Friday, February 26, 2016

Nelson repeats as MPSF 5000m champ, while Planell Cruz takes pole vault title...

SEATTLE—Washington’s Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) successfully defended his Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 5000 meter title to help the Huskies to fourth place after the first day of competition in the two-day meet.

BYU leads the competition with 33 points, followed by Oregon at 28.5, then Cal at 25, and the Huskies at 24.5.  Washington State stands in 12th place at the break with 8 points.

Nelson, the school record holder in this event, ran 13:49.93, just over his season best of 13:48.41, and his personal best of 13:47.42, set at last year’s Husky Classic, to win comfortably over Rory Linkletter of BYU (13:52.74), and Spokane prep John Dressel of Colorado (13:53.77).

Pending the results of the various conference championship meets around the country, Nelson’s best this season of 13:48.41 puts him on the bubble to go to the NCAA championship meet in Birmingham, Alabama in two weeks.

Washington got some big points in the men’s pole vault, as Jax Thoirs, Chris Williams and Chase Smith finished 2-6-8.

Thoirs, the defending champion, was only able to clear 17-9.75 (5.43m) as Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen , who competed for Spain in the decathlon at last year’s world championships in Beijing, cleared three straight personal bests to win with a jump of 18-1.75 (5.53m).

In the women’s team competition, Oregon leads the way at the break with 32 points, followed by Arizona State and USC at 23. The Huskies are fourth with 21.75 points, while Washington State is seventh with 20 points.

As expected, Washington senior Diamara Planell Cruz, competing in her final home meet as a Husky, won the women’s pole vault on fewer misses with a clearance of 13-7.75 (4.16m), outlasting UCLA freshman Greta Wagner and UW teammate Liz Quick, who also cleared the same height.  Washington’s Tori Franzen was in a 4-way tie for fourth at 12-8 (3.86m).

Washington State piled up some major points in the pentathlon, as Liz Harper and reigning Pac-12 heptathlon champ Alissa Brooks-Johnson went 2-3, scoring 4146 and 4027 points, respectively, which, pending the results of conference championship meets around the country, could get both spots in the national championship meet in two weeks.

In the pentathlon, USC’s Amalie Iuel, a native of Norway, who competed at the world championships in Beijing in the 400 hurdles last year, scored a personal best and Norwegian best score of 4444 points (the mark won’t get consideration as a national record because of the oversized track).

Other highlights—

—Oregon’s Greg Skipper won the men’s weight throw with a mark of 72-6.5 (22.11m); 

—Deajah Stevens of Oregon won the women’s 200 in a meet and facility record time of 23.14.  Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon, finished second in 23.24 in winning section 2, also under the meet record time of 23.40 set by Arizona’s Brianna Glenn, and the facility record of 23.44 set by Charonda Williams of Arizona State; 

—Colorado’s Mackenzie Caldwell won the women’s 5000 in 16:32.54, with WSU’s CharLee Linton third in 16:34.89, and Issaquah native Cayla Seligman of Colorado fifth in 16:35.85;

—USC’s Eric Sloan won the men’s long jump at 25-2.75 (7.69m), while teammate Margaux Jones won the women’s long jump at 20-10 (6.35m).  Washington’s Kennadi Bouyer was third at 19-7.5 (5.98m), and Kate Adler of the Huskies was eighth at 18-5,75 (5.63m).


In Bozeman, Montana, the Eastern Washington women’s team of Paula Gil-Eehevarria, Brooke Monson, Leanne Asper, and Katie Mahoney won the distance medley relay in a time of 11:51.19.

Conference leader Kaytlyn Coleman was second in the women’s weight throw, throwing 65-0.5 (19.82m), the same distance as winner Molli Detloff of North Dakota.

The Eagles’ Larry Still won the men’s pole vault with a clearance of 17-0.75 (5.20m), while teammate Nick Stearns was third at 16-4.75 (5.00m).

In the men’s 5000, Spokane native Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona took the victory in 14:42.01.

At the break, the Eastern Washington women are in fourth with 32 points, while the men are tied for seventh with 19 points.


In Nampa, Idaho, Seattle University’s Shaddye Melu successfully defended his Western Athletic Conference high jump crown, clearing 6-9.75 (2.08m).

The Redhawks’ Elena Smith was second in the 5000, running 17:39.68, while its women’s distance medley relay team took third in a time of 12:23.71.  Gus Arroyo earned a third place finish in the men’s 5000, running 15:02.56.

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