Monday, April 23, 2018

Is running the 5000 at The Dual a legitimate attempt to get regional qualifying marks, or gamesmanship?

Colby Gilbert (1) of Washington leads the field in the 1500
at the 2016 UW/WSU dual meet in Pullman
(Paul Merca photo)

Unless you are very close to both teams, there’s a good chance you would not have noticed it, but almost two weeks ago on the Washington State track & field website, the time schedule for Saturday’s Washington/Washington State dual meet was posted.

At 3:30 pm, the men will run a 5000, followed by the women’s 5000 twenty minutes later.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask?

The 5000 meter run hasn’t been contested since 2005 at The Dual.  The distance race at The Dual has been over 3000 meters since then, being that the meet is so close to the Pac-12 championship meet.

In 2005, Washington’s Angela Wishaar won the women’s race in 17:49.97, and the Huskies’ Mark Mandi won in 14:24.43.

paulmerca.blogspot.com was told by sources from both schools that the rationale for running a 5000 was to give some of Washington State’s younger runners an opportunity to run the 5000 before the Pac-12 championships that begins May 12th in Palo Alto.

That’s all well and good, but wouldn’t you have wanted to run a 5000 at either the Bryan Clay meet or the Cardinal Classic last weekend, or at next weekend’s Payton Jordan meet at Stanford or even the Oregon Twilight in Eugene, where there are usually assigned rabbits to ensure a fast and honest pace? To be fair, Washington State starts final exams April 30th (WSU is on the semester system).

Is this decision by Washington State to contest the 5000 instead of the 3000 a bit of gamesmanship on their part? Maybe. Maybe not. That said, nobody on the Husky staff reportedly knew about the switch from the 3000 until last week. 

With this meet not televised this year by the Pac-12 Network, both the men’s and women’s 5000s will be run as the last individual track race before the 4 x 400 relays; in last year’s meet, only the men’s 3000 was shown live, while the women’s race was run before the live television window.

Meets like The Dual require a different racing mindset in the distance races—the objective in dual meets and in championship racing is to come across the finish line before your opponent, no matter how fast or slow you have tor run.

Now if a pacemaker/rabbit is in the race to ensure that the race is run fast enough to get qualifying marks for Pac-12s and/or NCAA regionals, that’s one thing, but there’s also the possibility that someone in the race could sabotage the work the rabbit’s done by deliberately slowing the pace down, making the last part of the race a tactical exercise.  Not saying that it will/won’t happen, but that’s a possibility if the objective is to get first, second, or third.

For what it’s worth, the top 48 marks after scratches advance to the NCAA West Preliminaries in Sacramento two weeks after the Pac-12s.  In the 5000 on the women’s side, Vallery Korir of WSU, and Washington’s Kaitlyn Neal and Emily Hamlin are currently in, while on the men’s side, the Huskies’ Colby Gilbert, Andrew Gardner, and Fred Huxham are in, with WSU’s Michael Williams at #50 at 14:02.36.



Later this week, we will publish our annual dope sheet for The Dual, and predict the outcome of the meet--stay tuned!

USATF MILE ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP TUESDAY

In conjunction with the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, several athletes from Seattle’s Brooks Beasts will run in Tuesday night’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship on the streets of Des Moines.

University of Washington alum Katie Mackey returns to defend the national championship that she won last year.

She’ll be joined by Beasts teammates Savannah Colón, Hannah Fields, and Husky alum Baylee Mires.  Also running in the women’s championship race is Washington alum Eleanor Fulton.

On the men’s side, former two-time champ Garrett Heath of the Beasts will be joined by teammates Brannon Kidder, Henry Wynne, and UW alum Izaic Yorks.

Many of them will stick around to race at the Drake Relays later in the week.


WE MISSED THIS...

From last Saturday’s Mt. SAC Relays, we omitted the results from the men’s invitational 400 hurdles.

Jordin Andrade from Federal Way, was fourth in 50.10, as Shawn Rose of GW Express won in 4913.

WSU alum CJ Allen was sixth in 50.57, while fellow Cougar alum Jeshua Anderson was eighth in 50.96.

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