May 7, 2011
SEATTLE - The book closed on 91 years of history today as the final track and field meet was held at Husky Stadium this afternoon. With the Ken Shannon Invitational, the venerable track with the swirling winds but breathtaking setting was put to use for the final time after housing track meets since its construction in 1920. Washington will move ahead with plans for a track only facility that will live north of Husky Soccer Field while the track itself is headed for retirement when Husky Stadium is renovated starting this fall.
As each event came up during the afternoon, meet announcers recapped the stadium records, many of which were set by luminaries of track and field at the 1990 Goodwill Games, and still impress today. No final records were threatened today at the meet which assembled a collection of local colleges and clubs. Most of the top Huskies were not entered today, as the Pac-10 Championships are just one week away, but a few of UW's postseason qualifiers did use the meet to sharpen some skills, and there were a number of personal-bests to be had.
One of the last Huskies in action was junior Robby Fegles in the pole vault. Fegles went over 16-3 ½ on his first try, and then cleared a new PR on his very next attempt, going over 16-9 ½. The transfer from Lane CC couldn't quite make 17-feet for the first time, but clearly his first year with assistant coach Pat Licari has begun to pay dividends.
Two-time All-American senior Kyle Nielsen took a few throws in the javelin in his final home appearance, slightly upping his season-best on his first throw which traveled 239-11, which also gives him back the team lead by two inches over All-American Joe Zimmerman. Watching Nielsen was former Husky Tom Sinclair, the 1979 NCAA Champion in the javelin, who got to take one last throw in the stadium during warm-ups.
The top heat of the 800-meters was one of the day's highlights. Junior Charlie Williams showed he may be finally a factor once again after a long road to recovery following a freshman injury. The Gig Harbor native was second in a time of 1:50.13, nearly a two second PR. Junior Ryan Soberanis was third with a season-best 1:51.38, and freshman Kyle Blume also PR'd by more than a second with a fourth-place finish in 1:51.75.
The women's 800-meters turned into a time trial for former Husky All-American Katie Follett. Now running for Brooks, and leading the U.S. at 1,500-meters after her win last week at the Payton Jordan Invite, Follett went right to the lead and battled the wind for two laps to get the win in 2:07.36, impressive considering the conditions and her wire-to-wire run.
Senior Taylor Nichols had her best wind-legal triple jump, going 40-6 on her fifth attempt into a slight headwind to take the win. That officially moves her up one spot to seventh on the UW Top-10 list. Junior Lindsey Fleishman was second, setting a new wind-legal PR outdoors with a jump of 38-4 ¼ that was a foot farther than she had gone all season.
Freshman Maurice McNeal was back in action after his heavy workload last week in the dual meet. Today, however, it was just the 100-meter dash, his first of the season. McNeal showed his pure speed with a 10.68 second victory. Freshman Howard Lao got the win in the 110-meter hurdles, running a career-best 15.21 seconds though he had help from a fierce wind at his back. Sam Rucker eked out the win in the 400-meter dash in a season-best 49.88 seconds.
In the women's vault, sophomore Logan Miller got the victory with a 12-6 ¾ clearance. She passed up to what would have been a new PR at 13-2 ½ but could not get over today. Sophomore high jumper Caroline Soules competed for the first time since the first indoor meet, coming back from a foot injury, and she took second with a 5-foot, 3-inch clearance. That matched freshman Greta Zietz, who cleared 5-3 on her third attempt for a season's best.
Richard Anderson won the discus with a throw of 166-feet on his only legal toss, just off his PR. Senior Peter Follmer was fifth in his final time at Husky Stadium at 143-4. Another win came from sophomore Clayton Johnson, who went 46-4 ¾ to earn the triple jump victory.
Sophomore Laura Schmitt won her heat in the 400-meters and was second overall in a big PR of 57.20. At 1,500-meters, Courtney Lightfoot had a 12-second season-best in 4:44.57 to place second overall. Alison Ponce was second in a field of 23 in the 5,000-meters, running 18:04.66, and Skye Atchley was third in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:04.65.
The Dawgs will now trim their roster down to its postseason fighting weight and travel to Tucson for the Pac-10 Championships, hosted by Arizona next Friday and Saturday, May 13-14.