Friday, August 31, 2012

Huskies, Redhawks run in non-scoring season opener at Magnuson Park...

SEATTLE--In what was essentially a glorified workout for both teams, Washington and SeattleU opened the season with the UW/SU Open Meet on a sunny Friday afternoon at Magnuson Park.

Coach Greg Metcalf sat out his front line performers in this non-scoring meet, including top returning runners Katie Flood and Megan Goethals, along with Liberty Miller, Justine Johnson, Lindsay Flanagan and Eleanor Fulton.

The Washington women ran together for the entire three-mile distance consisting of two 1.5 mile loops of the park, with Kayla Evans (left, #644/photo by Paul Merca) credited with the win in 18:00 and Chelsea Orr second in the same time.

Maddie Meyers, competing unattached, took third in 17:19, with the Huskies' Breanna Huschka fourth in the same time.

Baylee Mires was fifth in 17:19, and Anna Dailey rounded out Washington's top five in sixth in the same time.

SeattleU was led by Hannah Mittelstaedt in ninth at 17:32, followed by Sophie Curatilo in tenth at 17:41.

Jennifer Stolle was eleventh at 17:52, followed by Rebecca Lassere in 13th at 17:59, and Madison Davis in 14th at 18:04 to round out the top five for SeattleU.


In the men's 4.5 mile (three laps) race, SeattleU's Erik Barkhaus (#617/photo by Paul Merca), the reigning Great West 10000 meter champion, took a narrow victory over the Huskies' Bryan Tibaduiza, with both running the same time of 22:23.

The Redhawks then put three other runners in the top six, with Graham Kinzel-Grubbs in third at 22:38, Matthew McClement in fourth at 22:39, and Jeff Baklund in sixth at 23:17.

Nathan McLaughlin rounded out SeattleU's top five in tenth at 23:22.

After Tibaduiza, Angelo Comeaux was fifth for the Huskies in 23:10, followed by Kyle Rae in seventh in 23:18, Dylan Morin in eighth at 23:19, and Bernie Hagan in ninth at 23:20.

Like the women's squad, Metcalf elected to sit several of his top runners, including Mike Miller, Meron Simon, and Rob Webster, Jr.

The Huskies, who just assembled as a team on Monday, head out to their annual training camp before hosting the Sundodger Invitational on September 15th at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

The next meet for the Redhawks will be the National Catholic Championships on September 14th in South Bend, Indiana, hosted by Notre Dame. SeattleU will also enter a squad at the Sundodger Invitational.

WOMEN'S RESULTS

Event 2 Women 3 Mile Run CC
=======================================================================
Name Year School Finals Points
=======================================================================
1 Evans, Kayla Washington 17:17.60
2 Orr, Chelsea Washington 17:17.88
3 Meyers, Maddie Unattached 17:18.14
4 Huschka, Breanna Washington 17:18.39
5 Mires, Baylee Washington 17:18.63
6 Dailey, Anna Washington 17:18.90
7 Smith, CJ Unattached 17:19.97
8 Johnson, Erin Unattached 17:25.97
9 Mittelstaedt, Hannah Seattle University 17:31.44
10 Curatilo, Sophie Seattle University 17:40.44
11 Stolle, Jennifer Seattle University 17:51.58
12 Amaral, Joelle Unattached 17:56.70
13 Lassere, Rebecca Seattle University 17:58.01
14 Davis, Madison Seattle University 18:03.33
15 Hedberg, Emily Seattle University 18:12.25
16 de Laveaga, Taylor Seattle University 18:48.38
17 Smith, Elena Seattle University 18:52.06
18 Hammerle, Lauren Unattached 18:57.26
19 Thompson, Mary Seattle University 19:06.07
20 Frederick, Lindsay Seattle University 19:12.17
21 Tolentino, Amy Seattle University 19:27.04
22 Kruell, Haley Seattle University 19:43.32
23 Manwill, Meghan Seattle University 20:12.96


Event 1 Men 4 Mile Run CC
=======================================================================
Name Year School Finals Points
=======================================================================
1 Barkhaus, Erik Seattle University 22:22.28
2 Tibaduiza, Bryan Washington 22:22.77
3 Kinzel-Grubbs, Graham Seattle University 22:37.33
4 McClement, Matthew Seattle University 22:38.31
5 Comeaux, Angelo Washington 23:09.63
6 Baklund, Jeff Seattle University 23:17.00
7 Rae, Kyle Washington 23:17.42
8 Morin, Dylan Washington 23:18.65
9 Hagan, Bernie Washington 23:19.39
10 McLaughlin, Nathan Seattle University 23:21.16
11 Davis, Chris Seattle University 23:29.86
12 Kopetz, Kevin Seattle University 23:35.59
13 Hille, Miles Seattle University 23:39.05
14 Abernathy, Talon Unattached 23:51.74
15 Cummings, Tim Washington 23:59.32
16 Arroyo, Gus Seattle University 24:05.19
17 Harris, Nick Unattached 24:10.83
18 Strand, David Seattle University 24:31.51
19 Nelson, Blake Unattached 24:56.24
20 Montgomery, Mitchell Unattached 25:07.86
21 Mangan, Kevin Washington 25:55.41
22 To'oto'o, Gabriel Unattached 33:24.00


UPDATE (7:45pm)--Results reposted to reflect non-scoring meet.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Falcon women take top three spots in Alaska Fairbanks Long Course race...

FAIRBANKS, Alaska--Sophomore Robyn Zeidler (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) led a 1-2-3 Seattle Pacific finish as the Falcons finished ahead of host Alaska Fairbanks and Black Hills (SD) State in the Alaska Fairbanks Long-Course Dual at the West Ridge Ski Trails.

The Falcons scored a low total of 26 points, while the host Nanooks scored 37, and Black Hills scored 60.

All five of the Falcon scorers over the 6-k course finished in the top ten, as Zeidler took the win in 22:57.

Katie Thralls was second at 23:17, and Katie Morris third at 23:22.

Jasmine Johnson was ninth at 24:59, and Lynelle Decker rounded out the SPU scorers in tenth at 25:18, giving the Falcons a 1-5 split of 2:21.

“For Robyn to have the confidence to test her body and come through with the win, I was really proud of that,” SPU coach Erika Daligcon said. “I knew Katie wasn't going to be afraid to get in there and get gritty, and I was pleasantly surprised by her and by Katie Morris.”

In the men's 8k race, the Falcons' Jordan Wolfe was second to Black Hills State's Mitch Kraft, as he took the victory in a time of 26:12, with Wolfe 23 seconds down.

Black Hills State took the team title with 26 points, with the Falcons second with 42 points, and host Alaska Fairbanks third at 66.

Other Falcon scorers included AJ Baker in 3rd at 26:48, Seth Pierson in fifth at 27:16, Tavish Taylor in 13th at 27:50, and Colin Wilkins in 20th at 30:12.

The same three teams face each other Saturday, racing over a 4k course.

The Seattle Pacific release is available here.

NOTE: The sports information office at Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Lagat takes third in Zürich 5000 race and dips under 13 minutes for fifth time in career...

ZÜRICH, Switzerland--Under wet conditions, Washington State University alum and American record holder Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in the 5000 meter run at Thursday night's Weltklasse meeting, as the season-long Samsung Diamond League series nears its conclusion.

Even with three pace setters assigned to take the runners to 3000 meters at 7:40 and 10:15 for 4000m, (a projected 12:48 pace for the full distance), the main participants were reluctant to follow the rabbits, and were content to sit about ten meters behind during the early portion of the race, even though Lagat stated that he thought that his American record of 12:53.60 could be challenged by either himself or US Olympic teammates Galen Rupp and Lopez Lomong.

As it turned out, the real running began in the last two kilometers after Gideon Gathimba of Kenya took the field through in 7:52 (13:08 pace), as the final pacer, Kenya's Vincent Chepkop led with one kilometer to go in 10:27 (13:06 pace).

As the lead pack of Kenya's Isiah Koech and Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa, and Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel crossed the line with one lap to go, Lagat was in fourth place, seemingly in position to unleash his patented sprint finish.

Only problem was that Koech and Longosiwa opened a five meter gap on Lagat and Gebremeskel down the backstretch, and widened it exiting the final turn.

Lagat swung wide and was gaining on Longosiwa, but ran out of real estate.

Koech won the race in 12:58.98, with Longosiwa second at 12:59.24, and Lagat third in a season best 12:59.92, marking the fifth time in his career that he's broken 13 minutes.

Gebremeskel was fourth in 13:00.83, while Rupp was ninth in 13:09.50, and Lomong a distant 17th at 13:35.53.

Koech, by virtue of winning the season-long Samsung Diamond Trophy in the event, earned a bye into next year's world championships in Moscow.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's an interview with Lagat:



He said that the Weltklasse meet will be his last outdoor track race of the season.

In other events, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford finished fourth in the 100 hurdles, running 12.73, as Olympic silver medalist Dawn Harper took the win in 12.59, with Queen Harrison second at 12.68, and Olympic bronze medalist Kellie Wells third at 12.69.

University of Washington grad Brad Walker did not take a jump in the pole vault competition, won by Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie at a modest 18-8 1/2 (5.70m).

Complete results of the Weltklasse meeting are available here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zurich Weltklasse meet could see American record in 5000 go down; Falcons start 2012 season in Fairbanks...

With September right around the corner, the transition has begun from the pro track & field season right to the start of the collegiate cross country season.

There are still a few pro meets in Europe left, with one of the biggest meets of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League season happening Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland at the Weltklasse Meeting, perhaps one of the best annual meets of the season.

All three members of the US Olympic men's 5000 meter team--Galen Rupp and Lopez Lomong of Portland, along with Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca)--are entered in the men's 5000 at the Weltklasse race, which could produce the fastest time of the year.

Even with Olympic champ Mo Farah and silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia missing, the Weltklasse 5000 features Kenya's Thomas Longosiwa, the bronze medalist from London, Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele, Samsung Diamond League second place points leader Hagos Gebrhiwet and Imane Merga, along with Uganda's Moses Kipsiro, and Kenya's Mark Kiptoo, Moses Masai & Edwin Soi.

In fact, Lagat thinks that his American record of 12:53.61, which he set at last year's Herculis meeting in Monaco could go down, as he discussed in this video, courtesy of media partner Flotrack.



Mountlake Terrace resident Brad Walker will compete in the men's pole vault, as he faces all three Olympic medalists--France's Renaud Lavillenie, as well as silver and bronze medalists Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany.

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford, who sits in third in the Samsung Diamond Trophy race in the 100 hurdles with three points, goes against Americans Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells and Queen Harrison, along with Canadians Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, Phylicia George and Jessica Zelinka.

The meet will be shown online (pay-per-view) at universalsports.com starting at 11 am, pacific time.

Start lists for the Zurich Weltklasse meet are available here.

FALCONS START 2012 HARRIER CAMPAIGN

In Fairbanks, Alaska, the Seattle Pacific Falcons begin the 2012 cross country campaign with a pair of meets Thursday and Saturday against host Alaska-Fairbanks and Black Hills State of South Dakota.

The long course race (6k women, 8k men) begins Thursday at 6:30pm, pacific time, while the short course race (4k for both genders) is Saturday at 11 am, pacific.

The Falcon men won both the long-course and short-course team titles last year – and both by considerable margins. SPU had a 10-point advantage on runner-up Montana State Billings (27-37) in the long-course meet, and won by 26 points (23-49) against Billings in short-course. Fairbanks was third in both meets.

Meanwhile, the Falcon women finished second in both meets last year, with Fairbanks sweeping both races last year.

SPU coach Erika Daligcon said, "It would be nice to go for some team wins – that's something we all would like to achieve.”

“It's just an opportunity for these athletes to run together and compete together. We have some freshmen in the mix, so it'll be fun to have these two races under their belts. Also, it's exciting that we have two distances (6K women/8K men on Thursday, then 4K for both genders on Saturday). We'll get a lot of valuable information from this that will shape our training from here on out."

SPU's release is available here.

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

Tim Riley named as cross country/distance coach at Washington State...

PULLMAN--It only took two days to replace departed Washington State University cross country and distance coach Pete Julian.

The school announced Wednesday that Tim Riley (left/photo by Paul Merca), who was Julian's volunteer coach the past three seasons, has been elevated as the next cross country coach of the Cougars.

On Monday, the school stated that Julian had taken a job to work as an assistant coach for Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project, which had two of its athletes--Mo Farah and Galen Rupp--earn three medals at the London Olympics, with Farah winning two golds in the 5000 and 10000.

WHO IS RILEY?

Riley was an outstanding cross country and track and field athlete at Eastern Oregon University where he earned All-America honors in 2004. He was a two-time NAIA indoor track and field national qualifier and a three-time NAIA outdoor track and field national qualifier, winning the 2004 10,000m national championship.

While at Eastern Oregon, Riley also went to four NAIA cross country national championships and was a member of the first place NAIA cross country national championship academic team in 2001.

Riley, a 31-year old native of Corvallis, Oregon, was an assistant coach of track and field and cross country at the College of Idaho from 2004 to 2006. During the 2004 season, Riley coached the men's team to a 17th place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.

The Coyotes had three individual qualifiers for the 2005 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships and three individual qualifiers for the 2004 Cross Country National Championships during Riley's time there. Riley also coached one All-American at the 2005 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

Riley came to WSU in 2006 and was granted a research assistant position. He served as a Graduate and Professional Students Association senator at WSU. In May 2012 he received his PhD neuroscience from the department of veterinary and comparative anatomy, pharmacology and physiology (VCAPP).

“We are very excited with the addition of Dr. Tim Riley as our distance/cross country coach,” WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. “He carried a lot of responsibility during the past three years of assisting Pete Julian. We look forward to a seamless transition with our philosophy and training methods that took us to the 21st place finish at the NCAA last year and moving forward in the future.”

THE COUGS ENTERING THE 2012 SEASON

Riley inherits a Cougar men's team that finished 21st at last year's NCAA championships, and returns five of seven members--Andrew Kimpel, Andrew Gonzales, Todd Wakefield, Drew Jordan, and Lee George--that ran in Terre Haute last year.

Though the team isn't very deep, with eight runners listed on their men's roster, Riley said, ”I think we are more fit now than we were in the spring and definitely more fit than a year ago and that is exciting."

He is optimistic that behind Kimpel and Jordan, any one of the runners on the WSU squad is capable enough to be the team's #3 runner.

"We look to have a tight pack that can produce low scores and have another successful season."

Washington State enters the 2012 season ranked #26 in the USTFCCCA national pre-season coaches' poll, with their big test coming on September 28th at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.

On the women's side, the Cougs will be led by senior Caroline Austin and junior Ruby Roberts, both of whom competed in the Pac-12 meet in the steeplechase.

“Ruby and Caroline are our leaders and they have bought into our program. Some of our freshmen have looked good for this early in the season but they are a big question mark for now. We will get a good idea this weekend and (September 15th) in Portland.”

The Cougars open the season Saturday at Mead HS just outside of Spokane against Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Whitworth, with the women racing 4.2k at 10 am, and the men competing over 6.2k at 10:30.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Husky women's team begin 2012 season ranked #2 in USTFCCCA poll; Cougar men #26...

NEW ORLEANS--The University of Washington women's cross country team (left/photo by Paul Merca), which finished in the runner-up position at last year's NCAA national championship meet, begin the 2012 season in the number two position in the USTFCCCA national pre-season Division I coaches' poll released Tuesday.

Though the Huskies garnered the most first place votes from the coaches' panel, the University of Oregon will begin the season ranked #1 with 345 points to the Huskies' 343 points.

Defending national champion Georgetown, which this week lost coach Chris Miltenberg to Stanford, where he took the director of track & field position, begins the season at number three.

The Cardinal will begin the season ranked #8 in the country.

On the men's side, Wisconsin was voted the #1 team in the country, winning ten of twelve first place votes, with Oklahoma State voted #2, and BYU ranked #3 in the pre-season poll.  The Portland Pilots are ranked #7 by the panel of coaches.

Colorado at #5 and Stanford at #9 are the only Pac-12 schools ranked in the top ten.

Oregon is ranked #22, while Washington State, which returns most of their squad from last year's team that went to nationals, but lost coach Pete Julian Monday when he took a position as Alberto Salazar's assistant at the Nike Oregon Project, will begin the season ranked #26.

The Huskies begin their 2012 campaign Friday with the SeattleU/UW Open meet at Magnuson Park in Seattle at 4 pm, while the Cougars will face Idaho, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Whitworth Saturday at Mead, just outside of Spokane, starting at 10 am.

The USTFCCCA release and complete rankings are available here.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The state's Division I & II teams begin gearing up for the cross country season...

With September just around the corner, many of the state's collegiate cross country programs began formal practices over the last week in preparation for the first batch of meets, which start this weekend.

Seattle Pacific travels to Fairbanks, Alaska for the Alaska Fairbanks Long-Course and Short Course dual meet Friday and Saturday.

In Seattle, the SeattleU Redhawks (left/photo courtesy Seattle University), who move from the Great West Conference to the Western Athletic Conference in their first year of full NCAA Division I status, have been training together since August 15th in preparation for their first meet this Friday at Magnuson Park in the SeattleU/University of Washington Open meet.

The Huskies held its first team workout Monday, and will train in and around campus before facing the Redhawks Friday, then proceed to their fall training camp, before hosting the Sundodger Invitational on September 15th at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

On the east side of the state, the big news was the resignation of Washington State's Pete Julian, as he took a coaching position with the Nike Oregon Project days before the Cougars' season opener at Mead versus Idaho, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Whitworth.

Monday, the USTFCCCA released its regional pre-season rankings for Division I.

In the West region, the WSU men's team is ranked #6, with Portland, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon and Cal ahead of the Cougars. The Huskies, who will host the NCAA West Regional meet on November 9th at Jefferson Park Golf Course, were ranked #10.

In the West women's poll, the Huskies, who finished last season second in the NCAA championships behind Georgetown, are ranked second behind Oregon. Gonzaga is ranked #15 in the poll.

In the USTFCCCA Division II regional polls, the Western Washington men's squad is ranked #3 in the West region, while Seattle Pacific is #8.

The Viking women's team is ranked #5, while the Falcons are ranked #6.

Chico State's men and Alaska Anchorage's women hold the top spots in the pre-season Division Ii polls for the West region.

In the weeks to come, look for previews of the state's Division I & II schools here.

WSU distance coach Pete Julian leaves Cougars for Nike Oregon Project...

PULLMAN--In what can only be described as a bit of a surprise, with the cross country season right around the corner and the team's first meet on Saturday, Pete Julian (left/photo courtesy Washington State University), the Washington State head cross country coach and distance coach for track & field, resigned Monday.

Julian, who led the 2011 Cougar men's cross country team to its first NCAA championship meet since 2006, where the squad finished 21st, has accepted a coaching position with Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project.

In a statement released by Washington State, Julian said, "I have learned more from working for Rick Sloan than any coach I have been involved with. "His work ethic has inspired me and made me realize how hard I have to work to be successful."

Julian, an Oregon native and graduate of the University of Portland, who competed in the 1999 IAAF world championships in the 10000, will assist Salazar with a group of athletes that includes double Olympic champion Mo Farah, Olympic 10000 meter silver medalist Galen Rupp, and three-time US Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein.

"This is an exciting opportunity that presents some new challenges for me," Julian said. "We are at a place with the sport of track and field where the direction of the Nike Oregon Project is making a difference."

In the USTFCCCA Division I regional men's pre-season poll released Monday, the Cougar men's team was ranked #6 in the West Region, with Portland, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, and Cal ahead of Washington State.

The school has not made a decision on who will coach the Cougar cross country team; however, volunteer coach Tim Riley is running the workouts.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ginnie Crawford takes third in Lausanne; Brad Walker leaps to sixth place finish...

LAUSANNE, Switzerland--Seattle native Ginnie Crawford (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) finished third Thursday night at the Athletissima meeting in the Swiss city as the Samsung Diamond League tour made its annual stop at the home city of the International Olympic Committee.

In a very competitive 100 meter hurdle race, former Olympic champ Dawn Harper, who was the silver medalist in London two weeks ago, took the victory, leading three Americans by running an impressive 12.43 to outlast Queen Harrison, who ran a season best 12.62 for second, with Crawford just behind in 12.64.

In a very competitive pole vault competition, University of Washington alum Brad Walker finished sixth with a best jump of 18-8 1/4 (5.70m), as reigning Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France led four vaulters over 19-0 1/4 (5.80m) to take the win on a countback.

Highlighting the meet was Usain Bolt of Jamaica's win in the 200, breaking his own meet record of 19.59 by running 19.58.

The IAAF recap of the meet is available here.

There are three meets left in the Samsung Diamond League series--Birmingham, England this Sunday; the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich on August 30th; and, the Van Damme Memorial meeting in Brussels on September 7th.

Complete results of the Athletissima meeting are available here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nineteen Olympic individual & relay gold medalists set to run in Lausanne...

LAUSANNE, Switzerland--The season-long Samsung Diamond League tour continues Thursday with the Athletissima Meeting at the Pontaise Olympic Stadium near the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.

According to meet organizers, 19 Olympic individual and relay gold medalists, and 53 medalists from the London Games will participate, including double Olympic sprint champ Usain Bolt (left/photo courtesy Athletissima Meeting) from Jamaica, who will contest the 200.

Pole vaulter Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace, and Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford are both entered in Thursday's meet.

Walker will face Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie of France, as well as silver and bronze medalists Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany.

Crawford, who finished fourth in the US Olympic Trials, faces Olympic silver and bronze medalists Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells in the 100 hurdles.

The Athletissima Meeting will be shown live online (pay-per-view) at universalsports.com starting at 11:00 am on the West Coast.

The start list for the Athletissima Meeting is available here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A late weekend recap (August 17-20)...

While we've been away, here's a quick summary of what's happened with Washington based athletes in the world of track & field:

In Linz, Austria at the Gugl Games on Monday, Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford won the 100 hurdles in 12.68, turning back Queen Harrison (12.77) and Olympic bronze medalist Kellie Wells (12.83).

Results are available here.

In Berlin on Sunday, Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy Michael Handelmann, DLV) cleared a best of 18-11 1/2 (5.78m) in the Berlin Fliegt meet held outside the Brandenburg Gate.

In the unique 4-team format, each vaulter received four total jumps, with points awarded for 'winning' a jump.

In the team scoring. Team USA finished second behind Germany 35-29.5. with Russia third at 24 and France fourth at 20.5.

The results are posted here; the meet recap is here (in German).

Last Friday, Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara finished second in the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile road race in Pittsburgh.

Craig Miller outkicked McNamara to take the win and the $4000 first prize in 3:58.4 to McNamara's 3:59.1.

The results and race recap are available here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Crawford finishes fourth in Stockholm Diamond League meeting...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles Friday night at the DN Galan meeting at the Olympic Stadium.

Without world leader and reigning Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia in the field, 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper took the victory in 12.65, followed by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Kellie Wells in 12.76.

Alina Talai of Belarus, who was second in the European Championships in this event in late June, snuck ahead of Crawford for third in 12.79, with Crawford finishing in 12.83.

Russia's Yuliya Zarapova, the Olympic champ in the 3000 steeplechase, ran a world leading time of 9:05.02 to highlight the evening's competition, which was part of the season-long Samsung Diamond League series.

The Samsung Diamond League series moves on to Lausanne, Switzerland next Thursday, then to Birmingham, England on the 26th before ending with meets in Zurich, Switzerland, and Brussels, Belgium.

The IAAF recap of the meet is available here; complete results of the DN Galan are accessible here.

Meanwhile, Washington alum Brad Walker, who no-heighted in the finals at the Olympics last week, is scheduled to compete Sunday at the second annual Berlin Fliegt jumps meeting in Berlin.

The meet will take place in Pariser Platz, on the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate, and features male and female long jumpers and vaulters from Germany, the USA, Russia and France.

The pole vault features Olympic silver medallist, Bjorn Otto, who will be up against Walker of the USA and Dmitriy Starodubtsev of Russia.

The European Athletics release previewing the meet is available here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ginnie Crawford returns to hurdle wars in Stockholm Friday...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--Contrary to popular belief, the professional track & field season does not end after the Olympics, as there's about a month of good competition left on the European circuit.

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished fourth in the US Olympic Trials, competes Friday in the 100 meter hurdles at the DN Galan meet at Stockholm's Olympic Stadium against a field that includes Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, the Olympic silver and bronze medalists, respectively.

The DN Galan meet features no less than 11 champions from the London Olympics, including 400 meter runner Sanya Richards-Ross, triple jumper Christian Taylor, and pole vaulter Jenn Suhr.

The IAAF preview of the meet is available here, while the start list is available here.

The meet is available online via universalsports.com (pay-per-view) starting at 11 am, pacific time.

AROUND THE CIRCUIT

On her Twitter page, former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin announced that she will undergo surgery on her torn right Achilles tendon, which resulted in her not able to line up for the first round of the women's 1500 at the Olympics.

Both discus thrower Aretha Thurmond and javelin thrower Kara Patterson now have blog posts available about their Olympic experiences, which you can access by clicking the links under their name.

On his Facebook fan page, pole vaulter Brad Walker wrote, "I once again find myself in the not so fun situation of returning home, having to immediately move out of my current living situation, not having a single training partner male or female, nor a pole vault coach at the facility I train at."

Walker, the former Husky and American record holder in the pole vault, has been training at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista for the last two seasons.

OTC resident coach Ty Sevin, who also works with Patterson, has done most of the day-to-day work with Walker. Sevin has recently taken a coaching position with the University of New Orleans.

Patterson recently told paulmerca.blogspot.com that she will continue to work with Sevin on a long distance basis, commuting to New Orleans when she begins throwing after her surgery on her torn left ACL and the rehabilitation process.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic veteran Meb Keflezighi storms to fourth place marathon finish...

LONDON--In the final day of the Olympics, Meb Keflezighi (on the far right/photo courtesy London2012.com), the 2004 Olympic silver medalist finished a surprising fourth in the marathon, completing the 26 mile, 385 yard course comprising of three loops of eight miles and a opening 2.2 mile loop in 2:11:06.

Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who trains most of the year in Kenya, brought home his country’s first medal of the London Games and only their third athletics medal of all time as he won gold in 2:08:01. He was followed by Abel Kirui in 2:08:27 and Wilson Kipsang in 2:09:37, both of Kenya.

In only his fourth Marathon since he entered Enschede, Netherlands, as a pacemaker in May last year, and carried on to win in 2:07:20, Kiprotich has upstaged his more famous training colleagues, and become Uganda’s second Olympic athletics champion, after the celebrated John Aki-Bua 40 years ago.

Shortly after finishing the first of the three big loops, fellow Americans Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman called it a day, dropping out due to a right hamstring issue (Hall) and a right eke (Abdirahman).

In winning the Olympic title in hot and humid conditions, Kiprotich, who was dropped by reigning world champion Kirui, who won the London Marathon this year, and Kipsang at the 35k mark, Kiprotich gathered himself and literally shot past his rivals two kilometers later.

In the race within the race, Keflezighi was able to run with a pack of eight men who were just two minutes behind the lead at the 30km mark. Over the next 5km, Keflezighi increased his pace, pulled away from the chase pack and set his sights on picking off the lone athletes separating him from the podium. During the final two miles of the race, Keflezighi passed both Marilson Dos Santos of Brazil and Kentaro Nakamoto of Japan to secure his fourth place finish.

Afterwards, the three-time Olympian told the media, “Coming here I told my wife, ‘I have a feeling I’m going to finish fourth.’ Did I want to finish fourth – no. But at the World or Olympic games I’ll take it, especially considering that I did not make the Olympics [in 2008]. I know how that feels, so I congratulate those people who finished first, second and third. Everybody works hard to accomplish such a thing and I am very proud of myself and our country to finish fourth. It’s not where you want to be sometimes, but fourth place at my last Olympics – I’ll take it anytime.”

Complete results of the marathon are available here.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP

In Saturday's Falmouth Mile in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara came close, but could not defend his title.

McNamara finished second to Cal/Berkeley alum David Torrence, 3:55.79 to 3:56.07.

After zipping through the two opening laps in 58 seconds apiece, the pace slowed through the three-quarter mark before defending champion and event record holder McNamara, who currently resides in Eugene, took over at the bell. "The wind was really tough on the backstretch," he said. "I was just waiting for the 200 mark to make my move, when the wind would be behind us."

As the leaders hit the homestretch, Torrence, an Oakland, Calif. resident, unleashed a finishing sprint McNamara and the others couldn't match, finishing 0.28 ahead of McNamara, with Garrett Heath another 0.14 behind in third.

Results are available at FalmouthRoadRace.com.

NOTE: USA Track & Field, the IAAF, and the Falmouth Road Race contributed to this report.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lagat gets fourth in Olympic 5000 meter finals...

LONDON--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Victah Sailer, photorun.net), who may have competed in his fourth and final Olympic Games, finished just out of the medals finishing fourth in the 5000 meter run Saturday night at Olympic Stadium.

Once the field crossed the 400 meter mark at around 72 seconds or so, a good time for an average high school 1600 race, one got the sense that this was shaping up as a 8 1/2 lap jog and a 1600-meter race, which as it turned out, was correct.

At the 1000 meter mark, the field went through at 2:55.40 with the next kilometer even slower at 3:01.3.

At that point, Lagat was tucked near the middle of the pack trying to stay out of trouble, all the while keeping an eye on the dangerous Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Nike Oregon Project, running with a gold medal in the 10000 already in his pocket, and trying to join the likes of Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts, Lasse Viren, Miruts Yifter, and Kenenisa Bekele as men who have won the Olympic title in both distances in a single Olympiad.

As the field, which included Farah's training partner and Portland resident Galen Rupp, and Vancouver Island resident Cam Levins, who had gone through a grueling season at the collegiate ranks, approached the 3000 mark, the pace picked up, taking the field through a kilometer of 2:46.25, runners began jockeying for position anticipating for when the real racing started, with Lagat trying to stay on the outside of lane 1 to cover a move.

With less that 900 meters to go, Farah made his move to the front, with Lagat moving to about fifth place, as it seemed that placings were fluid as runners tried to set themselves up for the big move.

The big move was made by Farah as the field entered the bell lap, as he tried to open a gap, but was covered by a group of five. With 250 to go, much as he did in Daegu at last year's world championships, the Brit made his decisive move, opening up a gap on Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel and Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya.

With over a hundred meters to go, Lagat appeared to be in prime position to unleash the patented sprint finish that won him two world titles in 2007 at 1500 and 5000 meters, but ended up getting bumped by Kenya's Isiah Koech, who was trying to gain some space for a final sprint.

Lagat was fortunate not to go down on the track, but caught himself and tried to go again, gaining ground on Longosiwa, but ran out of real estate.

Farah's winning time was a pedestrian 13:41.66, one of the slowest winning times in recent Olympic history, with Gebremeskel second at 13:41.98.

Longosiwa held on for third at 13:42.36, with Lagat fourth at 13:42.99.

Oregon alum Rupp was seventh at 13:45.04, with Levins 14th at 13:51.87.

Lagat said afterwards, “I was very confident. I was just trying to go as I hard as I could. It would have been better to have been on the podium. The fourth spot is tough but I have been the most blessed person in my career.”

In other events, the women's 4 x 400 relay squad of DeeDee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross went wire to wire to win the Olympic title in a time of 3:16.87.

Though most seasoned track & field experts thought the United States could get a medal in the women's high jump, very few expected it to come from the University of Arizona's Bridgetta Barrett, one of the most dominant collegians this season, and a Dempsey Indoor facility record holder.

On the sport's biggest stage, the MPSF Indoor, Pac-12 outdoor, NCAA indoor and outdoor champion responded by setting a new personal best of 6-8 (2.03m) on her second attempt, after second attempt misses at the two previous heights.

Reigning world champ Anna Chicherova of Russia stayed clean through five heights, clearing 6-8 for the win, and ultimately clearing the next bar, 6-8 3/4 (2.05m). Her Russian teammate Svetlana Shkolina took third, also clearing 6-8.  American record holder Chaunte Lowe was sixth at 6-5 1/2 (1.97m).

In the women's 800, Mariya Savinova of Russia took advantage of some questionable racing tactics by former world champ Caster Semenya who tried to run from the back, and powered to victory, running 1:56.19 to the South African's 1:57.23.

Russia's Ekaterina Poistogova was third in 1:57.53, just ahead of defending Olympic champ Pamela Jelimo of Kenya in 1:57.59. Cal alum Alysia Montano, who did the early front running, rallied in the last 100 to get fifth in 1:57.93.

In the final track race of the London Olympics, Jamaica's squad of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, and Usain Bolt lowered their own world record of 37.04 by running 36.84.

The US squad of Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Salem's Ryan Bailey, a Dempsey Indoor record holder at 200 meters, could not hold the lead in the second exchange as reigning world champ Blake overtook Gay on the turn before handing the baton to Bolt for the win and the world record.

Team USA crossed the line in a new national record of 37.04--the old world record set by the Jamaican squad at last year's world championships in Daegu.

With Sunday the final day of the Olympics, the track & field portion ends with the running of the marathon through the streets of London, with a strong Pac-12 presence for Team USA in UCLA alum Meb Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist; Stanford's Ryan Hall; and Arizona alum Abdi Abdirahman. Action in the marathon gets underway at 11:00 am London time (3 am in Seattle).

The results of the final day of competition are available here.

The start lists for the marathon are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jordan McNamara returns to defend New Balance Falmouth Mile title, while Katie Mackey makes debut...

FALMOUTH, Massachusetts--Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished seventh in the finals of the US Olympic Trials 1500 meter race, is entered in Saturday's running of the New Balance Falmouth Mile at the Falmouth High School track.

McNamara, who competes for the Oregon TC Elite/Eugene, returns to the Falmouth Mile as the defending champion, setting a meet record last year of 3:54.89.

Last year's second and third place finishers, Jeff See in 3:55.24 and AJ Acosta in 3:55.30. return to the event, held in conjunction with the annual Falmouth Road Race, one of the country's top road races.

They will be joined by Craig Miller (3:56.41 PR), Liam Boylan-Pett (3:58.19 PR, at Falmouth), Jack Bolas (3:58.31 PR) and Christian Hesch (3:58.68 PR at Falmouth).  Sean Brosnan, 5th in 2010 will also be returning to the Falmouth track. Racing at Falmouth for the first time will be: Ben Bruce (4:00.00 PR), Garrett Heath (3:57.18 PR), Cory Leslie (3:56.85 PR) and David Torrence (3:52.01 PR).

In the women's race, University of Washington alum and Olympic Trials finalist Katie Mackey makes her Falmouth Mile debut, as the current Boston resident goes against a field that includes last year’s second place finisher, Brenda Martinez, who was 12th at the Olympic Trials and has a personal best of 4:32.29. She’ll be joined by Gabriele Anderson who just missed the Olympic team with a fourth place finish at the Trials in the 1500 meters. Anderson was fourth at Falmouth last year and has a 4:31.05 mile personal best. Also returning to compete is Sara Vaughn who was 6th at Falmouth in 2011.

Sarah Bowman (4:29.72 PR), Ashley Miller (4:39.11 PR) and Aisha Praught (4:35.96 PR) round out the elite women's field.

More information on the New Balance Falmouth Mile is available here.

NOTE:  In the August issue of Northwest Runner, McNamara was inadvertently omitted from the story I wrote on how athletes from the state of Washington fared at the US Olympic Trials due to an editing error on my part.  JMac was on the original story written for the magazine. My bad and apologies due to Jordan, his family, and friends!

Washington announces its 2013 indoor track & field schedule...

Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton holds the Dempsey Indoor record in the heptathlon (photo courtesy London 2012.com)

SEATTLE--The University of Washington announced its 2013 indoor track & field schedule Friday, and its menu includes no surprises, sticking to a six-meet schedule.

The indoor season kicks off with the UW Indoor Preview on January 12. Two weeks later comes the UW Invitational, on Friday-Saturday, January 25-26. Another two-day meet, the Husky Classic, arrives on Feb. 8-9. The day after the Husky Classic is the UW Indoor Open on February 10.

The MPSF Championships, the indoor conference meet for the West Coast's best teams, is set for February 22-23. Completing the schedule is the UW Final Qualifier on March 2nd.

A number of Olympians currently competing in London have seen action in the Dempsey over recent seasons. During the most recent season, Sally Kipyego of the Oregon Track Club Elite/Eugene broke the Dempsey records at 3,000-meters and the mile run, edging UW's NCAA champ Katie Flood in that mile race. Kipyego just recently won the silver medal for Kenya in the 10,000-meter run in London, and finished fourth in the 5000. High jumper Brigetta Barrett and shot putter Julie Labonte also broke Dempsey records in 2012, and are now in the Olympics for the USA and Canada, respectively.

Additional Dempsey records on the men's side belong to 2012 Olympians such as Ryan Bailey (200m record; competing for USA), Andrew Wheating (800m; USA), Chris Thompson (5000m; Great Britain), Nick Symmonds (DMR; USA), Jesse Williams (high jump; USA), Ryan Whiting (shot put; USA), and Ashton Eaton (heptathlon; USA). Women facility record-holders include current Olympians Geena Gall (800m record; competing for USA), Jenny Simpson (5,000m; USA), and Brianne Theisen (Pentathlon; Canada).

The University of Washington release is available here.

Brad Walker no-heights in Olympic final...

LONDON--Brad Walker's (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) hopes of earning an Olympic medal of any color ended with a crash as he failed to clear a height in the finals of the pole vault in the penultimate day of track and field competition at Olympic Stadium.

Walker opened the competition at 18-6 1/2 (5.65m), and on his first attempt, aborted the run and restarted before the clock ran out. He had lots of height, but ended up veering left and nearly landing on the standard.

His second attempt was very similar, in that he was still veering to the left in failing to clear the bar.

On his final attempt, the University of Washington and University HS/Spokane alum cleared the bar with room to spare, but brushed the bar on the way down, ending any chances to move on and compete for a medal.

Walker and defending Olympic champ Steve Hooker of Australia were the only two in the 14-man field who failed to clear a height.

France's Renaud Lavillenie took the Olympic title with a new Olympic record clearance of 19-7 (5.97m), while Germany's Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe went 2-3 with both clearing 19-4 3/4 (5.91m).

Walker did not speak to USA Track & Field's media liaison in the mixed zone upon the conclusion of the event.

In other finals involving Team USA, the women's 4 x 100 relay team of Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter roared to a new world record time of 40.82, crushing the mark of 41.37 set in 1985 by East Germany.

Jeter told the media, “It feels great. We ran as a team. Everyone ran a great leg and we got that stick around and a gold medal and a world record.”

Felix, who has an opportunity to win another gold medal Saturday night as a member of the 4 x 400 relay squad, said, “It’s a relief – a joy. We went into it so comfortable. We were laughing. We were very comfortable in practice with each other.”

A depleted men's 4 x 400 meter relay team, who were missing injured runners and former Olympic champs Jeremy Wariner (2004) and LaShawn Merritt (2008), could not hold on to a potential victory as Ramon Miller of the Bahamas overtook two-time Olympic 400 hurdles champ Angelo Taylor on the anchor leg with 50 meters to go, to give the Bahamas the win in a national record of 2:56.72 to Team USA's 2:57.05.

With the injury in Thursday's prelims by Manteo Mitchell, who ran the last 200 on a broken fibula, Team USA went with USC's Bryshon Nellum and Josh Mance, along with Florida's NCAA champ Tony McQuay, before giving the stick to Taylor, who also owns two Olympic relay gold medals in his career.

In the women's 1500, US Olympic Trials champ Morgan Uceny went down on the track at the bell after being impeded by the back-kick of a runner (David Monti of Race Results Weekly said in a tweet that it was Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi, though on the video, it appears that Russia's Ekaterina Kostetskaya may have had contact as well) and didn't finish, much as she did at last year's world championships in Daegu.

Turkish runners Asli Alpetkin (4:10.23) and Gamze Bulut (4:10.40) went 1-2, while Maryam Jamal of Bahrain was third in 4:10.74.

It should be noted that Alpetkin (maiden name Cakir) served an IAAF two year suspension for metenolone from 2004-2006 as an up and coming steeplechaser at the world junior championships. She improved from 4:08.07 in 2009 to 4:02.17 in 2010, before making a major breakthrough last month, running 3:56.62 at the Paris Samsung Diamond League meet.

San Francisco's Shannon Rowbury finished sixth in 4:11.26.

The women's 5000 turned out to be essentially a three-lap race as Ethiopia's Meseret Defar claimed gold in the 5000m final, denying her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba the chance to add another title to the 10,000m crown she won a week ago.

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot was second in 15:04.73, and Dibaba third at 15:05.15. Kenya's Sally Kipyego, who trains in Eugene with the OTC Elite and was second in the 10000 finished fourth in 15:05.79.

American record holder Molly Huddle was 11th in 15:20.29, while Julie Culley was 14th in 15:28.22.

Complete day eight results are available here.

In the final day of competition, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat looks to add a medal in the men's 5000 to the pair of medals he earned in 2000 and 2004 as a member of Kenya's Olympic squad in the 5000.

The US Olympic Trials runner-up and American record holder in the event will have to contend with Nike Oregon Project runners Mo Farah of Great Britain and US Olympic Trials champ Galen Rupp, who went 1-2 in last week's 10000, along with a slew of Kenyans and Ethiopians led by Dejen Gebremeskel, who has a season best of 12:46.81.

Vancouver Island native Cam Levins, the NCAA champ at this distance, is also entered in the finals, which gets underway at 7:30 pm London time (11:30 am in Seattle).

The start list for the final day of Olympic track and field competition is available here.

WORLD RELAYS MEET TO BE HELD STARTING IN 2014

On Friday, the IAAF announced the formation of a new World Relays competition to be held in Nassau, Bahamas in May 2014 and 2015.

This new two day competition will bring together the world’s best athletes, with a schedule that includes the traditional 4x100m and 4x400m events but also 4x200m, 4x800m and 4x1500m. It is expected that the World Relays will be used to qualify some teams for the World Championships and Olympics.

The venue of the event is the 15,000 capacity Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in Nassau which will host the 2013 edition of the CARIFTA Games.

There will be a pool of $1.4 million in prize money available.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field, the IAAF, polevaultpower.com, and the London 2012 Organizing Committee contributed to this report.

Volt is the word for many Olympians in London...

LONDON--For many of the world's best track and field athletes competing on the planet's greatest stage, volt is the word.

Volt refers to Nike's track & field footwear collection (left/photo courtesy Nike Inc.), created to prepare athletes for their greatest performances. The collection offers footwear for events on the track, field and road, including the Nike Zoom Superfly R4, Nike Zoom Victory Elite and Nike Flyknit Racer.

The Nike Zoom Superfly R4 fuses revolutionary Nike Flywire with a lightweight spike plate that has been proven on the track by some of the fastest runners in the world. The Nike Zoom Victory Elite is our lightest, fastest 1,500 meter race spike ever, combining an ultra-responsive carbon plate with a dynamic Nike Flywire upper. The Nike Flyknit Racer, worn by world champion marathoners, is lightweight (5.6 ounces for a size 9) and engineered for a precision fit, creating a feeling of a second skin.

Sprints
Nike Zoom Superfly R4
Nike Zoom Ja Fly
Nike Zoom Maxcat 3
Nike Zoom Celar 4

Distance
Nike Zoom Victory Elite
Nike Zoom Matumbo 2
Nike Zoom Mamba 2

Field
Nike Zoom LJ 4
Nike Zoom HJ III
Nike Zoom TJ 3
Nike Zoom PV II
Nike Zoom Javelin Elite
Nike Zoom Rotational 5

Marathon
Nike Flyknit Racer
Nike Zoom Streak 4
Nike Lunarspider R3

Kenya's defending world marathon champ Abel Kirui (above/photo courtesy Nike Inc) will wear his country's singlet made from recycled fabric that comes from the equivalent of three recycled plastic bottles. To make the fabric, bottles are ground into flakes, melted and then spun into special thread. All of the Track & Field uniforms for Nike sponsored federations have also been created using this technique.

The Kenyan colors have been added to the singlet using an innovative water-free dye process. Earlier this year, Nike announced a strategic partnership with DyeCoo, a Netherlands-based company that has developed and built the first commercially available waterless textile dyeing machines. By using recycled carbon dioxide, DyeCoo’s technology eliminates the use of water in the textile dyeing process.

Kirui will also run in the Nike Flyknit Racer shoe, featuring a revolutionary technology that enables running shoe uppers to be designed from knitted threads, these  are precisely engineered for structure and superior lightweight performance while minimizing material waste during the production process.

“Elite athletes demand high performance technology that delivers every time they train and race” says Martin Lotti, Olympics, Global Design Director. “The recycled fabric and water-free dye process we have used for the Kenya singlet is the perfect combination of lightweight performance and low environmental impact.”

NOTE: Nike media relations contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ashton Eaton earns the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" by winning Olympic decathlon title...


LONDON--Eugene's Ashton Eaton (above, with Trey Hardee/photo courtesy London2012.com) continued his mastery of the decathlon, winning the two-day, ten-event extravaganza to highlight, from an American perspective, day seven of the Olympic track and field competition.

Much as they did at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Eaton and reigning world champion Trey Hardee went 1-2, as the Oregon alum scored 8,863 points and Hardee had silver with 8,671points, marking the fifth time the U.S. has gone 1-2 in the decathlon. Hall of Famers Milt Campbell and Rafer Johnson were the last to accomplish the 1-2 feat, in 1956. Leonel Suarez of Cuba was third behind Eaton and Hardee, scoring 8,523 points.

“The 1-2 finish was what we really, really wanted," said Eaton. "There has been a really good history with the U.S. decathletes. This is the 100th year anniversary, and Trey and I are just doing my best to carry it on. It is hard for me because I understand I am young and it is hard to grasp, but the good things is I’ll get older and I can look back on it. For me I want ten perfect events. If I really felt like I was the world's greatest athlete, I would get ten perfect events. I know that is near impossible, but that is the tough part of the decathlon.:

In another 1-2 finish for Team USA, University of Florida alums Christian Taylor and Will Claye won gold and silver in their first Olympic Games. Claye’s runner up finish combined with his earlier long jump bronze makes him the first American man since 1904, and the first time since 1936 for any man to medal in both jumps at the same Olympics.

In the fourth round Taylor ripped a huge jump of 17.81m/58-5.25 to take a commanding lead, and Clay improved his best to 17.62m/57-9.75 to shore up his status in second place.

In probably the most impressive performance of the meet thus far, Kenya's David Rudisha set the first world record on Olympic Stadium's super-fast surface, running away with the race in a time of 1:40.91, as he led the others behind him to a world junior record, two national records and seven personal bests.

Nijel Amos of Botswana was second in 1:41.73 to set a world junior record and national record; Timothy Kitum of Kenya was third in a personal best of 1:42.53.

The two Americans--Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds--were fourth and fifth in PRs of 1:42.82 and 1:42.95.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt successfully defended his 200 crown, leading a 1-2-3 sweep of the medals, running 19.32--ironically the same time that Michael Johnson ran in his historic 1996 race in Atlanta, a time thought then to be untouchable.

Teammates Yohan Blake finished second in 19.44 and Warren Weir was third in a personal best of 19.84. Lone American Wallace Spearmon was fourth in 19.90, a season best time.

University of Minnesota alum Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic successfully defended her 2008 Olympic javelin title, throwing 228-2 (69.55m).

Day seven results are available here.

In the penultimate day of competition, Mountlake Terrace resident Brad Walker competes in his first Olympic pole vault title, with the event getting underway at 7 pm local time (11 am in Seattle).

Other finals Friday include the women's hammer, 5000, 4 x 100 relay and the 1500; and the men's 4 x 400 relay.

The day eight start lists are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Ebba Jungmark's bid to make Olympic high jump finals fall short...

LONDON--Washington State's 2008 NCAA indoor champion Ebba Jungmark's (left/photo courtesy Swedish Federation/friidrott.se) attempt to qualify for the finals of the women's high jump fell just short Thursday morning.

Jungmark, competing for her native Sweden, cleared a best of 6-0 3/4 (1.85m), after leaping 5-10 3/4 (1.80m) to open up the competition, before missing all three attempts at 6-2 3/4 (1.90m).

Americans Bridgetta Barrett and Chaunte Lowe were among the field of 12 who successfully navigated 6-4 (1.93m), the height ultimately needed to qualify for Saturday's finals.

Finals scheduled for Thursday night include the men's triple jump, 800 meters and 200, and the women's javelin, plus the last events of the two-day decathlon competition.

Day seven results are available here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Allyson Felix, Aries Merritt, and Brittney Reese lead American charge Wednesday night...

LONDON--In a span of 90 minutes, American athletes won seven medals Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium, taking three gold medals, and 7 of 12 as day six of the track & field competition concluded.

Allyson Felix (left/photo courtesy London2012.com) , the two-time Olympic runner-up in the 200, finally came up golden, overcoming a sluggish start to beat Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and American teammate Carmelita Jeter.

Felix crossed the line in 21.88, with Fraser-Price at 22.09, and Jeter at 22.14.

Aries Merritt continued his dominance this season, as the Tennessee alum won the 110 hurdles in 12.92, defeating reigning world champ Jason Richardson,who took the silver in 13.04.

Long jumper Brittney Reese continued her dominance of the long jump, winning her first career Olympic title with a leap of 23-4 1/4 (7.12m), to add to her two career world indoor and a pair of world outdoor crowns.

In a mild surprise, Janay Deloach moved into third and stayed there with a jump to 22-7 1/4 (6.89m) to claim the bronze.

World champ LaShinda Demus, who has struggled with injuries this season, finished second in the 400 hurdles, running a season best 52.77 behind Natalya Antyukh of Russia's winning time of 52.70, a new PR.

As expected, Oregon alum and world record holder Ashton Eaton (4661) and reigning world champ Trey Hardee (4441) sit 1-2 at the break in the decathlon.

Thursday morning at 9:30 am (1:30 am in Seattle), Ebba Jungmark of Sweden, a former NCAA champion at Washington State University, will compete in group B of the women's high jump qualifying round. Jungmark is the only athlete with Washington ties competing on Thursday.

The top 12 jumpers will advance to Saturday night's finals.

Finals contested Thursday night include the men's triple jump, 800 and 200; and the women's javelin.

Complete day six results are available here.

The start lists for day seven are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Former world champs Lagat and Walker advance to finals...

LONDON--Running in the fastest qualification heat in Olympic history, Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to Saturday's final in the men's 5000 meter run Wednesday morning at Olympic Stadium.

Lagat finished fourth in heat 2 and earned one of the five automatic qualifying spots, crossing the line in 13:15.45, as all of the time qualifiers from the two heats came out of heat two.

Australia's Craig Mottram and Olympic 10000m silver medalist Galen Rupp of Portland did most of the early leading, with Lagat tucked in around seventh or eighth, before moving up to position himself for the finishing sprint with two laps to go.

On the final lap, he was one of five runners that broke away, and appeared to challenge for the lead exiting the final turn, but eased up with about 40 meters to go, knowing that his place in the finals was secure.

Dejen Gebremeskel won the heat in 13:15.15.

Rupp was sixth in 13:17.68, while Cam Levins from Black Creek, BC on Vancouver Island finished eighth in a personal best 13:18.29.

Afterwards, Lagat said, "My coach (James Li) told me to be prepared that this race is going to be fast, and indeed it was fast. He told me to make sure you are in good position and run relaxed, and I did. He told me, towards the end run a bit faster and be with the guys who are leading, and as long as you know you are safe, no need to win, just run hard...I was quite happy with it.”

In the first section, Olympic 10000 meter champ Mo Farah of Great Britain, who is part of the Beaverton-based Nike Oregon Project, was third in 13:26.00, while Lopez Lomong of the OTC Elite/Portland was fourth in 13:26.16, ensuring that all three Americans in the field are in Saturday's final.

The winner of the first section was Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan in 13:25.23.

University of Washington alum Brad Walker survived an early scare and a possible repeat of what happened in Beijing four years ago, when he no-heighted in qualifying, as he had two misses at his opening height of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m), before clearing it, as well as the next bar of 18-4 1/2 (5.60m) to advance to Friday's finals in the pole vault.

"I was scared and I emotionally wore myself out. It was obviously nerve wracking on the third attempt at the opening bar. It was kind of reminiscent of Beijing, and that obviously didn’t go the way I wanted it to. It was just getting through it and a big scream after I made it.”

Marysville-Pilchuck HS grad Haley Nemra, representing the Marshall Islands, finished a distant sixth in heat two of the women's 800 meters in a season best of 2:14.90, eclipsing her previous season best of 2:15.94, set at the Willamette Invitational in May.

Reigning world champion Mariya Savinova won the heat in 2:01.56, with American Alice Schmidt second in 2:01.65.

Wednesday night finals at Olympic Stadium include the women's long jump, 400 hurdles and 200, and the men's 110 hurdles, plus the conclusion of day 1 of the men's decathlon featuring world record holder and Oregon alum Ashton Eaton.

Results from day 6 are available here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jamie Nieto places sixth in the Olympic high jump finals...

LONDON--Veteran high jumper Jamie Nieto (left/photo by Mike Scott), who was born in Seattle, and grew up in Sacramento, finished sixth in the finals of the event Tuesday night at Olympic Stadium to end the fifth day of track and field competition.

The 35-year old, competing in his second Olympics, cleared 7-6 (2.29m) on his second attempt, as five other men cleared the same height, with Canada's Derek Drouin, Great Britain's Robert Grabarz, and Qatar's Mutaz Barshim in a three-way tie for third at that mark.

Russia's Ivan Ukhov, who made himself a YouTube sensation four years ago by jumping drunk at the Athletissma meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, took the victory with a clearance of 7-9 3/4 (2.38m), with NCAA champ Erik Kynard from Kansas State second at 7-7 3/4 (2.33m).

Reigning world champ Jesse Williams tied for ninth at 7-4 1/2 (2.25m).

Nieto, who currently lives at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, and is an aspiring actor, said afterwards, "It could be anybody’s day. A lot of guys had pressure on them. The conditions weren’t bad. I gave it my best. I was the old guy of the field so finishing sixth wasn’t bad.”

Nanoose Bay, British Columbia's Mike Mason, a frequent competitor during the indoor season at the Dempsey, finished eighth, also at 7-6 (2.29m).

In other events involving Americans, Leo Manzano earned the country's first medal in the men's 1500 since 1968, when Jim Ryun turned the trick, by finishing second in a time of 3:34.79, finishing behind Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria in 3:34.08.

2011 world championships bronze medalist and Oregon alum Matthew Centrowitz was fourth in 3:35.17, 2/100ths of a second from third place finisher Abdalaati Igulder of Morocco.

In the 100 hurdles, Dawn Harper (12.37), Kellie Wells (12.48) and Lolo Jones (12.58) went 2-3-4, but could not overcome Australia's Sally Pearson, as the reigning world champ set an Olympic record by running 12.35.

Complete day 5 results are available here.

DAY 6 PREVIEW

Wednesday morning, two former world champions with Washington ties--University of Washington alum Brad Walker, and Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat--begin their quest to add an Olympic title to their impressive resumes.

Walker, the 2007 world champion in the pole vault, competes at 10:00 am (2:00 am in Seattle), while Lagat, a double gold medalist at the 2007 world championships in the 1500 and 5000 meters, will run in the 5000 at 11:06 am (3:06 am in Seattle).

Both seek to avenge their Olympic misfortunes from Beijing, where Walker, who was one of the favorites, failed to clear a height in the qualifying round, and Lagat, who was competing injured, failed to make the finals in the 1500, and ended up ninth in the 5000.

Marysville-Pilchuck alum Haley Nemra, who has one of the slowest personal best marks in the field at 2:13.83, set at the 2008 Washington state 4A high school championships, runs in heat 2 of the women's 800 at 11:44 am (3:44 am in Seattle), as she represents the Marshall Islands.

The IAAF A & B standards in the women's 800 are 1:59.90 and 2:01.30, but developing nations are allowed to enter one female and one male athlete in the meet if that country has no one that meets the A and B standard.

Wednesday night finals at Olympic Stadium include the women's long jump, 400 hurdles and 200, and the men's 110 hurdles.

Wednesday also marks the first day of the two-day decathlon featuring world record holder and University of Oregon alum Ashton Eaton.

The day 6 start lists are available here.

Kara Patterson's Olympic Trials injury worse than initially thought as she doesn't qualify for finals...

LONDON--Kara Patterson's (left/photo courtesy US Olympic Committee) injury at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene last month was worse than initially thought.

Competing in her second Olympics, the four-time US national champion from Vancouver's Skyview High School entered Tuesday's javelin qualifying round at Olympic Stadium with a torn ACL on her left knee, according to Ken Goe of the Oregonian, in a series of tweets after throwing in the first flight of the javelin.

Wearing a large knee brace on the left leg, Patterson threw 184-5 (56.23m) in the first round.

In rounds 2 and 3, she stepped over the line to take an intentional foul as the javelin traveled around 52 meters (170-7) or so.

In each of the three rounds, she appeared to run slowly approaching the foul line, without the explosion one normally sees from her.

In a tweet after the flight, she confirmed the torn ACL, stating, "Thank you so much for all your support! I threw 56m or so on a completely torn ACL. Proud of my effort and looking forward to surgery."

"I didn't say anything before because I wanted to focus on doing the best I could here in London, but I completely tore my left ACL at the Trials. I'm proud of a 56-meter effort on that. It's going to be SO sweet when everything eventually comes together."

"I did my very best, actually I know I could have thrown farther today, even with it all. But I am so thankful to all of the medical people at the training center, espescially Chris Garcia and my coach Ty, and my lifiting Coach Jamie, because they just belived in me so much to come here and try. I threw better than Beijing. I think that is my second best performance at a major championship, and on a torn ACL...I definetly could have made the finals still, but I guess I can’t be dissapointed with that performance today."

She also told Curtis Anderson of the Eugene Register-Guard that she would have given her spot to another athlete who had the Olympic 'A' standard. “Since we didn’t have anyone else, I could not come here and try,” said a tearful Patterson. “It’s the Olympics, it happens once every four years.”

In Tuesday evening's session, high jumper Jamie Nieto, who was born in Seattle, competes in the finals, along with teammates Jesse Williams and Erik Kynard, along with Canada's Mike Mason from British Columbia.

Day 5 results are available here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vancouver's Kara Patterson readies for Tuesday's Olympic qualifying round in the javelin...

LONDON--Vancouver native Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) and high jumper Jamie Nieto will be the two athletes with Washington ties in action on day 5 of the Olympic track & field competition at Olympic Stadium.

Patterson, the four-time US national champion who finished second at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene last month, will start in flight one of the javelin at 10:00 am, London time (2:00 am in Seattle).

After throwing a season best of 198-5 (60.49m) in the qualifying round at the Olympic Trials on June 29th, Patterson lost her four year grip on the US national title as she finished second on July 1st to Brittany Borman of the University of Oklahoma, throwing 196-2 (59.79m).

In the finals, Patterson hyperextended her knee in the fourth round, causing her to pass her two remaining throws and was only able to watch Borman take the Trials crown, and qualify for the trip to London.

Patterson's condition entering the Games remains a question mark, as she has not competed since the trials.

Patterson, who has also appeared in two world championship meets, is looking to make the finals of a major championship for the first time in her career.

"I know there's untapped potential in me that could mean a medal," she said. "I would be satisfied with top eight; anything else and I know I'm not performing my best."

Tuesday night, high jumper Jamie Nieto, who was born in Seattle, but grew up in Sacramento, California, competes with reigning world champ Jesse Williams and NCAA champ Erik Kynard in the finals of the men's high jump, scheduled for 7 pm, local time (11:00 am in Seattle).

Nieto, one of the elder statesmen on Team USA, cleared 7-5 (2.26m) to advance to Tuesday night's final.

“It has been a great year, I thank God. I’m 35 years old. It’s truly a blessing to make another Olympic finals and to be in the top 12 again.”

The start lists for day 5 are available here.

DAY 4 RECAP

Pole vaulter Jenn Suhr ended the reign of Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva as the US Olympic Trials champ and American record holder took the Olympic title with a clearance of 15-7 (4.75m).

Her victory made Suhr the second American to win the Olympic pole vault title, joining 2000 champ Stacy Dragila in that rarified company.

“It’s very emotional. It’s something that you work so hard for, for four years, and heartbreak and joy, and then some more heartbreak. To overcome it and come out on top is something that whenever I thought of I started crying, so I knew it was just going to be emotional, whenever I thought about how it would feel to win gold. Then I would think of how it would feel to be fourth, and I’d cry over that too. It was definitely something that I’ve wanted, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything so bad.”

Cuba's Yarisley Silva tied her own national record, clearing the same height as Suhr, while defending champ Isinbayeva took the bronze with a jump of 15-5 (4.70m).

Oregon alum Becky Holliday finished ninth with a jump of 14-7 1/4 (4.45m).

Olympic Trials champ Michael Tinsley finished second in the 400 hurdles, running a personal best of 47.91, as veteran Felix Sanchez, a USC alum from the Dominican Republic won his second career Olympic title, running 47.63.

The day 4 results are available here.

PS--During the competition, don't forget to follow us on our Twitter page.  You can follow paulmerca.blogspot.com for live commentary and interaction with other track and field fans from around the world at twitter.com/paulmerca70601.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

A tough day for throwers Israel and Rome in Olympic discus qualifying round...

LONDON--It was a tough morning for Washington affiliated athletes as day four of track and field competition got underway Monday at Olympic Stadium.

Two-time Olympians Jarred Rome (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Marysville along with former Husky and last year's surprise fourth place finisher at the world championships, Märt Israel from Estonia competed in separate flights of the discus, with both not able to advance to Tuesday night's finals.

Israel, whose season best was 213-4 (65.02m) got things started with a first round toss of 195-6 (59.60m), then followed with a foul in round 2.

Israel got the discus out to 197-11 (60.34m) in round 3, which was his best of the day.

In the following flight, Rome had two straight fouls, then was only able to get a mark of 195-5 (59.57m) on his final attempt of the qualifying round.

Afterwards, Rome told the media, “That was the worst feeling day I’ve had in couple of years. My practice two days ago was probably the best practice I’ve had in a couple of years. I really don’t know what happened. My first throw hit the cage, and I think that rattled me a bit. I backed off a bit on my next throw and it didn’t go anywhere. On the last throw I tried to hit it and missed. It’s over before you know it.”

Monday night finals at Olympic Stadium include the women's pole vault, shot put and 3000 steeplechase; and the men's 400 and 400 hurdles.

Day four results are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

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