Feb. 12, 2010
SEATTLE - The Dempsey Indoor facility witnessed its first American Record on Friday night, as four elite pro runners from the Oregon Track Club ran the fastest distance medley relay in U.S. history. Nick Symmonds, Matt Scherer, Tyler Mulder, and Will Leer covered the 4,000-meter relay course in 9:21.77 highlighting the opening night of the two-day Husky Classic.
The old record of 9:25.97 was set by the University of Texas back in February of 2008. The OTC foursome came to Seattle with the stated intent of setting the record, and essentially ran a time trial after the first leg. Symmonds started things off in the 1,200-meter leg. He is the two-time defending American Champion at 800-meters and ran in the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships. Former Husky Austin Abbott provided "rabitting" services to pace Symmonds through the first few laps.
He then handed off to Scherer for the 400-meter leg. Scherer passed off to Mulder for the 800-meter leg. Mulder was eighth in the 800m at the U.S. Championships last year. Leer, fifth in the 1,500m at last year's American championships, then brought them home with a 1,600-meter final leg timed unofficially at 3:55.
After watching one single runner at a time traverse the Dempsey oval, the women's 5,000-meter runs came next and packed dozens of women on the track. The top heat featured a number of All-Americans, and wound up producing eight NCAA Automatic qualifying times. Between the second and third heats there were also 15 more Provisional marks. The top 10 finishers all went under the previous NCAA leading mark of 16:19, led by Nicole Blood of Oregon who won in 15:51.59.
The men's 5,000-meters closed out the night and Oklahoma State's Colby Lowe took over the NCAA lead with an Auto time of 13:45.01 that was actually second on the night to Division-II runner Aaron Braun of Adams State who won in 13:42.22. Eleven men total went under 14-minutes, and a whopping 23 NCAA qualifiers were earned by eligible athletes. Husky senior Jake Schmitt was 16th in the final heat in a time of 14:15.51.
Saturday's action picks up at 8 a.m. on the track with field events getting underway at 9:30 a.m. The invitational sections featuring the fastest heats begin at 2:40 p.m. and are scheduled to run through the final 4x400m relay at 5:55 p.m.