Thursday, September 18, 2014

Huskies set to host Sundodger Invitational Saturday at Lincoln Park...

After a low-key non-scoring meet against Seattle University at the end of August and a week-long training camp at Seabrook on the Washington coast, the University of Washington returns to action as they host the annual Sundodger Invitational race at Lincoln Park in West Seattle on Saturday.

Both Washington squads enter the Sundodger meet nationally ranked, with the men's team ranked 27th, and the women's team #14.

In the featured invitational 6k women's race, Washington faces teams from Fresno State, Hawaii, Seattle University, Trinity Western, and Washington State.  The men's 8k features Fresno State, Seattle University, Washington State, and Club Northwest.

Defending men's champion Aaron Nelson (above, # 902/photo by Paul Merca) looks to add a second Sundodger title to his resume as he aims to return to Terre Haute in November, where he finished 20th and earned All-America honors.

Among those who could challenge Nelson are teammates Tyler King, the UW/SU Open winner, and  Tim Cummings.  Washington State's Richard Shroy, Forrest Shaffer, and John Whalan of Washington State could also contend, as could John Ricardi of Club Northwest.

With defending champ Katie Flood out of cross country eligibility, there will be a new champion crowned, with veterans Maddie Meyers, Kaylee Flanagan in the mix along with Washington State's Abby Regan and Ruby Roberts, who went 1-2 at the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet in Spokane on August 30th.  Catie Arrigoni, an NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase from Eastern Washington, is entered as an unattached athlete and could be in the hunt assuming she's in the invitational field.

Anna Maxwell, the Huskies' outstanding freshman from California who won the UW/SU Open meet, is on the entry list.  Both Amy-Eloise Neale and Katie Knight are missing from the Huskies' entries.

From a competitive standpoint, the women's open features several NCAA Division II and III squads led by GNAC co-pre season favorites Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser, along with conference member Central Washington and defending NAIA champion University of British Columbia.

The runners to watch include UBC's Maria Bernard, a Canadian internationalist, NCAA D2 All-American Connie Morgan of Central Washington, and her teammate Dani Eggleston; Seattle Pacific's Lynelle Decker and Anna Patti; Annie Wade of Western Oregon, and Emma Chadsey of Simon Fraser.  Western Washington's steeplechase All-American Katelyn Steen is entered as an individual, but it's unknown whether or not she'll run in the open or invitational section.

Many of the same teams are entered in the men's open races, but who might be the individual champion is up for grabs.  Will Cliff of British Columbia, Rudy Spencer of Central Washington, and unattached runners Nathan McLaughlin and Nathan Wadhwani could be in the mix.

Also on the schedule at the Sundodger are both boys and girls varsity and junior varsity races, with the boy's varsity the feature prep race matching up last year's Washington 4A champ and Nike Cross Nationals winner Gig Harbor against Portland's Central Catholic, who is #7 in Flotrack's national boy's high school rankings so far in this young season.

The meet schedule:

9:00 am - Women's 6000m Open
9:40 am - Men's 8000m Open
10:25 am - High School Girls 5000m Varsity
11:00 am - Women's 6000m Invitational 
11:35 am - Men's 8000m Invitational 
12:20 pm - High School Boys 5000m Varsity
12:50 pm - High School Girls 5000m Junior Varsity
1:30 pm - High School Boys 5000m Junior Varsity

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Utah grad Amanda Mergaert and Georgia alum Megan Malasarte newest members of Brooks Beasts...

Amanda Mergaert
In a release sent out to members of the media, the Seattle based Brooks Beasts announced that the team has added former University of Utah standout Amanda Mergaert and University of Georgia alum Megan Malasarte (photos courtesy Brooks Running) to its roster.

“Megan provides incredible poise and a collaborative mindset to the team, and Amanda brings a quiet ferocity and a lot of enthusiasm. They want to be here and are fired up,” said Brooks Beasts Head Coach Danny Mackey. “I’m thrilled to have them both on the team to help us continue competing at an elite level while inspiring people of all levels to lace up and run.”

Mergaert spent the 2014 season training with Drew Warternburg in Davis, California, and raced under the colors of Seattle-based Oiselle.  She finished 14th in the 1500m finals at the USA Indoor championship, and was ninth in the 1500m semis at the outdoor championships in Sacramento, where she ran a personal best of 4:12.25.

Megan Malasarte
Malasarte finished fourth in the NCAA 800m run, and was third in this year's SEC 800.  She won the 800 at the NCAA East Preliminary round in Jacksonville, Florida in a personal best of 2:02.31 en route to the NCAAs in Eugene.  She also won the 800 at this year's Drake Relays, and was third in the SEC indoor 800 this season.  At this year's USA outdoor championships, she advanced to the semis, where she finished one spot out of a place in the finals.

Both athletes will make the move to Seattle shortly, and begin base training with the Beasts this fall

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lagat's career undefeated streak at Continental Cup ended; Mackey battles food poisoning in Morocco...

MARRAKECH, Morocco--Washington State alum Bernard Lagat's (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) career undefeated streak at the IAAF Continental and World Cups came to a screeching halt as the 39-year old finished third in the men's 3000 on the final day of competition at Le Grande Stade.

Lagat, the winner of the 1500 at the 2002 World Cup in Madrid, and a double winner of the 3000 and 5000 in Split, Croatia four years ago, fell out of contention on the final lap of the race, as Kenya's Caleb Ndiku, running for Team Africa, pulled away to take the win over Azerbaijan's Hayle Ibrahimov, running for Team Europe, 7:52.64 to 7:53.12.

Lagat, competing for Team Americas, crossed the line in 7:53.95.

Courtesy of the IAAF, here is Lagat speaking to mixed zone interviewer Polly Wright:

In the women's 5000, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey, who according to her father Kevin Follett, suffered from food poisoning, finished a disappointing eighth in 17:06.25.

Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and Team Africa took the victory in a time of 15:33.32.

In the team combined competition, Europe won with 447.5 points, followed by the Americas with 390, Africa at 339, and Asia-Pacific at 257.5.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jordan McNamara wins Fifth Avenue Mile over Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts...

NEW YORK--Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara (left/photo by Paul Merca) unleashed a furious sprint to the finish to emerge as the surprise winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile on the streets of New York City.

2013 world championships 1500m medalist and McNamara's former Oregon teammate Matthew Centrowitz was the favorite going into the race, but Kenyan veteran Augustine Choge and NCAA champ Lawi Lalang went to the front early, with Lalang in front at the halfway point.

At the 1320 mark, Garrett Heath of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts darted to the lead and almost stole the win, but a mass sprint to the line put everything in doubt, until McNamara nosed to the front with a few strides remaining to take the win in 3:51.0, with Heath second in the same time.

Afterwards, McNamara said "I tried to time it right. Once you get excited, cool things can happen."

In the women's race, Washington alum Ingvill Måkestad Bovin finished fourth in 4:22, while Tacoma's Brie Felnagle was 15th in 4:32.  2011 world 1500m champ Jenny Simpson won in a time of 4:20 (road mile times rounded up to whole second).

In Marrakech, Morocco, Vancouver native Kara Patterson (above/photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport) finished seventh in the javelin with a toss of 171-4 (52.22m) at the IAAF Continental Cup meet at Le Grande Stade.

University of Minnesota alum and world record holder Barbora Spotakova from the Czech Republic, representing Team Europe, won with a throw of 214-11 (65.52m).

Sunday, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat will run the 3000, while Washington alum Katie Mackey will run the 5000.

On the college front, Gonzaga's women's team finished fifth at the WCC Preview meet at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, California, hosted by Santa Clara University.

Junior Amelia Evans led the Bulldogs with her fifth place finish over the 6k course in 21:20, as Danielle Shanahan of Loyola Marymount won in 20:51.

Loyola Marymount won the meet with a low score of 39 points, with Gonzaga scoring 120.

In Ellensburg, Dani Eggleston (14:55) and Connie Morgan (14:58) of Central Washington went 1-2 to lead the Wildcats to the team tile at the Central Washington Invitational at Rotary Park over the 4k course.

The Wildcats scored 19 points to easily outdistance Western Washington, who scored 35 points.

The Vikings were led by Taylon Guenther's third place finish in 15:03, as All-American Katelyn Steen sat out the meet.

On the men's side, the Wildcats squeezed out a 34-37 win over the Vikings.

Unattached runner Issac Derline won the 6k race in 19:36, while Max Romey of Western was the top scorer across the line in second in a time of 19:37.

Rudy Spencer was Central Washington's top runner in fourth in a time of 20:06.

NOTE:  The IAAF, New York Road Runners, and the University of Santa Clara contributed to this report.

Friday, September 12, 2014

WEEKEND PREVIEW: IAAF Continental Cup last big meet of pro season; Zags, WWU & CWU in X-C action...

The professional track & field season winds down this weekend, as a trio of Washington affiliated athletes--Kara Patterson,  Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy IAAF), and Katie Mackey--are in Marrakech, Morocco for the IAAF Continental Cup Saturday and Sunday.

All three are part of the Americas squad in this four team meet between the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Europe, which is in its second edition after replacing the old World Cup meet.

The Americas squad is composed of athletes from North, Central & South America, plus the Caribbean.

Patterson will throw the javelin Saturday along with Canada's Liz Gleadle on the Americas team, while defending champion Lagat--who is undefeated in both the Continental and World Cup meets in his previous appearances--will run the 3000.

Sunday, Washington alum Katie Mackey will run the 5000 along with Mexico's Brenda Flores.

Universal Sports will provide television and online coverage of the meet.

In New York, Jordan McNamara and Garrett Heath will run in Saturday's Fifth Avenue Mile through the streets of New York.

They'll go against a field headed by Oregon alum and world championship medalist Matthew Centrowitz along with Kenyan veteran Augustine Choge, and domestic stars Will Leer, David Torrence, and NCAA champs Lawi Lalang and Mac Fieet.

On the women's side, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle and former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovim are in the field, with world junior champ Mary Cain, 2011 world champ Jenny Simpson, and Kenya's Sally Kipyego the headliners.

Three of Washington's Division I and II schools are in action Saturday, as Gonzaga travels to Sunnyvale, California for the WCC Preview meet at Baylands Park, hosted by Santa Clara University.

The Zags are sending their women's squad, led by junior Ameiia Evans, the team's top finisher at the season-opening Clash of the Inland Northwest meet two weeks ago in Spokane, as they race over 6km at 9:45 am.

Gonzaga returns to Sunnyvale on November 1st for the WCC championship meet.

In Division II, Central Washington hosts the CWU Invitational meet at Ellensburg Rotary Park Saturday, with the women kicking things off at 4 pm over a 4k course, and the men following at 4:40pm.

Western Washington, who is consistently among the top teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will send both a men's and women's team to Ellensburg for the race.

GNAC teams from Saint Martin's and Seattle Pacific will open their season at next week's Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington.

NOTE:  The IAAF, New York Road Runners, and the sports information offices at Santa Clara University, Gonzaga University, and Central Washington University contributed to this report.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Heath third, Lagat fifth in road mile at Puma Great North CityGames...

NEWCASTLE,  United Kingdom--Defending Puma Great North CityGames mile champion Garrett Heath (above/photo courtesy Brooks Sports) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts finished third Saturday after going to the front early in this road race along the Quayside cheered on by a throng of thousands in this unique setting combining the best elements of track and field in a street venue.

Heath went to the front early along with Washington State alum Bernard Lagat, fresh off a season best in the 5000 in Berlin on Sunday.

After a 62 second first 400, Augustine Choge of Kenya took the lead and held it for the next 800 meters, crossing the 3/4 mile mark in 3:08.

As they entered the track for the last 150 meter straightaway, eventual winner Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany swung wide to give himself room to sprint, with Heath trying to follow.  Meanwhile, former Olympic champ Asbel Kiprop of Kenya shot past Heath but could not close quickly as Tesfaye won in a course record 4:01, with Kiprop second in 4:02.  

Heath was third in 4:02, while Lagat, who was pinned near some temporary fencing with about 300 meters to go, finished fifth in 4:03 (all times from road mile rounded up to whole seconds from time posted on official results).

In the women's one mile road race, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle finished fifth in 4:38, as Laura Murr of Great Britain won in a time of 4:35.

In a race that we completely overlooked, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey finished seventh in the 1500 at the Palio Citta della Quercia  meeting in Rovereto, Italy on September 2nd.

Mackey ran 4:13.03, as Federica del Buono of Italy won in 4:05.32.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vikings and Falcons ranked in USTFCCCA pre season national cross country poll...

NEW ORLEANS--With the start of the Division II season for Washington's four schools in nine days, the United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its national pre-season rankings.

The Western Washington Vikings are the only Washington squad with both men's and women's teams ranked in the national pre-season poll, as their men's team is ranked #18, and their women's squad is ranked #19.

Western Washington will be led by sophomore Cory Johnson, junior Isaac Griffith, and senior Jonathan Quimby, who were the top three returning finishers at last year's NCAA championships.

Senior All-American Katelyn Steen (#7, above/photo courtesy Western Washington University) is the clear leader of the Viking women's squad, after finishing 34th in the national cross country championships, and parlaying it into a fourth place finish last spring in the steeplechase at the Division II track and field championships.

However, the Viking women's team are not the state's top team in the eyes of the coaches' poll, as the Seattle Pacific Falcons, who return six runners from last year's squad that went to the national championships, are ranked #13 in the pre-season poll.  In fact, the Falcons are the top women's team from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in the national poll, ahead of #16 Simon Fraser, and #19 Western Washington.

In the national men's poll, the top three schools are defending champion Adams State, followed by Grand Valley State (MI) and Western State (CO).  Alaska Anchorage, the reigning GNAC champs, are the top squad from the conference in the poll at #8

Grand Valley State, Adams State, and Western State are the country's top three women's team in the pre-season poll.  Simon Fraser at #16 is the other GNAC school in the national top-25 poll.

Western Washington opens the season on September 13th at the Central Washington University Invitational, while the Falcons open the following week at the Sundodger Invitational.

In other news, two former members of the Washington State University track and field staff have landed on their feet, and found new homes.

Former Washington State hurdles coach Mark Macdonald now becomes the sprints, hurdles and relays coach at Oregon State, as the Beavers transition to a full-fledged track & field program from being a primarily distance-oriented team since OSU reinstated the sport.

Macdonald, a former All-American in the 400 hurdles at WSU, has 22 years of Division I coaching experience, and is best known for coaching three-time NCAA 400 hurdles champ Jeshua Anderson during his time on the Palouse.

According to Oregon State head coach Kelly Sullivan, “Any time you can get a hire of Mark’s caliber, and the fact he’s been in the Pac-12 for 20 years, is perfect. It’s perfect timing for us, perfect timing for him and he brings a lot of Division I and Pac-12 experience.”

Meanwhile, former cross country coach Tim Riley was hired at the University of Arizona as a distance assistant, working with head cross country/distance coach James Li.

Riley, who was a volunteer assistant at WSU from 2008-12, was elevated to cross country coach before the start of the 2012 season when Pete Julian resigned to become an assistant coach at the Nike Oregon Project.

Prior to WSU, Riley was an assistant coach of track and field and cross country at the College of Idaho from 2004 to 2006.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA and the sports information offices at Western Washington University, Seattle Pacific University, Oregon State University, and the University of Arizona contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lagat runs 5000m season best in Berlin Sunday, plus the weekend roundup...

BERLIN, Germany--Washington State University hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran a season best time in the 5000 meters Sunday at the ISTAF meeting at the Olympiastadion.

The 39-year old veteran ran 13:06.68 to easily eclipse his season best of 13:27.08 in finishing second to long time rival Augustine Choge of Kenya, who ran 13:06.12.

In quotes provided by the meet organizers, he said, "My tactic that I always go is to accelerate within the race to attack the leaders from behind and step on the gas right into the last lap. The pace was great for me and the pacemakers did their job well."

Lagat will next run for the Americas squad in the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco in two weeks.

Saturday, Washington State University seniors Abby Regan and Ruby Roberts led the Cougars to a sweep of the women's 4k race at the season-opening Clash of the Inland Northwest cross country meet at the Mead HS athletic complex.

Regan won the race in 13:35 with Roberts one second back, followed by Sarah Reiter of Eastern Washington in 13:52, Sierra Speiker of Idaho in 14:00, and Eastern's Catie Arrigoni, competing unattached in 14:05.

Amelia Evans was Gonzaga's top runner across the line in sixth in a time of 14:11.

In the men's 6k competition, Willie Milam of Gonzaga, competing unattached, was the winner in a time of 18:08, followed by the Zags' Robert Walgren (18:14) and Troy Fraley (18:15).

Richard Shroy (18:15) and Forrest Shaffer (18:16) rounded out the top five.

Vince Hamilton was Eastern Washington's top finisher in 11th in 18:23.

In the women's dual meet team scores,  WSU defeated Eastern Washington 19-38, defeated Gonzaga 18-44, and defeated Idaho 18-42.  Gonzaga fell to Eastern 25-32, and to Idaho 18-44. Eastern beat Idaho 24-31.

The men's scoring saw Gonzaga beat Eastern 17-46, and Idaho 19-41, while losing to WSU 25-35.  The Cougs swept Eastern 15-49 and Idaho by a perfect 15-50.  Idaho beat Eastern 20-42.

The meet marked the debut of WSU coach Wayne Phipps, who assessed his new squad's performance by saying, “It was a nice controlled effort throughout the race. Overall, an excellent first race for both teams and I’m very excited or the rest of the season."

Gonzaga will run on September 13th at the WCC Preview meet in Sunnyvale, California. Washington State's next meet is September 20th at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, while Eastern runs on September 20th at the Portland State Invite in Portland.

In Valence, France, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey finished third in the 1500 at Saturday's DecaNation meet as a member of Team USA.

Mackey ran 4:19.03 as Elena Korobkina of Russia won in 4:18.07.

Mackey will run in two weeks as part of the Americas squad in the IAAF Continental Cup in Morocco.

Team USA won the DecaNation meet with a score of 114 points, two better than host France, with Russia third with 108.

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nationally ranked Huskies debut in non-scoring meet against SeattleU...

UW freshman Megan Beauchene (second from left) leads
a group of runners up Kite Hill, including
eventual winner Anna Maxwell, in black top (photo by Paul Merca)
SEATTLE--The nationally ranked University of Washington cross country teams (#15 women, #27 men) got their season started with its annual low-key non-scoring meet Friday afternoon against Seattle University at Warren G. Magnuson Park, with several athletes from both teams wearing different jerseys.

In the women's 3 mile race, a group of six runners led by UW freshmen Megan Beauchene and Anna Maxwell set the tempo early on.

In the end, Maxwell, a product of San Lorenzo Valley HS in California and member of the 2014 Team USA squad that ran in the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race took the win with a time of 16:54, with Maddie Meyers and Kaylee Flanagan right behind in 16:55.

Lila Rice was SeattleU's top finisher in fourth in a time of 16:59.

In the men's 4.5 mile race, there was a large group of about 10-12 runners for the first two laps of the three-lap race around Magnuson Park, until things heated up as the runners went up Kite Hill.

UW junior Tyler King (left/photo by Paul Merca) pulled away in the final lap to outdistance Nathan Wadhwani 22:07-22:10.

AJ Yarnall of the Huskies was third in 22:19 with teammate Meron Simon fourth in the same time.

SeattleU's Gus Arroyo was fifth in 22:20, followed by heralded freshman Fred Huxham, last season's California state champ at 3200m.

Afterwards, UW coach Greg Metcalf said, “This was the first tempo run post-Megan Goethals, Lindsay Flanagan, Justine Johnson, with Katie Flood and Liberty Miller just having track left as well. So we have lots of really good youngsters on the women’s side. Anna Maxwell and Megan Beauchene looked great. Kaylee Flanagan had a great summer of training. That group of young women I think is pretty exciting and when you add Katie Knight, Eleanor Fulton and Amy-Eloise Neale in the mix, I think that’s a team that come November has the potential to be good.”

On his men's squad, which is ranked nationally for the first time since the 2009 season, he said, “I think this is the deepest group of young men we’ve had in a long time,” said Metcalf. “It’s nice to see Tyler King who healthy and he had a great summer, and he wanted to get that win today. The rest of the guys it was a relatively controlled tempo effort. So I think we walk away from the meet with a lot of positives but now we have to go to work and be better a month from now.”

The Huskies heads to Seabrook on the Washington coast beginning Tuesday for its annual team training camp before they host the Sundodger Invitational on September 20th at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.

If it's the last weekend in August, then all five Washington D-1 schools are opening cross country season...

Acton from the 2013 UW/Seattle University Open meet
(photo by Paul Merca)
All five of Washington's Division I schools open the 2014 collegiate cross country season Friday and Saturday, with Seattle University and the University of Washington kicking things off at Magnuson Park at 4pm in a non-scoring meet.

The women will run 3 miles while the men's race will be contested over a 4.5 mile distance.

If past history is any indication, Washington will have their athletes run a controlled race, making the race a glorified workout, considering the team has been together for four days, with some runners on the squad competing out of uniform and unattached.

After Friday's race, Washington will leave town for its traditional pre-season training camp before returning to action on September 20th when they host the Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park.

Across the state, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington will co-host the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet at Mead HS in Spokane, where the men will race 6k at 10 am, and the women 4k at 10:30 am.  

Besides Washington State and co-hosts Gonzaga and Eastern Washington, Idaho and Whitworth will have teams in the meet.  There will be dual meet team scoring as an added element to the event.

This meet begins the Wayne Phipps era at Washington State, as the former Idaho head coach takes the reigns of the Cougar track and cross country programs after the retirement of Rick Sloan following the 2014 track season.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Both Washington teams ranked in USTFCCCA national pre-season coaches' poll...

NEW ORLEANS--For the first time since the 2009 season, the University of Washington men's and women's cross country squads are ranked in the national top-30, according to the USTFCCCA pre-season poll released Tuesday.

The Washington women, who return three runners from their 2013 team that finished 17th in the NCAA meet last year--Katie Knight (left/photo by Paul Merca), Maddie Meyers, and Amy-Eloise Neale--begin the season ranked #15 in the national poll.

On the other hand, the Washington men, which did not qualify for the national championship meet last year, but saw Aaron Nelson finish 20th to become the school's first All-American since Christian Belz turned the trick in 1998, were selected #27 in the national coaches' poll.

The Michigan women begin the 2014 season ranked #1, as the Wolverines, who return all seven runners from its fourth-place team last year, was selected by the coaches as the preseason favorite.

Oregon, Florida State, Stanford, and Georgetown round out the top five in the national women's poll.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the preseason poll include #8 Colorado and #30 Arizona State.

On the men's side, reigning national and Pac-12 champ Colorado begins the season ranked #1, receiving all 12 first place votes.

Others in the national men's top five include Northern Arizona, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Stanford.

Besides Washington at #27, UCLA is the other Pac-12 school ranked in the top 30 at #24.

The Husky women's team has reached the NCAA championship meet seven years in a row, and 17 of the last 19 years, while the men look to reach the national championship meet for the first time since 2009.

Besides All-American Nelson,  the Dawgs return their entire top-10 runners from the Pac-12 meet last season, adding some redshirt freshman firepower as well. Izaic Yorks and Nick Harris earned All-America honorable mention in the 1,500-meters on the track last spring, and Colby Gilbert should give UW a lift after winning the U.S. Junior Championship at 5,000-meters over the summer and competing at the IAAF world junior championships.

Washington opens its season Friday with the UW-SeattleU Open meet at Magnuson Park.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alexa Efraimson announces decision to turn pro...

According to posts by media partner and USA Track & Field on their Instagram accounts, Camas HS senior Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who earlier in the summer announced that she would forego her senior season, will follow the same path as New York's Mary Cain, and turn professional.

She will continue to train under long time coach Mike Hickey, but will compete for Nike.

In a video interview with RunnerSpace/DyeStat's Doug Binder, Efraimson, the Washington state 4A champ in the 1600m  said that, “My family and I, along with my coach, did a lot of pros and cons lists as to whether we should we should go to college or whether we should go professionally,” 

 “And for my personal improvement both as an athlete and as an overall person, mentally and physically, I think that being able to stay with what we know and be able to go professional is just the best route for me.”

Efraimson won two Washington state cross country titles in her career at Camas, and won the USA junior title at 1500 meters in Eugene this summer, before finishing sixth in the finals of the 1500 at the IAAF world junior championships last month.

Efraimson will be represented by Flynn Sports Management.

An attempt to reach Efraimson this evening was unsuccessful.

NOTE:  Media partner contributed to this report.

Both Washington harrier squads ranked in top-5 in USTFCCCA pre-season West Region poll...

NEW ORLEANS--The United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its Division I pre-season regional rankings Monday for both men and women.

On the men's side, the University of Washington, led by cross country All-American and reigning Pac-12 steeplechase champ Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) are ranked #4 in the West region's preseason poll, while Gonzaga University is ranked #10.

The top five in the pre-season poll in the West are Oregon, Stanford, Portland, UCLA, and the Huskies.

The Washington women are ranked #4 in the pre-season regional poll. with Oregon, Stanford, Boise State, Washington, and Arizona State the top five.

Gonzaga is ranked #14 in the regional pre-season poll.

USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning team strength with current-season results in determining predicted team finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships.

The Huskies, who completed their first official practice on Monday, begin their season on Friday against Seattle University at 4pm at Magnuson Park, before going on their traditional pre-season training camp.

The other Washington Division I schools--Eastern Washington, Washington State, and Gonzaga--open their season Saturday with the Clash of the Inland Northwest at Mead HS outside of Spokane.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jordan McNamara takes fourth in 2-mile at Sainsbury's Birmingham Grand Prix meeting...

BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain--Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara (left/photo courtesy Nike) finished fourth in the two mile run at the Sainsbury's Birmingham Grand Prix meeting Sunday, the twelfth stop in the season long IAAF Diamond League tour.

McNamara, who missed several meets in the early summer months, ran a personal best of 8:26.50 to get his second personal best of the season.  McNamara ran 1:47.16 for 800m at the Portland Track Classic on June 15th before withdrawing from the nationals due to swelling in his foot.

Reigning world and Olympic champion Mo Farah won the race in a new British and IAAF Diamond League record time of 8:07.85.

In the rarely contested 600 meter run, Cas Loxsom of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished eighth in 1:16.48, as Kenya's David Rudisha ran a world leading time of 1:13.71.

2012 US Olympian and former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral finished eighth in the 3000 steeple, running 8:22.48, as Kenya's Jairus Birech won in a meet record 8:07.80.

Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts was 11th in the mile in a time of 3:54.10, as Kenya's Asbel Kiprop, a former Olympic champ and two-time world champion at 1500m won in a meet record of 3:51.89.

The IAAF Diamond League series now enters the final two meets of the season--the Weltklasse meet in Zürich on Thursday, and the Ivo Van Damme meeting in Brussels on September 5th.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Måkestad Bovin finishes 13th in 1500 at Stockholm DN Galan Diamond League meet...

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--Former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad Bovin (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished 13th in the women's 1500 meter run at the DN Galan meeting Thursday night, as the IAAF Diamond League series resumed after a month-long break for the various continental championship meets.

Måkestad Bovin, a finalist at this distance at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, and 2012 Norwegian Olympian, ran 4:10.97, well off of her 2014 season best of 4:04.11 set last month in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, as she was never in the mix during the race.

University of Colorado alum Jenny Simpson, the 2011 world champ at this distance, won in a time of 4:00.38, as she sped past a fading Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia on the homestretch.

The IAAF Diamond League series resumes Sunday with the Sainsbury's Summer Series meeting in Birmingham, England, where Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara is entered in the 2 mile, Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts is entered in the mile, while Beast teammate Cas Loxsom is n the rarely contested 600m run.  

Former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral is in the steeple.

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