April 15, 2011
MT. SAC RELAYS
April 14-16 - Walnut, Calif.
Hilmer Lodge Stadium
WALNUT, Calif. - The Husky track teams brought their best to the Mt. SAC Relays, "where the world's best athletes compete," as the long day of action at the storied meet resulted in four new Top-10 marks and fifteen personal bests for the UW men and women. From the short sprints to the long distances, hurdles, throws, and all types of jumps, the Dawgs were ready to compete today at the Hilmer Lodge Stadium.
The day started on a high note as sophomore Justine Johnson ran to a two-second personal best in the 1,500-meters, placing fourth overall out of 126 competitors in the open heats in a time of 4:22.57. That would move the Victoria, B.C. native up to ninth in the West. She'll be assured of a second straight appearance at NCAA West Prelims.
In the men's 1,500-meters, sophomore James Cameron, sophomore Joey Bywater, junior Ryan Soberanis, and junior Charlie Williams all clocked season-bests. Cameron was in the invitational heat against a number of America's top professionals. The All-American hustled to a PR of 3:44.90, finishing 11th. Earlier in the day, Bywater was seventh in the fast open heat, posting a 3:46.14 time that would rank 12th in the West entering the weekend. Soberanis ran a career-best 3:47.69, nearly two seconds faster than last week at Oregon. Williams was fourth in his 13-man heat in 3:52.25.
For the first time in five years, the Huskies have a women's sprinter under the 55-second mark for the quarter mile. Junior Jordan Carlson has battled through injuries early in her career to come on strong in 2011, and the Spokane native broke through this afternoon with a PR in the 400-meters of 54.74 seconds. That's the best time by a Husky since 2006 and ties Colleen Richardson (1980) for seventh on the school's Top-10 list. Freshman Michelle Fero also ran a PR of 56.28 seconds.
Continuing a big day for the women's sprinters was senior Dominique Lauderdale, as the Bakersfield, Calif. native won her 200-meter heat in a big PR of 24.24 seconds despite running into a headwind. That's the fastest time by a Husky since Chelsie Pentz in 2000, jumping Lauderdale up to sixth on the all-time list.
Shortly thereafter, freshman Maurice McNeal out of Federal Way made a big splash in the 400-meter dash, winning his heat by more than a second and placing third out of more than 40 entries in 46.86 seconds. McNeal ran the 400m last week at the Pepsi Team Invite but was DQ'd for stepping out of his lane. But with that first time now under his belt, McNeal looks to have a shot at chasing Ja'Warren Hooker's freshman school record of 46.42. Entering the weekend, only sixteen athletes out West had run under 47-seconds for the quarter mile, and just four in the Pac-10.
An enticing men's javelin battle was the field event high point of the day. UW's returning All-American duo of senior Kyle Nielsen and sophomore Joe Zimmerman competed against the likes of 2010 U.S. Outdoor Champion Sean Furey and former Pac-10 Champ and NCAA runner-up Corey White. Nielsen was fifth, second among current college athletes, with a toss of 234-feet, 6-inches, a slight season-best. Zimmerman added five feet to his season-best with a throw of 221-10, placing eighth in the invitational flight.
In the women's javelin, new school record-holder Amanda Peterson had a solid follow-up to her incredible debut last week. The transfer from Eastern Washington threw 165-4 on her fourth attempt to win her flight and place fifth overall as the top collegian.
The Huskies continued to accumulate the PRs in the jumps. In the women's triple jump, Taylor Nichols went 40-feet, 7-inches, moving up to a tie for sixth on the UW career top-10 list. In the men's long jump, sophomore Julian Bardwell stretched his career-best out to 23-7 ¼. Then freshman A.J. Maricich cleared 6-10 ¾ to take fifth in the men's high jump with his best outdoor clearance so far this season.
Back on the track, UW's top two finishers in the men's and women's 400-meter hurdles each continued to make forward progress with their fastest times of the year. Dan Sanders ran 53.03 for a new PR and freshman Kayla Stueckle stopped the clock at 1:01.40,
One of the marquee events of the night was the invitational women's 5,000-meters, which featured American record-holder Molly Huddle against American steeplechase record-holder Jenny Simpson and a number of other elite names. Former Husky All-American Katie Follett also was in the mix, and set a big time personal-best with a time of 15:37.84, which is 11 seconds faster than her collegiate PR.
The final Husky in action late Friday night was sophomore Lindsay Flanagan in the open 5k. The Illinois native cut six more seconds off her PR set just last week, going under 16:30 for the first time at 16:28.86. That's less than a second off UW's Top-10 in the 5k; Flanagan having already ran the No. 5 time in Husky history over 10,000-meters this season.
In the women's hammer throw, junior Elisa Bryant continues to regain her strength and technique coming back from injury, as she had a season-best throw of 180-7 to win the third flight this evening. Volunteer assistant coach Kimery Hern was fifth overall with a throw of 199-feet.
Saturday's final day of action will be highlighted by sophomore James Alaka in the invitational sections of the 100- and 200-meter dashes, plus NCAA Indoor Champion Scott Roth in the pole vault and NCAA qualifier Angus Taylor in the men's hammer throw.