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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

AROUND THE OVAL: Catching up with news from the weekend...

News has been a little slow over the last few days, with the end of the world junior championships in Eugene, and the Commonwealth Games the big international meet on the docket.

Here's what we have:

On August 1st, Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara (above/photo by Paul Merca) stormed the last 400 meters to win the Liberty Mile contested over the streets of downtown Pittsburgh in a time of 4:03.

The women's race saw Angela Bizzarri of the Brooks Beasts finish fourth in 4:34, as Gabe Grunewald took the win in 4:32.


In Glasgow, Scotland, Washington State alum Shawna Fermin ran the leadoff leg of Trinidad & Tobago's 4 x 400 meter relay that finished sixth in the finals at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday in 3:33.50, as Jamaica won in 3:23.82.

Results from the finals of the Commonwealth Games track & field competition are available here.

Across the state in Spokane, the city got its first sub-4 minute mile performance at the Spokane Summer Games on Saturday, as former Oregon standout AJ Acosta won the featured mile run in 3:58.07, ahead of Riley Masters from the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts, who ran 3:59.23.

In the men's pole vault, former BYU standout Victor Weirich 18-2 1/2 (5.55m), whle ex-Idaho standout Melinda Owen won the women's competition at 13-11 1/4 (4.25m) to beat Eastern Washington alum Keisa Monterola (13-5.25/4.10m).

Recent WSU grad Kyle Stevens, who finished third at the Pac-12 meet in May, won the men's javelin with a toss of 230-11 (70.38m).


Speaking of Washington State, paulmerca.blogspot.com has learned that middle distance runner Todd Wakefield, who sat out the 2014 track season with Achilles tendon problems, will transfer to the University of New Mexico.

Wakefield will earn his undergraduate degree from WSU in Kinesiology in a few weeks, then head to UNM to begin work on a graduate degree in Education, with an emphasis on Sports Administration.

Wakefield, who has one year of NCAA eligibility left, will be eligible to compete for the Lobos immediately.

At WSU, Wakefield won the MPSF 3000 title in 2013, and qualified for the NCAA cross country championship in 2012.

On Monday, Saint Martin's University announced the hiring of Burke Bockman as an assistant track coach.

Bockman, who competed collegiately at Northern Iowa where he qualified for the NCAA championships in 2003 in the 400 hurdles, comes to Saint Martin's from Utah, where he was an associate head coach, where he worked with the sprinters and hurdlers.

At Saint Martin's, he will work with the sprinters, hurdlers, and relays, and will assist with cross country.


NOTE:  The sports information office of Saint Martin's University, the Spokane Summer Games, and media partner RunnerSpace.com contributed to this report.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Washington's Jax Thoirs finishes fourth in Commonwealth Games pole vault competition...

GLASGOW, Scotland--Reigning Pac-12 pole vault champion and hometown hero Jax Thoirs (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Washington finished fourth in the men's pole vault competition at the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park Stadium.

Representing Scotland, Thoirs cleared 17-10 1/2 (5.45m), the same height as bronze medalist Shawn Barber of Canada, the reigning NCAA indoor pole vault champ from Akron.  Thoirs ended up fourth based on needing one more attempt to clear 17-10 1/2.

Steve Lewis of England won the pole vault competition with a jump of 18-2 1/2 (5.55m) to move up from his second place finish four years ago in Delhi, India.

In the semifinals of the women's 4 x 400 meter relay, Washington State alum Shawna Fermin ran the leadoff leg for Trinidad & Tobago's team that qualified for Saturday's finals, as they ran 3:33.26 to finish third behind Jamaica (3:28.29) and Australia (3:33.26).


In Spokane, Riley Masters of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts is among the entries in the featured mile run at Saturday's Spokane Summer Games competition at Spokane Falls Community College, where the field is looking to run the first sub-4 minute mile in city history.

Masters will race a field that includes former Oregon All-American AJ Acosta, and Rob Finnerty, both of who've broken 4 minutes in the past.

Both the men's and women's pole vault competitions are also expected to have outstanding fields, with former Eastern Washington All-America Keisa Monterola one of the headline attractions in the women's field.


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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Alexa Efraimson falls short in medal bid & fades to sixth at world juniors...

EUGENE--Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Paul Merca) didn't make the two hour car trip from Camas down Interstate 5 to Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon just to play it safe in the finals of the women's 1500 at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships.

Instead, the reigning US junior champion decided to run from the front and position herself for a medal.

Her strategy worked to perfection for 1400 meters, as she was positioned within striking distance of eventual winner Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia and her teammate Gudaf Tsegay.

However, as they came off the Bowerman Curve and entered the home straight for the final 100 meters, Seyaum and Tsegay pulled away from her, along with Sheila Keter of Kenya, while the rising senior faded and dropped back to sixth place.

Seyaum, the world's fastest junior this season, ran 4:09.86 for the win, with Tsegay second in 4:10.83, and Keter third in a PR 4:11.21.

Stanford-bound Elise Cranny, the USA junior cross country champ from Colorado, caught Efraimson to finish fourth in 4:12.82.

Efraimson finished in a time of 4:13.31.

Afterwards, Efraimson expressed no regrets on her front-running strategy.

"I gave it everything I had. It was a tough race but everyone did a great job. As far as what comes next, I'll see how the next year goes. I gave it all that I've got and that's all I have to give."

"In the last 100 I started to fall off. But I don't think I could have done anything else.  I just wanted to go out there and not be afraid of anyone or anything."


FERMIN FINISHES FIFTH IN HER HEAT AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES

In Glasgow, Scotland, Washington State University alum Shawna Fermin, representing Trinidad & Tobago,  finished fifth in her first round heat of the women's 400.

Fermin ran 54.10 as Christine Day of Jamaica won the heat in 52.25 to advance to Monday's semi-finals, along with the second and third place finishers in each of the six heats.

Fermin is scheduled to run as part of Trinidad & Tobago's 4 x 400 meter relay team on Friday.

Also scheduled to compete on Friday is reigning Pac-12 pole vault champ Jax Thoirs of the University of Washington, who is representing Scotland.  Thoirs, a native of Glasgow, will be competing in his home town.


NOTE:  The IAAF and USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Amy-Eloise Neale finishes 11th in steeple at world juniors...

EUGENE--University of Washington redshirt freshman Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca), representing Great Britain, finished eleventh in the finals of the 3000 meter steeplechase on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships on a sunny afternoon at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

With temperatures in the mid-80s, Neale found herself in the chase pack as a group of seven took off at a quick pace of 3:12.16 through the first kilometer.  Neale hung on gamely and finished in a time of 10:25.14, well off the 10:17.88 mark run in Thursday's semifinals.

Three places behind Neale was Eastern Washington rising sophomore Paula Gil Echavarria of Spain, who ran 10:56.51, two days after setting a personal best of 10:17.17.

Ruth Jebet of Bahrain won the world junior title in 9:36.74, followed by Kenyans Rosefline Chepngetich (9:40.28) and Daisy Jepkemei (9:47.65).

In Sunday's finale, Camas HS standout Alexa Efraimson looks to add a medal in the women's 1500 to the bronze she won in last year's IAAF world youth championships.  Efraimson, who finished fourth in her heat Friday, will run at 3:55pm.


MC NAMARA WINS 1500 AT RUN TRACK TOWN HIGH PERFORMANCE MEET

Following the conclusion of day 5 of the IAAF World Junior meet, the pros took over Hayward Field for the first running of the Run Track Town high performance meet, a meet designed to give American elite track & field athletes an opportunity to run against quality competition without having to travel to Europe in the summer.

Auburn/Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara won the men's 1500 in a time of 3:39.03.

Riley Masters of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts was fourth in 3:39.97, while teammate Garrett Heath was sixth in 3:40.08.

In the women's hammer, Spokane native Britney Henry, representing Oiselle, finished fourth with a toss of 222-11 (67.96m).

The women's 4 x 800 relay saw a Pacific Northwest all-star team consisting of Oiselle athletes Lauren Wallace and Kate Grace, along with Beasts Erica Moore and Phoebe Wright finish second in a time of 8:08.39 to an all-star squad featuring Laura Roesler, the NCAA 800 champ from Oregon, and world indoor champ Ajee Wilson, who ran 8:07.65 .


NOTE:  British Athletics and TrackTown USA contributed to this report.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Husky redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert finishes ninth in 5000m at world juniors...

EUGENE--University of Washington redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished ninth in the finals of the men's 5000 at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships Friday night at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Gilbert ran 14:09.98, just off of his personal best of 14:07.13, run this spring at the Stanford Invitational.

The Skyview/Vancouver standout started conservatively, running in a second group of about seven athletes, then picked off several runners in the latter stages of the race.

"I wanted to finish strong. In the last mile, we were rolling," said Gilbert.

On his decision to redshirt this season and point to the world junior championships, he said the plan was to be here.

On what he learned from being here at the world championships, he said that running against the Africans showed him how much better they are, and that you can't be satisfied with being a national junior champ.

"I wanted to finish on a high note; I wanted to PR, but that's a solid time."

Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spanò ran the second leg on Italy's 4 x 100 meter relay.  The Italians were disqualified for a pass out of the zone between Spano' and third leg Roberto Rigali.

Spanò remained upbeat, and said that the biggest thing that he learned from competing the last two days in two rounds of the 200 and the 4 x 100 relay is how to stay relaxed and in the moment, noting that this was his first major international competition.

Saturday, the University of Washington's Amy-Eloise Neale (Great Britain) and Eastern Washington's Paula Gil Echervarria  (Spain) will run in the finals of the women's 3000 steeplechase at 4:55 pm.


Following the conclusion of day 5 of the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships Saturday, TrackTown USA will host the Run TrackTown high performance meet featuring several leading American pros, including triple jumper Christian Taylor, and hurdlers Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson.

Athletes with Washington ties competing in the meet include Spokane native Britney Henry in the women's hammer; Erica Moore and Phoebe Wright of Seattle in the 4 x 800 meter relay, as they'll team up with Oiselle athletes Kate Grace and Lauren Wallace;  Garrett Heath and Riley Masters of the Brooks Beasts, and Auburn/Riverside grad Jordan McNamara in the men's 1500.

Alexa Efraimson easily advances to Sunday's 1500m finals at world juniors...

EUGENE--Camas HS standout Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Paul Merca) easily advanced to Sunday's 1500 meter finals of the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon Friday afternoon with a comfortable fourth place finish.

Staying on the outside of lane 1 for most of the race to avoid getting boxed in, Efraimson clocked a relaxed 4:16.87.

Efraimson was always near the front to cover any moves, letting heat winner Guidaf Tsegay of Ethiopia (4:15.62) and runner-up Sheila Keter of Kenya (4:16.13) do most of the work.

Great Britain's Bobby Clay (4:16.87) finished third as Efraimson eased up over the last 100, knowing that she was one of the top four automatic qualifiers.

"I wanted to make sure that I wasn't in lane two, but at the same time, ensure I wasn't caught on the rail.

On how she feels going into Sunday's 3:55 pm finals, she said that she's ready and excited to roll with the best in the world.

At 8:45 this evening, the University of Washington's Colby Gilbert will run in the finals of the men's 5000 meters.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Incoming Husky frosh Jacopo Spano gets second PR at world junior championships...

EUGENE--Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spano (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in the third of three semifinals of the men's 200 meters Thursday night at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Positioned in lane 6, Spano set his second personal best of the day, running 20.98 to eclipse the mark of 21.04 he ran in the quarterfinals this morning.

His mark was the 14th best out of the three semifinals.

"I didn't feel as good as I did this morning because I was tired.  I 'm very happy to run a PR, though I think I could have run faster.  The conditions were much better this morning."

On whether or not he will run on the Italian 4 x 100 meter relay team, he said that he is awaiting a decision from the coaching staff on his status.

Friday, Camas HS sensation Alexa Efraimson runs in the semis of the women's 1500, while University of Washington redshirt freshman Colby Gilbert runs in the finals of the men's 5000 meters.

Neale, Gil-Echevarria advance to steeple finals; Spano qualifies for semis in 200m at world juniors...

EUGENE--University of Washington redshirt freshman Amy-Eloise Neale (above/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to the finals of the women's 3000 meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Neale was comfortably in sixth for the first half of the race, then moved up one spot to get the final automatic qualifying spot for Saturday afternoon's final, as she ran 10:17.88.

Weynshet Ansa of Ethiopia won the heat in 9:56.06.

In the other semifinal, Paula Gil-Echevarria set a personal best of 10:17.17 to finish ninth in her heat and also qualify for the finals, as all five of the non-automatic qualifiers came from that heat.

Gil-Echevarria's time is the second fastest time in school history.

Incoming University of Washington freshman Jacopo Spano (below/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in his heat of the 200 meters, and advanced to this evening's semifinals.

Spano ran a personal best of 21.04 to get the automatic qualifying spot

"I't s big PR for me!  Came out of the blocks and kept my composure coming out of the turn . I didn't expect to run that fast!"


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