April 29, 2010
ON THE TRACK: The only head-to-head battle of the season for the Washington track team is on hand this weekend, as the Huskies head across the state to Pullman to renew their rivalry with Washington State. The UW-WSU dual is one of the longest-running in the nation, and one of the few remaining two-team duals left in D-I track. The Huskies and Cougars first met in 1900, with Washington taking a 74-41 win.
This year's edition is set for Saturday at the Mooberry Track Complex. Field events begin at 11 a.m. and the first running events are set for 1:15 p.m. Scoring for the dual meet goes five points for first in each individual event, three points for second, and one for third. Winning relay teams earn five points while second-place gets shut out.
The men's dual could be very closely contested, as the Huskies moved up to a season-best 25th in the USTFCCCA rankings this week, while the Cougar men come in at 29th. The Cougar women are ranked 26th nationally while the Huskies are 42nd this week.
Events to watch on the women's side include the javelin throw, which features three of the current top-10 athletes in the entire NCAA. WSU's Marissa Tschida leads the NCAA with a mark of 186-1, fellow Cougar Courtney Kirkwood is ninth at 168-8, and Husky junior Brooke Pighin is 10th with a best this year of 167-6. Freshman Shaniae Lakes is favored in the women's triple jump. As usual Washington's strengths will be in the distance events, where last year the Huskies outscored the Cougars 31-5 in the 800, 1500, 3,000, and steeplechase. Mel Lawrence, who smashed the meet record in the steeplechase last year, could return from injury in the steeple or 3k this weekend to provide a lift. NCAA-leading senior Katie Follett is entered in both the 80m and 1,500m leading a large Husky contingent in both. Senior Kailey Campbell, who ranks 24th nationally at 1,500m, is also in both mid-distance races, and senior Anita Campbell is entered both at 1,500m and 3,000m. Campbell set a new meet record last year in the 3k at 9:23.42. Falesha Ankton will look for a repeat win in the 100m hurdles in what could be a busy day for the senior.
Heavy favorites for the Husky men include NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion Scott Roth, and junior Kyle Nielsen who ranks second in the NCAA in the javelin. Last year the UW men swept the pole vault, and Roth and senior Ryan Vu give them the top two marks again. Senior Zack Midles, who always relishes competing against his All-American father's former team, will have a long day in the hammer, discus, and shot put. Midles set his hammer throw PR in a win at last year's dual and enters as a big favorite in that event again. Washington will have to deal with two-time NCAA 400m hurdles champion Jeshua Anderson in the short and long hurdles, but counters with good depth at 1,500- and 3,000-meters led by senior Jake Schmitt and junior Colton Tully-Doyle. Freshman James Alaka also gives the Huskies the top seed in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
UW-WSU DUAL MEET HISTORY: More than one hundred years of history is tough to summarize in a paragraph, but here goes. The Huskies and Cougars first squared off in 1900, and the early years were dominated by the Seattleites. Washington won 15 of the first 17 meetings until 1932. The Cougars then strung together eight wins from 1946-53. The biggest run in the series was from 1976 until 1995, when Washington State dominated with 22 consecutive wins, snapped in 1996 when UW scored a 104-97 win in Pullman. Since that time things have been exactly even, seven wins apiece, with UW posting its greatest Husky Stadium win over WSU in 2007, a 103-60 victory. The Cougar men have taken the last two meets. The women have squared off 34 times prior with UW holding a 20-14 edge. The Huskies were 18-3 against their rivals from 1979 until 1997, when WSU turned it around and took 11 of the next 12 duals. The Husky women snapped a four-meet win streak for WSU last season, squeaking out the win by just a third of a point, the closest meet in UW-WSU history. In Pullman, Washington State holds a 34-14-1 edge on the men's side, while the Husky women are 9-7 all-time in Pullman. The last road win for the UW men was in 2006 while the women last had a win in Pullman in 2004.
NEW NCAA QUALIFYING FORMAT: Athletes, coaches, and fans will be dealing with a new format this year for NCAA Championships qualifying and competition. The old system with four regional sites sending five auto qualifiers apiece to the national meet has been tossed out.This year, descending order lists will be the focal point, similar to the NCAA Indoor Championships, though for the outdoor meet there will be no set qualifying standard whatsoever. Hitting a certain mark will not guarantee anything, but will place an athlete on a massive region-wide descending order list. And this year there are just two "regions", West and East. Then based on set field sizes for each event, the top athletes in the west will head to Austin, Texas and the best in the east will meet at Greensboro, North Carolina for what are essentially the NCAA preliminary rounds. Athletes will need to qualify through those two large meets to move on to Eugene, Oregon and the final site of the NCAA Championships. For most individual events, there will be 48 qualifiers at each preliminary round site, while there will be 24 relay teams at each location. Multi-events are the only events that will still qualify directly to Eugene based on top scores.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The USTFCCCA outdoor track team rankings underwent a major shift this week as 2009 bests were removed from the formula for the first time this year, meaning the new rankings are calculated based soley on performances from this season. The Husky men benefited quite a bit from this new arrangement, as they moved up six spots into the Top-25 for the first time this year at 25th. The Husky women on the other hand fell out of the Top-25 as they had been pocketing a large amount of points from athletes that are either redshirting this season or have yet to compete in their best events from 2009. Looking at the individual rankings, senior Katie Follett is the NCAA leader at 1,500-meters after her school-record 4:10.66 from the Mt. SAC Relays two weeks back. The men have a pair in the top-three in their respective events, as junior Kyle Nielsen is second in the javelin at 247-1 and junior Scott Roth is third in the pole vault with a best clearance of 18-0 1/2. Also ranking in the Top-25 nationally for the women is junior Brooke Pighin in the pole vault (10th) and senior Kailey Campbell in the 1,500m (24th). For the men, senior Jake Schmitt is 13th in the 10k, freshman James Alaka is 15th at 100-meters, freshman Joe Zimmerman is 15th in the javelin, sophomore Jeremy Taiwo is 17th in the decathlon, senior Zack Midles is 24th in the hammer, and junior Jordan Swarthout is 25th in the 10k.
LAST TIME OUT: Thirty Huskies headed down to Berkeley for the Brutus Hamilton Invitational hosted by California, coming back with a number of wins and personal bests. On day one, All-American javelin thrower Kyle Nielsen stretched his PR out once again and crept ever closer to the school record. Nielsen won with a throw of 247-feet, 1-inch, the second-best mark in the NCAA this season. Jake Schmitt set a new outdoor PR in the 5,000-meters, running 13:59.26 to take seventh overall. Schmitt was the top collegiate finisher in a field of mostly pros Schmitt moves up to ninth on UW's all-time Top-10 list with the run. Freshman James Alaka continued his winning ways, as he ran 21.09 in the 200-meters for the victory, just off his season-best. Starting off Saturday, All-American javelin thrower Brooke Pighin dominated the competition to win by more than 25 feet. Pighin threw 167-6 on her second attempt, edging her previous season-best and coming within a foot of her lifetime best. Junior Scott Roth earned another win in the pole vault, as his 17-foot, 5-inch clearance was more than eight inches ahead of the next competitor. Freshman Logan Miller and sophomore Kelly Mudlo both cleared 12-2 ½ in the pole vault, a season-best for Mudlo. Freshman Julian Bardwell was fourth in the top long jump flight with a season-best of 23-3 ¼. On the track, sophomore transfer Nikki Codd placed fifth in 2:07.60, a new PR that is just .21 seconds short of the UW top-10 list. Codd moves up in the West Region rankings to 14th with the effort. Freshman James Alaka shows no signs of slowing in the 100-meter dash. The London native took second in 10.41 seconds to professional sprinter Rubin Williams who won in 10.37. Sophomore Ryan Hamilton also ran a 10.79 in the prelims and was fifth in the open final. Junior Dominique Lauderdale lowered her season-best twice in the 100m dash. She ran 12.09 seconds in the prelims and then dropped that down to 11.92 in the finals to take the victory. One of the premiere races of the day was the women's 100-meter hurdles. Senior Falesha Ankton got to compete close to her hometown of Benicia, California, and sliced into her season-best with a third-place run in 13.53 seconds.
FOLLETT AND PIGHIN TAKE PAC-10 WEEKLY AWARDS: A pair of Husky All-Americans have added Pac-10 Athlete of the Week honors to their long list of achievements this season. Brooke Pighin earned the honor for the week of April 5-11 and Katie Follett was named AOW for April 12-18. Pighin is the first women's thrower to earn the award since three-time Olympian Aretha (Hill) Thurmond. Pighin took the javelin title at the Pepsi Team Invitational April 10. She threw a season-best 166-feet, 10-inches, and no other competitor from Oregon, Texas A&M, or Missouri was within 10 feet of her winning mark, which came on her second attempt. Follett won the Mt. SAC Relays 1,500-meter invitational on Friday April 16 in a school-record time of 4:10.66. Follett lowered her already-impressive personal-best by more than four seconds in what turned into a duel with fellow Seattle-resident Jessica Pixler of Seattle Pacific. Pixler led for most of the race, before Follett passed her on the inside down the homestretch for the victory. Follett's time was the fastest by an American woman this year, and the second-fastest mark in the world. She took the NCAA lead by more than two seconds. The Fort Collins, Colorado native moved past UW legends such as Regina Joyce (PR of 4:12.84) and 2006 NCAA Champion Amy Lia (4:14.63), and broke the record of 4:10.93 held by 2003 grad Courtney Inman.