Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's deja vu all over again as Cougs get another distance win at MPSFs...

SEATTLE--The legendary New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once described back to back home runs hit by Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris as being "deja vu all over again", and also was famous for saying that "you can observe a lot by watching".

Washington State's Australian import, Todd Wakefield (left/photo by Paul Merca), who most likely may not have heard of Berra before coming to America, must have taken a little bit of Yogism to heart, as for the second day in a row, the Cougars stole a race that on paper never should have been theirs, with Wakefield winning the MPSF 3000 meter run at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington Saturday, one night after teammate Drew Jordan's upset win in the conference 5000.

Wakefield ran a lifetime-best time of 8 minutes 2.06 seconds. He had the 40th-best time nationally of 8:04.27 coming into the meet. Wakefield's win over an elite field was the second of the meet for a member of the Cougar distance corps.

"When we get in meets like this, it's nice to go fast and jump high and throw far but what it comes down to is how many points did you score for the Cougs? Drew and Todd each put ten big points on the board for WSU men's team," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said.

Those 20 points from unexpected sources helped Washington State to a fourth place finish in the MPSF championship meet, as the Cougs scored 70 points, the most by a WSU squad since 2009.

The Washington Huskies finished eighth with 37 points, as Arizona State repeated as conference champs with 125.5 points.

In the women's team competition, Oregon took the conference crown with 112 points.  The Huskies were sixth with 48 points, while the Cougs were seventh at 34 points.

For the Dawgs, it was the sprinters who shined the most, with recent football addition Greg Ducre coming up with a second place finish in the 60 behind Colorado's Joe Morris, 6.72 to 6.81.

Senior Jordan Carlson from Spokane, who had been dealing with a hamstring issue entering the meet, broke the school record in the 400 again, running 53.75 to take fourth, as Oregon's Phyllis Francis broke the meet and facility record with a run of 52.03.

In the women's 3000, Oregon's Jordan Hasay did most of the early work, before mysteriously dropping out, leaving the Huskies' Megan Goethals and Christine Babcock up front.  

However, Oregon's Alexi Pappas, who at one point was about 40 meters down on the Washington duo, chipped away to take the win in 9:07.97, with Goethals, the 5k champ from Friday night second at 9:09.74, and Babcock third at 9:11.02.

In the men's 400, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry won the conference crown with a time of 46.86.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, SeattleU capped off the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships by breaking the school records in both the men's and the women's 4x400 relays Saturday.

The Redhawks' 4x400 meter relay quartet of Austin Thummel-Gravitt, Zach Stanfield, Shaddye Melu, and Zachary Schlachter finished sixth in their event in 3:18.98, 3.43 seconds faster than the previous mark set on Jan. 31, 2009.

The women's 4x400 meter relay team of Katie Tougas, Meeghan Bergmann, Becca Lassere, and Candice de Sauvage put together a time of 4:01.59, 56/100ths of a second faster than the previous record set Feb. 13, 2011.

Individually, Stanfield scored for the Seattle U men's team, finishing sixth in the finals of the 400 meter dash with a time of 48.82 seconds. The Redhawk men would end up seventh in the team standings with 16 points, while the women finished eighth in their standings with five points. UTSA won the men's conference championship, but finished just behind Texas State for the women's title.

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

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