Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cougs' Felix and UW's Covington upset form chart with wins at Pac-12 championships...

LOS ANGELES--Under sunny yet warm skies that hovered in the mid-80s, there were a pair of surprise winners at the Pac-12 track and field championships at Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium on the campus of USC.

Freshman pole vaulter Kristine Felix (left/photo courtesy Washington State University) of WSU, and triple jumper Kasen Covington of the University of Washington upset the form charts, as they walked away with conference titles.

After passing on the first two heights, 11-6 1/2 (3.52m), and 12-0 1/2 (3.67m), Felix cleared the next three bars on her first attempt -12-6 1/4 (3.82m), 13-0 1/4 (3.97m), and 13-4 1/4 - before missing on all three attempts at 13-8 1/4 (4.17m).

"It was a little shaky because the wait was really long because there were 21 vaulters," Felix said. "I definitely stayed confident and relaxed and took a deep breath every time I jumped. I think the biggest thing that helped today was being really cool. I had a towel soaked with really cold water, I had a spray fan and stayed hydrated and I stayed in the shade all day yesterday. I started today at my PR height before college and I was scared to start there but I trusted Coach (Matt) McGee. I'm definitely more confident in the 13-feet range now."

Covington, the junior from Boise, Idaho, survived two fouls in the first two rounds, but managed a mark of 49-11 3/4 (15.23m) in round 3 to take the lead.

In round 4, Covington extended the lead to the eventual winning mark of 50-9 1/2 (15.48m) to salt away the victory, and become the Huskies' first conference champion in that event.

"I'm still at a loss for words," Covington said afterwards, noting that he did not factor into the scoring at last year's championship meet in Eugene.

Courtesy of the University of Washington, here's a video interview with Covington.

Unlike Felix and Covington, the Huskies' Megan Goethals was expected to be at the front in the women's 5000.

Goethals, the school record holder at both 5000 and 10000, who became the favorite after Oregon elected not to run Jordan Hasay, was at the front for most  of the race, though Arizona's Jennifer Bergman, the 10000 winner from Arizona, tried to make a late run at Goethals, who crossed the line at 16:08.86 to earn the first conference title for the UW at that distance.

Oregon swept both the men's and women's team titles, with the Ducks scoring 139 in the women's race, with Washington seventh at 55 1/3, and Washington State eighth at 42 points.

The Ducks won the men's conference crown scoring 149 1/2, with Washington fifth at 76, and Washington State, who was missing jumper Stephen Scott-Ellis after being declared ineligible. was ninth with 45 points.

Among Washington based athletes who also placed in the top three, Bellingham's Becca Friday from Oregon finished second in the 1500 meters, running 4:14.99, behind Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State, who ran 4:14.84.

Washington State's Todd Wakefield ran 3:41.83 to finish second in the 1500 behind  Lawi Lalang of Arizona, who ran a meet record 3:38.53.

In the men's 800, the Cougars' Jesse Jorgensen was second in 1:50.88 behind Oregon's Elijah Greer, who won in 1:49.48.

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry was second in the 400, running 45.14 behind USC's outstanding Olympian Bryshon Nellum, who ran 44.76.

In the pole vault, Kristina Owsinski of the Huskies snuck in to take third with a jump of 13-4 1/4 (4.07m), the same as Felix's winning mark.

Complete results of the Pac-12 track and field championships are available here.

The meet will be televised on Wednesday on the Pac-12 Network, beginning at 6 pm, pacific.

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

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