Friday, January 31, 2014

Betsy Saina runs world leading time in 5000 to highlight day 1 of UW Invitational...

SEATTLE--Betsy Saina's (left/photo by Paul Merca) world leading mark in the women's 5000 highlighted day 1 of the UW Invitational at the Dempsey Indoor.

Running from the front most of the way, Saina, a former NCAA champion at Iowa State University, ran 15:28.84 to beat Alisha Williams (15:34.28) and Oregon alum Alexi Pappas (15:42.87), with NCAA cross country runner-up Emma Bates of Boise State fourth in 15:52.61.

Lindsay Flanagan, who only has outdoor eligibility remaining for the UW was sixth in 16:12.90, while the Huskies' Megan Goethals was seventh in 16:35.86.

Barbara Nwaba led from the start to win the five-event pentathlon with the fifth best score in the world this season, scoring 4248 points.

The Huskies' Shelby Williams finished fifth with a final score of 3514.

There was excitement in the men's distance medley relay, as Oregon's A squad, anchored by NCAA cross country champ Edward Cheserek, beat the Ducks' B squad anchored by Trevor Dunbar 9:28.91 to 9:31.64.

The Huskies, with sub-4 miler James Cameron on the carry, finished third in 9:44.15.

The meet resumes Saturday, with a number of headliners, including world and Olympic champ Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Tia Brooks, Will Claye, Evan Jager, and Matthew Centrowitz.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Loaded UW Invitational highlights busy indoor track and field weekend...

Track and field action really heats up this weekend as both the University of Washington and Washington State University host meets beginning on Friday.

In Seattle, the UW Invitational, one of the country's biggest meets this weekend, takes place at the Dempsey Indoor, beginning with the multi-events at 1 pm, with the first running event taking place at 5 pm.

The highlight of day one of the UW Invitational will be the women's 5000s and the distance medley relays, with the Huskies and Oregon Ducks squaring off in both relays, with Brigham Young, Portland and Utah thrown in for good measure on the women's side.

The women's 5000 features the Huskies' Megan Goethals against former Iowa State standout Betsy Saina, Boise State's Emma Bates, the NCAA cross country runner-up, and Oregon alum Alexi Pappas.

Saturday's session features world championships competitors Ashton Eaton (above/photo by Paul Merca), Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Tia Brooks, Will Claye, Evan Jager, and Matthew Centrowitz.  Alan Webb, the American record in the mile, who recently announced that he will retire from the sport to concentrate on triathlon, is entered in what is possibly his final appearance at the Dempsey.

As always, there's a plethora of exciting distance races, which are packaged during the 3-530 time frame, featuring former American 10000 record holder Chris Solinsky, Arizona's Lawi Lalang, and Oiselle standouts Kate Grace and Lauren Fleshman.  Washington's Katie Flood looks to recapture the magic that made her one of the country's top collegians in the 2012 season, as she's entered in the mile and/or the 3000.

One interesting entry in the women's invitational 3000 is Camas' Alexa Efraimson, the IAAF world youth championships bronze medalist in the 1500 last year.  Efraimson was the Nike Cross Nationals champ in December and also beat Boise State's Emma Bates last October at the Bill Dellinger invitational in Springfield, Oregon.

Across the state, Washington State hosts the Cougar Indoor & multi-events meet Friday and Saturday at their indoor facility.

On the pro circuit, the Brooks Beasts are entered in Saturday's Camel City Elite meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Nick Symmonds, Mark Wieczorek, and Cas Loxsom will run the men's 800; Riley Masters will run the mile; Phoebe Wright is entered in the women's 800; Katie Mackey runs the women's mile; while Brie Felnagle, Angela Bizzari, Jamie Cheever, Deborah Maier and Jessica Tebo are in the women's 3000.

In Germany, Bernard Lagat, fresh off a win in the 3000 in Glasgow last week, is entered in Saturday's Weltklasse meet in Karlsruhe.

He'll face a field that includes Kenya’s Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi, along with Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew and Azerbaijan’s reigning European indoor champion Hayle Ibrahimov, not to mention Kenyan teenage steeplechaser Conseslus Kipruto and Morocco’s 2012 World Indoor Championships 1500m gold medallist Abdelaati Iguider.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A light run with the Brooks Beasts...

New Brooks Beasts member
Erica Moore
(Paul Merca photo)
On a typical wet Seattle day, I had the opportunity to visit Brooks Sports headquarters in the University District to watch the Brooks Beasts professional track & field team do a light workout before they travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for Saturday's Camel City Elite Races at the JDL Fast Track.

As the Beasts had done a hard workout the day before, Wednesday's training session was fairly light.  

While the team members stretched and warmed up, coach Danny Mackey kept the mood light as he made movie references, which were over my head, as I sheepishly admitted that the last movie I'd watched was "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues", and that was only because I'd met Will Ferrell at a Seattle Seahawks game this season, and that I hadn't seen the first Anchorman until after I met Ferrell.

After going over travel plans for this weekend's meet with the group, the Beasts went on a 45-minute run from Brooks headquarters to Green Lake via Ravenna Boulevard, while I drove away to catch the group at various spots.

My photo essay of the day with the Brooks Beasts can be accessed via our Facebook page.  The title of the photo essay is "Going Beast Mode on Ravenna & Green Lake".

Special thanks to Mackey and Brooks Sports for this inside look at the Brooks Beasts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Washington women move to #18 in first USTFCCCA D1 computer rankings, while WWU men crack top 25...

NEW ORLEANS--There were some changes in the USTFCCCA Division I and II national indoor track & field rankings that were released by the organization Tuesday.

In Division I, the University of Washington women's team moved up from their pre-season #20 ranking to #18, thanks in part to the early season mark from pole vaulter Diamara Planell Cruz, who cleared 13-11 1/4 (4.25m) at the UW Preview meet almost two weeks ago.

The Huskies' points in the computer model used by the USTFCCCA to rank teams comes from its vaunted middle distance and distance group, with key runners--Baylee Mires, Katie Flood (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), and Megan Goethals--none of whom have competed so far this season.

Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida and Georgia are the country's top five women's squads.

On the men's side, the top five are Arkansas, Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin and Texas A&M.

Other MPSF squads ranked in the top 25 include Arizona (8), Arizona State (11), Colorado (14), and Stanford (20) on the men's side, while Stanford (9) and Arizona State (22) represent the conference on the women's side. 

In Division II, Western Washington made a major jump from its #63 pre-season ranking all the way to #25 in the men's rankings.  The Vikings are the only team from the GNAC ranked in either national top 25 computer rankings.

The national team rankings is complied by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season.

The USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings should not be referred to as a “poll” as no voting occurs during the process.

ICYMI:  Washington bred runners Michael Berry and Marcus Chambers of the University of Oregon are among the country's top runners in the 400 after their performances at the University of Kentucky on Saturday.

Berry lost a battle with Florida's Arman Hall in Lexington, as the Rainier Beach HS grad ran 46.13 to Hall's 45.84 at the Rod McCravy Memorial meet on the 290-meter Nutter Field House indoor track.

Chambers, the Tacoma native and 2013 USA junior champion at 400m from Foss HS, was fifth in 47.11.

The newest member of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, Garrett Heath, ran 3:54.59 over the weekend in New York at the Armory at the New Balance meet.

Speaking of the Brooks Beasts, a group of Beasts will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to compete in the Camel City Elite Races at the JDL Fast Track on February 1st.

Nick Symmonds, Mark Wieczorek, and Cas Loxsom will run the men's 800; Riley Masters will run the mile; Phoebe Wright is entered in the women's 800; Katie Mackey runs the women's mile; while Brie Felnagle, Angela Bizzari, Jamie Cheever, Deborah Maier and Jessica Tebo are in the women's 3000.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lagat wins 3000m in Glasgow with a world leading mark; Cougs earn eight wins in Nampa...

GLASGOW, Scotland--Reigning world indoor champion and Washington State hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy British Athletics) opened his 2014 indoor season Saturday at the Sainsbury's Glasgow International Match at the Emirates Arena by winning the 3000 meters for Team USA.

In the unique 4-way scoring meet involving the USA, Great Britain, Scotland and the Commonwealth Select team, Lagat earned 4 points for Team USA by winning the 3000 in a time of 7:49.83, the fastest time in the world in this young season, and showed that he intends to defend his world championship in Sopot, Poland in March.

In doing so, he held off the challenge of Great Britain's Andy Vernon in the final kilometer after a modest first two kilometers led by Kenya's Vincent Rono of the Commonwealth select squad, crossing 1000 meters in 2:38.52, and 2000 in 5:21.86.

The Kenyan-born veteran remains highly motivated after proving he remains among the elite. “That makes me think I can do this,” he said. “So now what can I do at 39? It’s not getting any easier. I’m not getting faster. Time is getting shorter. But I still have to be motivated to do the best I can.”

However, Lagat's win for Team USA wasn't enough, as the Commonwealth Select (62) who held off Great Britain & Northern Ireland (59) to grab first place by three points, with the United States in third at 53 and the Scots fourth with 40.

In Nampa, Idaho, Washington State University track and field competitors won eight events Saturday at the Jacksons Invite/New Balance Boise Indoor.

Jacob Sealby was a double winner, taking the men’s 400m dash with an indoor PR time of 47.19 seconds. His twin brother, Lucas Sealby, finished fifth in the 400m with a time of 48.62. The Sealbys returned to the track at the end of the meet, joined by Terrance Chambers and CJ Allen, to win the 4x400m relay in a time of 3 minutes 16.75 seconds.  

Jesse Jorgensen won the men's 800m in 1:51.87.

Abby Regan and Ruby Roberts finished one-two in the women’s 800m with Regan’s time of 2:11.90 and Roberts at 2:12.28.

The WSU women’s 4x400m relay team of Erin Allen, Christiana Ekelem, Bree Winfrey and Dominique Keel won with a time of 3:49.69.

On the field, Charlotte Muschamp won the women’s triple jump with an indoor personal-best distance of 39-feet 1/4 inch (11.89m). Austin Sodorff won the men’s pole vault with an indoor PR height of 16-6 3/4 (5.05m). PJ Benedictus won the men’s triple jump with an indoor PR distance of 49-3 (15.01m) while Tay’lor Eubanks was fifth with a leap of 46-3 1/2 (14.11m).

“Overall this was a good meet with a lot of things I was excited and encouraged by," said WSU head coach Rick Sloan.

“Every week we try to improve on where we were the previous week. We make corrections and train a little harder, get better and some people are making those corrections and others need to pick themselves up and get going. Some of the people we are depending on as a team are lagging behind and others are doing a great job. We need to get everybody on board as we move forward.”

NOTE:  British Athletics, the IAAF, and the sports information office at Washington State University contributed to this report.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Andrea Geubelle takes early US lead in long jump with win at Jayhawk Classic...

LAWRENCE, Kansas--Competing in her opening meet of the 2014 indoor season, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Mike Scott) won the long jump competition at the Jayhawk Classic on Friday at the Anschutz Pavilion on the campus of the University of Kansas.

Kansas grad Geubelle, competing against a field of collegians in her first year as a post-collegian, won the event with a facility record mark of 21-4 (6.50m) on her first attempt, which leads the US list, and is the fifth best mark in the world in this young season.

In Moscow, Eastern Washington weight throwers Zach Nielsen (61-6/18.76m), Jordan Arakawa (61-5/18.72m) and Kyle Rothwell (56-4/17.17m) went 1-2-4 in the 35-pound weight throw to highlight the Eagles' showing at the Idaho Collegiate meet at the Kibbie Dome on the campus of the University of Idaho.

The Eagles' Keisa Monterola won the women's pole vault with a clearance of 12-11.5 (3.95m).

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

FRIDAY NOTES: Lagat opens season with 3000 in Glasgow; Brooks Beasts to take a shot at 4x800 WR...

GLASGOW, Scotland--Washington State hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy British Athletics) opens his 2014 indoor season Saturday as part of the Team USA squad competing in Saturday's Sainsbury's Glasgow International Match at the Emirates Arena, in a unique four-way meet featuring teams from Scotland, the Commonwealth Select, and Great Britain.

Lagat, the reigning world indoor champion at 3000 meters, will represent the USA in the 3000.

said: “It’s a great opportunity to lead my country out at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match. There are some world-class athletes coming to the meet, but I have no doubt that the USA are up to the test and can come out on top. There are some less familiar names within the team, but I’m sure having such a stage to perform on, will spur them on when they reach the startline or runway.  

“I always get a great reception in the UK and I’m really looking forward to returning this weekend. An early season race is always good to see where you are against your competition and I will be using the race to test myself in the lead up to the World Indoors in March where I hope to retain my title at 3000m.”

The organizers of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet on February 8th announced that they will host an assault on the world record in the 4 x 800m relay at their meet, featuring new Seattle resident Nick Symmonds, the 2013 IAAF world championship silver medalist and third-fastest American ever at the distance.

Symmonds will lead the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts team that also features Matt Scherer, Mark Wieczorek, and Cas Loxsom. Also going after the record will be a team from the New Jersey-New York Track Club led by Robby Andrews, the 2011 NCAA champion at 800 meters and 2010 World Junior Championships bronze medalist.

The 4x800-meter World Record of 7:13.94 was set at this meet in 2000 by a Global Athletics & Marketing team of Joey Woody, Karl Paranya, Rich Kenah, and David Krummenacker.

ICYMI:  We completely forgot to post the results of last Friday's Elite section of the UCS Pole Vault Summit in Reno in the midst of preparing for last weekend's UW Indoor Preview and the San Francisco/Seattle NFC Championship game.

Brad Walker no heighted as world and Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie won with a jump of 18-10 1/2 (5.75m).

Sarah (Pappas) Sheppard, who competed for one season at the University of Washington before transferring to the University of Oklahoma, was a late addition to the field, and finished in a tie for seventh with a jump of 14-1 3/4 (4.31m).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stanford alum Garrett Heath & Indiana State grad Erica Moore latest members of Brooks Beasts...

According to tweets posted by Flotrack, and confirmed in a text with coach Danny Mackey, middle distance runners Erica Moore and Garrett Heath (left/photo courtesy Brooks Sports) are the latest to sign deals with Brooks and run as part of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts group coached by Mackey.

Moore, a product of the University of Tennessee, has a personal best outdoors of 2:00.05, set in 2012.  Her most significant achievement was a third place finish in the 800 at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, where she ran 1:59.97.  She was the 2012 USA indoor champ, beating Wright, 2:01.08 to 2:03.07 in Albuquerque.  

Moore, formerly sponsored by Nike, moved to Seattle when training partner Phoebe Wright made the move to the Pacific Northwest in October to be coached by Mackey.

In 2013, Moore had a season best of 2:03.60, good for #34 on the US list in the 800, according to Track & Field News.

Heath moves to Seattle from Palo Alto after competing as a pro for Saucony in 2013.  The Stanford alum competed for Team USA at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor championships where he was seventh in the 1500.  Last season, Heath was ranked #6 in the USA by Track & Field News, running 3:34.12 in the 1500, which was #32 in the world.

Heath made headlines earlier this month when he won the invitational 4k cross country race at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country Race, defeating among others, Kenya's Asbel Kiprop and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele.

Cougs, Eags, Zags and Wildcats in action Friday and Saturday in Idaho...

Washington State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Central Washington are back in action this weekend with all four squads in action in Idaho.

All four teams will have athletes at the Vandal Collegiate/Idaho Open meet on Friday and Saturday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow on the campus of the University of Idaho.

Additionally, Washington State will send a group of athletes to Nampa for the Jacksons Invite/New Balance Boise Indoor at the Idaho Center, hosted by Boise State University.

The Vandal Collegiate is the more exclusive of the two meets, with only collegiate and unattached athletes. Field events start at 1:30 p.m. and running events kick off at 2 p.m. with the 60-meter hurdles. The meet will be capped off by the 4x400 relay.

For those athletes not competing in the Vandal Collegiate on Friday, they'll get a chance to prove themselves Saturday at the Idaho Open.

The Cougars of Washington State will send a group comprised of their front-line athletes to Nampa, including Ruby Roberts (above/photo by Paul Merca) in the 800 and mile, Charlotte Muschamp in the triple jump; Todd Wakefield in the 800; Drew Jordan, Andrew Gonzales and Andrew Kimpel in the mile.

Courtesy of Washington State University, here's Cougar coach Rick Sloan previewing this week's meets:

NOTE:  The sports information offices at Eastern Washington University and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

While Casey becomes the 100th runner to break 4 in the mile, sprints and jumps highlight UW Indoor Preview...

SEATTLE--While Patrick Casey of the Oregon Track Club's 3:58.06 winning time in the men's mile was the sexy pick for performance of the meet at the season-opening UW Indoor Preview meet at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington, the sprints and jumps highlighted a busy day on the 307-meter oval.

Casey, formerly from Montana State and the University of Oklahoma, became the 100th runner to break 4 minutes in the mile in the 11-year history of the Dempsey Indoor facility.

USC's Aaron Brown (left/photo courtesy USC Athletics) nearly eclipsed the meet and facility record in the 60 meter dash, as he won the event in 6.59, 1/100th of a second off the time set by Josh Norman in this meet three years ago.

In the 60 hurdles, USC's Aleec Harris broke the meet record in the preliminaries of 7.85 set by Stanford's Myles Bradley in 2012, as he ran 7.84, only to have Johnathan Cabral of Oregon beat that in the finals, as the Duck won in 7.77, the fifth fastest time in the collegiate ranks early on in the season.

The women's 60 hurdles saw USC grad and world championship semi-finalist Nia Ali win in a time of 8.18, just 5/100ths of a second off the meet record set by Jenny Adams in 2006.

In the 60 dash, Oregon's Jasmine Todd broke the facility and meet record, running 7.20 to beat Shayla Sanders' facility record of 7.21, and the meet record of 7.29 set by English Gardner.

In that 60 final, Federal Way's Hannah Cunliffe, who has committed to attend the University of Oklahoma next fall, finished third in 7.35.

The men's 200 saw USC's Aaron Brown run 20.88 to break the meet record of 21.53 set by Canada's Shane Niemi, and threaten the facility record of 20.84 set by US Olympian Ryan Bailey in 2010.

USC's Jenna Puterbaugh nearly broke the meet record of 23.86 in  winning the women's 200 in 23.88.

Stanford's Kristyn Williams crushed the meet record in the women's 400, running 53.39, and beating the meet record by over two seconds.

In a spirited battle over 800 meters, Lauren Wallace, an alum of UC Davis won the race in 2:05.24, beating US world championships team members Kim Conley, Shannon Rowbury, and Jordan Hasay.

In the men's long jump, Washington alum Norris Frederick opened his 2014 campaign by winning on his first attempt, sailing 25-10.25 (7.88m).

Britain's Emma Nuttall, who attends Canada's Trinity Western, won the women's high jump by clearing 6-1 1/4 (1.86m), almost taking down Hawaii's Amber Kaufman's meet record of 6-1 1/2 (1.87m).

Washington's Diamara Planell Cruz set a Puerto Rican national record in the pole vault, as she cleared 13-11 1/4 (4.25m).

In Pullman, vertical jumpers Kristine Felix and Charlotte Muschamp (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) highlighted action at the WSU Open Indoor meet at the WSU Indoor Facility.

Felix won the women's pole vault with a indoor personal best of 13-0 3/4 (3.98m), while Muschamp won the women's high jump with a lifetime best of 5-10 (1.78m).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Walker opens 2014 season at UCS Spirit National Pole Vault Summit...

RENO, Nevada--Reigning US national champion and former world champion Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) will open his 2014 campaign at the UCS Spirit National Pole Vault Summit at the Reno Livestock Events Center Friday night.

Walker, now competing for the New York Athletic Club and Mizuno, will jump against a field that includes reigning world and Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie, former world decathlon champ and Olympic silver medalist Trey Hardee, Japan's Daichi Sawano, and a top domestic field.

The UCS Spirit National Pole Vault Summit continues Saturday with a full day of competition for athletes of all abilities.

According to a USA Track & Field post on its site, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat has been named to the USA squad that will compete in the Glasgow British Athletics International match on January 25th at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

Lagat, the reigning world champion in the 3000, will run the 3000 for Team USA to open his 2014 indoor season.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cougs and Dawgs play host to season opening indoor meets this weekend...

Oregon alum Jordan Hasay is entered
in the women's 800 at the UW
Indoor Preview
Both Washington and Washington State play hosts to season opening indoor track meets this weekend, with most of the Washington Division I and II schools in action either in Seattle or Pullman.

On the east side of the state, the Cougars entertain squads from Idaho, Spokane CC, the Mountain West TC, Whitworth, Central Oregon, Central Washington, and numerous unattached athletes in the 12th annual WSU Open meet, which begins Friday with the two weight throws.  The main portion of the meet gets underway at 8:30 am at the WSU Indoor Facility, with the first running event underway at 10 am.

In Seattle, the Huskies play host to what they say is the biggest UW Indoor Preview meet in the school's history at the Dempsey Indoor super speed way oval on Saturday, with the first running event getting underway at 8 am, with the last event slated for 6:30 pm.

Gonzaga, SeattleU, and Eastern Washington comprise the Washington D1 schools with athletes in the field, while Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington will have a large presence.  Oregon, USC, Oregon State and Stanford will have a number of entries in the field.

Among the top pros entered include Moscow world championships competitors Jordan Hasay (above/photo by Paul Merca), Shannon Rowbury and Kim Conley, who are in the women's 800, along with Nia Ali in the 60 hurdles; American mile record holder Alan Webb (mile/800); Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara (3000); WSU alum Joe Abbott (800); Brooks Beasts standout Mark Wieczorek (mile); and UW alum Norris Frederick (long jump).  University of Oklahoma commit Hannah Cunliffe from Federal Way, who was fourth in the 200 at the IAAF World Youth Championships, is entered in the 60.

Both pole vault competitions should be exciting, with the women's field led by Husky senior Logan Miller, against Eastern Washington's Keisa Monterola and new Husky Diamara Planell Cruz, while the men's vault features the Huskies' Jax Thoirs against teammates Chris Williams and JJ Juilfs.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Washington women begin 2014 season #20 in USTFCCCA Division I computer rankings...

Megan Goethals of Washington
(#1095)/photo by Paul Merca
NEW ORLEANS--The University of Washington women's track & field team enters the 2014 indoor season ranked #20 by the USTFCCCA in its Division I pre-season team rankings.

According to the USTFCCCA, the purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national team race. Rankings points do not equate with NCAA Championships team points, and the computer rankings should not be referred to as a "poll" as no voting occurs.

The national team rankings are complied by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season.

The USTFCCCA's top five women's squads include Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Oregon, and Georgia.

Other MPSF women's squads ranked in the pre-season poll include #9 Stanford, and #23 Arizona State.

The men's national top five include Arkansas, Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin and Texas A&M.

MPSF men's teams ranked in the top 25 include #14 Colorado, #17 Arizona, #20 Stanford, and #21 Arizona State.

The University of Washington opens its 2014 season Saturday when it hosts the UW Indoor Preview  at the Dempsey Indoor, beginning at 8 am and going all day.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

North Central teammates Anderson & Wilmot finish fourth & sixth in Edinburgh...

EDINBURGH, Scotland--North Central HS standout Tanner Anderson (left/photo from Nike Cross Nationals with Kai Wilmot by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) finished fourth in the junior men's 6-kilometer race at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race at Holyrood Park featuring squads from the USA, Great Britain, and a European all-star team.

Anderson, the reigning Washington 3A cross country champ, ran 19:16 as he was edged out by USA teammate Michael Maton, who ran the same time.

Anderson's North Central teammate Kai Wilmot, the Nike Cross Nationals champ,  finished sixth for Team USA in 19:21, while Mt. Spokane's John Dressel was twelfth in 19:33.

The junior men's 6k race was won by Alexis Miellet from France, representing Team Europe in 19:07.  Europe won the junior men's race with a team score of 17 to the USA's 20.

In the senior men's race, Stanford alum Chris Derrick asserted his will halfway through the race and took the victory for Team USA, running the 8-kilometer course in 24:11, while his 2013 world cross country championship teammate and defending BUPA Edinburgh cross champ Bobby Mack was fourth in 24:28.

Club Northwest's Joe Gray, the reigning USA Club Cross Country champion, worked his way from the back of the pack to finish in eighth in 24:47.

Team USA was edged for the top spot by Team Europe 53 to 55.

In the senior women's 6k race,  Sequim HS alum Stephanie (Marcy) Dinius finished eighth, as Team USA's second runner, crossing the line in 21:06.

Great Britain's Gemma Steel took the win, running 20:35.

The Brits took the team title with 35 points, with the USA third at 89 points.

After the race, Dinius said, " It was freezing out and quite muddy but that made it all the more fun. I positioned myself at the back of the lead pack for the first lap, then continued to draft off people in the second lap, the third lap I started moving and passing people, aided by a couple teammates within reach." 

"The last stream crossing marked the final stretch, so I knew I had to get my kick going, and managed to pick off one last girl. Overall, a great experience for my first international race and first time competing with Team USA."

Dinius noted that having fellow Stanford alums Chris Derrick, Brendan Gregg and Garrett Heath, the surprise winner of the invitational men's 4k race, helped make her first international race a memorable experience.

Complete results from the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race are available here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekend preview: Lagat to open with two meets in Germany & NYC; Berry receives Bowerman votes; Edinburgh XC Saturday...

39-year old Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) will open his 2014 indoor season with a pair of meets in Germany and New York.

Lagat, the reigning world indoor champion at 3000 meters, will run that distance on February 1st at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe against the Kenyan duo of Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi, whom the Washington State alum defeated en route to the world indoor title two years ago in Istanbul.

Two weeks later, Lagat will drop down in distance to 2000 meters at the 107th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York, where he'll face 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters Nick Willis of New Zealand in the inaugural Paavo Nurmi 2000.

"I'm looking forward to coming back again to the Millrose Games in February - 2000m is a new distance for me indoors, and that's exciting," said Lagat, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist at 1500m. "I've had two great runs at The Armory the last two years and hope for another one this year.

Finland's Paavo Nurmi was one of the greatest distance runners in history. An Olympic gold medalist in 1920, 1924, and 1928, Nurmi became known world-wide as the 'Flying Finn.' In 1925, Nurmi traveled to New York City, where he set a world record for 2000 meters at The Armory during a prolific indoor racing series.

The Paavo Nurmi 2000 meters will also feature Evan Jager (Portland, Ore.), the American record holder in the 3000m steeplechase; Canadian Olympian and former NCAA champion Cam Levins; and American Junior record holder German Fernandez (Portland, Ore.) Finnish national champion Niclas Sandells is entered as well.

With the official start of the 2014 collegiate indoor season this weekend (no Washington schools are in action), the USTFCCCA released earlier this week its Bowerman Award Watch List for the Pre-Season.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry of the University of Oregon received votes for the Watch List, which is determined by a four person panel that submits a rank-ordered top 10 list. The 10 athletes (both men and women) who receive the most votes are included in the season-long Watch List.

Athletes who received votes but didn't make the top-10 list are listed by the USTFCCCA.

Athletes from the Pac-12 who are on the Bowerman Watch List include Arizona's Lawi Lalang, UCLA's Julian Wruck,  Oregon's Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler, Arizona State's Anna Jelmini, and Colorado's Shalaya Kipp.

Finally,  Sequim native Stephanie (Marcy) Dinius, Lakewood's Joe Gray, and the Spokane trio of Tanner Anderson, Taylor Wilmot, and John Dressel will race in Saturday's BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Edinburgh's famed Holyrood Park.

Dinius will run in the senior women's race, while Gray competes in the senior men's race.

High school preps Tanner Anderson, Taylor Wilmot, and John Dressel are all entered in the junior men's race.

The BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race will be streamed live via starting at 5:15 am Saturday, with action from the two senior races, and the invitational men's 4k race featuring a matchup between Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya's Asbel Kiprop.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field, the IAAF, the USTFCCCA, and the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race organizers contributed to this report.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blog posts from Jeremy Taiwo, Phoebe Wright & Nick Symmonds highlight Tuesday night reads...

Here are some links to blogs from Washington based/affiliated athletes to get you through before the official start of the indoor track & field season in the state on January 18th:

Decathlete Jeremy Taiwo (above/photo by Paul Merca), who now resides at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista,  talks about his goals for the 2014 season, and reflects on his return to the Seattle area for the holidays, which included attending a Seattle Seahawks game.

In his blog, he observed that he was blundering through the last remaining months of his time at the University of Washington, and that his efforts last year were focused on making the world championship team, and not on the next step.

Middle distance runner Phoebe Wright, who is a non-Brooks sponsored member of the Seattle based Beasts TC, writes about holiday troubles with solutions, including procrastinating on workouts, distractions, alcohol, food, and not having a training partner or coach to be accountable to.

Finally, in a blog post on the Runner's World web site, the newest member of the Brooks Beasts TC, two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds, who was ranked #2 in the world and #1 in the US by Track & Field News, Nick writes on why he chose to leave Nike and the Oregon TC Elite group in Eugene, and make the move to Seattle to run for Brooks.

"As an independent contractor trying to run a business, I felt this choice was a no-brainer. In the past few years I have been very vocal about athletes' rights, and Brooks' support of professional runners for the health of competitive running is squarely in line with what I have been advocating."

A shout out video from Brad Walker, newest member of Mizuno International...

Courtesy of Mizuno International, here is a short video interview with University of Washington alum Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) as he talks about various subjects, including his start in the sport, training, goals for 2014, and his initial impressions on his new sponsor.

As we reported last month, Walker signed a contract with Mizuno after being dropped by long-time sponsor Nike for taping his spikes in the finals of the pole vault at the IAAF world track & field championships in Moscow, where he finished fourth.

The 31-year old Walker, who graduated from University HS in Spokane, will compete for the New York Athletic Club in 2014.


In the 2013 Track & Field News world rankings that were released a few days ago, Walker was ranked the #1 pole vaulter in the USA, and #6 in the world.

The only other athlete with Washington ties to receive a world ranking from the magazine was Bernard Lagat in the 5000, where he was ranked #7 in the world to go along with his #1 US ranking.

Triple jumper Andrea Geubelle was the only woman with Washington ties to earn a #1 US ranking, taking top honors in the triple jump.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Stephanie Dinius and Joe Gray among five Washingtonians named to Team USA cross country squad...

INDIANAPOLIS--Sequim HS alum Stephanie (Marcy) Dinius (left/photo by Mike Scott) was named to the Team USA squad that will compete in next Saturday's BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland's famed Holyrood Park.

Dinius, a former NCAA All-American at Stanford, earned her spot on Team USA by finishing eleventh at last month's USA National Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon.

Also named to the team was USA National Club Cross Country champ and Lakewood native Joe Gray from Club Northwest.

Three runners with Washington ties were selected to the junior men's team--Tanner Anderson and Taylor Wilmot of North Central HS, and John Dressel of Mt. Spokane HS.

Anderson won the Washington state 3A title, and finished third at the Nike Cross Nationals meet, while Wilmot won the Nike cross meet in December after finishing fourth in the state 3A championship.  

Dressel was third in the Washington 3A championship, and finished second at the Foot Locker cross country championship in San Diego.

Next Saturday's  BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland will be webcast on starting at 8:15 am ET (5:15 am pacific). 

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nick Symmonds signs with Brooks & will join Seattle's Brooks Beasts TC...

In the context of big time Seattle sports signings, this certainly isn't quite up with the Seattle Sounders signing of Cliff Dempsey, the Mariners getting Robinson Cano from the New York Yankees, or even the UW getting Chris Petersen to coach the football team.

The Seattle and the Washington state pro track & field scene is now even more interesting with the announcement Thursday of 2013 world championships 800 meter silver medalist Nick Symmonds (left/photo courtesy Brooks Running Co.) signing a contract with Brooks, the Seattle based running shoe & apparel firm.

In a text received from Danny Mackey Thursday morning shortly after the 10:00 am announcement by the company, the coach of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts TC said that he will compete for the Beasts.

Symmonds, formerly sponsored by Nike, will be reunited with former Oregon TC Elite members Matt Scherer & Mark Wieczorek, and fits in with the middle distance grouping of the Beasts.

In a release by the company, Brooks sports marketing head Jesse Williams said, "Nick is one of the few athletes who understand that their job is not just to run fast but to use their role as professional runners to inspire others to Run Happy.  In addition to meeting his goals on the track, Nick works tirelessly off the track to put a spotlight on the sport. As a company that is singularly focused on the run, Nick’s vision and passion for running make him a perfect addition to our team.” 


On New Year's Day, Symmonds put out a tweet stating, "For the first time in 7 years I am without an apparel sponsor. Forced to workout in the nude till a deal is signed", accompanied by a tasteful photo of him in the buff, which was a bit ironic, given that he appeared several years ago in the nude for a Nike ad.


Symmonds was in town to finalize his contract with Brooks Thursday, and did some telephone interviews with several publications and web sites before the 30-year old headed back to Eugene.

The two time US Olympian, 5-time USA outdoor champ, and third fastest American ever at 800 meters with a personal best of 1:42.95, said that part of what drew him to sign with Brooks is the fact that Brooks does not put in reduction clauses in its contracts, adding that "Brooks, the ‘Run Happy’ company, wants their athletes to be supported through the good times and the bad, and they don’t put reduction clauses in their contracts, which is revolutionary and game-changing, and is absolutely the only way I think shoe contracts should be done.”

Symmonds, who over the last few years is perhaps the most vocal elite American runner on the issue of increasing sponsorship opportunities for track and field athletes, also said in the interview, “The way that Nike is currently writing their contracts, I think, pretty much strips the athletes of all their rights, their ability to market themselves to potential other sponsors. The reduction clauses that they had were harsh and unnecessary.”

“I would have come off as a little bit hypocritical if I said that we need to fight for the athlete’s rights to be able to market themselves and operate as independent contractors and then I would go sign a Nike contract that basically completely crippled my ability to do that,” Symmonds said to Runner's World's Peter Gambaccini. “That’s why I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m signing with Brooks. I truly believe that they are the company to go with if an athlete wants to be supported and to have a family around.”

Symmonds will head to San Luis Potosi, Mexico for a three-week high altitude training stint with Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano, and will run three indoor races before the USA nationals in Albuquerque.

To give a Seattle sports perspective, the signing of Symmonds by Brooks and his decision to train with the Beasts gives the company and its Beasts TC squad a bit of an ego, in the same way that defensive backs Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and the "Legion of Boom" give the current Seattle Seahawks squad an edge past incarnations of the team did not have.

Here's Nick's official announcement, as posted on YouTube.

NOTE:  The media relations staff at Brooks Running Company contributed to this report.

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