Sunday, March 13, 2016

NCAA RECAP: Husky men finish program best 6th; Planell Cruz 3rd in PV; Falcons' Decker second in NCAA D2 800...

In Birmingham, Alabama, the University of Washington scored a historic achievement in school history, as the men’s team finished a program best sixth place with 24 points at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex, while the women’s team finished 13th with 16 points, the second highest in school history.

Washington’s Izaic Yorks (above/photo by Mike Scott), the fastest American collegiate miler of all time, who sacrificed an opportunity to win the mile in favor of a team victory in the distance medley relay, doubled back from Friday night’s relay to finish fourth in the 3000 in 8:02.24, while teammate Colby Gilbert earned his first All-America honors on the track with an eighth place finish in 8:02.83.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won the race in 8:00.40 to complete the 3000/5000/DMR triple and help lead the Ducks to the men’s national team title, compiling 22.5 of 62 points.

On the women’s side, Washington’s Diamara Planell Cruz (above/photo courtesy UW Athletics), competing in her final meet as a Husky, finished third in the pole vault with a new personal best, UW school record & Puerto Rican national record 14-7.25 (4.45m).  Teammate Liz Quick was ninth with a best of 14-1.25 (4.30m).

The third-place finish for Planell Cruz was the best of her career, topping last season’s fourth-place finish, and it was the best by a Husky at indoors since Kate Soma was second in 2005. Planell Cruz will cap her career having scored twice at the NCAA indoor championships and earning two All-America certificates.

Another Husky competing in her final meet, Eleanor Fulton, finished eighth in the mile, running 4:40.15.

Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon took second in the women’s 60 dash, running 7.12, matching her time in Friday’s semis. The Huskies’ Kennadi Bouyer, who was the last person added to the 60 field after a medical scratch, finished eighth in 7.46.

Cunliffe doubled back to take third in the 200 in 22.85, to score 14 of Oregon’s team winning score of 53 points.

Puyallup native David Elliott of Boise State finished fifth in the mile, running 4:07.16. He doubled back in the 3000, placing 13th in 8:16.63.

Recapping the weekend, Washington head coach Greg Metcalf said, “This was clearly the best indoor championships I have been a part of, and every one of our individuals and relays exceeded their ranking or matched it in the case of our men’s DMR.”


In Pittsburg, Kansas, Seattle Pacific’s Lynelle Decker (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) roared out to a second place finish in the women’s 800, running a personal best of 2:07.52, breaking the eight-year old school record of 2:07.57 set by Jessica Pixler. as the Falcons finished 11th in the NCAA Division II championship meet

"A lot of talk has been going on this weekend about school record, especially J-Pix," Decker said of the former highly decorated Falcon star. "I never thought I would ever get an SPU record just because she is an amazing runner and her name is plastered across the board for many distances. … I'm just flabbergasted."

The Falcon women’s 4 x 400 relay team of Jalen Tims, Decker, Cheryl Hong, and Jahzelle Ambus finished third in a school record time of 3:42.44, wiping out the old school record of 3:46.34, set in 2013.

Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith finished second in the high jump, with a season best clearance of 6-11 (2.11m) to become the second All-America in school history.

In the women’s 3000, the Saints’ Shannon Porter finished eighth in 9:35.31 to earn the school’s first All-America honor in track & field.  Sister Georgia, who competes for Western State (Colorado) was 14th in 9:48.24.

Central Washinton’s Dani Eggleston was 19th in the race, running 10:05.58.

Shannon was 12th in Friday’s 5000, running 16:55.49, while her sister was fifth in 16:18.39.


NOTE:  The NCAA, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

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