Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wildcats hang on to win 4x400 relay and tie Seattle Pacific for GNAC women's indoor crown...


NAMPA, Idaho—In track and field, nearly all meets end with the 4 x 400 relay.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor championships at Jacksons Track at the Ford Idaho Center finished in the most exciting way possible, and in the end, both Seattle Pacific and Central Washington (above/team photo courtesy GNAC) tied for the women’s team title.

With the team score at 132-126 in favor of the Falcons going into the 4 x 400 relay, the scenario for the Wildcats was simple: they had to finish six points ahead of Seattle Pacific to tie for the team title, or hope the Falcons finished worse than sixth in the two-section final.

The Falcons went into the meet with the third fastest time in the conference at 3:52.68, with Central Washington having run 3:55.48, so short of a breakdown or an injury, the possibility of a SPU collapse was above slim to none.

In the race, the Wildcats battled Alaska Anchorage through the first two legs before taking control on the third leg, while Seattle Pacific was in fifth with a noticeable gap over sixth place Western Washington.

On the anchor leg, the Wildcats gave the baton to 400 meter champ Ali Anderson who pulled away from Alaska Anchorage’s Danielle McCormick, the 800 champ, only to have Simon Fraser’s Alana Mussatto make a late charge over the last lap of the 200-meter oval.

As they exited the final turn, Anderson had about a step lead and just hung on to give Central the win in a season best 3:50.64 to Simon Fraser’s 3:50.68.

Meanwhile Seattle Pacific maintained its fifth place position, crossing the line in 3:57.81, comfortably ahead of Western Washington’s 4:01.15. Had the Vikings finished ahead of the Falcons, that would have given the team title outright to Central Washington; conversely, had Simon Fraser caught Central, the Falcons would have gone home with its 12th championship.

With the tie, Central Washington became the first team in conference history not named Seattle Pacific or Alaska Anchorage to win the women’s indoor team title.

Besides leading the Wildcats to victory in the 4 x 400, Anderson won the 400 in 55.68, and the 200 in 25.00.

She was joined on the victory stand by hurdler Mariyah Vongsaveng, who won her second GNAC 60 hurdles crown in 8.58.

While the Falcons got kick started Friday by Scout Cai’s wins in both the pentathlon and pole vault, they got a conference crown from freshman Renick Meyer, who won the 60 in 7.71.

Western Washington was fifth with 78 points, led by Jasmine McMullin’s double victory in the long jump on Friday (18-9.75/5.73m), and in the triple jump (41-7.25/12.68m), where she set both a conference all-time and meet record. That mark also gave McMullin an auto qualifier into next month’s NCAA D2 championship meet.

Saint Martin’s finished eighth with 11 points.

On the men’s side, Western Washington was the top Washington school in fifth with 76.5 points, with Central Washington sixth at 64.5 points.

Saint Martin’s was ninth with 17.5 points, while Seattle Pacific was tenth with 7 points.

In its first full season as a NCAA D2 member, Concordia/Oregon won the men’s title with 114 points, six points better than three-time champ Alaska Anchorage.

Western Washington got its only win of the meet from Tupre Wickliff in the high jump, clearing 6-7 (2.01m), while Central Washington got a victory from Braydon Maier in the heptathlon, as he scored 5006 points.

The Wildcats’ Kodiak Landis, who has an auto qualifying mark for the NCAA D2 championships, failed to finish after taking a fall in the 60 hurdles.


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, University of Washington alum and 2016 US Olympian Jeremy Taiwo won his second national heptathlon title at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Taiwo, who entered the day in second place after Friday’s first four events, finished third in the 60 hurdles in 8.19, worth 935 points.

He then set a personal best in the pole vault, clearing 16-6.75 (5.05m) after a small hiccup at 15-3 (4.65m), where he needed three attempts to get over the bar.

In the 1000 meter run, he ran a season best 2:41.36, to finish with 858 points and a final two-day score of 5935 points, 12 better than Wolf Mahler, who set a personal best score of 5923.

Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts finished second in the women’s 3000, running 9:01.68, while fellow alum Mel Lawrence was fourth in 9:10.55, and former Husky Eleanor Fulton didn’t finish, dropping out after 1600m.

Mackey’s second place finish behind Shelby Houlihan’s 9:00.08 puts the Washington alum on her first major national team, as she’ll head to Birmingham, UK for next month’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships.

In other events involving Washington athletes:

—University Place native Andrea Geubelle was second in the women’s triple jump, with a season best 45-2.5 (13.78m) as Tori Franklin won in a personal best 46-5.25 (14.15m). WSU alum Kiana Davis was eighth at 41-7 (12.67m); 

—In the men’s 3000, Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts was sixth in 8:01.04, while teammate Izaic Yorks was eighth at 8:04.68.  Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo won in 7:57.88; 

—In qualifying action, former Renton native Devon Allen won his heat of the 60 hurdles in 7.58. Drew Windle of the Brooks Beasts won his heat of the men’s 800 in 1:49.20.

Hannah Fields (2:07.72), Savannah Colón (2:10.17) and Baylee Mires (2:12.24) of the Brooks Beasts all failed to advance in their heats of the women’s 800.

The mens’ 400 saw both Michael Berry (46.42) and Marcus Chambers (47.52) fail to advance, despite running season bests.

Complete day 2 results of the USATF Indoor championships are available here.

In La Libertad, El Salvador, just outside San Salvador, Tacoma native Joe Gray won the men’s 10k race at the NACAC/Pan American Cup Cross Country championships Saturday.

Gray ran 30:02 to outdistance USA teammate Augustus Maiyo, who ran 30:05, as the USA placed five runners in the top seven.

Washington alum Aaron Nelson, competing on his first USA national team, finished seventh in 31:09.

In the men’s under-20 8k race, Washington redshirt freshman Thomas Nobbs finished third in 25:23 to help Canada take the team title, as the USA’s Connor Lane, who attends Stanford won in 25:06.

Washington freshman Tibebu Proctor was 12th in 26:13.

Here’s Nelson’s Instagram post after the race:



In South Bend, Indiana, the Washington men’s and women’s distance medley relay squads took a shot at moving up the NCAA Division I performance lists at the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame.

The women’s team of Anna Maxwell, Raquel Tjernagel, Hannah Derby & Maddie Meyers finished 12th in 11:14.17, short of their season best of 11:08.83.

Meanwhile, the mens’ squad of Nate Beamer, Ryan Croson, Devan Kirk and Colby Gilbert finished sixth in their section, running a season best 9:43.81.  

In a separate section, the University of Wisconsin, with Seattle Prep alum Joe Hardy running the opening 1200 leg, finished third in 9:27.72 behind Stanford (9:26.91) and Oregon (9:27.17).


Both Washington squads will have one final shot to qualify for the NCAA championships at next week’s MPSF championships at the Dempsey Indoor.  The women’s team will need to run in the low 11:04 range, while the men’s team will have to run at least low 9:31 to have a shot at one of the 12 spots.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference, USA Track & Field, the El Salvador Athletics Federation, University of Washington and Notre Dame all contributed to this report. The IAAF and TFRRS provided statistical information.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Scout's honor: Falcon sophomore Cai scores 28 team points to give SPU first-day lead at GNAC Indoor Champs...


NAMPA, Idaho—Seattle Pacific’s Scout Cai (left/photo by Paul Merca) was the story of the first day of competition at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track & field championships at the Jacksons Track at the Ford Idaho Center.

In a closer than expected competition, Cai outlasted Central Washington’s HarLee Ortega by a 3610-3584 margin to win her second straight conference pentathlon title.

Ortega took an eight point lead after the 60 hurdles, winning in 9.10 to 9.14, but was outscored by Cal in the high jump and the shot put, as the Seattle Pacific sophomore held a 2129-2101 lead after three events.

Ortega cut the margin down to five points by winning the long jump with a leap of 18-3.75 (5.58m) to Cai’s 18-0.5 (5.50m), meaning that for Ortega to win the pentathlon title, she had to beat Cal in the deciding 800 meters.

Cal took care of business, finishing second overall in the 800 in 2:23.20 to Ortega’s third place finish in 2:24.76.

After Cai’s victory in the pentathlon, she also won the pole vault with a mark of 12-4.75 (3.78m) over Central’s Halle Irvine (11-10/3.61m), and was second in the high jump at 5-5 (1.65m) to account for 28 of the Falcons’ 59 first day points, giving them a one-point lead over second place Central Washington.

In other finals, Central’s Alexa Shindruk was second in the women’s 5000 (17:26.33) behind Western Oregon’s Kennedy Rufener (17:18.64), while Seattle Pacific’s Alyssa Foote was fourth in 17:51.80.

Seattle Pacific’s distance medley relay team was fourth in 12:10.17, with Central Washington fifth, and Western Washington sixth.

Western Washington’s Jasmine McMullin won the women’s long jump (18-9.75/5.73m) over Central Washington’s Ali Anderson and HarLee Ortega, who had identical marks of 18-3.75 (5.58m) for second and third.

Liz Larson of Saint Martin’s gave the Saints their best finish of the day with her third place finish in the weight throw, throwing 53-2.25 (16.22m).

On the women’s side, Western Washington stands fourth with 41 points, while Saint Martin’s is in eighth with 9 points.

In the men’s competition, Central Washington’s Armando Tafoya finished second in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 58-5.5 (17.81m).

In other finals contested Friday, Central Washington was third in the distance medley relay, running 10:22.89, with Western Washington fourth (10:25.60), and Seattle Pacific seventh (10:34.94).

Anthony Manago of Saint Martin’s was fifth in the men’s long jump at 22-6.5 (6.87m), and Eric Hamel of Western Washington was fourth in the mens’ 5000 (15:17.86).

After the first four events of the heptathlon, Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis is second with 2835 points, behind James Phillips of Concordia’s 3059.  Landis already has the automatic qualifying standard in the heptathlon after winning the UW Invitational last month with a 5407 score.

Simon Fraser is the first day team leader with 27 points. Western Washington stands sixth with 17, followed by Central Washington at 14.  Saint Martin’s is ninth with 6, and Seattle Pacific rounds out the field with 2 points.


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2016 US Olympian and University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo stands second in the heptathlon at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Taiwo has a four event score of 3216 points, 36 behind leader Devon Williams.

Taiwo ran 7.15 in the 60 meters, then long jumped 23-3.5 (7.10m), threw the shot 41-10 (12.75m), then won the high jump with a clearance of 6-10.75 (2.10m).

Complete results from the first day of competition at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships are available here.

The University of Washington will send both their men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams to South Bend, Indiana for Saturday’s Alex Wilson Invitational hosted by Notre Dame, as they hope to run fast enough to be one of the 12 teams competing at next month’s NCAA indoor track & field championships in College Station, Texas.


Finally, just got word that Saturday’s NACAC Cross Country Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador will be live streamed via YouTube on this link, beginning at 7 am, pacific time:


Current Husky freshman Tibu Proctor and Washington alum Aaron Nelson, along with Tacoma native Joe Gray are all part of the Team USA squad in El Salvador.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field , the University of Washington, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

All four Washington D2 schools off to Idaho for GNAC indoor championships...

It’s championship week for all four of Washington’s NCAA Division II schools, as Central Washington, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s head east to Nampa, Idaho for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track & field championship meet at Jacksons Indoor Center.

On the women’s side, Seattle Pacific and Alaska Anchorage are on paper, the teams to beat, as those two schools have been the only ones to win the conference crown.

The Falcons return the majority of the athletes that scored 124 points to win the GNAC title, but will have to hold off a well balanced Alaska Anchorage squad that is ranked #21 in the USTFCCCA Division II poll, along with #16 Simon Fraser.

The Falcons’ Scout Cai (above/photo courtesy GNAC), the defending pentathlon champion, enters the meet with a score of 3,709 points that is fifth in Division II this season. Cai is also tied for the GNAC lead in the long jump (18-3/5.56m), is second in the pole vault (11-7.25/3.54m) and third in the high jump (5-5/1.65m). 

Geneva Lehnert returns to defend her GNAC high jump crown, entering the meet second in the conference at 5-6.5 (1.69m).

Western Washington’s Jasmine McMullin looks to earn her third career championship in the triple jump, entering with the best mark in the GNAC at 39-4.5 (12.00m).

Central Washington looks for big points from four athletes—HarLee Ortega, Ali Anderson, Mariah Vongsaveng, and Halle Irvine. Ortega and Anderson are outstanding pentathletes who could challenge Cal if she slips up. Ortega is the conference leader in the long jump, and is second in the triple jump, while Anderson leads in the 400.  

Vongsaveng was an NCAA qualifier in the hurdles last year, and Irvine is the conference leader in the pole vault.

Central Washington’s men’s squad will be led by a pair of champions in Kodiak Landis in the heptathlon, and Armando Tafoya in the 35-pound weight throw.

The GNAC will provide a live stream of the championship meet beginning at 2:30 pm Friday and 10:15 am Saturday at facebook.com/GNACSports.



The men’s heptathlon gets the meet started Friday at 9 am, and Saturday at 9:30 am, while the women’s pentathlon starts Friday at 9:15 am.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.  TFRRS contributed statistical information.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Olympians Taiwo, Allen & Geubelle lead Washington contingent to Albuquerque for USATF Indoor champs...


Eighteen athletes with Washington ties are entered in this weekend’s USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships that starts Friday at the Albuquerque Convention Center and runs through Sunday.

2016 US Olympian Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) kicks it off in the two-day heptathlon, as he looks to prove that he’s all the way back from injuries that derailed his 2017 season.

Two of Taiwo’s Olympic teammates are also entered, as former Renton resident Devon Allen is in the 60 hurdles, and University Place native Andrea Geubelle is in the triple jump.

Pullman’s Katie Nageotte, who enters the meet with the fifth best mark in the world, is entered in the pole vault, where she faces 2016 Olympians Sandi Morris and Jenn Suhr. Nageotte failed to clear a height at last week’s Husky Classic.

Seattle’s Brooks Beasts squad, the majority of whom are already in Albuquerque for a six week training stint at altitude, has eight athletes entered, led by 2017 world championships team member Drew Windle in the men’s 800, where he is seeded second, according to the meet’s list of declared entries.

Other members of the Beasts entered are Baylee Mires and Hannah Fields (w800); Brannon Kidder, Garrett Heath, and Henry Wynne (m1500); Katie Mackey (w1500/3000); and Izaic Yorks (m3000).  Heath is also entered in the mens’ 3000.

Camas native Alexa Efraimson is entered in the women’s 1500, as is Washington alum Eleanor Fulton.  Fulton is also entered in the women’s 3000 along with fellow Husky alum Mel Lawrence.

Training partners Marcus Chambers and Michael Berry, both of whom are coached by UW sprint coach Eric Metcalf, are entered in the men’s 400 after getting their qualifying marks at last week’s Husky Classic.  Washington State alum CJ Allen got his USATF qualifying mark at the Husky Classic last week as well, but is not on the confirmed entry list at the time of this writing.

Washington State alum Kiana Davis is entered in the triple jump, and Katie Burnett, who has moved back to the Seattle area, is entered in the 3000m race walk, after winning the national title at 50K last month.

Jeremy Taiwo is also entered in the men’s high jump.  Jakobe’ Ford, who qualified for the national championship meet at last week’s Husky Classic when he won with a mark of 7-4.25 (2.24m) is not on the list of declared entries.



SEVERAL WASHINGTON ATHLETES RECEIVE USATF FOUNDATION GRANTS

The USA Track & Field Foundation announced that 65 athletes around the country in various disciplines are the recipients of grants to assist in travel, medical, and equipment needs.

Athletes receiving grants in the amount of $4000 with Washington ties are:

Jeremy Taiwo—Decathlon
Marcus Chambers—400m
Hannah Fields—1500m
Katie Nageotte—Pole Vault
Kara Winger—Javelin

The USATF Foundation provides a means to attract and guide funds to new and innovative track & field programs with an emphasis on providing opportunities for youth and emerging elite athletes.


NELSON, PROCTOR & GRAY NAMED TO NATIONAL TEAMS

Based on their placing at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida on February 3rd, current Husky Tibebu Proctor (left/photo by Paul Merca), and Washington alum Aaron Nelson, along with Tacoma native Joe Gray were named to the Team USATF squad that competes this Saturday at the NACAC Cross Country Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Proctor finished second in the men’s under-20 8k championship race, while Gray was 11th and Nelson 13th in the men’s senior 10k race.

This marks Proctor and Nelson’s first appearance on a USATF national team.

In the same release, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat was named to the USATF roster for the IAAF World Half-Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain on March 24th.

Lagat got his spot on the squad after running 62:00 to finish 15th overall and first masters (40-44) at last month’s Houston Half Marathon.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chase Smith becomes fourth Husky in school history to clear 18 feet indoors...

SEATTLE—One day after winning the pole vault at the Husky Classic with a clearance of  17-5.5 (5.32m), Washington’s Chase Smith (above/photo by Howard Lao) returned to the Dempsey Indoor to win the UW Open meet Sunday, and in doing so, became the fourth vaulter in school history to clear the hallowed 18-foot mark.

Smith cleared a personal best 18-1 (5.51m) to join Brad Walker, Scott Roth and Jax Thoirs as the only four men in UW history to clear 18 feet indoors (Garth Willard in 1992 and Steve Oravetz in 1979 turned the trick outdoors, giving the UW a total of six).

The junior, who qualified for last year’s NCAA indoor championships, began the day with a first attempt clearance of 16-6 (5.03m) then a first attempt make at 17-0 (5.18m).

Once he had the victory assured, he cleared 17-11.75 (5.48m) on his second attempt, then went 18-1 (5.51m) on his first attempt.

“It’s a good feeling to look back and know that there’s a lot to fix.”

He normally likes to start around 17-6, but after jumping for the second day in a row, he and Husky vault coach Pat Licari made the decision to start low as he didn’t have time to figure out his pole selection.

At yesterday’s Husky Classic, he attempted a personal best 17-11.75 (5.48m) and didn’t get it, but felt like he was in a good place today, telling himself on the runway, ‘you got this’.

On that first attempt, he blew through the pole, and decided to go to a bigger pole, a decision that proved correct.

After that make, Licari quickly looked at the TFRRS descending order and helped Smith make the call to go for another PR at 5.51 (18-1), a mark that put him in a tie for eighth on the NCAA Division I list this season.

Smith cleared that height on his first attempt, and thought to himself as he landed, “Whoa—no way!”

After calming down, he and Licari decided to go for a 9-centimeter PR, raising the bar to 18-4.5 (5.60m), a mark that would have put him in a tie for fourth on the NCAA descending order list had he made it.

Courtesy of the UW track team's Instagram account, here's video of Smith's jump:


The other big mark of the day came in the men’s high jump, as Shadle Park HS graduate Jakobe’ Ford, who won three events at last year’s Washington state high school championships, won with a clearance of 7-04.25 (2.24m), which would tie him for seventh on the current US indoor list.

Ford was originally scheduled to attend Texas Tech, but had some academic issues, and is enrolled at Everett CC.

In the women’s 1000, Trinity Western’s Regan Yee, the winner of the women’s mile Saturday, got the win ahead of Washington alum Eleanor Fulton of Skechers, running 2:42.99 to 2:43.28.

Academy of Art's Mobolade Ajomale, a Canadian Olympian in the 4 x 100 relay, won the 60 (6.81), and 400 (47.31), with the latter earning him an automatic qualifier for next month's NCAA Division II championships.

With upcoming conference championships, all five of Washington’s Division II schools had athletes entered in the meet, plus Seattle University and the host Huskies, with several other Division I, II, III and NAIA schools from around the Northwest and California, along with the University of Hawaii, which had a team in the Husky Classic, and was looking for an additional competitive opportunity.


NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.  The IAAF and TFRRS contributed statistical data used in this report.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

"Half-Hand" claws to victory in 3000 meters at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—He’s had his ups and downs over his University of Washington career, but the man who calls himself “Half-Hand” on social media came through in front of the home fans at Saturday’s Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor Saturday.

Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the host Huskies came through with a furious last lap of the Dempsey’s oversized 307-meter oval to win the mens’ 3000 meters, one of the meet’s featured races.

For most of the race, Gilbert, a native of Vancouver who attended Skyview HS, the same school that produced three-time US Olympian Kara Winger, lurked around sixth or seventh until about 400 meters to go, where he swung outside off the turn to put himself in position to challenge a bevy of runners.

Cameron Griffith of Arkansas and Cole Rockhold of Colorado State battled it out for most of the last lap, but Gilbert got in front of them with around 100 meters to go, and carried that momentum all the way to the finish line, winning in a time of 7:49.42, with Griffith the only other to break 7:50 at 7:49.78.

Gilbert’s time is currently the fourth fastest in NCAA Division I, pending the results of other meets around the country this weekend.

Husky fans also were treated to a big victory on the field by shot putter Jack Lembcke, who threw a big personal best of 63-10.5 (19.47m), inching him closer to third on the UW all-time list.

Lembcke’s toss was a personal best by over two feet, eclipsing the mark of 61-7.5 (18.78m) he set two weeks ago at the UW Invitational.

Other highlights:

—Regan Yee of Canada’s Trinity Western won a women’s mile duel with former Husky Eleanor Fulton, 4:33.43 to 4:34.22; 

—NCAA cross country champ Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico won a last lap duel in the women’s 3000, leading five women under 9:00, clocking 8:57.47; 

—In the men’s mile, Oregon’s Sam Prakel led nine men under 4:00, winning in 3:56.89, as Olympians Lopez Lomong (3:58.19/5th), and Evan Jager (3:58.27/7th) were non-factors in the last lap.

In a separate heat, Texas’ Alex Rogers got the win, but also won the award for unluckiest runner, clocking exactly 4:00.00;

—In the men’s 400, Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry won in 46.49, while Tacoma native Marcus Chambers was third in 46.93.  In a separate heat, WSU alum CJ Allen ducked under the USATF indoor qualifying standard of  47.40, winning in 47.33; 

—The women’s pole vault saw a minor upset, as high schooler Ellie Talius of Eastlake HS, the reigning Washington state champ, cleared 13-7 (4.14m) to beat Cal’s Lauren Martinez, who cleared the same height.

Pullman’s Katie Nageotte, currently the fifth highest vaulter in the world this season at 15-7.25 (4.76m), failed to clear her opening height of 14-6.75 (4.44m).


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a University of Washington squad of Hanna Tarleton, Imani Apostol, Carolyn Birkenfeld, and Raquel Tjernagel broke the UW school record in the women’s 4 x 400 relay at the Don Kirby Invitational, hosted by the University of New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center, finishing third in a time of 3:37.30 (adjusted down for altitude to 3:37.74), as the Huskies finished third overall to Oregon (3:30.18) and Stanford (3:34.73).

The UW men’s 4 x 400 relay of Evan Mafilas, Jacopo Spano, Michael Thomas, and Ryan Croson won in a time of 3:09.24 (altitude adjusted to 3:09.68).

In the women’s 800, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson won in 2:03.87 over Natalja Piliusina (2:05.65) of the Brooks Beasts.

The Huskies’ Ryan Croson was fourth overall in the men’s 400, running 46.97.

WSU’s Christapherson Grant was fourth in the finals of the men’s 60 hurdles, running 8.08.

Complete day 2 results of the Don Kirby Invitational are available here.

In Roxbury, Massachusetts, Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts finished third in the men’s 1500 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix,  running 3:41.03.


NOTE:  The University of Washington, Washington State University and the University of New Mexico’s sports information office contributed to this report.  The IAAF and TFRRS contributed statistical data used in this report.

Friday, February 9, 2018

USATF cross country champ Emily Infeld runs world leading 5000m time at Husky Classic...

SEATTLE—One week after winning the USATF cross country title, the Nike Bowerman TC’s Emily Infeld (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran to a closer than expected victory in the featured women’s 5000 meter run to highlight first day action at the Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor facility Friday night.

With Bowerman TC teammate and 2017 world championships steeplechase silver medalist Courtney Frerichs setting the pace, Infeld, the 2015 world championships bronze medalist at 10000m tucked behind Frerichs before finishing her pacing duties at the 3200 meter mark.

Infeld and 2016 Olympic triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen were well clear of the field and ran together after 3200 meters.  

On the final lap of the 307-meter oval, Infeld appeared to break away from Jorgensen, only to see the former University of Wisconsin swimmer and runner charge back with 100 meters to go.  Infeld had enough race savvy to hold off Jorgensen’s charge, winning the race in 15:15.52, the fastest time in the world (oversized track) this season.

Jorgensen, a two-time Big Ten track and cross country champ at Wisconsin, crushed her previous personal best of 15:52.19 from 2009, running 15:15.64, the second fastest time in the world.

Jorgensen is training with the Bowerman TC, though not on their roster as she makes the transition from triathlete to marathoner.

Five collegians in that race ducked under 16 minutes, compared to nine at the Iowa State Classic, run a few hours before, in a race that has NCAA qualifying implications.

Other highlights:

—In the men’s 5000, 11 collegians (12, counting Division II runner Sydney Gidabuday of Adams State, who was 10th in 13:50.29) ducked under 14 minutes, led by Mike Tate of Southern Utah, who won in a collegiate leading 13:37.33, a little over an hour after Syracuse’s Justyn Knight, the reigning NCAA cross country champion, took the collegiate lead in 13:39.59 at Iowa State.

Spokane native Tanner Anderson of the University of Oregon was fifth in 13:43.74.

In the Iowa State race, sixteen collegians, including Seattle Prep HS grad Joe Hardy of Wisconsin ran under 14 minutes.  Hardy finished 13th at Iowa State in 13:51.06.

—In a separate section of the women’s 5000, Washington State cross country All-American Vallery Korir won in a school record 16:07.72;

—The Washington State men and women swept the distance medley relays, with the men winning in 9:49.26, and the women running 11:29.22.


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Washington freshman Iman Brown was third overall in the women’s 200, as she ran 23.51, breaking her own school record of 23.85 from two weeks ago.at the Don Kirby Invitational hosted by the University of New Mexico.

Oregon’s Lauren Rain Williams won the women’s 200 in 23.16.

The Huskies’ Jason Palmer finished third overall in the men’s 400, as he ran 48.50 to win his heat.  Stanford’s Julian Body was the overall winner in 47.90.

Washington State’s highlight at Don Kirby was Zach Smith’s eighth place finish in the mens’ 200, running 21.40.


NOTE:  The University of Washington, Washington State University and the University of New Mexico’s sports information office contributed to this report.  The IAAF and TFRRS contributed statistical data used in this report.

Something to ponder as you're watching the 3000 & 5000s at this weekend's Husky Classic...

Both Edward Cheserek of Oregon and
Colby Gilbert of Washington got to
the 2017 NCAA indoor champs after
setting marks at the Dempsey
(Paul Merca photo)
Some quick notes before heading to the Dempsey for the start of the Husky Classic:

A little research from last year’s final NCAA Division I indoor rankings show the following stats about the top 16 marks in the men’s and women’s 3000 and 5000:

M 3000—8 of top 16 came from Dempsey
W 3000—8 of top 16 came from Dempsey 
M 5000—7 of top 15 came from Dempsey
W 5000—6 of top 15 came from Dempsey

Those meets were either the UW Invitational, the Husky Classic or the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship meets.

The other major meet that produced a high number of qualifying times (top 16 times) is the Iowa State Classic that produced 4 qualifiers in the men’s 3000, 1 in the women’s 3000, 7 in the men’s 5000, and 2 in the women’s 5000.

The Iowa State Classic also happens to be this weekend, so athletes, coaches and fans of collegiate distance running will be keeping tabs of both meets. We've provided a link to live stats from the meet if you're tracking it.

Incidentally the link to live stats for the Husky Classic is right here.

Something to keep in mind as you’re watching the distance races Friday and Saturday, or for that matter, the MPSF meet in two weeks.

On the professional circuit, Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts is in Boston for Friday’s David Hemery Valentine Invitational, where he’ll run the invitational mile, where Oregon grad Edward Cheserek is looking to run sub 3:50.

The next day, Garrett Heath of the Beasts is entered in the men’s 1500 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet, as he sharpens up for next week’s USATF Indoor championships in Albuquerque.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nike Bowerman TC's Courtney Frerichs, Emily Infeld, and Evan Jager headline Husky Classic...

With both collegiate conference and the USA indoor championships just around the corner, the distance races at Friday and Saturday’s Husky Classic takes center stage.

All nine of Washington’s Division I and Ii schools will be represented at both the Husky Classic as well as Sunday’s UW Open.

World championships medalists Courtney Frerichs (above/photo by Paul Merca) Emily Infeld, and Evan Jager are the headline performers entered in the Husky Classic.

Frerichs and Infeld are both entered in the women’s 5000 meters on Friday night. Frerichs, who was second at last year’s world championships in the steeplechase, races against her Nike Bowerman TC teammate Emily Infeld, who won a bronze medal in the 10000 in Beijing, and last week won the USATF cross country title.

They’ll race at 5:10pm against a field that includes Canadian 10000m record holder Natasha Wodak, former Baylor All-American and NACAC U-23 steeple champ Rachel Johnson, Colorado’s Erin Clark, and a slew of notable collegians looking to duck under 16 minutes and possibly cement their spots in the NCAA championships next month (16:09.81 is the #16 time in NCAA D1 entering this weekend).

Adding to the intrigue of this race is the entry of 2016 Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen, who stated a few months ago that she is transitioning to the marathon with the intent of competing for an Olympic team spot in that event.  Jorgensen is training in Portland with the Nike Bowerman TC.

The fast section of the women’s 5000 also includes former Husky Charlotte Prouse, who returns to the Dempsey after transferring to New Mexico at the end of the 2017 school year, and helped the Lobos win a national cross country title in the fall.

While the men’s 5000 on Friday doesn’t have quite the depth and intrigue of the women’s 5000, the Nike Oregon Project’s Suguru Osako, who threatened the Japanese national record but came up 63 seconds short in Fukuoka in December, when he ran 2:07:19.

He’ll go against countryman Shota Onizuka, who was on their U20 squad at the IAAF world cross country championships in China three years ago, plus a slew of collegians looking to duck under 13:50 in a meet that has traditionally produced a slew of NCAA qualifying marks, particularly in the distance races

Saturday’s highlights:

Women’s mile (3:27 pm)—The UW trio of Amy-Eloise Neale, Maddie Meyers and Anna Maxwell are the headliners, as they’ll run against 2017 Virginia Tech alum Hanna Green of the Nike Oregon TC, an NCAA scorer for the Hokies at 800m, and UW alum Eleanor Fulton; 

Mens mile (3:40 pm)—Olympic and world championships steeple medalist Evan Jager (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Nike Bowerman TC goes against teammate and two-time US Olympian Lopez Lomong, with Arizona’s Carlos Villarreal, and Oregon’s Mick Stanovsek, Sam Prakel, and Reed Brown aiming for sub-3:58 (3:59.05 is currently #16 in NCAA Division I); 

Men’s 400 (3:57 pm)—Former Washington high school stars and Oregon alums Michael Berry and Marcus Chambers go head to head, with former NCAA 400 hurdles champ Reggie Wyatt.  In a separate heat, WSU alum and 3-time NCAA champ Jeshua Anderson is scheduled to race; 

Women’s 800 (4:02 pm)—This race showcases Brooks Beasts’ Hannah Fields, Baylee Mires, and Savannah Colón, against Canadian world championships competitor and Simon Fraser alum Lindsey Butterworth, and the Huskies’ Hannah Derby; 

Men’s 800 (4:10 pm)—Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy of the Nike Oregon Project, who is rounding himself into race shape, goes against Ryan Martin, a UC Santa Barbara alum now competing for Asics Furman Elite; 

Women’s 3000 (4:20 pm)—A predominantly collegiate field with Prouse entered as she goes against former NCAA cross country champ Allie Ostrander of Boise State; 

Men’s 3000 (4:44 pm)—Washington’s Colby Gilbert and Fred Huxham go against Oklahoma State alum Craig Nowak and Japan’s Hayato Seki, with a plethora of collegiate runners looking for sub 7:55 (7:58.64 is currently #16 on the 2018 NCAA D1 list).

The best field event is the women’s pole vault at 2:00 pm, which features Pullman’s Katie Nageotte, who was second at the NYRR Millrose Games in New York and is tied for fifth on the 2018 world list with her 15-7.25 (4.76m) set at the WSU Indoor Open last month.

She’ll go against UW alum Kristina Owsinski, Cal’s Lauren Martinez, and WSU’s Molly Scharmann.

US Olympian in the decathlon Jeremy Taiwo goes in the men’s high jump at 2 pm against Canadian Olympian Mike Mason.

The men’s shot put at 3 pm features the Huskies’ Jack Lembcke against the Cal duo of McKay Johnson and Peter Simon, both of whom are ranked in the top 15 in NCAA D1.  Olympic Trials finalist David Pless of the Iron Wood TC will also make the field interesting.

Notably absent from the meet will be the Huskies’ sprinters and hurdlers, as they will compete  instead at the Don Kirby Collegiate Invitational along with the Washington State sprinters and hurdlers Friday and Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



The Husky Classic, the Don Kirby Collegiate Invitational, and the UW Open will be streamed live ($) by media partner Flotrack.

NOTE:  The University of Washington and the University of New Mexico sports information offices contributed to this report.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Washington men still in USTFCCCA top-25 national rankings, while Husky women drop out...

NEW ORLEANS—With a few weeks left in the regular season, the University of Washington men’s indoor track team is still ranked in the USTFCCCA national top-25 computer rankings released by the coaches’ association Monday.

The Huskies are down one spot to number 21 in the rankings.

The nation’s top five men's teams according to the rankings are Florida, Texas Tech, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama.

Teams from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation ranked in the top 25 include number 8 Stanford, number 10 Oregon, number 14 Colorado, and number 15 USC.

On the women’s side, the Huskies were less fortunate, as they dropped out of the national top 25, where they were previously ranked #23 last week after a stellar performance by their distance medley relay team, and individual performances by Maddie Meyers (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Anna Maxwell in the mile.

The country’s top five teams are Arkansas, Georgia, Oregon, USC and Kentucky.

Number 12 Stanford, and number 25 Arizona State are the only other teams from the MPSF ranked in the top 25.

Washington returns to action this weekend, as the Dawgs host the Husky Classic Friday and Saturday, and the UW Open Sunday.

UW RELEASES ACCEPTED ENTRIES FOR BOTH HUSKY CLASSIC AND UW OPEN

Monday, the University of Washington released the list of accepted entries for Friday and Saturday’s Husky Classic, and Sunday’s UW Open.

The accepted entries for the Husky Classic are available here, while the accepted entries for the UW Open are available here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will have a preview of the Husky Classic later on this week.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA and the University of Washington sports information office contributed to this report. 

Hannah Cunliffe signs with adidas and with Paul Doyle of Doyle Management Group...

We now know Hannah Cunliffe’s (left/photo by Paul Merca) professional plans.

On her Instagram account, the Federal Way HS grad and University of Oregon standout announced that she has signed a contract with adidas, and will be represented by Paul Doyle of Doyle Management Group in Georgia.



Doyle Management is one of the top track and field athlete agencies in the United States, representing athletes such as pole vaulter Sandi Morris, hurdlers Queen Harrison and Cassandra Tate, middle distance runners Kate Grace and Gabs Grunewald, along with sprinters Andre DeGrasse and Asafa Powell, triple jumper Christian Taylor, and hurdler Devon Allen.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

WSU's Molly Scharmann vaults to victory at Cougar Indoor...

PULLMAN—Molly Scharmann (above/photo courtesy WSU Athletics) won the women’s pole vault to highlight competition in the second day of competition at the Cougar Indoor at the Indoor Practice Facility on the Washington State campus.

Scharmann won the event with a personal best of 13-3.5 (4.05m), a mark that puts her fourth on the MPSF conference performance list.

The mark is also the fourth best in school history, and capped off an outstanding weekend by athletes coached by WSU pole vault coach and American record holder Brad Walker.

Earlier in the afternoon, Cougar volunteer coach Katie Nageotte soared to a second place finish at the NYRR Millrose Games in New York, clearing 15-5.5 (4.71m).

Afterwards, Scharmann said, "The training has gone a little bit better, just working on the little things in practice. I've been sick for the past couple weeks and this is the first week I've felt well so that helped me out a lot today. In practice we don't use bars, we mostly practice with bungees but I definitely know I have a lot more coming this year."

WSU alum Kiana Davis broke the meet record in the triple jump, bounding 42-4.75 (12.92m). The Cougars’ Greer Alsop (40-3.5/12.28m) and Oyinlola Akinlosotu (40-0.5/12.20m) put themselves into the top ten on the MPSF performance list with their efforts.

All told, WSU athletes garnered 13 wins over the course of the two days of competition.

Central Washington’s Mariyah Vongsaveng won the women’s 60 hurdles in a season best time of 8.68. 

In Friday’s pentathlon, both HarLee Ortega (3651) and Ali Anderson (3605) put themselves in the top ten on the NCAA Division II performance list with their second and third place finish behind WSU’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson’s 4190 performance.



NOTE:  The sports information offices of Washington State University and Central Washington University contributed to this report.

Devon Allen wins Millrose 60 hurdles in new personal best...

NEW YORK—Former Renton resident Devon Allen (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the 60 meter hurdles at the NYRR Millrose Games Saturday to highlight Washington athletes competing at the famed Armory Track & Field Center.

In a duel with 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt and former US indoor national champ Aleec Harris, both of whom competed at the Dempsey Indoor in Seattle in the last month, Allen got a strong start and held on for the victory. 

Pullman’s Katie Nageotte finished second in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 15-5.5 (4.71m) as Stanford alum and reigning world and Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece won, also clearing 15-5.5. 

While both Nageotte and Stefanidi both cleared 15-5.5 on their second attempt, Stefanidi got the win based on her second attempt clearance at 15-1.5 (4.61m), a height that Nageotte needed three tries to get.

Drew Windle of the Brooks Beasts, Nageotte’s college teammate at Ashland, finished 3rd in the men’s 800, running 1:45.53 charging from seventh in the final lap

Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts finished fifth and set an indoor personal best of 8:43.15 in the women’s 3000, while fellow Washington alum Mel Lawrence ran 8:50.96 in eighth place to also set a personal best.

Rainier Beach HS grad Michael Berry finished fifth in the men’s 400m, running 47.83.

Two weeks after winning the USATF women's 50k race walk championship, Katie Burnett finished fifth in the mile race walk in a time of 7:06.15.  The mile walk was designated as a USA Track & Field national championship race.

Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts finished seventh in the mens’ 3000, running 7:47.36.

Camas’ Alexa Efraimson finished seventh in the women’s Wanamaker mile, running 4:32.73.


In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Henry Wynne of the Brooks Beasts, finished third in the Camel City Elite mile run at the JDL Fast Track, running 3:58.80.

Washington alum Izaic Yorks was second in the men’s 3000 running 7:53.54, finishing behind Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo.


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts won the men’s 800 at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Kidder ran 1:47.99, comfortably ahead of Brandon Lasater of the Atlanta Track Club, who ran 1:49.07.

Baylee Mires and Savannah Colón of the Beasts went 1-3 in the women’s 800, with Mires taking the win in 2:06.97, and Colón running 2:07.97, just ahead of former Beast Megan Malasarte’s 2:08.53.


In Tallahassee, Florida, Washington freshman Tibu Proctor finished second at the USATF national cross country championships in the men's under-20 8k race .

Proctor was in a group of five early, before taking command at approximately the 5k mark., but could not shake off the rest of the group.

In the final 3 kilometers of the 8k race, Stanford’s Connor Lane took control, and cruised to a 8-second victory, winning in 25:05, with Proctor second in 25:13.

Proctor’s second place finish gives him a spot on the US national team that will compete in the NACAC Cross Country championships on February 17th in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Tacoma native Joe Gray and Washington alum Aaron Nelson finished 11th and 13th in the men’s open 10k race.

Gray ran 29:54, while Nelson was eight seconds back.

Gary and/or Nelson could potentially find themselves on the USA squad for the NACAC championship race depending on which athletes who finished in front decline their team spots.

Nelson announced on his Instagram account that he will take the trip to El Salvador and run in the NACAC championship race.


Olympian Leonard Korir won the national cross country title, running 29:17, one second ahead of two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp.


NOTE:  The New York Road Runners, JDL Fast Track, the University of New Mexico, and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Alissa Brooks-Johnson sets personal best to win Cougar Indoor pentathlon...

PULLMAN—Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson (above/photo courtesy WSU Sports Information) and Brock Eager’s performances were the highlight of the first day of competition at the Cougar Indoor at the WSU Indoor Practice Facility Friday.

Brooks-Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 heptathlon champion, won the pentathlon with a five-event score of 4190, currently the fourth best score in the country this season.

The redshirt senior started hot, setting a personal best of 8.57 in the 60 hurdles, then cleared 5-7.75 (1.72m) in the high jump.

She then threw a season best 38-4.25 (11.69m) in the shot, and set two consecutive personal bests to close the competition, long jumping 19-0 (5.79m) an running the 800m in 2:15.78.

Eager, an NCAA qualifier last outdoor season for the Cougs in the hammer, set a personal best of 68-0.5 (20.74m) to win the 35-pound weight throw, the #21 mark in the country so far this season.

The meet resumes Saturday,


Across the Palouse in Moscow, Idaho, Eastern Washington freshman Alexis Rolan (left/photo courtesy EWU Sports Information) was one of the stars of Friday’s Idaho Duals meet hosted by the University of Idaho at the Kibbie Dome.

Rolan was a double winner for the Eagles, winning both the 60 and 200 meters, taking the former in 7.62, and the 200 in 24.59.

What was most impressive with Rolan’s win in the 200 was the fact that in the timed-final race, she ran it without significant competition, since she did not have a mark this season. Without a 2018 mark, the freshman ended up seeded in a lesser heat.

Leanne Asper won the 400 in 57.00, and freshman Kaitin Gibb was a winner in the 60 hurdles, crossing in 8.90.

On the men’s side, Logan Stahl won the 800 in 1:54.02, while freshman Joe Gauthier won the 60 in 6.92.

Larry Still, the defending Big Sky pole vault champion both indoors and outdoors, dominated the field, winning with a mark of 16-8.75 (5.10m).

All in all, Eastern Washington athletes took home 12 titles in the meet that featured Gonzaga, plus Big Sky members Montana, Portland State, and the host Idaho Vandals.

Gonzaga’s lone overall win came from Cullen McEachern, who won the men’s 3000 in 8:44.16.

Complete results of the Idaho Duals are available here.

NOTE:  The University of Idaho, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and Gonzaga University’s sports information offices contributed to this report.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Washington pros off to Millrose Games & Camel City Elite meets...

The professional indoor circuit moves into high gear this weekend, with several athletes with Washington ties competing in various parts of the country as they try to attain marks for the USATF Indoor championships on February 16-18th in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Seven athletes are headed to New York for Saturday’s NYRR Millrose Games at the Armory, led by 2017 world championships competitors Drew Windle (left/photo by Paul Merca) and former Renton resident Devon Allen.

Windle is entered in the men’s 800, while Allen, fresh off a double win in Annapolis, Maryland last weekend, is entered in the men’s 60 hurdles, where he’ll face off against 2012 London Olympic champion Aries Merritt and Aleec Harris.

Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts will run in the men’s 3000, while Washington alums Katie Mackey and Mel Lawrence are entered in the women’s 3000.

Pullman’s Katie Nageotte is in a rematch of last month’s Pole Vault Summit competition against Olympic medalist Sandi Morris, with reigning Olympic and world champ Katerina Stefanidi thrown in for good measure.

Camas’ Alexa Efraimson is entered in the women’s Wanamaker Mile, while Bellevue’s Katie Burnett, who won the USATF national title in the 50k walk a few weeks ago, drops down to the mile.

The entry list for the Millrose Games is available here.  NBC Sports will have coverage of the meet from 1-3 pm (Channel 5 in Seattle), while media partner USATF.tv will stream the meet from 9am-1pm.

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, University of Washington alum Izaic Yorks (m 3000) and Pasco HS alum Marisa Howard (w 3000) are both entered in the Camel City Elite meet at the JDL Fast Track complex.

The meet will be streamed live by media partner RunnerSpace.com ($) beginning at 11 am, pacific.


With no world championships team spots on the line, there aren’t as many entries for Saturday’s USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida.

However, there are no shortage of big names in the meet, as two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp, who was in Seattle racing a 5000m at the Dempsey last week, and world championships steeple medalist Courtney Frerichs are entered.

Washington freshman Tibu Proctor is entered in the men’s under-20 race, while Washington alum Aaron Nelson and Tacoma native Joe Gray are both entered in the men’s open championship race.

Tallahassee will also host next year’s championship race, which serves as the selection race for the IAAF world cross country championships in Denmark.


NOTE:  The NYRR Millrose Games, JDL Fast Track and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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