SEATTLE – For the first time in school history, the Huskies swept the distance medley relay titles at the MPSF Championships, putting a big exclamation point on the first day of the two-day conference battle. The women’s DMR took the win for the third year in a row, then the men not only ran away with their first ever MPSF win, but also jumped to 10th in the NCAA rankings with 12 teams making the cut for nationals after this weekend.
The final meet of the Dempsey Indoor schedule, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation meet is the conference championships for all the Pac-12 track squads that compete indoors, along with several teams from the Big West and West Coast Conferences, as none of those conferences sponsor indoor track. This is the eleventh year in a row that the Dempsey has hosted the MPSF Championships.
Through six events, the Husky men are in seventh-place out of 12 teams with 15 points. California leads with 40 points followed by Arizona State with 37 and UCLA with 33. The women’s competition has seven events in the books and Arizona leads with 31 points. Arizona State is second with 28, No. 1-ranked Oregon is third with 26.5, and the Huskies come in tied for fourth with 26 along with UCLA.
Along with the two DMR titles, the Huskies also got a win from sophomore Kristina Owsinski in the women’s pole vault. She joins a select group of Husky vaulters to win the MPSF title, as the previous three winners, Scott Roth, Kate Soma, and Brad Walker, were all NCAA Champions. Owsinski cleared 13-5 ¾ on her first attempt, one of only two athletes to clear that bar, and the only one to do it on a first attempt. She had three good attempts at 14-1, which would have put her into NCAA qualifying position, but could not quite clear. Senior Logan Miller also added six team points, as she took third-place with a jump of 12-11 ¾.
The men’s DMR was the last event on the track tonight. Sophomore Meron Simon led off for the first 1,200-meters, and ran a strong opening leg to set up sophomore Quadelle Satterwhite for the 400-meters where he stayed right in the mix to give to another sophomore Derrick Daigre, for the 800-meters. Coming off a big PR two weeks ago at the Husky Classic, Daigre had another sterling run, as he split sub-1:49 and passed the UCLA and Stanford runners to open up a 20-meter lead going into the final leg. Sophomore Izaic Yorks, who ran a 3:59.04 mile two weeks ago, carried for the final 1,600-meters, running essentially a time trial on his own.
Yorks pushed to the end to clinch the title in 9:31.82, the second-fastest time in school history, and that’s especially impressive considering the Huskies had three-straight fifth-place finishes at NCAAs in the DMR in the 2000s. It’s the fastest DMR the Dawgs have ever run inside the Dempsey, and just .14 seconds shy of the school record set two years ago at Notre Dame.
“Meron went out aggressively, I told him this can’t jog, we had to go and be purposeful,” said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. “Quadelle was fantastic, and then Derrick that was the best 800-meter race I’ve seen him run. Then the DMR boils down to one guy, Izaic Yorks, time trialing today. Went out a little hot, but settled in and finished strong. They got it done and it was fun. Our women’s group, I was also proud of their effort tonight, they kept the tradition going for that group. Then Kristina Owsinski adds another vault title to Coach Licari’s group and she’s just knocking on that 14-foot barrier and I know she’ll make it very soon.”
The women’s DMR also took over the lead for good on the 800-meter leg and held it for the entire 1,600-meter finish. Eleanor Fulton led off and pushed the pace from the lead for much of her 1,200-meters. She handed off second, and Kayla Stueckle kept UW in that spot over 400-meters. Then it was up to a pair of local true freshmen to bring it home. Snohomish, Wash. native Amy-Eloise Neale ran the 800-meters and took over the lead, handing to Spokane native Katie Knight who ran the last mile to get the win in 11:13.99. That time ranks fifth in school history, but won’t be in the mix for NCAAs unlike the men.
Also scoring points for the Dawgs today was sophomore Jax Thoirs in the pole vault. He cleared 17-4 ½ on his third attempt, but was unable to make a pair of tries at 18-1 and had to settle for fourth-place points.
Prior to his DMR carry, Satterwhite earned a spot in tomorrow’s 60m dash final, as he ran a season-best 6.82 seconds to qualify eighth overall for the final. Also advancing to Saturday was sophomore Chris Williams, as he cleared the 60-meter hurdles in 8.04 seconds, the fourth-best time of the day. Senior Howard Lao just missed, placing 10th in 8.15 seconds, and freshman Devin Liebel ran a season-best 8.23 for 14th. Sophomore Kimberly Stueckle also had a career-best on the women’s side, going 8.69 seconds to finish 10th overall.
The women’s pentathlon completed all five events today while the men’s heptathlon made it through four of seven events. In the pentathlon, senior Shelby Williams padded her career-best with a 3,572 point total, moving her to seventh in school history. She closed with a career-best 2:25.08 in the 800-meters, and was close to her PR in the high jump at 5-2 ½. Her score was good for 10th on the day. Ciana Baron also finished 18th with 3,023 points, also a personal-best. Nick Pfeiffer is currently eighth in the heptathlon through four events with 2,820 points.
The 5,000-meter finals were a highlight of the evening, with a very competitive women’s race with the top six women separated by just six seconds. Freshman Kaylee Flanagan finished 13th in 17:03.00 and junior Megan Morgan ran in her first MPSF meet, taking 14th in 17:16.81.
The men’s 5k featured NCAA record-holder and multiple NCAA Champion Lawi Lalang breaking an MPSF meet record which had stood since 2005. Lalang led throughout, and strode away on the last lap to win in 13:41.58, an NCAA qualifier. Husky freshman Sumner Goodwin was 24th overall in 14:38.00.
Day two of the meet picks up at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, with finals running throughout the day until the 4x400m relay wraps up the home indoor season at approximately 2:40 p.m.