March 4, 2011
SEATTLE - The final Dempsey Indoor meet, and the final chance to earn a spot at nationals, is set for this Saturday afternoon as Washington hosts the UW Final Qualifier. The meet is scaled-down from the rest of the Dempsey Indoor schedule, as mostly just athletes on the NCAA bubble will make the trip to Seattle to try and lower their times or up their marks enough to reach the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships set for March 11-12 in College Station, Texas.
The meet begins at 11 a.m. on the track and in the field and should be wrapped up by 3 p.m. Pacific time.
Several Huskies have visions of extending their indoor season for one more week, and will have to step up on Saturday and force their way to Texas A&M.
The first significant race of the day will be senior Dominique Lauderdale in the 60-meter dash. The Bakersfield, Calif. native has a PR of 7.48 seconds this year that ranks third in school history, but she'll need to drop a couple tenths off that to have a shot at NCAA Indoors. In the men's 60-meters, James Alaka is scheduled to compete unattached for the first time this year, as is former UW All-American Jordan Boase and current junior Ryan Hamilton.
Junior Ryan Styrk currently ranks 40th in the 800-meters, and he'll be running in a strong heat on Saturday as he looks to cut into his PR and possibly move up the national list.
The women's mile will be another race to watch, as freshman Chelsea Orr and sophomore Justine Johnson could both be capable of big season bests. In the men's mile, coach Metcalf is letting a large pack of Huskies run wild with a total of 10 men entered in the two top heats. The five in the fastest heat--Joey Bywater, James Cameron, Gareth Gilna, Max O'Donoghue-McDonald, Ryan Soberanis--could all be within striking distance of the four-minute mile mark.
One of the key races to watch will be the women's 3,000-meters, where freshmen Megan Goethals and Katie Flood are both within just a few seconds of the cut-off for NCAAs. Former Husky Katie Follett is entered and could be a pace setter for the two young Huskies and several other top runners.
In the field events, the men's pole vault has a very competitive field, including American record-holder and Husky great Brad Walker. Husky senior Ryan Vu is also slated to jump, and could need another small improvement on his season-best to assure himself a spot in nationals, as he's currently tied for 14th.
Junior Kelly McNamee is just an inch and a half away from likely making the field in the women's high jump, and she'll shoot for that bar on Saturday. Freshman A.J. Maricich will also look to get over seven feet for the first time this season in the men's high jump.
Freshman Kasen Covington is ranked in the top-50 in the men's triple jump, and if he can crack the 52-foot mark that would put him in NCAA contention. The same goes for Taylor Nichols on the women's side, who went a personal-best 40-7 ½ last week and would need around a 42-foot jump to get in the mix.
Last but not least, All-American weight thrower Elisa Bryant will look to put it all together on Saturday and earn herself a second trip to NCAA Indoors if she can surpass her personal best weight toss by a few inches. She'll be up first at 11 a.m. on Saturday.