Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brooks causes a minor uproar at Olympic Trials...

EUGENE--With no Washington athletes in action Saturday at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials, paulmerca.blogspot.com took a little bit of a breather from the hot and heavy action on the track, but a Washington company made a bit of a buzz.

Bothell based Brooks Sports, which sponsors two Olympians--marathoner Desi Davila and 10000 meter runner Amy Hastings--may have drawn the ire of the US Olympic Committee, USA Track & Field, and oh by the way, USOC/USATF sponsor Nike--by renting a small plane to fly over Hayward Field dragging their Run Happy banner (photo by Mike Scott).

In the fine print on the back of every credential issued for this meet, one of the paragraphs says, "Any secondary, non-editorial or commercial use of any descriptions, accounts, photographs, films, audio or video recordings, or drawings or of relating to the Event made by the accredited individual to whom this credential has been issued (including, but not limited to use in advertising, sales, promotion, or merchandising) is prohibited without written approval by the US Olympic Committee, USA Track & Field, and Eugene 12."

According to a tweet posted by David Monti of Race Results Weekly, "@brooksrunning getting their ‪#TrackTown12‬ credentials pulled for flying "Run Happy" banner over Hayward Field via small plane."

An hour earlier, he tweeted, "Big cahones award to @BrooksRunning for flying a banner over‪#TrackTown12‬ with their "Run Happy" tagline."

paulmerca.blogspot.com has contacted but not heard from Brooks personnel to comment regarding this matter.

On the other side of the Atlantic in Helsinki, the European Championships are going on, and on Friday, former Husky Märt Israel finished 17th in the qualifying round of the men's discus, throwing 198-9 (60.59m), and didn't advance to Saturday's finals.

Another former Husky, Ingvill Måkestad Bovin of Norway finished fifth and advanced to the finals of the women's 1500, running 4:11.97 and advanced to Sunday's finals.

Complete results from the European Championships are available here.

In Sunday's final day of competition at the US Olympic Trials, Kara Patterson (javelin), Katie Mackey (w 1500), Jordan McNamara (m 1500), and Andrea Geubelle (long jump) are in action, with Patterson the only one of the four to hold the Olympic "A" standard to move on to London.

NBC Sports will telecast a one hour show; please check your viewers guide for the time in your part of the country.

Congratulations to Chris Kelly, the winner in the "WIN KIP'S SPIKES" contest...

EUGENE--Chris Kelly is the winner of the "WIN KIP'S SPIKES" contest run on paulmerca.blogspot.com's Facebook fan page. Kelly predicted that Bernard would run 13:22.69. He posted his prediction at 7:43 am, pacific time Wednesday on the main thread.

Lagat ran 13:22.82 Thursday night to finish second behind Galen Rupp in the finals of the men's 5000 meters.

The next four closest to guessing Lagat's actual time of 13:22.82 were Charlie Farrington (.25), Ace X'Tian Edens (.26), Chris Robertson (.36), and Matt Van Egmond (.47).

All of the top five guessed within .50 seconds of his actual time.

Kelly will also receive a pair of running shoes plus apparel, courtesy of Nike Running.

Over 225 followers of the blog's Facebook fan page submitted an entry for the contest.


On behalf of Bernard Lagat and Nike, thank you very much for your participation!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Patterson, Mackey, McNamara & Geubelle advance to Sunday's finals at Olympic Trials...

EUGENE--One throw was all Vancouver's Kara Patterson needed to take to advance to Sunday's javelin finals as day six of eight at the US Olympic Track & Field trials concluded Friday afternoon at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

In her one toss, Patterson, the four-time USA and defending Olympic Trials champ tossed the spear 198-5 (60.49m), a new 2012 season best.

“I felt good, really good. Technically I wanted it a little better. I have been working on relaxing in practice.”

“I had the practice of my life last week, it’s going really great. That was a seasons best Friday too so I feel good going into the finals.”

Seattle Pacific's Brittany Aanstad did not fare very well, as the newly minted NCAA Division II champ only threw 148-4 (45.23m) in her first senior national championship meet.

In the women's 1500, Washington alum Katie Mackey (left/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to Sunday's final by finishing third in heat 2 of the semifinals, running 4:10.54.

Reigning NCAA champ Katie Flood of the Huskies was a non qualifying eighth in heat 1, running 4:11.39, as no collegians made the finals.

In the men's 1500, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara did not run a tactically sound race, but was saved by the fact that his heat was the faster of the two semifinal races (top 5 plus 2 fastest), as he got the last spot in the finals, finishing seventh in his heat in 3:42.77 to advance to Sunday's final.

In the men's 400 hurdles, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson, who did not look particularly sharp in the first round on Thursday, was exposed in his semifinal Thursday, finishing last in 53.15, in great contrast to the 2011 season, which he capped with a NCAA and USA national championship.

Anderson has battled a hamstring problem all spring and raced sparingly in the run up to the Trials.

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle, competing for the University of Kansas, had the tenth best mark in the long jump, leaping 21-3 1/2 (6.49m) to advance to Sunday's final.

Washington alum Jordan Boase was entered in the men's 200, but was a late scratch.

No athletes with Washington ties are competing Saturday, the penultimate day of the trials. Patterson, Mackey, McNamara, and Geubelle all return on Sunday to close out the meet.

Complete day six results are available via usatf.org.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Walker, Rome and Lagat punch their tickets to London...

EUGENE--It was the veterans who punched their tickets to London on a cloudy afternoon at Hayward Field, as University of Washington grad Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca), Marysville native Jarred Rome, and Washington State grad Bernard Lagat made yet another US Olympic team as the Olympic Trials resumed Thursday after two days of rest.

Walker, the American record holder in the pole vault, took the competition after being the only jumper to clear 18-7 1/4 (5.67m).

'I felt prepared. Conditions for the pole vault such as wind and rain can turn the event into (an interesting scenario). Height doesn't matter in this meet--place does."

Thinking back about Beijing, where he did not get out of the qualifying round, he said, “I definitely wasn’t happy with what happened in Beijing. I can put it behind me in a healthy way and use it as motivation. I won’t completely forget about it, but it’ll be safely out of the way.”

Fellow Husky Scott Roth finished third with a clearance of 18-4 1/2 (5.67m), as he passed Walker's eventual winning height to take a shot at the Olympic A standard of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m), knowing that even with a third place finish, a clearance of 18-7 1/4 would do him no good without the standard.

Roth's chances for London ended with three straight misses at 18-9 1/4.

Marysville native Jarred Rome used a sixth round toss of 207-10 (63.35m) to move from fourth to second to make his second Olympic team.

Talking about his last round toss, he said, “I went for it on my last throw and gave it 100%. I thought if I slip, I slip, and fortunately I didn’t.”

The odd man out ended up being his longtime training partner Ian Waltz who ended up fourth with a toss of 201-2 (61.33m).

Waltz could have ended up on the Olympic team if winner Lance Brooks failed to throw 65 meters or better on his final attempt.

With over 20000 pairs of eyes upon him, Brooks, who had sewn up the competition with a third round throw of 211-5 (64.44m), but did not have the Olympic A standard, reached back on the final throw of the competition and got the standard, as the discus landed 213-5 (65.15m) later, bumping Waltz, who owned the mark, off another Olympic team.

Former Husky Will Conwell ended up tenth with a toss of 188-4 (57.41m).

In the men's 5000, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat was content to let Mo Trafeh and Brandon Bethke take out the early pace.

The reigning world champion at 3000 indoors kept himself in striking distance, but Galen Rupp, who had earned a spot earlier in the meet in the 10000, but Rupp jumped first, with a 60.92 penultimate lap as opposed to Lagat's 61.15.

Lagat closed with a 52.46, while Rupp countered with a 52.54, losing the lead to Lagat, but retaking it in the home straight, as Lagat finished second in 13:22.82 to Rupp's 13:22.67. Rupp broke Steve Prefontaine's meet record of 13:22.80 set way back in 1972.

“First of all making the team was the most important thing. I have been looking for something I don’t have, an Olympic Gold medal.”

Talking about Rupp, he said, “I knew that at any moment he was going to pass me. It was unbelievable about him running a 10K in the rain. I knew I was going to get strong competition from Galen and Lopez.”

Here's a recap of how Washingtonians fared in qualifying action Thursday:

--In the women's 1500, both Washington alum Katie Mackey (4:14.28) and newly minted NCAA champ Katie Flood (4:15.45) advanced to Friday's semifinals;

--The men's 1500 saw Jordan McNamara, an Auburn-Riverside alum advance to the semifinals with his 3:40.78, the fastest time of the first round;

--Cougar alum Jeshua Anderson, the reigning USA national champ, opened up with a time of 50.49 in the 400 hurdles, the tenth fastest time of the evening.

Friday, Flood and Mackey are both in the semifinals of the women's 1500, with McNamara going in the men's 1500.

Former Husky Jordan Boase, who withdrew from the semis of the 400 earlier in the meet with a foot problem, is entered in the 200.

Anderson runs in the semis of the 400 hurdles, while on the field, Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle, who was third in the triple jump, will try to qualify in the long jump.

Finally, four time US national champion and defending Olympic Trials champ Kara Patterson, along with NCAA Division II champ Brittany Aanstad from Seattle Pacific will throw in the women's javelin qualifying round.

Complete results are available via usatf.org.

Two Seattle based companies making their presence known at the Olympic Trials...

EUGENE--While the area surrounding Hayward Field are plastered with the omnipresent Nike swoosh, two Seattle area companies are making their presence known at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Seattle based Oiselle is making their first foray into American track & field's biggest stage by sponsoring a small cadre of distance runners, with Washington State University grad Collier Lawrence (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the steeplechase the name most known to Northwest distance fans.

On the other hand, Bothell-based Brooks Sports has rented out a fraternity house across the street from Hayward Field and plastered it with their logo.

The house, located on East 18th, across the street from the athletes' entrance to Hayward Field has been one of the places to go in the morning, as that's been the starting point for daily runs of varying distances, ending with giveaways. Media partner Flotrack is also webcasting their show from the Brooks house.

The Brooks folks have placed marathoner Desi Davila on the Olympic team, and just a few days ago, Amy Hastings (above/photo by Paul Merca) won the women's 10000. They are also backing Seattle based Club Northwest, who has several athletes competing at the Trials.

For more information on Oiselle at the Olympic Trials, please click here.

Information on Brooks at the Trials is available here.

While the Trials continue, the European Champs are under way...

HELSINKI, Finland--While the focus of the majority of the readership has been on the US Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, several athletes with Washington ties are competing in the European Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki.

Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca), a former NCAA indoor champion in 2008 for Washington State, finished tenth in the women's high jump Thursday, as the Swede jumped 6-0 3/4 (1.85m), after clearing the opening height of 5-10 3/4 (1.80m), and bowing out with three misses at 6-2 1/4 (1.89m).

Spain's Ruth Beitia won the event with a season best of 6-5 1/2 (1.97m).

Former Washington Husky Märt Israel, who placed fourth at last year's IAAF world championships in Daegu, competes in the men's discus finals on Friday, with the finals on Saturday.

Another former Husky, Ingvill Måkestad Bovin, who was sixth at last year's world championships, will run in the semis of the women's 1500 as she prepares for London.

The results page of the European Championships are available here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bernard Lagat speaks to the media in advance of Thursday's 5000m finals, plus preview of Washingtonians in action...

EUGENE--With Wednesday the second rest day at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials, paulmerca.blogspot.com had a chance to catch up with Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat as he talked to a gathering of media members in advance of Thursday's final in the 5000 meters, in which he is one of the favorites, along with Galen Rupp.



In addition to Lagat, nine other athletes with Washington ties will compete in day 5 of the Trials.

A pair of former Huskies in American record holder Brad Walker, along with former NCAA champ Scott Roth are in the finals of the pole vault at 5:05 pm. Roth has the added pressure of attaining the Olympic A standard of 18-9 1/4 (5.72m), a height he cleared at the Mt SAC Relays in mid April of last year, but will not count, as it happened two weeks before the Olympic qualifying period started.

Discus throwers Jarred Rome from Marysville, WSU alum Ian Waltz, and Husky alum Will Conwell will vie for the three spots on the Olympic team in the finals at 6:05 pm. Training partners Waltz and Rome are aiming to make a second Olympic team.

In first round action, current Husky and reigning NCAA champ Katie Flood along with former Husky Katie Mackey square off in heat 2 of the women's 1500 at 3:50 pm.  Tacoma's Brie Felnagle, who finished 13th in her heat of the 5000, scratched from the event.

Auburn Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara, who narrowly missed the Olympic A standard almost two weeks ago in a low-key meet at nearby Lane Community College, begins his quest for an Olympic berth in the 1500 meters at 4:20 pm.

One athlete who has laid low so far in 2012 is Washington State alum and the defending USA champion Jeshua Anderson, as he has not run a 400 hurdles race of significance this season. He goes at 6:00 pm.

Courtesy of Washington State University, here's an interview with Anderson:



NBC Sports Network (channel 626 on Seattle Comcast) will provide coverage of the meet. Please check local listings for show times in your area.

Thursday's time schedule is available via usatf.org.

Words from the man himself on how to "WIN KIP'S SPIKES!"

We caught up with Bernard Lagat early Wednesday morning, and here's what he had to say about your chance to win the spikes he's wearing in Thursday night's 5000 meter finals at the US Olympic Track & Field trials in Eugene by predicting how fast he will run!



Special thanks to our friends at Nike for helping make this happen!

Remember to "like" our Facebook fan page at facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom to enter, and follow the thread to post your predicted time!

While you're at it, please don't forget to follow Bernard Lagat on Twitter at @Lagat1500!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WE ARE LIVE! The contest to "WIN KIP'S SPIKES" is up and running on our Facebook fan page!

The contest is now open to "WIN KIP'S SHOES" on the blog's Facebook fan page--facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom

Thanks to Bernard Lagat and our friends at NIKE, a lucky reader of the blog will win an autographed pair of the spikes he'll wear in Thursday's finals, set for 7:38 pm, pacific time, plus a pair of shoes and a jacket!

Rules are pretty simple:

--You have to "like" our Facebook fan page to be eligible to enter (it's facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom);

--You can post your prediction to the 1/100ths of a second (i.e., Bernard will run 13:14.59);

--You can only enter once per Facebook account (and I know some of you have multiple Facebook accounts).

--If you have more than one entry, your first entry will be considered your entry.

--If we believe that the Facebook page is being spammed, we have the right to terminate the contest, throw out any entries, and start over.

--The contest will end at 3:30 pm pacific time on June 28th (the time of the first event that day)!

--Winners are subject to verification before the prize package is sent.

--Contest is open to US residents only. Employees of Nike, athletes managed by and employees of James Templeton, Relay Network members, editorial contributors to paulmerca.blogspot.com, and Paul Merca's immediate family are ineligible.

--Most importantly, have fun, and good luck!

While you're at it, don't forget to follow Bernard on Twitter at @lagat1500!

Andrea Geubelle nabs third place in Olympic Trials triple jump--but won't go to London...

EUGENE--On yet another wet Pacific Northwest afternoon, Curtis HS product Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Paul Merca) from the University of Kansas finished third in the women's triple jump on Monday, day four of the US Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field.

Geubelle, a resident of University Place who was the NCAA indoor triple jump champion, got her best mark of 45-3 (13.79m) in round 1 of the competition, but could not build upon it as the jumping continued.

In perhaps one of the country's weakest events, Amanda Smock won the competition with a first round jump of 45-9 (13.94m). As she was the only one in the field who owned an Olympic B standard of 46-3 14 (14.10m) or better, Smock will be the lone American representative in the event in London.

"Throughout the finals, nobody really improved," said Geubelle. "It's hard to stay warm out there, hard to stay fast."

When asked about finishing in the top three, but not making the trip, she said, “Not having the ‘A’ standard makes it bittersweet, but I just have to build on that.”

WSU grad Blessing Ufodiama finished tenth with a jump of 42-3 1/2 (12.89m).

Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller, the two time Washington 4A champion from Heritage HS, finished seventh in the javelin, throwing 246-5 (75.12m), just over a week after winning the US junior title. He does move on to Barcelona next month for the IAAF world junior championships.

In the other final involving a Washington athlete, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek, he of the distinctive blue striped t-shirt, finished seventh in the 800 meters, running 1:45.62.

Here's how Washington athletes fared in Monday's qualifying rounds:

--In the 5000, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle was a disappointing 13th in her heat, running 16:13.34. Former Husky Katie Mackey was a late scratch from the event;

--The women's 3000 steeple saw WSU alum Collier Lawrence finish tenth in her heat in 10:00.35, one spot ahead of Club Northwest's Lois Keller (10:00.62);

--In the men's steeple, John Ricardi of Club Northwest was 12th in his heat at 9:05.92;

--The pole vault saw former Huskies Brad Walker and Scott Roth clear the qualifying height of 17-8 1/2 (5.40m), while Seattle residents Levi Keller and Jason Colwick didn't clear a height;

--All three Washington affiliated athletes in the men's discus--Jarred Rome (202-11/61.84m) of Marysville; WSU grad Ian Waltz (201-1/61.30m); and former Husky Will Conwell (198-10/60.61m) advanced to the finals;

--In the men's 5000, Bellingham native Jake Riley, doubling back from the 10000, finished tenth in his heat in a time of 13:59.73, while WSU hall of famer Bernard Lagat looked relaxed and in control, as he ran an easy 13:42.83 to finish second in his heat behind fellow 2008 Olympian Lopez Lomong's 13:42.81.

For the next two days, Hayward Field goes dark, as the meet takes a break before resuming on Thursday.

Complete day 4 results are available here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday is a great day to follow Washington athletes at the Olympic Trials--eighteen in action!

EUGENE--Eighteen.

That's how many athletes with Washington ties are competing Monday as day 4 of the US Olympic Track & Field Trials rolls on in Eugene at Hayward Field

Here's a preview of what to expect Monday:

Men's discus--Marysville's Jarred Rome, WSU alum Ian Waltz, and former Husky Will Conwell aim for one of the twelve spots in the finals.

Rome and Waltz, who train together in Chula Vista, both hold Olympic A standards, and should make the finals as they both vie for another Olympic team.

Conwell, who moved to Auburn, Alabama to join a training group that includes former Husky and 4-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond, made the finals in this event four years ago.

Women's 3000 steeple--Washington State alum Collier Lawrence will run in the 3000 steeplechase, along with Seattle resident Lois Keller.

Lawrence got the Trials auto standard a few weeks ago, while Keller recently ducked under 10 minutes at the Portland Track Classic.

Men's 3000 steeple--Club Northwest's John Ricardi will see his first action in the men's steeple. Ricardi's mark of 8:36.69 from last year's Stanford Invite held up to get his place in the field.

Men's pole vault--American record holder and former Husky Brad Walker, Seattle resident Levi Keller, former Husky Scott Roth, and Seattle's Jason Colwick, a former NCAA champion from Rice University. Roth, Keller & Colwick all train together under UW coach Pat Licari, while Mountlake Terrace resident Walker has opted to train at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California under resident coach Ty Sevin.

Women's 5000--Tacoma's Brie Felnagle and former Husky Katie Mackey will compete.

Felnagle has been on a bit of a roll over the past month, running a PR in the 3000 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic. She's got a best of 15:22.39, just off the Olympic A standard of 15:20.00. Mackey, who now resides in Boston, goes into the meet with a best of 15:31.59.

Former Seattle Pacific standout Jessica Tebo, who qualified for this event, is not running, as she was injured during the 5000 at the NCAA championships in Des Moines. Tebo had the Olympic A standard, a mark she got at the Payton Jordan Invitational in April, where she ran 15:19.43.

Men's 5000--Bellingham's Jake Riley and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat look to qualify for Thursday's final. Lagat enters the meet having won the world indoor title at 3000 meters in March, and is coming off a victory in the 1500 at the adidas Grand Prix in New York a few weeks ago.

Riley is coming back from running the 10000 on Friday, where he was 13th in a big PR of 28:08.36.

Monday Finals

Competing in Monday finals are Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle (above/photo by Mike Scott) and WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama in the women's triple jump, Heritage HS/Vancouver senior and two-time Washington 4A champ Sean Keller in the javelin, and Gig Harbor HS coach Mark Wieczorek in the 800.

With only one American (Amanda Smock) holding an Olympic "B" standard of 46-3 1/4 (14.10m) or better in the triple jump, this event sets up as a winner take all event IF the winner places ahead of Smock and gets the B standard. The USA can send more than one athlete to London if all jump 46-11 (14.30m) or better.

Geubelle, a resident of University Place, who attends the University of Kansas, goes into Monday's final with a bit of an edge after winning-then losing the NCAA triple jump title two weeks ago in Des Moines, Iowa after a protest was lodged over her fourth round jump of 46-11 3/4 (14.32m, wind aided), claiming that she fouled.  She was bumped down to third after the protest.

Ufodiama enters the meet with a PR of 46-1 1/2 (14.06m) set in June of last year.

One of the biggest stories of the meet is Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller in the men's javelin, as the Heritage HS senior, and reigning US junior champion threw a massive personal best of 253-0 (77.12m) in Saturday's qualifying, eclipsing his previous best of 244-1 (74.40m) set in late April.

In the 800, Wieczorek, who will be easily recognized by the blue and white t-shirt, comes into the finals after running 1:46.48 in Saturday's semis. He must place in the top 3 and get the Olympic A standard of 1:45.60 to go to London.

Needless to say, Monday will be extremely busy! We'll have a recap late Monday night of all of the day 4 action!

PS--Don't forget that sometime after the conclusion of Monday's events, the contest opens to WIN KIP'S SPIKES, as an autographed pair of Bernard Lagat's spikes and some Nike gear will be up for grabs!  Make sure you "like" us on our new Facebook fan page at facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom in order to enter the contest.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Aretha Thurmond earns Olympic team berth number four with second place finish...

EUGENE--University of Washington hall of famer Aretha Thurmond (left/photo of victory lap by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) successfully made her third consecutive US Olympic team and fourth career team as she finished second in the discus on a mostly sunny day at Hayward Field.

Thurmond opened the competition with a toss of 203-6 (62.04m). as defending Olympic champ Stephanie Brown-Trafton answered with a leading toss of 207-8 (63.30m).

After two fouls and a fourth round toss of 196-6, Thurmond locked down her Olympic berth with her best throw of the day, spinning the platter 204-6 (62.23m).

Brown-Trafton, the American record holder in the event, closed the competition with a toss of 213-10 (65.18m) to put a bow on the victory.

Afterwards, Thurmond, who prepped at Renton HS, said, “It’s just been an awesome ride. I think competing at this level has made me a better person…I’m just overwhelmed having been able to do this for this long, and it still excites me.”

“For me the key to longevity is taking care of yourself. It’s training smart.”

Summing things up, she said, “This is so exciting. Four times: It’s a dream come true. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my support team.”

A season best of 26-1 (7.95m) was not enough for Washington alum Norris Frederick, as he finished fifth in the long jump.

Entering the competition, Frederick needed not only to finish in the top three, but had to jump at least 26-11 (8.20m), as he didn't have the required Olympic A standard.

After the preliminary rounds in which he jumped 24-10 1/2 (7.58m), Frederick, who was in eighth, moved to fifth with the 26-1 jump.

In the penultimate round, he jumped 18-10 1/4 (5.76m), then jumped 25-9 1/2 (7.86m) in the final round.

Defending US champ Marquise Goodwin of Texas took the victory with a jump of 27-4 (8.33m), followed by Wiil Claye at 27-0 (8.23m).

George Kitchen nabbed the final spot with a jump of 26-11 1/4 (8.21m), and most importantly, exceeded the Olympic A standard, as entering the competition, Goodwin and Claye were the only ones with the standard in their pockets.

The Huskies' Logan Miller no heighted in three attempts at the opening height of 13-11 1/4 (4.25m), but gained valuable experience competing against an elite field.

Monday will see a host of athletes with Washington ties competing.

In the men's discus, Marysville's Jarred Rome, WSU alum Ian Waltz, and former Husky Will Conwell aim for one of the twelve spots in the finals.

Washington State alum Collier Lawrence will run in the 3000 steeplechase, along with Seattle resident Lois Keller.

Club Northwest's John Ricardi will see his first action in the men's steeple.

A host of Washingtonians are entered in the men's pole vault--American record holder Brad Walker, Seattle resident Levi Keller, former Husky Scott Roth, and Seattle's Jason Colwick, a former NCAA champion from Rice University.

In the women's 5000 heats, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle and former Husky Katie Mackey will compete.

One notable name missing from the women's 5000 is former Seattle Pacific standout Jessica Tebo, as she was injured during the 5000 at the NCAA championships in Des Moines. Tebo had the Olympic A standard, a mark she got at the Payton Jordan Invitational in April, where she ran 15:19.43.

In the men's 5000, Bellingham's Jake Riley and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat look to qualify for Thursday's final.

Competing in Monday finals are Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle and WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama in the women's triple jump; Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller in the men's javelin; and in the final men's running event of the night, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek runs in the 800 meters.

Complete day 3 results from the US Olympic track & field trials are available here.

At the British Olympic Trials Sunday in Birmingham, England, Washington's James Alaka finished third in his heat, running 21.19, and did not make the finals.

Results of his race are available here.

This is the best reality show on the planet...

EUGENE--To say the US Olympic Track & Field Trials have been a roller coaster ride is an understatement.

And we are only on day three of this extravaganza that ends next Sunday on the famed Hayward Field oval in Eugene.

From the prologue in Beaverton where UNLV's Amanda Bingson got second in the hammer and earned the Olympic A standard of 234-7 (71.50m) with a throw of 235-6 (71.78m), to the deafening roar of the Hayward Field faithful who helped will Oregon alum Ashton Eaton (left/photo by Paul Merca) to a new world record score of 9039 points in the decathlon, as well as seeing the lows and emotions of competitors who face the reality that it's time to move on with your life after the sport, there is no better reality show than what the Olympic Trials provides.

Where else but at Hayward Field can over 20000 fans go ape-nuts over a javelin toss of 253-0 by Heritage HS/Vancouver's Sean Keller, the reigning US junior champion and who just won his second Washington state 4A title in Tacoma last month, as they did when the high school senior released the spear in round 3 of the qualifying?

As his father Michael told The Columbian, "Then we heard the crowd."

The disappointment of missing out on an Olympic team spot by 4/100ths of a second in the 100 hurdles makes people say things that even optimists like Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford, one of the most consistent performers on the world scene would usually not say.

"I don't know," Crawford said, turning philosophical to a handful of reporters. "I never thought it would be so disappointing to make me want to find something else to do."

Where else but the Olympic Trials do you have a dead heat for the third and final spot on the US Olympic team, where a career, potential earnings. and possible Olympic glory are on the line?

Not only that, but USA Track & Field, the sport's national governing body, has no official procedure for breaking the third place tie in its rulebooks, and are still working on a solution to decide whether Allyson Felix or Jeneba Tarmoh (above/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) gets the Olympic berth in the 100 meter dash.

With day 3 starting up in a few hours, two of the biggest stories among Washington track and field followers will take center stage.

Renton HS and University of Washington hall of famer Aretha Thurmond, who contemplated retiring after giving birth to son Theo several years ago, looks to make her fourth Olympic team in the discus finals.

Norris Frederick, the Roosevelt HS and UW grad, who went another direction to raise money for his training expenses by hosting several meet and greets in the Seattle area, will shoot to make his first Olympic team in the long jump.

In addition to finishing in the top three, Frederick must jump at least 26-11 (8.20m) without an aiding wind of 2 meters per second to ensure a spot on the team today.

His personal best is 26-7 (8.10m), four inches and ten centimeters away from the standard.

Whatever the outcome, this is exponentially better than watching the Kardashians (and I never thought that I'd ever use their name in a track & field post, even though their stepfather and 1976 Olympic decathlon champ Bruce Jenner is in the house at Hayward Field).

Get your popcorn ready!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crawford's Olympic aspirations fall short in Eugene...

EUGENE--Four one-hundredths of a second.

That was the difference between a trip to London to compete in the Olympics and watching the meet on television for Rainier Beach High School graduate Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Mike Scott) on day two of the US Olympic Team Trials-Track & Field at Historic Hayward Field.

After a weather delay pushed the time schedule for the running events, Crawford, who has been a member of nearly every possible USA international team but one during her career, advanced to the finals with a strong second place finish in heat 1 in 12.78, which was the sixth fastest time.

Crawford, who was lined up on the outside in lane 7, got out to a strong start, as defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper (12.73) and defending world champ Kellie Wells (12.77) went 1-2.

However, Crawford could not counter the late charge of 2008 Olympian Lolo Jones, as she overtook the Rainier Beach alum over the final barriers to garner the final Olympic team berth in a time of 12.86 to Crawford's 12.90.

Seattle Pacific alum Chris Randolph finished ninth in the decathlon with a final two-day total of 7468 points, running 15.28 in the 110 hurdles, throwing the discus 148-8 (45.33m), pole vaulting 15-1 (4.60m), tossing the javelin 199-6 (60.81m), and running 4:48.09 in the 1500.

The decathlon competition saw Eugene's own Ashton Eaton break the world record in the event, with a score of 9039 points, breaking Roman Sebrle's previous standard of 9026 points by 13.

In semifinal action, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek squeezed through to Monday's finals in the 800 running 1:46.48, finishing fifth in the faster of two heats to get the last time qualifier.

One minor surprise on the track was the failure of former Husky Jordan Boase from Bothell to start the semis of the men's 400 due to a foot issue.

On the field, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle had the fourth best mark in qualifying in the women's triple jump, with a bound of 44-4 1/4 (13.52m).

Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama also advanced with a best of 42-8 3/4 (13.02m), the 11th best mark on the afternoon.

Both Geubelle and Ufodiama advance to Monday's finals, where both will need to hit the Olympic A standard of 46-11 (14.30m) and place in the top 3 to go to London.

Courtesy of kuathletics.com, here is an interview with Geubelle after the competition:



Former Seattle resident Tiombe Hurd missed qualifying by one place, jumping 42-1 1/2 (12.84m).

The Huskies' Shaniae Lakes, who was the last qualifier entered in the meet, gained some valuable big-meet experience, finishing 19th at 40-1 1/4 (12.22m).

Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller, who won the USA junior title last week in Bloomington, had the fifth best throw of the day, as he threw 253-0 (77.12m), a new lifetime best, and a spot in Monday's finals.

"I wanted to PR, but I didn't expect it to go that far," Keller said, smiling, still in disbelief roughly 15 minutes after his third throw.

The meet resumes on Sunday, as former Huskies Aretha Thurmond (discus) and Norris Frederick (long jump) go chase their Olympic dreams. Frederick will have the added burden of attaining the Olympic A standard of 26-11 (8.20m) in addition to placing third or better.

Current Husky Logan Miller also looks to gain big meet experience in the women's pole vault, which was delayed by weather on Friday.

Complete day 2 results from the US Olympic Track & Field trials are available here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Frederick, Thurmond, and Crawford easily advance as US Olympic Trials open in rainy Eugene...

EUGENE--On a wet summer day that reminded folks of the early spring season of the rainy Pacific Northwest, the US Olympic Track & Field Trials got underway at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

Roosevelt High School and University of Washington alum Norris Frederick (left/photo by Paul Merca) kept his goal of a berth in the London Olympics alive with a clutch third round jump.

Entering the final round of jumping in flight 2, Frederick had a foul, then a very mediocre jump of 24-5 1/2 (7.45m) which put him in 18th place and in danger of not making the finals.

He put everything together in round 3, jumping 25-8 3/4 (7.84m) which rocketed him into fourth place and a spot in Sunday's finals, where he'll have to finish in the top three and get the Olympic A qualifying standard of 26-11 (8.20m), beyond his current PR in order to go to London.

Afterwards, Frederick said that he felt sluggish in his round 1 jump. In fact, Washington jumps coach Pat Licari noted that he slowed down in the middle of his approach, to which Frederick said, "Pat didn't like that at all."

Aretha Thurmond's bid for Olympic team #4 started off with a bang, with the Renton HS and UW alum winning her flight with a third round throw of 197-6 (60.21m) and the second longest throw of the day, behind defending Olympic champ Stephanie Brown Trafton's 206-1 (62.83m).

Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford had the sixth fastest time in finishing second in her heat of the 100 hurdles, running 12.89 advancing to Saturday's semis, with the finals later on Saturday.

Bothell HS and UW alum Jordan Boase squeezed through the first round of the 400, running 45.95 to advance to Saturday's semis as a time qualifier.

One of the biggest shocks of the meet was the failure of Rainier Beach HS grad and Oregon sophomore Michael Berry to advance to the semis in the 400, as his finish was not present, laboring down the homestretch and finished in 46.29.

Washington State senior Joe Abbott ran the fastest non-qualifying time of the day, finishing 4th in his heat in 1:48.16.

In the decathlon, Seattle Pacific alum Chris Randolph sits in 14th with a score of 3708 points after the first day, as he ran 11.39 in the 100, long jumped 21-11 1/2 (6.69m), threw the shot 43-4 1/2 (13.22m), high jumped 6-2 3/4 (1.90m), and ran the 400 in 50.40.

Bellingham HS alum Jake Riley was 13th in the 10000 in 28:08.36, while Washington alum Mike Sayenko finished 22nd in 29:18.57.

Western Washington alum Sarah Porter failed to finish in the women's 10000.

One athlete who did not compete Friday was the Huskies' Logan Miller, as the wet weather forced postponement of the women's pole vault to a Sunday final with the entire field competing.

Saturday, Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller, the US junior champ, competes in the javelin.

Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle, WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama, the Huskies' Shaniae Lakes, and former Seattle resident Tiombe Hurd are all in action in the triple jump.

On the track, Washingtonians competing Saturday include Crawford in the semis of the 100 hurdles and Boase in the semis of the 400.

Complete day 2 results are available here.

WIN KIP'S SPIKES!

Here's the moment everyone's been waiting for!

Bernard Lagat, the Washington State alum and American record holder in the 5000 meters, has graciously agreed to give away an autographed pair of his racing spikes from the Olympic Trials to a lucky follower and reader of paulmerca.blogspot.com.

Not only that, our friends at Nike are matching Kip's spikes with a pair of running shoes and a jacket for you to work out with when you're not admiring this fine piece of track & field memorabilia!

Here's the catch--after the semifinals of the men's 5000 meters on Monday, we will post on our Facebook fan page (facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom) a link where you can predict what he will run.

Once you "Like" our fan page, you can post your prediction on what his time will be in the finals on June 28th at 7:38 pm, Eugene time.

The person who comes closest to or correctly predicts his time wins his spikes and the Nike package. If more than one person gets it right, we'll conduct a drawing the following day!

Unfortunately for our foreign readers, this contest is open to US residents only.

Here's the rules:

--You must "Like" our Facebook page to enter! :-)

--After the semifinals on Monday night, we will post a thread on the Facebook fan page asking for you to predict Kip's time. That will be the only thread to the contest.

--You can only enter once per Facebook account (and I know some of you have multiple Facebook accounts).

--If you have more than one entry, your first entry will be considered your entry.

--If we believe that the Facebook page is being spammed, we have the right to terminate the contest, throw out any entries, and start over.

--The contest will end at 3:30 pm pacific time on June 28th (the time of the first event that day)!

--Winners are subject to verification before the prize package is sent.

--Contest is open to US residents only. Employees of Nike, athletes managed by and employees of James Templeton, Relay Network members, editorial contributors to paulmerca.blogspot.com, and Paul Merca's immediate family are ineligible.

--Most importantly, good luck and please have fun!

Also, please make sure that you follow Bernard Lagat on Twitter at @Lagat1500 as he chronicles his journey to London!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hammer holds true to form at Nike campus; Bingson gets A standard to make team...

AG Kruger & Kibwe Johnson (Paul Merca photo)
BEAVERTON--True to form, Kibwe Johnson and AG Kruger earned their spots on the US Olympic team, as they finished 1-3 in the men's hammer competition at Ronaldo Field on the Nike World Headquarters campus.

In front of a crowd of 3000 spectators, Johnson, the defending US national champion took command early with a round 1 toss of 244-1 (74.40m) and was never challenged, improving to 245-11 (74.97m).

Kruger opened with a first round throw of 242-6 (73.93m), which turned out to be his best of the day.

Chris Cralle threw a lifetime best of 243-11 (74.35m) in round two, and improved by one centimeter in round five (74.36m) to take second.

However, Cralle will not make the trip to London, as he did not have the Olympic A standard of 255-11 (78.00m), which Johnson and Kruger had in their pockets entering the meet.

Afterwards, Johnson talked about his move to British Columbia, a move that he felt he had to do to be competitive at the international level.

"I had to bite the bullet, and it was a bit of a sacrifice," he said of moving to Kamloops, British Columbia to train under famed Soviet coach and Olympic champion Anatoliy Bondarchuk.

Michael Mai, formerly stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, finished tenth with a best of 225-8 (68.78m).

In the women's competition, Amber Campbell took the victory at 235-6 (71.80m), after being pressed by collegian Amanda Bingson of UNLV at 235-6 (71.78m), who surpassed the Olympic A standard of 234-7 (71.50m) by nearly a foot.

American record holder Jessica Cosby took third with a toss of 232-2 (70.77m), as Gwendolyn Berry, the only other American with the A standard finished seventh at 225-10 (68.84m).

Spokane native Britney Henry finished ninth at 224-7 (68.47m), while South Whidbey HS alum Kimery Hern was 17th overall at 201-0 (61.27m).

The eyes of American track & field focuses 100 miles to the south, as the meet proper begins Friday at 1 pm at Hayward Field in Eugene on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Complete results from the prologue of the US Olympic Trials are available here.

We're here for the hammer!

BEAVERTON--Just a quick note letting all of you know that we are here at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike World Headquarters campus, which is the media work room for the US Olympic Trials hammer competition.

We get underway at 11:15 am with the women's competition.  Kimery Hern from Whidbey Island is the second thrower in flight 1, while Spokane native Britney Henry throws in flight 2.

In the men's competition, Michael Mai throws in flight 2.

Live results will be posted via flashresults.com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The US Olympic Track & Field Trials begin Thursday in Beaverton!

paulmerca.blogspot.com's coverage of the US Olympic Track & Field Trials begins Thursday with the hammer throw competition at Ronaldo Field on the campus of Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, where the gang at the Swoosh have built a hammer ring and cage on one of the soccer fields named after the great Brazilian star Ronaldo.

For those of you making the drive to Beaverton and have not visited the Nike campus, the closest buildings to the fields are the Tiger Woods Building and the Lance Armstrong Building. Nike personnel will direct you to parking spots within easy distance of the venue.

Two time world championships team member Michael Mai (left/photo by Paul Merca), formerly stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will throw in the men's competition which starts at 3:15 pm, with the finals two hours later.

In the morning, Spokane's Britney Henry competes in the women's competition which starts at 11:15 am, with finals at 1:15 pm.

For Mai and Henry, they will need to throw the Olympic A standard of 255-11 (78.00m), and 234-7 (71.50m) respectively, to even be in the conversation for a ticket to London.

Kibwe Johnson (263-6, 80.31m) and AG Kruger (259-10, 79.20m) are the only two men with the Olympic A standard, while Jessica Cosby (243-5, 74.19m), Amber Campbell (238-2, 72.59 from 2011), and Gwen Berry (236-0, 71.95m) are the only three American women with the standard.

Assuming all A standard athletes make the finals, and no one else throws that far Thursday, the five would be on the Olympic team.

One thing that's been overlooked is that there will be no opportunities for athletes to chase standards after the conclusion of the trials.

Former Husky and Swiss national champion Martin Bingisser has written a great preview of Thursday's hammer competition, which you can read here.

Here is a detailed form published by the USOC on team selection procedures, of which we encourage you to bookmark as you're watching the trials.

Friday, the meet proper gets underway at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene with the men's decathlon at 1 pm, as Seattle Pacific alum Chris Randolph toes the line.

Renton HS alum Aretha Thurmond's quest for a fourth US Olympic team begins Friday at 2:20, while Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry and Bothell HS alum Jordan Boase go in the 400 at 3:10.

At 5:20, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek goes in the 800, along with WSU's Joe Abbott.

Also competing in the 5:00 hour are Rainier Beach alum Ginnie Crawford (above/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) in the 100 hurdles (5:40pm), and the Huskies' Logan Miller in the pole vault (5:30 pm).

At 5:45 pm, Roosevelt HS and UW alum Norris Frederick goes in the men's long jump.

In the last two events of the evening, Sammamish HS & UW alum Mike Sayenko, along with Bellingham native & Stanford grad Jake Riley will run the men's 10000 at 6:45 pm, while Western Washington alum Sarah Porter goes in the women's 10000 at 7:20 pm.

The list of accepted athletes for the US Olympic Trials is available here (click on the event name).

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Olympic Trials competitor is giving away their shoes for this blog's first ever contest!

Who's giving away their shoes for the blog's first ever contest?
What originally started out in the spring of 2007 as a blog chronicling my personal experiences in the sport of track and field has evolved into one of the best sources of news and information about professional and collegiate track and field athletes with ties to and/or from the state of Washington.

paulmerca.blogspot.com has spanned the globe to bring you the best in track & field, cross country and major road races, from Mombasa, Kenya to Terre Haute, Indiana, and from Ephrata, Washington to Berlin, Germany. I've witnessed the triumphs of Bernard Lagat and Brad Walker in Osaka, and the perfect 15 by the Washington women's cross country team.

I've done my best to cover the state's Division I & II schools to the best of my abilities, and even try to cover the state's Division III, NAIA and community colleges when I can. I've also made it a point to cover this state's top post collegiate athletes, because as you readers know, they don't disappear between Olympics.

As a reward for your loyalty and support of the blog, one of the athletes that we've covered from the beginning is offering an autographed pair of competition shoes they will use at the US Olympic Track & Field Trials, which begins on Thursday in Beaverton on the Nike campus with the hammer, and continues Friday June 22nd through July 1st at Hayward Field in Eugene.

In addition, the athlete's sponsor will put up a pair of shoes and a jacket for you to run in when you're not admiring the athlete's shoes!

What's the catch?

First of all, make sure that you visit the blog's new Facebook fan page at facebook.com/paulmercablogspotcom and "Like" us…you can't play unless you "Like" us! :-)

Then, keep checking back on the page and on the blog for the contest we'll run for a chance to win the shoes!

We'll end this post with a question for you--who do you think is the athlete who's giving away their Olympic Trials competition shoes?

Please post your answers either in the comments section of the blog, or on our Facebook page!

We'll tell you Thursday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

UPDATE #1: List of Washington affiliated athletes qualified for the US Olympic Track & Field Trials...

With only a handful of meets left around the country before Sunday's final day to qualify for the US Olympic Trials in Eugene that begins on June 22nd (the hammer will be contested on June 21st at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton on Ronaldo Field), here is the updated list of Washington affiliated athletes who have achieved automatic and provisional qualifying marks for the meet.

What we've done is list next to the event--the automatic standard, the provisional standard, the field size and rounds--followed by the names of automatic qualifiers, their marks, and the date they achieved the mark, and provisional qualifiers.  Provisional qualifiers for the trials are listed in red.

In the field events, the qualifying standard is listed in metrics only, though I've put in both imperial and metric marks next to the qualifiers.

Provisional qualifiers are exactly that--provisional. Factors such as scratches, and the need by organizers to fill the field to closely simulate the qualifying rounds in the Olympics will determine which provisional qualifiers get into the meet. In some cases, athletes will not know until 48 hours before their first round of competition whether or not they're in or out.

I've written a preview piece on the top athletes from the state of Washington competing in the Olympic Trials for the July issue of Northwest Runner, which should be out early next week. An updated version of it will be published here AFTER the magazine has been sent to its subscribers and is on the newsstands and running shops where it is sold.  In any event, it will be posted before the start of the meet.

The qualifying period for the US Olympic Trials began May 1st, 2011.  The time schedule for the Trials is available here.

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

MEN:

100m 10.18 10.28 (32–3) none

200m 20.55 20.75 (30–3) Jordan Boase, 20.52, 6/5/11;

400m 45.30 46.00 (28–3) Michael Berry, 44.75, 6/8/12 Jordan Boase, 45.34, 5/31/11

800m 01:46.50 01:48.30 (30–3) Mark Wieczorek, 1:46.00, 6/26/11 Kevin Hicks, 1:46.65, 5/21/11, Joe Abbott, 1:46.84, 5/27/11

1,500m 03:39.00 03:43.00 (30–3) Bernard Lagat, 3:33.11, 7/8/11, Jordan McNamara, 3:36.03, 6/10/12

Bernard Lagat (center/Paul Merca photo)
5,000m 13:33.00 13:50.00 (24–2) Bernard Lagat, 12:53.60, 7/22/11, Jake Riley 13:32.82, 5/18/12 Jordan McNamara, 13:34.64, 4/29/12, Forest Braden, 13:37.90, 6/9/12; Mike Sayenko, 13:39.75, 6/9/12

10,000m 28:15.0 29:00.0 (24–1) Mike Sayenko, 28:12.42, 4/29/12 Jake Riley, 28:27.31, 6/10/11; Miles Unterreiner, 28:49.15, 4/6/12

110m Hurdles 13.52 13.99 (32–3) none

400m Hurdles 49.50 50.95 (28–3) Jeshua Anderson, 47.93, 6/26/11

3000m SC 08:32.00 08:45.09 (24–2) John Ricardi, 8:36.69, 5/1/11

High Jump 2.28 2.20 (24–2) none

Pole Vault 5.70 5.50 (24–2) Brad Walker, 19-2.75/5.86m, 2/26/12 Scott Roth, 18-4.5/5.60m, 2/26/12; Jason Colwick, 18-1.75/5.53m, 2/10/12; Levi Keller, 18-1.25/5.52m, 5/31/12

Long Jump 8.05 7.80 (24–2) Norris Frederick, 26-7/8.10m, 7/1/11

Triple Jump 16.66 15.80 (24–2) Stephan Scott-Ellis, 52-8/16.05m, 5/13/12

Shot Put 20.00 18.60 (24–2) none

Discus Throw 63.75 58.80 (24–2) Jarred Rome, 225-7/68.76m, 8/6/11; Ian Waltz, 214-8/65.43m, 6/16/11; Will Conwell, 207-11/63.37m, 5/27/12

Hammer Throw 72.00 64.00 (24–2) Michael Mai, 245-0/74.69, 6/23/11 Jordan Stray, 219-7/66.93m, 5/14/11

Javelin Throw 77.00 70.00 (24–2) Sean Keller, 244-1/74.40m, 4/28/12

Decathlon 7900 pts 7600 pts (18)  Chris Randolph, 7840, 4/3/12; Jeremy Taiwo, 7742, 5/7/11

WOMEN

Aretha Thurmond/Paul Merca photo
100m 11.29 11.40 (32-3)  none

200m 23.10 23.35 (30-3)  none

400m 51.55 52.60 (28-3)  none

800m 02:01.30 02:05.90 (30-3) Katie Mackey, 2:02.63, 6/11/11; Anna Layman, 2:03.48, 5/14/11

1,500m 04:12.90 04:17.00 (30-3) Katie Mackey, 4:06.57, 5/18/12; Brie Felnagle, 4:08.80, 5/18/12;
Katie Flood, 4:11.66, 4/20/12 Becca Friday, 4:13.06, 6/7/12


5,000m 15:35.00 15:50.00 (24-2) Jessica Tebo, 15:19.43, 4/29/12; Brie Felnagle, 15:22.39, 4/6/12; Katie Mackey, 15:31.59, 4/20/12; Megan Goethals, 15:46.82, 5/26/12

10,000m 32:45.00 34:00.00 (24-1) Sarah Porter, 32:37.22, 6/8/12 Bronwyn Crossman, 33:36.74, 5/26/11

100m Hurdles 13.00 13.30 (32-3) Ginnie Crawford, 12.66, 5/5/12

400m Hurdles 56.00 57.80 (28-3)  none

3000m SC 09:55.00 10:15.00 (24-2) Collier Lawrence, 9:53.79, 4/29/12 Lois Keller, 9:56.66, 6/9/12

High Jump 1.87m 1.84m (24-2)  none

Pole Vault 4.50m 4.30m (24-2) Logan Miller, 14-4.5/4.38m, 5/13/12

Long Jump 6.65m 6.45m (24-2) Andrea Geubelle, 21-4/6.50m, 4/21/12

Triple Jump 13.75m 13.20m (24-2) Blessing Ufodiama, 46-1.5/14.06m, 6/4/11; Andrea Geubelle, 45-5/13.84m, 6/9/12 Tiombe Hurd, 44-8/13.61m, 2/18/12; (Shaniae Lakes, 43-3.25/13.19m, 5/13/12--#24 on 2012 US list)

Shot Put 17.90m 16.40m (24-2) none

Discus Throw 60.00m  56.00m (24-2) Aretha Thurmond, 209-5/63.85m, 6/30/11

Hammer Throw 68.00m  64.00m (24-2) Britney Henry, 232-1/70.73m, 3/18/12 Kimery Hern, 213-7/65.10m, 5/17/12; Brittany Hinchcliffe, 210-5/64.14m, 6/25/11

Javelin Throw 55.00m 50.50m (24-2) Kara Patterson, 205-11/62.76m, 5/26/11; Marissa Tschida, 183-9/56.02m, 5/13/11 Christine Kirkwood, 173-9/52.96m, 5/20/12; Brittany Aanstad, 168-1/51.24m, 5/26/12; Courtney Simmons, 166-3/50.68m, 5/12/12

Heptathlon 5800 pts 5600 pts (18)  none

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

Vancouver prep Sean Keller wins USA junior men's javelin title...

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana--Sean Keller (left/photo courtesy ESPN HS), who recently graduated from Heritage High School in Vancouver, took command of the javelin with a first round throw of 237-6 (72.41m) to win the national junior title as day 1 of the three day USA Junior Track & Field championships concluded on the campus of Indiana University.

Such was Keller's dominance over the field that any one of his five fair throws would have won the competition, as Devin Bogert of Texas A&M was second with a best of 219-8 (66.97m).

Keller, a two-time Washington 4A champion in the event, earned himself a spot on the US national team that will compete in next month's world junior championships in Barcelona, Spain.

However, before he heads to Barcelona with Team USA, he will compete in the javelin at the US Olympic Team Trials-Track & Field, where he owns a provisional qualifying mark of 244-1(74.40m), that going into the weekend, is the 15th best mark in the country this season.

Keller has not announced what school he will attend this fall, according to The Columbian out of Vancouver.

Elsewhere, defending USA junior pole vault champion JJ Juilfs of the University of Washington finished fifth with a mark of 16-4 3/4 (5.00m).

In the women's javelin, Washington State's Christine Kirkwood finished fourth with a throw of 150-5 (45.84m), while teammate Anna Adamko was eighth at 142-3 (43.36m).

In the men's 800, UW freshman Derrick Daigre, who was second in this meet last year, failed to get out of the preliminary heats, finishing third in heat three in1:52.32, the ninth fastest time of the day (winner plus five fastest times advanced).

Washington freshman Gianna Woodruff was fourth in her heat of the 400 hurdles, running 64.79.

Oregon frosh Alec Fellows, a graduate of Edmonds-Woodway HS, stands 17th after the first day of competition in the decathlon with 3326 points.

Incoming UW freshman Hannah Sherrill, the reigning Hawaii state champion in the shot put and discus, fouled all three of her preliminary tosses.

Complete results from the USA junior championships are available here.

Around the track: Walker wins in Chula Vista; Crawford takes hurdles in Victoria, and USA juniors preview...

In Chula Vista, California on Thursday, University of Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) tuned up for the US Olympic Trials by winning the pole vault at the OTC Pre-Olympic Series VIII meet.

Walker cleared 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) to take the victory, with Mark Hollis finishing second at 18-5 3/4 (5.63m).

In other events at the Olympic Training Center, Marysville's Jarred Rome won the discus at 198-6 (60.52m), and Britney Henry won the hammer at 221-10 (67.62m).

Tahoma HS alum Derek Eager of UCLA was second in the javelin at 208-11 (63.70m).

Results from the OTC Pre-Olympic Series VIII are available here.

At Wednesday night's Victoria International Track Classic in Victoria, BC, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford rebounded from Sunday's loss at the Harry Jerome meet by winning the 100 hurdles in 12.92.

Washington alum Falesha Ankton was fifth in 13.45, while UW volunteer coach Christie Gordon was ninth at 14.18.

WSU alum Anson Henry won the 100 in 10.50. On the field, former Husky Kyle Nielsen was third in the javelin at 236-11 (72.21m).

Results from the Victoria International are available here.

USA JUNIORS PREVIEW

Several notable athletes from the state of Washington are headed to Bloomington, Indiana for the three-day USA Junior Track & Field Championships on the campus of Indiana University that begins Friday.

Heritage HS senior Sean Keller, fresh off winning his second Washington 4A title in the javelin, is aiming for a spot on Team USA at the IAAF world junior championships next month in Barcelona, Spain.

Keller, who owns a B standard for the US Olympic track & field trials, is second on the national prep list at 244-1 (74.40m) this season.

WSU's Anna Adamko and Christine Kirkwood are entered in the women's javelin.

Edmonds-Woodway HS grad Alec Fellows from Oregon is entered in the decathlon.

Huskies competing this weekend include Derrick Daigre in the 800-meters, J.J. Juilfs in the pole vault, and Gianna Woodruff in the 400-meter hurdles. Husky commits in action are Seattle native Maddie Meyers in the 3k steeplechase and 3,000m run, and Hawaii resident Hannah Sherrill in the discus.

Juilifs is the defending USA junior champ, while Daigre was second at last year's junior nationals in Eugene.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nike reveals new USA Olympic track & field team uniforms...

David Oliver
BEAVERTON--Nike revealed the look and design of the 2012 US Olympic track and field team uniforms in a press release Thursday.

The uniform collection is part of Nike's Pro TurboSpeed collection, which the company touts as its swiftest track apparel to date, but its most sustainable.

Nike Global Olympic Creative Director Martin Lotti comments, “our overriding design principle is superior lightweight performance, and we’ve come up with innovations that can help make the athlete faster. For the UST&F team, we’ve added modern graphics and bold colors that reflect US national identity. Combined with the fact that every piece of apparel made from recycled plastic bottles and it adds up to true innovation.”

Using revolutionary Nike AeroSwift technology, patterns and surface architectures informed directly by wind tunnel data are strategically placed on key areas of the athlete’s form. The result offers the greatest aerodynamic drag reduction of any NIKE uniform to date.

In the design of many of the garments, the company has placed elastics and edge finishes on the outside of the garment and incorporating an innovative flat, smooth waistband, bulkiness and abrasions are virtually eliminated.

Allyson Felix
Reflecting the NIKE commitment to considered design, Nike Pro TurboSpeed merges sustainability and performance. On average, Nike Pro TurboSpeed uniforms use 82% recycled polyester fabric. Specific products have been developed for distance, sprint, and field events while strategic color blocking is used to visually capture movement.

For women, NIKE has developed a new approach to modular support, creating specific solutions for the distance, sprint, and field athlete, each offering a different degree of support and adjustability, and integrating Dri-FIT moisture management and premium quality detailing throughout.

Medal stand outfit
Nike also revealed three distinct medal stand outfits for the US Olympic team.

“The medal stand is a pinnacle moment for these athletes,” said Lotti. “The world is watching and we want to make sure the athlete looks and feels good in celebration of their achievement.”

Track and field athletes will wear to the podium the 21st C. Windrunner jacket, which is detailed with a trademark V-shaped chevron across the chest, dotted with ventilation perforations across the back and finished off with a hyper reflective shell that burns bright under the most subtle lights. Serving function and aesthetic, The “United States of America” is applied with precision laser technology, while the lower back is detailed with 50 perforations — one for each state. A badge on the inside of the jacket, placed over the heart reads “Team USA.”

Athletes will also wear the new Flyknit Trainer running shoe on the podium, and the Bowerman Tech Pant.

NOTE: NIKE media relations contributed to this report.  All images courtesy Nike.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Washington women's track and cross country program ranked #3 overall D1 program this season...

NEW ORLEANS--The University of Washington women's track and cross country program (photo of NCAA distance medley relay squad of Jordan Carlson, Baylee Mires, Chelsea Orr & Katie Flood by Paul Merca) finished third in the Terry Crawford Program of the Year award for the 2011-2012 academic school year, as announced on Tuesday by the USTFCCCA.

The third place finish by the Huskies, with a total combined score of 35 points is the highest ranking by the school since the award was started by the USTFCCCA (United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association) four years ago.

The award is based on the school's placing in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track & field at the NCAA championships. The Huskies were second in cross country, tied for 23rd indoors, and were eighth at the recently concluded outdoor championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

In order to qualify, a school must qualify and score points at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November, the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March, and the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June.

The Oregon Ducks, led by Director of Track & Field Vin Lananna, notched an award record eight points (low score wins) with their combined finishes among the three sports. The indoor national crown and outdoor runner-up showing was added to Oregon’s fifth-place finish in cross country from the fall to produce the score.

Just ahead of Washington for second was Stanford with 29 1/2 points (10th cross country, tie for 13th indoors, and sixth outdoors). This gave the Pac-12 a sweep of all three podium positions.

"Finishing as the third-best program of the year is a tremendous accomplishment which we as a coaching staff are extremely proud of," said Husky Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "Even though only a few athletes score at the championships, it takes a total team effort and we took a lot of strides towards becoming a well-rounded group this year."

The Terry Crawford Women's Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Tennessee, Texas, and Cal Poly head coach Terry Crawford. Crawford has won five NCAA National Championships, and over 20 conference Championships.

The USTFCCCA release is available here; Washington's release is available here.

Washington's NCAA 1500 meter champ Katie Flood will compete in the US Olympic Team Trials--Track & Field in Eugene, Oregon on day 8 of the meet (June 29th) with the finals on the last day, July 1st.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Israel gets fifth in Moscow Challenge meet Monday...

At the Moscow Challenge meet, held as a test event for next year's IAAF World Track & Field Championships on Monday, former Husky Märt Israel (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Estonia finished fifth in the discus.

Israel's best on the day was 203-3 (61.95m), as Bogdan Pishchanikov of Russia took the win with a best of 210-7 (64.20m).

Israel was originally entered in the adidas Grand Prix meet in New York on Saturday, but apparently opted to compete closer to home.

Complete results from the Moscow Challenge are available here.

As a follow up to the post on University Place resident and Kansas junior Andrea Geubelle's apparent winning mark in the triple jump at Saturday's NCAA track & field championships in Des Moines, her coach, Wayne Pate, chimed in on kusports.com with his version of the reply that Southern Mississippi coach Kevin Stephen posted both on their site and on paulmerca.blogspot.com

Pate wrote, "Since Kevin decided to chime in on this I guess I will too. All the facts that Kevin said are True. I might add that his time line is a little skewed, though. He did inform me he had filed a protest, after the competition was over (which he has a right to do). That was the first time I had heard about a protest. It's unfortunate for the girls both, Andrea and Ganna, that this happened like it did. It was a great competition. Every coach has the right to protest a wrong. I have seen the film of Andrea's jump. It was a foul, make no mistake about that. The only problem is Andrea and I had no idea during the competition that the jump was not legal, had I known there was some decrepency, trust me we would have did things differently, having the competition secured in our minds, we decided to go after the Olympic A standard, to try and make it to the games. Which is why we threw caution to the wind. Hense the other two fouls. (Side note her last fouled jump was measured at 14.61, which is defiantly the A Standard, probably windy but still the standard.)


Andrea and I are ready to get past this, so we can concentrate on the bigger prize, it's unfortunate we let this one slip away.


I am glad there is a lot of interest on fixing this rule though, So it doesn't happen to anyone else or to us again, the way the rule is now, it could keep on happening again and again. Somebody(athlete/coach) should be informed immediately of a protest and that didn't happen."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Southern Mississippi coach Kevin Stephen replies to post regarding Andrea Geubelle...

Kevin Stephen (left/photo courtesy Southern Mississippi sports information), the head coach at Southern Mississippi, posted on the reply section a response to my post and interview with Curtis High School and University Place resident Andrea Geubelle, whose fourth round mark of 46-11 3/4 (14.32m) in the triple jump at the NCAA championships in Des Moines on Saturday was wiped out after the conclusion of the event.

He writes, "At the instant of the jump there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the official on the board missed the foul. I made the decision to protest less than two minutes after the jump. The protest was on file less than seven minutes after the jump. I personally informed my counterpart at Kansas about the protest. We sat together when the NCAA rep informed us of the decision. We were told that three officials independently reviewed the film and all ruled that it was a foul. My counterpart asked if he could see the film but was told that it was against policy. We were told, "The three officials each said the foul was very clear and couldn't see how the official on the board missed it."


The student athlete with the longest legal jump won the event.


The most unfortunate part was that Andrea was not informed until after the end of competition. She is an outstanding athlete with a bright future."

McNamara sets new personal best at Harry Jerome meet Sunday...

BURNABY, British Columbia--Auburn-Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara (left/photo by Paul Merca) set a personal best in finishing second in the 1500 meter run at the Harry Jerome Track Classic Sunday afternoon at Swangard Stadium.

McNamara ran 3:36.03, beating his previous PR of 3:36.84 set last month at the Oxy High Performance meet in finishing behind former University of Oregon teammate Andrew Wheating, who won in 3:35.89.

However, McNamara was really gunning for the Olympic A standard of 3:35.50, which he missed by .53 seconds.

In a series of tweets after the race, he said, "Big last 80 but left it far too late. Agonizing 1/2 second off Olympic A. I'm fit for it!"

He continued, "I'm only getting faster. Still got a lot of sharpening to do! In the perfect spot for the Trials. Looking to take 1 last crack at 3:35 low," noting that he plans to take a shot at it on the 16th in Eugene.

Other highlights of the meet, which was one that several from the area competed in as the deadline to qualify for and/or improve provisional qualifying marks for the Olympic Trials before the June 17th deadline:

--In the 100 hurdles, Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford was surprised by Canadian heptathlete Jessica Zelinka, who won in 12.76 to Crawford's 12.87. Former Husky Falesha Ankton was sixth in 13.49, while Idaho alum and UW volunteer coach Christie Gordon failed to finish;

--Washington State alum Anson Henry, who had missed most of the last few seasons after making Canada's Olympic team in 2008, was second in the 100 in 10.44;

--Washington alum Norris Frederick finished second in the long jump with a leap of 24-11 (7.59m);

--Ex Husky Carly Dockendorf was second in the pole vault at 13-3 1/2 (4.05m);

--Another ex-Husky, Kyle Nielsen, finished third in the javelin with a toss of 243-5 (74.20m);

--Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek was fifth in the 800m at 1:46.72;

--Olympia's Brittany Hinchcliffe was fourth in the hammer at 203-11 (62.16m);

--Another Olympia resident, Jenny Brogdon, was third in the high jump at 5-7 (1.70m).

Complete results are available here.

One mark we missed from Saturday's adidas Grand Prix meet in New York was that of former Husky Jordan Boase, who won the B section of the men's 400 in a time of 45.73.

At Saturday night's Portland Track Festival at Lewis & Clark College, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle finished second in the 1500, running 4:15.12 behind winner Kim Conley's 4:12.53.

In a very competitive men's 5000, former Husky Mike Sayenko was fifth in 13:39.75, as Dathan Ritzenhein ran 13:19.78, then turned around less than an hour later and ran 13:58.68 in the B section of the 5000.

Complete results from the Portland Track Festival, which involved several other athletes from Washington chasing marks for the upcoming Olympic Trials, are available here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lagat gets the W in adidas Grand Prix 1500 in Gotham City...

NEW YORK--In one of his final tune up races for the US Olympic Team Trials--Track & Field, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) took the victory in the men's 1500 meter run at the adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium.

Competing in the second and final American stop on the Samsung Diamond League tour, Lagat, the reigning IAAF world indoor champ at 3000 meters, moved to the front with 80 meters to go and held on for the win in the men’s 1,500m in a time of 3:34.63. It was an improvement for Lagat, who finished 14th in the Bowerman Mile one week ago at the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

Afterwards, Lagat said, "Coming into the last lap I felt good. These last two races (the adidas and the Nike Prefontaine races) have told me I'm ready. Now I am going to concentrate on one race. When I race (June) 28th I will be ready. This told me I was strong and my speed is back. I'm confident. I want it so bad. I don't want to come into the Olympics being third at the Trials. I want to come in after a win. It was able to come together for me over the last 80 meters."

In the women's javelin, Vancouver native Kara Patterson finished third with a best of 197-11 (60.33m), as South Africa's Sunette Viljoen won with a throw of 227-6 (69.35m).

“It was definitely better than I threw in Rome. I’m definitely happy with the placing. I’m happy to be in the top three at a U.S. meet and I can’t take that lightly. I would rather be more consistent and I need to be in better positions. I’m in way better shape physically this year. My training has been really heavy lately," said Patterson, who narrowly missed her season best of 198-0 set in Tuscon last month (60.36m) by three centimeters.

Other highlights from the adidas Grand Prix involving Washington affiliated athletes:

--In the men's discus, Marysville native Jarred Rome finished ninth at 197-7 (60.22m), while WSU grad Ian Waltz was 11th at 192-0 (58.52m);

--WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama was eighth in the triple jump at 42-7 (12.98m);

--in the adidas girl's Dream Mile, Glacier Peak High School's Amy-Eloise Neal was seventh in a season best 4:43.82, while 2010 adidas Dream Mile champ Maddie Meyers of Northwest School was 13th at 4:55.69.

Complete results from the adidas Grand Prix are available here.

On Sunday, a host of Washington affiliated athletes will compete north of the border in the annual Harry Jerome Track Classic at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver.

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford goes against Perdita Felicien and Angela Whyte in the 100 hurdles, with Washington alum Falesha Ankton and UW volunteer coach Christie Gordon also in the field.

In the women's pole vault, Washington alum Carly Dockendorf looks to get closer to the Olympic A standard as the Canadian Olympic Trials approaches later this month.

Olympia native Brittany Hinchcliffe will compete in the hammer throw.

Washington State grad Anson Henry, a 2008 Olympian for Canada, will compete in the 100. Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek runs the 800.

In the 1500, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara is entered in the fast section, while WSU's Todd Wakefield is entered in the B section.

Washington alum Norris Frederick is entered in the long jump, while former Husky Kyle Nielsen is entered in the javelin.

The start list for the Harry Jerome Track Classic is available here.

Media partner Flotrack will offer live streaming coverage of the meet starting at 1pm pacific time.

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