Thursday, February 19, 2015

GNAC indoor championship this weekend; Cougs to run Regan & Jorgensen at Notre Dame...

On the collegiate scene, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet in Nampa, Idaho on Friday and Saturday takes center stage, with Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Central Washington, and Saint Martin’s all sending full squads to one of the fastest tracks in the country.

The women’s team race is projected as a toss-up between three teams—SPU, Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser, with potentially Central Washington throwing themselves into the mix.

On the men’s side, Western Washington, Simon Fraser and Alaska Anchorage are the teams to watch, as the Vikings look to win their fifth conference title.

Western has the top ranked athlete in the conference in five events, and the defending champion in four, led by sprinter Alex Donigian (above, #314/photo courtesy GNAC) in the 60 and 200; Brett Watson in the high jump, and Kevin Yates in the long jump.  Travis Milbrandt is the conference leader in the 60 hurdles at 8.09, set at the Husky Classic over the weekend.

Central Washington will counter with two defending champs in Luke Plummer (triple jump) and Kevin Stanley (weight throw).

Saint Martin’s has a trio of athletes who could potentially place high or win this weekend in high jumper Mikel Smith, pole vaulter Matt DeHan, and heptathlete Jaysen Yoro.  All three own NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks for the national championship meet and look to improve their standings this weekend.

The Falcons of Seattle Pacific will look for a balanced attack from its squad to grab its tenth conference title.  They have two of the top three marks in the 60, 400 & long jump and 3 of the top 4 in the 200.

Lynelle Decker (800), Anna Patti (5000) and Becca Houk (60) all have provisional national qualifying marks in their events.  Patti, Houk and 400 meter runner Jahzelle Ambus are among the top athletes in their events entered this weekend.

Western’s Katelyn Steen is the only athlete with provisional national qualifying marks in three events—the mile, 3000, and 5000, but is only entered in the 3000 this weekend.

Central goes into the meet led by defending high jump champ Tayler Fettig, and former shot put champ Becki Duhamel. Duhamel is currently the conference leader in both the shot and weight throw.

Washington State will be the only Division I team with athletes competing this weekend as seniors Abby Regan and Jesse Jorgensen will race this Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational meet hosted by Notre Dame.

Regan, the new school record holder in the women’s mile at 4:43.91, set at the Husky Classic last week, will run the mile, as will Jorgensen, the reigning MPSF champion at 800 meters.

NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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