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Alaka Burns Up Tucson For Pac-10 Sprint Titles
Release: 05/14/2011
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May 14, 2011

May 13-14 • Tucson, Ariz. • Drachman Stadium

Complete Results in PDF Format

» Pac-10 Champ Alaka Talks Post-Race
» Goethals Takes Runner-Up Honors In The 5k

TUCSON, Ariz. - Sophomore James Alaka flashed to some Husky history today at the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships, as he captured the 100-meter dash and shortly thereafter came back and powered to the victory in the 200-meter dash as well. Alaka, the London native, stakes his claim now as the fastest man in the Pac-10, becoming the first Husky since Ja'Warren Hooker in 2000 to win both sprint titles.

Alaka claimed his first title in the 100-meters, as he accelerated through the middle of the track and leaned across the line for the win in 10.29 seconds, edging Arizona State's Ryan Milus who was second in 10.34.

He could not take much time to rest, however, as he was one of the favorites in the 200-meters, just an hour after the 100m final. Alaka was in the middle of the pack coming off the curve, but hit top speed down the homestretch and just caught up to USC's Joey Hughes, the 400-meter champion, passing him at the line to win in a time of 20.85 compared to Hughes' time of 20.87. Freshman Maurice McNeal of Federal Way was fifth in the 200-meter final in 21.03 seconds, his second fifth-place effort of the day.

"It was a wonderful day. I'm just really happy right now; I'm elated. It's been a whole year trying to get these titles," said Alaka after receiving his Athlete of the Meet award. "And I'm happy that our whole sprints group ran good as well, because I love my teammates."

Hooker swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 1998 and in 2000. He is the only other Husky to win the Pac-10 title at either distance. Al Davis won the 1974 100-yard dash title and Jerry Plowman won the 220-yard dash in 1964.

"James Alaka was phenomenal today," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "He was battling a cold but when I saw him come out and run his 4x1 relay leg, it was clear that James was focused, fired up, and ready to dominate today. He showed incredible poise, and made us all incredibly proud tonight."

Highlighting the day for the Husky women was an amazingly gritty effort from freshman Megan Goethals in the women's 5,000-meters. Goethals, the 2009 Gatorade National Cross Country Athlete of the Year, took a big lead all by herself right from the start, holding it for more than half the race.

A pack of three runners finally tracked her down with four laps to go, but Goethals hung with them rather than fading. On the final lap, she had enough left in the tank for a big finishing kick, as she tried to chase down multiple NCAA Champ Jordan Hasay of Oregon. For a second it looked like Goethals just might pull it off, but Hasay was able to hold on for the win in 16:24.10 with Goethals in second in 16:25.13.

Metcalf was effusive in his praise of the freshman's effort. "Megan's was incredibly gutsy. I'm sure the announcers on TV were watching this and saying Megan had gone out too hard and once she got caught she would drop off, but they don't know the heart that Megan runs with. The plan was not for her to take it out like that, but she reacted like a veteran and nearly pulled off the upset of this meet."

The Husky men finished seventh with 76 points, but were just 12 points out of third-place. The 76 points was the most since 2007. The UW women were ninth with 37 points.

One of the most thrilling races of the day was the final of the men's 4x100-meter relay. UW came in with the second-best seed time behind UCLA. Maurice McNeal led off and was among the leaders handing off to sophomore James Alaka, who flew down the backstretch and gave a handoff to sophomore Colton Dunn in stride. Senior Ryan Hamilton took the baton in the lead hoping to anchor UW to the win just as he did in 2008, but WSU and ASU were able to track down the Huskies to snag the win, all teams running big season-bests. Washington finished third just a hundredth ahead of UCLA. UW's time of 39.62 seconds is the fifth-fastest in school history.

McNeal came in as a surprise title contender in the 400-meter dash final, after he smashed Hooker's freshman record in Friday's prelims, running the No. 3 time in school history of 45.60. McNeal did not get out as well in Sunday's final, and never quite got into contention. He still held on for fifth-place, running 46.23.

In the finals of the women's 100-meter dash, senior Dominique Lauderdale got into the points for a second straight season, running to seventh-place on the edge of the track in a time of 11.69 seconds.

Starting things off on Friday was junior Angus Taylor in the weight throw. The Richmond, B.C. native had a very consistent series of throws, starting with a 196-6. He then tossed a personal-best of 201-5 on his second attempt. He threw over 200 feet twice more but did not improve. Taylor finished in fifth-place, a career-best conference finish for him.

In the women's discus, junior Elisa Bryant had her best throw of the season and in fact her career under pressure of fouling out of the competition. Bryant fouled her first two attempts and needed a legal mark on her third attempt to continue on. She went out and tossed a lifetime-best 169-8, which moves her up to sixth all-time in school history. That mark would end up fifth overall and will assure an NCAA Prelims appearance.

Continuing the strong performances in the field events was junior Taylor Nichols and sophomore Shaniae Lakes in the women's triple jump. Nichols saved her best for last, jumping a career-best 41-2 ½ on her final attempt to place fifth overall. Lakes would place seventh with a best jump of 40-5 ½ on her second attempt.

One big tough break for the Huskies came in the pole vault, where senior Scott Roth came in as a major favorite with his U.S.-leading clearance of 18-9 ¼. Windy conditions prompted Roth to use a short approach, and he cleared his first height with ease, but trouble came up at 16-9 ½, where Roth needed a third attempt to get up and over. Only three other vaulters made that height, but Roth was unable to clear the next bar at 17-1 ½ despite moving back to a full run-up. He had to settle for fourth-place. Junior Robby Fegles also scored, placing seventh with a best of 16-3 ½.

Back on the track, sophomore Justine Johnson scored for the first time in the 1,500-meters, placing seventh overall with a strong final 400-meters, clocking 4:28.60. Freshman Katie Flood was third in the prelims but had a tough day on Saturday, finishing ninth in 4:33.74.

Late in the evening, freshman Kasen Covington came through with some points in his first ever Pac-10 meet. On his second attempt in the triple jump, the freshman record-holder went 49-11 ¾ which stood up for sixth-place overall.

Looking ahead, those Huskies that make it into the top-48 competitors in their event in the West will head to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in two weeks in Eugene, Oregon. The Prelims run May 26-28 at Hayward Field, with the goal of winding up in the top-12 finishers that will advance to the NCAA Finals in Des Moines, Iowa in June.

Washington Track & Field
2011 Pac-10 Championships - Day Two of Two
May 14, 2011 - Tucson, Ariz.
Roy P. Drachman Stadium

Final Men's Team Standings
1. Oregon 118; 2. Arizona 106; 3 (tie). Arizona State 88; 3 (tie). UCLA 88; 5. USC 87; 6. Stanford 85; 7. Washington 76; 8. Washington State 67; 9. California 26.
Final Women's Team Standings
1. Oregon 154.5; 2. Arizona 150; 3. Arizona State 121; 4. USC 103; 5. Stanford 97; 6. UCLA 51.5; 7. Washington State 49; 8. California 42; 9. Washington 37; 10. Oregon State 12.

Husky Point Scorers (Top-Eight)
Men's 100m: 1st, James Alaka, 10.29
Men's 200m: 1st, James Alaka, 20.85; 5th, Maurice McNeal, 21.03
Men's 400m: 5th, Maurice McNeal, 46.23
Men's 4x100m: 3rd, Maurice McNeal, James Alaka, Colton Dunn, Ryan Hamilton, 39.62
Men's Pole Vault: 4th, Scott Roth, 16-9 ½, 7th, Robby Fegles, 16-3 ½
Men's Triple Jump: 6th, Kasen Covington, 49-11 ¾
Men's Hammer: 5th, Angus Taylor, 201-5
Women's 100m: 7th, Dominique Lauderdale, 11.69
Women's 1,500m: 7th, Justine Johnson, 4:28.60
Women's 5,000m: 2nd, Megan Goethals, 16:25.13
Women's 4x100m: 7th, Kayla Stueckle, Bianca Greene, Michelle Fero, Sarah Schireman, 48.37
Women's 4x400m: 7th, Michelle Fero, Laura Schmitt, Kayla Stueckle, Justine Johnson, 3:48.39
Women's Triple Jump: 5th, Taylor Nichols, 41-2 ½; 7th, Shaniae Lakes, 40-5 ½
Women's Discus: 5th, Elisa Bryant, 169-8

Day One Point Scorers
Men's 3,000m Steeplechase: 8th, Michael Miller, 9:18.25
Men's Javelin: 2nd, Kyle Nielsen, 237-10; 3rd, Joe Zimmerman, 235-8; 4th, Jimmy Brookman, 226-5
Women's 10,000m: 5th, Lindsay Flanagan, 36:14.46
Women's Pole Vault: 8th, Logan Miller, 13-0 ¾
Women's Hammer: 8th, Elisa Bryant, 177-10
Women's Javelin: 4th, Amanda Peterson, 166-0

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