SEATTLE—2016 US Olympian Barbara Nwaba (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Santa Barbara Track Club won the pentathlon competition to highlight the first day of the UW Invitational at the Dempsey Indoor facility early Friday evening.
Nwaba, the reigning US national champion in both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon, took command of the competition early, winning the 60 hurdles in 8.50 for 1017 points, and the high jump with a leap of 5-11.5 (1.82m) for 1003 points.
She won her third event in a row, taking the shot put with a toss of 45-8.5 (13.93m) to add 789 points to her total.
The long jump was her only bad event of the day, as she only had a best of 17-8 (5.38m) to pick up 665 points, as she was beaten by six competitors in that event, which is normally one of her stronger specialties.
Needing to run beyond her personal best to take the world lead of 4550 set earlier in the day by Alina Shukh of Ukraine, Nwaba went out hard, but eased in to win the 800 in a time of 2:14.33 to finish with a 5-event score of 4376 points, currently the fourth best score in the world, and easily take the US lead this season.
—Washington’s Kennadi Bouyer set a new school record in the 200 meters, running 23.88 to finish second overall to San Diego State’s Ashley Henderson’s meet record of 23.57;
—In the women’s distance medley relay, Seattle Pacific’s distance medley relay team of Sarah Macdonald, Lani Taylor, Chynna Phan & Mary Charleston took fourth in 11:42.22, which is the second fastest time in NCAA D2 so far this season, behind GNAC member Simon Fraser, who finished ahead of them in second in a time of 11:39.36;
—Arizona’s Avery Mickens leads the heptathlon at the break with a four-event total of 3117 over Oregon’s Mitch Modin (3032) and Washington’s Josh Gordon (2991).
The meet resumes Saturday starting at 9 am.
NOTES—2016 US Olympian in the 800m Kate Grace is reportedly going to announce her new sponsor on social media before she makes her debut with her new kit Saturday at the UW Invitational.
Grace, who was sponsored by Seattle-based Oiselle in 2016, was seen wearing a pair of yellow, black and pink Nike spikes while doing her shakedown at the Dempsey before the meet started. However, Grace was also seen wearing training shoes and apparel from different manufacturers.
Two weeks ago, Grace, who trains out of Sacramento with the Nor Cal Distance Project group, ran a Dempsey facility record 8:47.26 wearing an all-black kit sans manufacturers logo.
Garrett Heath of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts will run in the 3000 meters at Saturday’s nationally-televised New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, just outside of Boston.
He will face a field that includes Olympic 5000m medalist Paul Chelimo and Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy.