March 3, 2012
SEATTLE - Freshman pole vaulter J.J. Juilfs had one last shot to get the clearance that could take him to the NCAA Indoor Championships next week, and after he went up, over, and left the bar in the air behind him, the Eugene, Oregon native did a backflip on the mat and gave one last memorable moment to the 2012 Dempsey Indoor track season.
Washington hosted its final meet of the year today with the UW Final Qualifier, and Juilfs could get the distinction of being that final qualifier when the NCAA field is announced early next week. After he finished in a three-way tie at 17-2 ¼, the three went to a jump-off at 17-8 ¼, a bar they had all just missed three attempts at. The three had just one more chance before the bar would go down, and Juilfs would not get the needed height. But he got the clearance while his two competitors missed.
That raises Juilfs' season and personal best from 17-7 to 17-8 ¼, and moves him up into a tie for 14th nationally rather than a tie for 20th, which would have missed the cut. That also bumps the freshman up to fifth on the UW indoor Top-10 list.
Today's finale would not produce any more last minute NCAA qualifiers, but still had a number of big personal-bests and some last Top-10 marks for the recordbooks.
Michael Miller, Jr. had a major PR in the 800-meter final, as he had never broken 1:51 before but today he went under 1:50, clocking 1:49.61, which is the fourth-fastest in school history. Washington's top steeplechaser last season, the time says great things about Miller's speed with outdoor track coming up.
In the women's mile, the Huskies took a shot to see if they could add any more qualifiers. Sophomore Chelsea Orr, already heading to Boise on UW's distance medley relay, took a big shot, really pushing the last two laps, but she ran out of gas a bit on the final 200-meters, finishing second in 4:40.70. Junior Justine Johnson was third in a new PR of 4:41.13, which now puts her ninth in school history. Christine Babcock (4:43.54) and Eleanor Fulton (4:45.85) both also ran solid with season-bests.
Junior Julian Bardwell added just a bit to his indoor personal best in the men's long jump, as he had one of his best series of jumps of the season. He jumped over 23-feet three times, with a best of 23-7 ½ that is a quarter-inch better than his previous PR and moves him to a tie for ninth on the Husky Top-10.
In the throws, senior Elisa Bryant won the weight throw but did not improve on her season-best, throwing 61-9.
Freshman Haley Jacobson had a nice PR in the 60m dash final, running 7.75 seconds, while fellow rookie Gianna Woodruff won the 200-meter dash in 25.32 seconds, just .05 seconds off UW's Top-10. Another freshman, Naivasha Sophusson-Smith finished her first indoor season with a 60m hurdles PR of 8.90. In the men's 60m hurdles, junior Shayne Moore took second with a season-best time of 8.28.
Laura Schmitt ran a lifetime-best in the 400-meter dash, winning the event in 57.06 seconds. Skye Atchley also was impressive in the 800-meter run, as she won her heat by nearly six seconds in a time of 2:12.96, a PR by more than two seconds.
The Huskies will now go look to post some points at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise next Friday and Saturday, March 9-10. Along with Juilfs, the Husky men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley, and Joey Bywater is expected to make the cut. The women will travel five competitors, with Orr, Jordan Carlson, Baylee Mires, and Katie Flood on the DMR, and Flood also qualified in the mile and 3,000-meters. Sophomore Megan Goethals rounds out the group, qualifying in the 3k and the 5k.