Friday, May 31, 2013

Four world leading marks highlight Friday night session at the Nike Prefontaine Classic...

EUGENE--Distance Night In Eugene lived up to its billing, as Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran a world leading time of 27:12.08 to win Friday night's featured 10000 meter run as the Nike Prefontaine Classic began at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Bekele was in a pack of ten or so, never up front until the last 200, when he put on a burst of speed typical of the Bekele of old that dominated the distance up until the last few years when injuries slowed down the world record holder.

The outcome of the race wasn't decided until the final straightaway, as countryman Imane Merga pressed him until the last 40 or so meters.  Merga, a former world cross country champion, ran 27:12.37 for second, while Abera Kuma took third in 27:13.10.

In what was originally billed as Ethiopia's world championship team trials at this distance, the first nine men across the line broke 27:30.


In the national 1500m, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara (above/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in a season best of 3:38.95, as he tried to make a charge for the win in the final straight, but ran out of real estate as Stanford alum Garrett Heath took the win in 3:38.54, with Jonathan Kiplimo second in 3:38.61.

The international mile saw Kenya's James Magut take the win in 3:55.24, a world outdoor leader this season, as the first six across the line went under 4 minutes, though high schooler Bernie Montoya in eighth fell short in 4:01.71.

Germany's Betty Heidler, last year's Olympic bronze medalist, and a former world champ, won the women's hammer with a toss of 246-9 (75.21m).

The three IAAF Diamond League events contested saw Olympic champ Valerie Adams of New Zealand win the shot put with a toss of 65-1 1/2 (20.15m).

Germany's Christina Obergfoll won the javelin with a meet record 222-1 (67.70m).

In the men's long jump, Russia's Aleksandr Menkov jumped a world leading mark of 27-6 1/2 (8.39m), as Olympic gold medalist Greg Rutherford was third in 26-11 3/4 (8.22m).

The Nike Prefontaine Classic resumes Saturday shortly after noon, with Washington alum Brad Walker in the men's pole vault, and WSU alum Bernard Lagat in the men's 5000.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mo Farah drops down; David Rudisha drops out of Nike Prefontaine Classic...

So much for talking about Mo Farah (left/photo by Paul Merca) and David Rudisha…

The Nike Prefontaine Classic announced that Farah, the reigning Olympic champ at 5000/10000 from Great Britain, who lives in Portland and trains under Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project, asked to switch from Friday night's 10000 and instead will run the 5000 on Saturday against a field that includes Washington State alum and former world champion Bernard Lagat;  Farah's training partner and Olympic 10000m silver medalist Galen Rupp; Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya, who nosed out Lagat for the bronze in London; teenager Isiah Koech, last year's #3 ranked runner in the world at this distance; and Kenya's Edwin Soi, the bronze medalist at this distance in the 2008 Olympics.

According to the meet promoters, Farah picked up a stomach virus after the Occidental College High Performance meet, and is still recovering from it.

An MRI was performed Wednesday at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Eugene on the knee of Kenya's David Rudisha, the world record holder in the 800m. The scan showed bruising of the bone and underlying ligaments. Efforts Thursday to test out the knee during a light workout did not go well, and Rudisha has had to withdraw from the Prefontaine Classic 800m. 

On a positive note, London Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross will make her season debut in the 400, and will face silver medalist Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and bronze medalist DeeDee Trotter of the USA.


In college news, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference named Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen as its female track & field athlete of the year.

The senior from Marshfield HS in Coos Bay, Oregon last week won the NCAA heptathlon title with a score of 5340 points.

At the conference meet, she won the heptathlon, 100 hurdles, long jump, and ran a leg on the winning Falcon 4 x 100m relay, and also scored in the high jump and 200 meters.  That effort gave Worthen the Outstanding Performer of the championships.

Additionally, she set conference career records for most individual wins at 7, and most individual and relay victories (10).  She also tied the GNAC record for most career points scored of 115, set by Bridget Johnson of Western Oregon between 2003-06.



In the meantime, we will see you in Eugene!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's Nike Prefontaine Classic week!

The eyes of the track and field world will be focused on Eugene for the next two weekends, beginning with this weekend's Nike Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field, followed by the NCAA track & field championships beginning Wednesday June 5th, and concluding three days later.

The Nike Prefontaine Classic, which is the second US stop on the IAAF Diamond League tour (the adidas Grand Prix was last week in New York), actually gets underway Friday night with three Diamond League events--the women's shot put, the men's long jump, and the women's javelin.

The women's shot put features world and Olympic champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand, while the women's javelin features 2011 world champion Mariya Abakumova of Russia.  Curiously enough, the field for the men's long jump has not been set (as of 8 pm, Wednesday).

Friday night's session has been dubbed "Distance Night in Eugene", with a men's 1500, a women's 800, a men's International Mile, and the men's 10000 capping off the evening.

The men's 10000 was originally billed as Ethiopia's world championship trials race, but that has been scuttled after some behind-the-scenes wrangling involving adidas, the Ethiopian federation's equipment sponsor, and the meet.  

Nonetheless, there are several top Ethiopians involved in the race, including double Olympic 10000m champ and world record holder Keninisa Bekele, and brother Tariku.  They'll run against reigning Olympic champ Mo Farah (above/photo by Paul Merca).

According to meet director Tom Jordan, Bekele has requested a 13:18 pace for the first 5000, roughly 63.7 per lap or or close to 4:15 per 1600, give or take a few steps.  That equates to 26:36, just slightly over the 26:25.97 time he ran at the 2008 Pre Classic.

Athletes competing in Friday's session with Washington ties include Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara in the national 1500 and University of Washington alum Katie Mackey in the national 800.

As always in an IAAF Diamond League meet, and especially at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, every event is stacked with world and Olympic medalists, although the majority of them are naturally Nike-sponsored athletes, as most of them have clauses in their contracts that require an appearance at the Pre Classic if invited.

Washington State alum and 2012 Olympic 4th place finisher Bernard Lagat is entered in the men's 5000, where he'll run in a field that includes Olympic 10000 silver medalist and Oregon alum Galen Rupp; Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya, who nosed out Lagat for the bronze in London; teenager Isiah Koech, last year's #3 ranked runner in the world at this distance; and another Kenyan in the form of Edwin Soi, the bronze medalist at this distance in the 2008 Olympics.

Altogether, there are nine men in the field with personal bests under 13 minutes.

In the men's pole vault, Washington alum and two-time US Olympian Brad Walker returns to the venue where he set the American record of 19-9 3/4 (6.04m) way back in 2008.

Walker, who is the lone American in the field, faces all three London Olympic medalists, led by Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France; silver medalist Bjorn Otto of Germany, along with countryman and bronze medalist Raphael Holzdeppe.

Walker and Otto are currently tied for the 2013 world lead at 19-1 1/2 (5.83m).

Tacoma resident Matt Scherer will again pace the 800 for Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya, while McNamara returns to the track to pace the Bowerman Mile for a field that includes all three London Olympic medalists--Takoufik Makhloufi of Algeria; Leo Manzano of the USA; and Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco, along with 2008 Olympic and 2011 world champ Asbel Kiprop of Kenya.


NBC Sports will provide live coverage of Saturday's Nike Prefontaine Classic.  Additionally, Friday night's races will be webcast via PreClassic.com.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Eugene to cover the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Falcons finish seventh in 4 x 400 meter relay at NCAA D2 nationals...

SPU's Emily Quatier, Kishia Mitchell, Jasmine Johnson and
McKayla Fricker (photo courtesy Seattle Pacific)
PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific's 4 x 400 meter relay team of Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, McKayla Fricker, and Jasmine Johnson became the first foursome in the 12-year history of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference to earn All-America honors in that event, as they finished seventh in a time of 3:43.40 at the NCAA Division II track & field championships.

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, here's a video with the foursome after their race:


In other action involving Washington athletes in the final day of competition at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, Bethany Drake of Western Washington finished 13th in the javelin with a toss of 138-2 (42.13m), while Seattle Pacific's Katy Gross was 21st with a best of 120-3 (36.65m).

In the men's triple jump, Central Washington's Bryan Mack was 19th with a best of 46-2 (14.07m).

Wildcat teammate Braden Keller, who was one of the top seeds in the javelin, finished a disappointing 17th, throwing 189-9 (57.84m).

High jumper Tayler Fettig of Central Washington only cleared one bar at 5-5 (1.65m) and placed 19th.

In the final women's team score, the points Seattle Pacific earned from Ali Worthen and Katy Gross in the heptathlon, and the 4 x 400 meter relay, put the Falcons in a three way tie for 19th with 15 points, as Academy of Art (San Francisco) took home the national Division II title.


THURMOND SEVENTH AT adidas GRAND PRIX

In New York, University of Washington alum and four time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond finished seventh in the discus at the adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium.

Thurmond's best on the day was 188-9 (57.55m), as Olympic champ Sandra Perkovic won with a throw of 224-8 (68.48m).

Tacoma's Matt Scherer was the pacemaker in the featured 800 meter run for winner and Olympic champion David Rudisha, who won in a time of 1:45.14.



NOTE:  The sports information office at Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Huskies qualify a bevy of athletes for NCAAs; Washington natives Poston, Berry, Geubelle, and Weitz do so as well...

AUSTIN, Texas--The University of Washington advanced three javelin throwers, two sprinters,  a sprint relay team, and two distance runners in the final day of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

The tone was set early by freshman Carson Fuller in flight 1 of 3 in the javelin competition, as he popped an unlooked-for throw of 227-11 (69.48m) to lead the competition through the first two flights.

In flight 3, which had the top seeded throwers, Joe Zimmerman got himself safely into the top 12 with a throw of 236-4 (72.03m), which ended up being the fifth best toss of the day.

Jimmy Brookman survived a short throw and a foul and threw 224-4 (68.34m) to get himself three more throws in the finals, where he threw his best of 228-8 (69.69m) in round four, a mark that ended up tenth overall on the day.

Fuller's toss in flight 1 ended up being the 11th best of the day, ensuring that the Dawgs advanced three throwers to Eugene and the national finals, the most in the event by a single school.

Courtesy of the University of Washington, here's a video interview with all three throwers:


Washington's sprint relay team of Chris Williams, James Alaka (left/photo by Paul Merca), Quadelle Satterwhite, and Matt Anthony finished fifth in their heat of the 4 x 100m, running a season best of 40.03, and grabbing the last time qualifying spot to Eugene.

Later in the meet, Williams ran a personal best of 13.82 in the 110 hurdles, the second fastest time in school history to finish third and advance to Hayward Field.

Alaka, a three time Pac-12 sprint champion, who has been dinged up with a hamstring issue during the outdoor season, and a bad cramp suffered in Friday's first round of the 200, squeezed out the 12th and final spot to Eugene, running 21.08.

In separate heats of the 5000, Megan Goethals advanced to Eugene, winning her section in a time of 15:55.91, while Christine Babcock was fourth in her heat in 16:08.17 to move to the national finals.

Tacoma native Germe Poston anchored the University of Arizona women's 4 x 100m relay to a third place finish in their heat, as the Wildcats ran 44.75 to advance.

In the men's 4 x 400 relay, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry from Oregon anchored the Ducks to victory in their heat, as they ran 3:04.16.

In what may shape up to be one of the big battles in Eugene, San Diego State's Shanieka Thomas won the triple jump with a best of 46-2 (14.07m), as University Place resident Andrea Geubelle from Kansas took second with a jump of 45-1 3/4 (13.76m).

Geubelle got her best mark in round 1, fouled in round 2, and had a shorter jump before calling it a day, knowing that whether she won or not, she was advancing to the national finals.

One of the biggest surprises of the meet involving a Washington athlete happened in the men's 1500, as Shadle Park of Spokane's Nathan Weitz, a freshman at Northern Arizona, qualified for the national finals, running 3:49.99 to finish fifth in his heat.


Washington advances five women to NCAA finals, while Shawna Fermin moves on for WSU...

AUSTIN, Texas--There are a number of coaches, athletes, media, and fans who are happy that day two of the NCAA West Preliminary rounds are over.

The second day of the meet that decides who advances to the NCAA track & field championship finals in Eugene, Oregon in two weeks, was interrupted by stormy weather that included thunder, lightning, and a torrential downpour of rain that flipped over several tents at Mike A. Myers Stadium, and caused a six-hour competition delay for some field event athletes, and a three hour delay of the running events, with competition spilling over into the early hours of Saturday.

After enduring the weather delays, the University of Washington advanced five women to the NCAA championship finals, while Washington State advanced 400 meter runner Shawna Fermin.

Sophomore Baylee Mires (left/photo by Paul Merca) set a new school record in the 800 meters, running 2:05.34 to finish fourth in her semi final, and get the next to last spot to Eugene.

Mires took down the previous school record of 2:05.73, set by Sarah Bolender in 1987.

400 meter hurdlers Kayla Stueckle and Gianna Woodruff both got their tickets punched to Eugene, as they ran 58.00, and 57.88 respectively, finishing third in their heats, and earning the auto qualifiers.

Ten hours after it started, Logan Miller qualified for her third NCAA outdoor championship meet, as she cleared 13-5 3/4 (4.11m) to finish in a tie for seventh.

In the womens steeple, Washington sophomore Liberty Miller finished third in her heat, running 10:08.77.

Surprisingly, neither the Huskies' Mel Lawrence, nor Washington State's Caroline Austin, both of whom were seeded in the top 12 entering the meet, qualified for Eugene in the steeple.

Washington State's Shawna Fermin ran 53.16 to finish third in her heat of the 400 meters and advance to Eugene.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon easily won his heat of the 400 meters in 45.83 to advance to the national title meet on his home track of Hayward Field.

In preliminary competition, Washington's Chris Williams advanced to the semis in the 110 hurdles, running 14.22 to finish third.

The Huskies' James Alaka finished third in his heat of the 200, running 21.25, though he pulled up at the finish. He said afterwards that it was a cramp, and that he should be fine for Saturday, where he will run legs of the 4 x 1, and 4 x 4, in addition to the 200.




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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ali Worthen wins NCAA D2 heptathlon title, while SPU teammate Katy Gross finishes sixth...

Seattle Pacific teammates Katy Gross (l) and Ali Worthen
are flanked by Falcon head coach Karl Lerum
(photo courtesy Seattle Pacific)
PUEBLO, Colorado--You knew that both seniors Ali Worthen and Katy Gross from Seattle Pacific were going to make their charge up the ladder in day two of the heptathlon competition at the NCAA Division II track & field championships at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

After Thursday's first four events, Worthen sat in third place at 3226 points, while Gross was in 13th at 2927.

Each won an event Friday, and both ended up on the podium, as Worthen, the season long event leader, ended her Falcon career as the NCAA national champion with a final score of 5340 points, while Gross moved all the way up to sixth place with a final score of 4986 points.

In the opening long jump, Worthen, the reigning GNAC long jump champ, stretched the tape out to 18-7 3/4 (5.68m) to garner 753 points and win the event, while Gross came through with a jump of 18-7 (5.66m) to finish second, and score 747 points.

Gross's jump moved her into tenth, while Worthen moved to second, and cut first day leader Jesseka Raymond of Acadamy of Art's lead down to 16 points after the fifth event.

As expected, Gross, who will compete in Saturday's javelin competition, won that event with a throw of 135-10 (41.41m) for 694 points. Worthen finished eighth with a throw of 111-5 (33.97m) and got 552 points.

With the 800 remaining, Raymond led with 4536, followed by Worthen at 4531, and Zoe Sharplin of Central Missouri third at 4528.

All Worthen, who had a PR of 2:17.77, had to do was beat both of them by half a second or more, and the title would be hers.

She did that with room to spare, finishing third overall in 2:21.06. Sharplin was 11th in 2:34.85, and Raymond took 12th at 2:35.13. Worthen was in the upper pack early, coming through the 400 meters in seventh. Heading up the backstretch, she picked one runner, then another, then reeled in two more coming around the curve. Raymond and Sharplin, meanwhile, were well back from start to finish.

Gross was 13th in 2:36.15, but that still was more than enough to give her a spot on the podium.

“I felt confident that I could run about a solid 2:20,” said Worthen, who got this redshirt year because she missed all but two meets of her sophomore season in 2010 with an injury. “But I struggled today and yesterday, so anything can happen. The other athletes had been doing so good and been showing big PRs, so it wasn't impossible for them to run right next to me. So I had to go out and run as hard as I could and hope I ran hard enough. Karl (SPU head coach Lerum) had a really good plan for me to run it, I ran it that way, and it worked.”

“It was so perfect , really, to end this way, because I feel like the last five years have been a struggle,” the native of Coos Bay, Oregon, said after mounting the top step of the awards podium and accepting the first-place trophy. “It has always come down to the last event.”

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific University, here's a video interview with Worthen:


The Falcon 4 x 400 meter relay team qualified for Saturday's finals, as Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, McKayla Fricker, and Jasmine Johnson ran 3:45.11, in finishing fifth in their heat.

Fricker surprisingly did not qualify for the finals in the 800, as she ran 2:11.86, while Quatier ran 2:17.06 in her heat.

Besides Gross in the javelin and the Falcon 4x4,  Bethany Drake of Western Washington will be in the women's javelin, while Central Washington's Tayler Fettig goes in the women' high jump. Wildcat teammates Braden Keller (javelin) and Bryan Mack (triple jump) will also compete in their events on the meet's final day.



NOTE:  The sports information office at Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brad Walker vaults in low-key meet in Chula Vista...

CHULA VISTA, California--Competing in one of the low-key meets at the Olympic Training Center, University of Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) tied for first with Great Britain's Steve Lewis at the OTC Pre-World 7 meet.

Walker, the two time US Olympian and 2007 world outdoor pole vault champion, and Lewis each jumped 18-0 1/2 (5.50m), clearing on their second attempt, before missing three attempts at 18-8 1/2 (5.70m).


Club Northwest's Levi Keller no-heighted, failing to clear his opening height of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m).

Walker is scheduled to jump at next week's Nike Prefontaine Classic stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour in Eugene's Hayward Field.


Meanwhile, another Washington alum, Aretha Thurmond, is on the start list in the women's discus at Saturday's adidas Grand Prix stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour at Icahn Stadium in New York.

Tacoma resident Matt Scherer will be the pacemaker in the men's 800, which includes Olympic champion David Rudisha of Kenya.


Andrea Geubelle wins long jump; Megan Goethals advances in 10k on day 1 of NCAA West Prelims...

AUSTIN, Texas--University of Kansas senior Andrea Geubelle (left/photo courtesy University of Kansas) easily advanced to the NCAA final round as she won the long jump competition at the West preliminary round at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Geubelle, the native of University Place, jumped 21-4 3/4  (6.52m) in the third round of jumping in the fourth flight of competition, then passed her three remaining attempts, knowing that it didn't matter whether or not she won, as the top twelve finishers in each event advance to the NCAA final round in Eugene in two weeks.

Washington's Megan Goethals punched her ticket to Eugene with a third place finish in the 10000, as she ran 34:58.86 to finish behind Iowa State's Betsy Saina (34:52.34), and Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton of Wichita State (34:52.71).

Gonzaga's Emily Thomas was 19th in 36:01.23, and the Huskies' Lindsay Flanagan was 22nd in 36:06.77.

In the women's 400 meter hurdles, the Washington duo of Kayla Stueckle and Gianna Woodruff advanced to the round of 24, as they ran 57.90 and 58.95, the #7 and #10 times from the first round.

Bellingham's Becca Friday of Oregon, the Huskies' Eleanor Fulton, and the Cougars' Ruby Roberts ran 4:22.18 (#6), 4:22.77 (#14), and 4:23.90 (#19) in the women's 1500 to advance to the round of 24.

In the men's 1500, Washington State's Todd Wakefield won his first round heat in 3:47.31.  Freshman Marcus Dickson of BYU from White River HS was sixth in 3:46.93, while Spokane's Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona, was seventh in the same heat in 3:48.32, and advanced to the round of 24 on time (top 5 in each of the 4 heats plus the four fastest).

Washington State senior Shawna Fermin ran 53.77 in her heat to advance to the round of 24 in the women's 400.  Fermin was one of the favorites in the Pac-12 championship meet in Los Angeles two weeks ago before being scratched out of the final with what was reported as muscle tightness.

The men's 400 saw Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of Oregon cruise to an easy win in 46.63 to automatically advance to the round of 24.

Washington's Baylee Mires finished second in her heat in a time of 2:08.61, while Washington State's Courtney Zalud finished fifth in her heat in 2:08.22, and squeezed through to the round of 24 as one of the six fastest times outside the top 3 (top 3 in each of the 6 heats plus six advance).

Washington State's Jesse Jorgensen finished second in his heat  of the men's 800 to automatically advance to the round of 24, as he ran 1:50.21.

All running event competitors Thursday, will compete in their semi-final round on Friday, except for the 1500, which will be contested on Saturday.


SPU's Ali Worthen sits in third after four events at NCAA D2 heptathlon...

PUEBLO, Colorado--Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University) ended day 1 of the NCAA Division II heptathlon in a strong third place, as the redshirt senior from Coos Bay, Oregon scored 3226 points in the first four events of the two day competition at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl, as the NCAA D2 track and field championships opened up.

The pre-meet favorite and season-long D-2 leader trails only Academy of Art senior Jesseka Raymond (3,292) and Ashland senior Kendra Bassitt (3,248) heading into Friday.

Central Missouri junior Zoe Sharplin is close back in fourth (3,221). Sophomore Jordan Gray of Angelo State (Texas), who has been No. 2 behind Worthen all spring, is fifth with 3,197.

Worthen, thinking about where her day might rate on the 10 scale, hesitated a moment, then replied, “To be honest, I feel … well, I'd probably say a 6 or 7. I'm happy about my PRs in the 100 hurdles and the shot put, obviously. But I'm upset with how I was doing I the high jump and the 200.”

SPU teammate Katy Gross finished the day in 13th position with a first day score of 2927 points.

In the 100 hurdles, Worthen ran 14.08, a personal best and worth 967 points.  She then high jumped 5-5 1/4 (1.66m) to score 806.  She then threw the shot 36-0 3/4 (10.99m) to score 594 points, then ran 25.31 in the 200 for 859 points.

In the high jump, Worthen, who cleared 5-7 1/4 (1.71m) in Sacramento in April, complained of pain in her take-off leg. “We knew it was going to be painful,” Worthen said. “There's only so much mental preparation you can do with that amount of pain.”

Gross opened by running 14.66 in the hurdles for 887 points, then jumped 5-3 (1.60m) for 736 points.  In the shot, she threw 34-3 1/2 (10.45m) for 559 points, then ran the 200 in 26.60 for 745 points.

Both Worthen and Gross have their strong events coming up on Friday, with Worthen the reigning GNAC long jump champ, while Gross is also qualified for Saturday's javelin competition.

In the women's 1500, Falcon freshman Lynelle Decker ran 4:49.03 and did not advance to the finals.  

In the men's 1500, SPU senior Seth Pierson ran 4:06.52, and did not advance to the finals.

Besides Worthen and Gross finishing up the heptathlon, McKayla Fricker is in action in the 800 semis, along with the Falcon 4 x 400 relay, consisting of Fricker, Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, and Jasmine Johnson.



NOTE:  The sports information office at Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's go time for NCAA D2 heptathlon favorite Ali Worthen of Seattle Pacific...

PUEBLO, Colorado--It's go time Thursday for Seattle Pacific's Ali Worthen (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific University).

The redshirt senior from the same Oregon high school that produced the legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine--Marshfield HS in Coos Bay--is a strong favorite to win the NCAA Division II heptathlon title, as the national championship meet begins its three-day run at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.

She will be joined in the two-day, seven event competition by fellow senior Katy Gross, who finished third in the GNAC championship meet with a personal best score of 4992 a few weeks ago.

Worthen enters the national championship meet with a score of 5492 points, set in winning the MONDO Mid-Major Challenge in Sacramento on April 11-12.  Her mark is 409 points better than Jordan Gray of Angelo State (Texas).

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific, here's a video interview with Worthen:


Worthen and Gross, along with SPU's Lynelle Decker and Seth Pierson in the women's and men's 1500 semis are the only athletes with Washington ties in action on the first day of the national championships.

Friday, Worthen and Gross conclude the heptathlon, while McKayla Fricker of the Falcons goes in the 800 semis.  Fricker will then team up with Kishia Mitchell, Emily Quatier, and Jasmine Johnson in the 4 x 400 relay semis.

On Saturday, Gross goes again in the women's javelin, where she'll be joined by Western Washington's outstanding freshman Bethany Drake.  

Central Washington's Tayler Fettig goes in the women' high jump, while Wildcat teammates Braden Keller (javelin) and Bryan Mack (triple jump) compete in their events on the meet's final day.

Finals in all running events requiring rounds happen Saturday should Fricker, Decker, Pierson, and the women's 4 x 4 advance from their semis.


The NCAA will provide streaming video of the meet each day beginning at 3:45 pm pacific.  The link to the webcast is available here.


All five Washington NCAA D-1 schools aim for trips to Eugene in Austin at West Preliminary rounds...


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 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):

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ginnie Crawford takes second in Beijing World Challenge meet at Bird's Nest...


BEIJING--Seattle native and Rainier Beach HS alum Ginnie Crawford (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) finished second in the 100 meter hurdles Tuesday night at the IAAF World Challenge Beijing meeting at the Bird's Nest in the Chinese capital.

Competing in front of an announced crowd estimated at 50,000, Crawford ran 13.03 to finish behind Olympic bronze medallist Kellie Wells, who ran 12.87.

In the men's 110 hurdles, David Oliver set a 2013 world leading mark with his winning time of 13.15, while Russia's Anna Chicherova jumped 6-7 1/2 (2.02m) to take the yearly world lead.


NOTE:  The IAAF contributed to this report.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crawford set to race in Beijing at IAAF World Challenge Meeting at Bird's Nest..


BEIJING--Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford (left/photo by Paul Merca) will compete in Tuesday's IAAF World Challenge meet at the Bird's Nest, the venue for the 2008 Olympics in the Chinese capital.

Crawford, who has a season best of 12.94 over the 100 meter hurdles, will face fellow Americans Kellie Wells, last year's broze medalist at the Olympics in London, and Funmi Jimoh, as well as Yuliya Kondakova of Russia, Anastassiya Pilipenko of Kazakhstan, and Alina Talay of Belarus, along with Shujiao Wu of China.

Reigning Olympic champions Anna Chicherova (high jump) and Allyson Felix (200) are among the headliners of the meet in Beijing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thurmond takes third in Tuscon; Anderson seventh in Puerto Rico...


TUSCON--Renton HS and University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in the discus as the two-day Tuscon Elite Classic meet concluded at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

The four-time US Olympian, who finished second in Thursday's competition, threw a best of 200-0 (60.95m), as US leader Gia Lewis-Smallwood threw a stadium record of 214-10 (65.49m), which would be the fourth best in the world this season, pending results from other meets this weekend.

Liz Podominick, the University of Minnesota alum who trains in Portland under 1976 Olympic champ Mac Wilkins, finished second with a best of 204-5 (62.32m), and now has the IAAF 'A' standard of 203-5 (62.00m) for this summer's world championships.

In the women's hammer, Spokane native and University of Oregon alum Britney Henry replicated her fourth place finish from Thursday's competition, as she threw 223-3 (68.05m).

US Olympian Amanda Bingson won the competition with a toss of 239-4 (72.95m) to beat Thursday winner and fellow Olympian Jessica Cosby Toruga, who threw 239-1 (72.88m).


In Ponce, Puerto Rico, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson finished seventh in the 400 hurdles at the Ponce Grand Prix de Atletismo.

Anderson's long time rival Johnny Dutch won with a world leading time of 48.02, turning back local hero and Olympic bronze medalist Javier Culson, who was second in 48.36.

Anderson crossed the line in a time of 49.94.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Katie Mackey gets biggest win of pro career at Oxy HP and gets 'A' standard...



LOS ANGELES--University of Washington alum Katie Mackey (right, in yellow/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) earned the biggest victory of her professional career in winning the 1500 meter run at the Occidental College High Performance meet at Jack Kemp Stadium on the campus of Occidental College.

Mackey crossed the line in a time of 4:04.60, setting a new personal best, and towing the next three runners behind her, including prep phenom Mary Cain, under the IAAF 'A' standard of 4:05.50.

Mackey's training partner, Brie Felnagle of Tacoma also dipped under the 'A' standard in the 5000, as she ran a personal best of 15:14.33 to finish third behind American record holder Molly Huddle's 15:05.56, and Trenier Moser's 15:11.00.

Olympic Trials finalist Mark Wieczorek finished fourth in the 800, running 1:45.36.  Washington State alum Joe Abbott won his section of the 800, running 1:46.59, finishing fifth overall.

In his section of the 1500, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara ran 3:39.25.

Bellingham resident and 2012 US Olympian Donn Cabral finished seventh in the men's steeple, running 8:34.23.

Washington State alum Collier Lawrence was 12th in the women's steeple, as she ran 10:14.46.

In the women's 5000, Seattle Pacific alum Jessica Tebo was 11th in 16:27.30.


BRAD WALKER GETS 'A' STANDARD IN PHOENIX

In Phoenix, University of Washington alum Brad Walker won the pole vault competition at the Sky Invitational, conducted at Paradise Valley Community College, as he cleared 19-1 1/2 (5.83m), easily turning back Nick Mossberg, who cleared 18-0 1/2 (5.50m).

More significantly, Walker now has the 'A' standard for this summer's world championships in Moscow.

Anderson to face Olympic silver and bronze medalists in Puerto Rican showdown...


PONCE, Puerto Rico--Washington State University alum Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) is entered in Saturday's Ponce Grand Prix de Atletismo meet in the Puerto Rican city, where he'll meet a strong field in the 400 hurdles.

Anderson, who won both the USA and NCAA titles in the 400 hurdles in 2011, faces a field that includes national hero Javier Culson, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist; 2012 Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley, who was last year's Olympic Trials winner; and long time collegiate rival Johnny Dutch.

Tinsley and Dutch have the two fastest times in the world so far this season at 48.55 and 48.73, set at the Drake Relays.

Anderson's best this season is 49.14, set in winning the Mt. SAC Relays last month.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Aretha Thurmond gets world championship 'A' standard in Tuscon...


TUSCON--Four-time US Olympian and University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in the discus at the first day of competition at the 2013 Tuscon Elite Classic meet at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

Thurmond threw a season best of 204-1 (62.21m) to finish behind Gia Lewis-Smallwood's winning toss of 204-5 (62.31m).


Former Spokane high school standout Britney Henry finished fourth in the hammer competition in Tuscon.

Henry, who attended Lewis & Clark HS in Spokane, threw 227-6 (69.35m), as Jessica Cosby Toruga won the competition with a toss of 241-5 (73.58m).

Both Thurmond and Henry return to action in the second day of the Tuscon Elite meet on Saturday.


NCAA announces accepted entries into West and East preliminary rounds...


INDIANAPOLIS--The NCAA released Thursday the athletes qualified to compete in the preliminary round of the NCAA track & field championships, with the country split into two regional meets in Austin, Texas (University of Texas), and Greensboro, North Carolina (North Carolina A&T).

The top twelve finishers from the two preliminary round venues will advance to the NCAA championship final meet in Eugene on June 5-8 at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

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 (left/photo by Paul Merca) 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).

Seattle University will have one entry in the meet in javelin thrower Dylan Burnett, while Gonzaga will have 1500 meter runner Brent Felnagle, along with 5000 runner Lindsey Drake and 10000 runner Emily Thomas.

The Cougars will have squads in both women's relays, while the Huskies will have a 4 x 400 team.  Washington has entries in both men's relays, while Washington State will have a 4 x 100 relay.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the Greensboro regional meet include Redmond HS grad Devin McMahon of Cornell (10000m), and Bellevue HS grad Michael Williams of Princeton.

Washington's Jeremy Taiwo has already earned a spot in the national championship meet, as he is seeded fifth in the decathlon.


DIVISION II ENTRIES RELEASED

Seattle Pacific will have seven entries into the NCAA Division II championships in Pueblo, Colorado on May 23-25th, led by talented multi-event specialist Ali Worthen, along with Katy Gross.

Worthen is the current national leader in the heptathlon in D2 with a score of 5492 points, posted in April at the MONDO Mid-Major Challenge.

Gross is seeded #6 with a score of 4992 points posted at the GNAC championship meet on April 29-30.  She is also entered in the javelin.

The Falcons will have two entries in the 800 in McKayla Fricker and Emily Quatier, along with Lynelle Decker in the 1500.  Their 4 x 400 meter relay team is also slated to run.

Western Washington has only one entry in the meet in javelin thrower Bethany Drake, while Central Washington has one entry in high jumper Tayler Fettig.

Javelin thrower Braden Keller and triple jumper Bryan Mack of Central Washington, along with Seattle Pacific 1500 meter runner Seth Pierson are the only men from Washington D2 schools accepted into the national championship meet.


SPU'S DALIGCON STEPS DOWN AS HEAD CROSS COUNTRY COACH

Seattle Pacific distance coach Erika Daligcon (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) will step down as the school's head cross country coach and distance coach after five years on the job, according to a release from the school.

“My philosophy is to honor your athletes, and I need to honor my family, too,” Daligcon said. “It was definitely a bittersweet decision. I love coaching, I love supporting the athletes, and it has been a real gift to spend time with some of these athletes almost every day of their college career.”

Daligcon competed for the Falcons for two years, earned her degree at the school, and began her coaching career at SPU in 2002 as an assistant to Doris Heritage before Heritage retired in 2008.

Under Daligcon's tutelage, the Falcons made three appearances at the NCAA cross country championships, earning fourth place trophies in 2008 and 2009, and a 17th place finish last fall.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Several Washington pros head to high performance meets at Occidental and Tuscon...


Several Washington based or affiliated athletes will be among those competing in USA Track & Field backed high performance meets later this week.

Most of the focus will be on Friday's USATF Occidental College high performance meet at Jack Kemp Stadium, where numerous Washington pros and post collegians will aim for qualifying marks for next month's national championships in Des Moines, Iowa, as well as shoot for those all important A & B marks for this summer's IAAF world championships in Moscow, Russia.

On the men's side, US Olympian Donn Cabral (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Bellingham is entered in the steeplechase.

The 1500 features Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara, while Washington State alum Joe Abbott is entered in the 800, and former Husky Colton Tully-Doyle is in the 5000.

Women with Washington ties entered at Occidental include UW alum Katie Mackey in the 1500; Washington State alum Collier Lawrence in the steeplechase; and training partners Brie Felnagle from Tacoma and Seattle Pacific alum Jessica Tebo in the 5000.


Four time US Olympian and Renton HS alum Aretha Thurmond announced on her Twitter feed that she will throw Thursday and Saturday at the Tuscon Elite throwers high performance meet at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

The Tuscon Elite meet has traditionally been a gathering of many of the country's top throwers, as this gives them an opportunity to compete against each other, while USATF and US Olympic sports scientists do high speed filming and do biomechanics testing and consulting on the day between competitions.

Finally, the Nike Prefontaine Classic announced that Washington State alum, and former world champion Bernard Lagat will face off against Olympic silver medalist at 10000 meters Galen Rupp, and a bevy of the world's best in an exciting 5000 meter race at the Pre Classic on Saturday June 1st.

In an interesting development, the Pre Classic also announced that 2012 Olympic double gold medalist Mo Farah of Great Britain will decide the week of the meet whether to run the 5000 against Lagat and Rupp, or go in the 10000 the night before.

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.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

UW's Lawrence and WSU's Parent return to the podium at Pac-12s, plus championship Saturday recap...


LOS ANGELES--It's been a long road for Washington's Mel Lawrence (above/photo by Randy Miyazaki/trackandfieldphoto.com).

Lawrence, who seems like she's been around the UW program forever, got back onto the podium, as she finished second in the 3000 meter steeplechase Saturday as the Pac-12 championships got underway on Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium on the campus of USC.

The sixth-year senior from Reno, Nevada, who won the conference title back in 2009 ran 10:08.19, behind Olympian Emma Coburn of Colorado, who ran 9:55.67.

Washington State senior Caroline Austin set a school record in the event, running 10:08.49 to take third, just ahead of the Huskies' Liberty Miller in 10:10.10.

In the high jump, WSU's Holly Parent, who redshirted in 2012, jumped a season best 5-11 1/4 (1.81m) to finish behind Olympic silver medalist Brigetta Barrett of Arizona, who cleared a meet record 6-6 1/4 (1.99m).

The Cougars' Anna Adamko was the runner-up in the javelin, throwing 153-0 (46.64m).

The Huskies' Chris Williams finished second in the men's pole vault, as the freshman cleared a personal best 17-3 (5.26m), while defending champ JJ Juilfs was third at 16-11 (5.16m).

Williams also qualified for the finals in the men's 110 hurdles, winning his heat in 14.03.

The Huskies' Joe Zimmerman finished second in the javelin, throwing 227-9 (69.41m) to finish behind Oregon's Sam Crouser (249-4/76.01m).

After eight scored events, Arizona leads the women's team standings with 60 points while WSU is tied with Washington for seventh place with 23 points.  In the men's team competition, UCLA is the leader with 53.5 points after seven events, while Washington is third at 37 points, and WSU tenth with 10 points.

Washington's day 1 recap is available here, while Washington State's is available here.


paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site for Sunday's final day of competition at the Pac-12s.

BIG SKY RECAP

In Forest Grove, Oregon, Eastern Washington's Brad Wall won yet another Big Sky title in the 400 meters, as he ran 47.67. 

Teammate Brad Michael was nosed out for the runner-up spot, as he ran 47.72.

Wall, Michael, and teammates Kramer Green and Nick Olsson finished second in the 4 x 400 meter relay behind Weber State's squad.  WSU ran 3:09.77 to the Eagles' 3:11.33.

Triple jumper Phil Puccino was second in his event, as he jumped 47-0 3/4 (14.34m).

Michelle Coombs finished second in the javelin, as she threw 160-3 (48.84m), while conference leader Cora Kellerman threw a disappointing 143-1 (43.61m) and finished a non-scoring ninth.

In the team competition, the Eagle men's squad finished fourth with a score of 92 points, while the women finished fifth with 74 points.  Northern Arizona won the men's team title, while Sacramento State took the women's crown.


WAC RECAP

In Arlington, Texas,  Seattle University's first foray in the WAC championship meet was a rough one, as their men's team finished seventh with 48 points, and the Redhawk women were eighth with 21 points.

Texas State swept both team titles, winning the women's crown with 179 points, and the men's with 149 points.

The highlight of the Redhawks' day Saturday was steeple champ Hannah Mittelstaedt finishing fourth in the 5000, running 17:36.32, as Wenatchee's Hannah Kiser easily won her second title of the meet in 17:01.08, along with the 10000 crown Friday night.

For the men, Shaddye Melu finished fifth in the high jump, clearing 6-9 (2.06m).


GNAC RECAP

In Monmouth, Oregon, Western Washington had a 1-2-3-4 sweep in the 400 meters and the same quartet also won the 4x400 meter relay as the Vikings successfully defended their men's title at the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at McArthur Stadium.

Western Washington won the men's title for the third time in four years, outpointing runner-up Central Washington 183 1/2 to 141.

WWU's Jonathon Poolman won the 400 in a time of 47.82, while his teammates Devon Smith (48.20), Nathaniel Schmidt (49.13) and Jason Nokes (49.42) finished second, third and fourth.  The foursome later won the relay in a time of 3:15.17.

Western got wins from Dak Riak (14:51.45) in the 5000; Logan Myers in the 110 highs (14.65, meet record); and Brett Watson in Friday's high jump (6-5/1.96m).

Central got big points in the hammer as Quinton Agosta won the event at 185-11 (56.67m), followed by Mike Jensen in second at 176-10 (53.90m), and Eric Holstrom in fourth at 156-6 (47.70m).

The Falcons of SPU got a win in the 1500 as Seth Pierson upset pre-meet favorite Isaac Kangogo of Alaska-Anchorage, 3:56.30 to 3:56.96.

In the women's team competition, Seattle Pacific had its stranglehold on the GNAC title wrested by Alaska-Anchorage as the Seawolves won their first women's crown outscoring the three-time defending champions 169-146.

The Falcons didn't go down without a fight, as they took four events.

Ali Worthen, who was selected the Outstanding Female Performer, won the 100 hurdles, earning her third individual title.  She also won the heptathlon last week and the long jump on Friday. 

The graduate of Marshfield HS in Coos Bay finished third in the 200 and high jump Saturday and led SPU to a win in the 4x100 relay in a GNAC and meet record time of 46.77.

The Falcons also got a win Saturday from McKayla Fricker in the 800 meters, her second straight in that event, and in the 4x400 relay in a meet record time of 3:46.17.  Fricker anchored that victory.

Lindsey Wells of Western Washington won the hammer for the second year in a row with a heave of 170-8 (52.03m) leading the Vikings to a third-place team finish.


NOTE:  The sports information offices of Washington, Washington State, Seattle Pacific, and Portland State, along with the Western Athletic Conference, GNAC, and the Big Sky Conference contributed to this report.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Seattle University's Hannah Mittelstaedt garners school's first individual WAC championship...


ARLINGTON, Texas--Hannah Mittelstaedt (left/photo courtesy Western Athletic Conference) won Seattle University's first individual WAC title, as she held off Texas-Arlington freshman Katelyn Hayward to win the women's 3000 meter steeplechase in a time of 10:45.84 to 10:45.90.

In the men's 10000 finals, Matthew McClement finished third in a time of 31:53.72, as Barry Britt of Idaho won in 31:42.77. Erik Barkhaus was sixth in 32:33.20.

Dylan Burnett finished fifth in the javelin with a toss of 211-10 (64.57m).

Wenatchee resident Hannah Kiser of Idaho won the women's 10000 in a time of 35:20.35.

After the third day of the conference championships, the Seattle U men are in sixth place with 13 points, while the Redhawk women are in eighth place with 11 points.


At the Big Sky championships in Forest Grove, Eastern Washington's outstanding pole vaulter Keisa Monterola successfully defended her conference title, winning with a clearance of 13-3 1/2, with teammate Robin Taylor getting second for the second straight year at 12-11 1/2.

"Kudos to Keisa for pulling off a great meet when we needed her to," said Eagle women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

Katie Mahoney finished second in a time of 10:28.52 in the 3000 steeplechase.

In the women's hammer, Olivia Midles was second with a toss of 180-10 (55.13), and Emma Murillo was third at 180-5 (54.99m).

Jordan Arakawa finished second in the hammer with a toss of 208-4 (63.49m).

Phil Puccino was fourth in the high jump with a leap of 6-9 (2.06m).

Marlyn Anderson was fourth and Cody Humphrey was fifth in the men's shot put with throws of 53-5 3/4 (16,30m), and 52-2 3/4 (15.92m).

Vince Hamilton was fifth in the 10000 in 31:37.16.

The Eastern women's team currently holds the lead with 45 points, with Sacramento State in second at 36.5 points.  In the men's team scoring, the Eagles sit in a tie for third at 35 points, as Weber State holds the lead at 47.5 points.


At the GNAC championships in Monmouth, Oregon,   Ali Worthen of Seattle Pacific tied a conference record and also set a meet record in winning the women's long jump with a leap of 19-8 (5.99m).

Worthen, who also won the event in 2011, equaled the GNAC record set by Stephanie Huffman of Seattle Pacific in 2002.  She broke the meet record of 19-1 ½ set by Emily Warman of Western Washington last season.

Western's Tanya Bjornnson was second at 18-8 (5.69m), and the Falcons' Katy Gross was third at 18-6 (5.64m).

Gross also earned a top three finish in the javelin, throwing 139-6 (42.53m).

Cheyanna Pinley of Western Washington won the women's pole vault with a leap of 11-8 1/2 (3.57m).  Jamie Larsen of Central Washington was second at the same height, with defending champion Karis Anderson of Western third at 11-0 3/4 (3.37m).

In the women's steeple, Western's Katelyn Steen was second in 11:04.67, and Central's Kelsey Kreft third at 11:10.73.

Sam Washington of Saint Martin’s, who won the shot in 2008 and again last season, earned his third title in the event with a put of 55-3 (16.84m).

Other first day winners included Bryan Mack of Central Washington in the long jump, Brett Watson of Western Washington in the high jump and Troy Martin of Central Washington in the discus.

Mack won with a leap of 23-4 (7.11m), and teammate Kevin Yates was third at 23-1 1/4 (7.04m).

The Vikings' Frank Catelli was second behind Washington in the shot put at 54-8 3/4 (16.68m).

In the discus, the Wildcats' Troy Martin's winning toss was 160-8 (48.98m), with Ryan Macdonald of Western second at 159-3 (48.61m), and Sam Washington garnering third for Saint Martin's at 154-2 (46.99m).

Seattle Pacific's AJ Baker finished third in the 3000 steeple, running 9:31.84.

Alaska Anchorage is the women's first day leader with 58 points, with Western Washington (55), Seattle Pacific (52), and Central Washington (28) running 2-3-4.

Central Washington is in a tight battle with Western Washington at 64-61.5, with Saint Martin's fifth at 22, and SPU eighth with 6 points.


NOTE: The GNAC, Big Sky Conference, and the sports information offices of Seattle University contributed to this report.

Aretha Thurmond seventh in Doha Diamond League season opener...


DOHA, Qatar--University of Washington alum and four-time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond (above/photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) finished seventh in the discus at the opening meet of the IAAF Diamond League season, the Doha Grand Prix, at the Doha Sports Club Friday night.

Thurmond threw a best of 197-5 (60.19m), as reigning Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia took the victory with a world leading toss of 223-10 (68.23m), which was one of eleven world-leading marks set Friday.

Olympic champs David Rudisha of Kenya, and Brittney Reese of the USA set world leading marks in the 800 (1:43.87) and long jump (23-9 1/2, 7.25m) respectively.

Besides the trio, Ryan Whiting in the Shot Put, who is coached by UW throws coach TJ Crater, Konstantinos Filippidis in the Pole Vault, Abeba Aregawi in the 1500m, Dawn Harper-Nelson in the 100m Hurdles, Lidya Chepkurui in the 3000m Steeplechase,  Amantle Montsho in the 400m, Asbel Kiprop in the 1500m and Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 3000m set world leading marks Friday.


The IAAF Diamond League series moves on to Shanghai on May 18th, before it stops in the United States for the adidas Grand Prix in New York on the 25th, and the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on June 1st.

NOTE:  The IAAF contributed to this report.

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