All nine of Washington’s Division I and II schools will be in action Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the University of Washington hosts the biggest meet of the indoor season on the West Coast, the two-day Husky Classic on Friday-Saturday, and the UW Open on Sunday at the Dempsey Indoor.
Action gets underway Friday at 4 pm, with the invitational 5000 the feature event of the evening session at 5:50pm, with reigning NCAA champ Edward Cheserek (left/photo by Paul Merca) making his season debut at that distance.
Cheserek will face off against the Husky duo of Colby Gilbert and Fred Huxham. and Bowerman TC’s Dan Huling, with Butler’s Erik Peterson & Colorado State’s Jerrell Mock in the mix.
The women’s invitational 5000 at 5:25pm could be a battle between Tennessee’s Chelsea Blaase, Canadian Rachel Cliff, New Mexico’s Alice Wright, and Tessa Barrett of Penn State, with Gig Harbor native Brenna Peloquin of Boise State thrown in for good measure.
In both races, athletes will be positioning themselves for those top 16 spots to get into the NCAA Division I championship meet in early March.
The men’s mile Saturday at 3:45 pm features 2016 Olympic steeple silver medalist Evan Jager dropping down in distance to face two time Olympian and Bowerman TC teammate Lopez Lomong. Cheserek will double back from the 5000 Friday night in what is presumed to be a simulation of what may happen at the NCAA championships. Cheserek won the 3000, 5000 and anchored Oregon’s distance medley relay to the national indoor title last year.
The women’s mile is headlined by Penn State frosh Danae Rivers, with the Huskies’ Amy-Eloise Neale the main contender, No one in the fastest section has run slower than 4:43, so this could be an dandy!
The men’s 3000 features recent Portland grad and Olympic Trials finalist Woody Kincaid going against Canadian Olympian Luc Bruchet, while the women’s 3000 features two former Colorado prep sensations in Katie Rainsberger of Oregon, and Elise Cranny of Stanford.
Field events to watch include the women’s triple jump with US Olympian Andrea Geubelle going against Olympic Trials finalist and WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama; the mens’ high jump with former world champion Jesse Williams going against reigning NCAA D2 champ Mikel Smith of Saint Martin’s; the women’s high jump featuring two-time US Olympian Sharon Day-Monroe against Arizona alum Elizabeth Patterson; the women’s pole vault with the last three Pac-12 champs—Kristine Felix of WSU, Liz Quick of the UW, and Kristina Owsinski of UW, who only has outdoor eligibility remaining for the Huskies.
Don’t sleep on the men’s shot put with USC’s Nicholas Ponzio, Arizona’s Viktor Gardenkrans and Aaron Castle, against Darien Moore and David Pless of the Iron Wood TC.
Media partner Flotrack ($) will provide streaming coverage of the Husky Classic.
In other action, Washington State will split their team between the Husky Classic and the Don Kirby Elite/Invitational meet on Friday and Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with sprinters, hurdlers, and horizontal jumpers traveling to New Mexico to take advantage of the high altitude.
The Cougs will be led by 2016 NCAA multi-events qualifier Liz Harper, who is entered in the 60 hurdles, high jump, and long jump, while two-time Pac-12 400 hurdles champ CJ Allen leads the mens’ squad, as he’s entered in the 60 hurdles, 200, 400 and 4 x 400 relay.
Several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts are off to New York for Saturday’s Millrose Games at the Armory.
Among those entered are Cas Loxsom, Brannon Kidder and Shaq Walker in the 1000; Izaic Yorks in the Wanamaker Mile; Garrett Heath in the 2-mile; and, Katie Mackey in the women’s Wanamaker Mile.
Other athletes with Washington ties entered in the Millrose Games include Tacoma native Brie Felnagle in the 3000; Justine Fedronic in the women’s 800; and, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson in the women’s Wanamaker Mile.
NBCSN will have live coverage of the Millrose Games from 1-3 pm Saturday, with USATF.TV providing streaming coverage from 9am-1pm.
NOTE: The University of Washington, Washington State University, and the New York Road Runners contributed to this report.