Friday, December 22, 2017

Thirteen athletes with Washington ties earn US top-10 rankings from Track & Field News...

Drew Windle of the Seattle-based Brooks
Beasts earned his first US top-10
ranking from Track & Field News
(Paul Merca photo)
Track & Field News revealed its 2017 world and national rankings in its annual issue sent to its subscribers Friday.

Thirteen men and women with ties to the state of Washington received a national top-10 ranking by the magazine, which is based on honors won, win-loss record, and sequence of marks. The magazine’s rankings are often used by the major shoe and apparel companies as part of their criteria when paying performance bonuses and offering contracts to athletes.

The men with Washington ties receiving US top ten rankings by Track & Field News (rank in parentheses) are:

400—Marcus Chambers (10) 44.92
800—Drew Windle (3) 1:44.63; Shaq Walker (8) 1:45.68
5000--Hassan Mead (5) 13:11.20
10000—Hassan Mead (2) 27:32.49
110 HH—Devon Allen (2) 13.10

Hannah Fields of the Brooks Beasts
was ranked #9 in the 1500
(Paul Merca photo)
On the women’s side, these athletes with Washington ties were ranked by the magazine in the top ten (rank in parentheses)

1500—Hannah Felds (9) 4:05.30; Alexa Efraimson (10) 4:04.75
3000 steeple—Mel Lawrence (5) 9:34.94; Marisa Howard (6) 9:30.92
20k walk—Katie Burnett (3) 1:38:40
Triple Jump—Andrea Geubelle (3) 44-8.25/13.62m; Blessing Ufodiama (8) 44-2.5 (13.47m)
Javelin—Kara Winger (1) 212-7/64.80m

Hurdler Devon Allen was the only one of the twelve men and women with ties to the state to earn a world ranking from the magazine, earning a #5 world ranking despite not making the finals at the world championships.

NOTE:  Track & Field News contributed to this report. In the original post, we omitted Mead in the 5000, and Blessing Ufodiama in the triple jump. We apologize for the oversight.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Brooks Beasts' Garrett Heath to lead Team USATF at Great Edinburgh X Country Challenge...

INDIANAPOLIS—Three time Great Edinburgh X Country Challenge winner Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts leads Team USATF into Scotland on January 13, 2018 to take on teams representing Great Britain and Europe in Edinburgh.

Heath will be joined by 2016 Olympian Leonard Korir, the older brother of Washington State University All-American Vallery Korir, and multi-time USATF national cross country champion Chris Derrick of the Beaverton-based Bowerman Track Club.

Heath won the discontinued 4k race in 2014 and 2015, then upset former Nike Oregon Project and two time double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah over 8k in 2016, before finishing sixth in the 2017 version of the race.

On the women’s side, Olympian Des Linden drops down in distance from the marathon to lead Team USATF over the 6k distance at famed Holyrood Park. 

USA Track & Field’s release announcing the teams is available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eastern Washington and distance coach Chris Shane part ways...

CHENEY—According to a post on the popular distance running web site, Eastern Washington University and distance coach Chris Shane (above, with Sarah Reiter/photo by Paul Merca) have parted ways.

According to the post, the school published a 57-page report alleging misconduct on Shane’s part.

In the same thread (the link to the thread is here), men’s cross country team captain Isaac Kitzan wrote, “A 57 page Human Resources report was published. In early November, a complaint was filed by an athlete I will not name. The complaint included two pages of allegations made towards Chris. Over the next few weeks each athlete on the men's team was asked to come into HR and be interviewed regarding each allegation. Every response made by every athlete is included in the report. That explains the length. I have not personally read the report, but after speaking with several of my teammates, and knowing how I answered, a large chunk of those pages is dedicated to refuting claims that were either extremely exaggerated or completely false.”

Shane went on the message board to acknowledge the fact that he is no longer the distance coach at Eastern Washington.

“This report, is unfortunately true. I was notified this morning that Eastern Washington University had chosen to “part ways”. I adamantly disagree and am dumbfounded by this decision. I was given a severance package for my contract being terminated early with technically, no official cause. My heart goes out (to) my wonderful athletes at Eastern who, in talking with them today, overwhelmingly support me. This unnessarily (sp) affects their student athlete experience,” Shane posted in the thread.

He concluded, “I would like to strongly reiterate, on this public forum, that EWU and myself parted ways. And there was absolutely zero mention of misconduct. I’ll stand by that statement with every fiber of my being. I’m fine with this thread being informative, but to use it to throw shade on my name, my family’s name, or my ability to coach student athletes is shameful.”

During his time at Eastern Washington, Shane was instrumental in helping Sarah Reiter qualify for the NCAA cross country championship meet twice.  Shane, the son of BYU coaching legend Patrick Shane, who last week was inducted into the USTFCCCA coaches’ hall of fame, formerly was an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco before the Eagles hired him in July 2015.

This web site has reached out to the sports information staff at Eastern Washington University for an official comment or statement, but has not heard.  The school has removed Shane’s photo and bio from its web site.  This web site has also reached out to Shane for a comment. This story will be updated as more information comes in.

UPDATE:  In an email to publisher Paul Merca, EWU sports information director Dave Cook wrote, " external comments will be made by EWU (personnel matters are not released typically). We will open the position sometime in the near future."

When contacted via social media, Kitzan declined comment on the matter.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Oregon's Raevyn Rogers and Tennessee's Christian Coleman receive The Bowerman...

PHOENIX—Raevyn Rogers of the University of Oregon (left/photo courtesy USTFCCCA) and Christian Coleman of the University of Tennessee were named the recipients of The Bowerman Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate track and field athlete in 2017 at a ceremony held at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix Friday night.

Rogers went 5-1 in 800 meter finals in the 2017 season, with her only loss a DNF at the MPSF championship meet in Seattle .  She set a collegiate record of 1:59.10 at the Mt. SAC Relays, and won both the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles at 800 meters.

Just as impressive as Rogers’ win at the national outdoor championships on her home track at Historic Hayward Field was her 49.77 anchor leg to give the Ducks the victory in the 4 x 400 meter relay, and give Oregon the first Triple Crown in NCAA Division I women’s history, as no school had ever won the cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field titles in the same academic year.

Rogers is the third female athlete from the University of Oregon to win the Bowerman, joining 2014 winner Laura Roesler, and 2015 winner Jenna Prandini.

Coleman became the second man in NCAA D1 history to win the 60/200 double indoors after Justin Gatlin, and the eighth man to run a sub-10/sub 20 second double in the same day at the SEC championships.

Coleman won both the 100 and the 200 at the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, running 10.04 and 20.25, and broke the collegiate record in the 100 in the semis, running 9.82.

Christian Coleman (l) and Usain Bolt in the finals of the
men's 100m at the world championships in London
(Paul Merca photo)
He then finished second in the USA outdoor championships in both the 100 and 200, then finished second in the 100 meters at the IAAF world championships behind fellow Tennessee alum Justin Gatlin.

Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, Coleman became a bit of an internet sensation when he ran a 4.12 40 yard dash to beat the 4.22 run by University of Washington receiver John Ross at the NFL combine.

Coleman becomes the first athlete from the University of Tennessee to win the Bowerman Award.

The other finalists were hammer thrower Maggie Ewen of Arizona State and triple jumper Keturah Orji of Georgia, and 400 meter Fred Kerley and decathlete Lindon Victor of Texas A&M.

All six athletes broke a collegiate record during the 2017 indoor and outdoor season.

Rogers and Kerley won the fan vote in late June.

The Bowerman Award is presented by the USTFCCCA and is voted upon by a panel of national and regional media personnel, track & field statisticians, NCAA administrators, past winners, and presidents of affiliated organizations.  USTFCCCA members collectively receive one vote, and fans collectively receive one vote.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Who received my 2017 Bowerman Award votes...

I’ve been one of the national voting media members of this award since 2010, and take the vote seriously, and try not to let any conference or regional biases or fan/message board popularity sway my decision making.

All voting members of The Bowerman, which includes past winners, national and regional media personnel, and track & field statisticians, received their ballots a few weeks after the NCAA outdoor championships in June, and submitted them in July.

One question I get asked, particularly with distance runners selected by the Bowerman Advisory Board as finalists, is why isn’t their feats during the cross country season considered?

According to the guidelines, “Athletes’ performances during the NCAA indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons shall be considered…Only performances from the NCAA indoor track & field season and outdoor track & field seasons of the year in which the award is given should be considered…Performances that occur outside the NCAA seasons of indoor and outdoor track & field should not be considered.”

I saw all six Bowerman Award finalists compete in person at least once this season at the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, though I did see Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen compete several times, notably at the MPSF indoor championships in Seattle, and the Pac-12 meet in Eugene.


Tennessee's Christian Coleman turned pro after
winning the NCAA 100/200 titles
(Paul Merca photo)
Tennessee’s Christian Coleman (100/200) got my vote over Fred Kerley (400) and Lindon Victor (multis) of Texas A&M.

While all three broke collegiate records in their events this season, I felt that Coleman’s dominance of both the 60/100 and 200 indoors and outdoors trumped what both Kerley and Victor accomplished in their events.

Coleman became the second man in NCAA D1history to win the 60/200 double indoors after Justin Gatlin, and the eighth man to run a sub-10/sub 20 second double in the same day at the SEC championships.

After the collegiate season, Coleman turned pro, and finished second in the 100 at the IAAF world championships, and ran the anchor leg on the USA national team that finished second behind Great Britain in the 4 x 100 relay.


It wasn’t quite as clearcut as the men, but I went with Georgia’s Keturah Orji (triple jump) by a narrow margin over Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers (800) and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen (hammer).

As was the case with the men, all three set collegiate records in their respective events.

While not quite as dominating as she was in the 2016 season, Orji (above/photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport) went 7-0 in collegiate triple jump competitions in 2017, and broke the collegiate indoor triple jump mark with a leap of 46-11.75 (14.32m) at the SEC championship meet.

While Rogers went 5-1 in 800m finals in 2017, with her only loss being a DNF at the MPSF meet in Seattle, she was just as dominant for the Ducks in the 4 x 4 relay, as she had an anchor split of 49.77 in leading Oregon to the national title in that event, as the Ducks ran 3:23.13 to help clinch a triple crown (XC, indoor, outdoor) for the school.

Kerley and Rogers won the fan vote, which was conducted between June 22 and June 30th.

Media partner Flotrack will stream The Bowerman presentation live Friday beginning with the Red Carpet show from the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, and on the USTFCCCA Facebook page ( beginning at 5:20 pm Pacific time.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report. 

WSU's Wayne Phipps gets new contract to lead Cougs until 2023...

PULLMAN—Washington State University interim athletic director John Johnson announced Tuesday that the contract of director of cross country/track & field Wayne Phipps (left/photo by Paul Merca) was extended until June 2023.

"Wayne has done a great job of continuing to build success in the cross country and track and field programs at WSU," Johnson said. "The three consecutive NCAA appearances by the men's cross country team and an All-America performance by a WSU woman this season are the most recent examples of his ability to lead the Cougars to Pac-12 and national prominence.”

Despite some early grumblings among Cougar alums about his hiring in 2014, Phipps, the 15th coach to head the men’s program and the second to lead the combined mens’ and women’s teams, has put the Cougar men’s cross country team in the NCAA championships three straight years.

Over the last two seasons, he’s mentored a pair of cross country All-Americans in Michael Williams and Vallery Korir, and had a trio of athletes—hammer thrower Brock Eager, heptathlete Alissa Brooks-Johnson, and 400 hurdler CJ Allen—earn outdoor All-America honors.

"It is an honor to be part of the WSU Athletics department and I am very excited to continue to work with my staff, my student-athletes and my administration as part of an exciting future of WSU track and field and cross country,” said Phipps in a statement released by the school.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Washington State University contributed to this report.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale finishes fourth in European Cross Country Champs U23 race for Team GB...

In Samorin, Slovakia, University of Washington senior Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) traded her purple and gold Husky gear for the British Union Jack kit as she raced to a fourth place finish in the European Cross Country Championships Under-23 6k race Sunday.

Neale, the runner-up at the NCAA cross country championships two weeks ago, ran 20:59 on a cold but sunny day, with temperatures barely above freezing.

Germany’s Alina Reh won the European U23 title in a time of 20:22 to lead a German 1-2 finish.

However, Great Britain won the team title, as Jessica Judd (20:45), Neale (20:59) and Amy Griffiths (21:02) went 3-4-5 (6 athletes run; 3 score) to win the team title with 12 points to Germany’s 15.

NOTE:  British Athletics and European Athletics contributed to this report.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Nelson 13th at USATF Club Cross; Anderson wins in Nampa; Woodruff sets meet record...

In Lexington, Kentucky, University of Washington alum Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished 13th at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships Saturday at Masterson Station Park.

Nelson, who competes for Zap Fitness/Reebok out of North Carolina, ran 29:49 for the 10k course under cold and partly cloudy conditions.

Ian La Mere of the Hansons/Brooks Distance Project won the race in a time of 29:10.

Tinman Elite out of Colorado won the team title with 41 points. Club Northwest finished 15th with 446 points, led by Washington State alum Drew Polley, who was 62nd in 31:10.

In the women’s 6k race, former Husky Lindsay Flanagan was 23rd inn a time of 20:33, as Sarah Pagano took the victory in 19:40.

Hansons/Brooks Distance Project won the women’s team title with 55 points.  Club Northwest finished eighth with 272 points, led by Washington State alum Ruby Roberts in 53rd place in a time of 21:01.

In Nampa, Idaho, Central Washington’s Ali Anderson won the 400 meters at the Jackson’s Open indoor meet at the Jackson’s Indoor Track Facility hosted by Boise State University.

Anderson, the runner-up at last season’s GNAC 400 hurdles, ran 56.20 for the win.  She also finished second in the 200 meters in a time of 25.29.

Defending GNAC indoor and outdoor hurdle champ Mariyah Vongsaveng of Central Washington was second in the 60 hurdles in a time of 8.77. She was also fourth in the 200 in 26.12, a personal best.

Other highlights:

—Central Washington won the women’s 4x400 relay in 3:56.96; 

—The Wildcats’ Aiiyana Homer won the women’s weight throw with a best of 53-3 (16.23m).

—Saint Martin’s Jackson Hand was third in the mens’ 200 in 22.01.

—Kodiak Landis of Central Washington was second in the pole vault with a best of 15-7 (4.75m), while defending GNAC weight throw champ Armando Tafoya was second in that event with a toss of 54-6.5 (16.62m).  Tafoya was second in the shot put with a throw of 49-5.5 (15.07m).

In Managua, Nicaragua, University of Washington alum Gianna Woodruff (left/photo illustration courtesy XI Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos Managua 2017 LOC) won the 400 hurdles Saturday at the Central American Games in a meet record.

Woodruff ran 57.85, a time that she described in a text to as “not too bad, since it’s out of season.”

Friday, December 8, 2017

THE WEEKEND AHEAD: USATF club cross country champs Saturday; HT'er Henry announces retirement...

Lexington, Kentucky is the site of USA Track & Field’s final major open national championship, as the National Club Cross Country Championship takes place Saturday.

With many of the country’s top distance runners resting up after a long season, the number of international and high-end national caliber entries isn’t as high, but there are some notable entries, including Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein and world championships competitors Augustus Maiyo and Lindsay Flanagan (left/photo by Paul Merca), along with recent world cross country championship team members Elaina Balouris and Sarah Pagano.

Besides Flanagan, notable runners with Washington ties entered in the meet include former Husky Aaron Nelson (Reebok Zap Fitness), Jessica Tonn (Brooks Beasts), and Washington State alums Ruby Roberts and Drew Polley.

Roberts and Polley are entered as part of Club Northwest’s team.  Other notables running on the Club Northwest squad include Seattle Pacific alum Turner Wiley, current SPU coach Chris Reed, and Western Washington’s Andrew Wise.  Seattle Running Club also has a team entered in the men’s 10k race.


In a post on the Oiselle web site, hammer thrower and Spokane native Britney Henry (above/photo courtesy Oiselle) announced her retirement from the sport.

The graduate of Lewis & Clark HS made one national team during her career—the 2006 NACAC U-23 team, where she finished third. 

After graduating from the University of Oregon, Henry was a consistent top-10 finisher at the USATF national championships, with her best a third place finish in the 2010 nationals in Des Moines. She set her personal best of 233-10 (71.27m) in 2010.

You can read the post here.

As an added bonus, we've found from the archives a YouTube video of one of the coolest events ever contested at Hayward Field--the flaming hammer throw competition (NOTE:  Do not try this at home or at your local track & field facility)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha newest member of Nike Oregon Project...

Media partner reports that Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha (above/photo by Paul Merca) has joined the Beaverton-based Nike Oregon Project.

The 20-year old Kejelcha won the 5000m at the 2014 IAAF World U-20 championships in Eugene as well as the 2016 IAAF world indoor title at 3000m in Portland.
He most recently finished fourth at the IAAF world championships at 5000m in London, where he led entering the final turn, only to be passed by winner Muktar Edris of Ethiopia, Mo Farah of Great Britain, and Paul Chelimo of the USA.

Kejelcha fills a hole in the 5000 meters on the Nike Oregon Project roster, as Farah recently left the team to move back to Great Britain to concentrate on the marathon, and Galen Rupp has moved up in distance to the marathon.

According to DyeStat, Kejelcha was in Portland watching the Nike Cross Nationals Saturday along with Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, and other members of the team.

Meanwhile, Nike Oregon Project member Suguro Osako of Japan finished third early Sunday morning in the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan, running 2:07:19, the fifth fastest mark in Japanese history.

Sondre Moen of Norway won the race in a European record 2:05:48.

NOTE:  The IAAF and contributed to this report.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Eagles sweep Montana in Candy Cane X indoor meet; Landis wins heptathlon with NCAA D2 leading mark...

CHENEY—The Eastern Washington men’s and women’s track and field teams opened up the 2017-18 indoor season Saturday with a sweep of the University of Montana at the Candy Cane X meet at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Washington University.

The Eagle men’s squad took the team competition over the Grizzlies by a 62-41 count, while the women squeaked out the win by a 54-52 count.

The best performance of the meet was a double victory by sophomore Keshun McGee (left/photo courtesy EWU Athletics), as he took the long jump with a best of 23-10.25 (7.27m) and the triple jump with a best of 49-9 (15.16m), both of which were meet records.

Eastern athletes won every men’s running event on the docket, with Parker Bowden winning the 55 hurdles in a meet record 7.50, which is the third fastest mark in school history.

On the women’s side, former Big Sky indoor sprint champ Rebecca Tarbert won the 55m dash in 7.07, and freshman Kaitlin Gibb won the 55 hurdles in 8.29.

The best women's mark was set by Elizabeth Prouty of the Eagles, who cleared a personal best 12-10.75 (3.93m) in winning the pole vault.

Landis, who led after Friday’s first four events with 2846 points, only won one event in day 2, taking the pole vault with a best of 15-11 (4.85m) for 865 points, which was a new school record.

He opened the day by running 8.21 in the 55 hurdles for 781 points, and finished the day by running 2:53.66, worth 728 points.

Teammate Braydon Maier finished in second with 4859 points, while Grant Whitcutt of Montana was third with 4709 points. Race Treat of Eastern Washington was fourth with a two-day total of 4352 points.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University contributed to this report.

Friday, December 1, 2017

GNAC champ Kodiak Landis leads Candy Cane X heptathlon; Central's Ali Anderson wins pentathlon...

CHENEY—Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis (above/photo courtesy GNAC) leads the field in the heptathlon after the first day of competition Friday at the Candy Cane X meet at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Washington University.

Landis, the reigning GNAC heptathlon champion and 3rd-place finisher at the NCAA Division II championships this winter, got off to a strong start, winning the 55 meters (6.54/872 points), long jump (22-4.5/6.82m, 771 points), and shot put (38-7.75/11.78m, 593 points), before finishing in a tie for fourth in the high jump (5-10/1.78m, 610 points), giving Landis a first day score of 2846 points.

Jordan Stow of Montana (2709) and Quintin Porterfield of Eastern Washington (2655) round out the top three at the break.

Central’s Ali Anderson, who was fourth in the pentathlon at the GNAC championships, set a personal best in winning the pentathlon with a score of 3480 points, eclipsing her previous best of 3378 set at last season’e GNAC.

Anderson ran 8.72 in the 55 hurdles (832 points), then high jumped 4-9.5/1.46m (577).  She then threw the shot 33-1.75/10.10m (536), then long jumped a near personal best 18-0.5 (5.50m).

The long jump competition was dramatic for Anderson, as she had two fouls before unleashing that 18-0.5 jump, which was 2 inches short of her all time personal best of 18-2.5 (5.55m).

Anderson, who was the GNAC runner-up outdoors in the 400 hurdles, got her only individual win of the day in the concluding 800 meters, as she ran 2:19.18 to win decisively, with the nearest competitor at 2:26.22.  

Wildcat teammate HarLee Ortega, who was fifth in both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon at the GNAC last season, finished second with a personal best 3468 points, while Montana’s Jansen Ziola was third with 3450 points.

Eastern Washington’s Kendra Hamm was fourth with a score of 3351 points.

The meet resumes Saturday with the conclusion of the heptathlon, and a dual meet between Montana and the host Eagles.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.

The NCAA indoor track season begins Friday with Candy Cane X at Eastern Washington...

The 2017-18 NCAA indoor track and field season in the state of Washington gets underway Friday at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney with the Candy Cane X.

The Candy Cane X is a two day meet which is composed of a multi-event competition and a dual meet on Saturday between host Eastern Washington and the University of Montana.

The men’s heptathlon kicks the meet off at noon, while the women’s pentathlon starts at 12:30 pm.  Day 2 of the heptathlon starts at 9 am, while individual field events go an hour later, and the individual running events commence at 12:30 pm.

At last year's Candy Cane meet, EWU defeated Montana on the men's side with a score of 59 to 32. UM took the women's side of the competition with score of 68 to 55. The Eagles also claimed nine titles from the event.

The top performances of last year’s meet came from the Eagles’ Rebecca Tarbert (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) who won the 55 meter dash in a school record 6.78, and from Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis, who won the heptathlon with a score of 5119 points.  

Landis used that meet as a springboard to winning the GNAC title and a third place finish at the NCAA D2 championships, where he scored 5342 points.

Eastern Washington’s release is available here, which includes a link to the time schedule.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Eastern Washington contributed to this report.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

WEEK IN REVIEW: Pair of Dawgs race to top-10 finishes at Canadian XC champs...

As is traditionally the case after the NCAA cross country championships, the news cycle slows down until after the new year, but we will break in news at the minimum once a week, and as necessary.

At the Canadian cross country championships in Kingston, Ontario Saturday, a pair of University of Washington freshmen ran to top-ten finishes in the under-20 category.

Thomas Nobbs (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) finished fourth in the under-20 men’s 8k race, running 25:24.

Shona McCullough finished tenth in the under-20 women’s 6k race, running 21:58.

Both Nobbs and McCullough were redshirted this fall.

In eleven meets, including the world championships in London, where he won with a leap of 7-8.5 (2.35m), Barshim went undefeated. Four days after winning in London, he cleared a world leading 7-10.5 (2.40m), and capped off his season by securing the IAAF Diamond League series title in Zürich with a jump of 7-8.75 (2.36m).

Thiam (left/photo by Paul Merca), the reigning Olympic champ, began the year by winning the European indoor pentathlon title with a score of 4870, then made people notice by winning the Götzis heptathlon with a seven-event total of 7013 points, the third best all-time.

She then added the world championship to her Olympic title, scoring 6784 points.

The Jackie Joyner-Kersee award honors USATF’s top female athlete of the year, while the Jesse Owens Award honors the top male athlete.

Colorado alum Coburn was the first American to win a world title in the steeplechase in London, while breaking her own American record by running 9:02.58.

Kendricks went undefeated in 17 competitions this season, winning the national outdoor title with a world leading jump of 19-8.25/6.00m, and winning the world title. He capped off 2017 by winning the IAAF Diamond League title.

NOTE:  Athletics Canada, the IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.  Publisher Paul Merca is a media voter for both the IAAF World Athlete of the Year as well as USATF’s Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Jesse Owens Awards.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neale roars to second place finish at NCAA cross country championships...

LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—Under grey yet ideal conditions for running, Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) roared over the last 2 kilometers to finish second at the NCAA cross country championships at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

Neale got off to a good start in the 6k race, and was with the main group of runners, as eventual winner Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico bolted to the front and never looked back, winning in a time of 19:20, seven seconds ahead of Neale.

The senior from Snohomish flipped the script on San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, the top two finishers at last week’s NCAA West regionals in Seattle, with Neale, who was third at regionals, moving ahead of both Taylor (19:29) and Ostrander (19:32).

Washington State’s Vallery Korir also earned All-American (top 40) honors with her 33rd place finish, crossing the line in 20:08.

”The first kilometer I wasn't sure how the race was going to go but as we progressed I started to feel stronger and started moving up," Korir said. "What helped me most was running along girls that I competed with at Pac-12s and Regionals so I knew I should be with them. I am so happy with my race today, I have never been so proud of myself!"

WSU coach Wayne Phipps said, "She ran very intelligently and moved up very well in the last half of the race. Her improvement over this season has been incredible and she now has the confidence to compete with the very best in the nation."

The #22 ranked Huskies finished 21st with a team score of 513 points.  Scoring for the Dawgs after Neale were Izzi Batt-Doyle in 130th (20:58), Anna Maxwell in 148th (21:05), Emily Hamlin in 155th (21:08), and Allie Schadler in 209th (21:43).

New Mexico won the national title with a low score of 90 points, led by Kurgat.  Former Husky Charlotte Prouse was the Lobos’ second runner in 12th place, finishing in 19:49.

Another former Husky, Baylor’s Lindsey Bradley, finished 47th in 20:20.

In the men’s 10k, Portland’s Nick Hauger, a graduate of Spokane’s Shadle Park was the top finisher from the state, placing 26th in a time of 29:47.

Edmonds native Miler Haller, competing for Boise State, finished 36th in a time of 29:59, while another Spokane native, Oregon’s Tanner Anderson, missed the All-American status by one place, finishing 41st in 30:02.

It was a rough day for both Washington and Washington State, both of whom had high aspirations entering the championships.

The Huskies finished 22nd with 488 points, while the Cougars were 24th with 539 points.

Leading the way for Washington was Andrew Gardner in 66th (30:24), followed by Colby Gilbert in 106th (30:48).

Other scorers for the Huskies were Andy Snyder in 118th (30:54), Mahmoud Moussa in 143rd (31:05), and Talon Hull in 144th (31:06).

Washington State was led by Chandler Teigen in 63rd (30:21), and Michael Williams in 70th (30:27).

The Cougars’ other scorers were Nathan Wadhwani in 94th (30:38), Matthew Watkins in 201st (31:39), and Justin Janke in 206th (31:43).

Justyn Knight of Syracuse closed hard over the last 800 meters to win the national title in 29:01.

Northern Arizona successfully defended its national title, bolstered by a 2-3 finish by Matthew Baxter (29:01) and Tyler Day (29:05) with a low score of 74 points.

The University of Portland, with Washington natives Hauger in 26th and Logan Orndorf in 64th (30:21) finished second with 127 points.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Louisville, University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Teams check out NCAA championship course Friday; start time for Saturday's races changed...

Washington State head coach Wayne Phipps makes a point to
members of the Cougar cross country team Friday at
E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park (Paul Merca photo)
LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—On a cool and crisp early afternoon, both Washington and Washington State took their final runs on the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park cross country course Friday in preparation for Saturday’s NCAA cross country championship meet.

The course appeared to be in good shape overall, though there were small concerns about some wet spots and mud holes that meet management staked off so runners wouldn’t go over them during the course preview, but overall, nothing major that would cause a great deal of apprehension for the teams and athletes competing tomorrow.

It was a sunny day here in Louisville, despite it being in the high 30s to mid-40s, though there is expected to be some rain and high winds, along with possible lightning after midnight.  The  concern about lightning during the race was enough for organizers to change the start times of the meet.

At the coaches’ technical meeting (4:00 pm local time), the start times for Saturday’s races were changed:  The women’s 6k gets going at 9 am local time/6 am pacific, and the men’s 10k will start at 10 am/7 am pacific.

Besides both University of Washington squads, the Washington State men’s team, and WSU’s Vallery Korir, who qualified for the championships last week in Seattle, there are also athletes with Washington ties competing, including Wisconsin’s Joe Hardy (Seattle Prep), Portland’s Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) and Nick Hauger (Shadle Park), Boise State’s Miler Haller (Edmonds/Woodway), and Oregon’s Tanner Anderson (North Central).

Colorado’s John Dressel (Mt. Spokane) and Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin (Gig Harbor), both of whom were All-Americans (top 40) at last year’s meet, are being redshirted this season.

Former Huskies Charlotte Prouse (New Mexico) and Lindsey Bradley (Baylor) are also competing, with Prouse a key component of New Mexico's hope of winning a national title.

The Husky women are making their 11th consecutive appearance at this meet and 21st over a 23-year period.  

Washington State’s men’s squad is making their third straight NCAA championship appearance as a team, while Vallery Korir becomes the first WSU runner to qualify for this meet since 2009 when Lisa Egami did so.

The Husky men, who finished a surprising second at the NCAA regional meet in Seattle last week, are back in the championships after missing out last year.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf told before the coaches’ technical meeting this afternoon that redshirt freshman Gavin Parpart will run instead of Johnathan Stevens Saturday.  Earlier in the week, the school announced that Kiera Marshall will take the place of Kaitlyn Neal, who was injured after falling in the first 100 meters of the regional championships.                          

Washington’s pre-meet release is available here, while Washington State’s release is available here.

Media partner Flotrack ($) will offer streaming coverage of the championships.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Louisville, University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Husky men jump eight spots to number 12 in final regular season USTFCCCA poll...

Washington's (from l to r) Andy Snyder, Mahmoud Moussa,
Colby Gilbert & Andrew Gardner in action at the
NCAA West Regionals (Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—The USTFCCCA released its final regular season national rankings Monday after the conclusion of the NCAA cross country regional meets around the country, and both University of Washington squads are in the top 30 going into this Saturday’s national championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Husky men jumped all the way up from #20 to #12 after their close second place finish behind West regional champ Portland Pilots at Jefferson Park GC in Seattle.

The Pilots, who have two runners with Washington ties on their top seven—junior Nick Hauger from Spokane, and Logan Orndorff from Duvall, are ranked number four.

The nation’s top five teams are defending national champion Northern Arizona, BYU, Syracuse, Portland, and Colorado.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the men’s national top 30 include Pac-12 champ Stanford at #6, #14 Oregon, #16 UCLA, and #27 Washington State.

The Washington women’s team dropped six spots from their previous #16 ranking to number 22 after finishing sixth at the NCAA West Regionals last Friday.

The nation’s top five teams entering the championship meet in order are defending Pac-12 champ 
Colorado; New Mexico, West regional champs San Francisco, West regional runner-up Stanford, and NC State.

Other Pac-12 teams in the national top 30 include #6 Oregon, the defending national champs; and, #23 Cal, which surprised the Dawgs at regionals by finishing fifth.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.     

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Seattle Prep grad Joe Hardy of Wisconsin gets individual qualifying spot for NCAA XC champs...

In our post Saturday announcing the qualifiers to Saturday’s NCAA cross country championships, we neglected to mention Seattle Prep graduate Joe Hardy (above/photo courtesy Wisconsin Athletics), who was sixth for the University of Wisconsin at the Great Lakes regional meet Friday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

At the Great Lakes regional, Michigan State (68) and Michigan (79) earned the two automatic qualifiers to the NCAA championship meet in Louisville, while Wisconsin (84) was third.  

The NCAA cross country committee bypassed the Badgers when it came time to pick the 13 at-large teams based on their performance at their own Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational last month, where the #25 Badgers finished 25th, led by Hardy’s 25th place finish.

Hardy was second in the Big 10 championships two weeks ago, as the Badgers were third behind Michigan and Michigan State.

Hardy joins several other notable runners from Washington in the NCAA championship meet competing for other schools around the country including Tanner Anderson of Spokane (Oregon), Miler Haller of Edmonds (Boise State), Logan Orndorf of Duvall (Portland) and Nick Hauger of Spokane (Portland).

The University of Washington men’s team earned an automatic qualifier on the basis of its second place finish at the West regionals, while the Husky women’s team, the WSU men’s team, and the Cougars’ Valley Korir were announced Saturday as at-large qualifiers and in Korir’s case, an individual qualifier.

NOTE:  The University of Wisconsin and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

WSU men, Washington women & Vallery Korir of Cougs advance to NCAA cross country champs...

INDIANAPOLIS—-The NCAA announced the addition of the Washington State men’s cross country team (left/photo by Paul Merca), the University of Washington women’s team, and Washington State’s Vallery Korir to the field for next week’s NCAA Division I cross country championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals qualified at their respective NCAA regional competitions.

Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship.  The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams.  Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.

Thirty-eight individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process.  All individual qualifiers finished in the top 25 in their regions.

University of Louisville will host the championships, Saturday, November 18, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park located in Louisville, Kentucky. The women’s race will begin at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the men’s race at 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time.  Media partner Flotrack ($) will provide live streaming coverage of the meet.

The WSU men will make their third straight appearance at the NCAA championships, while the Husky women make their 11th consecutive appearance.

The WSU men were seventh at the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle Friday, while the UW women finished sixth.

Korir, the sister of US Olympian Leonard Korir, finished 19th in Friday’s regional meet, and got the fourth and final individual qualifying spot into the national championships (top 4 runners not on a qualifying team and must place in the top 25 at regionals).

NOTE: The NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Husky men surprise field with second place finish at NCAA West Regional championships...

Andy Snyder, Colby Gilbert & Andrew Gardner placed
in the top 10 as the Huskies finished second at the NCAA
West Regionals (Paul Merca photo)
SEATTLE—What a time for a major breakthrough!

The University of Washington men’s cross country team, which finished fifth at the Pac-12 championships a fortnight ago, pulled one of the biggest surprises of the day Friday, as the host Huskies finished second in the NCAA West Regional cross country championships at Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Portland, the nation’s number six team in the current USTFCCCA Division I coaches’ poll, won the regional title by a 63-65 margin over the #20 Huskies.

Among the teams the Dawgs left behind on a mild but sunny day on Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood included #4 Stanford, the Pac-12 team champs two weeks ago; #13 Oregon; #10 UCLA; #26 Boise State; and #27 Washington State.

Early in the race, WSU’s Michael Williams and Portland’s Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse went to the front, with Arizona’s Hunter Davila just trailing the duo, and a large pack of about 15-20 runners behind.

The Huskies ran a near perfect team race, with seniors Colby Gilbert and Andrew Gardner always near the front of the main pack, with Andy Snyder and Mahmoud Moussa close behind, and the trio of Tibu Proctor, Johnathan Stevens, and Talon Hull within reasonable eyesight of Gilbert and Gardner.

As the runners entered the last of five laps, Williams began to pay for his front running efforts, as he dropped from fourth at the 9k mark all the way to 12th at the finish.

Roudolff-Levisse won the race in 29:34, with teammate Jeff Thies second in 29:39.

Spokane native Nick Hauger of Portland finished fourth in 29:42, passing Gilbert in the last 400, with Gilbert taking fifth in 29:44.

The next four spots went to athletes with Washington ties, as Spokane’s Tanner Anderson of Oregon (29:44), Washington’s Gardner (29:44), Edmonds native Miler Haller of Boise State (29:44), and the Huskies’ Andy Snyder (29:46) went 6-7-8-9.

Rounding out the Husky scorers were Moussa in 18th (29:54), and freshman Proctor (30:03) in 26th, giving the Huskies a 1-5 spread of 19 seconds, by far the best spread of the 30 team field.

For the Cougars, who had high expectations entering the start of the season, they must wait until Saturday to find out if they will advance to next week’s championship meet in Louisville, after finishing seventh with 194 points.

After Williams’ 12th place finish in 29:49, Chandler Teigen was 20th in 29:56, followed by Nathan Wadhwani in 41st (30:20), Justin Janke in 47th (30:39), and Paul Ryan in 74th (31:08), as the Cougs ran a 1-5 split of 80 seconds.

Gonzaga cracked the top ten, as the Bulldogs were tenth with 294 points, led by Peter Hogan in 48th in 30:39.

Eastern Washington finished 24th with 645 points, led by Colton Johnson in 66th in 31:00, while Seattle University was 26th with 727 points. Eli Boudouris led the way in 122nd in 32:10 for the Redhawks.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf heaped praise on his two senior leaders, Gilbert and Gardner, along with the efforts of Snyder, and his two freshmen, Proctor and Hull, neither of whom had raced at the 10k distance until today.


In the opening women’s 6k race, defending West Regional champ Amy-Eloise Neale of Washington finished third to lead the #16 ranked Huskies to a sixth place team finish.

The Huskies were in a bit of a hole early, as both Kaitlyn Neal and Nikki Zielinski got tangled up with some other runners in the 207-woman field in the first 100 meters, falling to the ground and having to play catch-up.

While eventual winner Charlotte Taylor of San Francisco (19:15) and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander (19:17) battled all the way from start to finish, Neale was in a group of about seven runners behind Taylor and Ostrander.

As the race wore on, she maintained her position, and moved into third before the 5k mark, opening up a gap on eventual fourth place finisher Weronika Pyzik of San Francisco, crossing the finish in 19:26 to Pyzik’s 19:30.

Following the Cardinal were defending national champ and #3 ranked Oregon with 92, followed by #10 Boise State’s 104, with #26 Cal, led by a 10-11 individual finish by Bethan Knights and freshman Brie Oakley, getting the better of the Huskies by a 183-202 count.

The other UW scorers were Emily Hamlin in 40th (20:39); Izzi Batt-Doyle in 44th (20:45); Anna Maxwell in 49th (20:51);  and Allie Schadler in 66th (21:03).

Washington State finished 15th with 420 points, led by Vallery Korir’s 19th place finish in 20:08.

Eastern Washington was 21st with 603, led by Kaili Keefe in 58th place in 20:57. Gonzaga was 24th with 703 points, led by Jordan Thurston in 80th place in 21:13, and Seattle University was 26th with 749 points, as Johanna Erickson was 97th in 21:36.

The Huskies will have to wait until Saturday to find out if they will advance to the national championships next week, though indications from numerous knowledgeable collegiate cross country experts believe that the Huskies’ overall body of work this season will be enough to get them in.

The Husky women’s overall resume this season includes a 4th place finish at the Dellinger Invitational in Oregon; a 14th place finish at Wisconsin; and a fourth place finish at the Pac-12s.

Assuming that Cal gets in as a team, the Cougars’ Korir may be in line for an individual at-large berth into the NCAA championship meet.

Danielle Shanahan of Loyola Marymount was the top finisher not on one of the top six teams, finishing 12th, followed by Taryn Rawlings of Portland in 14th, and Claire Green of Arizona in 15th.

The teams and individuals receiving at-large berths to next week's NCAA championships in Louisville will be announced at 9 am, pacific time Saturday.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

All five Washington schools to converge at Jefferson Park GC for NCAA West Regionals Friday...

All five of the state’s NCAA Division I schools will gather at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill for Friday’s NCAA West Regional cross country championship meet, with both Washington squads and the Washington State men’s team looking to run well enough to earn a spot in next week’s NCAA championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

Both Washington and Washington State men’s squad will have to have strong team races if they hope to advance to Louisville. The #20 Huskies and the #27 Cougars will have to contend with #4 Stanford, #6 Portland, #10 UCLA, #13 Oregon, and #25 Boise State. The West regional is by far the deepest region in the country in the quality of teams.

On the women’s side, the #16 Huskies will have to square off against #3 Oregon, #4 San Francisco, #7 Stanford, #10 Boise State, and #26 California if it hopes to advance.

The top two teams from Friday’s race, plus the eight other regional races contested around the country will automatically advance to Louisville, while the other 13 teams that make up the 31 team field will have to wait for the NCAA cross country committee to announce the at large squads on Saturday.

The top four individual finishers not on a qualifying team, and inside the top 25, will be chosen to advance for each region. Two additional athletes will be selected from the national pool at-large. They must also have finished within their region's top-25 to advance.

Of the three Washington based teams with realistic shots of advancing to Kentucky, the WSU men’s squad, which was ranked as high as #11 earlier in the season in the USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll, has the least margin for error. 

The Cougars’ 11th place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational is perhaps the biggest blemish on their 2017 team resume.

With seven nationally ranked teams in the West regionals, the onus will have to be on WSU All-American Michael Williams (above/photo by Paul Merca) to run closer to the front to help put the Cougars in a solid position to make their case to go to Louisville. Williams was their second runner at the Pac-12 championships two weeks ago, where he was 19th.

With the men’s race distance 10k instead of 8k, WSU head coach Wayne Phipps feels more confident in his team’s chances at regionals. He feels that the extra 2k distance plays to the Cougars’ strength.

Notable Washington natives running for schools outside the state include Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane, and the Portland duo of Nick Hauger from Spokane, and Logan Orndorf from Duvall.

Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale returns as the defending NCAA west regional champion, after winning the race last year in Sacramento, en route to a eighth place finish in the national championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

One notable runner who won’t run is Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor. Peloquin, who finished sixth at last year’s NCAA championship meet, is being redshirted this season.

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Seattle University’s squads are all looking to place in the top half of the approximately 30 schools entered in the meet.

The meet gets underway at 10:30 am with the women’s 6k, and the men’s 10k an hour later. If you can’t make the meet, media partner ($) will stream the race.

The home page for the NCAA West Regionals is available here, which has links to the live results, box draws, course map, and start lists.

NOTE:  The University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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