Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pac-12 champs Eager and Quick among those earning NCAA finals spots Thursday...

The road to Eugene and the NCAA championship finals began Thursday in Austin, Texas, as the NCAA West Preliminary round, commonly known as the West Regionals, began its three-day run at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Pac-12 champ Brock Eager of Washington State (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) finished third in the men’s hammer with a toss of 223-10 (68.22m) to easily secure his spot to Eugene.

The redshirt sophomore from Renton opened the day with a foul, then threw 220-5 (67.18m) in round 2, before finishing the day with the 223-10 (68.22m) toss, less than two feet off his lifetime best of 225-3.

Washington’s Liz Quick and Kristina Owsinski were the first two Huskies to punch their tickets to Eugene for the national finals in two weeks, as they each cleared 14-1.25 (4.30m) to finish eighth and tenth overall, with a top 12 finish required to advance.

Both Quick and Owsinski cleared their first bar (12-11.5/3.95m) on their first attempt, then needed two attempts to clear 13-5.25 (4.10m).  

Both then cleared 13-9.25 (4.20m) on their first attempt.  Quick needed two attempts to clear 14-1.25 (4.30m), while Owsinski came through on her third attempt to avoid participating in a three-woman jump-off for the final two spots to Eugene.

The Huskies’ Izzi Batt-Doyle finished tenth in the women’s 10000, running 34:54.88 to get her spot in the national championship race in two weeks.

In the men’s 10000, Spokane native Tanner Anderson of Oregon, the Pac-12 runner up two weeks ago, finished third in a time of 29:52.26 to earn a spot on the line on his home track.

Washington State’s CJ Allen had the second fastest time of the day in the first round of the 400 hurdles, running 50.40 to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Significant advancers to Friday’s quarterfinals included Eastern Washington’s Kalii Keefe (4:27.09) and Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (4:28.59) in the women’s 1500; Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe (11.06w) of Oregon in the women’s 100; Washington State’s Ja’Maun Charles (10.24w) in the men’s 100; Washington’s Laura Anuakpado (53.73) in the women’s 400; Tacoma native Marcus Chambers (46.94) of Oregon in the men’s 400; Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier (2:09.52) of Oregon, and Washington’s Hannah Derby (2:10.17) in the women’s 800; and Washington’s Darhian Mills (59.82) & Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson (59.99) in the women’s 400 hurdles.

Brooks-Johnson is already assured of a spot in the national championships in the heptathlon, as the multi-events are based on the top 24 scores in the country, and are not contested at the regionals.

In Bradenton, Florida, Saint Martin’s Kirby Neale earned a fourth place finish to highlight the first day of competition at the NCAA Division II championships at the IMG Academy track & field complex.

Competing in the women’s hammer, Neale threw 194-8 (59.34m) to earn the highest finish by a female competitor in school history, and broke the school and GNAC conference record in that event.

Mel Herl of Chadron State took the national title with a throw of 214-1 (65.27m).

In the women’s long jump, Seattle Pacific’s Kyra Brannon finished 15th with a jump of 19-5.25 (5.92m).

In qualifying action, Central Washington’s Emily Bland was sixth in her heat of the 400 hurdles, running 61.11. Brittany Grant of Western Washington was 11th in her heat of the 3000 steeplechase in 11:49.98.

On the pro circuit, the Nike Prefontaine Classic stop on the IAAF Diamond League tour gets underway Friday with seven women’s events at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Vancouver native Kara Winger, the three-time US Olympian and American record holder, will throw in the javelin against a field that includes the reigning Olympic champ Sara Kolak of Croatia, and two time Olympic champ Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic.

Camas’ Alexa Efraimson will run in the national section of the 1500 against a field that includes former Huskies Eleanor Fulton and Katie Mackey.

Another former Husky, Mel Lawrence, fresh off her win at the USATF Distance Classic in Los Angeles last week, will run in the steeplechase against a field that includes American record holder Emma Coburn, the reigning world record holder and Olympic champion Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, and current world leader Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya.

NBC Sports will provide live coverage of the Nike Prefontaine Classic as well as streaming coverage ($) on

NOTE:  The NCAA, the University of Texas, Washington State University, and the Nike Prefontaine Classic contributed to this report.

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