachman Stadium.

The four-time USA national champion from Vancouver's Skyview HS had a best of 198-0 (60.36m) to beat Yurkovich, the University of Oregon alum, who had a best of 196-5 (59.89m). In the process, Patterson broke the facility record she set on Thursday of 195-9 (59.66m) and set a season best.

Spokane native Britney Henry won the women's hammer competition, as she spun the ball and chain 229-7 (69.97m), an improvement over Thursday, where she was second at 224-10 (68.54m).

Henry's mark also was a new facility record, breaking the old mark of 229-6 (69.95m).

South Whidbey HS alum Kimery Hern finished second in the B section of the hammer, throwing 210-0 (64.00m), shorter than her winning throw of 213-7 (65.10m) on Thursday.

Roosevelt HS and University of Washington alum Norris Frederick again won the men's long jump competition, improving over Thursday's mark of 24-11 (7.59m) to 25-7 1/2 (7.81m).

Recent University of Washington grad Kyle Nielsen finished seventh in the men's javelin with a toss of 244-6 (74.53m) in round 2.

In the men's discus, Marysville-Pilchuck HS alum Jarred Rome finished fifth at 191-6 (58.38m) on his lone fair throw of the competition in round three. University of Washington alum Will Conwell of Club Northwest was seventh with a best of 190-1 (57.93m).

Complete results from the Tuscon Elite meet are available here, while the University of Arizona meet recap is here.

NOTE: The University of Arizona contributed to this report.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brad Walker fourth in dicey conditions in Shanghai Diamond League meet...

SHANGHAI, China--Competing in very tricky and rainy conditions, University of Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in the men's pole vault at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting Saturday night.

Opening at a modest height of 18-2 1/2 (5.55m), Walker, the American record holder in this event, needed three attempts to move on.

He missed on his first attempt at 18-6 1/2 (5.65m), then passed to the next height of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) where he missed his two remaining jumps.

Yang Yansheng of China was the surprise winner of the event, with a jump of 18-6 1/2, with Germany's Bjorn Otto second at the same height. Malte Mohr of Germany was third with a best of 18-2 1/2.

In the women's discus, Washington alum Aretha Thurmond finished sixth with a best of 191-7 (58.41m) on her second attempt of the day.

Thurmond fouled her remaining four attempts after opening with a toss of 180-5 (55.01m).

Croatia's Sandra Perkovic took the victory with a meet and national record throw of 223-11 (68.24m), with American record holder and reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton second in 210-7 (64.20m).

Complete results of the Shanghai Diamond League meet are available here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jordan McNamara scores personal best at Oxy High Performance meet...

LOS ANGELES--While the sports world had their eyes towards downtown and the matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the former Seattle Supersonics in the NBA playoffs, track and field aficionados were watching the USATF High Performance meet at Jack Kemp Stadium on the campus of Occidental College.

Auburn Riverside alum Jordan McNamara (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fifth in his section of the men's 1500 meters, running a personal best of 3:36.48.

Courtesy of media partner RunnerSpace.com, here is video of McNamara's race:



Former Washington Husky Katie Mackey, who was gunning for the Olympic A standard of 4:06.00, came close, running a personal best 4:06.57 to finish third in her section behind Minnesota alum Gabriele Anderson (4:06.46) and reigning US champion Morgan Uceny (4:06.52).

In the same section, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle placed sixth in 4:08.80.

In the men's 800, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek finished second in his section in a time of 1:47.05, while veteran Kevin Hicks of Seattle was sixth in 1:48.97.

Western Washington alum Sarah Porter finished sixth in the women's 5000, running 15:59.95.

Club Northwest's Lois Keller finished fourth in her section of the 3000 steeplechase in 10:03.42. Another CNW runner, John Ricardi, was 16th in his section of the men's 3000 steeple in 9:16.95.

Complete results from the USATF High Performance meet are available here.

In Shanghai, former Huskies Aretha Thurmond and Brad Walker are entered in Saturday night's stop on the Samsung Diamond League tour.

Thurmond will contest the discus against reigning Olympic champion and new American record holder Stephanie Brown-Trafton, 2009 world champ Dani Samuels of Australia, and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia.

Walker will vault against reigning Olympic champ Steve Hooker of Australia, Bjorn Otto of Germany, and Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece.

The meet will be streamed live (pay per view) on Universal Sports beginning at 5 am, Pacific time.

Kara Patterson & Norris Frederick win their events at day 1 of the Tuscon Elite...

TUSCON--Vancouver native Kara Patterson (left/file photo by Mike Scott) won the women's javelin competition as day 1 of the Tuscon Elite throwers and jumpers meet got underway Thursday night at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

Patterson threw 195-9 (59.66m) in the first round for the victory, and was never seriously challenged.

Washington State alum Marissa Tschida finished 10th with a best of 165-5 (50.41m).

In other events, former Husky Norris Frederick won the men's long jump with a best of 24-11 (7.59m).

Former Spokane prep standout Britney Henry finished second in the women's hammer with a mark of 224-10 (68.54m). Clinton native Kimery Hern, a product of South Whidbey HS, won the B section of the women's hammer with a throw of 213-7 (65.10m).

Former Husky Kyle Nielsen, who is aiming for the Olympic Games A standard of 269-0 (82.00m) to help ensure selection to Canada's squad, finished second with a best of 253-2 (77.17m).

In the men's discus, another former Husky, Will Conwell, placed third with a throw of 200-3 (61.05m), while Marysville-Pilchuck alum Jarred Rome was one spot behind with a best of 198-7 (60.52m).

The meet resumes on Saturday. Complete day 1 results from the Tuscon Elite meet are available here.

BEYNON SPORTS TO SURFACE THE NEW UW TRACK & FIELD STADIUM

Beynon is expected to begin the installation of the 11,000sy IAAF certified BSS 2000 track surface in August with a completion date slated for mid-September. The BSS 2000 is designed and manufactured for optimal competitive performance both indoors and out and is grounded by a bio-engineered force reduction layer of butyl rubber and full depth color polyurethane, ensuring athletes can train hard and run fast.

The track stadium is being built just north of the current soccer stadium next to the east parking lot, where a series of steel pilings are being driven into the surface to help stabilize the ground, which is on an old landfill.

Beynon is the same company that surfaced the track at the University of Oregon, using the same BSS 2000 compound.

The Beynon press release can be read here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

US elite throwers, jumpers in Tuscon; distance runners at Occidental for high-performance meets...

For most of America's top throwers, jumpers, and middle distance runners, this weekend will serve as a key benchmark for those with aspirations of competing in next month's US Olympic Trials, or the Olympics in London.

Thursday and Saturday, the University of Arizona hosts the Tuscon Elite meets, a two day competition involving many of the country's top throwers and jumpers in a competitive situation designed to help push each other to the requisite Olympic Games and Olympic Trials standards.

Among those in Thursday's meet include South Whidbey HS alum and former University of Washington volunteer assistant coach Kimery Hern, and Spokane native Britney Henry (hammer); WSU alum Marissa Tschida, Vancouver native Kara Patterson (above/photo by Paul Merca), and former Husky Kyle Nielsen (javelin); Marysville-Pilchuck alum Jarred Rome (discus); and former Husky All-American Norris Frederick (long jump).

All are expected to compete in day 2 of the meet on Saturday.

The start list for day 1 of the Tuscon Elite meet is available here.

On Friday, the cream of American middle distance running assembles at Occidental College outside of Los Angeles for the USATF High Performance Meet in a competitive situation designed to give runners the best opportunity to meet or exceed the Olympic Trials and/or Games standards.

Running at Oxy are: Lois Keller and John Ricardi of Club Northwest (steeple); Seattle's Kevin Hicks and Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek (800); former UW All American Katie Mackey, Tacoma native Brie Felnagle (1500), and Auburn-Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara (1500); and, Western Washington alum Sarah Porter (5000).

The start list for the Oxy High Performance Meet are available here.

On the collegiate front, the NCAA announced its list of declared athletes for next week's first round of the Division I track & field championships (aka the West and East Regional meet) in Austin, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida.

In the West Region, those with Washington ties in the top eight in the field of 48 (24 relays) include on the women's side: Washington State's Shawna Fermin (400); Washington's Katie Flood (1500); Colorado's Jessica Tebo from Sammamish (5000); Washington's Logan Miller (pole vault); and, University Place native Andrea Geubelle of Kansas (long/triple jumps).

Men with Washington connections ranked in the top eight include: Washington's James Alaka (200); Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon (400); Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner of Stanford (10000); Washington's JJ Juilfs (pole vault); Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis (long/triple jumps); and, Tahoma HS grad Derek Eager of UCLA (javelin).

The NCAA field of declared entries are available here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 Nike Prefontaine Classic only weeks away!

Paul Tanui (l), who was 9th in Daegu will come to Eugene to earn a spot on Kenya's Olympic team  (Paul Merca photo)
For track and field fans living in the Pacific Northwest who can't get the time off to head to Eugene for the US Olympic Trials at the end of June, your best bet is to make the trip to Track Town USA on June 2nd for the Nike Prefontaine Classic at Historic Hayward Field.

The Pre, which is part of the Samsung Diamond League series of international meets, will actually take place over two days, with Friday June 1st tabbed by meet promoters as Hollister Night at Hayward, in tribute to the late Geoff Hollister, the long time Nike track & field promo man who was a key player in the Prefontaine Classic.

Hollister Night at Hayward will include the women's hammer, which includes world record holder & 2007 world champ Betty Heidler of Germany in a matchup against reigning world champ Tatyana Lysenko of Russia and 2009 world champ Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.

The women's discus features reigning Olympic champ and new American record holder Stephanie Brown-Trafton against three time US Olympian and University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond, and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia.

The highlight of Hollister Night at Hayward will be the Final Olympic Trials men's 10000 meter race for the spots on the Kenyan Olympic team. The Kenyan federation will bring in the top 15 runners from its pre-Trials in Nairobi to race for two spots, with the third member to be selected by committee.

Former Washington State University standouts Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Sweden and Bernard Lagat from Tuscon are scheduled to compete at the Pre.

Jungmark, who was the 2008 NCAA indoor high jump champion for the Cougars, and who tied for second at the IAAF world indoor championships in Istanbul back in March, makes her return to the Pacific Northwest and jump in a stacked field that includes defending world champion Anna Chicherova of Russia, world indoor champ Chaunte Lowe, and Ariane Friedrich of Germany, who was out all of last season recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.

Lagat, a member of WSU's hall of fame, is entered in the Bowerman Mile, the event that traditionally ends the meet.

Lagat goes against reigning world and Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, along with Silas Kiplagat and Haron Keitany of Kenya. Throw into the mix world championship bronze medalist and local hero Matthew Centrowitz, and magic is bound to happen.

The men's 5000 features a matchup between comebacking Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, the defending Olympic champion, against Great Britain's Mo Farah, the reigning world champion.

In the weeks to come, fans can get updated information on the fields for the Nike Prefontaine Classic by visiting preclassic.com.

If you can't make it to Eugene, the meet will be televised live on NBC Sports.

NOTE: The Prefontaine Classic contributed to this report.

NCAA announces accepted entries for next weekend's Division II championships in Colorado...

The NCAA announced its accepted entries for the Division II Track & Field Championships in Pueblo, Colorado on May 24-26th.

Western Washington will have the largest group, led by triple jumper Emily Warman (left/photo by Paul Merca), javelin thrower Katie Reichert, and pole vaulter Karis Anderson on the women's side, along with hammer thrower Michael Hoffman and decathlete Alex Harrison, who will also contest the javelin.

Anderson is tied for seventh nationally in the pole vault at 12-7 1/2, and Reichert ranks seventh in the javelin (148-4). Harrison is eighth in the javelin (214-7) as is Hoffman in the hammer (205-1). Harrison is 10th in the decathlon (6772) and Warman is 13th in the triple jump (40-5).

Seattle Pacific will have javelin thrower Brittany Aanstad, and heptathlete Ali Worthen. Worthen will also high jump. The Falcons' lone male competitor is 800 meter runner Nate Seely.

Aanstad is the D-2 leader in the jav with a throw of 161 feet, 11 inches on April 7 at the War V meet in Spokane.In the hep, Worthen comes in as the No. 4 seed on the career-high score of 5,199 points with which she won the GNAC title on April 30-May 1 in Ellensburg.

Seely, the GNAC 800 meter winner, moved from #29 on the D2 performance list all the way to #8 in winning the conference title in 1:50.61 in Monmouth, Oregon.

Central Washington will be represented by pole vaulter Kati Davis, who is seeded #15.

The list of accepted entries for the NCAA Division II championships are available here.

Seattle Pacific women's team remains ranked #25 in the latest USTFCCCA national Division II poll released Monday.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

UW's James Alaka repeats as Pac-12 200 champ; Sammamish native Jessica Tebo wins 5000...

EUGENE--The University of Washington's James Alaka (left/photo by Paul Merca) won his second straight men's 200 meter crown as the Pac-12 track and field championships concluded at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Positioned on the outside in lane 7, the British national posted a personal best time of 20.45 (+1.7)and scored the Olympic A standard which puts him in contention for a spot on Great Britain's Olympic team in that event, well under the A standard of 20.55.

In securing the win, he also turned the table on USC's Aaron Brown, who won the 100 meters earlier in the meet over Alaka, 10.18 to 10.22 (+2.0), 4/100ths off the Olympic A standard of 10.18.

Before the meet, the woman who was considered the most dangerous runner in the distance field, Sammamish native and Seattle Pacific grad Jessica Tebo (left/photo by Paul Merca), a sixth year senior and grad student at the University of Colorado, took the women's 5000 meter run, winning in 16:03.70, after finishing third in the 1500 in 4:15.06 behind defending champ Jordan Hasay of Oregon (4:13.28) and Katie Flood of the Huskies (4:13.80).

In the women's 5000, sophomore Megan Goethals was third in 16:19.00.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf was pleasantly surprised with the performance of triple jumper Shaniae Lakes who leaped 43-3 1/4 (13.19m) on her final attempt to finish second behind Oregon's Lauryn Newsom (43-4 1/4, 13.21m).

Other highlights:

--Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon finished second in the men's 400 behind USC's Bryshon Nellum, 45.20 to 45.85. Washington's Maurice McNeal was third at 46.59;

--Washington State's Shawna Fermin was second in the women's 400 in 52.66, with the Huskies' Jordan Carlson third at 53.03;

--As he did in the MPSF indoor meet in Seattle, Arizona State's Chris Benard turned the tables on WSU's Stephan Scott-Ellis 53-10 1/2 (16.42m) to 52-8 (16.05m);

--Though he took the lead with 250 to go, Washington State's Joe Abbott could not hold off the charge of Oregon's Elijah Greer in the 800, 1:48.48 to 1:48.59;

--Bellingham native Becca Friday finished second in the women's 800 to help the host Ducks take all three podium spots, running 2:05.34, behind teammate Laura Roesler's 2:05.13;

--The Huskies' Logan Miller came close to duplicating JJ Julifs' win in the pole vault Saturday, but came up close, finishing second to Stanford's Katerina Stefanidi, 14-8 1/4 to 14-4 1/2 (4.48m to 4.38m). Miller attained the US Olympic Trials B standard by 8 centimeters.

In the final men's team standings, the Huskies finished tied for fifth with Stanford at 78 points, while Washington State was eighth at 56.5 points.

In the women's team standings, Washington was sixth at 54 points, while the Cougars were ninth at 27 points.

Oregon repeated as men's and women's team champions, scoring 140 and 200.5 points, respectively.

Complete day 2 results from the Pac 12 championships are available here.

Weekend roundup: Summary of Big Sky, Great West and GNAC championship meets...

While we're waiting for things to get underway at day 2 of the Pac-12 track & field championships from Eugene, here's a quick recap of what's happened with other conference meets:

In Bozeman, Montana at the Big Sky championships, Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola won the pole vault with a leap of 13-7 1/4 (4.15m), with teammate Robin Taylor finishing second at the same height.

Shene Davis broke the EWU school record in the triple jump, leaping 40-6 1/4 (12.35m) in finishing second. 2009 Big Sky champ Michelle Coombs was second in the javelin at 151-6 (46.18m).

Eastern finished eighth at 62 points as Sacramento State repeated as women's team champs.

On the men’s side, Kyle King continued to bring in honors, as his third-place finish in the 5,000 (14:54.24) earned him all-conference status a day after he won the 10,000.

Eastern's full release is available here.

At the Great West championships in Humble, Texas, SeattleU's 4 x 100 meter relay squad won the title in 41.67 with a team of Eric Patterson-Floyd, Austin Thummel-Gravitt, Zachary Schlachter & Zach Stanfield.

Stanfield set two individual school records during the afternoon, finishing third in both the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.59 seconds and in the 200 meter dash with a mark of 21.36 seconds.

The postponement of the 3000 meter steeplechase did not seem to affect either Seattle U runner. First, Hannah Mittelstaedt finished in second place in the women's steeplechase with a time of 11:22.23. Kelton Sears followed with his own second place finish in the men's steeplechase with a personal-best time of 9:30.75, less than two seconds off the school record.

"The team as a whole brought a focus and level of energy unlike what we've brought in the past. This resulted in seven school records (over the weekend), many podium appearances, and stronger performances all around than we've put out before," Seattle U head coach Trisha Steidl said.

Less than 48 hours after winning the 10,000 meter run, Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) finished third in the 5000 meter run with a time of 15:21.09, with Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.) close behind him in fifth place in 15;24.07.

SeattleU's release is available here.

At the GNAC championships in Monmouth, Oregon, SPU won just four of 21 events – McKayla Fricker in the 800 meters, the 4x100 and 4x400 relays on Saturday, and Ali Worthen (above/photo by Paul Merca) in the heptathlon last week – and scored its other 148 points on depth to come from behind and edge Alaska Anchorage for the Falcons' third straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's track and field title.

Seattle Pacific won its third straight title and for the fifth time in six years with 188 points, five more than Alaska Anchorage (183). Western Washington was third at 137 1/2 points.

Ali Worthen of the Falcons, a senior from Coos Bay, Oregon, was selected as the women's outstanding performer of the meet.

In the men's competition, Michael Hoffman won the hammer for the third straight year and Shane Gruger placed first in the 200 meters and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x100 relay as Western Washington University captured its second men's title in three years and third overall.

The Vikings dominated the men's division with a winning point total of 205, 78-1/2 more than second-place and host Western Oregon (126-1/2) in the nine-team field.

The results and recap of the meet are available here.

NOTE: The GNAC, and the sports information offices of Seattle University, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Eastern Washington contributed to this report.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hometown hero JJ Julifs takes Pac-12 pole vault title, while Cougs' Scott-Ellis wins long jump...

EUGENE--University of Washington freshman JJ Julifs (left/photo by Paul Merca), a product of Eugene's Sheldon HS, was the victor of the men's pole vault as day one of the Pacific 12 track and field championships concluded at sun drenched Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

After clearing the first two heights of 16-4 1/2 (4.99m) and 16-10 1/4 (5.14m), he needed two attempts to clear the next two heights of 17-2 1/4 (5.24m) and 17-6 1/4 (5.34m).

Julifs wasn't out of the water, as Michael Woepse of UCLA and Derrick Hinch of Arizona State were with him, with Woepse leading based on a first attempt make at 17-2 1/4.

Three misses by Woepse at 17-6 1/4, and it was down to the Husky freshman and the Sun Devil.

The turning point was at 17-10 1/4 (5.44m), a new outdoor personal best for Julifs, as the local kid cleared on his third attempt after Hinch missed.

He took three decent shots at 18-2 1/4 (5.55m), which would have made him the fourth man in Husky history to clear 18 feet, behind Steve Oravetz, Brad Walker, and Scott Roth.

Washington senior Robby Feagles was fourth at 16-10 1/4, and WSU's John Brenteson eighth at 16-4 1/2.

Washington State's Stephan Scott-Ellis added the Pac 12 long jump title to his MPSF indoor crown, as he jumped a windy 25-9 1/4 (7.85m).

Scott-Ellis soared to a non-wind-aided PR mark of 25-6 1/2 in his fifth attempt which would have won the event, and is the ninth-best in WSU all-time records. Scott-Ellis passed on his sixth and final attempt to save energy for his defense of his triple jump title Sunday afternoon.

In the men's high jump, Washington's AJ Maricich tied for second with Arizona's Edgar Rivera-Morales, as he cleared a personal best of 7-1 1/2 (2.17m), as Arizona's Nick Ross won at 7-2 1/2 (2.20m)

The Cougars' Jovan Vukicevic tied for fourth with Bryan McBride of Arizona State, clearing the same height of 7-1 1/2.

Courtney Kirkwood Simmons and her sister Christine Kirkwood, from Othello, Wash., finished second and third in the women's javelin. Simmons, a senior, threw a season-best 166-3 (50.68) for second place and Kirkwood, a freshman, tossed 161-9 (49.31m) for third place.

The Huskies' Amanda Peterson (156-1. 47.58m) and Brooke Pighin (154-10, 47.19m), along with the Cougars' Anna Adamko (150-1, 45.75m) went 5-6-7 in the competition.

In the men's javelin, the Huskies' Joe Zimmerman was second at 231-10 (70.67m) to Oregon's Sam Crouser (250-10, 76.47m), just ahead of Tahoma HS grad Derek Eager of UCLA at 223-9 (68.21m).

Washington's Quinn Hale (218-5, 66.57m), Jimmy Brookman (217-11, 66.42m), and Curt Clauson (208-3, 63.47m) finished 4-5-7, while WSU's Sam Ferenchak took the eighth and final scoring spot at 207-3 (63.18m).

WSU's Joe Bartlett was fifth in the men's shot at 53-9 (16.38m).

Former Seattle Pacific standout Jessica Tebo of the University of Colorado won her semi in the women's 1500 in 4:21.25 over the Huskies' Katie Flood at 4:21.47.

In the same heat, Bellingham's Becca Friday was third at 4:21.76, and the Huskies' Chelsea Orr was fourth at 4:21.80.

Friday also qualified for Sunday's finals in the 800, running 2:08.41.

Gig Harbor's Miles Unterreiner of Stanford was fourth in the men's 10000 at 29:48.50, while Bellingham's Chris Kwiatkowski of Oregon was fifth in 29:49.06. Washington's Aaron Beattie was 11th in 31:12.12, while WSU's Andrew Kimpel failed to finish.

In the women's 10000, the Huskies' Liberty Miller moved steadily through the pack to finish a scoring seventh in 35:07.97, just behind Bellingham's Bronwyn Crossman of Oregon in 35:06.78.

Significant qualifiers from the prelims included Ramsey Hopkins of WSU in the 110 hurdles (14.28), Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon in the 400 (46.01); Shawna Fermin of WSU in the women's 400 (52.95); the Huskies' James Alaka in the 100 (10.34w) and 200 (20.72); WSU's Joe Abbott in the 800 (1:51.73); teammate J Hopkins in the 400 hurdles (51.56).

The Pac-12 championships continue Sunday with a full slate of finals starting at 10:45 am, with the first running event at 1 pm.

Complete day 1 results are available here.

Eastern Washington's Kyle King wins 10000 at Big Sky...

At the Big Sky Conference championships in Bozeman, Montana, Eastern Washington senior Kyle King (#133, photo courtesy EWU sports information) made school history by becoming the first Eagle to win a conference title in a distance race above 800 meters.

King took the men's 1000 in 30:52.23 to take the crown by nearly 16 seconds.

King, who is set to transfer to Oklahoma after the season and compete as a graduate student, will be running in the 5,000 meters on the final day of the meet on Saturday. He was champion in that event at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships in February.

“Kyle just ran a very sound, tactical race,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “He didn’t realize he was just one second away from setting the stadium record, which would have been the icing on the cake.

“But winning a championship is a rare feat,” added Kerr. “Kyle had some outstanding competition and he rose to the occasion. It’s good when the team leaders step up.”

Mari Bingham was the only other Eagle to earn all-conference honors (top three finish) during the first day of the championships, as her discus distance of 148-7 cemented her in third place.

Results from the Big Sky championships are available through the meet's home page.

The final day of the Big Sky championships is Saturday.

In Humble, Texas, Kaytie Bateman of Chehalis and Katie Tougas of Edmonds from Seattle University found their way onto the medal stand with top three finishes as the second day of the 2012 Great West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships took place Friday.

Starting the day in sixth place in the heptathlon after Thursday's four events, Bateman posted a mark of 4.91 meters (16' 1.5") in the long jump, followed by a top effort of 31.21 meters (102' 5") in the javelin throw to move into fifth place. She then posted the fastest time in the 800 meter run among the competitors, a personal-best mark of 2:30.56, to finish with a school-record 4,042 points and a third-place finish in the event.

Tougas finished second in the women's long jump with a top leap of 5.45 meters (17' 10.75"), just over an inch further than the third place finisher.

The Great West meet concludes Saturday. Results are available through this link.

NOTE: The Great West Conference, Big Sky Conference, and the sports information offices of Seattle University and Eastern Washington contributed to this report.

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