Saturday, May 3, 2014

Huskies and Cougars split dual meet in Pullman...

PULLMAN--The Washington men's team won its second straight dual meet against the Washington State Cougars 84-79 on what started out as a cloudy day, replaced by sun towards the end of the meet at Mooberry Track.

That victory was the first for the Huskies in Pullman since 2006.

On the women's side, despite a victory in the final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay, Washington lost a closer than expected count to the Cougars, 82-81, and miss out on sweeping WSU for the first time since 1997.

The first four field events set the tempo for Washington, as the form charts held true, with Jax Thoirs, Kasen Covington, and Quinn Hale winning the pole vault, long jump, and javelin, and WSU's Travis Pickett winning the hammer, with the Cougs getting a second place in the long jump, as PJ Benedictus nosed out Washington's Julian Bardwell, 23-3 1/4 (7.09m) to 23-0 1/2 (7.02m).

The meet began to break Washington's way in the first running event, the 3000 steeple, as 2013 dual meet winner Aaron Nelson of the Huskies won over 2012 winner Andrew Gonzales of WSU 8:56.71 to 8:59.17, with Tim Cummings taking third at 9:09.68.

If Washington State were to make a move, it had to be done during both hurdle races, the 100, 200 and 400, and the 800.

The Cougs held serve in the 110 hurdles, 400, 100, and 200, but had their fortunes turned in the 800 and 400 hurdles.  

In the 800, Washington's Izaic Yorks (#917, above/photo by Paul Merca) used a strong finish in the final straight to overtake the Cougars' Jesse Jorgensen, the reigning MPSF indoor champ and NCAA All-American from Puyallup, winning in 1:48.15, with last year's dual meet winner, Derrick Daigre of UW taking second in 1:48.49, and Jorgensen third in 1:48.62.

The 400 hurdles, which many projected to be a 1-2-3 sweep for Washington State, didn't happen as the Cougars only ran two athletes, with Rashaun Johnson winning in 52.70, and Daniel Zmuda second at 53.44, with Washington's Kaid Tipton third in 53.62.

Washington State chipped away at the Husky lead with a win in the discus by Cameron Brink (154-11/47.22m) and a 2-3 finish in the triple jump by PJ Benedictus and Tay'lor Eubanks to set the stage for the penultimate running event, the 3000.

With the Huskies needing only a second and third place finish to clinch the meet, they did one better, as Meron Simon pulled away late to win over WSU's Drew Jordan, 8:17.73 to 8:18.16, with steeple winner Aaron Nelson taking third in 8:24.21 to get six points, making the 4 x 400 relay won by Washington State in 3:13.22 a moot point.

“Our men had a great start but then we lost Quadelle Satterwhite after the 4x1, and to weather that setback and make up for that was awesome,” said UW coach Greg Metcalf. “Our middle distance guys did a fantastic job today. Aaron Nelson gave us a big boost with the steeplechase win early, and Izaic Yorks and Derrick Daigre gave a huge boost of momentum in the 800, then Meron to close the door in the 3k was a really nice performance for him.”

In the women's meet, three wins by thrower Mary Barnett and a crucial third place finish in the 3000 by Ruby Roberts were the catalyst for Washington State's one-point escape over their cross-state rival.

Barnett opened with a lifetime-best hammer throw of 142-feet 11 inches (43.57m), then tossing a season-best shot put distance of 45-7 (13.89m), and ended her day with a PR heave in the discus of 139-11 (42.66m). WSU head coach Rick Sloan saw the discus as a pivotal event for the Cougar women to win the meet.

Dominique Keel was a double-winner Saturday with victories in the dashes, running the 100m in wind-aided time of 11.84 seconds and the 200m in a time of 24.14. Keel also ran on the winning 4x100m relay.

Contributions in the long jump by pole vaulter Diamara Planell Cruz, along with upset wins in the 400 and the triple jump had the favored Cougars reeling at the thought of a possible sweep at the hands of the Huskies.

In an event the Cougars were projected to sweep, Planell Cruz got a third place finish in the long jump with a mark of 18-11 1/4 (5.77m), the same mark as WSU's Shaquana Logan, but was relegated to third based on Logan's better second jump of 18-5 3/4 (5.63m) against Planell Cruz's 17-8 (5.38m).

In the 400, Krista Armstead upset favored Bree Winfrey and Christiana Ekelem, running a season best 56.08.

The triple jump saw the return of the Huskies' Shaniae Lakes after missing all of the 2013 season with hip surgery, as she rode a +4.2 meter per second wind to leap 42-1 1/4 (12.83m) to beat favored Charlotte Muschamp (40-4 1/4; 12.30m) of the Cougars.  Lakes was the Pac-12 runner-up in this event two years ago.

In the 400 hurdles, Gianna Woodruff lowered her season-best for a third-straight race, and this time set a new career-best, as she went 57.72 to finish just ahead of senior teammate Kayla Stueckle who ran 58.73 for second.  Woodruff's winning time broke UW school record holder Terra Barter's meet record of 57.88 from 1995.

With both teams holding serve in their strong events, the 3000 proved to be the event that clinched the meet for WSU.  With only the 3000 and 4 x 400 remaining, and the Cougars leading 81-68, Washington State needed only one point to get the win, and they got it when senior 5000m school record holder Ruby Roberts (#946/photo by Paul Merca), who earlier in the meet finished second in the 1500 behind Katie Flood, got third in a time of 9:35.38.

Flood got the win in 9:30.41, and Megan Goethals raced past Roberts in the last straightaway to get second in 9:33.84, but couldn't tow Husky freshman teammate Katie Knight with her, as Knight was fourth in 9:40.43.

The Husky women’s 4x400-meter relay then came through with the win in 3:43.31 to close out the day and leave the one point deficit, the closest finish on either side since 2009, when the Husky women won by just 1/3 of a point in Seattle.

“The Dual is one of the highlights of our schedule every year,” said UW coach Greg Metcalf. “We were hoping to get two wins today, but our women were incredibly close. We can look at a lot of places where we could have stolen another point. But our group really competed. It was great to have Shaniae Lakes back and healthy and jumping 42-feet. Gianna Woodruff had a meet record, we had sweeps in the hammer and vault, and Katie Flood looked great with a couple wins."

“I liked most today is that we had a very close, tight, hard-fought competition and there was a winner and loser at the end of the day. That is something that we are sorely missing in the sport of track and field,” WSU coach Rick Sloan said. “This is what makes the sport fun, in my opinion. Even though it was stressful, I had a blast today. The women did a miraculous job at the end of the meet, putting themselves in a position to get the win. Thankful for Ruby Roberts who wasn’t supposed to run the 3000m but got in there and battled and got a third place. Her one point made the difference for the women’s team.”

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

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