May 27, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - Three Huskies successfully navigated the massive fields at the NCAA West Preliminaries today to earn their way to the NCAA finals next month. Javelin throwers Joe Zimmerman and Kyle Nielsen opened the day with top-five finishes to advance, then senior Anita Campbell turned in a nails tough effort in the 10,000-meters, placing 11th to earn herself a proper finale at the NCAA Track & Field Championship finals in Eugene.
This is the first year of the new NCAA Championships format which treats the former regional competition as the first part of one big meet that stretches over two weeks and two sites, culminating in the final rounds in Eugene, Oregon on June 9-12. Now athletes must finish among the top-12 in their respective event at one of just two large regional meets, with the entire western half of the U.S. gathered in Austin at the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Campbell, an All-American in cross country and in the 10k last year, had to dig deep in a talented West Region field of 48 women in the night's final event. The Vancouver, B.C. native has fought through some nagging injuries this season and hadn't trained the past few days to rest a balky calf. Still, Campbell went to the front early and tuned out any discomfort and grabbed the lead halfway through the race. Collegiate record-holder Lisa Koll of Iowa State eventually took control, and Campbell fell briefly out of the coveted top-12. But she managed to retake a few more women in front of her to grab 11th in 34:39.60.
"I got myself into another 10k," Campbell laughed afterwards. "It was ugly, but I'm just glad to be through."
Kicking things off for the Dawgs was the javelin trio of junior Kyle Nielsen, and freshmen Joe Zimmerman and Jimmy Brookman. Brookman was in the second of three 16-man heats and sent his third attempt 209-feet, 4-inches, which was third-best out of the first two heats. He then had to sit and wait to see if he would squeeze in to the 16-man final, all of whom would get three additional throws. Brookman wound up making it in, taking the 16th spot.
Meanwhile, in the top flight, Zimmerman skipped up to the line and fired a new personal-best on his very first throw, tossing 235-3 to take the lead through two rounds. It was certainly not a day for big PRs for any of the throwers, making Zimmerman's feat all the more impressive. Only one thrower would surpass Zimmerman, who will head to Eugene for the finals in his first college season. Joining Zimmerman will be Nielsen, who lined up his second throw and heaved it 229-feet, 7-inches. That would stand up for fourth overall, sending the All-American on with ease. Zimmerman and Nielsen both passed all three of their final attempts.
After a lengthy break in the heat to support his teammates, Brookman admitted he didn't have much left in the tank, and was unable to improve on his final three attempts, therefore winding up 16th overall and just missing the 12th qualifying spot. Still, Brookman was seeded just 30th coming in so even making the final was quite an achievement.
"We got here early this morning to check in and then we waited about three hours to compete just because of the numbers," said Nielsen. "It was a weird competition, and I think Joe was the only guy who PR'd. Just happy to be moving on."
Zimmerman felt he was one of the only competitors that didn't have issues with sliding on the approach, helping him to the PR. On moving on to the finals he said, "I'm stoked. I was pretty concerned I wasn't going to make it to nationals, and I never thought I'd get second."
Washington's senior stalwarts in the women's 1,500-meters both advanced through the first round to Saturday's quarterfinals. Katie Follett, the NCAA leader in the event, was up in the second of four 12-woman heats. Follett went to the front early and controlled the pace, then slid behind Oregon's Alex Kosinski on the second-to-last lap. Around the final turn Follett moved back in front and took the win in a time of 4:23.33.
In the next heat, senior Kailey Campbell stayed up front and out of trouble in the day's fastest section. She stayed with the lead group as they broke away from the pack late and took third in 4:21.17, which was also the third-fastest time of the day. Freshman Justine Johnson was in the same heat but got separated from the front pack and wound up 10th in her heat in 4:33.84. Follett and Campbell now will run in one of two 12-woman heats on Saturday, where the top-five finishes and next two fastest times will move on to Eugene.
"I felt good about two laps in, and I knew that third lap was really going to be tough," said Kailey Campbell. "It was tough, so I just took a deep breath and went for it. I was pretty tired, it definitely wasn't easy."
Next on the track was the men's 100-meter dash with freshman James Alaka among the favorites. Alaka felt he struggled coming out of the blocks in the sixth and final heat, but he still cruised to second in his heat in a time of 10.49 seconds that qualifies him for tomorrow's quarterfinals. Sophomore Ryan Hamilton ran 10.83 seconds in the fifth heat and was unable to advance, though he will still anchor Washington's 4x100-meter relay on Saturday.
Junior Dominique Lauderdale also was well off her season-best in the heat, as she clocked 11.99 seconds in the women's 100-meter first round to take 36th overall, short of advancing.
The Dawgs ran into some tough times late in the evening, as junior Brooke Pighin was unable to book a second-consecutive trip to the finals in the women's javelin. Her final throw was approximately 150-feet but just a foot or two wide of the sector. Pighin has been throwing despite an elbow tendon that will need offseason surgery, and though competing risked no more danger, the Pac-10 runner-up didn't look like her usual self. She wound up 24th overall, her first throw having gone 145-3.
In the men's 10,000-meters, senior Jake Schmitt gave it his all in the still balmy air but after taking the lead for a couple laps midway through the 25 lap race, he began to tire and slipped back to 19th in 30:12.06. Schmitt missed out on the NCAA 10k finals for what would have been a third-straight trip. Senior Alec Bromka finished admirably, taking 34th overall in 31:34.08. The Portland native fought through a lot of injuries in his career and got to make his NCAA debut in his final race. Junior Jordan Swarthout also wrapped up his season, placing 37th in 31:55.13.
Schmitt's career included All-America honors in the 5,000-meters indoors in 2009. He ranks third all-time at UW in the 10k and ninth in the 5k as well as third in the indoor 5k and fifth in the 3k indoors. Schmitt also led the Husky cross country squad to NCAAs in 2008 and 2009.
Opening up on Friday for the Huskies will be Scott Roth and Ryan Vu in the pole vault at 1 p.m. as well as Zack Midles and Angus Taylor in the hammer at 3 p.m. On the track, Falesha Ankton has her 100m hurdles first round, while Mel Lawrence will look to get to Eugene in the steeplechase. There will also be quarterfinal rounds in the 100-meters for Alaka as well as the 200-meter first round for Alaka.
NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary Rounds
Austin, Texas - Mike A. Myers Stadium
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Men's Results (UW Only)
100-meters (First Round): 10. James Alaka, 10.49 (Qualifies To Quarters); 44. Ryan Hamilton, 10.83 (Does Not Advance); 1,500-meters (First Round): 47. Ryan Soberanis, 4:10.09 (does not advance); 10,000-meters (Top-12 To Eugene): 19. Jake Schmitt, 30:12.06 (Does Not Advance); 34. Alec Bromka, 31:34.08 (Does Not Advance); 37. Jordan Swarthout, 31:55.13 (Does Not Advance); Javelin (Top-12 To Eugene): 2. Joe Zimmerman, 235-3 (Advances To Eugene); 4. Kyle Nielsen, 229-7 (Advances To Eugene); 16. Jimmy Brookman, 209-4 (Does Not Advance)
Women's Results (UW Only)
100-meters (First Round): 36. Dominique Lauderdale, 11.99 (Does Not Advance); 1,500-meters (First Round): 3. Katie Follett, 4:23.33 (Wins Heat; Advances To Quarters); 9. Kailey Campbell, 4:21.17 (Advances To Quarters); 39. Justine Johnson, 4:33.84 (Does Not Advance); 10,000-meters (Top-12 Advance To Eugene): 11. Anita Campbell, 34:39.60 (Advances To Eugene); Javelin (Top-12 To Eugene): 24. Brooke Pighin, 145-3 (Does Not Advance).