Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Conference champs lead Washington schools into action at NCAA West Regionals...

With eyes focused towards a return to Eugene’s Hayward Field for the finals in two weeks, a slew of conference champions from four of Washington’s five Division I schools will lead their squads into competition at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round that starts Thursday at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas, hosted by the University of Kansas.

The UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON will have 37 entries into the West Regionals, led by Pac-12 champs Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 1500, Aaron Nelson in the steeple, Colby Gilbert in the 5000, and Jax Thoirs in the pole vault.

The Husky women’s squad will be led by Pac-12 champs Liz Quick in the pole vault and Katie Knight in the 10000.

WASHINGTON STATE has 19 entries in the West Regionals, led by 400 meter hurdles champ CJ Allen.  While multi-event specialists Liz Harper and Dino Dodig are competing in individual events at the regionals, both are assured of competing in Eugene in the heptathlon and decathlon, as they are in the top 24 in the country.

EASTERN WASHINGTON’S seven entries will be led by Big Sky champs Jeremy VanAssche in the 100, Larry Payne in the pole vault, Katie Mahoney in the steeple, and Kaytlyn Coleman in the hammer.

SEATTLE UNIVERSITY’s lone entry in the regionals is WAC champ Shaddye Melu in the high jump.

As the West Coast Conference does not sponsor a championship in track, GONZAGA will have two entries—Shelby Mills on the women’s side, and Kellen Manley on the men's side, with both running in the steeplechase.  Mills, who broke her own school record by running 9:56.17, is looking to return to the nationals, and possibly qualify for the Olympic trials.  She’s seeded #6 among the 48 entries in the field.

The top twelve competitors in each event will advance to the semis and final round which will be in Eugene in two weeks.   All track events from 100-meters up to 1,500-meters will have a first round and a quarterfinal round in Lawrence, while the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000- and 10,000-meters will have just one round at Prelims.

Among the notable athletes from Washington competing at the meet for out-of-state schools includes Pac-12 100 & 200 champ Hannah Cunliffe of Federal Way (Oregon), Pac-12 400 champ Marcus Chambers of Tacoma (Oregon), Pac-12 triple jump champ Darian Brooks of Seattle (Stanford), 1500 meter runner Chelsea Orr of Sammamish (Baylor) and discus thrower Tera Novy of Montesano (USC).

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