Thursday, July 11, 2013

Seattle based Oiselle announces formation of elite training group, plus Friday's hot links...

Seattle based Oiselle announced Thursday the formation of a training group based in Bend, Oregon, called Project Little Wing.

The group, which is focused primarily on the 5000, will be spearheaded by Lauren Fleshman, who finished seventh at the 2011 IAAF world championships in the 5000, and is returning from maternity leave.

In a press release announcing the squad, the company, which markets running wear for women, looked for runners, "who we both knew really well personally, came from 'inside the family', had already displayed overwhelming talent in their running careers, but had pushed through a couple of hard years and were on a come back trail. They also needed to be in a position to chuck everything, take the plunge with us and move out to the middle of the Oregon desert."

Fleshman signed an endorsement deal with Oiselle at the beginning of this year.

She'll be joined by former University of Iowa standout Betsy Flood, and recently graduated Huskies Christine Babcock and Mel Lawrence.

All three runners come from 'inside the family', as Flood is the older sister of 2012 NCAA 1500m champ Katie Flood of the Huskies, and Babcock & Lawrence were coached at the UW by Greg Metcalf, the husband of Oiselle team manager Kristin Metcalf.

Meanwhile, Friday marks the start of a busy weekend of track & field on the European circuit, and it gets underway just after midnight in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The first of seven preliminary heats in the girls 200 meters at the IAAF World Youth Championships for athletes 17 & 18 years of age features Federal Way's Hannah Cunliffe, the home school sprint sensation who was not allowed to compete at this year's WIAA state track & field championships.

Cunliffe, who runs for the Seattle Speed TC, enters the world youth championships with a personal best of 23.54, set at the world youth trials in Edwardsville, Illinois in late June.

The top three finishers in each of the seven heats, plus the three fastest advance to Saturday's semis at 7:10 am, Seattle time (5:10 pm in Donetsk).

In Tampere, Finland, University of Washington rising sophomore Jax Thoirs competes in the qualifying round of the men's pole vault at the European Under-23 Championships.

The qualifying for the men's pole vault gets under way at 7:15 pm, local time (9:15 am in Seattle).

The start lists are available via the European Athletics site, as well as a link to live video of the event.

NOTE:  Photo collage of Fleshman, Flood, Babcock, and Lawrence designed by Paul Merca. All photos shot by Merca, except for Flood, which is courtesy

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