Thursday, February 12, 2015

Busy weekend of track & field action at the Dempsey and elsewhere...

The eyes of domestic track & field fans will be focused this weekend on opposite sides of the country, as the University of Washington hosts the Husky Classic Friday and Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor, while the pros rev it up at the Armory in New York for the NYRR Millrose Games.

For many of the country’s top collegiate athletes in the distance events, the Dempsey is the go-to place for those trying to get one of those 16 spots into next month’s NCAA Division I championship meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Squads from Arkansas, Georgia, Georgetown, Penn State and Tennessee will have entries in the meet.

Eleven men’s team’s ranked in the USTFCCCA national top-25 will have entries, led by #1 Oregon, while #1 Georgia leads the women’s entries.

As always, several top professionals are entered, including several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, namely Angela Bizarri (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 3000; Amanda Mergaert (mile), Cas Loxsom (800), Matt Hillenbrand (mile), and Garrett Heath & Nick Symmonds (3000).  Two time Olympian Andrew Wheating is entered in the men’s 800, as are 2012 Olympians Geena Lara (800), and Bridget Franek (3000).  Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle, who will be on the US national team traveling to next month’s IAAF world cross country championships, is a late entry in the women’s 3000.

Both Joe Morris and Olympian Ryan Bailey are the headliners in the men’s 60, while on the field, the pole vault entries, led by Jax Thoirs and Diamara Planell Cruz of the Huskies on the men’s and women’s sides look to be strong.

Media partner Flotrack will have live streaming coverage of the meet both days, for its subscribers.

Across the country in New York, Bernard Lagat is entered in the prestigious Wanamaker Mile, where the eight-time winner of this race will try to cement his legacy by taking a ninth title, and oh by the way, shoot for the masters (40+) world record in the mile of 3:58.15 by Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan.

The WSU alum will face last year’s winner Will Leer, along with two-time world championship medalist Matthew Centrowitz, New Zealand’s Nick Willis, and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano.  Mark Wieczorek of the Brooks Beasts will serve as the rabbit, with instructions to run 58, 1:55 and 2:52.

Rainier Beach alum Michael Berry is entered in the 500 meters, with former world 400 hurdles champ Bershawn Jackson and Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee the most significant competition.

NBCSN will televise the NYRR Millrose Games Saturday from 3-5 pm.  The start lists for the professional sections of the meet are available here.

In other action this weekend, Eastern Washington will send a contingent of athletes to Jacksons Track in Nampa, Idaho for the Boise State Team Challenge meet on Saturday.  

Sunday, the University of Washington hosts the UW Open, with the competition coming from local schools and clubs in the area.  Notable entries in the meet include both Morris and Bailey in the 60 and 200, along with Camas HS senior and reigning USA junior 1500m champ Alexa Efraimson, who is entered in both the 600 and the 1000.

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