Washington’s nine Division I and II schools are in action Friday and Saturday as the 2017 outdoor track & field season gets underway.
Both Washington and Washington State are getting away from the rain and generally dreary weather of the Pacific Northwest as they head to sunny Los Angeles for Friday and Saturday’s USC Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California.
The Huskies and Cougars are both sending close to 50 athletes to Los Angeles for the USC Trojan Invitational, with many of their long throwers getting their first taste of competition during the outdoor opener.
Among those competing are 2015 Pac-12 pole vault champion and NCAA scorer Kristina Owsinski (left/photo by Paul Merca), who missed the entire 2016 outdoor season after injuring her Achilles tendon.
A small contingent of athletes from WSU, along with athletes from Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Central Washington will head to Spokane for the Whitworth Buc Scoring meet, hosted by Whitworth University.
Central will also send athletes to Portland for the Lewis & Clark Spring Break Open meet hosted by Lewis & Clark College, along with Seattle University, Western Washington, Saint Martin’s, and Seattle Pacific.
The Falcons will also send a few select athletes to Sacramento this weekend for the Hornet Invitational hosted by Cal State Sacramento at Hornet Stadium. Those athletes include their three multi-event specialists—Scout Can, Brooke Benner and Geneva Lehnert, who will contest the heptathlon. They’ll also send a women’s 4 x 100 relay team, plus long jumper Kyra Brannan, who will also run the 100. Two male Falcons—hurdler Peyton Harris and 400 meter runner Justin Ramsey are also slated to compete in Sacramento.
CUNLIFFE IS THE USTFCCCA NATIONAL WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon was named by the USTFCCCA as its women’s national track athlete of the just completed indoor season.
Cunliffe had a solid outing at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships to help her Ducks squad win its 7th title in 8 years. The junior won the 60 meters with a time of 7.14, followed by a 2nd-place finish in the 200 meters at 22.53, behind teammate Ariana Washington. Washington and Cunliffe became the first teammates to finish 1-2 in the 200 meters at NCAAs since Auburn did so in 2010. During the regular season, the product from Federal Way, Washington broke the indoor collegiate record in the 60 meters with a time of 7.07 at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational. Cunliffe is the first sprinter to win the award since 2012 (Diamond Dixon, Kansas) and first from Oregon to win since 2011 (Jordan Hasay).
NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Seattle Pacific, Eastern Washington, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.