|2016 Olympic 1500m gold medalist Matthew|
Centrowitz will run the 3000m at the
UW Indoor Preview (Paul Merca photo)
This weekend marks the first full weekend of indoor track and field action for the state’s collegiate and professional athletes with three meets on the schedule.
The University of Washington opens the gates of the Dempsey Indoor facility Saturday for the UW Indoor Preview, with sIx of the state’s nine Division I and II schools represented, starting on the field at 9 am with three women’s field events—pole vault, long jump, and weight throw—and at 9:30 am on the track with the qualifying round of the women’s 60 hurdles.
Some of the key events to watch:
Women’s 1000 (11:10 am) This race features Washington’s Pac-12 and NCAA West regional cross country champ Amy-Eloise Neale dropping down in distance against defending UW Indoor Preview champ Rebecca Mehra of Stanford, Olympic Trials qualifiers Lauren Wallace and Dominique Jackson, and McKayla Fricker;
Men’s 1000 (11:25 am) Oregon alum Eric Jenkins, whose late charge in the closing stages of the Olympic Trials 5000 almost gained him a spot on Team USA, goes against UW All-American Blake Nelson;
Women’s mile (11:40 am) Olympic Trials 1500m and two-time world juniors finalist Alexa Efraimson from Camas goes against Nozumi Takamatsu of Japan, who won the 2014 Youth Olympics 3000, and was fourth in the 2014 world junior 3000m race in Eugene. Throw in 2012 Canadian Olympian at 800m Jessica Smith, Canadian cross country champ Sasha Gollish and former NCAA D2 800m champ Lindsey Butterworth in for good measure, and sub 4:35 is a possibility this early;
Men’s mile (12:05 pm) Jenkins is expected to come back from the 1000 to run the mile against Canadian Olympians Luc Bruchet and Charles Philibert-Phiboutot, 2012 Irish Olympian Ciaran O’Lionaird, and UW All-American Colby Gilbert. At least six athletes have seed times under 4 minutes.
Women’s 60 (12:30 pm) Assuming they make it out of the prelims at 10:45 am, the final could potentially see a battle between Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon, the reigning Pac-12 sprint queen, against the Huskies’ Kennadi Bouyer, Oregon’s two US Olympians in Ariana Washington & Deajah Stevens, and San Diego State’s All-American Micha Auzenne;
Seeded Women’s Pole Vault (1 pm) This features three of the last four Pac-12 champions in that event—Kristine Felix of Washington State, Kristina Owsinski of the UW (who is competing unattached), and reigning champ Liz Quick of the Huskies;
Women’s 600 (2 pm) Last year’s race was a barnburner, with Stanford’s Olivia Baker taking it out hard, before being caught by Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers, with Rogers running a collegiate and facility best 1:26.34. Those two finished 1-2 in the NCAA championship race at 800 in Eugene last June, and will be joined by Olympic Trials qualifiers Lauren Wallace and Dominique Jackson, along with Rogers’ Oregon teammate and Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier;
Women’s 3000 (4:20 pm) This race is loaded, and the possibility of a sub 8:55 race is real, with defending world indoor 1500m champ and 2015 world championships bronze medalist Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands the headliner. The former Ethiopian national goes against a pair of US Olympians in Kim Conley and Kate Grace, though Flotrack reports that Conley will be the pacesetter.
Also in the field are Bellarmine Prep alum Brie Felnagle, who recently moved her training base to Sacramento from Seattle; Canadian cross country champ Sasha Gollish, along with Olympic Trials qualifiers Rochelle Kanuho, Leah O’Connor, and Lauren Paquette, not to mention 13-year old world age-group record holder Grace Ping;
Men’s 3000 (5 pm) It’s not every day that a defending Olympic champion opens up the following season at the Dempsey—in fact, it’s only happened once in the Dempsey’s 15 years, and that was in 2005 when 2004 Olympic 100 hurdles champion Joanna Hayes ran the 60 hurdles at the UW Indoor Preview.
World indoor and Olympic 1500 meter champ Matthew Centrowitz of the Nike Oregon Project opens the 2017 season in the 3000 against 2012 Irish Olympian Ciaran O’Lionaird, Japanese Olympian Suguru Osako, and three-time world championships steeplechaser Dan Huling, with Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley, and former Texas All-American Craig Lutz thrown in the field, along with four NCAA Division II All Americans in David Ribich of Western Oregon, Marc-Antoine Rouleau of Simon Fraser, and the Alaska Anchorage duo of Dominik Notz and Edwin Kangogo.
Other notables to watch include WSU alum and 3-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson (60 hurdles); UW alum Norris Frederick (high jump); Club Northwest’s Olympic Trials qualifier Levi Keller (pole vault); Shaq Walker of the Brooks Beasts (600); world youth champ Tara Davis (women's long jump); and, UW’s Casey Burns & Stanford’s Jaak Uudmae (triple jump).
The final time schedule is available here, while the start lists for the UW Indoor Preview are available here.
Admission to the meet is $8.00. If you can’t make it, media partner Flotrack will stream live coverage of the UW Indoor Preview ($).
WSU, EASTERN WASHINGTON, CENTRAL WASHINGTON AND SAINT MARTIN’S COMPETE IN IDAHO
Washington State University will have a split squad competing this weekend, with sprinters, hurdlers, vertical jumpers, and throwers competing at the Ed Jacoby Invitational hosted by Boise State at the Jacksons Indoor Facility in Nampa, while its middle distance, distance, and horizontal jumpers will compete in Seattle.
Eastern Washington, Central Washington and Saint Martin’s will have athletes competing in Moscow at the Vandal Indoor Invitational Friday starting with field events at 9 am, and running events at noon.
NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Boise State sports information offices contributed to this report.