Friday, May 24, 2019

Darhian Mills breaks UW school record in 400 hurdles to advance to NCAA championships...

SACRAMENTO—University of Washington junior Darhian Mills  (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran a personal best in the 400 hurdles to break a 24-year old school record and advance to the NCAA championships to highlight action at the NCAA West Preliminary Round meet Friday at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State University.

Running in the third of three quarterfinal rounds, Mills finished second in a time of 57.02 behind USC’s Anna Cockrell, who ran 56.83 for the win.

In the process, Mills took down the Washington school record of 57.13 set in 1995 by Terra Barter.

Mills’ time was the fifth fastest on the day.

The Huskies’ Denham Patricelli left no doubt that he was advancing to the NCAA championships in Austin in two weeks with a second place finish in the javelin, throwing 239-3 (72.93m) on his first attempt.

The field events were good to the Dawgs, as Elijah Mason (188-5/57.44m) and Jonah Wilson (181-1/55.19m) both advanced in the discus, with Mason finishing fifth, and Wilson getting the 12th and final spot to Austin.

Pole vaulter Olivia Gruver, who did not compete at the Pac-12 championship meet, needed a clutch third attempt clearance at 14-0 (4.27m) to continue on in the competition, but salted away a return to the NCAA championships with a first attempt clearance at 14-2 (4.32m) to complete the first step towards winning a third NCAA title.

Washington senior Emily Hamlin punched her ticket to Austin, running a personal best 9:53.11 to finish third in her heat of the 3000 steeplechase behind former Husky Charlotte Prouse (9:50.56), now running for the University of New Mexico.

In the men's 3000 steeplechase, Washington's Alex Slenning found himself the unlucky 13th man, as he finished fourth in heat 2 in a personal best 8:43.23, just missing advancing by one place. The top three in each of the three qualifying heats advanced to Austin, plus the three fastest times from all three combined heats.  All of the time qualifiers to Austin came from the first heat.

Day 2 results from the NCAA West Preliminary Round are available here.

COMBINED EVENTS SPECIALISTS MAIER AND CAI GET FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA HONORS AT D2 CHAMPS…

At the Division II championships in Kingsville, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M/Kingsville, Central Washington’s Braydon Maier moved up from tenth at the end of day 1 in the decathlon to finish seventh with a final score of 6854 points, earning himself First Team All-America honors.

Braydon has consistently been strong during the second day of the decathlon throughout the season," CWU head coach Kevin Adkisson said. "He didn't do anything amazing as far as marks in each event are concerned, but every event was solid. That consistency helped him move up throughout the competition. It's great for him to come out of his sophomore year with two All-American finishes already."

Maier opened the day with a strong performance in the 110 hurdles, finishing fourth overall in 15.14. He heaved the disc 36.57m (119-11) for a seventh-place finish in the event. Up next was the pole vault, possibly Maier's strongest event. He cleared 4.40m (14-05.25), sixth best in the event.

Maier continued to perform well in the javelin throw. Maier put together a toss of 47.27, landing him in eighth for the event. The decathlon wrapped up with the 1,500-meter race. Maier turned it up one more notch, hustling to a fifth-place finish in the race with a time of 4:40.63.

Cai tallied a career-best 5,054 points through two days of competition at Javelina Stadium. That was 20 points better than her previous best of 5,034 from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference heptathlon on April 29-30, was her third 5,000 of the year and the fourth of her career.

She started day 2 with a best of 17-9 (5.41m) in the long jump, then threw the javelin 126-8 (38.60m) to enter the 800 meters in eighth place overall.

In the final event, she ran 2:23.64 to finish fifth in the event, and seventh overall.

"Scout had a pretty steady performance over two days, which was unique in this field, actually," SPU head coach Karl Lerum said. "A big factor was the conditions. It was hot, it was windy and humid – it wasn't easy to be out there and stay focused for two days. I thought Scout did a good job of taking one event at a time and seeing this thing through."

Cai returns Saturday to contest the pole vault for the Falcons.

Central Washington’s HarLee Ortega’s long jump performance proved to be her undoing, as she fouled on her first two attempts, before staying alive with a jump of 17-0.5 (5.19m).

Despite a personal best in the javelin of 118-10 (36.23m), and a solid time of 2:24.30 in the 800, Ortega couldn’t overcome the hole she put herself in during the long jump, ultimately finishing 11th with 4904 points.

In other finals, Maddie Taylor of Western Washington finished in a tie for 13th in the women’s high jump, clearing a best of 5-4.5 (1.64m).

Central’s Mariyah Vongsaveng advanced to the finals in the 100 hurdles, running 13.97.

Complete day 2 results of the NCAA D2 championships are available here.

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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Eagles' Keshun McGee qualifies for NCAA championships in long jump; Shindruk earns NCAA D2 A-A honors...

SACRAMENTO—Eastern Washington long jumper Keshun McGee (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics), Washington hammer thrower Onyie Chibuogwu, and Washington State hammer thrower Brock Eager were the first three athletes to advance to Austin for the NCAA national championships as the trio finished in the top 12 in their events at the first day of the NCAA West Regionals at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Cal State Sacramento.

McGee, the Big Sky champion, used a third round jump of 25-1.25 (7.65m) to improve from 13th at 24-7.25 (7.50m) to eighth and comfortably punch his ticket to Austin, as the top 12 individuals advance to the national championships in two weeks.

The last Eagle to qualify for the NCAA championships was hammer thrower Jordan Arakawa in 2014.

Fifth year senior Chibuogwu, the school record holder in the event, threw 206-5 (62.93m) in the first round to easily advance to Austin.

In the meet’s opening event, Eager took care of business, starting with a first round throw of 215-4 (65.65m), and finishing with a third round toss of 228-6 (69.65m).  Any one of his three throws were good enough to advance to the national championships.

Eager qualified for his third NCAA championship appearance with his throw Thursday.

Husky pole vaulter Chase Smith needed third attempt clearances at both 17-5 (5.31m) and 17-7 (5.36m) to move onto the national championship meet, as all seven vaulters who cleared that height advanced.

In the women’s 10000, Pac-12 champ Izzi Batt-Doyle of Washington finished a comfortable third place to secure her second appearance at the NCAA championships with a time of 33:40.80. Mt. Spokane HS grad John Dressel of Colorado was ninth in the men’s 10000 in 29:00.98, while Gonzaga freshman James Mwaura missed advancing to Austin by one spot, finishing 13th in a personal best 29:10.39.

Results of the NCAA West Regionals are available here.

SHINDRUK EARNS ALL-AMERICA HONORS IN THE 10000 AT NCAA D2s…

Central Washington senior Alexa Shindruk finished seventh in the 10000 meters at the NCAA Division II championships Thursday in Kingsville, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M/Kingsville.

Conditions for the race were not ideal, as heat and humidity were joined by wind to slow the pace of the race significantly. Shindruk battled through, holding off a charge from a secondary pack to grab seventh place with a time of 38:04.69.

“We're very happy to have an All-American in our first final of the weekend," CWU head coach Kevin Adkisson said. "It got a little scary when she lost contact with the top three, but she rallied well when the next group got to her. She had a very solid finish. Nobody had fast times today because of the conditions, but that's not what we were here for. We're very happy with where Alexa finished and are proud of what she accomplished."

In the heptathlon, Seattle Pacific’s Scout Cai stands ninth, while Central Washington’s HarLee Ortega stands tenth at the break, with 2965 and 2931 points, respectively.

Wildcat decathlete Braydon Maier finished day one with 3,471 points, putting the sophomore from Selah in 10th overall. Maier had a pair of top 10 event performances in the 100-meter hurdles and the high jump. Maier clocked 11.33 in the 100-meter hurdles for a ninth-place event finish. Later, Maier cleared 1.85 (6-00.75) in the high jump, placing him in 10th.

Maier hit a mark of 6.70m (21-11.75) in the long jump. Maier threw the shot 11.35m (37-03). The efforts placed him 12th and 13th respectively. Maier ran to a 12th place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.48.

In the women’s 400 hurdles, the Wildcats’ Sidney Trinidad advanced to the finals with a time of 59.78.

In the women’s hammer finals, Liz Larson of Saint Martin’s finished 14th with a throw of 172-6 (52.59m).

Complete day 1 results of the NCAA D2 championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, and the sports information offices of Eastern Washington, Central Washington, and Sacramento State contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

NCAA Regionals in Sacramento and NCAA Division II championships begin Thursday...

Thursday begins the three-day exercise known as the NCAA Regionals for Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington in Sacramento, with a concurrent meet for schools east of the Mississippi in Jacksonville, Florida.

96 athletes in each event from all Division I schools advanced to this meet based on marks put up over the course of the outdoor track season.

As Ken Goe of the Oregonian put it, “All the two meets do is winnow the field for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 5-8 in Austin, Texas. The only newsworthy developments to come out of three long days of competition will be the projected national scorers who get eliminated. The happiest athletes there will be the ones who squeak into the main meet in Austin with a 12th-place regional finish.”

This is a meet where finishing in twelfth place is just as good as finishing in first, as the top twelve from each of the two regional meets advance to the NCAA finals in Austin in two weeks.

The Huskies advanced 45 entries into the meet, while the Cougars have 21 entries.  Eastern Washington has eight entries, while Gonzaga has six heading to Sacramento.

Notable entries with Washington ties includes Mountlake Terrace HS alum Chinne Okoronkwo (left/photo courtesy Texas Tech Athletics), who is entered in the triple jump and pole vault; Curtis HS alum Lexi Ellis of Oregon in the triple jump; Kalama HS grad Kaelyn Carlson-Shipley of Arizona in the javelin; and Mt. Spokane grad John Dressel of  Colorado in both the 5000 and 10000.

The start lists and time schedule for the West Regionals are available here.

Media partner Flotrack ($) will offer live streaming coverage of the NCAA West Regionals.

Meanwhile, the NCAA Division II championships get underway Thursday in Kingsville, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M/Kingsville at Javelina Stadium.

All four Washington D2 schools will be represented at the meet, with Central Washington and Western Washington sending the largest contingents, with the Wildcats qualifying seven athletes, and the Vikings also bringing seven athletes.

The time schedule is available here, while the link to live results is available here.

A live stream of the meet is available via ncaa.com

NOTE:  The NCAA and the sports information offices of Texas Tech University and Sacramento State University contributed to this report.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Brooks Beasts to help stage 1500m races to attain Olympic standards at Brooks PR Invitational...

In a release sent out to members of the running media this week, Brooks announced that as part of its annual Brooks PR Invitational meet for elite high school athletes, it will stage an attempt for pro runners to secure the IAAF “A” standard in the men’s and women’s 1500 meter runs.

The Brooks Beasts and other elites will race to secure 3:35.00 for men and 4:04.20 for women as a first step in being able to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games. The 1,500m will take place during the PR Invitational on June 15 in Seattle at the University of Washington’s Husky Track beginning at 3 p.m. PDT.

Nearly all of the Brooks Beasts are expected to participate in this, including members of the 4 x mile world record setting quartet of David Ribich (left/photo by Paul Merca), Henry Wynne, Brannon Kidder, and Izaic Yorks.

The release also announced that incoming Washington freshman Sam Tanner has confirmed his participation in the Brooks PR meet.

Tanner became the first New Zealand high schooler to break 4 minutes in the mile on March 2nd, running 3:58.41 in Whanganui, New Zealand on March 2nd to break the national U20 record held by two-time Olympic medalist Nick Willis.

EFRAIMSON GETS OLYMPIC STANDARD IN CHINA...

One athlete who doesn't have to worry about the Olympic standard is Camas native Alexa Efraimson, who finished seventh in the 1500 meters Tuesday night at the Nanjing World Challenge meet in Nanjing, China.

Efraimson ran 4:04.06 to dip under the Olympic standard of 4:04.20, which she just missed on Saturday in the Shanghai Diamond League meet, where she ran 4:04.53.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay took the victory in 3:59.57, while Sifan Hassan, who trains in Beaverton as part of the Nike Oregon Project, was third in 4:00.53.

Seattle University signs seven year deal with adidas...

SEATTLE—There will be another NCAA Division I school in Seattle wearing three stripes this fall.

While it doesn’t have the splash that the signing of the cross-town University of Washington’s nearly $11 million/year in product and cash with the German sportswear firm, adidas and Seattle University announced a seven-year deal, effective July 1st, to become the Redhawks’ athletic footwear, apparel & accessory partner.

“Seattle University is excited to enter a new era of partnership, brand alignment and exposure with adidas,” SeattleU Director of Athletics Shaney Fink said. “As we explored potential partnerships, it became clear that adidas’ global brand significance, sustainability efforts, innovation and quality complement our vision and mission at Seattle U. This partnership will create additional resources to support our student-athletes’ competitive success and build a foundation as we enhance our branding efforts at the local, regional, national and international levels.”

"The SeattleU Redhawks have a long and rich athletics history that we're excited to be part of for years to come," said Jim Murphy, senior director of NCAA Sports Marketing at adidas North America. "We applaud the University's commitment to providing its student-athletes a first-class education and athletic experience. We're also inspired by the Redhawks' concentrated efforts to lead the way in sustainability, which is a goal we share."

Seattle University’s release is available here.

USTFCCCA RANKINGS RELEASED FOR DIVISION I AND II...

The Washington women’s team is ranked #20 in the latest USTFCCCA Division I National Track & Field Rating Index released Monday.

Pole vaulter Olivia Gruver, who did not compete at the Pac-12 championships in Tucson two weeks ago, is the highest ranked athlete on the Husky roster, as she’s ranked number one in her specialty.

Pac-12 champs Izzi Batt-Doyle (#6 in the 10000) and Hannah Rusnak (#8 in the heptathlon) are also ranked in the top ten in their events, according to the rating index.

Arkansas, USC, Texas A&M, Kentucky, and New Mexico are the country’s top five women’s teams.

Oregon (10), Colorado (15), UCLA (16), Arizona State (22), and Stanford (24) are the other Pac-12 schools ranked in the top 25.

Despite a strong showing at the Pac-12 championships, the Husky men’s squad moved up 12 places, but still find themselves just outside the national top 25 at number 31.

Texas Tech, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, and Oregon are the country’s top five mens’ teams.

Pac-12 discus champ Elijah Mason is the Dawgs’ top ranked individual, coming in at number 7 in his specialty.

USC (10), Arizona (11), Stanford (12), and UCLA (18) are the other Pac-12 schools ranked in the national top 25.

The USTFCCCA release is available here.

In Division II, Central Washington’s women’s team is the only Washington squad ranked in the top 25.

The Wildcats are ranked number 14 in the latest index, released Monday, in advance of the NCAA Division II championships this weekend.

While they have a small squad traveling to the nationals this weekend, they have four athletes ranked in the top ten in their events—Alexa Shindruk (3, 10000m), 400 hurdlers Sidney Trinidad (4) and Erykah Weems (8); and heptathlete HarLee Ortega (4).

The USTFCCCA release is available here.

NOTE:  The sports information office at Seattle University, the USTFCCCA, and adidas North America contributed to this report.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Katie Reichert finishes fifth in javelin at Tucson Elite Classic...

TUCSON, Arizona—Western Washington alum Katie Reichert (above/photo by Ricky Martinez) finished fourth Saturday night in the javelin on the second day of competition at the Tucson Elite Classic at Drachman Stadium, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Reichert threw a season best 171-0 (52.13m) in the fourth round, as University of Florida grad Avione Allgood won the competition with a toss of 180-1 (54.89m).

Reichert’s fellow Western Washington alum Bethany Drake finished sixth with a second round throw of 163-3 (49.76m).

The highlights of the throws-only meet was reigning Olympic champion Ryan Crouser throwing a stadium record 74-4.5 (22.67m) in the men’s shot put, good for only his second best throw of the season; Sean Donnelly winning the men’s hammer with a personal best 254-6 (77.59m), and more importantly, obtaining the Olympic qualifying standard; and a new Mexican national record in the B section of the men’s shot put by Uziel Munoz, who threw 68-4.25 (20.83m) to take the victory there.

Complete results of the Tucson Elite Classic are available here.

At the IAAF Diamond League meet in Shanghai, China Saturday, Pullman resident Katie Nageotte finished fifth in the women’s pole vault with a season best clearance of 15-1.75 (4.62m), as Stanford alum and Olympic champ Katerina Stefanidi of Greece won with a best of 15-5.75 (4.72m).

Other results involving athletes with Washington ties included a ninth place finish in the women’s 1500 by Camas’ Alexa Efraimson in a season best 4:04.53; a 12th place finish by Washington alum Mel Lawrence in the women’s 3000 steeplechase in a season best 9:44.36; and a 16th place finish by former Emerald Ridge HS standout Hassan Mead in the men’s 5000, as he finished in a season best time of 13:23.15.

Complete results of the IAAF Shanghai Diamond League meet are available here.

NOTE:  The IAAF and Finished Results contributed to this report.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Huskies head to Sacramento with largest regional contingent ever...

Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington will have entries into next weekend’s NCAA West Regional track and field meet (aka the NCAA First Round) in Sacramento, California.

In Sacramento, the top twelve individuals will advance to the NCAA Division I track and field championships in Austin, Texas.

One athlete who has her spot locked up in the national championship is Washington’s Hannah Rusnak (left/photo by Paul Merca), who scored 5762 points at the Pac-12 heptathlon championship to win the title.

Rusnak will enter the NCAA championships ranked #8 in the country.

The Huskies head to Sacramento with 20 entries on the women’s side, and 25 on the men’s side, including at least one entry in every individual running event except for the 110 hurdles.

Washington State will have six women and fifteen men entered in the first round in Sacramento, including NCAA indoor qualifiers Emmanuel Wells, who made it in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, and Paul Ryan, who is entered in the 1500 meters.

They join Pac-12 hammer champion Brock Eager on the team of fifteen men on the Sacramento roster.

Eastern Washington will have Keshun McGee in both the long and triple jumps, along with Larry Still in the pole vault, and Isaac Barville in the 1500.

Samantha Raines and Liz Prouty in the pole vault, along with Madison Deeper in the hammer and javelin, comprise the Eagle entries in the first round of the NCAA championships.

Gonzaga will have All-American Andrew Gardner and Kellen Manley in the steeplechase; Scott Kopzynski and Brandon Pollard in the 1500; James Mwaura in the 10000, and Yacine Guemali in the 5000.

Among notables from the state of Washington in the meet include Chinne Okoronkwo of Texas Tech in the pole vault and the triple jump; Lexi Ellis of Oregon in the triple jump; Kaelyn Carlson-Shipley of Arizona in the javelin; and John Dressel of Colorado in both the 5000 and 10000 meter runs.

The NCAA First Round begins Thursday, with the East Regionals contested in Jacksonville, Florida, while the West Regionals are in Sacramento.

In addition to the top 12 individuals from each regional advancing to Austin, the top eight relay teams advance to the national finals.

The link to the list of qualifiers is available here.

DIVISION II NATIONAL QUALIFIERS ANNOUNCED

All four of Washington’s NCAA Division II schools will have athletes competing at next weekend’s NCAA Division II track and field championships in Kingsville, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Three distance runners will compete in two events at the D2 nationals, including Central Washington senior Alexa Shindruk (5,000 meters, 10,000 meters), Seattle Pacific sophomore Dania Holmberg (1,500 meters, 5,000 meters) and junior Kate Lilly (1,500 meters, 5,000 meters).

Automatic qualifiers for the nationals include Central Washington senior HarLee Ortega in the heptathlon, Central Washington sophomore Sidney Trinidad in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, and Saint Martin’s freshman Tyler Cronk in the men’s high jump.

Decathlete Braydon Maier, pole vaulter Halle Irvine, and hurdlers Mariyah Vongsaveng (100 hurdles), and Erykah Weems (400 hurdles) comprise the remaining members of Central Washington’s squad.

Scout Cai of Seattle Pacific will contest the pole vault and the heptathlon, while Kaylee Mitchell will run the steeplechase for the Falcons.

Western Washington will have Karlington Anunagba (100 Meters), Alex Barry (Javelin), Cordell Cummings (400 Meter Hurdles), Amanda Short (Javelin), Raquel Pellecer (Javelin), Paige Shimkus (Javelin), and Maddie Taylor (High Jump).

Hammer thrower Liz Larson and triple jumper Keshara Romain join Cronk to comprise Saint Martin’s squad at the nationals.

The GNAC release announcing the conference’s entries into the national championships is available here.

SHANGHAI DIAMOND LEAGUE

Pullman’s Katie Nageotte, former Emerald Ridge HS runner Hassan Mead, and Washington alum Mel Lawrence are all entered in Saturday’s IAAF Diamond League stop in Shanghai, China Saturday.

Nageotte is one of the top entrants in the women’s pole vault, where she renews her rivalry against top American Sandi Morris, and reigning world and Olympic champ Katerina Stefanidi.

2016 Olympic 5000m finalist Mead runs in his specialty against American teammate and Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo, and Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha of the Beaverton based Nike Oregon Project.

Lawrence, last year’s NACAC champion, will face a field that includes two sub-9 minute steeplechasers.

The start list for the Shanghai Diamond League meet is available here.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA, the sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Josh Kerr and Henry Wynne of the Brooks Beasts go 2-3 in the 5000 at USATF Distance Classic...

In Los Angeles, Josh Kerr and Henry Wynne (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts TC finished second and third in the men’s 5000 meter run at the USATF Distance Classic Thursday night at Jack Kemp Stadium on the campus of Occidental College.

Kerr ran 13:28.66, while Wynne ran 13:32.33, as University of Arizona alum Lawi Lalang won in 13:25.14.

Fellow Beast Dillon Maggard was 12th in 13:46.63.

Other highlights of the USATF Distance Classic included a fourth place finish by Washington alum Amy-Eloise Neale in the women’s 1500 in a personal best 4:09.16, eclipsing her previous PR of 4:11.00 set two years ago;

Washington volunteer assistant Sam Prakel was eighth in the men’s 1500, running 3:40.90;

Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts won his section of the men’s 800, running 1:47.17 to finish fifth overall.

Complete results of the USATF Distance Classic are available here.

In Tucson, Arizona, Western Washington alum Bethany Drake finished fourth in the javelin at the first day of the Tucson Elite throws meet at Drachman Stadium, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Drake finished with a best of 163-8 (49.90m), as Mexico’s Mariana Castro took the win at 186-11 (56.98m).

The Western Washington grad will throw on Saturday when the meet resumes.

Complete day 1 results of the Tucson Elite are available here.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Arizona native Elijah Mason wins Pac-12 discus crown for the Huskies...

TUCSON, Arizona—Washington redshirt freshman Elijah Mason (above/photo by Howard Lao) used a sixth round throw to come away as the winner of the men’s discus to cap a fourth place finish by the Husky mens team on the final night of competition at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Arizona at Drachman Stadium.

Mason, a native of Casa Grande, Arizona, took the early lead, before favored Jordan Geist of the Arizona Wildcats grabbed the lead in the third round, throwing 186-11 (56.98m).

Elijah reclaimed the lead in round 5 with a toss of 187-8 (57.22m), but promptly lost it when UCLA’s Dotun Ogundeji threw 188-9 (57.53m).

Mason then answered with the winning toss of 189-6 (57.78m), then had to wait as Geist, the defending champion competing on his home ring had an opportunity to answer.

Geist only managed to throw 182-3 (55.57m) to end the competition, as Mason took the victory for the Huskies, which was the first by Washington at the conference championship since Borys Chambul did it in 1976.

Other highlights:

Sophomore Jaylen Taylor of Washington got a spot on the podium in the men’s triple jump, as he bounded 49-1 (14.96m) to get third.

With no Olivia Gruver in the competition, Katelyn Frost of Washington State took second and the Huskies’ Annika Dayton took third in the women’s pole vault, as both cleared 13-4.5 (4.08m).

Washington State’s Emmanuel Wells finished third in the men’s 100, as the Rainier Beach HS product ran 10.26.

The University of Oregon took home the men’s team title with a score of 173 points, while the Huskies were fourth with 85 points.

Washington State finished seventh with 53 points.

On the women’s side, USC took home the team title with 154 points, with Oregon second at 137.

The Huskies ended up fifth with 73.5 points, while Washington State was tenth with 24.5 points.

Complete results of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships are available here.

NOTE: The Pac-12 Conference and the sports information offices of the University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Keshun McGee adds triple jump to Big Sky long jump title, plus WAC & GNAC recap...

With a heavy work schedule around the Pac-12 track and field championships (I am the in-stadium meet announcer), here is an abbreviated version of the Weekend Roundup, with links to full recaps:

In Billings, Montana, Keshun McGee (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) added the triple jump to the long jump title he won Friday at the BIG SKY CONFERENCE championship meet, as he bounded 50-11 (15.52m).

Larry Still of the Eagles won the men’s pole vault on fewer misses, clearing 16-5.5 (5.02m), with teammate Bailey Aiello third at 15-9.75 (4.82m).

Madison Doepker added a third place finish in the women’s hammer to her javelin title, spinning the hammer 193-2 (58.89m), while teammate Dominique Butler was third in the triple jump at 39-8.75 (12.11m).

Eastern Washington’s release is here, while results are available here.

In Orem, Utah, junior Michelle Newblom, freshman Regie Grady, senior Caylah Lunning and sophomore Michaela Moore ran 46.85 in the 4x100m relay, beating their own school record by 0.90 seconds, to provide the main highlight of the day for the Redhawks Saturday at the WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE championship.

The link to their release, which includes a link to complete results, is available here.

In Monmouth, Oregon, the Western Washington men’s team and the Seattle Pacific women’s squads took home the team titles Saturday at the GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE championships hosted by Western Oregon University.

Led by hurdler Cordell Cummings, who opened his day by repeating as the 110-meter hurdles champion with a time of 14.91 seconds, then won the 400-meter hurdles by over a second, running a time of 51.77 seconds that surpassed the meet record of 52.12 seconds set by Simon Fraser’s Vladislav Tsygankov last year.

To top it off, Cummings ended the day as part of the Vikings’ winning 4x400-meter relay team, which won in a time of 3:15.54. The trio of winning performances earned Cummings selection as the Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet.

Western Washington ran away with the team title, its first since 2015, with a score of 173 points. Central Washington placed second with 122 points while Concordia was third with 116 points.

Led by a meet-record performance in the 4x100-meter relay and a repeat title by junior Grace Bley in the 200 meters, Seattle Pacific claimed its second consecutive conference title.

The quartet of Peace Igbonagwam, Jenna Bouyer, Bley and Julia Stepper led from start to finish, crossing the line in a time of 46.32 seconds that bettered the Falcons’ own record of 46.60 seconds set last year. Bley, meanwhile, earned her second consecutive championship on the 200 with a time of 24.56 seconds.

The performances helped outdistance the Falcons in a close race with Central Washington for the team title with 166 points. The Wildcats were second with 162 points while Alaska Anchorage finished third with 119.5 points.

Central Washington senior HarLee Ortega was named the Female Field Athlete of the Meet. After winning the heptathlon last week with an NCAA Championships automatic qualifying score of 5,212 points, Ortega went on to win the long jump on Friday with a mark of 18 feet, 11.25 (5.77m), and won the high jump on Saturday with a clearance of 5 feet, 5.75 (1.67m).

Wildcats’ sophomore Sidney Trinidad earned the Performance of the Meet award for her GNAC record time of 58.22 seconds in Friday’s preliminaries of the 400-meter hurdles. The time bettered her own conference record by a second and automatically qualified Trinidad for the NCAA Championships. She proceeded to place second in the final to teammate Erykah Weems, who won her second consecutive title in a time of 59.08 seconds.

The GNAC recap is available here, along with a link to results.

NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and the sports information offices of Eastern Washington University and Seattle University contributed to this report.

Washington senior Izzi Batt-Doyle wins weather-marred 10000 at Pac-12 Championships...

TUCSON, Arizona—During the football season, the Pac-12 Network commonly uses the hashtag #Pac12AfterDark to market their late night games to audiences, particularly those living outside the time zones of conference menbers.

Late Saturday and into the wee hours of Sunday, it was indeed a #Pac12AfterDark kind of evening, as a series of lightning strikes in and around the Tucson area played havoc with day 1 of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Arizona at Drachman Stadium.

Shortly after 7 pm local time, the meet was suspended, and the facility evacuated.

Action resumed at 10:45 p.m. PT with the conclusion of 100-meter trials and finals in six additional events, including the finish of the 10,000-meter run near 1 a.m.

Washington senior Izzi Batt-Doyle (above/photo by Howard Lao) gave the Huskies a victory for the few folks who stuck around after dark, winning the aforementioned women’s 10000 in a time of 33:31.30.

The senior from Adelaide, Australia pulled away from a trio of runners from Colorado in the last 600 to put the field to bed, winning by over five seconds over runner up Kaitlyn Benner (33:36.38) and third place finisher Makenna Morley (33:37.47).




In the meet’s first event, Washington State’s Brock Eager added a second career Pac-12 hammer throw title to his resume along with his win in 2017. The WSU senior took the lead on his third attempt, then cemented the victory on his fifth toss by extending out to 228-8 (69.71m), the longest winning mark at the Conference meet since 2016.

In other finals, Washington got podium finishes in the women’s steeplechase from senior Emily Hamlin (2nd, 10:08.09), and javelin thrower Denham Patricelli (2nd, 241-6/73.62m).

Mt. Spokane HS alum John Dressel of Colorado took second in the men’s 1000 in a time of 29:13.35.

In the men’s competition, UCLA leads after 7 scored events of 21 with 58 points, ahead of defending champion Oregon’s 51.  The Huskies stand fourth with 35 points, while Washington State is seventh with 19 points.

After four events in the women’s competition, Colorado holds a 4-point lead over Washington 40-36, while Washington State has 1 point, thanks to Zorana Grujic’s eighth place finish in the steeple, running 10:32.03.

With the weather Saturday’s big winner, the meet schedule was shuffled, with some of the field events scheduled late Saturday moved to Sunday.

Additionally, the men’s and women’s 200, 400 hurdles, and 800s will be contested as a timed final Sunday.

The Pac-12 Network’s coverage of the championships will air live starting at 5:30 pm.

Day 1 results are available here, while the revised meet schedule is available here.

NOTE: The Pac-12 Conference, and the sports information offices of the University of Arizona, University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Eagles sweep podium positions in women's pole vault at Big Sky Conference champs...

In Missoula, Montana, Eastern Washington pulled off a historic first, sweeping all three podium spots in the women’s pole vault at the BIG SKY CONFERENCE championship meet Friday.

Samantha Raines (center/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) led the charge, winning the event with a clearance of 13-4.5 (4.08m) to turn back teammate Liz Prouty’s 13-2.5 (4.03m), and Katrina Terry’s 12-6.75 (3.83m).

Freshman Morgan Fossen joined the scoring party, as she tied for sixth with two other vaulters at 11-10.75 (3.63m) to give the Eagles 26 points out of that event.

The Eagles’ 26-point outburst gave them the lead after seven events with 42 points, with Idaho State (37) and Montana (31) in second and third.

Keshun McGee broke the EWU school record for the second time this season in the men’s long jump, as he went 25-4.5 (7.73m) to take the conference crown.

In the women’s javelin, Madison Doepker took home the gold medal with a new personal best of 154-8 (47.14m).

Killion McGinnis placed third in the high jump and gave EWU six points with a jump of 6-8 1/4 (2.04m).

After seven events, the Eastern Washington men’s squad sits in ninth with 20 points.

Friday’s results are available here, while Eastern’s release is available here. The meet finishes Saturday.

In Orem, Utah, Caylah Lunning tied her own school record to win the bronze medal in the long jump and sophomore Michelle Newblom qualified for the finals in the 100m hurdles with a school-record time of 14.51 to highlight day two of the WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday.

Lunning, a senior from Moses Lake, went 18-10.75 (5.76m) to earn the Redhawks’ only podium finish on the day.

Newblom was third in the first of three qualifying heats in a time of 14.51 to make her first WAC final.

On the men’s side, SeattleU stands seventh after eight events with 2 points, while the women also are seventh after eight events with 12 points.

SeattleU’s release is available here, while live results are available here.

In Monmouth, Oregon, Central Washington’s Sidney Trinidad smashed the GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE record in the 400-meter hurdles that she set three weeks ago, running 58.22 seconds in the qualifying round to cut almost a second off her record at its championship meet Friday.

In the process, she wiped out the meet record of 1:00.10 set by her teammate, Erykah Weems, at last year’s meet. The time also automatically qualifies Trinidad for the NCAA Division II Championships.

Seattle Pacific junior Scout Cai won the pole vault with a clearance of 12 feet, 10 inches (3.91m) to set a new conference meet record.

Other highlights:

Central Washington’s HarLee Ortega followed her heptathlon win with a victory in the women’s long jump with a best of 18-11.25 (5.77m);

Western Washington’s Seren Dances won the men’s long jump with a mark of 23-7.5 (7.20m) in the sixth round in a good back-and-forth competition with Northwest Nazarene’s Elijah Castro, who was second at 23-0.75 (7.03m).

After seven events in the men’s competition, Western Washington leads with 63 points, with Central Washington fifth at 35, Saint Martin’s sixth at 18, and Seattle Pacific tied for eighth at 10.

In the women’s competition, Seattle Pacific (66) leads Central Washington (53.5) and Western Washington (40.5), while Saint Martin’s is tied for eighth with 7 points after 7 events.

The meet resumes Saturday afternoon.  Live results are available here, while the GNAC’s release is available here.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Eastern Washington, Seattle University and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Championship weekend is under way!

Championship weekend has already started Thursday for Seattle University and Eastern Washington, as the Redhawks are in Orem, Utah for the WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE championship meet, while Eastern Washington is in Missoula, Montana for the BIG SKY CONFERENCE championship meet.

At the WAC Championships, hosted by Utah Valley University, Seattle University freshman Nicole Whittern (left/photo courtesy Seattle University) threw 136-3 (41.53m) to get the Redhawks’ first podium finish of the meet in the women’s javelin.

Whittern, who attended Nooksack Valley HS who was in fourth entering the final round, came through with the toss to move up to third, and in the process, scored a personal best.

In other events Thursday, Kyle Kennedy earned a seventh place finish in the men’s 10000, running 32:47.59.

The meet resumes Friday and goes through Saturday.

The link to live results is available here.

In Missoula, Montana, senior Dominique Butler finished eighth in the heptathlon at the BIG SKY CONFERENCE championship meet hosted by the University of Montana, with a final two-day score of 4675 points

Butler's best performance was in the 200-meter dash, earning 12th with a new personal best time of 25.97 and 800 points. She also took fifth in the long jump with a personal best jump of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m) for 700 points.

Her best placing was in the shot put, where she finished second with a toss of 37-10.5 (11.54m).

In the decathlon, Quintin Porterfield was seventh overall with a score of 5,703. His best performances over the two days was in the 100 meters with personal best time of 11.06 and 847 points. He also placed third in the 400 meters with a time of 50.62 for 786 points.

The meet resumes Friday and goes through Saturday.

The link to live results is available here.

GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS START FRIDAY...

On Friday, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Central Washington and Saint Martin’s all head to Monmouth, Oregon for the GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE championship meet hosted by Western Oregon.

On the women’s side, it is projected to be a battle between the Falcons and the Wildcats, with the Wildcats getting a jump start with HarLee Ortega’s win in the heptathlon last week.

Central Washington enters the meet with 15 points in hand thanks to the heptathlon and a victory by senior HarLee Ortega. The senior is also the defending champion in the triple jump, entering the meet ranked fourth in the GNAC. Junior Erykah Weems is the returning champ in the 400-meter hurdles and is joined by sophomore Sidney Trinidad, who set the GNAC record in the event three weeks ago at 59.11 seconds. Senior Mariyah Vongsaveng will aim for her third straight title in the 100-meter hurdles. She leads the GNAC at 14.02 seconds.

Junior Halle Irvine is looking for her second straight pole vault title and enters the meet with the No. 14 mark in Division II at 12 feet, 9.5 inches. Senior Alexa Shindruk, meanwhile, has the No. 3 time in Division II in the 10,000 meters (34:25.41).

Seattle Pacific’s depth is what gives the team its best chance at a title. Junior Kate Lilly is among the conference leaders in both the 1,500 meters (4:28.99) and the 5,000 meters (16:51.60) while freshman Kaylee Mitchell set the SPU record in the steeplechase earlier in the season (10:37.53). Junior Scout Cai, who placed third in last week’s heptathlon, is among the contenders in the pole vault. Adding to the depth in the sprints and jumps is sophomore Julia Stepper, freshman Peace Igbonagwam (2019 indoor long jump champion) and freshman Jenna Bouyer.

Junior Grace Bley won the 200 meters a year ago and comes in with the No. 2 time in the GNAC at 24.48 seconds. Sophomore Renick Meyer is the defending champion in both the 100 meters and long jump and enters the No. 3 mark in the conference in both events.

Western Washington has GNAC top-three performers in Savannah Smith in the 200 meters, Sophia Galvez in the 10,000 meters, Maddie Taylor and Heather Faretta in the high jump, Lexi Perry in the pole vault and Chanelle Eddy in the discus.

On the men’s side, Western Washington has shown little signs of losing momentum. The Vikings are led by returning 110-meter hurdles champion Cordell Cummings. Not only does he lead the GNAC in the event (14.52), but his time of 51.95 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles ranks sixth in Division II.

Karlington Anunagba has impressed as a freshman. He enters the championship with the top mark in the 100 meters at 10.33 seconds, ranking him eighth in Division II, and is third in the 200 meters at 21.68 seconds. Senior Kyler Sager is second in the GNAC in the 800 meters (1:52.46) while freshman Koby Okezie is second behind Cummings in the 110-meter hurdles (15.02). In the field events, Senior JT Konrad has the GNAC’s top mark in the pole vault (15-9/4.80m) while Cooper McNatt is third in the conference in the javelin (195-10/59.70m).

Central Washington hopes to contend with a pair of returning champions. Senior Zach Whittaker won the triple jump in 2018 and also won the title indoors in February. Sophomore Braydon Maier won the pole vault as a freshman and is tied for second in the conference this season.

Saint Martin’s freshman Tyler Cronk is the one to watch in the men’s high jump. Cronk is automatically qualified for nationals with a mark of 7 feet, 0.5 (2.15m), just a half-inch short of the GNAC record.

The GNAC’s Championship Central is available here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will have a preview of Saturday and Sunday’s PAC-12 CONFERENCE championship meet posted on Friday.  We will be on site in Tucson, Arizona for the Pac-12s.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Seattle University, Eastern Washington, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Washington's Rusnak breaks school record and wins Pac-12 heptathlon title...

TUSCON, Arizona—University of Washington sophomore Hannah Rusnak (left/photo by Paul Merca) became the second Husky in school history to win the Pac-12 Conference title in the heptathlon, winning with a two-day, seven event total of 5762 points.

In doing so, the native of Lynden broke her own school record and personal best of 5642 points, set last month at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California.

Additionally, the mark moves her to number 4 on the NCAA descending order list, pending the outcome of the various conference championship meets around the country.

She also joins 1992 Pac-10 heptathlon champion Sonja Forster as the only Huskies to win the conference title in this event.

"I don't know if it's really hit me yet, it's kind of just starting to think in and it's really an amazing feeling," Rusnak said. "I couldn't ask for a better support system. My family flew out and my brother surprised me, I didn't know he was coming. Obviously my coach (Toby Stevenson) is so proud of me, he's pushed me through this whole year and training for this moment and onward."

Rusnak won the long jump to extend her lead, flying 19-feet, 9-inches (6.02m) on her second attempt. Heading to the javelin, she added five feet to her career-best with a toss of 141-2 (43.03m) that was second-best overall but extended her lead over her closest competitors.

In the 800-meters, Rusnak knew she just had to keep the gap between her and second place finisher Maja Wichart-Donzo of Colorado and third place finisher Christina Chenault of UCLA from getting too big, as the competitors had faster 800-meter times. Rusnak was 10th overall in the final race, but still set a personal-best of 2:24.93, to easily secure the title.

"Really I just wanted to come in and take every event one at a time, and not worry about anything besides that event that I was in," said Rusnak, who said opening with a PR in the long jump was big. "Long jump was something that in the beginning (of the season) I was struggling with. The past few meets it started to click, and today I was able to get one pretty good jump and connect things together."

"The 800 is my weak event and I knew I had to run a really tough race. I knew the girls in second and third were really going to push me and they were awesome 800 runners. So I had to really kick and stay confident in myself and push all the way through."

Washington State senior Lindsey Schauble finished tenth with a final score of 5028 points.

Schauble had a best of 18-6.5 (5.65m) in the long jump, then threw the javelin 100-7 (30.67m), and ran 2:21.00 for the 800 meters.

Washington’s Elinor Jones-Toutant from Seattle’s Franklin HS finished 14th with a final score of 4574 points.

In her three events Sunday, the junior jumped 17-1.5 (5.22m) in the long jump, threw the javelin 108-6 (33.07m), and finished the 800 meters in 2:32.73.

The decathlon competition saw Washington’s Parker Kennedy rally to finish fourth overall with a score of 6872 points, the highest placing by a Husky since Jeremy Taiwo’s runner-up finish in 2013, while Washington State’s Ray Littles finished sixth with a personal best 6772 points.

With NCAA leader Ayden Owens of USC, and defending champion Harrison Williams of Stanford skipping the Pac-12 decathlon meet to concentrate on individual events at next weekend’s conference title meet, Oregon’s Max Vollmer took the victory with 7964 points, while Hakim McMorris of Cal was second at 7259, and Colorado’s Josh Farmer, the grandson of former Washington cross country and track coach Dixon Farmer, third at 7089 points.

Kennedy started his second day with a wind-aided personal-best in the 110m hurdles of 16.16 seconds, and then added over twenty feet to his discus PR with a toss of 115-3 (35.14m).

In the pole vault, Kennedy was second overall and set a new outdoor PR of 15-feet, 9-inches (4.80m) to add 849 big points to his total. He had another big PR in the javelin, throwing 167-5 (51.03m), a best by 14 feet. Kennedy then closed out by taking second overall in the 1,500-meter run in another PR of 4:42.32.

The Cougars’ Littles recorded two PR's in both the javelin with a mark of 142-feet 3 inches (43.37m), and in the 1500m run at 4:46.26. He completed the weekend with five total lifetime best marks, along with winning the 100m dash, and placing second overall in the 400m dash.

The points scored from the decathlon and the heptathlon rolls over onto the team totals in next weekend’s Pac-12 track and field championships, which will also be contested at Drachman Stadium, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Complete results of the Pac-12 Multi Events competition is available here.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Arizona, the University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Throwers shine at Ken Shannon Invite; Vaulters rule at Spokane Memorial...

Here’s a recap of what happened around the state on the final weekend of the collegiate track and field season before the start of championship season:

KEN SHANNON INVITATIONAL

The throws took center stage at the Ken Shannon Invitational, the University of Washington’s final home meet of the 2019 season.

Western Washington alum Bethany Drake (above/photo by Paul Merca) won the women’s javelin with a toss of 158-0 (48.15m), while the Huskies’ Katherine Taylor scored a personal best 150-11 (45.99m) to take second.

In the women’s discus, Ginny Mehl of the Huskies beat UW redshirt Makayla Kelby 170-2 (51.86m) to 169-3 (51.58m).

The Huskies’ Connor Jost scored a huge personal best in winning the men’s hammer at 194-3 (59.21m).

National high school pole vault record holder Chloe Cunliffe of West Seattle HS made a guest appearance, winning her event with a clearance of 13-9.75 (4.21m).

The Huskies’ Katie Rainsberger won the women’s 1500 in a time of 4:20.82, to turn back teammate Anna Maxwell’s 4:24.80, with Seattle Pacific’s Kate Lilly third in 4:28.99.

In the best men’s race of the day, Washington volunteer coach Sam Prakel won the 800 in 1:50.11 over the Huskies’ Connor Morello’s 1:50.80.

Gonzaga’s Mason Villarma was second in the men’s 1500 as he ran 3:49.27 to the Huskies’ Issac Green, who won in 3:48.19.

Washington’s recap and results are available here.

SPOKANE MEMORIAL

In Spokane, Eastern Washington’s Larry Still tuned up for a run at the Big Sky Championships next week with a victory in the men’s pole vault Saturday at the Spokane Memorial meet hosted by Spokane Community College.

Still cleared 16-9.25 (5.11m) to easily win the competition. He then took three decent shots at a personal best 17-7 (5.36m).

The Eagles’ Samantha Raines cleared 13 feet for the first time outdoors this season in winning the women’s pole vault at 13-1.75 (4.01m), while teammate Madison Doepker won the hammer with a mark of 190-5 (58.03m).

On Friday night, Gonzaga’s Brandon Pollard won the mens’ mile in a time of 4:07.71.

Complete results of the Spokane Memorial are available here.

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

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