Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Washington's nine D1 & D2 schools scatter for meets this weekend...

All nine of Washington’s Division I and II schools are in action this weekend, as the majority of them are headed for warmer climes in pursuit of top marks all across the board.

Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Seattle Pacific and Gonzaga will have representatives at the big Stanford Invitational Friday and Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto.

Much as Washington’s Dempsey Indoor has become a destination for the West Coast’s top distance runners, so too has Stanford’s Cobb Track for the outdoor distance races, with its numerous heats complete with pacemakers to help pull runners to fast times.

The majority of Washington’s distance runners who did not make the trip to Tempe for last week’s Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge meet, will make their outdoor season debuts Friday and Saturday, including All-Americans Maddie Meyers (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Baylee Mires, who will run the 1500. Neither All-Americans Colby Gilbert nor Izaic Yorks are entered at Stanford, but Aaron Nelson is entered in the 10000.

Eastern Washington’s Paula Gil Echevarria and Katie Mahoney are both entered in the steeplechase, as is Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills, who qualified for the NCAA championships in this event last year.

Several of Washington State’s athletes who ran in the NCAA cross country championships are entered at Stanford, including Sam Levora, Chandler Teigen and Nathan Tadesse in the 1500, and John Whelan & Michael Williams in the 10000m.  Levora is also entered in the 5000m.

Seattle Pacific will have a large contingent competing featuring several members of its NCAA indoor championships team entered, including All Americans Jahzelle Ambus, Lynelle Decker, and Chynna Phan.

Notable pros entered at Stanford include Washington alum Mel Lawrence in the steeple, and Jamie Cheever in the 5000.


In San Francisco, athletes from Seattle University, Seattle Pacific, and Washington State will compete in the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, hosted by San Francisco State University on Friday and Saturday. The SF State meet has quickly gained a national reputation for quality distance racing, and for accommodating teams and athletes who were shut out of the Stanford meet.

Gonzaga wlll also have athletes competing in Los Angeles at the Legends Distance Carnival Friday hosted by UCLA.

Western Washington will send several athletes to this weekend’s Texas Relays including high jumper Mirands Odaschey, discus thrower Megan Mortensen, and All-American javelin throwers Bethany Drake and Katie Reichert.  On the men’s side, javelin thrower John Haskin, sprinter Alex Donigian, and hurdler Travis Milbrandt will represent the Vikings.


Staying close to home are many of Washington State’s sprinters and field event athletes, who are competing at the Sam Adams Classic in Spokane on Saturday, hosted by Whitworth University.

Eastern Washington will send a contingent to Missoula, Montana for a four-way meet with Montana, Montana State, and Idaho on Friday-Saturday.

Central Washington will stay close to home and send a contingent to Lacey for the Saint Martin’s Open meet Saturday, hosted by Saint Martin’s University.  It’s expected that Western Washington and Seattle Pacific will send a small group of athletes who don’t make the trip to either Stanford or Texas.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Quick, Stevens earn victories at Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge; Thoirs and Smith tie in vault...

TEMPE, Arizona—Washington pole vaulter Liz Quick (left/photo by Paul Merca) and 1500 runner Johnathan Stevens each earned a victory, while reigning NCAA indoor champ Jax Thoirs and teammate Chase Smith tied for the win Saturday night to highlight the Husky track team’s performance at the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge meet at Sun Angel Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.

Quick cleared 13-6.5 (4.13m) on her third attempt to turn back the challenge of Cal freshman Lauren Martinez, who cleared a best of 13-3.75 (4.06m).  The Huskies’ Kaitlin Zinsli was sixth with a best of 12-8.75 (3.88m).

Thoirs, the NCAA indoor champ, cleared a best of 16-11.5 (5.17m) along with teammate Chase Smith as they tied for the win.  Fellow Husky Blaise Black was third with a clearance of 16-7.5 (5.07m), while Chris Williams tied for eighth at 16-1.75 (4.92m).

Williams finished third in the110 hurdles in a time of 14.20.

Husky sophomore Johnathan Stevens won the men’s 1500 in a time of 3:43.70.

The Husky men’s 4 x 100 relay team of Williams, Jacopo Spano, Lucas Strong & Travis Marshall finished third in a time of 40.37.

On the women’s side, the Huskies’ Necy Wade finished fourth in the 200 in 24.59.

Freshman Charlotte Prouse was fifth in the 1500 in 4:22.15, just ahead of new Husky Isobel Batt-Doyle, an Australian import who transferred to UW from St. John’s. Batt-Doyle was sixth in 4:22.40.

Freshman Morganne Hill finished fifth in the 400 hurdles in 61.21, while fellow freshman Carly Lester was seventh in 61.98.

The Washington 4 x 400 relay team of Imani Apostol, Baylee Mires, Hannah Derby & Lester were seventh in 3:49.52.

The Huskies return to action on April 1-2 when they compete at the Stanford Invitational.

Jeshua Anderson drops world lead in 400H to 49.34 in Phoenix...

PHOENIX—Washington State University alum Jeshua Anderson (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) continued his strong early season performance Saturday at the Puma Outdoor Invitational hosted by Paradise Valley Community College.

Eight days after running a world leading time of 49.61 in the 400 hurdles at the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, Anderson, a 3-time NCAA champ and 4-time Pac-10 champ, continued his roll, taking the early season world lead (pending results of other meets around the USA & world this weekend) down to 49.34 in what essentially was a solo performance, with the next runner 5.01 seconds behind.

In the women’s 400 hurdles, former Husky Gianna Woodruff, who is now training with Anderson under former Washington State hurdles coach Mark MacDonald, finished second in a time of 58.36, as Arizona State alum Keia Pinnick ran 57.94 to take the victory.


In Seattle, Western Washington’s Katie Reichert joined teammate Bethany Drake as an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division II championships as she threw the javelin 164-7 (50.16m) to highlight competition at the first Doris Heritage Distance Festival, hosted by Seattle Pacific at West Seattle Stadium.

Host Seattle Pacific emerged with 10 wins at the meet, with Kyra Brannan leading a 1-2-3-4 finish in the women’s 200, as she ran 26.29 into a -1.9 head wind.

Though she finished second to Club Northwest’s Haley O’Connor (2:12.67), the Falcons’ Chynna Phan came the closest to an NCAA qualifying mark, as she ran 2:13.59, short of the 2:13.33 provisional mark.

For local track & field fans, the Doris Heritage Distance Festival replaced the traditional Club Northwest Spring Break meet, as Seattle Pacific took over the meet management this year.


In Moscow, Idaho, Washington State’s Brock Eager, who competed unattached, won the men’s hammer at the Idaho Invitational, hosted by the University of Idaho on Saturday.

Eager threw the hammer 193-6 (58.97m) on his final attempt to nip Washington State’s Travis Pickett, who threw 193-1 (58.86m).

The Cougars’ Matt Wardell won the shot put with a toss of 54-9.5 (16.70m).

On the track, highlights included a win by Gonzaga’s Maggie Jones in the women’s 3000 (9:58.02), and Sumner Goodwin (3:55.59) in the men’s 1500.


NOTE:  Paradise Valley CC, along with the sports information offices of the University of Idaho, and Seattle Pacific, contributed to this report.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Washington's Carson Fuller rifles spear past 73-meter mark as Dawgs open outdoor campaign...

TEMPE, Arizona—It may be early in the season, but Washington javelin thrower Carson Fuller (left/photo by Paul Merca) let the competition in the Pac-12 Conference know that he’s back after missing most of 2015 with an injury.

Fuller’s toss of 240-11 (73.45m) to win the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Challenge meet was a substantial personal best for the Spokane native, and rocketed him to the number 8 spot on the Division I list Friday at Sun Angel Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.

Fuller opened with a first round throw of 221-9 (67.58m), then got the spear past the 70-meter mark in round 4, throwing 235-3 (71.71m) to eclipse his old personal best of 227-11 (69.48m).  

Fuller then got his second personal best of the evening, rifling the spear 240-11 (73.45m) in the fifth round, before fouling his last attempt.

The mark also puts Fuller at #4 in school history, and potentially puts him in a position to aim for the US Olympic Trials qualifying standard of 252-7 (77.00m).

Teammate Curtis Clauson finished fifth with a best of 201-7 (61.45m).

In other events contested Friday, UW sophomore Onyie Chibuogwo finished fifth in the hammer, as she threw 179-4 (54.67m). In the men’s hammer, Washington’s Kyle White was their top finisher, placing 14th at 173-9 (52.95m).

The Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Challenge continues Saturday, with the first field event at 2:30pm, and the first running event at 6:20 pm.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dawgs open outdoor season in Arizona, while SPU hosts Doris Heritage Distance Festival...

With spring break on the agenda this weekend, most of the state’s nine Division I and II schools will be in action this weekend.

The University of Washington opens its outdoor season Friday and Saturday in Tempe, Arizona at the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge meet hosted by Arizona State University at Sun Angel Stadium, featuring Arizona, Cal, and host ASU along with Big Ten teams from Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska & Penn State.

This meet marks the Huskies’ second straight season opening meet at Sun Angel Stadium, but their first appearance in this specific conference showdown.  The meet will be scored as a dual between the Big Ten and Pac-12, but with eight places scoring in each event (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1).

The Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge marks the season debut of the Husky javelin crew, featuring All-Americans Curtis Clauson, Carson Fuller, and Quinn Hale (left/photo by Paul Merca).  Fuller and Hale redshirted in 2015, while Clauson returns after a ninth place finish at nationals last season.

Washington will travel most of their squad to Tempe, with the exception of their top distance runners, who will open up at Stanford next week.

Friday’s schedule starts with the women’s hammer at 1pm, with the men to follow.  The men’s javelin starts at 4:30pm, with the women to follow.  The only running events contested Friday are the 5000 meter runs.

The Saturday portion of the meet starts at 2:30pm, and the first running event begins at 6:20pm to avoid the heat.


With the exception of Saint Martin’s, Washington’s three other Division II schools will compete at West Seattle Stadium on Saturday as Seattle Pacific hosts the first Doris Heritage Distance Festival.

This meet, formerly known as the Club Northwest Spring Break Meet, will be managed by Seattle Pacific, though the meet records from the former meet will roll over into the new meet.

The new meet was tweaked toward that of a distance festival, with the 800, 1500, 3000 steeplechase, 5000, and 10,000. The only sprints on the docket are the 200 and 400, and the 4x400 relay. A limited number of field events also will be offered.

The men’s javelin kicks off the meet at 10 am, with the first running event getting underway at noon.  


A limited number of athletes from Gonzaga and Washington State will make the trek to Moscow, Idaho for the Mike Keller Invitational on Saturday, hosted by the University of Idaho.

The first running event gets started at noon, while the first field events begin at 10 am.


Seattle University and Eastern Washington are idle this weekend.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2014 Pac-12 champ CJ Allen gets one of nine WSU wins at Jim Bush Collegiate Invite...

LOS ANGELES—Under sunny yet windy conditions, the Washington State track & field teams earned nine wins as the Cougars finished second in the men’s portion of the Jim Bush Collegiate Invitational Tuesday at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA, behind the host Bruins.

Using the international scoring format of 7-5-4-3-2-1 (relays 7-5-4), the Bruins won the men’s title with 151, while the Cougars were second with 127.5, and Arizona third with 104.5.  On the women’s side, WSU was third with 107, with Arizona second at 133, and UCLA winning with 161 points.

2014 Pac-12 champ CJ Allen (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) won the men’s 400 hurdles in a collegiate leading time of 50.55 seconds.  Allen's mark is also the 11th fastest time in the world so far this season.

Other winners were:

—Travis Pickett in the men’s hammer (182-11/55.75);

—CharLee Linton in the women’s 3000 (9:53.35);

—John Whelan in the men’s 3000 (8:28.32);

—Thane Pierson in the men’s high jump (6-11/2.11m);

—Greer Alsop in the women’s triple jump (40-8.75/12.41m);

—The men’s 4x100 relay team of Zach Smith, Ja’Maun Charles, Terrence Chambers & Jonnie Green won in 40.70;

—Matthew Swanson was the beneficiary of a disqualification by Arizona’s Collins Kibet, as he won the men’s 800 in 1:52.32; 

—Brad Stevens in the mens’ javelin with a toss of 203-7 (62.06m).

In his post-meet comments, WSU head coach Wayne Phipps was pleased with the team’s overall performance.

CJ Allen running the number one time in the nation on a windy day bodes well for our season-end goals. He was about a second and half faster this year at this meet than last year. It was great to see another one of our team captains, Travis Pickett, perform so well. He was out all of last year so it was extra special to see him win today. Greer Alsop came up big on her very last jump to win the triple jump. Thane Pierson capped off a great weekend by winning the high jump after a great opener at USC. It was an awesome week of hard training and great competition but we are looking forward to getting back home.”


NOTE:  The sports information offices of WSU and UCLA contributed to this report.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Washington schools open outdoor season with meets in LA, Spokane & Portland...

Apologies for the delay, but while we were away in Tucson and Portland over the last four days, here’s a recap of what happened with Washington’s Division I and II track & field teams, as many opened up the 2016 outdoor season:

—In Los Angeles, a limited number of athletes from Washington State competed at the USC Trojan Invitational, as the Cougars are in LA to train over spring break.

High jumpers Lateah Holmes (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) and Thane Pierson won the men’s and women’s high jump titles at USC, with Holmes clearing 5-7 (1.70m) and Pierson over at 6-11 (2.13m), while Brad Stevens (223-5, 68.10m) won the javelin.


—In Spokane, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and Washington State each had athletes competing at the Buc Scoring Invitational at Whitworth University.

Troy Fraley of Gonzaga, who competed unattached, won a double, taking the 800 in 1:53.60, and the 1500 in 3:49.14.  Jeremy VanAssche of Eastern Washington won the 100 in 10.54 to qualify for the Big Sky championship meet in May. Aaron Cunningham of the Eagles won the shot with a toss of 53-2.75 (16.22m).

Gonzaga’s Shelby Mills was impressive in winning the 5000 in a solo 16:25.81.  Teammate Maggie Jones won the 1500, running 4:39.14 to turn back Paula Gil-Eehevarria (4:41.94) and Mayra Chavez (4:42.94) of Eastern Washington. On the field, Kaytlyn Coleman of Eastern won the hammer with a toss of 189-7 (57.78m), and Dominique Butler of the Eagles won the triple jump at 38-0.75 (11.60m).

Results of the Buc Scoring Invite are available here, while Eastern Washington and Gonzaga’s recap are available by clicking the name of the school.

—While the track and field world was focused on the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Oregon Convention Center,  athletes from SeattleU, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, and Central Washington were across town at the Lewis & Clark Spring Break Open meet at Griswold Stadium.

Western Washington’s women’s javelin crew were impressive, led by national D2 leader Bethany Drake, who won the event with a throw of 160-5 (48.91m), as the Vikings put four in the top five.

Miranda Osadchey of the Vikings won the high jump as she cleared 5-7.25 (1.71m).  Jalen Tims of Seattle Pacific, who ran the previous week at the NCAA indoors in Pittsburg, Kansas, opened the outdoor season with a 61.30 clocking in the 400 hurdles, finishing second to Devin Collins of Oregon State’s 60.95.

In the men’s competition, Shaddye Melu of SeattleU took the 200 (21.90) and the 400 (48.08).  Matt Dehan of Saint Martin’s won the pole vault with a best of 16-2 (4.93m).


Washington State continues its spring break schedule with a meet Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles, as they compete in the Jim Bush Collegiate Invitational at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA, as they face the host Bruins and Arizona in a triangular meet.

The Cougars are expected to run most of their top-flight competitors in the triangular, which will be shown live on the Pac-12 Network starting at 4 pm.


NOTE:  The sports information offices at Washington State, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Lewis & Clark, and UCLA contributed to this report.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wins by Centrowitz, Cunningham, and both 4x400 relay teams bring down curtain on Portland 2016...

PORTLAND—The IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships concluded its four-day run at the green track of the Oregon Convention Center with a flourish if you looked at it from an American perspective, with Team USA setting an all time team best with 23 medals, 13 of which were the golden kind.

On the final day, the American squad got wins from both 4 x 400 meter relay teams, the high jumping teen sensation Vashti Cunningham, and appropriately enough, being that we are in Portland and the state of Oregon, a victory in the metric mile by none other than University of Oregon alum, and current Portland area resident Matthew Centrowitz (left/photo by Paul Merca).

In a race that the pro-Oregon crowd clearly went bonkers over, Centrowitz, who competes for the Nike Oregon Project, burst down the homestretch to overtake University of Michigan grad and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand with about 20 meters to go, winning in a time of 3:44.22, after Willis tried to run away with the race with over two laps to go.

In typical championship racing fashion, the runners went through 800 meters in a pedestrian 2:07.88 led by defending world champ Ayanieh Souleiman of Djibouti before the real racing began when Dawit Wolde of Ethiopia tried to crank up the pace.

Willis’ bold move nearly cost him a medal, as Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic caught him with a few strides left in the race, but he hung on to claim the bronze in 3:44.37.

The teen sensation Vashti Cunningham from Las Vegas proved that her jump of 6-6.25 (1.99m) at last week’s USA indoor championships was no fluke.  Though her winning height Sunday of 6-5 (1.96m) was the same as silver medalist Ruth Beitia of Spain and defending world indoor champ Kamila Licwinko of Poland, Cunningham, who is the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles, was clean through the first four bars of the competition.

The USA women’s 4 x 400 relay team of Natasha Hastings, Quanera Hayes, Courtney Okolo, and Ashley Spencer were dominant from gun to tape, running a world leading time of 3:26.38, with Poland a surprise second in 3:31.15, after Jamaica failed to finish when leadoff leg Patricia Hall crashed and tumbled to the green track coming off the turn to start lap 2 of her leg.

In the men’s 4x4, national indoor champion Vernon Norwood anchored the host squad to a 3:02.45 win, the third-fastest time ever indoors, just 0.33 seconds shy of the world record they set two years ago in Sopot. Bahamas (3:04.75) and Trinidad and Tobago (3:05.51) produced national indoor records to complete the medallists.

In the compact 2 1/2 hour final day of competition, streamlined for a worldwide television audience, the pro Oregon crowd went nuts for Bowerman TC’s Ryan Hill, as the North Carolina State alum, who trains on the Nike campus in Beaverton, took silver in the 3000, running 7:57.39 in a tactical race. 

Likewise, the crowd did the same for Nike Oregon Project’s Shannon Rowbury, who was third in the women’s 3000 in 8:55.55, as the two dominant racers in the world, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and Meseret Defar went 1-2 in 8:47.43 and 8:54.26.

The Oregon mojo could not quite pull Duck alum Laura Roesler (2:00.80) to a podium spot in the women’s 800 as she finished fourth, but the home crowd was enough to help reigning US national champ Ajee’ Wilson to a silver medal in 2:00.27, as Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took the title in 2:00.01.

With 2016 an Olympic year, you knew that many of the biggest names of the sport, including Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and American Allyson Felix, would skip the world indoors in favor of getting ready to fry bigger fish and claim Olympic medals in what could be their final appearance on the sport’s biggest stage.

Does the USA’s medal haul of 23, the biggest in world indoor history, mean that the Americans will experience a similar medal haul this summer in Rio?  My guess is probably not, as many other nations didn’t necessarily send their best athletes to Portland.  One journalist suggested that Team USA basically teed up on the world’s junior varsity squad.

Nonetheless, I took away the fact that the TrackTown USA team will do an excellent job putting on a world outdoor championship meet in Eugene in five years, given the learning experience from putting on this meet and the 2014 world junior championships.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Velvere finishes sixth in her heat of the women's 800 at world indoors...

PORTLAND—Washington State volunteer assistant coach Liga Velvere (left/photo by Howard Lao) of Latvia finished sixth in her heat of the women’s 800 meters at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Oregon Convention Center Saturday morning.

Running  in the second of three qualifying heats, Velvere finished in a time of 2:05.20, as Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won the heat in a national record time of 2:02.37, and was the only runner in the heat to advance to Sunday’s final.

Velvere qualified for the world indoor championships by running 2:03.08 at the House of Track high performance meet last month on the very same track.


In Tuscon at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by the University of Arizona, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson finished third in his heat of the men’s 400 and fifth overall in a time of 47.98, one day after running the fastest time in the world this season in the 400 hurdles.

Brandon Lucas of Central Arizona, who was in the second of five heats, was the overall winner in 47.35.

Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe ran the third leg of Oregon’s 4 x 100 relay team that won in a time of 43.31.

Tacoma’s Marcus Chambers ran the anchor leg of Oregon’s 4 x 100m relay that won in 40.18.  He also finished fourth overall in the men’s 100, running 10.48 in winning his heat.

The Ducks are in Tuscon during the school’s spring break while training for the upcoming outdoor season.


NOTE:  The IAAF, and the sports information offices of the University of Arizona and the University of Oregon contributed to this report.

Friday, March 18, 2016

WSU assistant coach Angela Whyte finishes fifth at world indoor championships in 60m hurdles...

PORTLAND--Angela Whyte (left/photo by Howard Lao), an assistant track and field coach at Washington State University, finished fifth in the women’s 60m hurdles Friday night at the IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

The native of Edmonton, Canada, who has a lifetime best of 7.92, ran a season-bet time of 7.99 to take fifth, as defending champion Nia Ali of Team USA took the gold in 7.81, and the USA’s Brianna Rollins was second in 7.82.

Whyte qualified for the world championships by running 8.05 at the Seattle Pacific Last Chance meet on February 27th.

WSU volunteer coach Liga Velvere competes Saturday in the heats of the women’s 800 for Latvia.


In Tuscon, Arizona, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson ran the fastest time in the world so far in the outdoor season, winning the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 49.61 at the Willie Williams Classic at Drachman Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona.

University of Washington alum Gianna Woodruff won the women’s 400 hurdles in a time of 58.68.

Woodruff is now training with Anderson’s coach Mark MacDonald, the former WSU assistant who led Anderson to four straight Pac-10 400 hurdles titles and three NCAA championships.  Both are expected to run the 400 meter dash Saturday.

Results from the Willie Williams Invitational are available here.

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

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Jenn Suhr & Renaud Lavillenie win world indoor pole vault titles...

PORTLAND—New York native Jenn Suhr (left/photo by Howard Lao) helped open the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships by winning the women’s pole vault and leading Team USA to a 1-2 finish at the Oregon Convention Center.

Suhr, the reigning Olympic champion, cleared four straight bars on her first attempt, including her winning mark of 16-0.75 (4.90m).

US indoor champ Sandi Morris (15-11/4.85m) and Stanford alum Katerina Stefanidi of Greece (15-9/4.80m) took the other two podium positions.

In the men’s pole vault competition, France’s Renaud Lavillenie (above/photo by Howard Lao) easily dispatched his competition, winning the event with a new meet record of 19-9 (6.02m), to earn his second career world indoor title.

USA indoor champ Sam Kendricks took the silver with a best of 19-0.25 (5.80m), with Piotr Lisek of Poland third at 18-10.25 (5.75m).

After winning the competition, the Frenchman asked for the bar to be raised to 20-2.75 (6.17m), which would be a new world record.

It wasn’t close, but Lavillenie rested, recovered and came again. On his second attempt, he fell into the bar while attempting to clear it and came crashing to the track, giving fans a thumbs up upon landing to signify no damage had been done. "I was a bit afraid, but I was able to manage it and fall safely," he said. "Pole vault is sometimes very dangerous and intense, but that’s why we love it."

Midway through his third and final attempt, he accepted the world record would have to wait for another day, and the new champion landed cautiously to the congratulations of an appreciative crowd.

"I’m happy to take the win and to get another six-meter jump," he said. "I have plenty of time to get the world record."

Washington State University assistant coach Angela Whyte of Canada will compete in Friday’s 60 meter hurdles.


In Tuscon, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson, and UW grad Gianna Woodruff will open their 2016 outdoor campaign Friday afternoon at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by the University of Arizona, as both will run the 400 hurdles, as well as the 200 

Federal Way HS grad Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon is entered in several events, along with Oregon teammates Brooke Feldmeier, Marcus Chambers, and Alec Fellows, all of whom attended high school in the state of Washington.


NOTE:  The IAAF contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

World Indoor Championships start Thursday with pole vaults in Portland...

The world’s best track and field athletes (or at least those who’ve elected not to pass on it) will converge upon the green track of the Oregon Convention Center beginning Thursday for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.

The meet gets underway Thursday night with the pole vault competitions, featuring US champions Sandi Morris and Sam Kendricks, going against a field that includes world and Olympic champions Shawn Barber of Canada and Renaud Lavillenie of France on the men’s side, and on the women’s side, USA teammate and reigning world record holder Jenn Suhr, and Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, who is very familiar to Pac-12 fans, as she competed for Stanford.

Some of the other interesting events over the next four days include the men’s heptathlon featuring world record holder and defending Olympic champ Ashton Eaton; the women’s pentathlon featuring his wife and Oregon alum Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada; the women’s long jump with reigning Olympic champ Brittney Reese; the women’s 3000 with defending world indoor champ Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia; and the women’s 800 with American sensation Ajee’ Wilson.

Speaking of the women’s 800, Washington State University volunteer coach Liga Velvere (left/photo by Paul Merca) will run that event for her native Latvia.

Velvere has a lifetime 800m PR time of 2 minutes, 2.79 seconds, and ran a 2016-best time of 2:03.08, in February at the Portland High Performance Meet. She is the lone Latvian competitor at the World Championships.

The women’s 800m heats will be held Saturday, March 19 at 11:15 a.m., and the final is set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20.

She joins Cougar assistant coach Angela Whyte, who will run the 60 hurdles for Canada.

The women’s 60m hurdles will be contested Friday, March 18, with heats at 10:45 a.m., semifinals at 5:30 p.m., and the final at 8:30 p.m. PT.



Those of you still interested in watching the meet in person can go to portland2016.com for ticket information.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Portland to cover the meet.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

NCAA RECAP: Husky men finish program best 6th; Planell Cruz 3rd in PV; Falcons' Decker second in NCAA D2 800...

In Birmingham, Alabama, the University of Washington scored a historic achievement in school history, as the men’s team finished a program best sixth place with 24 points at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex, while the women’s team finished 13th with 16 points, the second highest in school history.

Washington’s Izaic Yorks (above/photo by Mike Scott), the fastest American collegiate miler of all time, who sacrificed an opportunity to win the mile in favor of a team victory in the distance medley relay, doubled back from Friday night’s relay to finish fourth in the 3000 in 8:02.24, while teammate Colby Gilbert earned his first All-America honors on the track with an eighth place finish in 8:02.83.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won the race in 8:00.40 to complete the 3000/5000/DMR triple and help lead the Ducks to the men’s national team title, compiling 22.5 of 62 points.

On the women’s side, Washington’s Diamara Planell Cruz (above/photo courtesy UW Athletics), competing in her final meet as a Husky, finished third in the pole vault with a new personal best, UW school record & Puerto Rican national record 14-7.25 (4.45m).  Teammate Liz Quick was ninth with a best of 14-1.25 (4.30m).

The third-place finish for Planell Cruz was the best of her career, topping last season’s fourth-place finish, and it was the best by a Husky at indoors since Kate Soma was second in 2005. Planell Cruz will cap her career having scored twice at the NCAA indoor championships and earning two All-America certificates.

Another Husky competing in her final meet, Eleanor Fulton, finished eighth in the mile, running 4:40.15.

Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon took second in the women’s 60 dash, running 7.12, matching her time in Friday’s semis. The Huskies’ Kennadi Bouyer, who was the last person added to the 60 field after a medical scratch, finished eighth in 7.46.

Cunliffe doubled back to take third in the 200 in 22.85, to score 14 of Oregon’s team winning score of 53 points.

Puyallup native David Elliott of Boise State finished fifth in the mile, running 4:07.16. He doubled back in the 3000, placing 13th in 8:16.63.

Recapping the weekend, Washington head coach Greg Metcalf said, “This was clearly the best indoor championships I have been a part of, and every one of our individuals and relays exceeded their ranking or matched it in the case of our men’s DMR.”


In Pittsburg, Kansas, Seattle Pacific’s Lynelle Decker (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) roared out to a second place finish in the women’s 800, running a personal best of 2:07.52, breaking the eight-year old school record of 2:07.57 set by Jessica Pixler. as the Falcons finished 11th in the NCAA Division II championship meet

"A lot of talk has been going on this weekend about school record, especially J-Pix," Decker said of the former highly decorated Falcon star. "I never thought I would ever get an SPU record just because she is an amazing runner and her name is plastered across the board for many distances. … I'm just flabbergasted."

The Falcon women’s 4 x 400 relay team of Jalen Tims, Decker, Cheryl Hong, and Jahzelle Ambus finished third in a school record time of 3:42.44, wiping out the old school record of 3:46.34, set in 2013.

Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith finished second in the high jump, with a season best clearance of 6-11 (2.11m) to become the second All-America in school history.

In the women’s 3000, the Saints’ Shannon Porter finished eighth in 9:35.31 to earn the school’s first All-America honor in track & field.  Sister Georgia, who competes for Western State (Colorado) was 14th in 9:48.24.

Central Washinton’s Dani Eggleston was 19th in the race, running 10:05.58.

Shannon was 12th in Friday’s 5000, running 16:55.49, while her sister was fifth in 16:18.39.


NOTE:  The NCAA, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Seattle Pacific University contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Phoebe Wright takes third in women's 800 at USA indoors...

PORTLAND—Third was the common theme for a trio of athletes from the state of Washington during the final day of competition at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday afternoon at the Oregon Convention Center.

In the women’s 800, Seattle’s Phoebe Wright (left/photo by Howard Lao) gamely hung on until the last 100 meters, when she was passed by Oregon alum Laura Roesler for the second and final spot on the world championship team that competes here at the Oregon Convention Center next weekend, running 2:02.51 to Roesler’s 2:02.44.

Jee’ Wilson took command of the race and won in a time of 2:00.87.

Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker was in the hunt for the second spot, but could not get around Wright and Roesler, finishing fourth in 2:02.84.

In the men’s 800, Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts could not close any ground on second place Erik Sowinski, as he too finished third in 1:47.89.  Boris Berian (1:47.19) and Erik Sowinski (1:47.62) got the two world championship berths.

One day after finishing fourth in the triple jump, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle finished third in the long jump, with a leap of 21-6.75 (6.57m), as defending Olympic champ Brittney Reese (22-7.75/6.89m) and Janay DeLoach (21-9.5/6.64m) took the top two spots.

In other action Saturday, Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts was fourth in the men’s 1500 in 3:46.67. Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts was fifth in the women’s 1500 in 4:13.16, while Camas native Alexa Efraimson was sixth in 4:13.44.

Katie Burnett, who attended high school in Issaquah, was fourth in the 3000m race walk in 13:27.94.  Boise State alum Daveon Collins, who joined the Seattle Speed Track Club at the beginning of the indoor season, was sixth in the finals of the 60 meter dash in 6.68.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Thoirs wins NCAA pole vault title, while both Husky DMR teams finish second...

In Birmingham, Alabama, Washington’s Jax Thoirs (above/photo courtesy UW Athletics) won the school’s fifth NCAA indoor pole vault title in the past fourteen years, as the Scottish national took home the victory in the first day of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex.

Thoirs entered at the opening height of 17-2.75 (5.25m) and cleared it with no problem. He missed once but then made 17-6.75 (5.35m), but then ran into his first real drama at 17-10.75 (5.45m), as he had two near misses. At that point, Thoirs said he knew only one other vaulter had made that height, and it was one he’d made many times in his career, and twice this season, so he couldn’t let the opportunity pass. He planted and swung up and sailed over the bar, letting out a roar on the way down.

With four jumpers remaining, Thoirs, who was the last of the four in the jumping order, made 18-0.5 (5.50m) on his second attempt, and watched as the other three competitors missed on their third attempt.

He then took two shots at the Olympic standard of 18-8.5 (5.70m), running through on his first attempt, and pulling up on his second before calling it a day.

“I am absolutely over the moon,” said Thoirs. “I honestly can’t believe it. This has been my goal all along since I’ve been at Washington, to finally get the win at my last indoor championships feels amazing. It definitely felt like it was a possibility. The NCAA hasn’t been particularly high in the pole vault this year, so even not jumping at my best I was still right up in there and it was a wide open competition, and I had to take advantage of it, and I’m glad I did.”

In one of the most scintillating races of Friday’s program, it took an anchor leg of 3:52.84 by Oregon’s Edward Cheserek to deny the Washington quartet of Colby Gilbert, Jacopo Spano, Blake Nelson, and Izaic Yorks a victory in the distance medley relay, as the Ducks defeated the Huskies for the national title 9:27.27, to 9:28.00.

The Dawgs held the lead for the first three legs, but saw Cheserek, who won the men’s 5000 less than 30 minutes earlier in 13:47.89, come back and dart past UW anchor Izaic Yorks over the last half lap with a move that even the great Bernard Lagat would be proud of.

Yorks, who will run the 3000 Saturday along with Gilbert, split a time of 3:54.24, the second fastest of the night by over 3.5 seconds.

A few moments later, the Washington women’s distance medley relay team of Baylee Mires, Krista Armstead, Eleanor Fulton, and Maddie Meyers replicated the second place finish by the men’s team, as they ran 10:58.52, as Meyers ran a 4:34.33 1600 split, but could not catch Georgetown anchor Katrina Coogan, as she led the Hoyas to the victory in a time of 10:57.21.

Aaron Nelson of the Huskies finished 11th in the 5000, running 14:00.74.

In qualifying action, Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon ran the fastest time of the day in the women’s 60, clocking 7.12, while the Huskies’ Kennadi Bouyer snatched the final spot in Saturday’s final, running 7.27 in finishing sixth in her heat. Cunliffe came back and ran 22.96 in the 200 to advance to Saturday’s final.

Puyallup native David Elliott of Boise State advanced to the finals in the mile, finishing fourth in his heat in 4:07.59.

Eleanor Fulton of the Huskies advanced to the finals in the mile, running 4:38.37, finishing sixth in her heat.


FALCONS PLACE FIFTH IN DMR

In Pittsburg, Kansas, the Seattle Pacific distance medley relay team of Lynelle Decker, Jahzelle Ambus, Chynna Phan and Anna Patti finished fifth in a time of 11:32.17 to highlight the first day of competition at the NCAA Division II indoor championship meet.

Decker also qualified for the finals in the 800, running 2:10.19.

In other finals, Western Washington’s Miranda Osadchey finished in a tie for 11th in the women’s high jump with a best of 5-5.25 (1.66m), with Seattle Pacific’s Geneva Lehnert finishing 14th at the same height.

Georgia Porter of Western State (Colorado), a native of Stevenson, who ran at Hockinson HS, finished fifth in the 5000, running 16:18.39.

Qualifying action saw Travis Milbrandt of Western Washington run 8.22 in the 60 hurdles.  Seattle Pacific's Jahzelle Ambus (55.70) and Jalen Tims (56.79) of Seattle Pacific didn’t advance in the women’s 400, as was the case with teammates Chyanna Phan (2:12.42) in the 800 and Maliea Luquin (8.53) in the 60 hurdles.


NOTE:  The NCAA, the University of Washington, and Seattle Pacific's sports information offices contributed to this report.

Lagat's late charge falls short as he finishes fourth in 3000 at USA Indoors...

PORTLAND—Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in the men’s 3000 meter run in his 2016 track season debut at the first day of competition at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Oregon Convention Center.

Lagat, who was running between seventh and ninth for most of the race, tried to make a charge late, but could not close the gap on winner Ryan Hill and second place finisher Paul Chelimo.

Hill ran 7:38.60 to Chelimo’s 7:39.00, as Lagat finished fourth in 7:41.25, nosing out Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts, who was with Hill and Chelimo untill the final lap.

In the women’s triple jump, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle led after two rounds, but finished fourth with a best of 44-6.25 (13.57m), as Christina Epps won with a personal best of 46-1.25 (14.05m).  Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama was seventh with a best of 43-7.75 (13.30m).

Washington alum Norris Frederick finished seventh in the finals of the men’s long jump, with a best of 24-10 (7.57m).

In preliminary action, Seattle resident Phoebe Wright was second in her heat of the women’s 800, running 2:03.81, just nosing out Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker, who ran 2:03.82.  Both advanced to Saturday’s finals.

Cas Loxsom and Drew Windle of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts advanced to Saturday’s finals in the 800, running 1:48.80, and 1:49.49, respectively, with Windle winning his heat.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry, who was one of the top seeds entering the meet, did not qualify for the finals in the 400, finishing third in his heat in 47.22, after going out hard in the first lap of the race.

Action at the USA indoor championships continue Saturday at 2:30 pm.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's the busiest weekend in American indoor track & field (and how to watch it)!

Friday and Saturday marks the busiest weekend in top level indoor track and field in America, with the USA indoor championships happening just down Interstate 5 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, and the collegians heading to Birmingham, Alabama (Division I) and Pittsburg, Kansas (Division II) for the NCAA indoor championship meet.

THE PROS IN PORTLAND

Naturally, a large contingent of athletes with Washington ties head to Portland for the USATF Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center, where spots are on the line to compete in next week’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the same venue.

Competitors who finish in the top two and hold the qualifying standard are eligible to advance to the world championships, provided that they had met the standard by last Sunday, though the IAAF reserves the right to invite athletes based on the current indoor performance list to fill the field (16 per event, except in the pole vault and high jump (12), with a 2 per country limit).

Among the 18 athletes with Washington ties entered and declared in the meet, Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts (m 1500) and Andrea Geubelle (w TJ) go into the meet seeded #2 in their events.

Heath is also entered in Friday’s 3000, and Geubelle is entered in Saturday’s long jump.  Travis Burkstrand of the Brooks Beasts is doubling in both the 800 and 1500.

Among the questions going into the meet:

—Can WSU alum Bernard Lagat, a former world champion at 3000, somehow will his way onto yet another world indoor team?  Lagat has not run an indoor race this season;

—Is Andrea Geubelle, the 2013 national champion in the triple jump, all the way back from a series of injuries that have derailed her the last two seasons?

—Can the youngster and Camas native Alexa Efraimson somehow work her way to the front in the 1500 and not make a tactical mistake?

—In the men’s 800, can Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts continue the roll that he was on in 2015, which cumulated with a spot on the world championship team in Beijing?

Action gets underway Friday at 11:30 am with the weight throw, and Saturday at 2:30 pm. The meet entries are available here, while the schedule is available here.

USATF.tv will have streaming coverage starting at 11:30 am on Friday.  NBCSN (Comcast 626 in Seattle) will have delayed coverage of the meet Friday starting at 8:30 pm, and live coverage on Saturday beginning at 5 pm.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Portland to cover the USA Indoor Championships.

DIVISION I IN BIRMINGHAM

The University of Washington will send the largest contingent in school history to the NCAA Division I indoor championship meet at the Birmingham Crossplex, led on the men’s side by Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is entered in Friday’s distance medley relay, and Saturday’s 3000 meter run.

Washington’s distance medley relay team of Blake Nelson, Jacopo Spano, Yorks, and Colby Gilbert, is seeded #2 behind Oklahoma State, which defeated the Huskies on February 20th at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame.

Yorks and Gilbert are in the 3000, while Aaron Nelson will run the 5000. Chris Williams is entered in the 60 hurdles, and Jax Thoirs is in the pole vault.

The Husky women are led by pole vaulters Diamara Planell Cruz and Liz Quick, with Eleanor Fulton running the mile, and Kennadi Bouyer competing in the 60 dash. The Huskies also have a distance medley relay team entered comprised of Fulton, Krista Armstead, Baylee Mires, and Maddie Meyers.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the Division I championships include Hannah Cunliffe of Federal Way (Oregon) in the 60 and 200 meter dashes; Brooke Feldmeier of Tumwater (Oregon) in the 800; David Elliott of Puyallup (Boise State) in the mile and 3000, and Darian Brooks of Seattle (Stanford) in the triple jump. 

The link to the time schedule and live results is available here.

ESPN3 will have online coverage on Friday beginning at 3:25pm, pacific, and 1:55 pm, pacific on Saturday (may need an ESPN log-in from your cable provider).  The meet will be shown on a delayed basis on March 13th on ESPN2.

DIVISION II IN PITTSBURG

Seattle Pacific sends their largest contingent in school history to Pittsburg, Kansas for this weekend’s NCAA Division II championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

Unlike the most recent editions of the NCAA Division Ii championships, which have been contested on 200 meter banked tracks, the meet will be run on a 300 meter flat oval, which is very similar to the University of Washington’s 307 meter Dempsey Indoor facility.

The Falcons send to the meet Jahzelle Ambus (400, 4x400, DMR), Lynelle Decker (800, 4x400, DMR), Jalen Tims (400, 4x400), Maliea Luquin (60 hurdles), Anna Patti (DMR), Cheryl Hong (4x400), Chynna Phan (800, DMR), and Geneva Lehnert (high jump).

Western Washington sends Travis Milbrandt (60 hurdles), Miranda Osadchey (high jump), and Jasmine McMullin (triple jump), while Saint Martin’s will send Shannon Porter (3000) and Mikel Smith (high jump).  Central Washington’s lone representative will be Dani Eggleston (3000).

The link to live results is available here.  NCAA.com will have live streaming coverage Friday beginning at 1 pm, and 2:15 pm on Saturday.

ANGELA WHYTE NAMED TO TEAM CANADA FOR IAAF WORLD INDOOR CHAMPS

Washington State assistant coach Angela Whyte (left/photo by Paul Merca) has been named by Athletics Canada to its team for next week’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships, according to a release by the federation.

Whyte will run the 60 hurdles in Portland.  Whyte, who made the finals in the 100 hurdles at the 2013 world championships in Moscow, qualified for worlds by running 8.05 at the Seattle Pacific Last Chance meet at the Dempsey Indoor on February 27th.

Portland will mark Whyte’s third appearance at the world indoor championships, having competed in 2004 in Budapest, Hungary, and 2008 in Valencia, Spain.  In 2004, she finished sixth in her heat, and fourth in her heat in 2008.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Falcon assistant Audra Smith named USTFCCCA D2 West Region indoor assistant coach of the year...

NEW ORLEANS—Seattle Pacific assistant coach Audra Smith (above/photo by Paul Merca) was named by the USTFCCCA as its Division II West Region women’s indoor track & field assistant coach of the year.

Smith got the honor based on her work with the Falcon sprint corps, which accounted for 58 of SPU’s 136 team points earned at the GNAC indoor meet a few weeks ago.

Smith, along with head coach Karl Lerum, and a squad of eight athletes, will leave for Pittsburg, Kansas, site of the NCAA Division II championships, which start on Friday.


The USTFCCCA also announced the final regular season computer rankings for both Division I and II.

In Division I, the University of Washington men’s team enters this week’s NCAA championship meet in Birmingham, Alabama ranked #10, down two spots from the #8 ranking attained after the MPSF championship meet.

The nation’s top five men's teams are Oregon, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, and LSU.

Other MPSF conference teams in the top 25 include #9 USC, #18 UCLA, #22 Arizona, and @24 Stanford.

In Division II, the Seattle Pacific women’s team enters the NCAA championship meet ranked #21 in the national computer poll.

The nation’s top five teams are Lincoln (MO), host Pittsburg State, New Mexico Highlands, Hillsdale, and Grand Valley State.

GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage is the only other school besides Seattle Pacific ranked in the national top 25, as the Seawolves are ranked #8.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Brooks signs two-time USA world championship team member Jeremy Taiwo...

SEATTLE—Brooks Running announced Tuesday that the Seattle based company has signed University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (above/photo courtesy Brooks) to a contract.

Jeremy joins Brooks with laurels including his gold medal from last year’s indoor season, a second-place finish in the decathlon at the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and a third-place finish in that same event from 2013.

Jeremy, who lives in the greater Seattle area—Brooks’ hometown— and competed for the University of Washington, will do some of his running workouts with the Brooks Beasts and Head Coach Danny Mackey to leverage expertise and the team training environment as he approaches the heart of the 2016 competition season this spring and summer. Taiwo will continue to work with University of Washington coaches Pat Licari and Atanas Atanassov in the technical events.

He follows in his father Joseph Taiwo’s footsteps toward excellence in track and field; Joseph competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games for Nigeria in the triple jump.


Taiwo is part of Brooks’ Inspire Daily program, which includes a group of athletes and coaches around the country who lead by example and inspire the love of running every time they lace up and head out.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Vikings' Bethany Drake punches ticket to NCAA outdoors in season debut...

TACOMA—Western Washington’s Bethany Drake (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) earned an NCAA Division II automatic qualifying mark in the javelin to highlight competition at the Puget Sound Invitational Saturday at Baker Stadium on the campus of the University of Puget Sound.

Drake, the 2014 NCAA D2 champ in this event, sat out last season with a back injury, rifled the spear 164-7 (50.17m), well past the automatic qualifying mark of 159-1 (48.50m).  The mark puts her as the national leader so far in the outdoor season.

Other top marks from the meet:

—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter, tuning up for next week’s NCAA indoor in the 3000, won the 1500 in 4:32.30;

—Western’s Matthew Lutz won the steeplechase in 9:15.15.


Washington sprinter Kennadi Bouyer was added to the field in the 60 meter dash for next weekend’s NCAA indoor track & field championships in Birmingham, Alabama.

Bouyer twice ran a personal best 7.32 in the 60 dash at last weekend’s MPSF championship meet to finish second in the finals behind Oregon’s Hannah Cunliffe, the Federal Way native.

Bouyer joins pole vaulters Diamara Planell Cruz and Liz Quick, miler Eleanor Fulton, and the distance medley relay team of Fulton, Krista Armstead, Baylee Mires, and Maddie Meyers on the Husky squad traveling to Alabama.


Stat mavens will be happy to know that the IAAF’s World Indoor Championships statistics handbook is now available for download.

The handbook, which is handed out to media members covering the meet, includes a bevy of statistics, including national records in every standard indoor event contested, along with all-time records.

You can download the book here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Portland for both the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships and the USA Indoor Championships.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Piliusina of the Brooks Beasts wins again in New York...

NEW YORK—Seattle resident Natalja Piliusina (left/photo by Paul Merca) continued her undefeated streak this indoor season with a victory in the 800 meters at the World’s Last Chance Meet at the Armory in New York, but fell short of the 2:02.50 mark needed to go to the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Portland in two weeks.

Piliusina, a Lithuanian citizen who competes for the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, ran 2:03.54, just over her indoor personal best of 2:02.96, set Sunday in Boston, to win by almost two seconds.

There is however, a very remote possibility that the IAAF could add her to to the field, if there aren’t 16 athletes (maximum 2 per country) to fill the field, based on the current rankings as of the qualifying deadline, which is Sunday the 6th.


In Carrabadela, Venezuela, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver finished eighth in the Pan American Cross Country Championships Friday, running the 10 k course at the Campo de Golf de Caraballeda in 38:45.

Allison Grace Morgan of the USA took the victory in 37:42.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Huskies to send solid group to Birmingham for NCAA D-1 champs; SPU women to send eight to D-2 champs...

INDIANAPOLIS—The NCAA announced its field for both the Division I and II indoor track and field championship meets Tuesday.

On the men’s side, the Washington Huskies will head to Birmingham, Alabama, led by its distance medley relay team of Blake Nelson, Jacopo Spano, Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), and Colby Gilbert.

The Huskies go into next week’s (March 11/12) meet as the number two seed in the distance medley, hoping to turn the tables on number one seed Oklahoma State, which defeated the Dawgs at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame on February 20th, by a 9:26.60 to 9:27.19 margin.

Yorks, who ran a school record and national collegiate leading 3:53.89 last Saturday in the mile, will instead run the 3000 along with Gilbert, where they willl face Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, the defending cross country and indoor champ at 3000 and 5000 meters.

Two time MPSF 5000 meter champ Aaron Nelson will run the 5000, while new school record holder Chris Williams is entered in the 60 meter hurdles, by virtue of his 7.72 time at the MPSF meet last week.

Former MPSF champ Jax Thoirs is entered in the pole vault.

On the women’s side, Washington will have Eleanor Fulton in the mile, Diamara Planell Cruz and Liz Quick in the pole vault, and a distance medley relay team comprised of Fulton, Krista Armstead, Baylee Mires, and Maddie Meyers.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the Division I championships include Hannah Cunliffe of Federal Way (Oregon) in the 60 and 200 meter dashes; Brooke Feldmeier of Tumwater (Oregon) in the 800; David Elliott of Puyallup (Boise State) in the mile and 3000, and Darian Brooks of Seattle (Stanford) in the triple jump. 


Seattle Pacific's Jalen Tims is entered in the 400m
at next week's NCAA D-2 champs (Paul Merca photo)
Seattle Pacific will have eight athletes headed to next week’s Division II championship meet in Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Falcons will send Jahzelle Ambus and Jalen Tims (400); Lynelle Decker and Chynna Phan (800); Maliea Luquin (60 hurdles); and a distance medley relay team of Decker, Ambus, Phan, and Anna Patti.

Geneva Lambert will be the Falcons’ lone field event competitor, as she’s entered in the high jump.

Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter and Central Washington’s Dani Eggleston will both run in the 3000.

Travis Milbrandt of Western Washington (60 hurdles), and Mikel Smith of Saint Martin’s (high jump) were the only men from the four Washington Division II schools accepted into the meet.


NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

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