Friday, May 9, 2014

THE WEEKEND AHEAD: GNAC Champs, Ken Shannon Invite, Vandal Jamboree, Pac-12 Multis...

The weekend ahead has all of Washington's Division II teams in action in Monmouth, Oregon, as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet gets underway Friday on the campus of Western Oregon University.

Finals will be contested in the men's and women's shot, discus, and long jumps, men's high jump, along with both steeplechases and 10000 on Friday.

Seattle Pacific's McKayla Fricker (left/photo by Paul Merca) is aiming for a third straigt conference title at 800 meters, as she's ranked #3 in NCAA D2 at 2:06.85.

Western Washington's Lindsay Wells, like Fricker is aiming for a third straight GNAC crown in the hammer.  She's currently ranked #11 at 182-4 (55.58m) nationally.

Other defending champions in the women's competition from the four Washington GNAC schools include Cheyanna Pinley of Western Washington in the pole vault.  2011 100 and 200 champ Kishia Mitchell of Seattle Pacfic returns, but she'll contest the 200 and 400.

Western Washington will not have the services of national javelin leader Bethany Drake for the conference championship.

Alaska Anchorage is the favorite to win the GNAC women's title, with both Seattle Pacific and Western Washington having realistic chances to challenge should UAA slip up.

On the men's side, Western Washington brings defending champs Jonathon Poolman (400), Logan Myers (110 HH), and Brett Watson (HJ), while Saint Martin's has Joseph Keeton (PV) returning as a defending champ.

The Viking men's squad is shooting for their fifth straight team title and fifth overall.

In Seattle, the University of Washington will close out their home season with the Ken Shannon Invitational Friday and Saturday at Husky Track, featuring teams from Seattle University, University of British Columbia, the University of Puget Sound, and several local and regional club teams.

Most of Washington's top athletes will see some action this weekend as they sharpen up for next week's Pac-12 championship meet in Pullman, notably their sprint and field event athletes.

Washington State and Eastern Washington will compete in Moscow, Idaho at the Vandal Jamboree Friday and Saturday, as they sharpen up for their conference championships.

The Pac-12 track and field championships get underway this weekend in Pullman with the multi-event competition Saturday and Sunday.

In the decathlon, Washington State's Spencer Wordell and Dino Dodig are entered, as is Washington's Nick Pfeiffer.  Edmonds-Woodway alum Alec Fellows of Oregon is also in the field.  His teammate Dakotah Keys is the favorite to win the event.

Alissa Brooks-Johnson will represent WSU in the heptathlon competition, while Washington will not send any entries to Pullman.

On the pro circuit, Kara Patterson is in Doha, competing in the first meet of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League series at the Qatar Sports Club.

UPDATE (10:15 AM)  Patterson finished sixth in Doha tonight with a best of 196-9 (59.97m), as Martina Ratej of Slovenia won with a best of 214-10 (65.48m).

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