Saturday, June 18, 2016

Washington grad Baylee Mires gets Olympic Trials qualifier at Brooks PR meet...

RENTON—For the first time in the short history of the Brooks PR meet featuring many of the country’s top high school runners, the Seattle-based running shoe company added four professional races to the meet, with the intent of highlighting its Brooks Beasts squad, which has its home base in the city.

In addition, three of the four pro races held with the PR meet at Renton Stadium in suburban Seattle were staged with the intent of giving athletes the opportunity to chase either the US Olympic Trials standard and/or the Olympic standard.

On an overcast day that had tricky winds come into play during the meet, one athlete who made the most of that opportunity was new University of Washington alum Baylee Mires (left/photo by Paul Merca), who in her first professional race, finished third in a personal best 2:02.97 and ducked under the US Olympic trials standard of 2:03.00.

With former Husky 400 meter hurdler Gianna Woodruff as the designated pace setter, the field went through the first 400 just over 58 seconds, about a half-second slower than what several of the runners asked for.

After Woodruff dropped out at the 500 meter mark, Seattle’s Phoebe Wright, who trains with the Beasts group, along with Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker took command up front.

Meanwhile, Mires, who was eighth at the NCAA championships last week, began moving up, passing several runners, and positioned herself into third as they exited the final turn.

Mires could not quite close the gap on Wright and Fricker, as Wright took the win in 2:02.35, and Fricker second at 2:02.47.

Megan Malasarte of the Beasts was fourth in 2:03.62, just short of the Trials qualifier.

In the women’s 1500, Washington alum Katie Mackey dominated the field, winning easily in a time of 4:09.83, 4.23 seconds up on runner-up Lianne Farber.

Jessica Tonn of the Beasts, who is qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 5000, was fifth in 4:16.21, and Tacoma native Brie Felnagle was seventh in 4:18.29. Angela Bizzari of the Beasts was ninth in 4:19.48.

In his first professional race, Washington grad Izaic Yorks, who finished second at last week’s NCAA championship meet at 1500 meters, took the lead with 350 meters to go, but could not hang on as Oklahoma State’s Josh Thompson won the 1500 meters in 3:39.61, with Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano second in 3:39.70, and Yorks third at 3:39.83.

Clayton Murphy, who defeated Yorks at last week’s NCAA championships in the 1500, was fourth in 3:41.02, just ahead of two-time US Olympian Andrew Wheating’s 3:41.38.

Garrett Heath of the Beasts was eighth in 3:43.51, just ahead of teammate Riley Masters’ 3:43.91.  Dorian Ulrey of the Beasts was 11th in 3:46.88.

The men’s 600, which was set up for two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds of the Beasts, never materialized as originally projected, as Symmonds withdrew, and became a match race between Cas Loxsom and Stephan Bullard, with Loxsom winning in 1:17.18 to Bullard’s 1:18.06.

In the high school section, Andrew Jordan of Watkins HS in Pataskala, Ohio had the top mark of the day, winning the two-mile in 8:50.12, crossing 3000 meters in 8:19.69.

At the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Burnaby, British Columbia Friday night, Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara won the men’s 1500 in 3:39.42.

Western Washington grad Katie Reichert qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the javelin, as she finished third with a best throw of 180-4 (54.97m), comfortably over the standard of 177-2 (54.00).  Teammate Bethany Drake was sixth with a best of 164-5 (50.13m), as Krista Woodward of the USA won with a toss of 187-0 (57.01m).

In other events, WSU assistant coach Angela Whyte, who is preparing for the Canadian Olympic trials, was fourth in the 100 hurdles in 13.59, as Bridgette Owens of the USA won in 13.30.

In the women’s steeple, Amber Schultz of Club Northwest was sixth in 9:56.88, and teammate Katelyn Steen was ninth in 10:02.98, short of the Trials qualifying mark of 9:53.00, as 2012 US Olympian Bridget Franek won in 9:49.37.

Many of these same athletes will move on to Victoria for Sunday's Victoria International meet, which is the second stop of Canada's National Track League series.

At the Club Northwest all-comers meet on Wednesday June 15th at Husky Track, Club Northwest pole vaulter Levi Keller may have punched his ticket to the Olympic Trials, clearing a personal best 18-4.75 (5.61m), just short of the automatic qualifying mark of 18-6.5 (5.65m). 

However, with 14 athletes as of this weekend over the standard and a recommended field of 24, the jump will most likely get Keller into the field.

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