Dec. 10, 2010
SEATTLE - Purple got the gold tonight at the Dempsey Indoor as the Husky track and field squad previewed the 2011 indoor season with the second annual Intrasquad Meet. It was another close battle filled with high spirits and grudge matches, one-on-one battles and another epic full team relay on a dramatically illuminated Dempsey oval.
Team Purple scored the victory with 256 points compared to the 246 of the Gold team, though Gold ended on a high note with a win in the full team relay, the final race of the night.
The abbreviated meet schedule still covered all the usual bases, with long and triple jumps, pole vault, shot put and weight throw, and sprints and hurdle events, but nearly every event came with a special tweak. For example, two-time All-American Kyle Nielsen won the javelin throw just ahead of fellow All-American and U.S. Junior Champion Joe Zimmerman, but the two were using the neon orange "turbo jav" training implements, giving them a rare chance to throw the spear indoors.
Jeremy Taiwo won a pair of events for the Gold team, taking the 60-meter hurdles race and the high jump with a 6-8 clearance, and he ran the final 307-meter lap as his team won the culminating full-team relay over Purple in 19-minutes and 18-seconds. The concept of the final relay is simple: every team member, male and female, thrower, jumper, or sprinter, carries the baton once around the track for their team. The lights over the infield were switched off to heighten the theater. Gold wound up with a 16-second victory, though head coach Greg Metcalf told assistant coach Pat Licari that his jumps crew needed a lot of work on its stick passing.
The highlight of the night had to be the hand-to-hand combat waged in the middle of the infield, as a longstanding argument between All-American distance runners Christine Babcock and Kailey Campbell was finally settled, wearing padded sumo suits.
After an undercard of men's distance runners Greg Drosky and Bryan Tibaduiza got the large crowd warmed up with an array of belly flops and victory dances, Babcock and Campbell battled in a best-of-five-falls format. After suffering an early fall, Babcock battled back to take a 2-1 lead. Fighting back fatigue and overcoming a recent bout of flu a la Michael Jordan, Campbell tied it up to force a winner-take-all bout, but Babcock muscled up for the final drop, earning the win for the Gold team and finally settling whatever argument had turned the two friend into combatants.
There were still plenty of other truly promising real marks as well, as a number of freshmen made strong first impressions. Kasen Covington won both the long and triple jumps for the Purple team on short approaches. His 48-6 mark in the triple jump is just an inch out of UW's indoor Top-10. Taylor Nichols also swept the women's jump events for Purple.
The men's pole vault turned into a two-man duel between NCAA Indoor Champ Scott Roth and Pac-10 Champ Ryan Vu. Roth, competing for Team Purple, cleared 17-4 on his second attempt while Vu's best was 16-11 for the Gold Team. Sophomore Logan Miller won the women's vault with a 12-foot clearance.
Purple also cleaned up in the sprints with sophomores Michelle Fero also had a nice win for Purple in the women's 300-meters in 40.69 seconds.
The Huskies will welcome in some outside competition a month from now, as the indoor season begins in earnest with the UW Indoor Preview on Saturday, January 15.