Thursday, February 11, 2016

Husky Classic promises hot distance races as athletes jockey for NCAA indoor berths...

With conference championships upcoming in the next two weeks, all nine of this state’s Division I and II schools will see action in Seattle at the two-day Husky Classic that starts Friday at the Dempsey Indoor, and at Sunday’s UW Open meet.

Washington State is the only school this weekend splitting its squad, opting to send its sprinters and a handful of jumpers to Albuquerque, New Mexico for Friday and Saturday’s Don Kirby Elite meet.

While the Husky Classic doesn’t have quite the pro presence it’s had in past years, the meet promises to have some star power, particularly in the distance races, as the top collegians start jockeying for top-16 spots for the NCAA indoor championships next month in Birmingham, Alabama.

Friday night’s 5000 meter races feature Oregon’s Edward Cheserek (left/photo by Paul Merca), the two-time NCAA cross country champ against a field that includes the Huskies’ Aaron Nelson; Colorado’s Pierce Murphy, Morgan Pearson and Ammar Moussa; NCAA D2 cross country champ Alfred Chelanga of Shorter; and Oregon’s Jake Leingang.  Washington’s Fred Huxham and WSU’s John Whelan hope that the field will tow them towards a fast time.

The women’s 5000 is just as loaded, led by Boise State freshman Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor, who was ninth at the NCAA cross country meet last fall.  

Also in the field is the newly minted USA cross country champ and Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver, who has opted to skip the US Olympic Marathon Trials to concentrate on the track.

In addition, at least nine NCAA cross country All-Americans are in the field.  Kaylee Flanagan is the top Husky entered in the race.

Saturday, at least five men with seed times under 3:58 are entered in the men’s mile, including world championships qualifier Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts, who is moving up in distance from the 800 this week.  Portland’s Woody Kincaid, perhaps the hottest collegian so far this indoor season, is also entered.

Washington’s Maddie Meyers is in a loaded women’ 3000, that’s led by another freshman phenom, Allie Ostrander from Boise State.  There are a host of NCAA All-Americans in the field, along with Olympian Shalaya Kipp, Washington alum Mel Lawrence, and Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts.

Just as loaded is the men’s 3000, led by Canada’s Taylor Milne, Chris Winter & Luc Bruchet, along with the Huskies’ Colby Gilbert, and Dorian Ulrey & Matt Hillenbrand of the Brooks Beasts.  Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley is also in the field, as well as Puyallup's David Elliott of Boise State, as they look to get a mark good enough to go to the NCAA indoor championships.

2012 Olympic 100 meter finalist Ryan Bailey leads the field in the men’s 60 meter dash. 2014 NCAA and USA 110 hurdles champ Devon Allen is entered in the men’s 60 hurdles.

The men’s and women’s pole vaults, featuring Washington’s Jax Thoirs & Texas’ Reese Watson, and the Dawgs’ Kristina Owsinski and Diamara Planell Cruz going against Texas’ Kaitlin Petrillose, with former Pac-12 champ Kristine Felix of WSU thrown in the mix are the must-see events on the Dempsey infield.

Other field events to watch include the women’s long & triple jumps, as University Place resident and former NCAA champ Andrea Geubelle attempts a one-day double for the first time since battling injuries over the last few years; the women’s shot put featuring Oregon’s Brittany Mann; the women’s weight throw led by Eastern Washington’s Kaytlyn Coleman; and, the men’s shot put led by Oregon prep standout Ryan Crouser, who attends Texas.


Camas’ Alexa Efraimson is entered in the 1500 meters at Sunday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix In Roxbury, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Also entered in the meet is Gig Harbor’s Mark Wieczorek in the men’s 1000.

The start lists for Sunday’s New Balance Grand Prix is available here (click on the event name).  The meet will be shown on the NBC Sports Network from 1-3pm.

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