May 22, 2013
|NCAA West Preliminary Championships
May 23-25 at Texas's Mike A. Meyers Stadium
Championship Info Page
AUSTIN, Texas -The massive NCAA West Preliminary Championships return to Austin, Texas for the third straight season, a field that includes nearly forty Husky track athletes looking to survive and advance. Mike A. Meyers Stadium, site of the annual Texas Relays, welcomes all the qualifying athletes from the western half of the country for three days of action from Thursday through Saturday.
In the current format, there are two NCAA Preliminary Championship sites, one in Austin for the West and one in Greensboro, N.C. for the East. The top-48 athletes in every event in the West head to Texas and the top-48 in the East to North Carolina, where the fields are trimmed to the top 12 finishers at each site through one or two rounds. Those 12 meet up with the 12 from the other site to advance to Eugene, Ore. and the final meet June 5-8. This weekend's meet is not about team points, and all about individual athletes moving on through each round.
First up in the field on Thursday will be junior Robert Henderson, who grabbed the last spot in the men's discus. In the evening, junior A.J. Maricich will look to navigate the men's high jump field. Maricich jumped her PR of 7-2 ½ at this same meet and venue last year to advance to the NCAA finals.
The first track races on Thursday are the 400-meter hurdles, with a first round and quarterfinal in Austin. Junior Kayla Stueckle and sophomore Gianna Woodruff are both in the mix after both scored at Pac-12s. Stueckle made it through to the quarterfinals last year. On the men's side, senior Dan Sanders made his first NCAA cut with a PR at Pac-12s, and he'll run Thursday's first round as well. The first round of the 1,500-meters on Thursday will see sophomore Eleanor Fulton and senior Joey Bywater looking to advance. Senior James Alaka and freshman Quadelle Satterwhite will both be in the 100-meters on Thursday, with six first round heats cutting the field in half.
Also Thursday, Baylee Mires makes her first go at Prelims; she's coming off a fourth-place Pac-12 finish and brings a top time of 2:05.99 that ranks in the top-12 in the West. Derrick Daigre, who won the UW-WSU Dual, and Michael Miller, fifth at Pac-12s, run the 800m on the men's side. Thursday wraps up with the 10,000-meters, which throws all 48 competitors into one race and sends the top 12 finishers on to Eugene. Juniors Megan Goethals, the school record-holder in the 10k, and Lindsay Flanagan will get that first shot to qualify on the track.
Friday's only field competitors will be senior Logan Miller and redshirt freshman Kristina Owsinski in the women's pole vault. Miller has advanced through Austin each of the past two years, going on to finish fourth at NCAAs a year ago. Owsinski should be confident after a PR of 13-4 ¼ at Pac-12s two weeks back, which got her third-place.
Husky track events Friday start with the 110m hurdles, which feature senior Shayne Moore, qualifying for Prelims for the first time, along with freshman Chris Williams, now third on the UW top-10 list already with a time of 14.03 seconds. Williams was en route to a third-place finish at Pac-12s but fell over the final hurdle. Alaka will be back in the men's 200-meter first round after the hurdles.
A big race Friday night will be the steeplechase, which has just one round in Austin. The field of 48 will be split into three heats of 16, with the top-three in each heat plus next three best times moving to Eugene. Senior Mel Lawrence and sophomore Liberty Miller both enter seeded in the top-12, with senior Justine Johnson close behind. Redshirt freshman Aaron Nelson also looks to extend his season to Eugene in the men's steeple.
Also on Friday will be the second rounds/quarterfinals for those Huskies who advanced in the 100-meters, 800-meters, and 400m hurdles.
Saturday starts at 12 noon with the men's javelin, a big event for the Dawgs as they have four competitors: Joe Zimmerman, Jimmy Brookman, Quinn Hale, and Carson Fuller. Brookman was the surprise qualifier last year in Austin with a career-best throw of 233-11. Senior Jordin Seekins will be competing in her third straight West Prelim in the women's javelin. In the men's pole vault, Chris Williams will be in action again, coming off his runner-up Pac-12 finish, and sophomore J.J. Juilfs and freshman Jax Thoirs will look to soar high through the hot air as well. Juilfs advanced through Austin a year ago without a miss. Last in the field but certainly not least after his Pac-12 title two weeks ago is junior Kasen Covington in the triple jump competition at 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening.
Opening things on the track Saturday is men's 4x100-meter relay, an event where the Huskies have sent a team to NCAAs four of the past five years. Just 24 relays qualified, with the top three in three heats plus next three best times moving on.
After plenty of waiting and sunscreen over the previous days, a couple Huskies make their debuts Saturday night in the 5,000-meters. Senior Christine Babcock and sophomore Tyler King will both aim for top-five finishes in heats of 24 athletes. Also doubling back from her 10k run will be Goethals, who has won the 5k prelims the last two years.
Both Husky 4x400-meter relays have made it to West Prelims for the first time in the current format. The men's group will include Satterwhite, Alaka, Sanders, and freshman Derrick Jones, while the women's group includes Stueckle, Mires, freshman Krista Armstead, and Woodruff anchoring. Saturday also features the final round for the 110m hurdles, the 1,500-meters, and the 200-meters.