Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Western Washington begins the 2011 indoor season with two nationally ranked squads...

NEW ORLEANS – The first-ever preseason national computer rankings for NCAA Division II indoor track & field were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The men of Saint Augustine’s and the women of Grand Valley State claim the early season top spots.

Computer rankings were used for Division II in 2010, but for the first time, preseason data mixes with current-year data to produce a ranking score for each of the teams. The process is similar to what has been used by Division I since 2008. Preseason ranking data will continue to be part of the ranking process through week three (February 8).

The Western Washington men's squad, led by defending NCAA Division II pole vault champion Ryan Brown (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) is ranked #17 in the pre-season poll.

The Viking women's squad is ranked #13, led by All-American Sarah Porter, who had an outstanding cross country season, and is among the top returning distance runners nationally.

The Seattle Pacific women's team is ranked #20 in the pre-season poll, led by pole vaulter Melissa Peaslee. In a quirk in the USTFCCCA rankings, the Falcons are ranked in the top 25 based off of their 11:14.85 in the distance medley relay from last year, despite the fact that Jessica Pixler, Lisa Anderberg, and Jane Larson have graduated from last year's squad (400m runner Jennifer Pike is the only returning member from that DMR team that won the national title).

The complete release can be read here, while the national rankings are available here.

Western Washington's preview release can be read here, while Seattle Pacific's release is available here.

The Vikings and the Falcons are among a number of squads that open the indoor season this Saturday at the UW Indoor Preview at the Dempsey Indoor Facility.

This year’s NCAA Indoor Championships will be held on March 11-12, again in Albuquerque, N.M. Week one computer rankings will be released on Tuesday, January 25.

Across the state, Washington State University's indoor track and field teams open the 2011 indoor season with the Ninth Annual WSU Indoor Open. WSU Indoor Facility's Mondo track features racing at 60m, 200m, 400m, mile, 800m and 3000m with 60m hurdles as well as a co-ed 4x400m relay.

Jumping and throwing field events will be contested on the turf inside the oval, while the men's 35-pound and women's 20-pound weight throws take place Friday, Jan. 14, at 4 p.m. The remaining field events will begin Saturday, Jan. 15, at 8:30 a.m. with running events set to start at 10 a.m.

You can read the complete Washington State University release here.

Finally, here's a video, courtesy of media partner Flotrack with former University of Washington standout Amy Lia, a 2006 NCAA champion at 1500 meters, who is now running professionally for Brooks.

Over the next six weeks, Brooks and Flotrack will introduce the public to the Brooks Beasts, a collection of elite women on the Brooks Elite Running team. The Beasts will be telling you their "PR" stories that help propel their running careers.

Another former Husky, Katie Follett, is a member of the so-called Brooks Beasts women's squad. You'll see her story in the weeks to come.

NOTE: Western Washington University, Seattle Pacific University, Washington State University, and Brooks Sports contributed to this report.

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