AUSTIN, Texas--The state's five NCAA Division I schools are assembled in Austin at the Mike A, Myers Track & Soccer Stadium for the three day extravaganza called the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds hosted by the University of Texas.
This meet, as well as the corresponding East preliminary competition in Greensboro, North Carolina hosted by North Carolina A&T mark the start of the NCAA championship meet.
In both venues, 48 individuals in each event, and 24 relay teams face off against each other, with the 12 best from Austin and Greensboro advancing on to the national finals in Eugene in two weeks.
If you're able to follow how individuals and teams are advancing to Eugene, you've won half the battle there.
This meet isn't about putting up personal bests--it's about surviving and advancing. For the top seeded athletes, it's making sure you're moving on to Eugene with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately, from a spectator's perspective, the regional preliminary round is one of the least appealing meets to watch.
Washington is sending nearly 40 men and women, while the Cougars have 32 athletes in Austin. Eastern Washington has nine athletes, while Gonzaga has three runners, and Seattle University will be represented by javelin thrower Dylan Burnett (above/photo courtesy Seattle University).
Men seeded in the top eight with Washington ties in the Austin regional meet include Washington's James Alaka (100), Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon in the 400; and Joe Zimmerman of Washington (javelin).
On the women's side, athletes seeded in the top eight with Washington ties for Austin include Bellingham's Becca Friday of the University of Oregon (1500); Mel Lawrence and Liberty Miller of Washington and Caroline Austin of Washington State (steeple); Wenatchee native Hannah Kiser of the University of Idaho (5000); Pac-12 champ Megan Goethals of Washington (5000/10000); Holly Parent of Washington State (high jump); University Place resident Andrea Geubelle of Kansas (long/triple jumps); and Cora Kellerman of Eastern Washington (javelin).
The West men's preliminary round start lists are available here, and the women's preliminary round start lists are here.
The University of Texas is providing live streaming video of all three days of competition. Please note that each day has a different link (click the date listed below for video access; note that video stream links are subject to change):
Here are the links to the preview releases for the five Washington schools (click on the name of the school):