Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cougs 'C' LA by sweeping Bruins in dual meet; Planell Cruz sets national record at USC...

LOS ANGELES--The Washington State Cougars opened the 2014 outdoor season by sweeping the UCLA Bruins in a dual meet at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA, with the women prevailing 87-75, and the men by a 85-78 count.

In his pre-meet press briefing, WSU coach Rick Sloan expressed some concerns with the 400 meter hurdlers, citing a lack of practice outdoors.

Sloan's concerns were alleviated, as the Cougars went 1-2 in both races.  On the women's side, Erin Allen (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) took the victory in 59.05, with Shaquana Logan second at 59.89.

On the men's side, CJ Allen and Rashaun Johnson also went 1-2, with Allen stopping the watches at 52.20, and Johnson at 53.12.

In the men's competition, the Cougs got 1-2 finishes in the 200m (Andre McBride & Terrance Chambers 21.58 & 21.74); the 5000 (Andrew Kimpel & Drew Jordan 14:11.70 & 14.11.75); the steeple (Andrew Gonzales and Forrest Shaffer 8:58.11 & 9:06.98); and the triple jump (Tay'lor Eubanks in 49-0.25/14.94m and PJ Benedictus 48-7.5/14.82m).

The Cougar women swept the 800 with Abby Regan (2:09.78) leading the charge, with veterans Ruby Roberts (2:09.88) and Courtney Zalud (2:09.92) behind, and went 1-2 in the javelin with Celena Ward winning at 144-2 (43.95m) and Kelsie Taylor second at 144-0 (43.90m).

“I think we competed hard as a team today,” Sloan said. “Everyone had everyone else’s back and I couldn’t be more proud of the competitive efforts our kids made. Our coaching staff had everybody prepared and we came out and competed like Cougars throughout the meet. There were moments when we could have faded and folded but we didn’t. There’s a lot to be excited about.”


Across town at the USC Trojan Invitational, Washington's Diamara Planell Cruz led a 1-2-3 Husky finish in the women's pole vault, clearing 14-0 (4.27m), becoming the third woman in school history to clear 14 feet or better, and claiming a Puerto Rican national record in the process.

Planell Cruz' mark is currently the second best jump outdoors in NCAA Division I so far early in the season.

Kristina Owsinski (13-3.5/4.05m) and Liz Quick (12-5.5/3.80m) finished behind Planell Cruz.

Reigning Pac-12 triple jump champ Kasen Covington just missed his outdoor personal best as he jumped 50-5 1/2 (15.38m) to handily win the event, while Julian Bardwell took third in a PR 49-0 1/2 (14.95m).

JJ Juilfs won the men's pole vault, with a clearance of 16-4 3/4 (5.00m).


In Eugene, former NCAA 1500 champ Katie Flood of the University of Washington led most of the way before dropping to fourth in the 1500, running a solid opening time of 4:20.57, as NIKE/OTC Elite's Anne Kesselring won in 4:18.99.

Teammates Megan Goethals (4:23.05) and Katie Knight (4:23.28) finished in fifth and sixth.

One of the biggest PRs of the day came from Husky redshirt freshman Nick Harris, who rolled to a 1:50.75 in the 800-meters, taking fourth overall and second among collegiate athletes.

NCAA Division II All-American McKayla Fricker of Seattle Pacific earned an automatic qualifying mark of 2:08.00 in finishing second to Shannon Leinert of NIKE/OTC Elite, who ran 2:05.92.  Fricker's mark is a Division II national leader so far this season.

Western Washington's Katie Reichert (162-1/49.40m) and Bethany Drake (157-10/48.11m) went 1-2 in the women's javelin, with Reichert's mark an automatic NCAA D2 qualifier, and the national D2 leader, taking over from Drake, who was the national leader going into the weekend.

In the men's long jump, the Vikings'  Nathaniel van Tuinen took the victory, riding a 3.2 meter per second wind 22-9 1/4 (6.94m).

Spokane native Britney Henry of Oiselle won the women's hammer with a best of 220-7 (67.24m).

NOTE:  The sports information office of the University of Washington contributed to this report.

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