SEATTLE--It was the vertical jumps that stole the limelight as the University of Washington hosted the Ken Shannon Invitational Saturday at Husky Track to close the 2014 home schedule, honoring the long-time Husky head track & field coach and hall of famer.
Pole vaulter Jax Thoirs of the host team (above/photo by Paul Merca) provided the most exciting fireworks of the day, as the Scottish national cleared a new facility record of 18-4 1/2 (5.60m) to set a new national record and personal best.
The indoor All-American cleared two lower bars on first attempts, then made it over 17-7 (5.36m) on one try to solidify his win in the event over former NCAA Division II champ Ryan Brown of Club Northwest, who had a best of 17-1 (5.21m).
Thoirs then asked to set the bar at 18-4 ½ (5.60m), four inches higher than he had ever cleared indoors or out. After barely missing his first try, Thoirs gained confidence that he could get it, and on his second jump the bar stayed up, despite a wobble or two.
He then asked to raise the bar to 18-9.5 (5.73m), which would have been a new school record, but didn't get a good jump and passed his last two attempts.
An hour or so before Thoirs' record-setting jump, Canadian Olympian and world championships competitor Mike Mason of the Valley Royals TC set a new facility record in the high jump, clearing 7-5 (2.26m), going clean over four straight bars, before bowing out at 7-7 (2.31m).
In Monmouth, Oregon, Western Washington won its third straight men's title at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet hosted by Western Oregon Saturday.
The Vikings outscored Alaska Anchorage 186-158 to win with Western Oregon finishing third. Central Washington was fifth with 90 points; Saint Martin's eighth at 36, and Seattle Pacific ninth at 6 points.
The Vikings' Logan Myers, who was second in the high jump on Friday, won the 110 hurdles in 14.70. They also got a victory in the 4 x 400 relay, with a season best time of 3:15.48.
Central Washington got wins in the pole vault from Brandon Roddewig (15-3.5/4.66m), Kevin Stanley in the hammer (179-8/54.77m), and Luke Plummer in the triple jump (46-8.25/14.23m).
In one of the most hotly contested women's team races in recent memory, Alaska Anchorage edged Northwest Nazarene and Western Washington by just four points, with the Seawolves scoring 137 points to Northwest Nazarene and Western's 133.
Seattle Pacific was fourth with 121, followed by Central Washington with 92. Saint Martin's was eighth with 47 points.
Western Washington's Katelyn Steen was the meet's outstanding performer, as she won the steeplechase Friday in a time of 10:34.40. She added a win in the 5,000 (17:03.91) and a second-place finish in the 1500 (4:30.98) Saturday.
Steen was one of three athletes to finish the meet with 28 points along with Tayler Fettig of Central Washington and Karolin Anders of Alaska Anchorage.
Fettig earned points in four events, winning the high jump (5-8.5/1.74m), finishing second in both the long jump (18-10/5.74m) and heptathlon (4604) and placing seventh in the 100 hurdles (15.13).
Seattle Pacific's McKayla Fricker won the 800 for the third year in a row, in a time of 2:09.15, then won the 1500 in 4:28.19.
Western's Tanya Bjornsson added the 100 hurdles title to her long jump crown on Friday, winning in a time of 14.21.
Kishia Mitchell of Seattle Pacific won her third career GNAC individual title, taking the 400 in 56.54.
Irene Moore led a 1-2 finish of Saints in the 400 hurdles, as the Saint Martin's junior ran 62.01 to edge teammate Megan Teigen by 3/100ths (62.04).
In Pullman, USC's Viktor Fajoyomi leads the first day of competition in the Pac-12 decathlon at Mooberry Track on the Washington State University campus with a five-event score of 4181 points, with defending champ Dakotah Keys of Oregon second at 3964.
Edmonds-Woodway grad Alec Fellows of Oregon is in fourth with 3841 points. Washington State's Dino Dodig is sixth with 3639 points, while teammate Spencer Wordell is in eighth at 3600. The Huskies' Nick Pfeiffer is in twelfth at 3450.
In the women's heptathlon, UCLA's Alexis Walker holds the first day lead at 3345 points, with Arizona's Amber Passalaqua second at 3189.
Washington State freshman Alissa Brooks-Johnson is in fifth at the break with 3042 points.
The multi event competition resumes Sunday. Day 1 scores from the Pac-12 multi-event championships are available here.
NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington and Washington State University, along with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.