Friday, February 23, 2018

UW's Chase Smith defends MPSF pole vault title...


SEATTLE—He didn’t get a clearance over eighteen feet, but Washington’s Chase Smith (above/photo by Paul Merca) repeated as Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion in the pole vault to highlight the first day of competition in the two day meet at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington.

Smith opened with two straight first attempt clearances at 16-8.75 (5.10m) and 17-0.75 (5.20m). 

He passed at 17-2.75 (5.25m) then cleared 17-4.5 (5.30m) on his first attempt at his eventual winning height.

With the victory in hand, he then raised the bar to 18-2.5 (5.55m) which would have been a new personal best, eclipsing the mark of 18-1 (5.51m) he set on February 11th at the UW Open.  He missed all three attempts to end the day.

Teammate Lev Marcus was second at 17-0.75 (5.20m), with the Huskies’ Zach Shugart seventh at 16-8.75 (5.10m) and Blaise Black tied for eighth with BYU’s Raul Rios at 16-4.75 (5.00m).

Places three through six all went to vaulters from Arizona State.

While the Husky women’s distance medley relay team of Anna Maxwell, Raquel Tjernagel, Hannah Derby, and Maddie Meyers easily won the conference title in a season best 11:07.43, they fell short of the 11 minute mark needed to realistically qualify for the NCAA championships in two weeks in College Station, Texas.

The Huskies needed to run under 11:03 to have a shot at qualifying for the national championships, with Texas A&M’s 11:03.10 currently the 12th fastest time entering conference championship weekend.

Washington State was well back in second with their team of Zorana Grujic, Stephanie Cho, Marlow Schulz, and Kaili Keefe. at 11:20.77.

The Cougars got their first win of the meet, as conference leader Brock Eager from Renton won the men’s weight throw with a toss of 68-11.25 on his final attempt.

Other top three finishes by Washington athletes Friday included the Washington State men’s distance medley relay team of Paul Ryan, Ja’Maun Charles, Justin Janke, and Chandler Teigen, which finished second in 9:49.06; and, Vallery Korir of Washington State in the women’s 5000, running 16:02.07; and WSU’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson, who was third in the pentathlon despite not having a good day overall. Brooks-Johnson scored 4040 points, as UCLA’s Kendall Gustafson won the title with 4084.

In that pentathlon, UC Davis’ Erinn Beattie had one of the most outstanding performances, as she won the high jump in a personal best of 6-0 (1.83m), which puts her in the running for an NCAA qualifying spot in the high jump.  Beattie ended up taking second overall with 4062 points.

In qualifying action, WSU’s Ja’Maun Charles earned a spot in Saturday’s 60 dash finals with a time of 6.81.  Wenatchee native Isaiah Brandt-Sims of Stanford, who is an outstanding football prospect, was seventh in qualifying at 6.88.

Washington State’s Nick Johnson (7.98) and Christapherson Grant (8.13) earned spots in Saturday’s 60 hurdles final.

With seven events scored in the women’s team competition, USC leads with 49 points, followed by Oregon’s 31 and Cal’s 28 points.  Washington State stands fifth at 24, while the host Huskies are sixth at 22 points.

After six events in the men’s team standings, BYU leads with 34.5, followed by Washington State at 29 and UCLA a point behind.  The Huskies stand fourth with 24.83 points.

Action resumes Saturday at 10:30 am.


NOTE:  The University of Washington sports information office contributed to this report.  TFRRS contributed statistical information. 

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