Thursday, February 13, 2014

The weekend ahead: Husky Classic, Millrose and USA Cross Country Champs on the docket...

SEATTLE--The indoor track season reaches an apex this weekend with the annual Husky Classic, as the Dempsey welcomes in many of the nation’s top teams for a huge weekend that will go a long way towards shaping the NCAA Championship picture. Half of the teams in the top-25 of the men’s and women’s rankings will be represented in the Dempsey this weekend.

All five Washington Division I schools--Washington State, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and the host Huskies, will have entries in the meet.  Seattle Pacific also has entries in the meet, with most of the state's Division II teams competing in the open portion of the meet on Sunday

The Husky Classic frequently features the fastest distance races on the indoor schedule, many times faster than the NCAA meet itself, as teams send their top contenders to Seattle in hopes of running season-bests that will qualify them for the NCAA Indoor meet just a month away on March 14-15. Thirteen of the top-25 men’s teams in the country will be in attendance, and 12 of the top-25 women’s teams will be on hand, though many teams send just a handful of athletes.

Top-10 teams on the men’s side include No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Oregon, No. 6 Florida State, No. 7 Penn State, and No. 8 Arizona, while there will be five top-10 women’s teams including No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Arkansas, and No. 9 Stanford. The Husky women’s team remains ranked 22nd this week.

On the pro circuit, the big meet this weekend is the NYRR Millrose Games at the Armory in New York.

Nick Symmonds and Matt Scherer of the Brooks Beasts are entered in the 1000 meter run.  Camas HS junior Alexa Efraimson goes in the Wanamaker Mile against an excellent pro field that includes Mary Cain, the New York high school sensation who turned pro recently instead of competing against preps.

Washington State alum Bernard Lagat, who is sharpening up for a world championship defense over 3000 meters, drops down a kilo to 2000m, where he goes against 2012 Olympic teammates Donn Cabral and Evan Jager.

Tacoma's Brie Felnagle goes in the women's 3000.

With no berths to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on the line, there's naturally a drop off in the quality of the field at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colorado.

USATF national club cross country champion Joe Gray from Club Northwest is among those in the field in the open men's 12k championship race.  In the junior men's 8k, Spokane area prep John Dressel, the runner up at last fall's Foot Locker nationals in San Diego is entered, after finishing seventh at the BUPA Great Edinburgh junior cross country race last month.

The release previewing the meet is available here.  

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