March 23, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The outdoor track season began in earnest for the Huskies today at the Trojan Invitational, and it was a strong first full day of action, as UW picked up five event wins at Loker Stadium in L.A.
Johnson earned the day's first win in her first ever attempt at the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Also making her debut in the event was junior Liberty Miller. Johnson, a former Pac-12 scorer at 1,500-meters, ran 10:40.25 for the win, while Miller was third in 10:41.56. Those times move into the Husky top-10 list for the steeple at No. 7 and No. 8.
Stueckle, an NCAA quarterfinalist last year in the 400m hurdles, posted her best ever season-opener, as she clocked 59.21 seconds for the win, more than a second ahead of second place. Sophomore Gianna Woodruff also had a solid opener in 61.96 seconds.
The wins from the men's jumps crew was a great sign early in the outdoor season. Maricich chased the seven-foot mark in the high jump all indoor season, but got over it once again today, clearing 7-0 ¼ on his first attempt to get the win. Sophomore Chase Walker also had a career-best clearance of 6-8.
In the triple jump, Covington posted the best leap of his college career, a slightly-wind-aided mark of 51-6 ½ to win by a large margin. That will move Covington up to fourth nationally in the early going and should secure a third straight NCAA Prelim berth down the road. The jump came on his sixth and final attempt, coming with a 2.3 tailwind, though it was still six inches past his previous wind-aided best.
Thoirs, the freshman from Scotland, set a PR to get the pole vault victory with a clearance of 17-2 ¾. That mark currently ties for fifth nationally.
Fellow freshman Chris Williams also cleared 16-2 ¾ to cap off a busy day that saw Williams also make an impressive debut in the 110-meter hurdles. Williams clocked 14.27 seconds to take third, just barely outside the Husky top-10 list. Senior Shayne Moore also set a career-best with a time of 14.57 seconds, and Howard Lao won the second heat with a time of 14.73 seconds in his first 110m hurdles in two years. That was yet another PR for Lao, who took a huge chunk off his indoor 60m hurdles time this year.
Another steeplechase debut was made by redshirt frosh Aaron Nelson, and it was another successful one, as Nelson clocked 9:02.38, faster than any Husky ran the race last year. At 1,500-meters, sophomore Tyler King posted a three-second PR, taking second overall in 3:48.17. Senior Joey Bywater also took second in the 800-meters, running 1:51.08, with Brad Whitley close behind in 1:51.40.
In the men's sprints, freshman Quadelle Satterwhite had a nice debut at 100-meters, clocking 10.69 seconds, while junior Matt Anthony was just off his PR in 10.86 seconds. At 400-meters, James Alaka ran 48.28 and freshman Andrew Prentice had a PR of 48.34. The men's 4x100m relay of Anthony, Alaka, Satterwhite, and Maurice McNeal was third in 40.56 seconds.
Also running well out of the sprints group was senior Dan Sanders, who was just off his PR in the 400m hurdles, clocking 52.84 seconds.
Sophomore Eleanor Fulton got back out in uniform for the Dawgs today after redshirting the cross country and indoor track seasons. She had a nice debut in the 800-meters, running 2:11.44 to place third. Also getting back in action was Phoebe Merritt, who ran well in a competitive 1,500-meter field, posting a 4:35.33. 800-meter specialist Baylee Mires dropped down to 400-meters for the first time in college, running 56.12, over a second better than her high school PR.
Those Huskies on the trip will now spend the upcoming Spring Break training in Santa Barbara, before continuing up California to the Bay Area for next week's Stanford Invitational.