April 29, 2011
SEATTLE - The Husky men's track and field team was victorious over the rival Cougars this evening in the final UW-WSU dual meet ever to be held in Husky Stadium. Back in 1922, Washington handed Washington State a 93-38 defeat in the first dual meet held in the stadium; today it was an 83-80 victory for the Dawgs 91 years later.
The Cougar women's team came out ahead in a 92-71 victory, although the Huskies got the individual win in 10 of the 19 events on the women's side, but could not overcome WSU's depth. The dual meet format awards five points for first place, three for second, and one for third.
"I think both of our teams came out swinging and they competed incredibly well today," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "I think today's meet was the right way for us to close out our dual meet history with the Cougars in Husky Stadium."
The Husky men snapped a three-year losing streak to the Cougars, getting the victory for the first time since 2007. Washington built an early lead in the throws, as they took the hammer throw, 8-1, and swept the javelin for a 9-0 swing. Big events for the men came later in the pole vault, which UW swept 9-0, and the 200-meter dash where they went 1-2. But every point looms large in a three-point victory, and the day was filled with gritty performances and personal-bests.
On the women's side, Washington had a school record from junior Jordan Carlson in the 400-meter dash, as she won in a time of 54.18 seconds to surpass Lauran Dignam's mark of 54.31 from 2006. Washington also got an 8-1 win in the 3,000-meters, and swept the triple jump. Senior Dominique Lauderdale was a double winner in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
The day started early with the hammer throws out at West Seattle Stadium. Junior Angus Taylor picked up the victory for the men with a best of 196-6, and former Cougar Conner Larned was second at 177-7. Washington's outstanding javelin trio of All-Americans Kyle Nielsen and Joe Zimmerman, and Pac-10 scorer Jimmy Brookman then scared the Cougars out of entering a single participant in the javelin. Despite the guaranteed sweep, the Huskies still went out and produced, as Brookman set a major PR with a mark of 227-2 on his first attempt, a 12-foot best. Zimmerman also had a season-best throw of 239-9, and Nielsen was right behind at 239-2.
The men's steeplechase proved to be one of the day's turning points. Sophomore Michael Miller Jr. came in with the No. 3 time in the field, and WSU's Andrew Gonzales was the only entry to have broken nine minutes, but Miller held strong down the final stretch to get the victory in a 12-second personal-best of 8:57.32, which moves him up to 14th in the West and assures an NCAA prelim trip.
Washington's sprinters then went to work in what would be a banner day for the young group. Freshman Maurice McNeal began a workmanlike day leading off the 4x100-meter relay, then handing to NCAA qualifier James Alaka, who gave to sophomore Colton Dunn before junior Ryan Hamilton brought the stick home in a season-best time of 39.93 for the win. That time ranks seventh in school history and is the second-fastest in the Pac-10 this year.
McNeal provided the next big highlight as the Federal Way rookie outdueled multiple All-American and NCAA hurdles champion Jeshua Anderson in the 400-meter dash. Anderson ran on the inside of McNeal, but could never make up ground as McNeal cruised in with a personal-best 46.63 win. McNeal is now 17th in the West Region and third amongst freshmen.
Alaka was up next to defend his title in the 100-meter dash. He flew down the middle lane to the victory in 10.44 and saluted the home crowd as he crossed the finish line. Alaka and McNeal would come back later in the day for a critical one-two finish in the 200-meter dash. Alaka won in a season-best 21.00 seconds with McNeal just a split second back at 21.02, a new PR which ranks him ninth on the UW Top-10 list. Alaka already ranks seventh with his 2010 best of 20.71.
"Everywhere Maurice ran today was a meet changer," said Metcalf. "He ran a great relay leg, he beats Jeshua Anderson at 400-meters and we needed that. He runs a phenomenal 200-meter PR and then anchors our 4x4 in 45-point, so James Alaka and Maurice McNeal did a tremendous job for us."
The men's 800-meters was another key race, as even though UW was unable to knock off former U.S. Junior Champ Joe Abbott, who held on to win in 1:48.23, the Dawgs went two-three, as redshirt freshman Gareth Gilna shattered his outdoor PR to clock 1:49.83, his first time under 1:50, and junior Ryan Styrk was on his heels in 1:50.53.
Back over on the East Field, Washington put up a nine-spot in the pole vault, where junior Robby Fegles earned the win with a lifetime best clearance of 16-5 ¼. The Cougars only had one entry, so that meant just one person to beat for UW to get the sweep. Junior Jeremy Taiwo went 15-11 ¼ to place third, a vault he'd love to duplicate at the Pac-10 Multi-Event Championships next week. Senior All-American Scott Roth had the easiest second-place finish of any athlete today, as he came in at certainly one of his lowest heights in years to clear 15-11 ¼ on one attempt, and once it was clear UW had the sweep, he did not take another jump, saving the bigger heights for the upcoming postseason.
The Cougars needed a big effort in the 3,000-meters to close the gap, and when Jono Lafler took a lead over senior Colton Tully-Doyle heading into the bell lap, it looked like they might get it. But Tully-Doyle, the two-time NCAA Indoor competitor, was saving something in the tank, and he sped past Lafler with 200-meters to go and got the win in 8:14.89 while Lafler was second in 8:16.73.
With only the triple jump, shot put, and 4x400-meter relay remaining, UW had 78 points and needed just four to clinch the win. The team split up to follow both field events and cheer on the final competitors.
Putting the cap on the day was senior Cameron Elisara and junior Richard Anderson in the shot put. Elisara was just recently hit by a serious hip flexor injury that threatened to end his season, and therefore his Husky career. And indeed after today it still might, but Elisara wanted one more meet, and the former football lineman played through pain once again, and took second-place with a season-best throw of 54-feet, 5.25-inches. Anderson added the fourth point with a third-place finish at 50-8 ¾, adding to the three points he earned earlier in the day with a discus PR of 166-8 to take second.
Out in West Seattle, the women got off to a 6-3 lead with a win from Elisa Bryant in the women's hammer throw. Sophomore Erica Huse also PR'd at 147-6 on her final attempt to edge a Cougar for third-place by three inches.
The women's javelin throw pitted the second- and third-ranked throwers in the NCAA against each other in WSU's defending Pac-10 Champion Marissa Tschida and UW school record-holder Amanda Peterson. Peterson took the lead with a toss of 171-11 on her second throw, but Tschida regained it with a 174-6 toss on her next attempt. She extended that to 178-11 for the win and Peterson took second.
In the first track event of the day, junior Mel Lawrence competed for the first time in 2011 indoors or outdoors, and the five-time All-American picked up the win in 10:27.66 which should take her on to the NCAA prelims once again.
Sophomore Justine Johnson then took a wire-to-wire approach in the 1,500-meter run, and it paid off in a victory in 4:26.51. Freshman Megan Goethals took third in a season-best 4:29.29. Goethals came back later in the evening to pull away later for a victory at 3,000-meters, winning in 9:34.81, and sophomore Lindsay Flanagan made it an 8-1 swing with a second-place finish in 9:36.66.
Sophomore Logan Miller set a new outdoor career-best in a women's pole vault victory, as she cleared 13-0 ¾ to become the eighth Husky to get over 13-feet outdoors in school history. Taylor Fjeran took third at 12-2 ¾.
Carlson's aforementioned school-record at 400-meters then fired up the Dawgs. Prior to April 15, it had been five years since a Husky woman had broken 55-seconds. The Spokane native did that with a 54.74 run at Mt. SAC. Although she said afterwards that she didn't feel as fast today, her time of 54.18 seconds told the story.
The 400-distance also saw a breakthrough from freshman hurdler Kayla Stueckle, as the Emerald Ridge High product rolled to a big season-best to upset a trio of favored Cougars and win in 59.84 seconds. That was nearly two seconds better than her previous top time this year, and shoots her up to 24th-place in the West Region.
"Jordan Carlson breaking our school record was a big time highlight. The old school record by Lauran Dignam was set in the dual meet in Pullman. And we got a big run from Kayla, winning a very competitive 400-meter hurdles race," Metcalf said.
Lauderdale came through with a dominant win in the 100-meters, as she ran 11.70 win by over three-tenths and just miss the meet record by 0.05 seconds. She was back on the track less than an hour later to capture the 200-meter dash in a new PR of 24.16 seconds, though in both races the Cougars kept it at just a 5-4 swing for UW by taking second and third in each.
The last big points for the Husky women came from their triple jump trio of Shaniae Lakes, Taylor Nichols, and Alana Alexander. Lakes followed her big PR from the Oregon Relays with another solid jump of 40-3 ½ to get the win. Nichols went 39-9 ¼ on her second run to place second, and Alexander grabbed third by 0.75 inches with a best mark of 38-9.
One final home meet remains in Husky Stadium next weekend, as the Ken Shannon Invitational turns out the lights on May 7.