For seven of the state’s nine Division I and II schools, California’s where the action is this weekend, as all five Division I schools, along with Seattle Pacific and Central Washington head to meets, primarily in the Bay Area.
Most of the action centers around Friday and Saturday’s Stanford Invitational at Cobb Track and Angell Field on the campus of Stanford University. The Stanford Invitational features about 3300 high school, junior college, four-year schools, and select professional athletes.
One of the highlights of Friday’s competition is the evening distance carnival, with numerous heats of the 5000, 10000, and steeplechase, as the calm wind conditions along with excellent competition makes the Stanford Invitational a premier destination for many of the country’s top distance runners, including Angela Bizarri (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts, who is listed in the women's 10000.
The two Pac-12 schools, Washington and Washington State, have the largest contingent of athletes competing at Stanford, with most of their team appearing at the meet. The UW pole vault group is the only event group that did not make the trip to Stanford, with Husky vault coach Pat Licari opting to rest them. Eastern Washington has athletes in a variety of events entered, while most of Gonzaga’s top-flite distance runners will run.
Those distance runners hoping to run at Stanford but didn’t make the qualifying cut are entered in the San Francisco State Distance Classic on the campus of San Francisco State University. Seattle University’s top distance runners are entered there.
Many of the country’s top multi-event specialists, including 2013 world championships team member and Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo are headed to Santa Barbara for the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational on the campus of Westmont College.
Among those entered at Santa Barbara include world record holder, and reigning world and Olympic champion Ashton Eaton of the Oregon TC Elite; however, it’s expected that he won’t complete all ten decathlon events, as he preps for the big Gotzis Invitational in May, and has an automatic world championship berth for Beijing in August, as defending world champ.
While most of Western Washington’s athletes are off this weekend, the Vikings host the WWU Combined Events meet, which started Thursday.
Kayle Greininger of the host Vikings holds the first day lead in the heptathlon with a four-event score of 2356. In the decathlon, Olympic CC’s Jayson Brocklesby leads after five events with 3102 points.
Select athletes from most of the area schools are competing locally at the Shotwell Invitational hosted by the University of Puget Sound, or at the Sam Adams Classic (not affiliated with the meet in Santa Barbara) in Spokane, hosted by Whitworth University.