Friday, June 23, 2017

Winger wins national title number seven at USATF Outdoor Championships...

SACRAMENTO—As promised by the weather gods, the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships began its four day run at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Cal State Sacramento under hot and sunny skies, with temperatures easily soaring past the 100 degree mark.

Vancouver native Kara Winger (left/photo by Paul Merca) won her seventh USATF national title in the women’s javelin, taking care of business in round one, by throwing a mark of 206-0 (62.80m).

Such was her dominance that five of her six throws were good enough to take the win, as Ariana Ince was a distant second at 191-4 (58.32m).

NCAA Division II champ Bethany Drake of Western Washington was ninth at 160-10 (49.03m), while Western alum Katie Reichert was 14th at 146-3 (44.58m).

Afterward, Winger told reporters in the mixed zone, “Nobody likes the heat. I was trying to hydrate the whole time. It was just a little bit difficult energy wise sometimes when you are in the warm-up track (the javelin was contested at an adjacent field because of the FieldTurf at Hornet Stadium) and not in the main stadium, it’s really hard to get the excitement going. My last round’s energy was what I wanted in the first round so I am not necessary happy today but I am happy with my seventh national championship.”

In a rather strange race, former Puyallup resident and 2016 Olympian Hassan Mead survived a series of surges by Sam Chelanga to win his first national title in the 10000 meters.

After a very slow first mile that saw Washington alum Aaron Nelson in the front pack for a few laps, Chelanga, who was Team USA’s top runner at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda last March, threw in a 64 second lap to shake up the field.

His attempt to break the field with surges ultimately failed, as the lead group ultimately reeled him in, and broke him.

Over the last three laps, Mead, who attended Emerald Ridge HS before moving to Minnesota to finish his high school career, ran laps of 66, 62 and 55 to win a last lap drag race over Shadrack Kipchirchir of the US Army, winning in 29:01.44 to Kipchirchir’s 29:01.68.

“I picked the right spikes today because i usually go with very aggressive spikes. For being a 10K, I went down a notch or two. My legs felt comfortable. Anytime my legs feel comfortable, breathing is nice. I was very comfortable and controlled out there the whole race. It was pretty good. (On moving race back) “The temperature seemed perfect. I was eyeing yesterday what it would feel like at 9 or 10. I was pleased with it. Once the sun goes down it cools off and the breeze comes across. It was a plus they moved it back.”

Another Washington Olympian, Andrea Geubelle from University Place, finished third in the triple jump with a best of 44-8.25 (13.62m), as American record holder and Bowerman Award finalist Keturah Orji won with a best of 46-9.5 (14.26m).

Afterward, Geubelle, who does not hold the qualifying standard to go to London for the world championships, revealed that barring a last minute change of heart, that she will not compete between now and the July 21st deadline to get the world championship standard.

In other highlights:

—Drew Windle and Shaq Walker of the Brooks Beasts advanced to the semis in the mens’ 800;

—Likewise, Beasts TC teammates Hannah Fields and Baylee Mires advanced in the women’s 800 semis;

—In her first race since the NCAA West regional championships in Austin, Federal Way’s Hannah Cunliffe advanced to the semis in the women’s 100;

—Pasco native Marisa Howard and Washington alum Mel Lawrence both advanced to the finals of the women’s steeplechase;

—Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara advanced to the finals of the men’s 1500; 

—In the women’s 1500, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson and Washington alum Eleanor Fulton both advanced to the finals.

In the USATF junior championships that began Thursday, Washington freshman Jacob Wachtendonk was eighth with a best of 196-0 (59.74m), while Curtis Stradley of Battle Ground HS was ninth at 185-8 (56.61m).

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