SEATTLE – One of the “circle on your calendar” days for the Husky track team was a big success today in terms of the caliber of competition and the marks produced in the Dempsey, with half of the NCAA’s top-25 teams represented. But more importantly, the Dawgs had their best day yet this indoor season, posting eight new top-10 marks to leave the Husky Classic heading in a positive direction.
Several outstanding UW performances were spaced out over the course of the 10-hour day, a major one being the 3:59.04 mile turned in by sophomore Izaic Yorks, the Lakewood, Wash. native and Lakes High grad. Yorks was fourth in a race that was won by defending NCAA 1,500m Champion Mac Fleet of Oregon, but Yorks, who could see the clock ticking away down the homestretch, leaned across the line to become just the fifth Husky ever to run a sub-four-minute mile, one of the most treasured numbers in sports. His time ranks fourth in UW history, the last Husky to break the mark being current senior James Cameron, back in 2011.
Yorks moves to 12th in the NCAA this season with the time, which puts him in the thick of things for a bid to indoor nationals, as the top-16 make the cut. “I knew today was the day. I knew it, I just didn’t know by how much,” said Yorks, who was running his first mile this season after beginning the year running 800- and 1000-meter races. “But I was extremely excited, and even more excited to know that this for sure isn’t as fast as I can go. More than anything it’s my first mile rust-buster.”
The Dempsey saw seven four-minute-miles today, bringing the total for the purple oval to 111 in 13 years.
A huge roar early in the day came from over at the high jump pit, and meant a big bar must have been overcome by senior A.J. Maricich. That was indeed the case, as the former Pac-12 runner-up and All-America honorable mention had his best-ever indoor jump, and the second-best jump of his life, going over 7-2 ¼ on his second attempt, after he had passed all the way up to that opening height. Maricich now takes over fourth-place alone on the indoor top-10, and moves to a tie for 13th on the national list.
Shortly after Yorks turned in his great mile run, another local mid-distance standout, junior Derrick Daigre (Kent, Wash./Kent-Meridian) sprinted to one of the best 800-meter times in Husky history. Daigre fought for every hundredth down the stretch to finish second in his invitational heat in a PR of 1:49.00, the No. 3 mark in the UW records, behind only former NCAA Champion Ryan Brown and six-time All-American Austin Abbott. Daigre moves to NCAA striking distance at 18th nationally.
The baton for Dawg of the Day on the women’s side was handed from Head Coach Greg Metcalf to senior Kayla Stueckle, who had a pair of top-10 marks to her name today. First, in the women’s 400-meters, Stueckle ran a career-best 55.77-seconds, the sixth-fastest in indoor school history. She then ran the second leg on the Husky 4x400-meter relay, which clocked the No. 2 time in the recordbooks, just 0.16 off the record. Gianna Woodruff led off, handing to Stueckle, then to Krista Armstead, and lastly to C.J. Smith, who carried UW to the heat win in 3:44.16, the fastest a Husky women’s relay has run in the Dempsey.
"I thought both our men and women took a big collective step forward this weekend," said Metcalf. "From Travis Marshall starting the day with a big PR in the 60-meters to Alyx Toeaina throwing a personal-best in the shot put by more than two feet and our women's 4x4 posting the No. 2 time in school history near the end of the day, we had an energy that I think is encouraging and we need to build on that for MPSFs in two weeks. For Izaic today, the good thing is that he ran a great time, but it just made him want more, and he has more ahead of him for sure."
Washington continued to show off its outstanding depth in the pole vault, as the Huskies swept the vaults and had several more personal-bests. Sophomore Jax Thoirs cleared three bars cleanly, including a first-attempt make at 17-7 ¼ to get the win, taking three shots at 18-4 but coming up short. For the women, sophomore Kristina Owsinski went over 13-5 ¾, a PR indoors or out, and jumps to the No. 7 spot on the top-10 list.
Also in the vault, Ashley Schnapp continued her excellent 2014 progress with a career-best make of 12-11 ¾. Another quarter inch and UW would have six women on the roster to have cleared the 13-foot barrier. On the men’s side, junior J.J. Juilfs went over 17-feet for the first time this season, going 17-1 ½, and freshman Lev Marcus, competing unattached, had himself a PR as well, clearing 16-7 ½.
Two more top-10 marks came from the women’s distance group, as junior Eleanor Fulton and freshman Katie Knight fought well in the loaded fields. Fulton continued to cut more time off her mile PR, as she took seventh in the 16-woman heat in 4:40.74, maneuvering past half the field after sitting in last for the first couple laps. That puts her to No. 9 on the top-10 list. Knight, the Spokane native, rose to No. 7 in the Husky 3,000-meter list, as she ran a time of 9:21.94 in the top heat.
Freshman Amy-Eloise Neale clocked a 4:44.04 mile time, more than two seconds faster than two weeks back. Blake Nelson and Meron Simon also had solid mile runs, despite some jostling and crashes that slowed the heat overall. Nelson took third in the first invite heat in 4:03.18, and Simon was fourth in 4:03.80. Nick Harris also had a strong run earlier in the day with a time of 4:10.46. Jacob Smith also led a pack of Huskies in the 3k with a season-best of 8:16.88.
One of the first big PRs of the day came from sophomore Travis Marshall in the men’s 60-meter prelims. Running in the very first heat, Marshall covered the distance in 6.86 seconds, putting him into the final where he finished third. Sophomore Quadelle Satterwhite also had a best of 6.89 seconds on the day.
Three more Huskies made the 60m hurdles finals. Sophomore Chris Williams took second overall on the men’s side with a season-best 8.03-seconds, while Howard Lao ran 8.18 in both the prelims and final. Kimberly Stueckle lowered her personal-best to 8.75 seconds and finished seventh overall.
The standout of the day for the throwers was sophomore Alyx Toeaina, who made the shot put final out of the second of three flights, first throwing a PR on her second attempt, and then on her fifth attempt of the day, she threw an even 46-feet to place seventh overall. That was a career-best by two-and-a-half feet for the native of Covington, Wash. and is less than two inches away from the 10th spot in the Husky records.
The UW Indoor Open meet will take over the facility again tomorrow starting at 9:00 a.m.