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 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 RunnerSpace.com 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 RunnerSpace.com/DyeStat 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.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Washington alum Katie Mackey repeats as Falmouth Mile champ...

FALMOUTH, Massachusetts--Former Husky Katie Mackey (left/photo by Paul Merca) won her second straight Falmouth Mile title Saturday at the James T. Kalperis Track, clocking 4:27.78.

Mackey, a member of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, and the third place finisher at the USA outdoor championships over 1500 meters, went to the front after the pace setter dropped out.  According to the story posted by letsrun.com, Mackey didn't plan to lead, but since the field slowed down after the rabbit stepped off the track, she decided to make it an honest race.

Training partner Brie Felnagle of Tacoma finished fourth in 4:29.83.

This event, a companion event to the Falmouth Road Race, brings some of the country's top middle distance talents together the night before the Falmouth road race.

Courtesy of letsrun.com, here is a video interview with Mackey:


Mackey noted that she'll finish her 2014 season with two meets--the first on August 30th, where she'll run the 1500m for Team USA at the DecaNation meet in Valence, France; then she'll run the 5000m for the Americas squad at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco on September 13th.

In the men's elite mile race, Garrett Heath of the Brooks Beasts finished third in 3:57.19, followed by meet record holder and Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara, who ran 4:00.17.  Former Bellingham resident and 2012 US Olympian Donn Cabral was eighth in 4:03.25.

Kyle Merber won the race in 3:56.45.


NOTE:  LetsRun.com contributed to this report.

Måkestad Bovin ninth in 1500m finals at European Championships...

ZÜRICH, Switzerland--Former University of Washington middle distance runner Ingvill Måkestad Bovin from Norway (above/photo courtesy friidrett.no) finished ninth in the finals of the women's 1500 meters Friday night at the European Championships at Letzigrund Stadium.

Måkestad Bovin, a finalist at the 2011 IAAF world championships in Daegu in this event who missed the 2013 season due to maternity, ran 4:08.85, as Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the race in 4:04.18.

In quotes provided by the Norwegian athletics federation, the former Husky admitted that she didn't have the last gear she needed over the last 100 meters to be in medal contention.



In Falmouth, Massachusetts, another former Husky, Katie Mackey, will defend her title at the Falmouth Mile Saturday at the James T. Kalperis Track in Falmouth.

This event, a companion event to the Falmouth Road Race, brings some of the country's top middle distance talents together the night before the Falmouth road race.

Mackey will run in an elite field that includes training partner Brie Felnagle of Tacoma.

On the men's side, Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara will run against a field that includes Garrett Heath of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts (list of field courtesy Chris Lotsbom of Race Results Weekly).


NOTE:  European Athletics and fridrett.no contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bingisser finishes 21st in hammer qualifying at European Championships in hometown of Zürich...

ZÜRICH, Switzerland--Former University of Washington standout Martin Bingisser (left/photo courtesy Martin Bingisser) from Switzerland finished 21st overall in the qualifying round of the men's hammer at the European Championships at Letzigrund Stadium Thursday.

Competing in flight 1 of 2, Bingisser, who attended Interlake HS in Bellevue before going on to college at Cal State Northridge and the UW, managed a toss of 212-0 (64.62m) in the second round.

Pawel Fajdek of Poland had the best throw in the two qualifying flights with a mark of 254-1 (77.45m).

Friday, former Husky Ingvill Måkestad Bovin will run in the finals of the women's 1500 meters.  Originally entered in the 800 as well, she scratched from the event, which had its first round qualifying Wednesday, after finishing fourth in her heat of the 1500 Tuesday and earning an automatic spot in the finals.


NOTE:  European Athletics contributed to this report.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Former Husky Måkestad Bovin qualifies for final of women's 1500 at European Champs...

ZÜRICH, Switzerland--Former University of Washington standout Ingvill Måkestad Bovin  (above/photo courtesy Norwegian Athletics Federation) of Norway qualified for the finals of the women's 1500 by finishing fourth in the first of two heats Tuesday at the European Championships at Letzigrund Stadium.

Måkestad Bovin ran a very easy 4:13.04 to nail down the final automatic qualifying spot for Friday night's final.

As it turned out, earning that final automatic qualifier in the heat was huge, as all of the time qualifiers came out of the second heat, with 4:11.42 the last one to advance on time.

In post race quotes provided by the Norwegian athletics federation, the former Husky said, "My goal was to get into the top four.  I knew I had a kick to outrun the others in the last 50 meters."

She also noted that she spent very little effort running that 4:13.04, even though she was only in fifth with about 150 meters to go.

Abeba Aregawi of Sweden won the heat in 4:11.64.

In the men's discus, another former Husky, Märt Israel of Estonia, who has struggled the last two seasons with injuries, did not record a mark in the men's discus qualifying Tuesday night.

Måkestad Bovin returns to run in the first round of the women's 800 Wednesday.



NOTE:  The Norsk Friidrett (Norwegian Athletics Federation) and European Athletics contributed to this report.

Monday, August 11, 2014

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Heath takes second at Michigan Track Classic; Hightower second at NACAC U-23 meet...

SALINE, Michigan--With Garrett Heath (left/photo by Paul Merca) in hot pursuit, 2008 Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand won the featured Ron Warhurst Mile Run at the Michigan Track Classic, running the fastest mile in the state of Michigan, and leading the first seven runners under the 4-minute barrier.

Willis, who doubled as one of the meet organizers, took the lead in the last two laps, and held off the late charge of Heath, a member of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts squad to win in 3:53.50 to Heath's 3:53.61.

Willis admitted later that he had nothing left and that he was concerned at the charge that Heath and the other racers made, noting that he normally doesn't like to run from the front.

Heath's Brooks Beast teammate Riley Masters finished ninth in 4:01.88.

In the women's 800, 2014 world leader Ajee Wilson won in 2:02.19.

Kate Grace, who is sponsored by Seattle-based Oiselle, was third in 2:01.22, with Erica Moore and Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts finishing fifth and sixth in 2:02.28, and 2:02.69.

Phoebe Wright of Seattle finished tenth in 2:05.40.


In Kamloops, British Columbia, Dakarai Hightower of Tacoma finished second in the high jump at the NACAC Under-23 track & Field Championships at Hillside Stadium on the kaput of Truman Rivers University.

Hightower, who attends Lane Community College in Eugene, cleared a best of 6-10 3/4 (2.10m), despite competing with a ripped jumping shoe, and was forced to borrow another athlete's shoe to continue the competition.

Ryan Ingraham of the Bahamas won with a new meet record of 7-5 3/4 (2.28m).


One of the biggest championship meets of the season gets underway Tuesday, as the European Championships start Tuesday in Zürich, Switzerland.

Among those with Washington ties competing in the meet are Märt Israel of Estonia in the discus; Ingvill Måkestad Bovin of Norway in the 1500 and 800; and Martin Bingisser of the host nation in the hammer.

All three are former University of Washington athletes.

Måkestad Bovin begins competition on Tuesday with qualifying in the women's 1500, and ruins the first round of the 800 Wednesday, while Israel throws in the qualifying round Tuesday afternoon, with the finals happening the next day.  

Thursday, Bingisser, who currently lives in Zürich, will throw in the qualifying round of the hammer, while Måkestad Bovin will be in the semis of the 800 later that evening.

Måkestad Bovin runs in the finals of the 1500 on Friday.  Assuming both make the finals, Bingisser and Måkestad Bovin are scheduled to compete Saturday.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Masters & Heath entered in Sunday's Michigan Track Classic mile...

Several members of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts are on the start lists for Sunday's Michigan Track Classic at the Saline High School track in Saline, Michigan.

Riley Masters (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Garrett Heath are entered in the Ron Warhurst Mile run, while Erica Moore, Phoebe Wright, and Katie Mackey are entered in the women's 800.

The Michigan Track Classic is the brainchild of New Zealand's Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist. He started this meet last year when he decided to stay at home instead of leaving his wife and four-week old son to chase races on the international circuit.  Willis, who resides in the state of Michigan, helped recruit many of the athletes in the field.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hightower to represent Team USA in high jump at NACAC Under-23 meet in Kamloops...

Tacoma native Dakarai Hightower (left/photo courtesy Lane CC), who attends Lane Community College in Eugene, will represent Team USA at the 2014 NACAC Under-23 track & field championships in Kamloops, British Columbia that begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

More than 500 athletes ages 20, 21 and 22 will compete at Hillside Stadium on the campus of Truman Rivers University in the eighth edition of the event. The U.S. led all nations with an impressive medal haul of  31 golds, 25 silvers and 11 bronzes at the 2012 championships in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Hightower last month won the USATF national club championship title in the high jump, at Mt. Tahoma HS in Tacoma with a best of 7-4 1/2 (2.24m).  Hightower's jump was easily the best quality performance of the meet in a national championship meet staged that quite frankly was mediocre at best.

Hightower's event is scheduled for Sunday.



NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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