Jan. 28, 2012
Friday Night DMR Highlights
SEATTLE - A number of the top professionals in North American distance running had nothing on Washington sophomore Katie Flood tonight, who was simply sensational in smashing the school record and taking over the U.S. lead at 3,000-meters tonight at the UW Invitational. The All-American was making her track season debut and announced herself as a serious contender at whatever distance she puts her mind and legs to this season.
The nine-minute mark is a significant one in the women's 3,000-meters. Over the past two years, only three collegiate athletes have broken that barrier. This evening Katie Flood blitzed to a time of 8:55.31, the fastest in the NCAA since 2009. It broke the school record of senior teammate Mel Lawrence by thirteen seconds.
Last year, only three American women ran the 3k faster than Flood indoors: Shalane Flanagan, Jenny Simpson, and Christin Wurth-Thomas. All three were 2008 Olympians and Flanagan won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials this month. It almost seems like an afterthought, but Flood's time was nearly fifteen seconds under the NCAA Automatic qualifying mark, securing her a trip to NCAA Indoors in March.
Flood's time would be atop the world lists for the current year, however leading the way tonight was one of the world's proven elite distance runners, Sally Kipyego, who competes for the Oregon Track Club when she is not representing her native Kenya on the world stage. Kipyego won the silver medal at last year's IAAF World Championships in the 10,000-meters, and won nine NCAA titles during her career at Texas Tech. Kipyego posted a new Dempsey Facility Record of 8:47.91.
The Pac-12 Cross Country Champion in the fall, Flood was seventh at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November in her last race before today. One year ago, Flood ran an indoor 3k best of 9:09.85 on her way to a 10th-place finish at NCAA Indoors. Her fitness and confidence are certainly much improved now even from that excellent freshman year.
Kipyego quickly took a big lead tonight, but Flood worked her way up through multiple Olympians, World Championship competitors and former NCAA Champions to sit in second place and actually reeled Kipyego in a bit. Canadian Olympian Malindi Elmore took third, World Championships steeplechase competitor Bridget Franek was fifth, nine-time UW All-American Katie Follett-Mackey was sixth, and Angela Bizzarri, an NCAA Champion in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, was seventh.
"Katie Flood was incredibly special tonight, that's just one of the most impressive showings I've ever seen from a track athlete in the purple and gold," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "Of course the most memorable performances come in NCAA Championships and that will be the focus for her moving ahead. Katie is phenomenally talented and can do big things, but this is just the start of her season and we just want to keep things in perspective and get better each day."
While Flood's run brought the UW Invitational track events to a crescendo, Husky freshman pole vaulter J.J. Juilfs capped off the weekend in the field events with a big-time PR that could also earn him a trip to nationals in his first season. Juilfs, the Eugene, Oregon product and 2011 U.S. Junior Champion, needed an early third-attempt clearance at 16-5 ¼, but then cleared 16-11 on his first try, before getting over a new PR of 17-5 on another third chance. The bar then went to 17-7, and Juilfs got over that one on his second try, celebrating with a back flip on the mat. He took three good tries at 17-9 but could not get that bar on this day. Still, 17-7 moves him to a tie for sixth on UW's indoor top-10 list, in a tie with 2011 grad Ryan Vu, who competed today as well and made 17-9 himself.
Other new top-10 marks to be penciled into the recordbooks included a weight throw PR from senior Angus Taylor, who heaved the 35-pounder 61-feet, 2.75-inches, good for eighth on the indoor list. And junior Justine Johnson clocked the No. 8 800-meter time as she ran 2:10.10.
More PRs from the women's mid-distance group included junior Mackenzie Carter and Erin Johnson opened with lifetime-bests of 4:48.93 and 4:52.06, respectively.
Junior Logan Miller cleared 13-feet once again in the women's pole vault, and had some near misses at 13-6 ¼. Fellow junior Shaniae Lakes also had a solid triple jump of 39-9 ¼ to take fourth. Senior All-American weight thrower Elisa Bryant also upped her season-best with a toss of 61-9, as she had four throws over 18-meters in a consistent day.
A pair of SoCal middle distance talents gave Washington a lift today as each made long-awaited track debuts. Redshirt freshmen both, Chloe Curtis and Sean Krinik each donned their jerseys for the first time to run 800-meters. Krinik won his heat in 1:53.94, and Curtis ran second in her heat in 2:17.54, good starts that they can hopefully build on.
The Dempsey added another four-minute mile to the tally, as Nike OTC member Andrew Bumbalough won the top heat in 3:58.46. Junior Brad Whitley leaned for the win in the second heat, running 4:11.50.
The men's 3,000-meters boasted a loaded field just the same as the women's race, with junior Rob Webster Jr. mixing it up with multiple pros and NCAA Champs, and turning in a personal-best time of 8:09.12. Freshman Meron Simon also made an impressive 3k debut with a time of 8:16.35. Southern Utah's Cameron Levins took the NCAA lead and set his second meet record in as many days, as he won in 13:42.90.
Football standout James Johnson returned to the track team today and lowered his PR in the 60-meter hurdles, running 8.64 in the prelims and dropping one more hundredth off that in the finals. Junior Shayne Moore bounced back from a rough prelim to clock a season-best 8.33 seconds in the final.
In the men's high jump, sophomore A.J. Maricich continues to show impressive consistency while searching for one breakout meet. He cleared 6-10 ¾ today to finish fourth overall, just missing the 7-foot barrier.
A few Huskies will make the trip to the Bronco Classic hosted by Boise State next week at the site of this year's NCAA Indoor Championships. But the rest of the squad will look ahead to the Husky Classic in two weeks, annually the biggest and fastest meet of the year.