Friday, April 29, 2016

Teams sharpen up for championship season, while pros get their season started...

As the regular collegiate season winds down, many of the state’s teams are sharpening up for the championship portion of the season, which for a select few, hopes to end in the first part of July with the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, while some of the area’s top professionals look to get their season off to a good start.

Close to home, the University of Washington hosts the first of three straight meets with the Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Track.  

Besides the Huskies, Seattle Pacific, and several club teams will have a presence at the meet.  Former Huskies Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Norris Frederick are scheduled to compete in the meet.  Washington alum Diamara Planell Cruz from Puerto Rico, who got the Olympic qualifying standard in the pole vault at the Mt. SAC Relays, is entered in that event, as she faces former teammate Liz Quick.  WSU assistant coach Angela Whyte, who competed at the IAAF world indoors in Portland last month for Canada, is entered in the 100 hurdles. WSU grad and 2011 USA national champ Jeshua Anderson is entered in the 400 hurdles.

The meet starts Saturday with the women’s long jump, men’s javelin, and men’s shot put at 10 a.m. The first track event goes at 12 noon and races will continue through to approximately 4:30 p.m.  Three events were contested Friday afternoon—the men’s and women’s hammer, and the women’s javelin.

Washington’s Carey Campbell won the men’s hammer with a toss of 190-5 (58.04m), while the Huskies’ Onyie Chibuogwu won the women’s hammer at 189-7 (57.78m).  Canadian Melissa Fraser won the women’s javelin in a new facility record of 175-2 (53.39m).

Up the road in Bellingham, Western Washington hosts the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational at Civic Field. Viking senior Alex Donigian, one of the school’s most decorated sprinters, will race in Bellingham for the final time, as he’s entered in the 100 and the 4x100.

Across the state, Washington State hosts the Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track, while Eastern Washington and SeattleU travels to Corvallis for the OSU High Performance meet, which may be the area’s best meet, with the presence of sprinters Jenna Prandini and Ryan Bailey, and US Olympian Geena Gall.

For distance runners, all eyes are on Sunday’s Payton Jordan Invitational at Cobb Track on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto.  Several members of the Brooks Beasts are entered, along with Camas’ Alexa Efraimson.  Former Husky Ingvill Makestad Bovin of Norway makes her 2016 season debut, as she’s entered in the 1500

Both Washington and Washington State are sending their top distance runners there to mix it up with the pros and elite collegians.

The most significant race to watch for is the men’s 10000, as Washington State hall of famer and four-time Olympian Bernard Lagat will make his track debut at that distance, and go for the Olympic standard of 28:00.

Media partner Flotrack will offer live streaming of the Payton Jordan Invitational for those PRO subscribers. Heat sheets are available here. will be in Palo Alto for the meet.

Finally, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry is in Philadelphia as part of Team USA’s 4x400 relay pool for the USA vs the World portion of the Penn Relays, while Curtis HS grad Andrea Geubelle is in Des Moines at the Drake Relays, where she is competing in the triple jump.

NOTE:  The sports information departments of the University of Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Stanford, Penn, and Drake University contributed to this report.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry on Team USA 4x4 relay pool for USA vs. The World...

Rainier Beach HS graduate Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named by USA Track & Field to be part of Team USA’s relay pool for the annual USA vs. The World competition at the Penn Relays this Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

Berry will be part of the USA’s 4 x 400 meter relay pool, that includes 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, along with several members of the USA’s world indoor championship team that won in Portland last month.

A Penn Relays staple, USA vs. the World begins live coverage Saturday on NBCSN from 12:30-3 p.m. before track on TV continues with Drake Relays from 3-5 p.m (all times EST).

In 2015, Team USA’s men swept the USA vs. the World field, claiming victories in the the 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m relays. The women won the 4x1 in a photo finish and were second in both the 4x2 and 4x4.

Stanford University has released its list of accepted entries for Sunday’s Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto.

The meet is heavily loaded in the distance races, as the conditions, especially towards the evening hours, are ideal.  Many of the area’s top professional athletes including a large contingent from the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, will have a presence there.  Additionally, both the University of Washington and Washington State University will send their top distance runners there, instead of running in their own home meets the day before.

A significant entry in the meet is Washington State alum Bernard Lagat, who will make his track debut in the 10000 meters. Lagat is looking to qualify for the US Olympic Trials in that event, and run the Olympic qualifying standard of 28:00.00.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Spokane Memorial Open and Spike Arlt Invitational recap...

In Spokane, field event specialists highlighted competition at Saturday’s Spokane Memorial Open meet at Spokane Community College.

Eastern Washington freshman Larry Still (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) had the best men’s mark of the meet in winning the pole vault with a leap of 16-6.75 (5.05m).

His Eagle teammate Aaron Cunningham won the shot put with a toss of 56-8.5 (17.28m), while Brock Eager, who is being redshirted at Washington State, won the hammer with a mark of 206-9 (63.03m).

On the track, Eastern Washington’s Austin Upmeyer won a sprint double, taking the 100m in 11.06, and the 200 in 21.67.  

The women’s competition saw Eastern’s Kaytlyn Coleman win both the shot put (45-3/13.79m) and the hammer (199-7/60.83m), and Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills win the 5000 in 16:31.18.

In Ellensburg, Central Washington’s Armando Tafoya won a shot/discus double at the Spike Arlt Invitational Saturday, taking the shot with a toss of 49-6.25 (15.09m), and the discus at 166-0 (50.59m).

Club Northwest’s Levi Keller won the pole vault at 16-2.75 (4.95m).

The women’s competition was highlighted by Seattle Pacific’s Kyra Brannan, who won the long jump at 19-1.5 (5.83m) and by teammate Naphtali Ward, who won the high jump at 5-7 (1.70m).

The best race on the track was a repeat of the GNAC indoor 60 hurdles final, where Seattle Pacific’s Maliea Luquin beat Central Washington’s Mariyah Vongsaveng at the 100 hurdles distance 13.98 to 14.13, despite an aiding wind of 5.2 meters per second.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Washington sweeps Cougars in the Palouse for the second straight year...

PULLMAN—One year ago in Seattle, the conversation towards the end of The Dual between cross-state rivals Washington State and Washington centered on whether or not the Huskies could serve up a “Double Hundy Burger”.

At the end of the dual meet between the host Cougars and the Huskies on a windy, cloudy afternoon on the Palouse, the Hundy was the topic of conversation, with Washington up 95-63 in both the men’s and women’s competition with only the 4 x 400 remaining.

The Washington men’s team of Andrew Brown, Derrick Daigre, Michael Thomas, and Ryan Croson came oh-so-close, losing to the WSU team of Ray Littles, CJ Allen, Dino Dodig, and Matthew Swanson 3:12.13 to 3:12.28, as the Huskies took the victory by a 95-68 count.

Washington's Baylee Mires, Hannah Derby, Carolyn Birkenfeld
and Alexis Ford set a meet record of 3:39.30 in the 4 x 400 relay
(Paul Merca photo)
The Husky women finished up their end of the Hundy with emphasis, as the team of Hannah Derby, Alexis Ford, Carolyn Birkenfeld, and Baylee Mires won in a meet record 3:39.30 to make the final dual meet score 100-63, over the WSU squad of Regyn Gaffney, Dominique Keel, Holly DeHart, and Liz Harper, who ran 3:44.35, significantly slower than what they ran at Mt. SAC last week.

The Washington women’s squad was helped early in the meet when it was announced that the Cougars’ Alissa Brooks-Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 champ in the heptathlon, was out of the meet with a back injury that limited her at last week’s Mt. SAC Relays multi-event competition.  Brooks-Johnson was entered in both hurdles, and the javelin.

The Dawgs won every individual running event with the exception of the 100 and 400 hurdles, as the Cougars' Liz Harper won the double, running 13.80 in the short race to hold off the Huskies’ Naivasha Sophusson Smith (13.81), and easily winning the longer race in 59.80.  Harper also won the long jump with a best of 19-8.25 (6.00m) 

Washington got 1-2-3 finishes in the 800, led by Baylee Mires’ school record of 2:04.91, and in the 3000, as Anna Maxwell ran a very easy 9:35.20.  They also swept the pole vault led by Liz Quick (13-1.75/4.01m).  

The Cougars got their sweep in the high jump, led by Lateah Holmes (5-8.50/1.74m), and in the triple jump, with Greer Alsop winning at 41-25 (12.56m).

Washington’s double winners were Kennadi Bouyer (11.66/23.92) in the 100 and 200, and Gina Flint in the shot put and discus, throwing 49-7.25 (15.12m) in the former, and 150-5 (45.85m) in the latter.

In the men’s competition, the tone was set early when Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) led a Husky sweep in the 1500, running 3:48.00, followed by Blake Nelson and Johnathan Stevens, then grabbing a UW flag from the stands wrapped on a broom, and sweeping the finish line.

Gilbert was the only double men’s winner, taking the 3000 in 8:32.35.

WSU's CJ Allen, the former Pac-12 champion, won the 400 hurdles in impressive fashion under the conditions, running 50.74.

With the double team victory by Washington, the Huskies swept Washington State for just the second time in school history on the Cougars’ home track.  The last time UW accomplished the feat was in 1996.

Washington also swept its rival last year in Seattle, making for consecutive sweeps for the first time since 1996-97, and just the second time ever. The men have now won four consecutive Duals, the longest win streak for the Dawgs since way back in 1932, when Washington won its 11th in a row. This was the 97th installment of the men’s Dual, which dates back to 1901. Washington State still leads all-time, 58-38-1, while on the women’s side, the Huskies now lead the series, 20-17.

Afterwards, UW head coach Greg Metcalf said, “I challenged our team to just go out and compete and not let the weather get to them, or the long trip get to them, and just go out and beat a Cougar or two.” 

“That’s what makes this meet so special, it’s just about competition and wins and losses and scoring points for your team, and then the record times and the big marks come when you’re just worried about competing. To get a sweep in Pullman is something special in the history of this meet so our kids should be very proud. We had athletes fighting and scratching for every point they could get, and for some of them this will be the highlights of their season and well it should be.”

“Today was all about getting out there and competing hard in preparation for the championship part of our season and I thought we did a great job of doing that,” WSU head coach Wayne Phipps said. “People were stepping up all over and reaching PRs in conditions that were not ideal. We were forced to hold out a couple of people and hopefully we’ll get a little healthier for Pac-12s. Obviously we want to beat the Huskies but it was all about competing hard. The Huskies bring that out in us and having a scored meet brings out in us. It was a great preparation for Pac-12 Championships and the first round of the NCAAs.”

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spokane CC and Central Washington hosts meets this weekend...

While the two big schools duke it out on the track in Pullman, here’s what the other Washington Division I and II schools are doing this weekend:

In Spokane, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington will run at the Spokane Memorial Open Friday and Saturday hosted by Spokane Falls CC.

A 5000 meter run for both men and women opens the meet Friday along with the men’s and women’s hammer.  The main portion of the meet will be contested Saturday.

Shelby Mills (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Gonzaga, who ran at the NCAA championships last year in the steeplechase, is scheduled to run the 5000 in Spokane according to a release from the school.

SeattleU, plus Seattle Pacific, and Western Washington will have athletes competing at the Spike Arlt Invitational in Ellensburg hosted by Central Washington University.

Unfortunately neither meet currently has links to entries.  The link to the time schedule for the Spokane Memorial Open is here, while the link to the time schedule for the Spike Arlt meet is here. Results of both meets should be posted on their web sites and eventually on the site.

In other news, Gonzaga announced the signing of eleven men’s athletes to its program for the 2016-17 school year, which is the largest group signed under the direction of coach Pat Tyson.

“Unbelievable the windfall of talented young runners joining the Zag Nation for cross country and track and field,” Tyson said. “I did not expect this many to commit! It is unprecedented and means I'll have to ease down on the number next year. All 11 of these young men bring more than just running potential, they are also stellar students! They are stellar guys who want to make a positive difference in the world!  These are guys who want to help GU cross country win a WCC title! They all want to be successful distance runners at the highest level.”

It's the UW/WSU Dual Meet Saturday in Pullman, with the dope sheets!

The regular season meet of the year happens Saturday at Mooberry Track on the campus of Washington State University in Pullman, as the Washington Huskies and the host Cougars square off in what’s been known simply as The Dual, starting at 11 am.

Last year, under sunny skies with a live Pac-12 Network audience, Washington swept both the men’s and women’s competition at Husky Track, winning 113-50 on the men’s side, and 99-64 in the women’s competition, one point away from Washington serving up a “Double Hundy (100 point) Burger”

The 212 combined points by the Huskies were the most in school history, and the first time since 1997 that Washington had swept its cross-state rival in the long and storied history of this meet, with the Dawgs winning 13 of 19 women’s events, and 12 of 19 men’s events.

This meet gave first-year WSU coach Wayne Phipps a rude awakening into one of American college track & field’s oldest rivalries.

But this is 2016, and it’s a new meet.

For those of you keeping score, WSU leads the series in the men’s competition 61-37-1, and the UW leads the all-time women’s competition 22-18.

Washington State competed in a scoring meet against UCLA and Arizona on March 22nd, finishing second on the men’s side behind UCLA, and third in the women’s competition behind UCLA and Arizona.  

Washington’s lone scoring meet was two weeks ago in Eugene at the Pepsi Team Invitational, finishing third in the women’s contest behind Oregon and Penn State, and third in the men’s competition, also behind Oregon and Penn State, which tied for the title.

The link to the entries are available here.  That said, the best advice is to use it as a guide, as all hands are on deck for both teams, which means that there’s a good chance that there will be some substituting and/or adding personnel in certain events.  As always, there are questionable entries on both sides, mainly to keep the other side on their toes.  Each team can enter athletes right up until the gun fires.

Probably the best way to compare the two teams is to visit the site, and see how the athletes on both teams stack up against each other.

In the men’s competition, I have Washington winning the meet by a 94-69 count, with four events—the javelin, pole vault, long jump, and hammer starting before the first running event at 1:15 pm.

I have Washington’s Carson Fuller (JT), Jax Thoirs (PV) and Josh Gordon (LJ) winning those first three field events, with Washington State’s Travis Pickett winning the hammer.  If Washington State wants to have a reasonable chance of beating the Huskies, their field event crew must snap up those second and third place points, and if possible, get a win in one or two of those first four field events.

In both the men’s and women’s competitions, each team’s multi-event specialists will play a major part in the meet’s outcome.  On the men’s side, it’s Washington State’s Dino Dodig, who is in the long jump, pole vault, and 110 hurdles, and for Washington, it’s Josh Gordon (long jump, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles) and Cole Jensen (long jump, high jump).

In the running events, the Cougars are strongest at 100 and 200, plus the 400 hurdles, led by former Pac-12 champ CJ Allen.  From 400 on up is where Washington’s strengths lie.

On paper, I have Washington State winning the women's meet by a 82-81 count.  Am I confident the Cougs will win? Not really.

The dope sheet for this meet is based on the assumption that Washington State’s two multi-event specialists, Alissa Brooks-Johnson (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Liz Harper are in full form.

Brooks-Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 heptathlon champ, is entered in the javelin, and both hurdles, while Harper is in the long jump, both hurdles and the 4 x 400 relay.  Brooks-Johnson only did three events at last week's Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon, due to a back issue.

Washington’s top multi-eventer, CJ Smith, is entered in the long jump, high jump, 100 hurdles, and triple jump.

If I had to pick one key matchup of the entire women’s meet, it has to be Brooks-Johnson and Harper in both hurdles plus short hurdler Candice McFarland versus the Husky hurdles crew of Kimmie Stueckle, Naivasha Sophusson Smith, Morganne Hill, Krista Armstead, and Carly Lester.  Someone (or two) from the Washington hurdle team MUST step up and either split Brooks-Johnson and Harper or beat one or both of them.

Both 4 x 100 relay races are huge from a psychological standpoint for both teams.  On paper they are evenly matched, so passes will be crucial.  

Washington State has an edge in experience on the women’s side in the sprint relay. It’s up to the youngsters on the Husky 4x1 to not get caught up in the moment, and just do their job if they want to get the win in that event.

Here are my dope sheets, along with comments, with the men first, followed by the women.  For those of you planning to be at Mooberry Track, please feel free to print this and follow along during the course of the meet:



As always, happy reading, and let the smack talk begin!

NOTE:  The University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this preview.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Washington prepsters Hannah Cunliffe & Tera Novy earn Pac-12 women's track & field honors...

SAN FRANCISCO—Washington high school products Hannah Cunliffe (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Oregon and Tera Novy of USC were named by the Pac-12 Conference as its women’s track and women’s field athletes of the week for the week ending April 16th.

Cunlifffe, who graduated from Federal Way HS, ran in three events at the Mt. SAC Relays, going up against top collegiate and professionals.

She was a member of the women’s 4x100-meter team that won in a school-record time of 42.68, also the third-fastest school in NCAA history and a Pac-12 record. Cunliffe then competed in open events, taking second in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.

She ran a personal-best time of 10.99 in the 100 meters, the third-fastest time in school history and eighth in NCAA history. In the 200 meters, she crossed the finish line in 22.71 only behind her teammate Deajah Stevens. The 100-meter time is the fastest in the NCAA this season while the 200-meter time is fourth. Both of Cunliffe's times are US Olympic Trials qualifying marks.

Novy, a graduate of Montesano HS, took second in the women’s discus throw competition at the CSULA Twilight Meet, first among collegians, with a school-record toss of 200-5 (61.10m).

She entered the day as USC’s record-holder at 196-6 and passed that in her first throw with a mark of 200-1 (61.00m), which also met the Olympic qualifying A standard. She then improved upon that mark with her fifth round toss of 200-5 (61.10m) to finish behind 2014 US national champ Liz Podominick.

This is Novy’s second Pac-12 athlete of the week honor this season.

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

List #2--Washington affiliated athletes qualified for the US Olympic Trials...

Washington alum Diamara Planell Cruz of Puerto Rico
achieved the Olympic "A" standard of 14-9 (4.50m) at the
Mt. SAC Relays (Randy Miyazaki/
Below is a list of Washington affiliated athletes who have achieved qualifying marks for the 2016 US Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon starting July 1-10, 2016.

Washington affiliated athletes are those who attended high school, college or graduate school in the state of Washington, while professionals are those currently training in the state.

This list will be updated monthly, and hopefully more frequently as we get closer to the Trials.  This list does not include the walks.

All qualifiers achieved their marks after May 1, 2015. Athletes have until June 26th to qualify for the US Olympic Track & Field Trials.

For complete details on the US Olympic Track & Field Trials qualifying procedures, please visit

One addition to this list is the addition of foreign athletes with Washington ties who have achieved the Olympic A standard. Depending on what country they represent, they may be selected by their federation to compete at the Olympics, or may have to compete in qualifying trials selection meets.

As always, corrections, additions, etc., are welcome.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

UW alum Diamara Planell Cruz punches ticket to Rio at Mt. SAC Relays...

CERRITOS, California—University of Washington alum Diamara Planell Cruz (left/photo by Paul Merca) broke her own Puerto Rican national record in winning the pole vault competition at the Mt. SAC Relays Saturday afternoon, and more importantly, cleared the Olympic Games qualifying standard to enhance her chances of selection for her country’s Olympic team.

Planell Cruz, who completed her eligibility at the University of Washington at last month’s NCAA indoor championships in Birmingham, Alabama, started the day with a second attempt clearance at 13-9.25 (4.20m), then cleared 14-1.25 (4.30m) to win the competition over Malin Dahlstrom of Sweden, who cleared a best of 13-9.25.

Planell Cruz then went straight to the Olympic qualifying standard of 14-9 (4.50m), which she made on her first attempt.  She then took three unsuccessful shots at 15-1 (4.60m), which would have broken the meet record of 14-11 (4.55m) held by three athletes.

In that same competition, Washington’s Liz Quick failed to clear her opening height of 13-3.5 (4.05m).

The women’s 100 meter dash provided some fireworks as well, as Federal Way HS graduate Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon ran the fastest collegiate time in the nation so far this season of 10.99 in finishing second to former Oregon standout Jenna Prandini, who ran 10.95 for the victory and the fastest time in the world so far this season.

Cunliffe’s time is the second fastest time in the world so far in 2016.

Cunliffe also ran the third leg on Oregon’s 4 x 100 meter relay team that won the invitational section in a time of 42.68, a new school record and the fastest collegiate time this season.

Washington State assistant coach Angela Whyte won her section of the women’s invitational 100 hurdles and finished second overall in a wind-aided time of 12.81, beating in her heat former University of Washington volunteer coach Christie (Gordon) Moerman, who ran 12.96 to finish fourth overall.

A day after winning at the Bryan Clay Invitational, former Husky Gianna Woodruff finished fourth in her section of the 400 hurdles (fifth overall), running 58.36, as Jaide Stepter of USC won in 55.90.  Washington State’s Liz Harper ran 59.39 in that same heat for seventh place and ninth overall.

WSU alum Jeshua Anderson, who was the world leader in the 400 hurdles going into this weekend, suffered his first loss of the year, finishing second in 49.54, as Khallifah Rosser of Cal State LA won in 49.27.  Current Cougar CJ Allen won his section in 50.26 to finish fifth overall.

Washington State’s 4 x 400 relay squad of Regyn Gaffney, Dominique Keel, Christiana Ekelem and Liz Harper finished third in their section and fourth overall, running 3:36.76, the fourth fastest time in school history.

In Long Beach, Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama won the women’s triple jump at the Beach Invitational held on the campus of Long Beach State University.

Ufodiama had a best of 44-0 (13.41m) to win handily, leaping into a small headwind.  More significantly, that mark got her the qualifying mark for this summer’s US Olympic Trials.

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford won the women’s 100 hurdles, running a windy (+2.3) 12.83.

In other action at the Beach Invitational:

—Washington’s Frank Catelli missed the 60 foot barrier in the men’s shot put, throwing 59-11.25 (18.27m) to take third overall; 

—Eastern Washington’s Katie Mahoney finished second overall in the women’s 1500 and broke her own school record in the process, running 4:22.92; 

—The Huskies’ Chris Williams was sixth in his section and seventh overall in the 110 hurdles in a wind-aided 14.24. Travis Milbrandt was ninth overall and third in his section in a wind-aided 14.41; 

—Washington’s Alexis Ford was seventh overall in the women’s 400 in 55.31; 

—Eastern Washington’s Jeremy VanAssche won his heat of the 100 in a windy 10.60 to finish sixth overall; 

—Seattle Pacific’s Jalen Tims came oh-so-close to breaking the 60 second barrier in the 400 hurdles, running 60.06 to win her heat and take sixth overall; 

—Washington’s Quadelle Satterwhite was third in his heat and fifth overall in the mens’ 200 in 21.40, running into a headwind.

In Eugene, Spokane native Britney Henry won the women’s hammer at the Oregon Relays, with a toss of 216-1(65.87m).

The University of Oregon’s Marcus Chambers, a native of Tacoma, won the men’s 400 in 46.95. 

In the men’s 5000, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara was third in the 5000 in 13:57.87 in his season opener. Kellen Manley of Gonzaga won the men’s 3000 steeple in 9:01.16.  Tacoma native Dakarai Hightower won the men’s high jump at 7-0.25 (2.14m), while UW alum JJ Juilfs was second in the men’s pole vault at 16-11 (5.16m).  Another former Husky, Kyle Nielsen, won the men’s javelin with a toss of 213-8 (65.14m).

Finally, in Nassau, Bahamas, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry was fourth in his section of the 400 at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational in 45.99, as Kyle Clemons of Great Britain won the section in 45.48.

In that same meet, Jeshua Anderson lost his world lead in the 400 hurdles, as his old collegiate rival Johnny Dutch took the lead in winning with a time of 48.36.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Action continues hot and heavy across Southern California Friday for Washington schools...

In Azusa, University of Washington alum Gianna Woodruff (left/photo by Paul Merca) took the victory in the women’s 400 hurdles Friday at the Bryan Clay Invitational on the campus of Azusa Pacific University.

Woodruff, who is trying to achieve the Olympic standard of 56.20 in order to represent Panama in Rio, ran 57.63 to easily take the victory.

In a separate section, Seattle Paciifc’s Maliea Luquin won her heat in 61.93 to place 11th overall.

Western Washington’s Alex Donigian was third overall in the men’s 100 meters. Donigian, an All-American for the Vikings, ran 10.37 to nose out Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton of the Nike Oregon TC Elite, who ran 10.38.

Bruno de Barros of Brazil won the race in 10.30.

Donigian later won his heat of the 200 in 20.93, a time that puts him in a tie for second on the NCAA D2 performance list pending the results of other meets around the country this weekend, to finish fourth overall.

In the women’s 800, Seattle Pacific’s Lynelle Decker was eighth in the fast section, and 12th overall, running 2:09.41, as 2015 NCAA 1500 champ Shelby Houlihan of the Bowerman TC won in 2:03.88.

Eastern Washington’s Katie Mahoney and Paula Gil-Eehevarria finished 1-2 in the women’s 3000 steeplechase to highlight day 1 of competition at the Beach Invitational on the campus of Long Beach State University.

Mahoney took the victory in 10:24.48, with Gil-Eehevarria close behind in 10:25.82.

In other action at the Beach Invite, Western Washington’s Andrew Wise finished eighth in the men’s 5000 in 15:01.72. Steaven Zachman of Eastern Washington was ninth in the men’s 3000 steeple in 9:20.67.

Kaytlyn Coleman of the Eagles finished seventh in the women’s hammer, throwing 200-7 (61.13m) to break her own school record of 200-1 (61.00) set last week.

In the mens’ javelin, Washington’s Quinn Hale was 13th with a best of 215-5 (65.66m), while Eastern’s Joey Payne was 23rd at 203-7 (62.06m).

The Beach Invitational resumes Saturday.

In Cerritos, both Washington State’s Dominique Keel and Christiana Ekelem ran identical times of 54.59 in separate heats of the women’s 400 at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Keel ran 54.589 to finish third in section 3, while Ekelem won section 4 in 54.586, beating out Washington’s Alexis Ford, who was second in the heat in 54.96.

In section 2 of the women’s 5000, Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter broke the school record of 16:33.60 held by Mattie (Bridgmon) Suver set in 2008, as she ran 16:27.33 to finish eighth, ahead of Washington State’s CharLee Linton’s 16:31.43.  Club Northwest’s Jane Ricardi was 11th in the heat in 16:33.49.

Washington’s Kaitlin Zinsli tied for sixth in the women’s open pole vault B section at 12-3.5 (3.75m) and Eastern Washington’s Anandae Clark was eighth at 11-9.75 (3.60m).  In the men’s open pole vault, Washington State’s Austin Sodoroff was fourth at 17-0.75 (5.20m), while Chris Williams of Washington was sixth at the same height.  Chase Smith of UW was seven at 16-6.75 (5.05m), while Eastern Washington’s Larry Still tied for tenth at 16-0.75 (4.90m).

In the mens open discus, Washington State’s Adam Mahama (172-11/52.71m) and Cameron Brink  (160-4, 48.87m) finished third and eighth.  Jake Callaghan won the open men’s shot put at 53-10.25 (16.41m), while Eastern Washington’s Aaron Cunningham was sixth at 51-0.25 (15.55m).

The men’s open triple jump saw Central Washington’s Luke Plummer finish fifth with a best of 48-11 (14.91m).

The Cougars’ Kiana Davis tied for second in the women’s open high jump at 5-7 (1.70m).  In the women’s triple jump, Kiana Davis (41-1.75/12.54m), Greer Alsop (40-6./12.34m), and Kayla Warren (40-3.5/12.28m) finished second, sixth and seventh.  Washington’s Alanna Coker was 12th (38-8.25/11.79m), while Western Washington’s Jasmine McMullin was 13th (38-7/11.76m).

Kaitlin Krouse of WSU was fourth in the women’s open discus at 145-10 (44.44m), while Chrisshnay Brown was seventh at 144-5 (44.01m).

The Mt. SAC Relays concludes Saturday.  Complete results of the Mt. SAC Relays are available here.

One item we missed from Thursday's busy day of action in Southern California was USC's Tera Novy, who now has the Olympic standard in the discus, as she threw 200-5 (61.10m) at the CSULA Twilight meet.  The Montesano HS grad had two throws over 200 feet (61.00m) in her series. 

UW's Josh Gordon sets PRs in all five second day events at California Invitational decathlon...

AZUSA, California--Washington’s Josh Gordon (above/photo courtesy UW Athletics) and Cole Jensen finished fifth and eighth in section A of the California Invitational decathlon with scores of 6874 and 6612 Thursday.

Gordon set personal bests in all five events contested on the second day to eclipse his previous PR by over 500 points.

Gordon started the day by running 15.13 in the 110 hurdles, then threw 108-5 (33.06m) in the discus. He followed up by matching his indoor best in the pole vault, clearing 13-9.25 (4.20m), then threw the javelin 139-8 (42.58m), before running the 1500 in 4:38.16.

Jensen’s day 2 was highlighted by a clearance of 15-9 (4.80m) in the pole vault.

Pierre-Louis Ricou of Grand Canyon was the overall winner with a final score of 7340 points.

In the heptathlon, Washington State’s Liz Harper, made her debut in the event a successful one, as she finished seventh overall with a final score of 5472 points, the seventh best score in school history.

Harper long jumped 19-feet, 1/2 inch (5.80m), threw the javelin 89-6 (27.28m) and ran the 800m in an outstanding time of 2 minutes, 16.23 seconds.

Annie Kunz of Texas A&M was the overall winner with a score of 5904 points.

Washington’s CJ Smith finished 20th with a two-day total of 4859 points.  Washington State’s Lndsey Schauble was 30th with 4650 points.  Eastern Washington’s Jozie Kimes was 41st with 4167 points, while Ericka Budinich of Washington was 42nd with 4141 points.

Angela Whyte, an assistant for the Cougars competing unattached in the Mt. SAC Relays Heptathlon, started the day in fifth place but after long jumping 19-7 (5.97m) and throwing the javelin 128-11 (39.30m), did not run the 800m. Akela Jones, a senior at Kansas State, won the Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon with a score of 6,307 points.

Anna Patti of Seattle Pacific may be one step closer to qualifying for the NCAA Division II championships in the 5000, as she clocked 16:54.63 at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa,  Patti finished tenth overall.

The Bryan Clay Invite continues Friday. The link to live results is available here.

In Cerritos, the Mt. SAC Relays got underway late Thursday with several distance races.

Western Washington’s Matthew Lutz broke 9 minutes in the 3000 steeplechase and may have solidified his position to qualify for the NCAA D2 championships in Bradenton, Florida at the end of May, as he ran 8:59.97 to finish fourth overall in the collegiate/open section of the race.

In heat 1 of the collegiate/open steeple, WSU’s Kyler Little was second in 9:23.67, and Aaron Brenton of Eastern Washington was fourth in 9:27.55.  In heat 2, Andrew Wise of Western Washington was sixth in 9:11.08, and Nathan Wadhwani of WSU was 10th in 9:20.68.

Central Washington All-American Dani Eggleston was fourth in her heat and seventh overall in the women’s collegiate/open steeple, running 10:27.63. In another heat, Washington State’s Devon Bortfeld was eighth in 10:42.71.

In the men’s collegiate/open section A of the 10000, Gonzaga’s Sumner Goodwin finished third in a time of 30:07.63, with teammates Dillon Quintana 16th in 30:35.54, and Max Kaderabek 21st in 30:43.61.

The women’s collegiate/open A section of the women’s 10000 saw Berenice Pelaloza of Eastern Washington finish 23rd in 35:38.54. Morgan Willson of WSU was 31st in 36:06.48, three spots ahead of Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter in 36:19.02.

The Mt. SAC Relays continues Friday and finishes Saturday. The link to live results is available here.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Azusa Pacific, Mt. SAC, Seattle Pacific, University of Washington, and Washington State contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WSU's Harper fourth after day 1 of California Invitational heptathlon...

AZUSA, California—Washington State’s Liz Harper (left/photo by Paul Merca) currently stands in fourth place after day one of the California Invitational heptathlon competition hosted by Azusa Pacific University.

Harper, an accomplished 400 meter hurdler for the Cougs, made her heptathlon debut Wednesday by  running 14.02 in the 100 hurdles (976 points), clearing 5-10 (1.78m, 953 points), throwing the shot 32-10.5 (10.34m, 552 points), and running the 200 in 24.84 (902 points) to accumulate a first day score of 3383 points.

Washington’s CJ Smith stands 21st in the field with a first day score of 2934 points, while Washington State’s Lindsey Schauble is 33rd with 2783 points, Eastern Washington’s Jozie Kimes is 42nd with 2547 points, and Ericka Budinich is 45th at 2382 points.

Nia Ali, the two-time world indoor champion at the 60 hurdles, holds the lead at the break with 3712 points.

In the concurrent Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon competition also contested at Azusa, WSU assistant coach Angela Whyte is fifth at the break with a score of 3543 points.

Whyte ran 13.16 (1100 points) in the 100 hurdles, high jumped 5-5 (1.65m, 795 points), threw the shot 41-6 (12.65m, 704 points), and ran the 200 in 24.39 (944 points).

Defending Pac-12 champion Alissa Brooks-Johnson of WSU, is dealing with issues in her back and only competed in two events—the high jump, where she cleared 5-6 (1.68m. 830 points) and threw the shot 33-11.25 (10.34m, 666 points).

Akela Jones of Kansas State leads at the break with 4063 points.

In the California Invitational decathlon, Washington’s Cole Jensen stands sixth with a five-event total of 3670 points, while teammate Josh Gordon is eighth with 3670 points.

Victor Lindon of Texas A&M leads at the halfway mark with a first day score of 4092 points.

The Mt. SAC Relays and California Invitational multi-event competition continues Thursday at Azusa Pacific.

Thursday, all nine schools, along with a handful of Washington post-collegians and pros will be in action at either the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific, the Pacific Coast Invitational, hosted by Long Beach State, or the Mt. SAC Relays, which are being contested this year at Cerritos College in Norwalk, due to a remodeling project at Hilmer Lodge Stadium at Mt. SAC in Walnut. The stadium is being remodeled with the intent to bid for the 2020 US Olympic Trials.

All nine Washington D1/D2 schools spread throughout Southern California starting Wednesday...

All nine of Washington’s Division I and II schools will have a presence in Southern California over the next few days as its teams and athletes make their mid-season push to ensure their spots in the conference championship meets next month.

The multi-events get the Southern California expedition underway, as Washington and Washington State have entries in the Mt. SAC and California Invitational decathlon and heptathlon competitions that start Wednesday at Azusa Pacific College.

In the Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon, defending Pac-12 champion Alissa Brooks-Johnson (left/photo by Paul Merca) along with coach Angela Whyte, fresh off a fifth place finish in the 60 hurdles at the world championships in Portland, will go against a field that includes US Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe, world championship competitors Barbara Nwaba and Jessica Zelinka, along with Kansas State’s Akela Jones.

In the California Invitational decathlon section, Eastern Washington freshman Aaron Pullin, along with Washington’s Cole Jensen and Josh Gordon are entered.

The California Invitational heptathlon has Washington’ State’s Liz Harper and Lindsay Schauble, along with Washington’s CJ Smith and Erika Budinich.

Friday, action continues at the Bryan Clay at Azusa and the Mt. SAC Relays, along with the first day of the Beach Invitational hosted by Long Beach State on their campus track.

Southern California’s  track and field marathon finishes off Saturday with the final day of the Beach Invitational and the Mt. SAC Relays.

A limited number of athletes from Washington schools will compete Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Oregon Relays in Eugene at Hayward Field on the Oregon campus.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Colby Gilbert becomes second straight Husky runner to earn Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week...

SAN FRANCISCO—For the second week in a row, a University of Washington men’s track runner has been selected by the Pacific-12 Conference as its athlete of the week.

Sophomore Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Huskies was selected by the conference for his run of 13:44.96 at last Saturday’s Pepsi Team Invitational at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, which was the second fastest in UW school history. 

His feat was significant in that he became one of a select group of collegians to ever defeat Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, a 13-time NCAA champion, when he put on a burst with 250 meters to go, and Cheserek did not respond to the final sprint.

Gilbert’s mark is the #4 time in NCAA Division I this season.

The Skyview/Vancouver prep product joins Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen (men’s field) and Sage Watson (women’s track), along with Stanford’s Valarie Allman (women’s field) as the conference’s athletes of the week for the week ending April 10th.

The Washington men’s team is ranked #23 in the latest USTFCCCA Division I computer rankings released by the organization on Monday.

The top five teams in the country according to the computer rankings are Texas A&M, Florida, Oregon, Texas & LSU.

Other Pac-12 teams in the national top-25 are #14 USC, #16 Stanford, and #17 Colorado.

In Division II, both Western Washington and Seattle Pacific are in the national top 25 in this week’s computer rankings.

The Vikings are ranked #14, while the Falcons are #15 this week.

Saint Augustine’s is the #1 women’s team in Division II, followed by Johnson C. Smith, West Texas A&M, Chico State, and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Alaska Anchorage is the only other team besides Western Washington and Seattle Pacific ranked in the top 25, at #13.

Finally, here's a report from Flotrack indicating that Washington State hall of famer Bernard Lagat will make his 10k track debut at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 1st at Stanford University.

Lagat hinted at taking a shot at the 10000 a few weeks ago after he broke his masters world record for 5k on the road at the Carlsbad 5000 on April 3rd, when he ran 13:38, breaking it by two seconds.

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

WEEKEND RECAP: SeattleU's Melu breaks school record in HJ: Mondor highlghts; Coleman breaks EWU hammer SR...

In Spokane, SeattleU’s Shaddye Melu (above/photo courtesy Seattle University) has a strong double victory to highlight competition on the men’s side at the annual WAR IX (Washington Against the Region) pitting schools from the state of Washington against other schools in the Northwest region.

Melu broke his own outdoor school record in the high jump, clearing a best of 7-0.5 (2.15m) on his third attempt to easily win the competition.   He ended the jumping with three misses at 7-2.5 (2.20m).

Melu also won the men’s 400 in 48.24.

Other highlights in the men’s competition from Washington athletes included:

—Troy Fraley of Gonzaga, who is competing unattached winning the 1500 in 3:51.38 over Sumner Goodwin of the Zags; 

—Larry Still of Eastern Washington won the pole vault with a clearance of 15-11 (4.85m);

—Central Washington’s Luke Plummer won the triple jump with a mark of 48-8.25 (14.84m), while teammate Armando Tafoya won the hammer with a toss of 190-5 (58.04m); 

—Whitworth’s Andrew Bloom threw the javelin 219-2 (66.80m) to take the national lead in Division III in that event.

In the women’s competition, Whitworth’s Kayla Leland won an close 800 meter race over Eastern Washington’s Katie Mahoney, in a time of 2:11.82 to 2:11.95.

Gonzaga’s Maggie Jones won the 1500 in 4:36.53 over NCAA steeplechase qualifiers Dani Eggleston of Central Washington (4:39.79) and Shelby Mills (4:43.39) of Gonzaga.

Central Washington’s Tayler Fettig won the high jump with a best of 5-7 (1.70m), while Eastern Washington’s Erin Clark and Anandae Clark were in a 4-way tie for first in the pole vault along with Stephanie Wright of Spokane CC and Carrie Jacka of Montana at 12-1.5 (3.70m).

At the Emilie Mondor Invitational hosted by Simon Fraser University in Burnaby on Saturday, Western Washington’s Alex Barry won the men’s javelin with a toss of 195-1 (59.48m).

Seattle Pacific’s Jalen Tims ran a personal best 1:01.10 to win the 400 hurdles, a time that ranks in the top ten in Division II nationally.

The Falcons’ Lynelle Decker won the 1500 in 4:30.17, which also puts her in the top ten in Division II, though she would most likely drop that event for the national championships.

SPU freshman Geneva Lehnert won the high jump with a clearance of 5-5 (1.65m).

In Cheney on Friday, Eastern Washington’s Kaytlyn Coleman broke the school record in the hammer and won the shot put, while Sarah Reiter took down the meet record in the 1500 to highlight the Eagles’ 76-72 dual meet win over Montana at the Pelluer Invitational.

Coleman threw the hammer 200-1 (61.00) to break the previous school record of 199-8 set by Nicole Luckenbach in 2010.  Coleman’s mark is currently #19 on the NCAA Division I performance list.

Reiter ran the second fastest time in school history, to break the old meet record of 4:29.1 set by Idaho’s Sherrie Crang in 1983, as she clocked 4:28.93.

Joey Payne of the Eagles threw a personal best of 219-3 (66.82m) to win the men’s javelin to help lead the Eagles to a 53-50 win over Montana in the men’s competition.

All nine of Washington’s D1 and D2 schools will have a presence in several meets in Southern California this coming weekend, highlighted by the Mt. SAC Relays and the Beach Invitational.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Western Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific, and Eastern Washington contributed to this report.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Anderson runs third straight world leading time in 400 hurdles at Sun Angel Classic...

TEMPE, Arizona—For the third straight meet this season, Washington State University alum Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran the fastest time in the world in the 400 meter hurdles at the Sun Angel Classic Saturday night hosted by Arizona State University at Sun Angel Stadium.

Anderson ran 48.92 to take the victory over Texas A&M’s Robert Grant’s 49.73, and Washington State’s CJ Allen, who ran 50.16.

Allen’s mark moves him up to the #6 position in school history, and puts him in the top 15 in the world so far this season.

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle opened up her 2016 outdoor campaign by winning the women’s triple jump with a best of 44-10.75 (13.68m), the second furthest outdoor mark by an American so far this season (she has a season best of 45-7.75/13.91m set indoors on February 27th at the SPU Last Chance meet in Seattle).

Washington State had several athletes at the Sun Angel, besides Allen.

For the third-time this season, Ja’Maun Charles ran his 100m PR time of 10.59, today for fifth place. The talented freshman came back later to run a PR time in the 200m dash of 21.30 for fourth place, with teammate Terrance Chambers clocking in a time of 21.39 for sixth. 

Dominique Keel ran a PR time in the 400m dash of 54.88 to take seventh place with fellow Cougar senior Christiana Ekelem taking eight place with a PR time of 55.04. Keel doubled back to finish as the runner-up in the 200m dash with a time of 24.29 with WSU freshman Regyn Gaffney taking sixth in 24.73.

Liz Harper broke the 14-second barrier in the women’s 100m hurdles with her time of 13.88, 13th-best Saturday. She also long jumped 19-4 1/4w (5.90m), just four inches below her PR in the event, for ninth. 

In Eugene, Washington’s Colby Gilbert surprised Oregon’s Edward Cheserek in the men’s 5000 meters in a personal best of 13:44.96 to highlight the Huskies’ performance at the Pepsi Team Invitational featuring Washington, Penn State and USC.

Gilbert took the lead with three laps to go, and Cheserek, the 13-time NCAA champion sat behind Gilbert.  With 200 meters left, Gilbert put on a burst, and Cheserek did not respond.

The team battles were close throughout, with the Oregon women getting the win with 173 points, Penn State second at 166, and the Huskies third with 164, ahead of USC, fourth at 134. Penn State and Oregon tied for the men’s title with 181.5 points, with the Husky men third with 168 ahead of USC with 94.

In his outdoor season debut, Izaic Yorks led wire to wire to win the men’s 1500 in a personal best of 3:41.56.

Washington’s Anna Maxwell continued her strong outdoor showing, winning the women’s 1500 in 4:19.84, over teammate Maddie Meyers’ 4:20.06.

The Huskies took victories in both men’s and women’s races from 1500 meters on up on the day, with Katie Knight winning the women’s 5000 in 16:04.28, and Charlotte Prouse taking the steeplechase in a meet record 10:00.67.  On the men’s side, Andrew Gardner won the steeple in a personal best 8:53.27.

Oregon’s Marcus Chambers from Tacoma won the men’s 400 in 46.82 over the Huskies’ Jacopo Spano’s 47.66.

The Huskies’ Jax Thoirs (17-2.75/5.25m) and Liz Quick (12-11/3.94m) swept both the men’s and women’s pole vault titles.

NOTE:  The sports information departments of the University of Washington, Washington State, the University of Oregon, and Arizona State University contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Another busy weekend for all nine Washington D1/D2 schools ahead Friday & Saturday...

All nine Washington Division I and II schools are in action this weekend, with the majority congregating in Spokane for the WAR IX meet hosted by Spokane Community College starting on Friday.

Gonzaga, Washington State, Eastern Washington, and SeattleU, plus D2 schools Central Washington and Saint Martin’s will compete in the WAR IX meet, which features a mix of D1, D2, D3, NAIA and junior colleges from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, plus a few post-collegians.

Also on Friday, Eastern Washington hosts its lone home meet, the Pelleur Invitational, which is essentially a dual meet between the Eagles and the University of Montana. 

Expected to compete at the Pelleur for the Eags are distance runner Katie Mahoney (left/photo by Paul Merca) and thrower Kaytlyn Coleman, both of whom were honored by the Big Sky Conference for their performances at last week’s Stanford Invitational.

The majority of the Washington State team heads south to Tempe, Arizona for the Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State University Friday and Saturday.  The Cougars will travel 38 men and women to Tempe for the two-day meet that attracts many of the top prep, collegiate, and professional athletes.  

University Place resident Andrea Geubelle will open her 2016 outdoor campaign in Tempe.

The University of Washington will head south to Eugene for the annual Pepsi Team Invitational scoring meet hosted by the University of Oregon at Historic Hayward Field,  featuring the USC Trojans, and Penn State Nittany Lions, along with the Huskies and the Ducks.

The meet will begin with the men’s discus at 10:50 a.m. on Saturday and the first track race will be the women’s 5,000-meters at 12 noon. The television broadcast window on Pac-12 Washington (628 on Seattle area Comcast) and Pac-12 Oregon starts at 1 p.m. and lasts through the end of the meet at approximately 3:30 p.m.

The Pepsi Team Invite uses a unique scoring system where only two athletes per school are allowed to score in each event. The point system is 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for individual events, and 9-7-6-5 for relays.

The Pepsi meet will be the 2016 outdoor debuts for All-Americans Izaic Yorks and Colby Gilbert, as neither have raced since the NCAA indoor championships last month.

Finally, both Western Washington and Seattle Pacific will send teams to Canada for the Simon Fraser/Emilie Mondor Invitational in Burnaby, BC on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Aaron Nelson & Tera Novy named Pac-12 Conference athletes of the week...

SAN FRANCISCO—The Pac-12 Conference announced that University of Washington senior Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) was named the conference’s men’s track athlete of the week for meets ending the week of April 2nd.

Nelson went to number one in the NCAA this season in the 10,000 meters after he was the top collegiate finisher out of a field with multiple professional runners at the Stanford Invitational over the weekend. Nelson ran a time of 28:53.70 in his first 10k on the track in two years. 

Also honored by the Pac-12 as the conference’s women’s field event athlete of the week was USC senior Tera Novy (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) from Montesano.  Novy, a 2012 graduate of Montesano who won a Washington state 1A title, won the women’s discus throw at the California Collegiate Invitational on April 2nd, breaking her school record with a throw of 196-6 (59.90m), beating the field by nearly four feet.

The mark was a 2-foot, 7-inch personal best and is the top throw in the country this season. More importantly, she solidified her qualifying position for this summer’s US Olympic Trials in Eugene.

Novy first got her Olympic Trials qualifier at last year’s NCAA championship meet, where she finished fourth with a toss of 191-4 (58.31m).  Her personal best at the end of the 2015 season was 193-11 (59.12m), set at the Cal State LA Twilight meet on April 16th, before the start of the May 1st Olympic Trials qualifying window.

Colorado's Erin Clark, and Stanford's Harrison Williams were named the conference's women's track and men's field event athletes of the week for last weekend's performances.

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

WEEKEND RECAP: Washington schools scatter across the country in search of marks at invitationals...

With all nine Washington Division I and II schools scattered around the country and the Northwest with meets, here’s a summary of how they fared Saturday:

in Palo Alto at the Stanford Invitational, the WASHINGTON HUSKIES got heat wins from Blake Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 800, as he ran a new personal best of 1:50.00, with teammate and 2014 Pac-12 800 champ Derrick Daigre third in 1:50.85.

The Huskies’ Hannah Derby (2:08.85) won her heat of the 800 in a personal best, while Kennadi Bouyer (24.23 PR) won her heat of the 200.

In a separate heat of the women’s 800, SEATTLE PACIFIC’s Lynelle Decker ran 2:08.08 to finish fifth in her heat.  The mark is currently the fastest time in NCAA D2, pending the outcome of several major meets around the country this weekend.

Friday night, EASTERN WASHINGTON’s Kaytlyn Coleman finished fourth in the hammer, with a toss of 194-9 (59.37m), a new personal best.

At the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, WESTERN WASHINGTON’s Alex Donigian was seventh in the men’s University/College 100m dash in a windy 10.33.

In San Marcos, Texas, the Vikings’ Bethany Drake took over the Division II national lead in the javelin with a toss of 166-9 (50.83m) to win the event at the Bobcat Invitational.

In Spokane, WASHINGTON STATE’s women took nine victories, while their mens’ squad took 11 wins at the Sam Adams Classic hosted by Whitworth University.

Thane Pierson had the best mark of the day, winning the men’s high jump with a leap of 7-2.5 (2.20m), which currently ranks him in the top five in NCAA D1, pending the outcome of other meets around the country.

GONZAGA’s women earned two victories in the 1500 by Claren Fraher (4:48.16), and in the 5000 by Amanda Kiefer (19:21.28).

In Lacey, SAINT MARTIN’s Mikel Smith won the men’s high jump with a clearance of 6-10.25 (2.09m), an NCAA D2 provisional qualifying mark, while CENTRAL WASHINGTON’s Dani Eggleston finished second in the women’s 3000 steeplechase in 10:39.08 behind WSU alum Caroline Austin (10:34.84) to highlight action at the Saint Martin’s University Open meet.

Finally, in Missoula, Montana, EASTERN WASHINGTON’s Erika Lombardo (200m, 25.38) and Erin Clark (11-7.75/3.55m) were victorious in their events at the Al Manuel Invitational.

Friday, April 1, 2016

UW alum Mel Lawrence gets Olympic Trials qualifier in steeplechase at Stanford Invite...

PALO ALTO, California—University of Washington alum Mel Lawrence (left/photo courtesy Oiselle), who has struggled with injuries off and on since graduating from the school, broke through with a solid second place finish in the top section of the 3000 meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational Friday night.

Lawrence, who competes professionally for Oiselle, ran 9:50.91, the fastest time that she’s run since graduating from the UW in 2013, in finishing behind Paige Kouba of Harvard’s winning time of 9:50.21.

While that time is still close to ten seconds behind her personal best of 9:40.98 set way back in 2009, it got her under the Olympic Trials qualifying mark of 9:53.00.  She will have up until the Olympic Trials to get the Olympic standard of 9:45.00.

In a separate section of the women’s steeplechase, Eastern Washington’s Katie Mahoney won section 3 in a time of 10:10.33.  In section 2, Western Washington grad Katelyn Steen finished second in 10:06.19, just ahead of Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills in 10:06.49.

In other highlights from the Stanford Invite:

—Washington State’s Forrest Shaffer was third in his section of the men’s steeplechase in 8:51.73;

—Washinton’s Anna Maxwell was fourth in her heat of the 1500m, running 4:17.96;

—Pasco HS grad Marisa Howard was second in her heat of the 5000m in 15:54.06, just ahead of Boise State freshman Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor in 15:55.43.  In the same heat, Washington’s Charlotte Prouse (16:03.80) and Isobel Batt-Doyle (16:04.79) were 12th and 13th;

—Washington’s Johnathan Stevens won his heat of the men’s 5000 in 13:57.65, just ahead of former Husky Meron Simon, now competing as a grad transfer at North Carolina State (13:58.10);  

—In the top section of the men’s 5000, Puyallup native David Elliott of Boise State was fifth in 13:42.17; 

—Washington’s Aaron Nelson was ninth in the top section of the men’s 10000 in 28:53.70;

--In another section of the women's 10000, Eastern Washington's Sarah Reiter narrowly missed the school record of 33:46.1 set by Kari McKay in 1992, running 33:46.71 to finish ninth.

In San Francisco, Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter finished second in the top section of the women’s 5000, running 16:32.03, just off of the NCAA Division II automatic qualifying time of 16:25.35.

Washington State assistant coach Allix Potratz-Lee won the women’s steeple in 10:09.12, while current Cougar Devon Bortfeld won her section of the steeple in 10:41.82.

In Los Angeles, Kellen Manley and Kyle Branch of Gonzaga finished 4-5 to highlight the Bulldogs’ day at the Bruin Legends of Track & Field Invitational Distance Carnival at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus.

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