Thursday, August 6, 2015

ON TAP THIS WEEKEND: NACAC championships and Flotrack Throwdown...

With this the final weekend for athletes to chase marks to get themselves into the world championships, there are two meets of significance on the horizon.

Starting on Friday, the NACAC senior area championships take place in San Jose, Costa Rica. While this meet hasn’t attracted the truly top tier athletes, this meet is significant in that, thanks to some relaxed qualifying guidelines set by the IAAF, anyone who wins an event at this meet will be deemed to have the qualifying standard for the world championships.

For Marcus Chambers (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Tacoma, the reigning Pac-12 400 meter champion, the NACAC championship meet is an opportunity to convince the coaching staff to take him to Beijing as part of the 4 x 400 relay pool.  Chambers finished sixth in the finals of the 400 at the USA championships at the end of June, and was on the USA squad that finished third in the 4 x 400 at the Pan Am Games in Toronto a few weeks ago.

Vancouver native and reigning national javelin champ Kara Winger is also on the squad competing in San Jose, as is Spokane native and Washington grad Brad Walker.

Though both Winger and Walker have the qualifying standards in hand, this is an opportunity to get in a meet before heading to the USA training camp in Japan and then on to Beijing.  

This meet does have some significance for Winger, as her husband Russ, who finished second at the national championships in the discus, is competing in this meet and is looking for either a victory or the qualifying standard of 213-3 (65.00m) to punch his ticket to Beijing.

On Saturday, the Flotrack Throwdown takes place in Duniway Park near downtown Portland starting at 4:30pm, with several athletes with Washington ties entered.

For fans planning to go to Portland, you will be helping the organizers contribute to the athlete prize pool based on the amount of concessions purchased, including beer (did we say beer?).

On the women’s side, Megan Malasarte of the Brooks Beasts is entered in the 800.  Teammate Hannah Fields is in the 1500, along with Washington alum Mel Lawrence.  Rainier Beach alum Ginnie Crawford goes in the women’s 100 hurdles.

Cas Loxsom and Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts will go in the 800, along with former Beast Mark Wieczorek.  Wieczorek will also be the pacemaker in the men’s mile.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry will run the 400, as will reigning USA 800m champ Nick Symmonds of the Brooks Beasts.

In the one field event of the meet, Club Northwest’s Levi Keller and the University of Washington’s Lev Marcus will compete in the pole vault, as they face decathletes Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee.

The start lists for the Flotrack Throwdown are available here.


As a subplot, Symmonds posted on his Instagram account that he potentially could be off the team for Beijing if he does not sign the contract with USA Track & Field requiring him to wear Nike-branded apparel in all team functions before and during the world championships, including the pre-meet training camp in Japan.

According to Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, Symmonds is threatening to sue USA Track & Field if he is left off the team for not signing the contract.

USATF chief of public affairs Jill Geer said in the post that athletes have ample opportunity to wear non-Nike gear during non-national team events, and that 60% of USATF's elite athletes have individual sponsors that conflict with team deals, but that they've found a way to work with the athletes.

You can read the article here.

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