June 4, 2013
|NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 5-8 at Oregon's Hayward Field
Championship Info Page | Schedule | Live Results | Women's Start Lists | Men's Start Lists
EUGENE, Ore. -Fifteen Huskies have reached the pinnacle of the track season, the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where the individual and team champions will be decided from Wednesday to Saturday, June 5-8, at Oregon's Hayward Field. Washington's 15 entries are tied for third-most out of the Pac-12.
Washington, able to bus down I-5 to Eugene this week, enjoyed a strong three days in Austin, Texas two weeks ago at the NCAA West Prelims, where all but decathlete>Jeremy Taiwohad to finish in the top-12 to move on to Eugene, joining up with the top-12 finishers from the East Prelims for final fields of 24 in each event. Now the goal will be to break into the top-eight and put some team points on the board.
The Husky women's team is looking for a second-straight top-10 finish, after last year's eighth-place finish in Des Moines, an all-time best. The men were held scoreless last year after six-straight top-25 finishes from 2006 to 2011, so getting back to that top-25 range is a big goal.
Last year the women finished eighth despite bringing just four athletes, as Katie Flood won the 1,500-meter title,>Megan Goethals was second in the 5,000-meters, and>Logan Miller was fourth in the pole vault. Goethals and Miller return this season, along with five other women, four making their NCAA Outdoor debuts and>Christine Babcockcompeting for the first time since 2009.
For the men,>Jimmy Brookman and>James Alaka are the returning competitors from last year's outdoor meet, with>Joe Zimmerman also back at nationals for the third time after missing last season.>Jeremy Taiwoalso is set for his third appearance and first since 2011. Four more UW men will get their first taste of NCAA Outdoors.
All-America honors will be up for grabs this week as usual. The current format, having held steady for a few years now, is that the top-eight finishers in every individual event and relay are named All-America First Team, the ninth through 16th finishers earn All-America Second Team, and those outside the top-16 are All-America honorable mention.
Starting things off for UW on Wednesday will be Taiwo in the decathlon. The senior has returned from a redshirt year in 2012 better than ever, setting a PR of 7,998 points in a runner-up finish at Pac-12s, by a mere three points. He ranks fifth coming in and is looking to score at outdoor nationals for the first time in his last meet as a Husky.
The first final of the week will be the women's 10,000-meters on Wednesday night, featuring junior>Megan Goethals. Last year Goethals was runner-up in the NCAA 5k by just .03 seconds. She also took sixth in the 5k as a freshman. This year the Rochester, Mich. Native stepped up to the 10k for the first time, smashing the UW school record at that distance as well as the 5k. She won the Pac-12 5,000-meter title, and qualified in the 5k for the third straight year as well, looking to chase two podium spots this year.
Most of the Huskies on the track, with the exception of Goethals and>Christine Babcockin the 5k and 10k, will have to advance through a semifinal round to reach the final race. Semifinals on Wednesday include the 800-meters, 400-meter hurdles, and the 4x100-meter relay.
Sophomore>Baylee Miresgoes at 800-meters, coming off a PR and school-record time of 2:05.34 set in Austin, where she grabbed the 11th of 12 qualifying spots. The Spokane native has one All-America First Team honor as she ran the 800-meter leg on Washington's distance medley relay national champions in 2012, but this is her first trip to NCAA Outdoors.
Also debuting at NCAA Outdoors are hurdles>Kayla Stueckle and>Gianna Woodruff, who both had huge weekends in Austin to upset the form charts and advance. Stueckle, a junior, ran a season-best by more than a second in Austin, going a career-best 57.90 in the first round and then following that with a 58.00 in the quarters to take the next step. Woodruff, just a sophomore, was ranked 27th in the West, but broke the 59-second barrier for the first time in the first round, then clocked another huge PR to 57.88 in the quarterfinals.
The men's relay has advanced to the final site and the semifinal round for the fifth time in the past six years. Only>James Alaka returns from UW's 4x1 relay last year, which finished 19th overall. Freshman>Chris Williams leads off, passes to Alaka, then to another freshman Quadelle Satterwhite, before junior Matt Anthonybrings the stick down the homestretch. The Dawgs got the 12th and final qualifying spot in Austin with a season-best 40.03 seconds.
On Thursday, Williams will be on the track again, attempting to become the first Husky to make the 110-meter hurdles final since 1977, when school record-holder Spider Gaines took sixth. Williams moved up to the No. 2 spot in school history behind Gaines with a fantastic run of 13.82 seconds in the Prelim quarterfinals, his first time under 14-seconds this year.
Also back on the track on Thursday will be Alaka, who has qualified for the NCAA final site in the 200-meters for the fourth consecutive year. This year was the toughest yet, as Alaka has battled hamstring issues, including an aggravation at the West Prelims, and he is about half a second away this season from the PR he set as a junior. But the senior still gritted his way to the 12th and final spot in Austin, running 21.08 in the quarters.
Liberty Millerhas been a regular at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, but is a new face at NCAA Outdoors this week, as the redshirt sophomore has taken to the steeplechase with aplomb, consistently running faster times each race, culminating with a 10:08.77 at Austin that ranks second in school history. Miller will have a semi on Thursday, looking to make Saturday's final.
Friday sees the first Husky other than Taiwo in the field events, as senior>Logan Milleris back for a third-straight NCAA pole vault final. Miller has had a tough season dealing with a foot injury that has limited her training, and she has not cleared the 14-foot mark which the school record-holder did several times last year. But Miller, an All-American and fourth-place finisher a year ago, showed her competitive fortitude once again in advancing through prelims despite coming in ranked just 17th.
In the women's 5,000-meter finals on Friday, senior>Christine Babcockruns her final laps as a Dawg after a tremendous career marked by perseverance and patience. The four-time All-American is at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since her freshman season in 2009. A second straight full season of good health for the fifth-year senior has helped the Irvine, Calif. native get back among the nation's elite track athletes. This will be her first 5k at nationals, having finished 11th in the 1,500m as a freshman.
Last but not least comes the Husky javelin trio on the final day of competition, Saturday at 12:30 p.m.>Joe Zimmerman is back for his third NCAA Championships at the site where he finished fourth as a freshman in 2010. Fellow senior>Jimmy Brookman has made his second straight NCAA final, and looks to improve on his 15th-place finish and All-America Second Team standing a year ago. The surprise of the group is freshman>Carson Fuller, who was seeded 41st heading to West Prelims but uncorked a huge PR on his third attempt to finish 11th and move on. Fuller will look for some of the same freshman magic that Zimmerman had three years ago.