Feb. 26, 2010
SEATTLE - Washington track had a trio of sterling performances today on day one of the MPSF Championships at the Dempsey Indoor, earning two wins and breaking one school record. Junior Scott Roth's huge victory in the pole vault led the way, as he turned in the fourth-best vault in the world this year and the best by an American to win and set a new MPSF meet record in the process.
The Huskies also got a dominant win from sophomore Mel Lawrence in the women's 5,000-meter run, and junior Colton Tully-Doyle continued his exceptional indoor season with a school-record in the men's 5,000m of 13:48.86 that was good for second place and should assure him a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Lawrence only returned to racing two weeks ago after recovering from injury, but is quickly regaining her All-American form, as she ran the second-best indoor 5k in school history, clocking 16:11.82 to win by seven seconds. Her win was the first MPSF title in the women's 5k in UW history.
Tully-Doyle, who had already enjoyed a breakout cross country season, has performed even better on the track thus far. The San Diego, Calif. native now owns the school record at 5,000-meters after clocking the second-best 3k in school history just two weeks ago. His time was more than five seconds faster than Jeremy Mineau's mark from 2006.
Incredibly, this was Tully-Doyle's first ever 5k indoors. His best 5,000-meter time came outdoors and was just 14:26.
"(Head Coach Greg) Metcalf kept telling me what he thought I could run, and he thought I could run 13:49, but I tried to take the pressure off myself and just shoot for 14-minutes," said Tully-Doyle. "Metcalf has done an awesome job getting me ready for this. He hasn't overworked me at all, just doing tempos, so for me to be running 13:48 has me pretty stoked."
Roth had been suffering from some back pain yesterday and this morning and planned to only jump at whatever height was needed for the win and call it a day. But the 2009 NCAA Runner-Up said that trainer John Jackson helped loosen him up and then the extra adrenaline helped take the pain away. Roth needed two attempts to clear 17-9 and secure the win, and then had the bar raised a full foot to the meet record held by Oregon's Tommy Skipper. He vaulted up and over the bar on his first try and only then did he call it quits to go easy on his body.
"I woke up this morning with terrible back pain," said Roth. "When I started moving and the adrenaline started flowing the pain went away and my legs felt amazing. I never felt so fast on the runway. I got on the biggest pole I've ever been on and Coach Licari helped make the perfect decision for the right pole and standards. I was so surprised when I cleared that bar. I freaked out, I was so happy, because I was feeling pretty down this morning with how my back was feeling."
Roth is the first Husky to win the MPSF pole vault since Olympian Brad Walker in 2001. Walker's 19-foot indoor clearance is the only better mark in Husky history. Roth has won all five of his competitions this season.
Senior Zack Midles came up big in what could be his final career weight throw today. The Olympia native was the runner-up in the weight with a best throw of 62-feet and a quarter inch, posting eight points for the Dawgs. Midles has progressed at the MPSF meet from seventh as a freshman, to sixth as a sophomore, fifth as a junior, and now second his senior year. Sophomore Angus Taylor also earned one point with an eighth-place finish as he threw a new lifetime-best of 60-2, becoming the eighth Husky ever to break the 60-foot mark.
In the sprints, freshman James Alaka shot to a 6.80-second 60-meter dash time in the prelims, which ties him for the eighth-best time in school history along with Isaiah Stanback and Carlos Hattix. The London native's time was third-best in qualifying and puts him in Saturday's final. Alaka came back later in the evening and ran a 21.68 in the 200-meters to place fifth and earn four points for the Dawgs.
"Those two marks by Scott and Colton are two of the best indoor marks in the history of the University of Washington," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "18-9 for a guy that maybe wasn't going to jump yesterday. Colton is training and racing on a new level and tonight the only goal was to go race and take a shot. Mel won and was very controlled and there's a lot more in there for sure. James Alaka and Zack Midles were also both outstanding today. There was a lot to be very proud of from our group."
Washington also got points from both of its distance medley relays. The men's quartet of Ryan Styrk, Sam Rucker, Ryan Soberanis, and James Cameron ran 9:47.01 to take fifth while the women's foursome of Justine Johnson, Amber Finley, Courtney Lightfoot, and Katie Follett went 11:37.79 to place sixth.
The women picked up their first point of the day from senior Korede Oyetuga in the women's weight. She matched her lifetime best to the centimeter, throwing 15.77 meters or 51-feet and 9-inches for an eighth-place finish.
The Husky men sit in third place after day one with 35 points, chasing UCLA and Stanford. The UW women are eighth with 14 points while Stanford leads the pack. Action resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday morning and continues until approximately 3:30 p.m. with finals in the 60m dashes and hurdles, the 400-meters, the mid-distance events, the 3,000-meters, and the shot put, triple jump, high jump, and women's pole vault. The 4x400m relays close out the afternoon.