Feb. 25, 2010
ON THE TRACK: Conference meet action returns to the Dempsey Indoor facility this weekend as Husky track & field hosts the 2010 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The two-day event serves as the indoor conference championships for the West Coast's top track squads and will be the final preparation for many athletes prior to the NCAA Indoor Championships. The MPSF Championships also provide one of the best final chances to qualify for nationals and that is one of the meet's stated goals.
The meet begins Friday, Feb. 26, at 12:30 p.m. and runs until approximately 7 p.m. Events on day one include finals in the men's and women's weight throws, 5,000-meter runs, 200-meter dashes, distance medley relays, long jumps, and the men's pole vault. The majority of the multi-events also will be held Friday. Action resumes Saturday morning at 11 a.m., with conference champs crowned in the majority of the sprints and distance events, plus high and triple jumps, the shot put, and women's pole vault. The women's pentathlon will be contested on Friday while the men's heptathlon is spread over the two days. The men's and women's 4x400m relays bring the meet to a close at around 3:30 p.m.
The field is made up of Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, California, Oregon and UCLA out of the Pac-10, which does not sponsor indoor track & field, plus Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge from the Big West. Oregon will be favored on both the men's and women's side, as the Oregon women are ranked No. 1 in the nation and the men are ranked No. 2. The Arizona State men come in at No. 5 while Stanford is 14th, Arizona ranks 18th, and California is 24th. Arizona at No. 16 is the only other Top-25 women's team at MPSFs. The Washington men's team is ranked 33rd nationally while the Husky women are ranked 38th.
Husky athletes to watch on the men's side include junior Scott Roth, the reigning Pac-10 pole vault champion who will look to pick up his first career MPSF title. He is the top-ranked vaulter in the MPSF and second in the NCAA. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle will look to continue his breakout track season as he is entered in both the 3,000 and 5,000-meters. Tully-Doyle is seeded third in the 3k and owns an NCAA Provisional qualifier. Senior All-American Jake Schmitt is the defending MPSF Champion in the 5k and will be shooting for his first qualifying mark in that event this year.
The men will field a strong sprints unit led with senior Kenjamine Jackson, sophomore Ryan Hamilton, and freshmen James Alaka and Colton Dunn. Another freshman, Shayne Moore, has a great shot to score in the 60m hurdles after his PR of 8.15 seconds at the UW Open Meet. Sophomore Ryan Soberanis scored in the 800m run last year with a career-best time and will look for a similar effort Saturday. In the throws, senior Zack Midles has been a routine scorer in the weight throw, and sophomore Richard Anderson will lead the effort in the shot put after a big recent PR where he passed the 55-foot mark for the first time.
Senior Katie Follett will lead the way for the women's squad. The three-time indoor All-American is the top seed in the mile run, and ranks second nationally with her school-record time of 4:34.98 from the Husky Classic. Follett is also entered in the 3k, where Washington could rack up big points though the field is very large. Sophomore Mel Lawrence, who ran her first race of the year two weeks ago and earned a provisional qualifier in the 3k, will be one of the favorites in the 3k and she is also preliminarily entered in the 5k. Kenna Patrick scored at MPSFs in the 5k a year ago and could give UW a lift as could freshman Lindsay Flanagan.
One of the biggest boosts for a women's team that has been missing a few key pieces all season could come from redshirt freshman Kendra Schaaf. The two-time Pac-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year is entered in the 3,000-meters and could make her anxiously-awaited official track debut on Saturday.
Bianca Greene in the 200-meters and Amber Finley in the 400-meters are the top Dawgs to watch in the women's sprints. Finley will be busy, also running the 400-meter leg on the distance medley relay and competing on the 4x4 relay along with Greene, freshman Johanna Carr, and Lindsey Kirschman. Sophomore Kelly McNamee will be one of the top contenders in the women's high jump. Shaniae Lakes also should vie for points in the triple jump. She is the top-ranking freshman in the conference at this point in the year. Also looking to score will be senior Korede Oyetuga in the women's weight throw, as she placed ninth a year ago.
FOLLOW ALONG AT HOME: Live results of the MPSF Championships will be available on UW's athletics website, www.GoHuskies.com, with links on the main track home page and the schedule page. Cumulative results will be posted at the end of each day.
Live Results: http://www.gohuskies.com/livestats/c-track/022610/index.htm
ABOUT THE MPSF: Established in 1992 to serve the competitive needs of member institutions from the Big West, Pacific-10, Mountain West, Western Athletic and West Coast Conferences and other selected universities in the western United States, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation provides Division-I competition to schools whose primary conferences do not sponsor championships in selected sports. In 2009-2010, the MPSF will again sponsor competition in nine intercollegiate Olympic sports while serving over 1,500 student-athletes and approximately 71 teams from 34 universities in 12 western states. All MPSF teams compete at the NCAA Division I level in men's soccer, men's and women's water polo, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse and men's volleyball. MPSF champions are eligible to compete in NCAA Championships with MPSF men's soccer, men's and women's water polo, and men's volleyball champions earning automatic qualification into NCAA championship events. 2008-2009 was a season of "first-evers" as four titles were garnered by teams that had never previously experienced MPSF or NCAA titles. For the second-consecutive year, five MPSF teams won NCAA championships to bring the NCAA team championship total to 58 titles since the Federation's first season of competition in 1992-93. 24 Federation teams and scores of MPSF student-athletes competed in NCAA post-season competition last year.
LAST YEAR AT THE MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: Washington once again played host to the MPSF Championships from Feb. 27-28, 2009 and the meet was as close and competitive as ever. The Husky men placed sixth, but were only four points out of second. UCLA scored 28 points in the final field event, the pole vault, to leapfrog several teams for the men's title. The Husky women finished fifth for the second straight season, and were just six points out of third. Washington won a total of four MPSF titles. On the first day, junior Jake Schmitt captured the men's 5,000-meter run, the first title at the distance for a Husky athlete since 2001. Shortly thereafter, the women's distance medley relay ran away from the field to win by six seconds. On Saturday, senior Jordan Boase defended his 400-meter title in a Dempsey facility record time of 46.09 seconds. Lastly, freshman Jeremy Taiwo wrapped up the two-day heptathlon event with a commanding victory, breaking his own school record with 5,559 points. Other noteworthy performances came from the men's DMR (Joey Bywater, Jeff Gudaitis, Ryan Soberanis, Austin Abbott) which ran the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA this season to place second and likely earn an NCAA bid. Redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence broke the school 3k record by eight seconds in running an NCAA Auto time of 9:08.50, good for second-place. Christine Babcock and Katie Follett went 2-3 in the mile, Abbott was second in the men's 800m, and Falesha Ankton placed second as well in the 60m hurdles. Daria Amiad-Pavlov and Elisa Bryant both placed third in the triple jump and weight throw, respectively. Kailey Campbell ran the second-fastest 800m time in school history, taking third in the race. All told, the two day meet produced 11 NCAA Automatic qualifying mark and another 106 Provisional marks. Four MPSF records were also broken this year.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: In the third week of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Associastion (USTFCCCA) rankings, the Washington men rank 33rd while the women come in at 38th. The rankings assign points in each event based on the current national leaders to try and approximate NCAA scores. Several Huskies sit near the top of the current descending order lists, which rank all the top marks in the nation this year. On the men's side, junior Scott Roth was just barely passed for the top mark in the NCAA by half an inch, and is currently second nationally with his mark of 18-6 3/4. Senior Katie Follett's school-record mile time of 4:34.98 is the second-best time in Division-I. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle's big PR in the 3,000-meters of 7:56.67 ranks him 13th in the NCAA. Sophomore Mel Lawrence also ranks 19th nationally with her 3k time of 9:22.98.