Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's the busiest weekend in American indoor track & field (and how to watch it)!

Friday and Saturday marks the busiest weekend in top level indoor track and field in America, with the USA indoor championships happening just down Interstate 5 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, and the collegians heading to Birmingham, Alabama (Division I) and Pittsburg, Kansas (Division II) for the NCAA indoor championship meet.

THE PROS IN PORTLAND

Naturally, a large contingent of athletes with Washington ties head to Portland for the USATF Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center, where spots are on the line to compete in next week’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the same venue.

Competitors who finish in the top two and hold the qualifying standard are eligible to advance to the world championships, provided that they had met the standard by last Sunday, though the IAAF reserves the right to invite athletes based on the current indoor performance list to fill the field (16 per event, except in the pole vault and high jump (12), with a 2 per country limit).

Among the 18 athletes with Washington ties entered and declared in the meet, Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts (m 1500) and Andrea Geubelle (w TJ) go into the meet seeded #2 in their events.

Heath is also entered in Friday’s 3000, and Geubelle is entered in Saturday’s long jump.  Travis Burkstrand of the Brooks Beasts is doubling in both the 800 and 1500.

Among the questions going into the meet:

—Can WSU alum Bernard Lagat, a former world champion at 3000, somehow will his way onto yet another world indoor team?  Lagat has not run an indoor race this season;

—Is Andrea Geubelle, the 2013 national champion in the triple jump, all the way back from a series of injuries that have derailed her the last two seasons?

—Can the youngster and Camas native Alexa Efraimson somehow work her way to the front in the 1500 and not make a tactical mistake?

—In the men’s 800, can Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts continue the roll that he was on in 2015, which cumulated with a spot on the world championship team in Beijing?

Action gets underway Friday at 11:30 am with the weight throw, and Saturday at 2:30 pm. The meet entries are available here, while the schedule is available here.

USATF.tv will have streaming coverage starting at 11:30 am on Friday.  NBCSN (Comcast 626 in Seattle) will have delayed coverage of the meet Friday starting at 8:30 pm, and live coverage on Saturday beginning at 5 pm.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Portland to cover the USA Indoor Championships.

DIVISION I IN BIRMINGHAM

The University of Washington will send the largest contingent in school history to the NCAA Division I indoor championship meet at the Birmingham Crossplex, led on the men’s side by Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is entered in Friday’s distance medley relay, and Saturday’s 3000 meter run.

Washington’s distance medley relay team of Blake Nelson, Jacopo Spano, Yorks, and Colby Gilbert, is seeded #2 behind Oklahoma State, which defeated the Huskies on February 20th at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame.

Yorks and Gilbert are in the 3000, while Aaron Nelson will run the 5000. Chris Williams is entered in the 60 hurdles, and Jax Thoirs is in the pole vault.

The Husky women are led by pole vaulters Diamara Planell Cruz and Liz Quick, with Eleanor Fulton running the mile, and Kennadi Bouyer competing in the 60 dash. The Huskies also have a distance medley relay team entered comprised of Fulton, Krista Armstead, Baylee Mires, and Maddie Meyers.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the Division I championships include Hannah Cunliffe of Federal Way (Oregon) in the 60 and 200 meter dashes; Brooke Feldmeier of Tumwater (Oregon) in the 800; David Elliott of Puyallup (Boise State) in the mile and 3000, and Darian Brooks of Seattle (Stanford) in the triple jump. 

The link to the time schedule and live results is available here.

ESPN3 will have online coverage on Friday beginning at 3:25pm, pacific, and 1:55 pm, pacific on Saturday (may need an ESPN log-in from your cable provider).  The meet will be shown on a delayed basis on March 13th on ESPN2.

DIVISION II IN PITTSBURG

Seattle Pacific sends their largest contingent in school history to Pittsburg, Kansas for this weekend’s NCAA Division II championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

Unlike the most recent editions of the NCAA Division Ii championships, which have been contested on 200 meter banked tracks, the meet will be run on a 300 meter flat oval, which is very similar to the University of Washington’s 307 meter Dempsey Indoor facility.

The Falcons send to the meet Jahzelle Ambus (400, 4x400, DMR), Lynelle Decker (800, 4x400, DMR), Jalen Tims (400, 4x400), Maliea Luquin (60 hurdles), Anna Patti (DMR), Cheryl Hong (4x400), Chynna Phan (800, DMR), and Geneva Lehnert (high jump).

Western Washington sends Travis Milbrandt (60 hurdles), Miranda Osadchey (high jump), and Jasmine McMullin (triple jump), while Saint Martin’s will send Shannon Porter (3000) and Mikel Smith (high jump).  Central Washington’s lone representative will be Dani Eggleston (3000).

The link to live results is available here.  NCAA.com will have live streaming coverage Friday beginning at 1 pm, and 2:15 pm on Saturday.

ANGELA WHYTE NAMED TO TEAM CANADA FOR IAAF WORLD INDOOR CHAMPS

Washington State assistant coach Angela Whyte (left/photo by Paul Merca) has been named by Athletics Canada to its team for next week’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, according to a release by the federation.

Whyte will run the 60 hurdles in Portland.  Whyte, who made the finals in the 100 hurdles at the 2013 world championships in Moscow, qualified for worlds by running 8.05 at the Seattle Pacific Last Chance meet at the Dempsey Indoor on February 27th.

Portland will mark Whyte’s third appearance at the world indoor championships, having competed in 2004 in Budapest, Hungary, and 2008 in Valencia, Spain.  In 2004, she finished sixth in her heat, and fourth in her heat in 2008.

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