Thursday, January 26, 2017

All roads lead to the Dempsey for Friday & Saturday's UW Invitational...

All nine of Washington’s Division I and II schools will have representatives competing at this weekend’s UW Invitational meet at the Dempsey Indoor, hosted by the University of Washington.

In addition to the nine Washington schools. a number of local pros, headlined by Rio Olympian Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Paul Merca) from University Place will be in action at the two-day meet, which begins Friday at 1 pm, with the heptathlon 60 meter dash.

In addition to Geubelle, other Rio Olympians entered include Barbara Nwaba (pentathlon), Kate Grace (800/mile), Logan Cunningham (pole vault) Canadians Nate Brannen (3000), Charles Philibert-Thiboudot (mile), and Luc Bruchet (mile).

Former Puyallup resident Hassan Mead, a Rio Olympic finalist in the 5000, and Greek Olympian Alexi Pappas, who are both members of the Nike Oregon Track Club Elite, withdrew from the meet shortly after the UW posted the accepted entries on Tuesday.

Events to watch:

On Friday, US Olympian Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara TC opens up in the pentathlon, where she goes against a pair of Santa Barbara TC teammates in Chari Hawkins and Lindsay Lettow and last year’s Pac-12 heptathlon runner-up Alyssa Thompson, in what is perhaps the largest multi-event field in UW Invite history, with 32 women entered.

The two-day heptathlon has Oregon’s Mitch Modin and Joe Delgado battling the Huskies’ Josh Gordon, with the Santa Barbara TC’s Tom Hopkins and Tom FitzSimons out to push the collegians.

Saturday’s best events include:

Women’s Long Jump (9 am): University Place resident Andrea Geubelle goes up against two-time Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe, who missed a berth on the Rio Olympic team in the heptathlon by one place and 18 points.

Women’s Pole Vault (2;30 pm): The last two Pac-12 champs: Kristina Owsinski and Liz Quick of the UW, are up against San Diego State alums Kristen Brown and Kortney Ross.

Women’s Mile (3:15 pm):  Camas’ Alexa Efraimson goes against Grace (who Flotrack is reporting will serve as a pacemaker for former Tacoma resident and NorCal Distance Project member Brie Felnagle). Throw in for good measure UT-San Antonio alum Dana Mecke and former Oregon prep standout Ella Donaghu.

Men’s Mile (3:30 pm): Another two-time US Olympian who missed out on a third team last year in in the field, as Oregon alum Andrew Wheating goes against Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts, Vancouver resident Luc Bruchet, and NCAA cross country runner-up Justyn Knight of Syracuse. Originally, 2012 Irish Olympian Ciaran O’Lionaird was entered, but has withdrawn. However, there are conflicting reports that he may still show up…stay tuned!

Men’s Pole Vault (3:30 pm): Rio Olympian Logan Cunningham headlines the field, where he’ll face Idaho State alum Mike Arnold, who was eighth at last year’s world indoor championships in Portland.

Women’s 800 (4:05 pm):  Olympian Kate Grace, who set a facility record two weeks ago in the women’s 3000, races for real in the 800 against a trio of Seattle-based Brooks Beasts runners in Claudia Saunders, Baylee Mires and Natalja Piliusina.

Men’s 3000 (4:50 pm):  Canadian Olympians Nate Brannen and Charles Philibert-Thiboudot, with Washington’s Colby Gilbert and Puyallup native David Elliott, formerly of Boise State thrown in the mix and Stanford frosh sensation Thomas Ratcliffe, who is competing unattached.

Other notables to watch include WSU alum and 3-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson (60 hurdles & 400); UW alum Norris Frederick (high jump); Club Northwest’s Olympic Trials qualifier Levi Keller (pole vault); McKenzie Warren of Concordia/Oregon (shot put) and Shaq Walker of the Brooks Beasts (400).

If you can’t make it out to the Dempsey, Flotrack ($) is offering live streaming of the meet to FloPro subscribers.

While Washington State’s distance crew will run at the Dempsey Friday and Saturday, the majority of the Cougars are headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the New Mexico Team Invitational.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the GNAC contributed to this report.

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