Saturday, February 28, 2015

Yorks wins MPSF mile title & sets new Washington school record in process...

SEATTLE—Washington’s Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca) turned in his second sub-4 minute mile of the season to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title at the Dempsey Indoor Saturday.

After a 3:01 1200 split, the Husky junior put the hammer down on Oregon’s Will Geoghegan and Stanford’s Thomas Coyle to win in a convincing 3:57.81 to Geoghegan’s 3:58.36 and Coyle’s 3:59.32, to set a new school record, breaking Austin Abbott’s 2009 mark of 3:58.23.

The mark most likely secures Yorks’ place on the starting line at the NCAA championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas in two weeks.

Overall, the Husky men finished the meet in seventh place with 54.5 points, while Washington State finished tenth with 24.5 points.  Oregon won the men’s title with 95 points over runner-up USC’s 88.5.

The Washington women finished the two day meet in sixth with 51 points, while the Cougars were eighth with 36 points, as USC took home the team title with 111.

Seattle native Darian Brooks of Stanford won the men’s triple jump with a fourth round leap of 52-7.75 (15.92m).

Washington State’s Dino Dodig finished third in the heptathlon with a final score of 5476 points, while the Huskies’ Nick Pfeiffer was sixth with 5281.  Edmonds-Woodway HS grad Alec Fellows of Oregon was seventh with 5267 points.

In the mile, Washington’s Joelle Amaral was an unexpected fifth in 4:43.19, while Washington State’s Abby Regan set a school record in seventh in 4:43.71, just ahead of the Huskies’ Eleanor Fulton in 4:43.74 for eighth.

Defending MPSF champ Jesse Jorgensen of Washington State was sixth in the 800, running 1:49.79.  In the women’s 800, the Huskies’ Baylee Mires was fifth in 2:06.31.

Tacoma native Marcus Chambers anchored Oregon to a third place finish in the 4 x 400 relay, as the Ducks ran 3:09.97.

Terrance Chambers of WSU was third in the 200 Friday night in a time of 21.42, a mark we missed.

For those athletes on the bubble, the waiting game awaits for those looking to go to the NCAA championships in two weeks.


In Flagstaff, Arizona, the Eastern Washington women tied for fourth, while the men’s squad finished seventh at the Big Sky Conference indoor meet, hosted by Northern Arizona University.

Jordan Arakawa repeated as champion in the men’s weight throw with a season best 66-1.5 (20.15m).

Freshman Tierra White won the high jump, with a leap of 5-7.75 (1.72m), outdueling two other jumpers at the winning height.

EWU’s Paula Gil-Echevarria (5:03.91) and Katie Mahoney (5:09.25) were third and fifth in the mile.  In the men’s mile, Spokane native Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona was fourth in 4:09.70.  He also placed fifth in the 3000 in 8:38.17.

Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter of the Eagles was seventh in the 3000 in 10:22.52.  Seattle native CeCe Jackson of Portland State was fifth in the 60 hurdles in 8.52. 

The Eagles’ Morena Mannucci was third in the triple jump with a best of 39-5.75 (12.03m).


In Colorado Springs, Seattle University’s Sophie Curtail won the mile at the Western Athletic Conference championships.

The senior from Hawaii won comfortably, running 5:09.52, nearly four seconds ahead of the nearest competitor.  She later came back and took second in the 3000 in 10:41.67.

Maddie Maddux of the Redhawks was third in the high jump, clearing 5-4.5 (1.64m), while Mariah Gibbs was fourth in the triple jump at 39-3 (11.96m).

Senior Madison Davis finished second in the 800 in 2:19.09.

The women’s team finished fifth with 64 points, as Grand Canyon took the conference crown with 172. In the men’s team race, the Redhawks were a distant fifth with 37 points, as Utah Valley won with 231.

Jeremy Taiwo wins national heptathlon title and sets new meet record...

ROXBURY CROSSING, MA.—Just like he did in Seattle at the end of last month, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) won all three events in day two of the heptathlon to capture his first USA national indoor championship at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center outside of Boston.

Taiwo, the leader at the break with 3471 points, started off with a strong showing in the 60 hurdles, running 7.87, worth 1015 points.

Wearing the red Spiderman jersey that he debuted in Seattle, he then cleared a best of 15-9 (4.80m) after opening at 15-1 (4.60m), and got over the bar at 15-5 (4.70m) on his second attempt to go into the final event with 5335 points.

Needing a sub 2:29 mark in the 1000 meter run to tie his personal best of 6344 points set in Seattle, Taiwo ran a controlled 2:34.26 to win the event and get a final score of 6273, breaking the old meet record of 6232 points set by Gunnar Nixon in 2013.

He becomes the #5 heptathlete in American history, with the four others ahead of him on the all time list--Ashton Eaton, Dan O'Brien, Bryan Clay and Tom Pappas--having won either an Olympic or world title.

Talking about his day, the new national champion said, “There was a little bit later start, so I think I acclimated a little more last night. In the 60 hurdles, I went out and finally was under eight seconds, which is where I should be. So I was really happy about that. That kind of rolled into the vault - I was happy to get some different heights. We backed it back to a seven-step last week, so I wasn’t really that well into it but we did alright. And in the 1,000, I just wanted to take it out with Tom FitzSimmons and Tom Hopkins, and those are awesome guys to run with so I was just happy to finish fast.”


In early events contested at the USA indoor championships, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry was disqualified in the 300 meter dash for a lane violation after running 33.57 to finish second in his heat.

Alexa Efraimson of Camas advanced to the finals of Sunday’s 1000 with a second place finish in her heat.

Washington alum Katie Mackey finished second in the women’s mile behind Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project.  Mackey was tucked in third or fourth for most of the race after a slow first 400 run in 74 seconds.  Mackey finished in a time of 4:34.83, behind Rowbury’s 4:34.40.

In the women’s 600, Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker won her heat in a time of 1:28.24, but did not advance to the final, which took the top six times from the four heats. Phoebe Wright and Megan Malasarte finished second and third in their heat in 1:27.81 and 1:27.87 to advance to Sunday’s finals.

Washington State alum Jacob Sealby finished fourth in his heat of the 600 in a time of 1:19.12.  American record holder Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts won his heat, leading from gun to tape in 1:16.26.  His Beasts teammate Mark Wieczorek won his heat in 1:16.79, following Loxsom’s race strategy. Both Loxsom and Wieczorek advance to Sunday’s final.

In the men’s two mile, Garrett Heath of the Beasts finished fourth in a time of 8:27.99.

The meet resumes Sunday.  Complete day 2 results from the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships are available here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dawgs get three wins from Owsinski, Thoirs & Nelson on day 1 of MPSF champs...

SEATTLE--Washington’s pole vault crew led by Kristina Owsinski (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Jax Thoirs earned two victories to highlight the Huskies’ first day activities at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship meet at the Dempsey Indoor.

Owsinski, the defending champion, cleared a personal best of 14-2 (4.32m) to move up on the national performance list and possibly secure a spot in the NCAA championship meet in two weeks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

After opening with three straight first attempt clearances, Owsinski found herself in a battle with teammates Diamara Planell Cruz and Liz Quick, along with Washington State’s Kristine Felix and BYU’s Anginae Monteverde. 

Both Monteverde and Owsinski cleared 14-0 (4.27m) on their third attempts to eliminate the other three, with Owsinski clinching with a third attempt clearance at 14-2 (4.32m).

Planell Cruz, the reigning Pac-12 champ finished third at 13-6.25 (4.12m), the same height cleared by Quick in fourth, and Felix in fifth.

Thoirs, the NCAA qualifier for the Huskies and reigning Pac-12 champion, only needed four jumps to secure the win, clearing 17-11.5 (5.48m), before taking three unsuccessful shots at a personal best 18-6.5 (5.65m).

Washington State’s Austin Sodorff finished fifth with a jump of 17-0 (5.18m), the same height cleared by the Huskies’ Lev Marcus, who tied for sixth, and JJ Juilfs, who was eighth.

Two time NCAA cross country All-American Aaron Nelson won the men’s 5000, running 13:53.80, just over the 13:47.42 time he posted at the Husky Classic two weeks ago.  Nelson took the win after Arizona State’s Ryan Herson led for the first two miles, then went with a group of three other runners.

Washington’s distance medley relay team of Baylee Mires, Gianna Woodruff, Rose Christen and Eleanor Fulton led early, but finished second to Stanford, as the Cardinal ran 11:02.98 to the Huskies’ 11:09.33.

Oregon, with Tacoma native Marcus Chambers on the 400 leg won the men’s distance medley in 9:27.02, while the Husky squad of Blake Nelson, Andrew Brown, Nick Harris & Colby Gilbert finished third in 9:34.81.

Washington State’s Danielle Darden (24.17) and Dominique Keel (24.44) finished fourth and eighth in the 200 meters.

In qualifying Friday, Washington’s Chris Williams (7.90) had the fastest time in the 60 hurdles, while in the women’s 60 hurdles, Washington’s Kimmie Stueckle (8.42) and WSU’s Candice McFarland (8.55) advanced to Saturday’s finals.

Meet and facility records were broken in the men’s and women’s weight throw by Conor McCullough of USC (77-5.25/23.60m) and Ida Storm of UCLA (73-6/22.40m).  Storm’s mark is the second best in Division I this season behind national leader Kearsten Peoples of Missouri’s 74-11.25 (22.84m).

After seven events in the women’s competition, the Huskies are in second with 36 points with UCLA the first day leader at 51.  Washington State is currently in eighth with 14 points.  In the men’s competition, Washington is the first day leader with 32.5 points, 1.5 points ahead of Cal’s 31.  Washington State is ninth with 10 points.


In Flagstaff, Arizona, sophomore Trenton Osborn of Eastern Washington won the long jump at the Big Sky championship meet at the Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Osborn jumped 24-3.75 (7.41m) to overtake Sacramento State’s Richard Cooper, who had a best of 24-1 (7.34m).

In the women’s weight throw, the Eagles’ Emma Murillo and Kaytlyn Colman finished 2-3, with Murillo throwing 62-3.75 (18.99m), and Colman with a best of 61-9.5 (18.83m).  Eastern also had a strong showing in the pole vault with Anandae Clark (13-0.75/3.98m) and defending outdoor champ Courtney Bray (12-8.75/3.88m) taking second and third.

Reigning cross country champ Sarah Reiter finished sixth in the 5000, running 18:13.97, after being in the top four for most of the race.

The Eagles’ distance medley relay team of Paula Gil Echevarria, Jannessa Day, Katie Lynch, and Katie Mahoney finished third in 12:09.93.

After six events, the Eagle women stand second with 37 points behind Montana State’s 47.  The Eastern men are seventh after six events with 13 points, as Sacramento State leads with 54.


At the Western Athletic Conference championship meet in Colorado Springs, Seattle University’s Shaddye Melu won the men’s high jump to highlight the Redhawks’ day.

Melu cleared a school record 6-11 (2.11m) on his final attempt after surviving a minor scare at his second height of 6-8.75 (2.05m), in which he needed a third attempt clearance to move on.  His clearance at that height clinched the conference crown .

After clearing 6-11 on his third attempt, he took three unsuccessful jumps at 7-0.5 (2.15m).

“Shaddye did a good job of refocusing from jump to jump, making the slight changes he needed to in order to get the most out of himself, which resulted in a personal record, a school record, and a WAC championship!,” SeattleU head track and field coach Trisha Steidl said.

The Seattle U men are in fourth place heading into the final day of the meet with 22 points, while the Redhawk women are in fifth place in the team standings with 16 points. Grand Canyon leads the women’s standings with 73 points, while Utah Valley has taken a commanding lead on the men’s side with 99 points.



Entering this weekend’s array of conference championship meets from around the country, Cunliffe ranks #13 in Division I with a a best of 7.30, set two weeks ago in Albuquerque.

Taiwo leads after first day of heptathlon at USA Indoor champs...

ROXBURY CROSSING, MA.—University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) won three of four events to take the first day lead in the heptathlon at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center just outside of Boston.

The Newport HS grad, who now resides in Chula Vista, California at the US Olympic Training Center, scored 3471 points, 41 points short of his first day personal best score set last month.

Taiwo finished third in the 60 meter dash, running 7.09, 3/100ths of a second slower than he ran at last month’s UW Invitational.  But like he did in Seattle in late January, he then reeled off three straight wins in the long jump (24-3/7.39m, 908 points), shot put (47-7/14.50m, 759 points), and the high jump (7-1/2.16m, 953 points), with his high jump a season best.

In describing his first day performance, Taiwo said, “It was alright. It was 6:30 a.m. on the West coast when we started, so I wasn’t awake and I didn’t get out that well in the 60, speed wise. I can understand how my body was feeling, so that’s okay. Luckily my second jump going into the long jump was a little better. I felt like everything was just connecting and probably just wasn’t enough pop from travel legs and the time it was, so that was good. I got on the board for all three of them, so I was cool with that.”

“For shot put, I had all three fair throws, so I wasn’t struggling to get in it. I had a good shot put at the end. Going into the high jump, my legs felt really heavy, and I was thinking it might just be one of those days when I need to just get over my opening height and the next height to keep going. I got a little bit of work going and tried to stay positive and in the right mental state. I started having fun. It kind of felt like the first time I went over seven feet, when I set the American record at the time. Bars kept going, and I felt powerful, so it was good.”

Here is a link to USATF.tv of Taiwo's best clearance in the high jump.

The meet continues Saturday with the final three events of the heptathlon.

Also competing Saturday will be Michael Berry (300); McKayla Fricker, Phoebe Wright and Megan Malasarte (w600); Cas Loxsom & Mark Wieczorek (m600); Alexa Efraimson (w1000); Katie Mackey and Amanda Mergaert (wMile); and Riley Masters (mMile).



NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Host of Washington athletes head east for USA Indoor Track & Field Championships...

While the collegians have their conference championships, the professionals return to Roxbury Crossing outside of Boston for the USA Indoor Track & Field championships beginning with Friday’s multi-event competition.

University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) is the top seed in the heptathlon, after scoring a personal best and 2015 world best 6344 points at the UW Invitational at the end of January (the IAAF lists Adam Helcelet of the Czech Republic as the world leader with 6164 because of the Dempsey Indoor’s oversized track).

With no world championship team on the line for this year’s meet, USA Track & Field has taken the step of running non-traditional championship meet distances, so instead of the 400, 800, 1500 & 3000, meet management is offering the 300, 600, 1000, mile and two-mile.

Going in the men’s 300 heats on Saturday will be Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry, who will face a pair of world indoor 4 x 400 relay gold medalists in Clayton Parros, and Manteo Mitchell.

Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker, along with Seattle resident Phoebe Wright and Megan Malasarte of the Brooks Beasts are entered in the 600.  Cas Loxsom and Mark Wieczorek of the Beasts are entered in the men’s 600.

Camas HS senior Alexa Efraimson is entered in the women’s 1000.

Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts is entered in the mile on Saturday, along with teammate Amanda Mergaert, as they face current world leader Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project.

Riley Masters of the Beasts is entered in the men’s mile, as he faces current world leader Matthew Centrowitz of the Nike Oregon Project.

Mergaert is also entered in the women’s two mile, along with Tacoma native Brie Felnagle, who is sharpening up for her appearance at next month’s IAAF world cross country championships in China. Garrett Heath of the Beasts is entered in the men’s two mile against national cross country champ and former Stanford teammate Chris Derrick.

In the field events, the only athlete with Washington ties entered is Washington State alum Blessing Ufodiama in the triple jump.  Katie Burnett, who attended middle and high school in the Puget Sound area, is entered in the two-mile race walk.

Start lists for the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships are posted here.  NBCSN and USATF.tv will provide live coverage of the meet on Saturday and Sunday, while the multi-events will be available for on-demand viewing online at USATF.tv.  The official hashtag for the event is #USATFind.

In other USA Track & Field News, several athletes with Washington ties were named recipients of training grants from the USA Track & Field Foundation.

Among those receiving grants are Brad Walker, Garrett Heath, Jeremy Taiwo, Britney Henry, and Kara Winger.  Winger and Henry were two of 23 athletes who received USATF Foundation grants via the John W. James Endowment fund for athletes in the throwing events.  Walker, Heath and Taiwo were among 45 athletes, primarily in the running and jumping events, who got Elite Athlete Development grants from the foundation.

USATF’s releases announcing the grants are available here and here.

Multi-event specialist Mandie Maddux of Seattle University finished second in the pentathlon as the Western Athletic Conference championship meet got underway in Colorado Springs.

The junior from Gresham, Oregon compiled a final score of 3287 points, as she finished 45 points behind winner Mindy Stapel of Utah Valley.

She started the meet with a personal best of 9.72 in the 60 hurdles, then cleared 5-3.75 (1.62m) in the high jump.  Maddux won the shot put with a toss of 35-6.75 (10.84m), then set a personal best in the long jump of 15-11 (4.85m), before running 2:32.75 in the 800.

The Seattle University release is available here.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the sports information office of Seattle University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Huskies set to host MPSF championships this weekend at the Dempsey...

It’s championship week for four of Washington’s Division I schools, with the University of Washington  playing host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships at the Dempsey Indoor, featuring all twelve Pac-12 schools including Washington State, plus selected institutions from the Big West, West Coast, and Mountain West conferences.

Regardless of venue for championship week, the aim for many of these athletes is to find themselves in the top 16 in the NCAA rankings when this weekend is over, as only the top 16 in each event advance to the national championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas in two weeks.

Friday’s action begins at 12 noon with the women’s weight throw final and the first event of the pentathlon. Both pole vaults will take place Friday, as will both men’s and women’s long jumps, as well as the men’s weight throw. The pentathlon will complete all five events, while the heptathlon will do four of seven. Track finals on Friday include the 5,000-meters, the 200-meters, and the distance medley relays which conclude the day.

All remaining track events take place Saturday beginning at 10:30am, plus the conclusion of the heptathlon and the men’s and women’s high jumps, triple jumps, and shot puts. As is the case with every collegiate meet, the 4x400m relay ends the competition.

Based on the current NCAA rankings, 31 different individuals from MPSF schools occupy spots in the national top ten entering this weekend (not all will contest the events they’re ranked in), including Oregon’s Eric Jenkins (3000/5000).

Flotrack will provide streaming video of the meet ($) with a subscription to Flotrack Pro.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington travels to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Big Sky championship meet, and Seattle University travels to Colorado Springs for the Western Athletic Conference title tilt.

The Eagles are sending 23 women and 13 men to Flagstaff, led by defending Big Sky weight throw champion Jordan Arakawa.


In Metz, France, Bernard Lagat closed his 2015 indoor season by winning the 3000 at the Metz International indoor meet.

The 40 year old Washington State alum used his trademark kick to win in 7:37.91, setting a new world masters record,

Results from the meet are available here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dressel, Huxham, Suver, Babcock & Gray help USA win trio of team titles in Colombia...

BARANQUILLA, Colombia—Mount Spokane HS senior John Dressel’s (left/photos by Mike Scott) fourth place finish helped Team USA to one of three team victories in the Copa Panamericana de Cross Country meet Sunday in the Colombian city.

Dressel, the third place finisher at the USA junior championships two weeks ago who signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Colorado, ran 19:23 on a course that allegedly was between 5 and 6 kilometers, as Justyn Knight from Canada took the win in 19:04, followed by USA national junior champ Conner Mantz in 19:13.

University of Washington freshman Fred Huxham finished eighth in a time of 19:43, as all five USA scorers finished in the top 10, earning a low score of 20 (4 score) to runner-up Canada’s 38.

In the senior women’s announced 7k race, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver finished fifth in a time of 21:36, with Gladys Tejada of Peru winning in 21:18, followed by top American Kellyn Taylor in 21:34.  

Washington alum Christine Babcock (above/photo by Mike Scott), who had battled injuries over the last eight months, was ninth in 22:03, as the USA took another team trophy by a 22-43 count over Canada.

In the senior men’s race, Stanford graduate student Maksim Korolev produced a late surge on the hard and flat course announced at 10k to win in his international debut in a time of 28:21, as Team USA placed five runners in the top eight.

Lakewood resident Joe Gray finished seventh in 29:07 as Team USA’s final scorer to help the squad garner its third team championship of the day, scoring a team low 15 points over runner-up Ecuador’s 52.


NOTE:  The Association of Pan American Athletics and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Falcons claim GNAC women's indoor title #10, while Viking men fall short; Lagat sets yet another masters WR...

NAMPA, Idaho—Seattle Pacific’s women’s squad (above/photo courtesy GNAC) claimed its tenth Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track and field title Saturday at Jackson’s Track, with strong performances by its sprint corps.

Seattle Pacific scored 146 points to finish 12 points ahead of defending champ Alaska Anchorage.  Central Washington was fourth with 87, while Western Washington was sixth with 44, and Saint Martin’s tied for seventh at 32.

The Falcons got victories from 400 meter runner Jahzelle Ambus, who ran a personal best and school record of 56.18 to finish ahead of Simon Fraser’s Chantel Desch, along with a win by their 4 x 400 meter relay team of Ambus, Tasia Baldwin, Jalen Tims, and Jasmine Johnson, as the quartet ran an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 3:50.68.

In addition to Ambus’ win in the 400, they scored big points in the 200, led by Becca Houk’s second place finish in a school record 24.89, leading three other Falcons to go 2-3-4-5 and score 23 points.

The 400 got the Falcons 17 points, as Johnson and Tims went 5-6 behind Ambus.

In the 60, Houk finished second in 7.66, while Kyra Brannan was fifth in 7.99.

Central’s Becki Duhamel won her second event of the meet, taking the shot put at 44-8 (13.61m), while Jasmine McMullin of Western Washington won the triple jump at 38-2.75 (11.65m).  The Vikings took a big hit in the 3000 as conference leader and reigning cross country champ Katelyn Steen fall started out of the race.

Western’s bid for a third straight GNAC indoor crown fell six points short, as Alaska Anchorage got a second place finish in the meet’s final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay to earn its first conference crown, scoring 142 to the Vikings’ 136.

Central Washington was fifth with 65 points, while Saint Martin’s was seventh at 42.5, and Seattle Pacific was ninth with 12.

The Vikings got wins from Travis Milbrandt in the 60 hurdles, Alex Donigian in the 60, and Brett Watson in the high jump.

Milbrandt won the hurdles in a school, conference and meet record time of 8.08.  Donigian won his third straight 60 crown in 6.82, but couldn’t defend his title in the 200, losing out to Western Oregon’s Cody Warner, 21.60 to 21.66, as both broke the old meet record.

Central Washington got a 1-2 finish from Kevin Stanley and Armando Tafoya in the weight throw, as Stanley won his second event of the meet with a toss of 55-9.25 (17.00m) to outdistance Tafoya (53-5.5/16.29m).

The Wildcats’ Luke Plummer won the triple jump with a conference and meet record mark of 49-5 (15.06m).

Heptathletes Jayden Yoro and David Durden highlighted Saint Martin’s efforts Saturday with their 2-4 finish, with Yoro scoring 4870 to finish behind Alaska Anchorage’s Cody Thomas, who scored a meet record 4985 points, breaking his old mark of 4904 from last year.  Durden finished the two-day competition with 4635 points.


In Birmingham, England, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat finished third in the 2 mile at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix meet, as reigning Olympic and world 5000/10000 champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who trains in Portland as part of the Nike Oregon Project set a world best of 8:03.40, beating the previous world best of 8:04.35 set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele at this same meet in 2008.

Lagat’s efforts netted him a time of 8:17.05, which gave him his second world over-40 masters best in a span of seven days.


In Montreal, Mark Wieczorek of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished second in the 600 in a special race set up in conjunction with the Canadian indoor championship meet.

The race was billed as an attempt to go after the world best of 1:15.12 set by Nico Motchebon of Germany in 1999.

Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic took the win in 1:16.01, with Wieczorek second in 1:17.04, and Dai Greene of Great Britain third in 1:17.59.


At the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana on the campus of Notre Dame University, Washington State's Jesse Jorgensen finished second in the 800, running a season best 1:49.83 to finish behind Iowa State's Will Teubel, who ran 1:49.65 for the win.

The Cougars' Abby Regan was sixth in the mile, as she clocked 4:47.96.  Last week, Regan set a new school record in the mile at the Husky Classic, running 4:43.91.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Falcons and Vikings in prime position after day 1 of GNAC championships...

NAMPA, Idaho—Seattle Pacific may have put themselves in a solid position to win their tenth women’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track and field title Friday with two victories after day one of the two-day conference championship meet at Jacksons Track at the Idaho Center.

The Falcons got a projected victory in the 5000 meters from junior Anna Patti (left/photo by Paul Merca), as the junior from Renton’s Lindbergh HS scored a personal best time of 17:14.01, to beat Alaska Anchorage’s Amy Johnston by over seven seconds.

Patti let Johnston do most of the leading for the first 4000, then made a decisive move with four laps to go around the 200 meter oval.

The Falcons got an unexpected win in the high jump, as freshman Naphtali Ward from Gig Harbor scored a personal best of 5-6.5 (1.69m) to upset defending champ and conference leader Tayler Fettig of Central Washington, who finished second with a clearance of 5-4.5 (1.64m), the same height cleared by Ward’s teammate Louisa McInnis.

It was a long day for Fettig, who has battled injuries throughout the indoor season in her right leg, and  hoped to place high in both the high jump, long jump, and pentathlon.  Fettig finished fourth in the long jump at 17-7.5 (5.37m) behind winner Karolin Anders of Alaska Anchorage (18-6.5/5.65m) and SPU’s Kyra Brannan (18-5.75/5.63m) and Tasia Baldwin (18-1/5.51m).  

Anders also won the pentathlon with 3761 points to lead a 1-2 Alaska Anchorage finish, with SPU’s Maliea Luquin third at 3372,and Fettig fourth with 3350.

Becky Duhamel of Central Washington won the weight throw with a toss of 57-10.25 (17.63m), and in the other final of the first day, Simon Fraser won the distance medley relay in 11:59.08.

After 6 of 17 events, the Falcons have a two point lead with 57 over defending champ Alaska Anchorage, while Central Washington stands third at 47.  Western Washington is sixth with 12, while Saint Martin’s is seventh with 9 points.

On the men’s side, Western Washington holds an eight point lead (50-42) over Alaska Anchorage after five events as the Vikings look to win their third straight conference crown. Central Washington stands fifth with 22, while Saint Martin’s is one spot behind with 11.

In a minor upset, Simon Fraser’s Vladislav Tsygankov won the long jump over conference leader Nate van Tuinen of the Vikings, jumping 23-6.75 (7.18m) in round 3 to put pressure on van Tuinen.  The Viking junior from Yakima came up one agonizing centimeter short in the final round, jumping 23-6.25 (7.17m).

The Vikings got a second place finish in the shot put, as Brandon Pless threw 50-2.5 (15.30m) to finish behind Central Washington’ s Kevin Stanley, who won with a toss of 51-10 (15.80m), with Ryan Macdonald of the Vikings third at 49-10.5 (15.20m).

In the 200 prelims, the Vikings’ Alex Donigian set a meet record of 21.76, eclipsing his own meet record of 21.79 from last year.  60 meter hurdler Travis Milbrandt broke the 2014 meet record of 8.24 set by fellow Viking Peter Maguire by running 8.15 in qualifying.

Matt DeHan of Saint Martin’s finished second in the pole vault with a leap of 15-7.25 (4.76m) to highlight the Saints’ first day action.

Five with Washington ties head to Colombia for Pan Am Cross Country Cup...

Five athletes with ties to the state of Washington are headed to Barranquilla, Colombia for Sunday’s APA Pan American Cross Country Cup as members of Team USA to compete against squads from North, Central & South America.

The USA senior women’s squad will be headed by Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), who earned her spot on the team with a second place finish at the US national championships in Boulder on February 7th.  She’ll be joined on the team by University of Washington alum Christine Babcock, who is listed on the USA Track & Field roster as an alternate.

Lakewood resident Joseph Gray of Club Northwest, who finished 14th in Boulder, is on the senior mens team, as Gray makes yet another appearance on a US national cross country team.

Mount Spokane HS senior John Dressel and University of Washington freshman Fred Huxham are scheduled to toe the line in the junior men’s race.  Dressel earned his spot on the team with a third place finish in Boulder, while Huxham finished eighth.

Both Dressel and Suver are using the Pan American Cross Country Cup as a tuneup race for next month’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.

Club Northwest founder Bill Roe of Bellingham is the USA team leader on this trip.


Meanwhile, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat is entered in Saturday’s Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix meet in Birmingham, England, where he is scheduled to run in the two mile against reigning Olympic and world champion in the 5000 and 10000 Mo Farah of Great Britain, who trains in Beaverton as part of the Nike Oregon Project.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

GNAC indoor championship this weekend; Cougs to run Regan & Jorgensen at Notre Dame...

On the collegiate scene, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet in Nampa, Idaho on Friday and Saturday takes center stage, with Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Central Washington, and Saint Martin’s all sending full squads to one of the fastest tracks in the country.

The women’s team race is projected as a toss-up between three teams—SPU, Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser, with potentially Central Washington throwing themselves into the mix.

On the men’s side, Western Washington, Simon Fraser and Alaska Anchorage are the teams to watch, as the Vikings look to win their fifth conference title.

Western has the top ranked athlete in the conference in five events, and the defending champion in four, led by sprinter Alex Donigian (above, #314/photo courtesy GNAC) in the 60 and 200; Brett Watson in the high jump, and Kevin Yates in the long jump.  Travis Milbrandt is the conference leader in the 60 hurdles at 8.09, set at the Husky Classic over the weekend.

Central Washington will counter with two defending champs in Luke Plummer (triple jump) and Kevin Stanley (weight throw).

Saint Martin’s has a trio of athletes who could potentially place high or win this weekend in high jumper Mikel Smith, pole vaulter Matt DeHan, and heptathlete Jaysen Yoro.  All three own NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks for the national championship meet and look to improve their standings this weekend.

The Falcons of Seattle Pacific will look for a balanced attack from its squad to grab its tenth conference title.  They have two of the top three marks in the 60, 400 & long jump and 3 of the top 4 in the 200.

Lynelle Decker (800), Anna Patti (5000) and Becca Houk (60) all have provisional national qualifying marks in their events.  Patti, Houk and 400 meter runner Jahzelle Ambus are among the top athletes in their events entered this weekend.

Western’s Katelyn Steen is the only athlete with provisional national qualifying marks in three events—the mile, 3000, and 5000, but is only entered in the 3000 this weekend.

Central goes into the meet led by defending high jump champ Tayler Fettig, and former shot put champ Becki Duhamel. Duhamel is currently the conference leader in both the shot and weight throw.


Washington State will be the only Division I team with athletes competing this weekend as seniors Abby Regan and Jesse Jorgensen will race this Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational meet hosted by Notre Dame.

Regan, the new school record holder in the women’s mile at 4:43.91, set at the Husky Classic last week, will run the mile, as will Jorgensen, the reigning MPSF champion at 800 meters.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Both Washington squads rocket to top 25 in USTFCCCA rankings; NCAA changes format of outdoor champs...

Thanks to strong showings over the weekend, both University of Washington track and field squads have rocketed to top-25 national rankings in the latest USTFCCCA poll released earlier this week.

The men’s squad, helped by school record marks by Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Aaron Nelson, along with the second career sub-4 minute mile by Izaic Yorks, moved all the way up to #25 in the national poll.

The Dawgs earned points towards their national ranking over the weekend from pole vaulter Lev Marcus, who is on the cusp of clearing 18 feet with his 17-11 1/4 (5.47) mark; Chris Williams in both the 60 hurdles (7.84) and pole vault (17-5.5/5.32m); and JJ Juilfs in the pole vault (17-5.5/5.32m).

Like the men’s squad, the Washington women went all the way up to #24 in the national rankings thanks to performances over the weekend by their distance runners and pole vaulters, with miler Eleanor Fulton (4:39.95), 3000 meter runner Maddie Meyers (9:07.53) and the vaulting trio of Diamara Planell Cruz (14-2/4.32m), Liz Quick and Kristina Owsinski (both 13-6.25/4.12m).

The top five men’s teams in the national computer rankings, which are based on marks made during the 2015 season (the rankings for the first three weeks were based on a combination of current and pre-season marks) are Florida, Oregon, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas.

On the women’s side, the top five teams are Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Oregon.


NCAA CHANGES FORMAT OF D1 OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

In an effort to make the meet more palatable to television viewers, the NCAA announced on Tuesday changes to the presentation of its outdoor track & field championships.

In the new format, one gender will compete on days 1 and 3 of the championship while the other will compete on days 2 and 4, with only the heptathlon and decathlon crossing over (probably contested on days 1-2 or 2-3).

According to this release, members of the Division I men’s and women’s track & field committee said that they believe the meet will be easier to follow, and that ESPN can potentially include an additional hour of coverage.  

The committee noted that the format provides a rest day for each gender; however, the format could potentially make individuals considering doubling think twice.


NOTE:  The NCAA and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Huskies' Izaic Yorks redeems himself with second career sub-4 mile at UW Open...

SEATTLE—It was redemption for Washington’s Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), as he rebounded from a fall in the fast section of Saturday’s Husky Classic and ran a personal best 3:58.69 to win the invitational mile at Sunday’s UW Open meet at the Dempsey Indoor.

After getting tripped Saturday, meet management assembled a field of runners to shoot for a sub-4 minute mile, comprised of several runners in the two fast sections of yesterday’s Husky Classic, including Marquette alum Tommy Schmitz, who didn’t finish, and Colorado alum Blake Theroux, who just missed breaking 4 minutes in the heat before.

Adams State’s Oliver Aitchison, who ran a NCAA Division II leader in the mile at 4:01.11 Saturday, did the early work, taking the field through 800 meters just over 1:58, before ceding the lead to Yorks.  Yorks took command, running just under 2:59 at the 3/4 mark, before powering his way to the finish, cheered on by a large contingent of Husky teammates assembled along the perimeter of the track.

Aitchison’s work paid dividends for teammate Matt Daniels, as Daniels’ second place time of 3:59.89 made him the first runner in NCAA Division II to break 4 minutes this season.

Yorks’ and Daniels’ marks became the 126th and 127th time that runners broke 4 minutes in the mile at the Dempsey since the facility opened in 2002.

Yorks passed Eric Garner for third on the all-time UW top-10 list, and gave him his second career sub-4 minute mile.

In other highlights:

—Joe Morris ran 6.72 to win the men’s 60 dash; 

—Reigning US junior 1500m champ Alexa Efraimson of Camas opened up her season with a 2:43.39 clocking in the 1000, after being paced by training partner and former Seattle Pacific standout McKayla Fricker;

—US Olympian Kibwe Johnson threw 70-6.25 (21.49m) to win the men’s weight throw.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Colby Gilbert sets UW school record in 3000 to highlight distance events at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—Washington’s redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert (left, #11, behind Garrett Heath/photo by Paul Merca) set a new school record in the 3000 meters as he finished third behind Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell and Garrett Heath of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts at the Husky Classic hosted by the UW at the Dempsey Indoor.

Gilbert, who was in contention for most of the race, ran 7:49.25 to eclipse Colton Tully-Doyle’s 2011 mark of 7:53.13.  More importantly, Gilbert put himself in a strong position to earn one of the sixteen spots to qualify for the NCAA championship meet in four weeks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Another Husky distance runner putting herself in prime position to go to the national championships is Maddie Meyers, who finished seventh in the 3000 in 9:07.53, as Arkansas’ Dominique Scott won in a meet record time of 8:52.57, with Tacoma’s Brie Felnagle second in 8:54.77, and Angela Bizzarri of the Brooks Beasts third in 8:58.91.

In other highlights:  

—Olympian Ryan Bailey set a meet record in the 60 meter dash, running 6.50 in the semis, and 6.53 to win the finals over training partner Joe Morris; 

—Montana State’s Cristian Soratos ran a collegiate leading 3:55.27 to win the men’s mile and lead five others under 4 minutes; 

—The Huskies’ Diamara Planell Cruz set a new personal best and Puerto Rican national indoor record in the pole vault, as she cleared 14-2 (4.32m).


In New York, the ageless Bernard Lagat finished fourth in the Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games, running 3:54.91 to set a new world masters record, as Matthew Centrowitz won in 3:51.35, with Mark Wieczorek of the Brooks Beasts doing the pace work for the first five laps.

Rainier Beach grad Michael Berry finished second in the men’s 500 meter dash in 1:00.43, as Bryce Spratling won in 1:00.06.

Friday, February 13, 2015

5K races highlight day 1 action at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—Distance races highlighted day 1 of the Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor on the campus of the University of Washington, with the men’s and women’s 5000 taking center stage.

Colorado’s Pierce Murphy led 13 men across the line under 14 minutes, as he won the fast section of the 5000 in 13:39.29, making it the third fastest collegiate time in the country this season, pending the outcome of other major meets around the country this weekend.

Among the 13 towed by the fast pace was Washington All-American Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished seventh in a time of 13:47.42, breaking the previous school record of 13:48.86, set by Colton Tully-Doyle in 2010.

In the women’s 5000, Stanford’s Jessica Tonn was content to let others do the work for most of the race, staying off the pace until the final lap to win in 15:47.65, the fifth fastest Division I time this season.

Seattle Pacific’s quartet of Jessica Rawlins, Jasmine Johnson, Lynelle Decker and Anna Patti overcame an early lead by Eastern Washington leadoff leg Sarah Reiter to win the distance medley relay in 11:50.92, while the Eagles set a new school record with their mark of 11:58.15, with Reiter, Paula Gil Eehevarria, Katie Mahoney, and Catie Arrigoni.

The Huskies won both 200 meter dashes, with Gianna Woodruff (24.43), and Quadelle Satterwhite (21.52) taking the wins.

Oergon’s Greg Skipper (68-10.75/21.00m) and Cal’s Chioma Amaechi (66-8.5/20.33m) won the men’s and women’s weight throw.

The meet continues Saturday, with star-studded fields in the distance races, featuring several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, along with Olympians Andrew Wheating, Bridget Franek, and Geena Lara, while Olympian Ryan Bailey and Colorado alum Joe Morris headline the sprint fields.

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