Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yoro holds on for second place finish in GNAC decathlon, while SPU's Luquin takes third in heptathlon...

LACEY—Saint Martin’s Jaysen Yoro’s (left/photo courtesy Saint Martin's University) first day lead in the decathlon at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference multi-event championship evaporated, as Northwest Nazarene freshman Payton Lewis rallied and took the title Tuesday, scoring 6595 points to Yoro’s 6541.

Justin Peterson of Central Washington took fourth with a score of 6172, followed by Michael Stralser of Western Washington with 6031, while Saint Martin’s David Durden was sixth with 6026.

Yoro finished sixth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.96. He was fifth in the discus (33.60m; 110-3), was tied for fifth in the pole vault (3.60m, 11-9 3/4) was fourth in the javelin (43.61m, 143-1) and finished second in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:45.41.

SMU coach Jim Brewer said, "I am especially proud of Jaysen and David for their efforts,. The fact that Jaysen took second in his first decathlon is truly exciting and shows real promise for the years ahead. Of course we were hoping to see him win a conference title. Nevertheless we are still very proud of him. Both him and David learned some valuable lessons from this meet that will help them in their next multi."

In the heptathlon competition, defending conference champ Karolin Anders of Alaska-Anchorage cruised to a 573 point victory,  scoring 5162 points.

Seattle Pacific’s Maliea Luquin, who won the javelin with at toss of 122-3 (22.37m), finished third overall with 4584 points.

Kaylie Greninger of Western Washington finished fifth with 4462 points, followed by Maddi Hommes of Seattle Pacific with 4381, and HarLee Ortega of Central Washington finished seventh with 4158 points.

Saint Martin’s hosts the SMU Last Chance Qualifier meet Saturday, with the GNAC championship meet resuming next weekend on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Complete results of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference multi-events competition are available here and here.

NOTE:  The GNAC and Saint Martin’s University contributed to this report.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Owsinski earns Pac-12 field event athlete of the week honors...

SAN FRANCISCO—The Pac-12 Conference named Washington pole vaulter Kristina Owsinski (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki/trackandfieldphoto.com) as its women’s field event athlete of the week for the week ending April 26th.

Owsinski, a junior from Ridgefield,  cleared a new career-best and best mark in the Pac-12 this year in the pole vault at 14-feet, 2.50-inches (4.33m) on Saturday at the Triton Invitational. She took first out of a field of 38 athletes and moved to #11 nationally this outdoor season, as well as moving to # 2 on the Husky top-10 list.

Owsinski is the second Husky vaulter to win a Pac-12 weekly honor this season, as Jax Thoirs won the men’s honor on Mar. 24. But even with all of UW’s great pole vault tradition, Owsinski is the first Husky women’s vaulter named Pac-12 Athlete of the Week. Washington’s only other women’s field athletes of the week were javelin thrower Brooke Pighin in 2010, and U.S. Olympic discus thrower Aretha Hill in 1998 and 1996.

Owsinski has cleared 14 feet in three of her last six meets this season.


NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference and the University of Washington contributed to this report.


Jaysen Yoro takes first day lead in GNAC decathlon...

LACEY— Saint Martin's freshman Jaysen Yoro (above/photo courtesy Saint Martin's University) used a meet-record high jump of 6-6 1/4 (1.99m) to take the lead after day 1 of the decathlon Monday in the GNAC Multi-Event Championships on the Saint Martin’s University campus.

Yoro, who also had the best mark of the day in the 100 meters (11.26), scored 3,617 points. In all, Yoro finished either first or second in each of the first five events.

Justin Peterson of Central Washington stands fourth at the halfway mark with 3299 points, with SMU’s David Durden fifth with 3279 and Michael Stralser of Western Washington sixth with 3194 points.

Karolin Anders of Alaska Anchorage leads the heptathlon after four events, with 3071 points.

Maliea Luquin of Seattle Pacific stands in a tie for third with 2777 points, while Kaylie Greninger of Western Washington is fifth at 2638, Maddi Hommes of SPU seventh at 2515, and HarLee Ortega from Central Washington is eighth with 2514.

The meet resumes Tuesday on the SMU campus, with the main portion of the GNAC championships beginning on Friday May 8th on the Western Oregon campus in Monmouth.


NOTE:  Saint Martin’s University and the GNAC contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Husky men's DMR finish second at Drake; Owsinski skies to PR in San Diego...

DES MOINES, Iowa—The Husky men’s distance medley relay team of Meron Simon, Andrew Prentice, Nick Harris and Izaic Yorks (above/photo by James Kirby, The Next Level Iowa) earned a second place finish on the final day of the Drake Relays at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.

Simon, who has gained notoriety in recent weeks for his improbable steeplechase win at the Pepsi Team Challenge in Eugene thanks to a colossal blunder by an Oregon runner, got Washington started with a 3:00.68 1200 leg.  Prentice then split 48.37, and gave the baton to Harris, who ran 1:53.67 on the 800 leg.

Sub-4 minute miler Izaic Yorks ran the fastest 1600 split of the day, clocking 4:00.39 to get Washington to second, finishing 2/10ths of a second behind Oklahoma State, which took the win in 9:42.91 to the Huskies’ 9:43.11.

Washington’s women’s distance medley relay squad of Katie Knight, Rose Christen, Anna Maxwell and Maddie Meyers finished third in 11:17.54.

Oklahoma State took the win in 11:15.03,  with Arizona State second in 11:15.13.

Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara was sixth in the invitational mile in 4:04.16, as 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano won in 4:00.05.

In the World Championships Preview pole vault, University of Washington alum Brad Walker was fourth at 18-1.5 (5.52m), as Sam Kendricks won at 19-1 (5.82m), and reigning world and Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie of France was third at 18-5.25 (5.62m).

In San Diego, Washington’s Kristina Owsinski (left/photo by Paul Merca), the reigning MPSF indoor champion, set a personal best of 14-2.25 (4.33m) to win the pole vault at the Triton Invitational hosted by the University of California at San Diego.  Defending Pac-12 champ Diamara Planell Cruz of the Huskies tied for fourth at 13-2.5 (4.03m).  

Owsinski’s mark is the second highest in school history, behind Logan Miller’s school record of 14-4.5 (4.38m).


In Pullman, Washington State’s Abby Regan and Eastern Washington’s Jordan Arakawa highlighted competition at the Cougar Invitational track & field meet at Mooberry Track on the WSU campus.

Regan, the Cougars’ Australian import, ran a season best 2:08.22 to win and set a new meet record, breaking Courtney Zalud’s meet record of 2:08.85 set in 2011.

Arakawa, a NCAA qualifier for the Eagles last year, won the hammer with a season best 215-2 (65.59m).

The Cougar javelin crew had a strong showing, as Kyle Stevens (219-11/67.04m) and brother Brad (216-4/65.95m) went 1-2, while Celena Ward (150-0/45.73m) and Kelsie Taylor (142-8/43.49m) turned the same trick in the women’s competition.

Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills (16:38.77 5000m) and Troy Fraley (9:13.39 steeple) both broke meet records in their events at the Cougar Invite, which was contested under windy conditions, with several downpours slowing things down at Mooberry Track.


In Bellingham, Saint Martin’s Kahili Novikoff set a meet record in the hammer at the Ralph Vernacchia Open Track & Field meet hosted by Western Washington, winning with a toss of 193-4 (58.93m), and just missing the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 193-8 (59.05m), making her mark the sixth best in Division II so far this season.

Katelyn Steen of Western Washington set the other meet record, winning the 5000m in 16:35.53.


NOTE:  The Drake Relays, and the sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Western Washington, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and UC San Diego contributed to this report.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Winger wins javelin at Drake Relays, while Huskies get another second place finish...

DES MOINES, Iowa—Skyview HS alum and two-time US Olympian Kara Winger (left/photo by Paul Merca) easily won the javelin competition on a wet day at the Drake Relays Friday afternoon at Drake Stadium.

Winger, the reigning USA national champion, outdistanced the competition with a throw of 193-9 (59.07m), but fell short of her 2015 season best of 199-6 (60.82m) set last month at the Texas Relays in Austin.

On the track, the Washington women’s team earned yet another second place finish, with Oklahoma State taking the victory in the 4 x 800m relay.

Washington's 4 x 800m relay team of (from left) Rose Christen,
Baylee Mires, Anna Maxwell & Eleanor Fulton
(photo by James Kirby/The Next Level Iowa)
The Dawgs ran a team of Rose Christen, Eleanor Fulton, Anna Maxwell and Baylee Mires.  Mires got the baton in fourth place and managed to run a split of 2:05.68 to help the Huskies get second in a final time of 8:36.59, as Oklahoma State ran 8:27.88.

In the men’s 4 x 800, Washington’s team of Nick Harris, Drew Schreiber, Kyle Blume & Andrew Prentice finished ninth in a time of 7:35.30.  Loyola (Illinois) won the race in 7:25.12.

The invitational 800m saw Seattle's Phoebe Wright run 2:01.65 to take third as Ajee Wilson won in 2:00.03.

At the Triton Invitational in San Diego, UW redshirt freshman Kaitlin Zinsli won the open section of the women’s pole vault with a new personal best of 12-7.5 (3.85m).


Results from the Drake Relays are available here, while results from the UCSD Triton Invitational are available here.

In Philadelphia, Tacoma's Marcus Chambers ran a 400m split of 47.90 to help the Oregon Ducks win the distance medley relay (1200-400-800-1600) at the Penn Relays, as he teamed with Johnny Gregorek, Niki Franzmair, and Edward Cheserek.

NOTE:  The Drake Relays, and the University of Washington contributed to this report.

All nine Washington schools in action in Des Moines, San Diego, Pullman and Bellingham...

Washington's Katie Knight (2463) hands
off to Maddie Meyers at the Drake Relays
(photo courtesy Drake Relays)
All nine of Washington’s Division I and II schools are in action this weekend, as the countdown to the various conference championship meets gets underway.

The University of Washington is split this weekend, with their middle distance and distance runners competing at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, which started Thursday with their women’s 4 x 1600m team taking second, and their men’s 4 x 1600 placing eighth.  

Friday, the Huskies will send out their 4 x 800m relay squads, and Saturday, they’ll have entries in the distance medley relays.

Vancouver’s Kara Winger is entered in the women’s javelin on Friday, while Spokane native Brad Walker is slated to go in the invitational pole vault Saturday which includes reigning world and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France.

Several professionals, including Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara, are entered in a special invitational mile race Saturday.

The Huskies also have a group of athletes entered in the Triton Invitational in San Diego Friday & Saturday, hosted by the University of California/San Diego, namely throwers, jumpers, and a few sprinters.  They’ll be led by All American pole vaulters Diamara Planell Cruz and Jax Thoirs.

Seattle Pacific will have a small contingent of athletes (primarily sprinters) in the UCSD meet as well.


In Pullman, all three eastern Washington Division I schools—Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and host Washington State—will compete in Saturday’s Cougar Invitational track & field meet at the Mooberry Track complex.


All four of Washington’s Division II schools—Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, Saint Martin’s, and host Western Washington, plus Division I Seattle University, will compete in Bellingham at the Ralph Vernacchia Open meet at Civic Stadium



The multis begin at 10 am with the decathlon 100, with the heptathlon starting at 10:30.  Action resumes Tuesday with the decathlon 110 hurdles at 9 am, while the heptathlon long jump gets day 2 going at 10 am.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Drake University, Washington State University, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, UC San Diego, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dawgs fall short of repeating in thrilling 4 x 1600 at Drake Relays...

DES MOINES, Iowa—The University of Washington women’s 4 x 1600 meter relay squad, which entered the Drake Relays as the defending champions, ran ten seconds faster than last year’s team, but fell short of repeating, as Oklahoma State edged the Huskies in a meet record 18:58.11 to 18:59.38.

Washington opened with Eleanor Fulton, where she positioned the Huskies in the lead pack before handing off to Katie Knight.  Knight then gave way to Maddie Meyers, who had the team’s best split at 4:38 as Washington took the lead going into the anchor leg with Baylee Mires (left/photo courtesy Drake Relays) on the carry.

Mires gamely hung on to the lead, but was passed by Oklahoma State anchor Natalja Piliusina as the Cowgirls took the victory in a new meet record time of 18:58.11, breaking the old meet record of 18:58.82.

The Washington men’s 4 x 1600 relay team of Meron Simon, Johnathan Stevens, Keith Williams, and Izaic Yorks, which also entered the meet as defending champions, finished eighth in a time of 16:42.38, as Oklahoma State also took the victory in 16:19.47, with Central Kitsap HS alum Shane Moskowitz running the third leg for the Cowboys, coached by Olympia native Dave Smith.

The Huskies have entries over the next two days in the 4 x 800 and the distance medley.

Two time US Olympian Kara Winger will throw the javelin at Drake Friday.


NOTE:  The Drake Relays and the University of Washington contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Brad Walker takes second at Hy-Vee Street Vault and gets world championships standard...

DES MOINES, Iowa—University of Washington alum and American record holder Brad Walker (left/photo courtesy Drake Relays) finished second to reigning world and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France at the inaugural Hy-Vee Street Vault on Court Avenue as part of the Drake Relays Wednesday night.

Walker actually led the competition early, with a first attempt clearance at his opening height of 18-0.5 (5.50m), then followed it up with a second attempt make at 18-8.25 (5.70m).  At both bars, Lavillenie needed one more attempt than Walker to clear.

Walker lost the lead when Lavillenie made 19-0.25 (5.80m) on his first attempt, a feat Walker couldn’t match.

Walker’s jump of 18-8.25 is a season best, and more importantly, gets him over the IAAF world championship qualifying standard of 18-6.5 (5.65m).

The Drake Relays got underway Wednesday with the multi events, and continue Thursday with several high school events and a distance carnival in the evening.  Washington’s Aaron Nelson is listed among the entries in the men’s 10000 Thursday, and the Huskies are sending a group of primarily middle distance and distance runners to Drake, of which nearly all will run on Friday.

American record holder and Vancouver native Kara Winger is among the entries in Friday’s javelin, while Walker is slated to go in the Beijing preview men’s pole vault on Saturday against Lavillenie.



Portions of the Drake Relays will be shown on Saturday on NBCSN starting at noon, eastern time, while USATF.tv will have online coverage from 6-7 pm eastern on Friday, and Saturday starting at 1:30 pm eastern.

NOTE:  The Drake Relays and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Cas Loxsom named to 4x800m relay pool for IAAF World Relays...

INDIANAPOLIS--Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named by USA Track & Field as one of five members of the Team USA relay pool for the men’s 4 x 800 meter relay that will be contested at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas on May 1-2.

Loxsom finished second in the 800 at last year’s USA outdoor track & field championships in Sacramento, and set the American record twice at 600 meters indoors this winter.

He will join Brandon Johnson, Robby Andrews, Ryan Martin, Duane Solomon, and Erik Sowinski on the 4 x 800 meter relay pool, as the USA attempts to defend the Golden Baton at the World Relays.


In Des Moines, Iowa, Garrett Heath of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts led a quartet of men with Washington ties with a third place finish at the Grand Blue Mile on the streets of Des Moines to kick off Drake Relays week.

Heath ran 4:05 (4:04.16), followed by Beasts teammate Riley Masters (4:04.39), then Washington State alum Bernard Lagat (4:04.67), and Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara at 4:06 (4:05.25).

Matthew Centrowitz of the Nike Oregon Project won the race in 4:04 (4:03.29), followed by Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano (4:03.57).


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the Drake Relays contributed to this report.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Michael Berry named to Team USA 4 x 400 relay pool for USA vs the World at Penn Relays...

INDIANAPOLIS—Rainier Beach HS graduate Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named by USA Track & Field Monday as one of five members of the Team USA relay pool for the Nike men’s 4 x 400 meter relay that will be contested in the USA vs the World segment of the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Berry, who finished second at the 2014 NCAA championships in the 400 in Eugene, joins Kyle Clemons, Patrick Feeney, Clayton Parros and Brycen Spratling on the USA 4 x 400 pool.

USA vs. the World at the Penn Relays will air live on NBCSN from 12:30-3 p.m. ET Saturday, with international teams competing in six relays: men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m.

USA vs. the World kicks off two exciting relay-filled weeks for Team USA, as the defending Golden Baton champions head to the Bahamas to take on the world at the 2015 IAAF World Relays on Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

SPU alum McKayla Fricker sets big PR in 800 at Mt. SAC...

WALNUT, California—First year professional McKayla Fricker (left/photo by Paul Merca) scored a significant personal best in the 800 meters Saturday on the final day of the Mt. SAC Relays at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the Mount San Antonio College campus.

Fricker, who won the NCAA Division II 800 title last year for Seattle Pacific University, and trains with Alexa Efrraimson under coach Mike Hickey, ran 2:03.21 to finish sixth in the invitational 800 meters, which was won by 2013 world championships bronze medalist Brenda Martinez of New Balance, who ran 2:00.83.

Fricker's 2:03.21 is a nearly three second drop from her previous personal best of 2:06.18, set in winning the NCAA Division II title.

Fricker’s time is just off the qualifying standard of 2:03.00 to get into June’s USA outdoor championships in Eugene.

In other action at Mt SAC:

Reigning Pac-12 Conference 400m hurdles champion, CJ Allen of Washington State ran a lifetime-best time of 50.83 seconds to win the second heat of the men’s Invitational section and finished fourth among the 16 racers and third among collegiate runners. The top three runners were in the first heat; 

—In the women’s pole vault, Washington’s Diamara Planell Cruz finished in a tie for fourth at 14-1.25 (4.30m), while teammate Kristina Owsinski was sixth at 13-9.25 (4.20m).  Stanford alum Katerina Stefanidi of Greece won with a best of 14-9 (4.50m);

—In the men’s pole vault, Jax Thoirs of the Huskies was fifth at 17-6.5 (5.35m). Hiroki Ogita of Japan won at 18-2.5 (5.55m).


At the Beach Invitational, hosted by Long Beach State at Cerritos College, Western Washington’s Katie Reichert moved into second on the NCAA Division II list in the javelin, winning the event with a personal best of 165-7 (50.48m).

Eastern Washington’s Jeremy VanAssche had a solid sprint double, running 10.43 (+3.6), and 21.44 (+2.1) to finish second overall in the 100 and third in the 200.  The Eagles’ 4 x 100 relay won the overall title, as the team of Paige Hammock, Erika Lombardo, Brooke Monson and Rebecca Tarbert ran 46.91 to defeat conference rival Montana State (46.95).

One day after setting a school record in the high jump and clearing seven feet for the first time, winning with a best of 7-0.25 (2.14m) at the Bryan Clay Invitational, SeattleU’s Shaddye Melu ran 47.65 in the 400 to finish fifth overall.

Washington’s Kennadi Bouyer was second overall in the women’s 100 (11.70, +2.1), while Husky teammate Haley Jacobson was fifth (11.75, +0.8).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Alexa Efraimson finishes a solid third in 2015 outdoor debut at Mt. SAC...

WALNUT, California—Camas HS senior Alexa Efraimson (left, #3/photo by Paul Merca) opened up her outdoor campaign with a solid third place finish in the invitational 1500 meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the Mount San Antonio College campus.

Efraimson, who recently announced that she will attend the University of Portland, while competing for Nike, ran 4:09.43 to finish behind Sarah Brown of New Balance (4:08.15) and Stephanie Brown of Nike (4:08.51).

On the collegiate front, two of the most noteworthy performances at the Mt. SAC Relays came from athletes from Division II Western Washington, as in the men’s open 100, the Vikings’ Alex Donigian finished third in his heat, and ran a wind-aided 10.22 (+4.4mps) which would be the fastest time in NCAA Division II this season.

In the Invitational-B section of the 3000 steeplechase, Western Washington All-American Katelyn Steen ran 10:13.01 to finish third and gain an automatic qualifying berth for the NCAA Division II championships.  That mark broke her own WWU school record of 10:20.66 set last year, and the conference record of 10:13.33 set by Alaska-Anchorage’s Susan Tanui in 2012.

The University of Washington women’s 4 x 100 meter relay team of Haley Jacobson, Kennadi Bouyer, Gianna Woodruff and Sierra Peterson won the open section against two Pac-12 schools in a time of 45.26.  Cross-state rival Washington State was fourth in that race, running 45.39, while UCLA was sixth in 45.75,

In the men’s open javelin, Washington State redshirt freshman Brad Stevens threw a lifetime best and school freshman record 233-2 (71.07m) to take third.

Stevens’ mark vaulted him to second on the Pac-12 performance list this season behind Oregon’s Sam Crouser, and broke the school freshman record of 221-10 (67.66m) set in 1990 by Chad McKinney, better known as country recording artist Chance McKinney.

The Huskies’ Izaic Yorks finished second in his heat of the invitational 1500 meters, running 3:43.21.


In Azusa, Seattle Pacific’s Lynelle Decker set a personal best and all but assured herself a spot on the line for the NCAA Division II championships in the 800, winning in a time 2:08,13 at the Bryan Clay Invitational on the campus of Azusa Pacific College.

Her mark is the second fastest time in Division II so far this season.


In Eugene, Washington State alum Collier Lawrence finished second in the 3000 steeplechase at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field, running 10:06.45, behind US Olympian Bridget Franek, who won in 9:51.56.

Tacoma native Dakarai Hightower won the men’s high jump with a leap of 7-2 1/2 (2.20m), then took three unsuccessful attempts at a personal best of 7-5 1/4 (2.27m).


NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, Mt. San Antonio College, Azusa Pacific University, and the University of Oregon contributed to this report.

Eastern Washington's Sarah Reiter wins open-A section of Mt. SAC Relays 10000...

WALNUT, California—Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the 10000 meter run in the open-A section of the Mt. SAC Relays meet Thursday night at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College.

Reiter, the reigning Big Sky cross country champion, ran 34:38.42 to claim the victory, and in the process, moved up to #2 on the school’s all-time list, behind Kari McKay’s school record of 33:46.1 set in 1992.

In the invitational-B section, Gonzaga’s Amelia Evans was 12th in 35:07.03, while in the invitational-A section, Seattle Pacific’s Anna Patti was 18th in 35:46.51.

In other action at Mt. SAC, Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills lowered her own school record in the 3000 steeplechase, running 10:18.42 to finish second in the A section.  In that same race, Eastern Washington’s Paula Gil-Echevarria was eighth in 10:30.40.

The men’s 10000 saw Gonzaga’s Willie Milam finish 16th in the invitational section, running 29:49.78, In the invitational B section, Washington State’s John Whelan was fourth in 29:43.41.  In the open-B section, Gonzaga’s Matthew Crichlow was fifth in 30:07.27.

In the men’s steeple, Washington State’s Forrest Shaffer cracked the nine-minute mark, running 8:59.85 to finish ninth in the open-A section.


In Azusa, Washington’s CJ Smith, who came into the program as a steeplechaser and cross country runner, completed her first heptathlon, scoring 4978 points at the California Invite heptathlon at Cougar Stadium on the campus of Azusa Pacific College.

Her 4978 score is the fourth best in University of Washington history.

In the decathlon, Washington’s Nick Pfeiffer scored a personal best 6907 points to take fifth in the A section of the California Invite.   Redshirt freshmen Cole Jensen and Carson Murray scored 6451, and 6387 points, respectively.  Jensen was 15th in the A section, while Murray was eighth in the B section.

Washington’s release is available here, along with a link to the final scores.

NOTE:  Mt. San Antonio College, Azusa Pacific College and the University of Washington sports information offices contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Southern California plays host to Washington teams with trio of meets highlighted by Mt. SAC...

Southern California is the destination for most of Washington’s Division I and II schools this week, with several meets in the area as the time before the conference championship meets gets closer.

The Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut began Wednesday with the multi-events, staged at Azusa Pacific College along with the California Invitational Multis, while the meet proper begins Thursday with the distance carnival.

At the California Invitational Multis, University of Washington redshirt freshman Cole Jensen (left/photo by Paul Merca) and senior Nick Pfeiffer both sit in the top-seven of the invitational decathlon section, while redshirt freshman Carson Murray is third overall in the "B" section with over 3,500 points after his day one as well. 

On the women's side, C.J. Smith is through four events of her first heptathlon, ranking 25th overall out of 48 competitors.

Jensen and Murray are both halfway through their first collegiate decathlons and performing very well through day one. Jensen has 3,628 points to sit fifth in the invite section while Murray has 3,543 points thus far.

Smith heads into day two with 2,814 points.

In addition to the Mt. SAC Relays, athletes will be scattered throughout Southern California with competition at the Bryan Clay Invitational hosted by Azusa Pacific, and the Beach Invitational, hosted by Long Beach State University at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

The link to entries for the Mt. SAC Relays is available here.

The link to entries for the Bryan Clay Invitational is available here.

The link to entries for the Beach Invitational is available here.

A limited number of athletes from the University of Washington and Gonzaga University are competing in Eugene at the Oregon Relays.

One team that is staying at home this weekend is Central Washington, as they host the Spike Arlt Invitational meet on their campus on Saturday.

Eugene awarded the 2021 IAAF World Track & Field Championships...

BEIJING—In what is considered a bit of a surprise, Eugene was awarded the 2021 IAAF World Track & Field Championships this afternoon during a meeting of the IAAF Council.

The proposal to give Eugene the world championships was taken in response to what was seen as a unique strategic opportunity to stage the world championships in the United States.

Eugene, which hosted the 2014 world junior championships (above/photo by Paul Merca) bid for the 2019 world championships, and lost out to Doha, Qatar.  In its presentation, Eugene stated that both private and public monies would be used to stage the meet, with the support of the US Olympic Committee, USA Track & Field, and a commitment by NBC to produce & broadcast the meet.

If you’re wondering whether or not the Council has bypassed the bidding process before, there is precedence, as the 2007 meet was awarded to Osaka without a bid.

In a prepared statement, IAAF president Lamine Diack (left, with Vin Lananna/photo courtesy IAAF) said, “In granting the championships to Eugene the IAAF Council have made a clear choice on a strategic decision that enables us to take advantage of a unique opportunity that may never arise again, whereby public authorities, the private sector, the national Olympic Committee, NBC and a particularly enthusiastic public are joining forces.”

“We are deeply honored to be given the opportunity to host the world’s greatest track and field athletes on U.S. soil,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “We thank President Diack and the IAAF Council for entrusting this meet to the United States. Team USA has established itself as the most successful track and field team in the world. We now have the opportunity and duty to rise to the same level as hosts of these championships.”

TrackTown USA president and former University of Oregon coach Vin Lananna, who led Eugene's bid for the championships, commented: "I thank President Diack, the Council and USATF President Stephanie Hightower and CEO Max Siegel in supporting the bid. We promise to deliver an outstanding championships for the sport of track and field in America and around the world."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Did the Huskies' Meron Simon channel his inner John Blutarsky down the stretch?

Somewhere between the final barrier and the finish line of Saturday’s Pepsi Team Invitational 3000m steeplechase race, Washington’s Meron Simon (left/photo by Paul Merca) must have heard the voice of John Blutarsky extolling his fellow Delta Tau Chi members in the defining moment of the 1978 film, “Animal House”, filmed up the street from Historic Hayward Field in Eugene.

In that speech, Blutarsky, played by John Belushi, says to the Deltas, who are on the verge of being booted out of Faber College, “Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”


As fate would have it, Oregon’s Tanguy Pepiot began celebrating his apparent victory with about 50 meters to go, waving to the crowd, oblivious to the fact that Simon was charging hard, catching Pepiot with less than five meters to go, and getting the win in 8:57.86 to 8:57.96.

The video of Simon’s victory has gone viral, with close to one million views on YouTube since FOX Sports posted it earlier in the day.  Portions of it have been posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever social media outlets are available.  

In case you missed it, here it is:


Simon’s teammate, shot putter Frank Catelli has even gotten into the spirit, splicing together clips along with his now famous stretch run:


As long as there’s social media, the Huskies’ Meron Simon won’t be a forgotten man.  Not now, nor anytime soon.

The moral of the story:  The race ain’t over until you cross the line.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

WEEKEND RECAP: WSU's CJ Allen runs Pac-12 leading time in 400H; Brad Walker wins vault at Sun Angel...

TEMPE, Arizona—Defending Pac-12 champion CJ Allen (left/photo by Paul Merca) set a personal best and kept his hold on the conference lead in the 400 hurdles with a solid third place finish Saturday night at the Sun Angel Classic on the campus of Arizona State University.

Allen, a sophomore from Allyn, ran 51.04 behind Texas A&M’s Gregory Coleman (50.22) and Boise State’s Jordin Andrade (50.66) to eclipse his personal best of 51.14, set in winning the Pac-12 championship in Pullman, despite running in the isolated confines of lane 9.

University of Washington alum Brad Walker won the invitational pole vault with a clearance of 18-4.5 (5.60m), a mark that ties him for fifth in the world outdoors this season.

The Cougars got two wins at the meet from 200 meter runner Bria’una Watley (24.16 PR), and Jesse Jorgensen in the 1500 (3:49.31 PR).


In Spokane, Central Washington’s men’s and women’s squads took the overall team titles Saturday at the WAR VIII meet at Spokane Falls CC, despite windy and blustery conditions that was a challenge for all who competed.

The Wildcat men’s squad scored 127, while the women’s team scored 120 points.  Both teams got their points through a number of second place finishes, while only garnering six total wins by their athletes.

The two best marks of the day came in the throws, as Whitworth’s Chase Wright threw 215-7 (65.71m) to win the javelin, while Washington State’s Brock Eager threw 187-8 (57.21m) to win the hammer.

The results of the WAR VIII meet are available here.  Central Washington’s recap is available here, while SeattleU’s recap is here, and Gonzaga’s is here.

In Burnaby, British Columbia, Michaela Farmer of Seattle Pacific got herself into the mix for a spot in the NCAA Dvision II javelin, throwing a personal best 135-4 (41.24m) at the Emilie Mondor Invitational meet to highlight the Falcons’ performances at the meet.


NOTE:  The sports information offices of Arizona State, Washington State, Gonzaga, SeattleU, Central Washington, and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

UW men get second, while women take third at Pepsi Team Invitational...

EUGENE—The Washington men finished second, while the Husky women’s squad finished third in the three-team Pepsi Team Invitational hosted by the University of Oregon at Historic Hayward Field on a windy day.

While the Ducks easily swept both the Huskies and the University of Kentucky Wildcats in both the men’s and women’s team competitions (162 to 115 for UW and 110 for Kentucky in the mens; 138-124 Oregon over Kentucky in the women’s with the Huskies scoring 119 in the women’s team race), the Huskies did manage to get wins from their distance group, throws, sprints, and both vaults.

In the ‘it ain’t over ‘till it’s over’ category, Meron Simon (left/photo by Paul Merca), who hadn’t run a steeplechase in three years, stole a certain victory from Oregon’s Tanguy Pepiot, who was slowing down in front of the west grandstand before the finish line, not knowing that Simon was making a mad dash for the finish until it was too late.

"I thought he had me," Simon said to the Oregonian’s Ken Goe. "I thought he was so far ahead. Then I heard the crowd get crazy. And then he started throwing his hands up, and I thought: 'I don't think he knows I'm coming.' I think it was about five meters to go was kind I (caught) him, and he still had no idea."

Simon took the win in 8:57.86, with a stunned Pepiot second in 8:57.96.

Washington’s 4 x 100m relay team of Lucas Strong, Quadelle Satterwhite, Jacopo Spano, and Chris Williams ran a season best of 40.33 to take the victory.

In the pole vaults, Kristina Owsinski and Liz Quick, along with JJ Juilifs and Jax Thoirs went 1-2 to get the Dawgs the maximum points possible in both events (only two from each team score), despite less than ideal vaulting conditions.

Owsinski won with a best of 12-11 3/4 (3.96m), while Eugene high school product Juilifs took the victory with a vault of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m).

Washington redshirt freshman Gina Flint got the win in the shot put, throwing 50-4 (15.34m).

Tacoma native Marcus Chambers of the host Ducks won the 200 in a wind-aided 20.71, took the 400 in a personal best 47.09, and anchored the 4 x 400 relay team to the victory in 3:12.30.

"We have the best fans in the country, so we just want to go out there, compete, try to win every single race," Chambers said. "We want to dominate everybody we go against and show them that we're working hard, and we're trying to bring back another  outdoor title."


NOTE:  The University of Washington and the University of Oregon sports information offices contributed to this report.

Eagles win Pelluer Invite over Montana, Idaho, and the wind...

CHENEY—The Pelluer Invitational was supposed to be contested between three teams—host Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

However, there was a fourth team that crashed the party—the wind, which at times gusted up to 25 miles an hour, and played havoc with those athletes looking for qualifying marks for next month’s Big Sky Conference championship meet on this same Roos Field track.

The Eagles battled through less than ideal weather conditions to win 20 events and prevail over Big Sky foes Montana and Idaho. The men's team defeated Montana 102-49 and Idaho 102-20, while the women's team grabbed victories over Montana 73.5 to 63 and Idaho 73.5 to 39.5.

Two of the big stars of the meet for the Eagles were jumper Phil Puccino (left/photo by Paul Merca) and thrower Emma Murillo.


Murillo set a new school record along with a meet record in the discus, spinning the platter 169-0 (51.52m) to put herself in the #2 spot in the conference.

2014 NCAA qualifier Jordan Arakawa won the hammer with his first throw over 200 feet this season, with a toss of 203-3 (61.96m).

Afterwards, head men’s coach Stan Kerr said about Puccino’s performances, "Phil has put in a lot of years here working hard and dealing with injuries, and now he has put himself in a position to have the kind of experience at the Big Sky Championships that you envision. He's worked very hard to put himself in that position and now his performances are rewarding him."

Women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg, a former discus standout at Seattle Pacific, said, "Discus was awesome -- it was a great event for Eastern today. We had four different athletes come away with personal bests and qualify for conference. The top one of the bunch set a school record -- I am so excited for Emma and her nine foot personal best. That's huge, I love doing that on the home ring. We are excited because we will be hosting the Big Sky Championships, so the athletes now know what they can do in a meet situation on our rings. It's going to be a big confidence booster."


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dawgs in Eugene, Cougs in Tempe, while majority of Washington schools compete in Greater Spokane...

Sprinter Haley Jacobson of the Huskies
is entered in both the 100 & 200
at Saturday's Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene
(Paul Merca photo)
For the majority of Washington’s nine Division I and II schools, this weekend’s emphasis will be placed on scoring points, as opposed to chasing regional or national qualifying marks. Of course, if athletes attain those standards while competing, so much the better.

The University of Washington heads to Eugene for Saturday’s Pepsi Team Challenge, which has traditionally involved at least four teams, but for this year, only involves the host Ducks and the University of Kentucky.

This is one of three appearances that Washington will have live on the Pac-12 Network this season, as the UW-WSU dual meet on May 2nd will be televised as well as the Pac-12 championships.

The first field event starts at 1:30pm, with a few running events falling outside the TV window, which begins at 3:30pm and continues until the 4 x 400 relays at 5:30pm.

Scoring for the meet is taken to 6 places, going 7-5-4-3-2-1, with relays 7-5-4, and only two individuals per school scoring.


Washington State will send a majority of its squad to Tempe, Arizona for Friday and Saturday’s Sun Angel Classic, led by Pac-12 400 meter hurdles champ CJ Allen, and multi-event specialist Alissa Brooks-Johnson.

Brooks-Johnson is entered in the both the 100 and 400 hurdles, as well as the long jump and javelin.


The Greater Spokane area is where the rest of Washington’s Division I and II schools will congregate, as Spokane Falls Community College hosts the annual Northwest Scoring Clash, also known as Washington Versus the Region (WAR VIII), as the combined programs of Central Washington, Gonzaga, Saint Martin’s, SeattleU, and Washington State go against schools from Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.


Just west of Spokane, Eastern Washington University hosts the annual Pelluer Invitational Saturday, featuring a double dual meet between the Eagles, the Idaho Vandals, and the Montana Grizzlies.

Eastern’s only home regular season meet is a dry run for next month’s Big Sky Conference championships, and will give those athletes from Idaho and Montana an opportunity to compete on the track before the championship meet.


Eastern’s NCAA qualifier Jordan Arakawa will go in the men’s hammer, as will Big Sky indoor champ Trenton Osborn (men’s LJ), and Tierra White (women’s HJ).

EWU women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg previews the Pelluer Invitational in this video courtesy of Eastern Washington.  She does not say what events her “Big Five” distance runners—Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter, world junior championships steeple finalist Paula Gil-Echevarria, Katie Mahoney, Catie Arrigoni, and Berenice Penaloza will run Saturday.



paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site to cover part of WAR VIII, and the Pelluer Invitational Saturday.

Western Washington is off this weekend, while Seattle Pacific travels north to Burnaby, British Columbia for the Emilie Mondor Invitational, hosted by Simon Fraser University.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Angela Bizzarri has solid debut at 10000m at Stanford Invitational...

PALO ALTO, California—In her debut over the distance, Seattle resident Angela Bizzarri (photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts finished a solid sixth in the 10000 meter run Friday night to highlight the distance racing action at the Stanford Invitational at Cobb Track & Angell Field on the Stanford campus.

In a race won by Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, who out kicked American record holder Shalane Flanagan by a 31:08.16 to 31:09.02 to take the 2015 world lead, Bizzarri, a former NCAA cross country champion from the University of Illinois, ran 32:26.98, to hold off Chelsea Blaase of Tennessee and Margo Malone of Syracuse.

In the second section of the women’s 10000 at Stanford, Gonzaga’s Jessica Mildes took the victory in a time of 33:40.82.  In that same section, Washington State’s CharLee Linton broke the school record in that event, running 34:03.69.

Earlier in the day, the Zags’ Willie Milam ran 13:53.74 to break the school record in the 5000 at Stanford.

Washington’s Maddie Meyers ran the third fastest time in UW school history, running 15:40.48 to finish 11th (fourth collegian) in the fast section of the women’s 5000.

Though he competed unattached, Husky freshman Fred Huxham broke 14 minutes in the 5000m, running 13:58.37.


Up the road in San Francisco, reigning Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter of Eastern Washington won the top section of the women’s 5000 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival at Cox Stadium on the campus of SF State University.

Reiter ran 16:36.28 to defeat Seattle Pacific’s Anna Patti, who ran 16:41.56.  Maggie Jones (16:46.29) and Amelia Evans (16:47.08) finished 3-4 for Gonzaga.

In the men’s steeple, Gonzaga sophomore Troy Fraley finished second to set a new school record, running 8:56.23.


In Santa Barbara, Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo only competed in one event at the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational, as he threw the shot 47-3.75 (14.42m).

In the women’s heptathlon, Seattle Pacific’s Maddi Hommes currently stands 16th with a first day score of 2435 points, as Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara TC leads with 3769 points.


In Bellingham, Western Washington’s Kaylie Greninger won the heptathlon at the WWU Combined Events meet at Civic Stadium.

Greninger, a sophomore from Skyline HS in Sammamish, scored 3981 points in her debut, to miss taking the GNAC conference lead by one point.

Olympic CC's Jayson Brocklesby won the decathlon with 5,661 points, 519 ahead of teammate Hunter Keffer.


NOTE:  The sports information offices of Stanford University, the University of Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Western Washington contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

THE WEEKEND AHEAD--Cali's where the action's at with Stanford, SF Distance Carnival & Adams mulits...

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.


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.

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