LOS ANGELES – The first big weekend of outdoor track wrapped up today for the Huskies in two spots, with some excellent performances coming out of the Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles and the Oregon Preview in Eugene. Junior pole vaulter Diamara Planell Cruz posted the most impressive mark, clearing 14-feet for the first time to win the pole vault and break her Puerto Rican record.
Planell Cruz seems to fair well in season openers. Her indoor opener back in January produced a mark of 13-11 ¼ that was second-best in school history, and she matched that at NCAA Indoors just last weekend, finishing ninth overall. Today at USC’s Loker Stadium, Planell Cruz cleared an even 14-feet for the first time, becoming the third Husky vaulter to do so. While all the results from around the NCAA are not yet reported, Planell Cruz right now would move to No. 2 nationally and that mark is a lock for West Prelims at the end of the season.
Also clearing a bar that should easily make the NCAA first round was sophomore Kristina Owsinski, as she took second with a clearance of 13-3 ½. Freshman Elizabeth Quick was third at 12-5 ½. On the men’s side, junior J.J. Juilfs won with a clearance of 16-4 ¾.
Another win at USC came from senior Kasen Covington, who was just a few inches off his outdoor PR in the triple jump, as he jumped 50-5 ½ to win by more than a foot. Senior Julian Bardwell had a big career-best with a jump of 49-0 ¾ to take third.
Washington’s pair of standout long hurdlers, Kayla Stueckle and Gianna Woodruff, each had good starts to their outdoor seasons today. Stueckle ran 59.57 and Woodruff posted a 59.93, her first time opening the season under a minute.
The younger Stueckle sister, Kimberly, had a big PR in the 100m hurdles and tied for seventh on the Husky top-10 list, breaking 14-seconds for the first time with a 13.98 to finish fourth. In the men’s 110m hurdles, senior Howard Lao was fifth with a time of 14.82 seconds.
Other solid sprint performances came from sophomore Quadelle Satterwhite, who clocked a wind-aided 10.64 seconds to take third in the 100-meters. Travis Marshall also ran a 10.74 for fifth. Sophomore Krista Armstead opened at 400-meters and ran 56.10 seconds and also clocked a 25.39 time at 200-meters.
Fifth-year senior Brad Whitley opened up his final season with a strong run at 800-meters, as he took second in 1:51.55.
Throws today were highlighted by sophomore Alyx Toeaina, who was just a couple inches off her shot put PR with a toss of 44-6 ¼, good for seventh-place, while sophomore Hannah Sherrill threw 147-9 in the women’s discus.
One of the big races of the day in Eugene was the women’s 1,500-meters, where former NCAA Champion Katie Flood led a big group of Huskies in their first runs on the track. Flood ran with confidence back at Hayward Field, leading the race throughout until the last 200-meters, where she gave up a couple spots but still finished with a very strong opening time of 4:20.57.
Right behind Flood was multiple All-American Megan Goethals, who ran the shorter distance and also posted a good time of 4:23.05. And freshman Katie Knight was next in line with a time of 4:23.28, good season-openers for all three Dawgs.
One of the biggest PRs of the day came from redshirt freshman Nick Harris, who rolled to a 1:50.75 in the 800-meters, taking fourth overall and second among collegiate athletes.
Cross country All-American Aaron Nelson got back on the track for the first time since the fall, and was just off his 1,500-meter PR (3:52.86), running 3:53.00. Freshman Colby Gilbert had an impressive run, as he went 3:49.72 competing unattached. Senior Lindsay Flanagan opened up with a 3k, taking fifth in 9:37.02. Tim Cummings was the runner-up in a 2,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 5:49.86.
Sophomore Kaid Tipton lowered his 400m hurdles PR to 54.20, finishing fourth. Freshman Andrew Brown opened up with a 49.04 time in the open 400-meters, and fellow rookie Devin Liebel had a solid 14.98 time in the 110m hurdles.