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.

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