Thursday, January 11, 2018

The little rust-buster known as the UW Indoor Preview goes big-time Saturday...

Eight of nine of Washington’s NCAA Division I and II schools in action? Check!

Pac-12 schools Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford? Check!

Collegiate individuals from as far away as Villanova and Hawaii? Check!

Pro athletes from Seattle’s Brooks Beasts, and Beaverton’s Nike Bowerman TC & Nike Oregon Project? Check!

Numerous Olympians and IAAF world championships competitors, including two-time Olympic triple jump silver medalist Will Claye (left/photo by Paul Merca)? Check!

Olympic and world champions in the meet? Check!

New York City Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan? F4%k Yeah!

The meet that once was a low-key, post Christmas holiday rust busting season opener has now evolved into a meet that has all the feel of a big-time invitational, as the University of Washington opens the Dempsey Indoor to some of the area and the world’s best track and field athletes for the UW Indoor Preview all day Saturday.

The nine-hour track and field extravaganza kicks off at 9 am with a flight of the women’s pole vault, long jump, and weight throw, plus qualifying rounds in the 60 hurdles, and ends some time after 6pm with the 4 x 400 meter relay.

In between, track and field fans will see a bevy of collegiate and pro athletes either shake off the rust from fall training, or put out some marks that will be good enough to qualify for conference, national and world championship meets.

With the professional indoor schedule shortened because of the IAAF world indoor championships in Birmingham, England moved to March 1-4 (a week before the NCAA championships), more pros are entered in the meet than normal to get their rust busters out of the way before competing in paying meets.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key events to watch on the track:

Women’s 60 (qualifying 9:45 am, prelims 10:45 am, finals 12:30 pm):  A bevy of Olympians are in the field in Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington, who will be joined by 2012 Olympic long jump champ and reigning world champ Brittney Reese (left/photo by Paul Merca).  San Diego State’s Ashley Henderson, and Oregon’s Makenzie Dunmore, who was part of the national champion 4 x 400 relay team.  Notably absent from the field is Oregon senior and Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe, the reigning NCAA champ at this distance.

Men’s 60 hurdles (9:30 am qualifying; 10:30 am qualifying; 1:05 pm finals):  2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt, the world record holder at the 110 hurdles is the man to watch, as the Phoenix-based Nike athlete, who was fifth at last year’s world championships in London, looks to make the world indoor championships team. Folks forget that he was the 2012 world champ at the 60 hurdles.  Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson is in the field.

Women’s 1000 (11:10 am): Hannah Fields of Seattle’s Brooks Beasts is the one to watch, along with NCAA scorer Olivia Baker of Stanford and NCAA cross country All-American Lilli Burdon of Oregon. Washington alum Eleanor Fulton, who had a breakout 2017 season, and represented Team USA at the world cross country championships last year will be in the mix as well as Arkansas alum Stephanie Brown.

Men’s 1000 (11:35 am):  World championships 800m semi-finalist Drew Windle of the Brooks Beasts is ready to prove that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. He goes against the Huskies’ Colby Gilbert, and Western Oregon All-American in the 1500 David Ribich, with Oregon’s Mick Stanovsek and Austin Tamagno thrown in.

Women’s Mile (11:50 am):  Savanna Colón (formerly Camacho), the Oklahoma State alum, makes her pro debut with the Brooks Beasts, where she goes against Nicole Hutchinson of Villanova, Idaho alum and Canadian world championships competitor Alycia Butterworth, and the Oregon quartet of Emma Abrahamson, Jessica Hull, Judy Pendergast and Carmela Cardama Baez.

Men’s Mile (12:10 pm):  Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia, the 2016 world indoor champion at 3000 meters, makes his Nike Oregon Project debut against 2-time US Olympian and 2008 Olympic team flag bearer Lopez Lomong of the Bowerman TC, with UCLA alum Daniel Herrera, former NCAA 1500m champ Chad Noelle, and Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts looking to test themselves against the reigning world indoor champ.

Men’s 800 (2:50 pm):  Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy makes his Nike Oregon Project debut here. Murphy sustained an injury at the USATF championships in the 1500, where he was trying to pull off a 1500/800m double.

Men’s 200 (3:35 pm):  University of Oregon alums Michael Berry from Rainier Beach HS and Marcus Chambers from Foss HS go head to head in the fastest section at this distance.  Two time Olympic triple jump silver medalist Will Claye will run in the heat after Berry and Chambers, while Jeshua Anderson is in another heat.

Women’s 3000 (4:20 pm):  Shalane Flanagan (above/photo illustration courtesy Nike), the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 10000 meters, bronze medalist at the 2011 world cross country championships, four-time US Olympian, and oh, by the way, the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon champion, goes against world championships team member Sara Vaughn, and the Huskies’ Amy-Eloise Neale, who was second at the NCAA cross country championships in November.

Just to give this race a bit of intrigue, the Huskies’ Maddie Meyers, who last raced two years ago, received a medical redshirt to compete as a sixth-year senior, and will be in the field.  Washington alum Mel Lawrence, who ironically was the last Husky to get a sixth year of eligibility, is also in the field, as well as Stephanie Brown, and Anna Maxwell and Emily Hamlin of the Huskies.

Men’s 3000 (5:00 pm):  Ole Miss alum Craig Engels makes his Nike Oregon Project debut against Bowerman TC vet Andrew Bumbalough, American Distance Project steeplechaser Michael Jordan, and recent college grads Robbie Farnham-Rose (Alabama), and George Parson (NC State).

Don’t sleep on the field events, which feature world championships competitor Liz Patterson (high jump); the women’s pole vault with Washington alums Kristina Owsinski of Oiselle and Diamara Planell Cruz of Puerto Rico, both former Pac-12 champs, going head-to-head: US Olympian Darrell Hill in the men’s shot put against Greek Olympian Nick Scarvelis; and, world championships discus competitor Valarie Allman of Stanford in the women’s weight throw.

Multi event specialists Kendell Williams, Erica Bougard, and Allison Reaser will run the 60 hurdles and the 600, and opt out of any field events.

One update--reigning world indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and the Nike Oregon Project has withdrawn from the meet. She was originally scheduled to run the 600 and the 400.

The home page to the UW Indoor Preview can be reached here, which includes heat sheets, time schedules, and a link to live results.  Spectator admission is $8. Please note that the UW has a basketball game against Stanford that starts at 5 pm, particularly if you plan to stick around to watch the 3000 meter runs and try to leave immediately.

Media partner Flotrack ($) will stream the entire meet live.


Eastern Washington will be the only one of the state’s nine Division I & II schools not appearing in Seattle at the UW Indoor Preview, as the Eagles will stay on the east side and compete in the two-day Vandal Invitational hosted by the University of Idaho in Moscow at the Kibbie Dome.

A group of sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, and throwers from Washington State will head east to Nampa, Idaho for Friday and Saturday’s Ed Jacoby Invitational, hosted by Boise State University.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State, Idaho, and Boise State University contributed to this report.

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