Dec. 7, 2012
SEATTLE - The Husky track and field team kicked off the season with the fourth-annual intrasquad meet Thursday night. The team was split to fill Team Purple and Team Gold to compete for bragging rights. Team Gold took the victory for the second year in a row and third time in four years with a 214 to 200 score.
Events included high jumps, long and triple jumps, pole vault, weight throw and shot put, sprints, hurdles, and a 1200-meter run. Both teams were lead by decorated seniors such as James Alaka, Logan Miller and Jordan Carlson while talented newcomers Chris Willams, Daje Pugh and C.J. Smith made significant contributions.
Gold surged to a big lead heading into the final event, the full team 9,824-meter relay, where 32 members of each team run one lap around the track. As the lights dimmed in the Dempsey Center, A.J. Maricich representing Gold and Andrew Prentice representing Purple stepped into the spotlight to start the race. Purple jumped out to a big early lead thanks to a strong effort by Alaka, but freshman Brittany Bennett turned it around. Not only did she close the gap, she was able to give her team a ten second lead. Team Gold never looked back, eventually lapping Team Purple. Jeremy Taiwo anchored Gold, finishing in 21-minutes and 21-seconds. Purple finished in 22:17.
The Gold Team had a strong night in jumps, winning five out of the six events in all. Senior Julian Bardwell led the men's team, winning the long jump and the triple jump. Maricich, an All-America honorable mention and Pac-12 runner-up last year, took the high jump clearing 6-8 ¾.
Jaleecia Roland was the night's only other double winner, taking the high jump at a personal best 5-5 as well as shot put at 42-0 ½. All-American Miller soared to a pole vault victory at 12-11 ½. She set the UW outdoor record at 14-4 ½ last season and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Gold's Haley Jacobson narrowly defeated purple's Gianna Woodruff to win the 88-meter dash in 10.9 seconds and All-American junior Maurice McNeal breezed to an impressive 300-meter dash victory in 34.06 seconds.
Taiwo was back in action after missing last season due to injury and he won the shot put at 46-8 ¼, a lifetime best by nearly three feet which is a great sign for the 2011 Pac-10 decathlon champion. Freshman Kyle White competed unopposed in the men's weight throw to earn another win for the Gold Team.
Team Purple excelled in the hurdles and sprints with key contributions from senior leaders and talented freshmen. Senior All-Americans Alaka and Carlson led their team in the sprints. Alaka, the two-time Pac-12 200-meter Champ, held off McNeal by .04 seconds to win the 88-meter dash in 9.63 seconds and Carlson coasted to win the 300-meter dash in 39.43 seconds.
Freshmen Chris Williams and Daje Pugh showed why they were among the best prep runners in the country as they each took the 60-meter hurdles. Fellow freshmen Nick Harris and C.J. Smith ran away from the competition to take the 1200-meter run for the Purple Team.
Also added into the mix this season was another relay, a circuit training style event that was the "Mystery Event" listed on the schedule. The relay was a combination of medicine ball throws, sled pulls, battle ropes, and other events that the Huskies do frequently in fall training. Highlights were Carlson and Shea O'Donnell in the battle ropes and Kayla Stueckle and Shayne Moore in the sled pulls.
After the Golden celebration, Head Coach Greg Metcalf announced this year's team captains for each event group. For the women, the captains will be Jordan Carlson for the sprinters, Christine Babcock for the distance runners, Logan Miller for the jumpers, vaulters and multis, and Jordin Seekins for the throwers.
The track and field squad will return to competition after the winter break on January 12th for the UW Indoor preview.