Friday, April 27, 2018

Dawgs and Cougs renew cross-state track and field rivalry Saturday in the Palouse...

Washington State's Christapherson Grant
(Paul Merca photo)
In a continuation of one of the longest standing dual track & field meets in collegiate track and field, the scene shifts to Mooberry Track on the WSU campus for The Dual Saturday between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars.

For those making the journey to Pullman, the meet begins at 11 am with three field events—the women’s hammer, the men’s javelin, and the women’s high jump, with the men’s 3000 steeplechase kicking off the running events at 1 pm.

On a wet day in Seattle last year, the Huskies swept the Cougars by a count of 84-79, while the women’s squad coasted to a 96-66 win over their cross-state rivals, with the men’s meet coming down to the 4 x 400 relay and the triple jump.

This gave the Huskies the sweep of the meet for the third consecutive year, the longest streak in the storied history of the meet.  While the women have a modest three-meet winning streak, the men extended their streak to five in a row, the longest since the Huskies won 11 in a row from 1915-32.

Saturday, the Huskies will be aiming for a fourth-straight sweep, which would be a program record. Washington has only two Dual Meet sweeps in Pullman, the last one in 2016, and twenty years earlier in 1996.

That’s all well and good, but it’s 2018, and the Cougars are looking for a bit of payback.

WSU fired the first shot over a week ago, when they changed the distance from 3000 meters to 5000, which in fairness, is the home team’s prerogative.

Whether or not you believe the home team’s desire to run the 5000 meters instead of the 3000 as a way to give their athletes a better shot at obtaining qualifying marks for the NCAA West Regionals, or if it’s gamesmanship on their part—it doesn’t matter now. Both men and women are running the 5000, and that’s that.

As is always the case, both teams aren’t holding back in terms of personnel in their attempt to win the meet.

There are some notables missing from the entry lists, including Ja’Maun Charles of Washington State in both the men’s 100 and 200, and Washington shot putter Jack Lembcke.  Charles is injured, which is a big hit for the Cougs, while Lembcke found himself off the team for “a violation of team rules.”  On the women’s side, the most significant name missing is UW’s NCAA qualifier Izzi Batt-Doyle, who is still recovering from an injury at the NCAA cross country championships.

WHO’S GONNA WIN?

On my form chart, I have Washington winning both meets, with the men by an 83-80 mark, and the women by an 82-81 count, repeating their 2016 triumph.

That said, this meet is way too close to call, with four events in each meet what I consider swing events—the men’s pole vault, 4 x 100, 100 and 200 meters; and the women’s hammer, 4 x 100, 800, and 200.   Those events are highlighted in green on the Excel file.

In my mind, swings against the form chart will have an significant impact on the outcome of the meet.

As I’ve done in the past, I have written comments on each event in the file.

The form chart is attached at the bottom of the post as an Excel file.  You can print it out or download it and bring it with you to the meet; unfortunately the Pac-12 Network will not televise this year’s meet.

The meet entries are available here, and the time schedule is available here.

Washington’s release is available here; Washington State’s release is available here.

   Uw_wsu 2018 Dual by paulmerca70601 on Scribd


NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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