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.

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