Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's conference championship weekend for Redhawks, Eagles, Cougars & Huskies...

For four of the state's Division I schools, this weekend marks conference championship time, as Seattle University travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Western Athletic Conference meet at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Eastern Washington goes to the Big Sky Conference meet in Bozeman, Montana, and Washington State travels across the mountains for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation meet hosted by the University of Washington.

In its first year as a member of the WAC, the Redhawks go to New Mexico with Matthew McClement ranked in the top six in both the 3000 and 5000 performance lists, along with freshman high jumper Shaddye Melu.   Additionally, both their men's and women's distance medley relay squads are ranked third heading into the championship meet.


Eastern Washington, which was voted by the Big Sky Conference coaches to finish fifth in the men's competition and ninth in the women's pre-season poll, looks to improve upon their ranking at this weekend's meet in Bozeman, hosted by Montana State.

The Eagles will be led on the women's side by pole vaulter Keisa Monterola (above, with EWU vault coach Eric Allison; photo courtesy EWU), the Venezuelan national record holder and NCAA indoor All-American, who has cleared 12-9 1/2 (3.92m) this season, but has been wildly inconsistent, with several no-heights this year.

Other key competitors for EWU ranked in the top six include Brad Michael and Michael Okoro in the 200; Michael in the 400; Vince Hamilton in the 5000; Jacob Clizbe in the long jump; Marlyn Anderson in the shot put; and, Zach Nielsen in the weight throw

On the women's side, Robin Taylor and Anandae Clark in the pole vault; Alyssa Neal in the long and triple jumps; and Vania Tauvela in the weight throw, are ranked in the top six in the conference entering the championships.


The Huskies host the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation meet Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, with all Pac-12 teams except USC & Oregon State, plus BYU, Cal State Northridge, Hawaii, Long Beach and UC Irvine involved.

The Oregon women are strong favorites to take the conference crown, while the men's championship could be between Arizona, Oregon, and Arizona State.

National heptathlon leader Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Huskies is expected to compete in individual events, which from a team perspective, could make matters interesting for the two Arizona schools in particular.

UPDATE (8:25 am, Thursday 2/21)  The University of Washington pre-meet release states that Taiwo will contest the heptathlon in his final home meet.  Taiwo won the event as a freshman.

Look for the start lists for the meet later Thursday evening.

The Dawgs could also make some noise in the pole vault, the men's 400 with Maurice McNeal, the long jump, and the 60 hurdles with Shayne Moore & freshman Chris Williams.

On the women's side, Washington looks for strong performances from their vaunted distance corps, along with 400 runner Jordan Carlson, while WSU high jumper Holly Parent and sprinter Cindy Robinson are ranked in the top six in the conference entering this weekend.

The start lists for the MPSF meet are traditionally not released until after the Thursday night coaches' meeting.

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