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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