April 6, 2013
|Pepsi Team Invitational
Saturday April 6, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
**Quotes from Husky student-athletes at the end of this recap.**
EUGENE, Ore. -
Taking on some of the top track teams in the national rankings at the Pepsi Team Invitational, the Huskies stepped up with seven event wins and a couple handfuls of career-best marks despite some heavy rains at Hayward Field. The Husky women's team placed third behind top-five teams Oregon and Texas A&M while the men took fourth.
The first scored meet of the season produced great competition in front of several thousand fans, with the victorious Husky individuals taking the traditional victory laps around the track.
The third-ranked Texas A&M women's team won with 201 points, while the Huskies were behind Oregon in third with 146, ahead of Washington State which scored 138 points. The fourth-ranked Oregon men held off the No. 1-ranked Aggie men, 194.5 to 180.5, with WSU taking third and UW fourth with 129.5.
Both the men's and women's steeplechases gave the Huskies some great positive momentum at the start of the meet, as the first winner of the day was senior Mel Lawrencein the women's race. Lawrence, a former Pac-12 Champion, which she won at this track back in 2009, looked easy and relaxed like she did back in that record-setting season, as she gradually pulled away from the pack and set a meet record in winning with a time of 10:07.78. That's nearly identical to the time she ran in her first college steeple back in 2009, and moves her up to No. 3 in the NCAA this season.
'It is kind of like riding a bike, you have that muscle memory that kicks in. It felt really good, I actually surprised myself a little bit, so I'm pretty happy.' - Mel Lawrence
In the same race, senior Justine Johnson jumped up to the No. 2 steeplechaser in school history, as she took more than 20 seconds off her debut steeple time from two weeks ago, running 10:19.66 to take third. That will jump her up to the No. 12 mark in the country this year. Junior Liberty Milleralso PR'd, running 10:33.08 to take fifth, and she now ranks fourth on the Husky top-10 list.
In the men's steeple, redshirt freshman Aaron Nelson used a determined final sprint to grab third place in a huge new personal-best of 8:52.03, a time that will surely qualify him for his first NCAA Prelim meet, and is just a few seconds off the Husky top-10 list. Nelson moves all the way up to No. 8 in the NCAA this year. Tim Cummingshad one of his best track efforts with a 9:21.49 time to take seventh.
With her first throw of the day, senior Jordin Seekinsextended her career-best and posted a mark that would end up winning the meet, as she threw 149-feet, 2-inches. She agonized on her next attempt after just stepping over the line on a toss that would have been well over the 150-foot mark, but still got the victory and new PR.
It was another strong day for the Husky hurdlers, led by the one-two finish in the women's 400-meter hurdles by junior Kayla Stueckle and sophomore Gianna Woodruff. Stueckle made a late push to get the win, her second of the year, in 59.55. Woodruff, running on the outside in lane eight, turned in the best race of her career as she broke the 60-second mark for the first time, clocking 59.94 for second place. For the men, senior Dan Sanderstook fifth in the long hurdles in 52.91 seconds.
Earlier in the men's 110m hurdles, freshman Chris Williams lowered his season-best down to 14.21 seconds to take second, and senior Shayne Moore was right behind in third-place, cutting two more tenths of a second off his personal-best by running 14.36 seconds. Howard Laomatched his PR of 14.73 for seventh. Williams' time ties him for seventh on the Husky top-10 list.
On the women's side, Kimberly Stueckle posted a huge PR of her own, as she clocked 14.28 seconds to place fourth. Her previous best was 14.53, so she took a quarter of a second off that with a legal wind. A 14.51 season-best from Naivasha Sophusson Smithwas also good for sixth-place.
Joey Bywaterturned in one of the most thrilling finishes of the day, as bided his time through a slow 1,500-meters and kicked it into high gear with a full 300 meters to go, chasing down WSU's Todd Wakefield who had gone out to a big lead, as well as Oregon All-American Elijah Greer. Bywater took the lead on the homestretch and held on to win in 3:52.78, a kicker's race if there ever was one.
Senior All-American and school record-holder Logan Miller has had some early season struggles after coming back from a foot injury, but she had her best effort of the season today, getting back over the 13-foot mark at 13-3 ½ for her second straight victory at this meet. Sophomore Ashley Schnapphad a PR to earn third-place points today, clearing 12-3 ½ despite a steady rain during the event.
In the men's vault, Eugene native J.J. Juilfsgot another win at his hometown track, where he won the Pac-12 title last year. The sophomore cleared 16-6 ¾ on his first attempt to win the tiebreaker. Three tries at 17-0 ¾ were unsuccessful but Juilfs should be able to build on today.
One of the day's strongest fields was the women's 800-meter run, which featured former NCAA 800m champion Anne Kesselring and Pac-12 800m champion Laura Roesler, both of Oregon. Sophomore Baylee Mires is looking to get to that level herself, and she pulled away from the pack to chase down the two Ducks, but finished just a stride behind Kesselring for third. However, in the process, Mires broke the 2:06 mark for the first time, just sneaking under at 2:05.99. She's the fourth Husky ever to get under that time, and Mires will jump all the way to No. 5 in the NCAA. Sophomore Eleanor Fultonalso had an excellent run in the 800m, as she was fifth in 2:08.36, a two-second personal-best.
The men's 800-meters was another strong field, and saw Michael Miller and Brad Whitleyeach set outdoor PRs. They crossed the line on opposite sides of the track, with Miller coming on the outside in 1:50.36, and Whitley finishing by the rail in 1:50.84, as they took sixth and seventh, respectively.
Jeremy Taiwo started his day in the men's discus, tossing a season-best 130-7, then passed his final three attempts to run over to the high jump, where he picked up the victory with a clearance of 6-9 ¾, missing a few attempts at seven-feet. It was his first high jump since the NCAA Indoor meet in early March. Chase Walkercleared 6-4 to add a few points there as well.
The men's javelin featured one of the most loaded fields in the NCAA today, as four competitors ranked in the top-seven nationally were in action, including UW's Joe Zimmerman, ranked seventh. Zimmerman would take third today with a best of 231-1, and fellow senior Jimmy Brookman was fourth at 223-10, a season-best that will move him up to 15th nationally. Quinn Hale threw 215-8 for sixth and Carson Fullerwent 205-8 for seventh.
It wasn't much of a day for sprinting given the conditions, but senior James Alaka and freshman Quadelle Satterwhitecollected some needed points for the Dawgs. Alaka ran 10.75 in the 100m and 21.51 in the 200-meters, well off his career-bests. Satterwhite went 10.80 and 21.70, the latter a season-best.
In the women's 1,500-meters, senior Christine Babcock led for the first few laps, but was passed on the bell lap and settled for fifth in a talented field in 4:24.21. Freshman Maddie Meyershad a modest season-best of 4:29.38 for seventh.
Senior Sarah Schiremanplaced third in the women's long jump with a best of 18-4 ½.
The women's hammer saw some nice improvements as freshmen Bev Coleman and Carolyn Gravelleeach had big personal-bests. Coleman tossed 152-8 on her sixth and final throw for fifth place. That's just a foot out of the UW top-10. Gravelle threw 138-4, a seven-foot season-best for her.
Freshman Hannah Sherrill was third in the discus at 147-11, and yet another freshman, Alyx Toeaina had a big season-best of 44-7 ½ in the women's shot put to take fifth. A busy day for Robert Hendersonsaw him throw 145-10 in the discus, and 42-1 ½ in the shot put.
The Huskies get their first week off so far this outdoor season now before heading to the Mt. SAC Relays from April 18-20.
Washington Student-Athlete Quotes
Mel Lawrence after win in the steeplechase:
I did my first water pits in two years on Thursday, and they were kind of rough (laughs), so I was kind of nervous going into it. But I talked to my sister before and it is kind of like riding a bike, you have that muscle memory that kicks in. It felt really good, I actually surprised myself a little bit, so I'm pretty happy. Actually 10:07 is what I ran at my first steeple at the dual meet in 2009, so I hope I'm starting over!
Baylee Mires after running 2:05.99 in 800m:Metcalf told me the third 200 all I had to do was kind of float, so I tried to do that. I tried to stay active the entire time, because the 1,500 last week I kind of fell asleep. So the goal was to stay focused the whole time. I just felt really powerful that last 200. I started kinda moving, and I may have made my move a little too soon, but I was chasing down Anne Kesselring, and then I started to realize `Oh my god, it's Anne Kesselring,' and then I think I got a little scared with about 25 (meters) to go. I wish I had just kept pushing, but it was good, I'm happy with it. It's taken a little time (to get under 2:06) but I finally got it.
Jordin Seekins on her win in the javelin:It was kind of bittersweet, because I scratched a 10-foot PR (laughs). But it was good, I woke up today and I said `I want to win this meet.' That's just what went through my head, I was pretty amped up for today. You know, this is going to sound cheesy, but this is the first meet that I prayed for, so I feel that kind of worked out. But today was really exciting, and everyone's kind of on a roll right now; I'm really excited right now!
Joey Bywater on his win in the 1,500-meters:I kind of expected it to be a little bit tactical, but actually the first 100 meters people popped off the line pretty good, so I started to gear up for a respectable pace. Then, I don't know, maybe about 300 meters in it really slowed down, and it even slowed down more and felt like a 5k at one point. So I knew it was just going to explode. With like 600 to go I started getting really antsy, waiting for someone to pop out, and then with 500 to go, the WSU kid Todd made a big move on the inside and took off, and our group still didn't really go yet so I was getting nervous, but one of the Oregon guys started to take off and then it started to open up. I didn't want to try to do too much on the curve, so I waited until the backstretch, and then with 300 to go I knew it was time to just throw down whatever I had left, so I just went for it.
Kayla Stueckle after 400m hurdles win:I started and my first 200 was a little rough. I was having a little weird pain this afternoon but Raul just told me to go out and get through the hurdles and we'll see about the relay. I went out maybe a little cautious, and then from about 150 through 300 Gianna was still up in lane eight. I could see her and I was like, `Oh my gosh, she's killing it.' And then coming off the turn, my only goal was to catch the A&M girl, and those last few hurdles I just wanted to run them clean and hope she falls apart, and she hit the last one and I was able to win it.
Gianna Woodruff after 400m hurdles PR:It feels amazing. I was in lane eight and running scared, but I ran my best. I was still in front at the 200, and just said let me just take it home! Why not? So hopefully that's Regional list.
Aaron Nelson on big steeplechase PR:I was trying really hard at the end to take that A&M guy down, because he beat me at USC. He got ahead of me again, and I just found another gear with 200 to go and almost got him. But it was good to just run another competitive race, and PR. Two weeks ago it was my first time doing it, so today to come back and have another great race, building these great races has got me so excited and enthusiastic right now. Going into it this time I had a lot more race awareness, where last time I was completely focused on the barriers and the water pit. I just felt more experienced coming into this race and less stressed, it was good.
Jeremy Taiwo on his day in the discus and high jump:The discus was pretty good to open with 130 on my first one, but I kind of rushed the next two and then by that time I had to run over and do the high jump. It was cool to get a win and to get a throw in and just keep the momentum rolling to the next meet. Mechanically the high jump felt all right, I'm just glad to feel healthy right now. I could be a lot more patient over the bar, I just haven't practiced it since (indoor) nationals so I need to get those reps in.
Shayne Moore on a PR of 14.36 in the 110m hurdles: I honestly didn't think I was going to run the time I ran. I was just hitting hurdles, crashing, I almost fell on my face at the start, but I just kept battling and crossed the line and looked up and there it was. I'm just over the moon right now.