Saturday, December 31, 2016

Brooks responds to post regarding decision to drop Jeremy Taiwo...

In response to the post regarding Seattle-based Brooks Running's decision not to retain 2016 US Olympic decathlete Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) for the 2017 season, received a statement from Brooks’ senior sports marketing manager Jesse Williams on the company’s decision:

"All of us at Brooks are huge fans of Jeremy and continue to be inspired by his career and accomplishments in track and field. As a running-only company, we've made the strategic decision to refocus our energy on athletes in running-specific events next year, which means we will not renew our contract with Jeremy for 2017. We wish him the best; Rio was a truly special moment and we look forward to watching him again in Tokyo."

While the company would not elaborate on the statement, it is widely believed that several factors came into play, namely their lack of specific shoes for the long jump, shot put, high jump, discus, pole vault and javelin.  For those events, Taiwo used other brands, but either covered the logos with tape or shoe sleeves, or removed the logos completely.

Taiwo, who was ranked #8 in the world by Track & Field News for the 2016 season, is in the process of reaching out to potential equipment sponsors for the 2017 season.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Jeremy Taiwo earns #8 world ranking by Track & Field News, and gets dropped by Brooks...

A few hours after Track & Field News released its 2016 world and US rankings on Friday, Newport HS and University of Washington graduate Jeremy Taiwo (above/photo by Paul Merca) announced on his Instagram account that the decathlete was being dropped by Seattle based Brooks, and that he would no longer compete for the Brooks Beasts in the 2017 season.

Taiwo’s performance in 2016, which included a fourth place finish at the GΓΆtzis Hypo Meeting, a personal best of 8425 points in finishing second at the US Olympic Trials, an 11th place finish in the Rio Olympics, and an overall second place finish in the IAAF’s season long Combined Events  Challenge, earned him a #8 world ranking by the magazine.

Taiwo was the only Brooks Beast member to earn a world ranking, and was in fact the only American male athlete sponsored by Brooks to make the Olympic team, even though the Seattle-based athletic shoe company does not make specialty field event shoes, and its list of sponsored athletes in track & field revolves around distance runners.

πŸ’› I have so much to be thankful for this year, and I would not have been able to experience my first Olympic Games without the sacrifices and helping hands of the many wonderful people in my life. Your belief was power. I so am grateful for absolutely everything. πŸ’œ Thank you to my community, thank you to my family and friends, and to Seattle. πŸ’™ After being told that my sponsorship  with @brooksrunning will not continue after this year.. I responded with .... πŸ’š "I have been told 'No' so much, I have failed so many times, and I have continually been told that I have no value to market... yet that's WHY I succeed, and I will continue to thank you." πŸ–€ ...just as equally important... a special "thank you" is for the haters, naysayers, and non believers. I love being told what I can't do. I soak that up and drink that in. Thank you so much for all the discord and doubt:) I ❤️ YOU ALL 😘😘😘❌⭕️❌⭕️ #Olympian #Decathlon #Decathlete #TeamTaiwo #ThankYou #Seattle #Rio2016 #Olympics #IWasThere #WhereWereYou? #BrooksRunning #ByeFelicia  #ILoveHaters #YouWasntWithMeShootinInTheGym #RickRolled #AmorFati
A photo posted by Jeremy Taiwo (@jeremytaiwo) on

A source close to the Taiwo camp revealed that the company offered him a contract for the 2017 season that was well under the current market value of a world-class decathlete.

An attempt by to reach Brooks’ media relations team for comment was unsuccessful at the time of this post.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Jerrion Lawson and Courtney Okolo win the Bowerman Award...

ORLANDO, Florida—Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas and Courtney Okolo of Texas were named by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Friday night as the recipients of the Bowerman Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate male and female track & field athletes of the 2016 season.

"It was like a relief feeling," Lawson said of hearing his name. "Actually, I was more nervous for the women’s Bowerman than the men’s Bowerman. I don’t know why. That initial anticpiation of you don’t know who the winner is and the men are second."

Lawson joins a prestigious fraternity of former male winners, headlined by two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world record holder Ashton Eaton (2010). Galen Rupp (2009) and Derek Drouin (2013) also won two Olympic medals, while Deon Lendore (2014) captured bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Okolo is the 8th women’s winner of The Bowerman Award and joins an elite sorority that includes the like of 2016 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Rollins (2013) and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson (2009) thanks to a spectacular senior year.

"It means a lot," Okolo said of winning. "I hope that this can carry the weight that the Heisman does. It’s very important for us athletes to have something to honor us. I’m really blessed that they honored me with this award. When you look at the wall and see the Olympians, gold medalists and world record holders, you know this award it’s not just some small award: It’s a big deal. People who wins this award are the best ever."

The other men’s finalists were Donovan Brazier of Texas A&M and Edward Cheserek of Oregon, while the other women’s finalists were Keturah Orji of Georgia, and Raven Saunders of Mississippi.

The Bowerman Voters consist of national and regional media personnel, track & field statisticians, NCAA collegiate administrators, past winners, and presidents of affiliated organizations.  USTFCCCA members collectively receive one (1) vote, and fans collectively received one (1) vote. 

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.  Paul Merca of is one of the national media voters of The Bowerman. Photos of Lawson (above) and Okolo (below) by Mike Scott.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Who I gave my 2016 Bowerman votes to...

For the past several years, I have received a vote as a member of the media for the Bowerman Award, which is given to the top collegiate track & field athlete of the year. It is a privilege that I don’t take lightly, and I am thankful to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for giving me a vote.

I am fortunate to see many of America’s top collegians compete in person, either indoors at the Dempsey in Seattle, or at some of the major meets that I get to travel to during the year.

I got to see all six finalists compete in person at least once during the collegiate season.

My obligations with the NFL have forced me to miss this year’s presentation in Orlando, Florida today, but in the interest of disclosure, I will reveal who I voted for and why:

MEN—Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas

In my mind, this was an easy one to pick, as Lawson won the 100, 200, and long jump at the NCAA outdoor championship meet, becoming the first man to turn the trick since Jesse Owens of the Ohio State University did it in 1935-35.  His 31.5 points at the NCAA outdoors (he was part of the Arkansas 4 x 1 relay team that took third) was the most scored by an individual in the modern era of the meet.

Lawson made the US Olympic team in the long jump, and finished fourth in the finals in Rio de Janeiro.

My second and third place votes went to Edward Cheserek of Oregon and Donovan Brazier of Texas A&M, in that order.

WOMEN—Keturah Orji, Georgia

In the collegiate ranks, 2016 was indeed the year of the field event among the women, with Raven Saunders of Ole Miss in the shot put and Keturah Orji of Georgia dominating their events.

Going into the NCAA outdoor meet, I struggled between Saunders and Orji, but the American record that Orji set of 47-8 (14.53m) in winning the NCAA title sealed the deal for me.  It also helped that Orji finished the indoor season with a fourth place finish at the IAAF World Championships in Portland, despite not competing at the USA Indoors the week before (she won the NCAA indoor title that week, but got to compete at worlds as she was the only American with the standard).

Saunders’ marks in setting the indoor and outdoor collegiate records in the shot put were just as convincing, so she got my second place vote, ahead of Texas’ Courtney Okolo.

The Bowerman Voters consist of national and regional media personnel, track & field statisticians, NCAA collegiate administrators, past winners, and presidents of affiliated organizations.  USTFCCCA members collectively receive one (1) vote, and fans collectively received one (1) vote.  Lawson and Orji won the fan voting, which occurred in late June.

Media partner Flotrack will stream the Bowerman Award presentation, starting at 4pm pacific time.

To read more about the finalists, visit

NOTE:  Photos of Lawson and Orji by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WEEKEND RECAP: Nelson, Fulton & Polley place in top 40 at USATF Club XC champs...

In the final open championship meet of the 2016 season, Washington alum Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca), finished 27th at the USATF National Club Cross Country championships Saturday at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.

Nelson ran 30:11 for the 10 kilometer distance, as former NCAA cross country champion Sam Chelanga took the win in 28:55.

Nelson has relocated to North Carolina to pursue his professional running career as a member of the ZAP Fitness Reebok squad.

Nelson’s team finished fourth with 134 points, as the American Distance Project team out of Colorado won with 31 points, led by Chelanga’s victory.

Club Northwest finished 15th with 390 points led by Nathaniel Richards’ 73rd place finish in 31:02.

In the open women’s 6k, Washington alum Eleanor Fulton finished 33rd in 20:50, while Club Northwest’s Emma Polley was 36th in 20:54.

Fulton’s High Performance West team out of Portland was second with 87 points, finishing behind the Boston Athletic Association’s 33 points. Club Northwest was seventh with 223 points.

US Olympian Colleen Quigley of the Portland-based Bowerman TC won in a time of 19:31.


In Nampa, Idaho, a small contingent of athletes from Saint Martin’s and Central Washington competed at Saturday’s Jackson’s Open meet hosted by Boise State University.

Among the highlights:

—In the men’s high jump, Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith, the reigning NCAA Division II outdoor high jump champ, cleared 7-0.25 (2.14m) to win that event.  Smith’s winning jump is just outside the NCAA D2 automatic standard of 7-1.5 (2.17m), and ranks him second in the country in this young season;

—Central Washington’s Luke Plummer won both the long and triple jumps, with marks of 23-2 (7.06m), and 48-10.25 (14.89m).  Plummer’s triple jump ranks him fourth in the nation in Division II so far this indoor season.

—Central’s Kyler Ooley won the men’s 60 dash in a time of 6.94, while teammate McKenna Emmert won the women’s pole vault, clearing 12-1.5 (3.70m).


According to a post in Athletics Weekly, Garrett Heath of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts will open his 2017 season by defending his title at the Great Edinburgh International X-Country race in the Scottish city.

Heath won the 8k title last year, defeating double Olympic 10000/5000m champ Mo Farah in a dramatic finish at fabled Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.  He also won the 4k race in 2014, and repeated as champion in 2015, before moving up to the 8k distance last year.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tarbert and Lack set new EWU school records in 55 dash at Candy Cane IX...

CHENEY—School records in the 55 meter dash by Eastern Washington’s Rebecca Tarbert (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) and Dawson Lack highlighted the Eagles’ 2017 indoor season opener at the Candy Cane IX meet at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse on the EWU campus Saturday.

Tarbert, the Wenatchee native and defending Big Sky 60 champion, ran 6.78, breaking the 11-year old school record set by Joyce Rainwater.

Lack, a freshman from Medical Lake, ran 6.24 to eclipse the 16-year old record set by Johnnie Williams in 2000.

The Eagles also swept the pole vault competition, led by defending Big Sky indoor and outdoor champ Larry Still, who cleared 15-11 (4.85m).

Eastern’s Erin Clark won the women’s vault with a clearance of 12-10.25 (3.92m), as the Eagles took the first five places in that event.

Freshman Keshun McGee swept both the men’s long and triple jumps, jumping 23-2.25 (7.07m) and 49-7 (15.11m), the latter good for a new meet record.

Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis, who was third at last year’s GNAC decathlon championship, won the heptathlon with a score of 5119 points. Montana’s Erika McLeod, the defending Big Sky pentathlon and heptathlon champ, won the pentathlon with a score of 3842 points.

In the overall team competition, the Eagle men won over Montana by a 59-42 count, while the Grizzlies defeated the host Eagles in the women’s competition 68-39.  The longest distance run in the meet was 600 meters, and was primarily designed for the sprinters, jumpers and throwers of both squads.


ASICS and the IAAF are delighted to announce a new multiple-year partnership with ASICS becoming the latest addition to the prestigious group of Official IAAF Partners.

As Official IAAF Partner, ASICS will be present at and involved in all IAAF World Athletics Series events including the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, GBR (4-13 August 2017) and the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, QAT.

As part of the agreement, ASICS will kit the officials and volunteers at all IAAF World Athletics Series events with ASICS’ footwear and apparel that will ensure the smooth running of these events.  For ASICS this important partnership will allow a strategic expansion of its brand recognition internationally by association with the world’s top athletics events that are viewed by significant global audiences.

ASICS President and CEO Motoi Oyama stated: “I am so happy to have the honour of supporting the IAAF as an Official Partner. We at ASICS hope to both develop excellent products and contribute to the growth the sporting world as a whole by supporting athletics around the globe as an Official Partner of the IAAF.”

IAAF President Sebastian Coe commented: “Global athletics starts a new chapter today based upon solid foundations of modern governance and a renewed determination to protect and promote clean athletes. We are delighted to have attracted ASICS, a world-class sportswear designer and manufacturer, as our latest Official IAAF Partner to share this new journey with us. This agreement is a huge endorsement of a bright future for athletics whose universality and diversity makes it a natural partner for a global corporation like ASICS. We are excited to be joined by a partner whose vision shares our strategy for a youthful, innovative sport that promotes fair competition and healthy living.”

The deal was brokered by the IAAF’s long-term commercial partner Dentsu Inc, in close collaboration with the IAAF, and ends in 2019.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Eastern Washington and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

USATF to elect new president, IAAF releases WC 2017 standards & NCAA rule change delayed one year...

As the calendar year begins to wind down, many of the country’s top athletes, officials and volunteers are in Orlando, Florida for the USA Track & Field annual meeting, which started on Wednesday at the Hilton at Walt Disney World.

The most important item that the delegates attending the annual meeting will need to take care of is to elect a new USATF president to replace Stephanie Hightower, whose two four-year terms is up.

Running for the presidency of the organization are TrackTown USA president, University of Oregon associate athletic director and former head track/cross country coach Vin Lananna (center, with Katie Mackey & Baylee Mires of the Brooks Beasts/photo by Paul Merca), and multiple Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who is currently on the USATF Board of Directors.

The position of president of USATF is a volunteer position.  

Former Club Northwest team manager Becca Peter, who runs the web site, sent both Lananna and Joyner-Kersee a series of questions about various issues and how they would handle them if elected president, the contents of which you can read here.

In other news:

—The IAAF recently announced the qualifying standards for next summer’s world track & field championships in London.

The qualifying period for the world championships began October 1st, and ends on July 23rd.  The meet begins August 4th and runs through the 13th.

—In a move that would’ve affected post collegians and athletes from smaller schools who wish to compete in large collegiate invitational meets such as the indoor series hosted by the University of Washington, the NCAA Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Rules Committee decided to delay for one year the implementation of a rules change requiring verifiable entry performances to be published through an online NCAA reporting system (currently As a result, the rule goes into effect on December 1, 2017.

Some of the concerns about this new rule include the unintended effects on incoming freshman athletes, injured athletes and distance runners who would have to be entered with a “no mark” performance until a verifiable current season performance is established. 

This rule also potentially shuts out post collegians entering collegiate meets, since doesn’t track marks made in post-collegiate competition, such as USA nationals or international meets. forcing deserving athletes to enter with a ‘no mark’ performance, which leads to a meet director’s worst nightmare in trying to seed a meet.

The intent of the rule was to disallow speculative marks, which coaches and meet directors use to set up fields.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field, the IAAF, and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Peloquin finishes sixth at NCAAs; UW's Neale eighth, while WSU's Williams earns All-America status...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana—Boise State sophomore Brenna Peloquin (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished sixth in the women’s 6k race at the NCAA Division I cross country championships at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course on a cold, windy, and blustery day, in complete contrast to yesterday’s conditions, which were near 70 degrees.

Peloquin, a native of Gig Harbor, was with the leaders for most of the race before losing contact in the last kilometer, as she ran 19:55, 13 seconds behind winner Karissa Schweizer of Missouri.

Two places behind Peloquin was the reigning Pac-12 and NCAA West regional champ, the University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale, who worked her way through the pack to finish in 19:59.

The rest of the #7 ranked Husky squad, which had high hopes of a podium finish, collectively did not run up to expectations, finishing 12th with a final team score of 352 points.

The University of Oregon, bolstered by freshman Katie Rainsberger’s 4th place finish, won the national title by a 125-126 count over Michigan, with Pac-12 champ Colorado third with 134 points.

After Neale’s eighth place finish, freshman Kaitlyn Neal was the next Husky finisher in 78th in 20:44, followed by Izzi Batt-Doyle in 109th in 20:53.

Rounding out Washington’s scorers were Katie Knight in 113th (20:54), and Kaylee Flanagan in 150th (21:05).

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished 86th in a time of 20:47.

The Washington State men’s team had a solid run, finishing 14th, as Michael Williams (left/photo by Paul Merca)  earned his first All-America certificate, finishing 30th in 30:17.

Following Williams for the Cougars were John Whelan in 63rd (30:38), Nathan Tadesse in 113th (30:59), Sam Levora in 115th (30:59), and Chandler Teigen in 145th (31:13).

Colorado’s John Dressel earned his second straight All-America certificate, as the Mt. Spokane HS grad finished 33rd in 30:22.

Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane’s North Central HS finished 68th in 30:40, followed by Shadle Park/Spokane’s Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona in 95th in 30:51, the same time as Miller Haller of Boise State and Edmonds/Woodway HS, who was 96th.

Washington’s Fred Huxham was 100th in 30:52.  

Portland’s Nick Hauger from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS finished 154th in 31:18, followed by Boise State’s Riley Campbell from Tahoma HS, who was 212th in 31:51.

Weitz was the sixth man for #1 ranked Northern Arizona, who won their first national championship, as the Lumberjacks scored 125 points, with Stanford second at 158, and Syracuse third with 164.

In a mild upset, Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan won the national title in 29:22, with three-time defending champion Edward Cheserek third in 29:48.


In St. Leo, Florida, Western Washington’s Isaac Derline finished 102nd in the NCAA Division II cross country championships under sunny skies.

Derline ran 32:18 over the 10 kilometer distance, as Vincent Kiprop of Missouri Southern won the national title in a time of 29:08.

In the women’s 6k race, Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter finished 24thth in a time of 21:14, while her sister Georgia, who runs for Western State in Colorado finished eighth in a time of 20:40.

The Hockinson HS grads joined older sister Sarah (Porter) Crouch, who competed for Western Washington in earning All-America honors in cross country.

Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State in Michigan won the individual title in 20:02.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Runners ready to roll in Terre Haute for Saturday's NCAA championship race...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana—Under 70-degree temperatures and clear skies, the athletes competing in Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championships took the opportunity to run over the Lavern Gibson Championship Course.

While the weather was ideal Friday, conditions for Saturday are expected to worsen over the next few hours.  A thuderstorm will hit the Terre Haute area Friday night, with temperatures expected to drop to the low 40s by the time the race starts at 11 am (8 am Pacific), local time.  In fact, in the last few minutes, as we are filing the story at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course media work room, the thunderstorms have rolled in

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter and her coach Chris Shane (above/photo by Paul Merca), along with the Washington State men’s team, the University of Washington’s women’s team and individual runner Fred Huxham, along with many of the schools with athletes from the state of Washington competing for Boise State, Colorado, Northern Arizona, and Portland, took the time to figure out points along the course where to make the crucial moves in preparation for Saturday’s title clash.

The Huskies will compete in their 20th NCAA championship meet over a 22-year period, and their tenth straight.  The seventh-ranked Dawgs, who were ranked as high as #2 this season, are aiming for a podium (top four) finish, a spot they last saw in 2011 when they took second.  They are coming off two straight runner-up finishes at the Pac-12 championships, where they lost to Colorado, and the NCAA West Regionals, where they were edged out by Stanford.

The Huskies’ Fred Huxham, who finished third in the West regionals, will run solo, but nonetheless aim to become the fifth runner in the last three seasons to earn All-America (top 40) status, joining Aaron Nelson, Tyler King, Izaic Yorks and Colby Gilbert.

Washington State, which finished fifth at both the Pac-12s and the NCAA regionals, enters the meet ranked #18 in the nation, are aiming to better their current national ranking.

For Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter, this will be an opportunity to improve upon her 46th place finish in Louisville at last year’s nationals, where she missed making All-America by six places and two seconds.

In addition to those athletes from Washington schools competing, several individuals from the state of Washington are running Saturday as part of teams.

Those athletes include Portland’s Nick Hauger, a sophomore from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who led the Pilots with his sixth place finish at the NCAA West Regionals; Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin of Boise State; Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane’s North Central HS; Miller Haller of Boise State from Edmonds/Woodway HS; Riley Campbell of Boise State from Tahoma HS in Maple Valley; Mt. Spokane grad John Dressel of #2 ranked Colorado: and Nathan Weitz of Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who runs for #1 ranked Northern Arizona.

Peloquin finished in the top ten in last year’s race, while Dressel and Weitz are key runners for Colorado and Northern Arizona, and could play significant roles in their school’s national title hopes.

Racing gets underway Saturday at 8am pacific with the women’s 6k, followed an hour later with the men’s 10k, where Oregon’s Edward Cheserek seeks an unprecedented fourth straight national title.


Meanwhile, the NCAA Division II championship race will be contested Saturday in St. Leo, Florida, where Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter and Western Washington’s Isaac Derline take aim for All-America certificates.

Porter is the first athlete in school history to compete at the NCAA championship meet, while Derline is appearing in his second national championship meet, having finished 104th two years ago.

The men’s 10 k race gets underway at 5:30 am Pacific time, while the women’s 6k race starts at 6:45 am.

The link to the live results page is available here. will provide live streaming coverage of the Division II championship race.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

UW & WSU drop slightly in final USTFCCCA coaches poll...

NEW ORLEANS—In advance of Saturday’s NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, the USTFCCCA released on Monday its final regular season rankings.

The University of Washington women’s team (above/photo by Paul Merca) dropped to #7 after finishing second to Stanford at the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento on November 11th. The Cardinal, who previously occupied the #7 spot, moved to #4, the spot previously occupied by the Huskies.

The nation’s top five teams include Pac-12 champ Colorado at #1, NC State at 2, followed by Providence, Stanford, and Michigan.

Other Pac-12 schools ranked include #12 Oregon, #27 Utah, and #30 UCLA.

On the men’s side, Washington State dropped two spots to #17 in the final regular season poll.

The nation’s top five teams include #1 Northern Arizona, followed by Colorado, BYU, Stanford, and Syracuse.

Other ranked Pac-12 schools include #8 UCLA, and #10 Oregon.


In addition to the Washington State men & Washington women, several athletes with Washington ties will run in Saturday’s NCAA championship race in Terre Haute.

Those athletes include Portland’s Nick Hauger (left/photo courtesy University of Portland), a sophomore from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who led the Pilots with his sixth place finish at the NCAA West Regionals; Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin of Boise State; Eastern Washington's Sarah Reiter; Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane’s North Central HS; Miller Haller of Boise State from Edmonds/Woodway HS; Riley Campbell of Boise State from Tahoma HS in Maple Valley; Mt. Spokane grad John Dressel of #2 ranked Colorado: and Nathan Weitz of Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who runs for #1 ranked Northern Arizona.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NCAA confirms Huxham, Peloquin, Reiter & WSU men into championship field...

INDIANAPOLIS—It was a formality after the various regional championships contested around the country on Friday, but the NCAA announced Saturday afternoon the various at-large teams and individuals selected to compete in next week’s NCAA cross country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The University of Washington’s Fred Huxham (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished third at the NCAA west regionals in Sacramento Friday, in a time of 29:48 for 10k, will run in the national championship race as an individual.

Also selected to compete as an individual in the women’s race were Gig Harbor HS alum Brenna Peloquin of Boise State, and Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter.

Peloquin finished third in Friday’s regional championship, clocking 19:42 for 6k, while Reiter ran 19:44 to take sixth.

Receiving an at-large bid to the national championships for the second straight year are the Washington State Cougars, who finished fifth in Sacramento, behind Stanford, Portland, UCLA and Oregon.

The University of Washington women's team received an auto qualifier after finishing second behind Stanford.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Neale wins NCAA West Regional crown; UW women, WSU men qualify for nationals along with Reiter & Huxham...

SACRAMENTO—Using the formula that earned the victory a fortnight ago at the Pac-12 championships, the University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) came from behind to win the NCAA West Regional cross country title Friday at Haggen Oaks Golf Course on a pleasant, but slightly muggy day in the California state capitol.

Neale stayed patient through the first fifteen minutes of the race, content to run between sixth and tenth place, but moved to the front for the last five minutes, taking command from Gig Harbor native Brenna Peloquin.

When Neale made her decisive move, neither Peloquin nor any other runner in the top ten responded to her surge, and the Glacier Peak HS grad won going away, covering the 6k course in 19:28, a 13 second margin over San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor, with Peloquin holding on to third at 19:42.

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished sixth to assure herself of another NCAA championship berth, running 19:44.

Washington’s Charlotte Prouse finished tenth in a time of 19:52.

Neale and Prouse led the Huskies to a second place team finish with a final score of 88 points, 17 behind winner Stanford’s 71, as the Cardinal placed five runners in the top 20.

Also scoring for the Huskies were Katie Knight in 24th place (20:12), Kaitlyn Neal in 27th (20:17), an Izzi Batt-Doyle in 29th (20:21).

Gonzaga finished 16th with a score of 487 points, led by Jordan Thurston’s 40th place finish in 20:31. Washington State was 18th with 525 points, led by Devon Bortfeld’s 38th place finish in 20:28.  Eastern Washington was 20th with 571 points, and Seattle University was 23rd with 605 points, led by         WAC champion Lila Rice, who was 95th in 21:35.

In the men’s 10k, Washington State (above/photo by Paul Merca) took the race out hard early, but managed to hang on to a fifth place finish with 143 points to all but assure the Cougars of a return trip to the national championships.

The Cougs were led by Michael Williams, who finished 17th in a time of 30:00, followed by John Whelan in 18th in 30:03.

Also scoring for WSU were Chandler Teigen in 27th place (30:11); Sam Levora in 36th (30:25); and Nathan Wadhwani in 47th (30:39).

The Washington Huskies had a rough day, finishing tenth with a final score of 262 points, though they will advance one individual to next Saturday’s NCAA championships.

Fred Huxham had perhaps the best run of his collegiate career, finishing third with a time of 29:48, holding off the charge of San Francisco’s Alex Short, who had the same time.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won the individual title in a time of 29:24, with his teammate Matthew Maton second at 29:45.

Stanford won the team title with a low score of 75 points, 15 better than Portland's 90. UCLA was third with 112, followed by Oregon at 122.

Gonzaga was twelfth with a final score of 341 points, led by Max Kaderabek, who was 52nd in 30:46. Seattle University was 17th with 495 points, led by Eli Boudouris’ 83rd place finish in 31:38.  Eastern Washington was 26th with 712 points, led by Matt Hommel in 108th place in 32:07.

The Washington women’s team, the WSU men’s squad, along with Peloquin, Huxham, and Reiter next compete in eight days at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The road to the national championships goes through Sacramento Friday...

All five of Washington’s Division I schools head down to Sacramento for Friday morning’s NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course with hopes of qualifying as a team for the NCAA championships on November 19th in Terre Haute, Indiana (in the cases of both University of Washington teams and the Washington State men’s team) and/or finishing in the top half  of the field (in the cases of everyone else).

Sacramento State will be the host school for the regional championship meet, with the women’s 6k race starting at 11 am, followed by the men’s 10k an hour later.

The Washington women’s team, led by Pac-12 champ Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca), goes into the regional meet as the top seeded team in the meet, based on their #4 national ranking.  The Huskies probably don’t need to win the meet to advance to nationals, and may have the luxury to rest either Neale and/or Charlotte Prouse if UW coach Greg Metcalf elects to do so.

Both Washington State and the UW men’s teams will need to have strong showings Friday if they are to advance to nationals, though the Cougars, who finished fifth at the Pac-12s, and are ranked #17 nationally, go into the meet without the sense of urgency that the Huskies do, after their seventh-place finish at the Pac-12s, which knocked them out of the national top-30.  

Washington realistically needs to finish at least fourth and count on help from other schools to push the Huskies into one of the thirteen at-large berths (top two teams in each of the nine regionals automatically qualify for the national championship meet, as the selection committee will take into account each team’s strength of schedule during the regular season.

In the men’s race, the regional meet will be the first race this season that a majority of runners will run the championship meet distance of 10k, as most of the conference championship meets two weeks ago were run over 8k.

With the Washington men potentially on the bubble of qualifying/not qualifying for nationals, there may be some pressure, particularly on their top three runners—All American Colby Gilbert, Fred Huxham, and Andrew Gardner—to run for a top-25 placing in order to advance to the nationals.

A sub-plot in the women’s race are the bids by Gig Harbor HS grad Brenna Peloquin of Boise State and Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter to qualify for nationals as individuals.  

Peloquin went to nationals last year and finished ninth, but with her team weakened due to an injury to teammate Allie Ostrander, Peloquin, who won the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational last month, will most likely have to run for herself, unless her teammates can stay close to her and overtake several teams, including Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Cal, and UCLA.

Reiter, who finished second at the Big Sky championship meet two weeks ago, and went to nationals last season with a ninth place finish at regionals in Seattle, will need to replicate her performance to go to nationals again.

After the 31 teams have been selected, 38 individuals per gender will be chosen to advance. The top four individual finishers not on a qualifying team, and inside the top 25, will be chosen to advance for each region. Two additional athletes will be selected from the national pool at-large. They must also have finished within their region's top-25.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saint Martin's Porter & Western's Derline qualify for NCAA D2 XC nationals...

BILLINGS, Montana—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter (above, #320/photo courtesy Saint Martin’s University) and Western Washington’s Isaac Derline were the lone bright spots for Washington’s four Division II schools competing at the NCAA West Regional Cross Country championships at Amend Park, as they most likely punched their tickets to the national championships in St. Leo, Florida in two weeks.

In the women’s 6k race, Porter was in the lead group of about nine runners and hung on to run a solid time of 21:17, as Laura Aceves of Cal State San Bernadino won the regional title in a time of 20:56, four seconds ahead of Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat, who took second in the meet for the second year in a row.

Both Seattle Pacific and Western Washington, which finished third and fourth in the GNAC championship meet, and were expected to contend for one of the six spots for the national championships, were never factors in the race.

The Vikings finished eighth with a score of 286 points, with Cal Baptist getting the sixth and final berth to the nationals with 185 points.  Western was led by Lillianna Stelling, who finished 21st in a time of 22:01.

Central Washington, which finished sixth at the GNAC meet, took 14th with 392 points, led by Alexa Shindruk, who was 52nd in 22:43.

Saint Martin’s was 15th with 401 points, while the Falcons of Seattle Pacific were a disappointing 16th with 407 points, led by Sarah Macdonald in 33rd place in 22:20.

Chico State won the women’s regional title, placing all five scoring runners in the top 25 with a score of 70 points, followed by GNAC runner-up Simon Fraser’s 103, and GNAC champ Alaska Anchorage’s 111.

In the men’s 10k championship race, Western’s Isaac Derline was in a group of six runners that came in together after winner William Reyes of Chico State, who ran 29:46 to take the win.  Derline was fifth in 30:09, just a second behind GNAC champ Edwin Kangogo of Alaska Anchorage.

The Vikings finished seventh with 168 points, 12 short of fifth place Cal Baptist and the final spot to the national championships.

Central Washington finished 11th with 397 points, led by Josh Boston in 62nd with a time of 32:00, while Saint Martin’s finished 23rd with 582 points, led by Josiah Shelman in 98th place in 32:58.  Seattle Pacific did not send a men’s team to the regionals.

Saint Martin’s Porter in third place was the second individual across the line not on a qualifying team, while Western’s Derline was the first individual runner not on a qualifying team. The official announcement of individual qualifiers for the NCAA championship meet will be made on Monday.

NOTE: The GNAC, and the sports information offices of Saint Martin’s, Western Washington, and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The road to the NCAA D2 championship meet goes through Billings, Montana Saturday...

The road to the NCAA Division II cross country championships for Washington’s four schools—Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Saint Martin’s and Central Washington—goes through Billings, Montana, as Montana State Billings hosts the NCAA West Regional Championship meet at Amend Park

The men’s 10k race gets the program started at 9 am, followed by the women’s 6k race at 10:15 am. The NCAA regional races will be streamed live via, so fans can watch the race live online.

In the men’s race, the top five men’s teams and the top three individuals not from those squads will advance to the national championship meet on November 19th in St. Leo, Florida, just outside of Tampa,  In the women’s race, the top six teams at the regional meet, plus the top three individuals not from those teams will earn spots in the national championship meet in Florida.

On the men’s side, Western Washington has the best shot of qualifying a team for nationals, though they must get past conference foe Simon Fraser to have a realistic shot.  The Vikings will be led by Isaac Derline (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics), who was third at the GNAC meet two weeks ago, and Andrew Wise, the team’s top runner at last year’s regionals.

It may be a battle royal between Western Washington and Seattle Pacific for one of the six team slots for the women’s championship meet.

Western Washington’s top returning runner is Brittany Grant, who placed 28th at last year’s regional and finished 23rd at the GNAC Championships. Seattle Pacific and Central Washington placed fifth and sixth last year, results that would earn both team’s nationals invitations this year. Mary Charleson placed 20th at last year’s meet and placed fourth at the GNAC Championships. She has performed well in meets against the rest of the West Region. The Falcons are further bolstered by Sarah Macdonald, who placed sixth at the GNAC meet.

Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter has a realistic shot at earning an individual spot into the national championship meet.

The top teams on paper in the meet include GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage (#11), CCCA champ and national powerhouse Chico State (#7), and PacWest champion Cal Baptist (#9). Other nationally ranked teams in the West regional meet include #16 Simon Fraser, #18 Point Loma Nazarene, and #23 Cal Poly Pomona.  Seattle Pacific fell out of the national top 25 after the GNAC championship meet.

NOTE:  The GNAC, Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington sports information offices contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Neale and Prouse named to Pac-12 First Team along with Colbert native John Dressel...

SAN FRANCISCO—The University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale’s (left/photo by Mike Scott), the reigning conference champion, was named by the Pac-12 Conference as its women’s cross country athlete of the year Tuesday, and was also placed on its All-Pac-12 First Team honors.

Additionally, teammate Charlotte Prouse was named by the Pac-12 to its First Team by virtue of her top-seven finish at the conference championship meet last Friday in Tucson.

Neale, the junior from Glacier Peak HS in Snohomish via Great Britain used a closing final kilometer of 3:08 to pass six runners, including Colorado’s Erin Clark in the final 20 meters, to take home the Pac-12 harrier title in 20:23 (20:22.9) and beat Clark by less than a second (20:24; 20:23.3).

This continues to be a breakout season for Neale, whose last two seasons has been marred by various injuries. Two weeks ago, she placed a surprising fourth at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison.

Neale’s victory at the Pac-12s made her the fourth Husky to win the conference crown, and the first since Katie Flood turned the trick in 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.

Like Neale, Prouse is also in the midst of a breakout season in cross country as well, after setting the Canadian and North American U-20 record in the 3000 steeplechase in July at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where she ran 9:44.62.  Prouse won the Sundodger and the Washington Invitationals this cross country season, and finished behind Neale at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet, and sixth at the Pac-12s.

On the men’s side, Colorado sophomore John Dressel, a native of Colbert, was named to the conference’s first team after finishing sixth last week.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek was the conference’s athlete of the year after winning his fourth straight Pac-12 title, making him the first male to turn the trick.

Colorado’s Mark Wetmore was named the Pac-12’s coach of the year on both the men’s and women’s side.

Meanwhile, the Husky women’s team dropped two spots in the latest USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll released Tuesday.

Colorado retains the #1 position after winning the Pac-12 championships in Tucson, followed by NC State, Providence, the Huskies, and Michigan.

Other Pac-12 schools in the national top 30 include #7 Stanford, #11 Oregon, #20 Utah, and #27 Cal, giving the conference six women’s teams, tops among conferences.

On the men’s side, the nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, Colorado, BYU, Stanford, and Syracuse.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the national top 30 include #8 UCLA, #10 Oregon, #17 Washington State, making it a total of five schools ranked nationally.

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Huskies' Amy-Eloise Neale honored by USTFCCCA as D1 national athlete of the week...

NEW ORLEANS—The University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale’s (left/photo by Paul Merca) victory at the Pac-12 cross country championships in Tucson on Friday was recognized by the United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), as the organization selected her as the NCAA Division I women’s cross country athlete of the week.

The junior from Glacier Peak HS in Snohomish via Great Britain used a closing final kilometer of 3:08 to pass six runners, including Colorado’s Erin Clark in the final 20 meters, to take home the Pac-12 harrier title in 20:23 (20:22.9) and beat Clark by less than a second (20:24; 20:23.3).

This continues to be a breakout season for Neale, whose last two seasons has been marred by various injuries. Two weeks ago, she placed a surprising fourth at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison.

Neale’s victory at the Pac-12s made her the fourth Husky to win the conference crown, and the first since Katie Flood turned the trick in 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

UW alum Lindsay Flanagan breaks 2:30 at Frankfurt Marathon & finishes fourth...

FRANKFURT, Germany—University of Washington alum Lindsay Flanagan (left/photo courtesy via RunBlogRun) finished fourth in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon Sunday morning through the streets of the German city.

Flanagan set a personal best of 2:29:28, a mark that puts her fourth on the current US list, behind only the three US Olympic team members—Shalane Flanagan, Des Linden, and Amy Cragg.

Flanagan started by running 35:19 for the first 10k, then went through 20k at 1:10:45 (35:26).  At the half-way mark, she crossed in 1:14:38, running in eighth place.

She went through 30k at 1:46:30, a 35:45 split for that 10k segment, then made her move in the next 10k, crossing in 2:21:58, a 35:28 split, and more importantly, moving past four runners in the process before finishing in 2:29:28, shattering her previous personal best of 2:33:12, set in the 2015 Houston Marathon.

Flanagan becomes the fourth American to break 2:30 in the marathon this season.

Daska Molisa of Ethiopia won the race in 2:25:27, 15 seconds ahead of Fate Tola of Germany, while Sarah Jebet of Kenya was third in 2:27:07.

Kenya’s Mark Korir won the men’s title in 2:06:48.

NOTE:  Media partner RunBlogRun contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Seattle University's Lila Rice wins Western Athletic Conference harrier title...

SEATTLE—On a drizzly day at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill, Seattle University’s Lila Rice (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the Western Athletic Conference cross country title to lead the Redhawks to a surprising second place team finish with a score of 46 points.

Rice was in a group of seven runners through the first kilometer of the 5-kilometer race, before breaking away a little over half way through the race.

By the time the race ended, she extended her lead to 18 seconds, winning in a time of 18:01, with Savannah Berry of Utah Valley the closest pursuer in 18:19.

Johanna Erickson was SeattleU’s next finisher in seventh in 18:25, followed by Olivia Stein in 10th at 18:39.

Moira O’Connor Lenth was 12th in 18:39, and Rebecca Lassere rounded out the Redhawk scorers in 16th place in a time of 18:51.

Talking about the decisive move to secure the victory, she said, “I have a really bad kick, so I figured I’d try to get a head start and see what happens.”

Describing the final lap, Rice said, “I wanted to keep going at that pace, and I was feeling pretty good.”

The Redhawks, who were third in this meet last year, moved up one spot to second, as Utah Valley successfully defended its conference title with a low score of 41 points, led by a second place finish by Berry’s 18:19.  The Wolverines put four runners in the top 9 to clinch the conference crown.

In the men’s 8k race, University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bryce Miller, an NCAA and US Olympic Trials qualifier in the steeplechase, and the defending conference champ in the 5000 and steeple, took command half way through the race, to earn his first WAC cross country title, and his seventh overall conference championship, as he stopped the watches in 25:04.

His victory helped propel the UMKC Kangaroos to a one-point conference championship over defending champion Utah Valley, winning by a 46-47 count, and stopping an attempt by Utah Valley to win its fourth straight WAC title.

Seattle University finished third, replicating its finish from last year, with a final team score of 65 points.

The Redhawks were led by Ben Monk’s eighth place finish in 25:34.  He was then followed by Eli Boudouris in 11th (25:42), Jacques Hebert in 13th (25:50), Tyler Flannery in 15th (25:51), and Matt Seidel in 18th (26:04).

NOTE: The Western Athletic Conference and Seattle University contributed to this report.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale wins Pac-12 cross country title...

TUCSON, Arizona—It took a late kick with 20 meters to go, but the University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki) broke through to win the Pac-12 women’s 6k cross country championships Friday morning at Randolph North Golf Course.

Neale, the junior from Snohomish’s Glacier Peak HS via Great Britain, had doubts in her mind about whether or not she would ever be good at cross country after finishing fourth at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.

Neale sat back in the lead group of ten runners or so, as teammate Charlotte Prouse did most of the early leading.  

In the final lap, she made her charge, moving up to third and eventually second with 1000 meters to go, as she battled Colorado’s Erin Clark and Dani Jones.  Clark had a one step lead will 100 meters to go, but caught Clark just short of the line to win in 20:22.9 to Clark’s 20:23.3, with Jones third at 20:24.4.

Prouse faded to sixth in 20:32.  Pac-12 10000 meter champ Katie Knight was 19th in 21:10, with freshman Kaitlyn Neal 21st in 21:15.  Izzi Batt-Doyle rounded out the Husky scorers in 28th in a time of 21:27.

Colorado, the nation’s #1 ranked team, took the women’s team title with a low score of 33 points, followed by the Huskies, ranked #2 nationally with 74 points.

Washington State finished 11th in the 12-team field with a final score of 304 points, led by Devon Bortfeld’s 37th place finish in 21:38.

The Cougars’ other scorers were Morgan Willson in 63rd (22:25), Morgan Lash in 77th (22:50), Josie Brown in 81st (23:01), and Jenaya Pynn in 83rd (23:11).

Talking about her victory afterwards, Neale said, “I actually didn’t realize it was quite that close. With 100 meters to go I realized that I hadn’t lost the race yet. So I just really tried to remember all the speed work that we’ve done, we’ve done some pretty good 300s workouts now and just tried to keep that in mind.”

UW coach Greg Metcalf said, “To see (her) go win a Pac-12 championship in the manner that she did says a lot.  She gets passed, she battles back; I’d say that last 100 meters sort of defined her last couple years. She never stopped believing, not that she didn’t have moments along the way, but for Amy-Eloise to be the Pac-12 champion is just an incredible testament to the young woman that she is and the athlete that she is.”

Courtesy of the Pac-12 Network, here is the finish:

The men’s championship 8k race proved to be the coronation of Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, as he pulled away in the middle of the third lap to win his fourth straight conference title, running 23:59.

Cheserek’s win made him the first in conference history to win four straight titles, surpassing the three of Oregon’s Steve Prefontaine, and Washington State’s Henry Rono.

Assisted by former Spokane prep standout John Dressel, who finished sixth in 24:21, the Colorado Buffaloes, ranked #7 in the country, once again repeated as team champions, winning the crown for the sixth straight time, with a low score of 41, six points better than #2 Stanford’s 47.

Washington State, ranked 15th in the USTFCCCA poll, finished fifth with 130 points, led by junior Sam Levora’s 15th place finish in 24:51.  

Following Levora were Michael Williams in 24th place (25:01), John Whelan in 26th (25:03), Nathan Wadhwani in 27th (25:04), and Nathan Tadesse in 38th (25:19).

The University of Washington, ranked #25 in the country, finished seventh with a final team score of 187 points.  They were led by Andrew Gardner’s 18th place finish in 24:54.  He was followed by Fred Huxham in 31st (25:08), Colby Gilbert in 45th (25:32), Johnathan Stevens in 56th (26:04), and Mahmoud Moussa in 61st (26:23).

Among notables with Washington ties finishing the race was Spokane native Tanner Anderson of the University of Oregon, who was 30th in 25:07.

Washington and Washington State move on to the NCAA West Regionals in two weeks in Sacramento, California.


In Moscow, Idaho, Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished second overall, as the Eagles were sixth overall with 170 points.

Reiter ran 17:23 for the 5k distance, 9 seconds behind Weber State’s Ellie Child.

She was followed by Kaili Keefe in 26th in 18:27

On the men’s side, James Breen was the leader of the Eastern Washington squad, finishing 32nd over the 8k distance in 26:04.

The Eagles finished seventh with 194 points.

Northern Arizona swept both the women’s and men’s titles, with the women scoring a low of 48 points, and the men’s team scored a perfect 15 for the second time in conference history.

Spokane prep standout Nathan Weitz was NAU’s sixth man, placing sixth overall in 24:32.


In San Diego, Jordan Thurston of Gonzaga led the defending West Coast Conference champs to a fourth place team finish, as she took fourth in the individual race, running 20:59 for 6k.

In a hotly contested team race, the University of Portland, ranked #8 in the country, squeezed out the championship by a 42-44 margin over BYU, with San Francisco third at 47 points, and Gonzaga fourth with 139 points.

Lauren Larocco of Portland was the individual winner, running 20:28.

In the mens 8k championship race, Dillion Quintana led Gonzaga to a fourth place team finish with his 16th place individual finish, running 25:05.

Alex Short of San Francisco took the individual championship, running 24:20.  BYU, the nation’s #4 squad, won the team title with 24 points, with #12 Portland second with 45 points.  San Francisco was third with 92 points, followed by Gonzaga with 123 points.

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference, and the sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, and Gonzaga University contributed to this report.

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