PULLMAN, Wash. – For the fourth year in a row, the Husky and Cougar track teams could not quite settle state bragging rights, as the Husky men’s team came away with their third win in four years, and first in Pullman since 2006, but the WSU women’s team held off the Huskies by one single point, to end the day in a split.
The Husky men built a big lead over the first half of the day at Mooberry Track, and then hung on late after WSU closed the gap. A win from sophomore Meron Simon in the 3,000-meters clinched it for UW, and they wound up with the 84-79 victory. The women fell one point short of what would have been the first UW sweep since 1997, as the Cougars won what was a close battle all day by a final 82-81 score.
As usual, the rivalry action produced some of the best marks of the year for the Dawgs, as Washington came away with eight new top-10 marks, and a new meet record from 400-meter hurdler Gianna Woodruff, who broke UW school record-holder Terra Barter’s dual record with a time of 57.72 seconds.
Washington had four event sweeps on the day, coming in the women’s hammer throw, the women’s pole vault, the women’s steeplechase, and the men’s 1,500-meters. The men’s distance crew outscored WSU 29-7 from the 800m up to the 3k and the steeple to lead the way.
Heading into the final two events, the men’s team needed four points out of the 3,000-meters and 4x4 relay. Meron Simon wouldn’t leave it up to the relay, as he kicked past WSU’s Drew Jordan down the final home straight to win by less than a second, 8:17.73 to 8:18.16.
Coming down the stretch in the women’s battle, the Huskies were needing a sweep in the women’s 3,000-meters. The All-American tandem of Katie Flood and Megan Goethals fought for first- and second-place finishes, the second win of the day for Flood, but WSU’s Ruby Roberts nabbed third place to clinch the win. The Husky women’s 4x400-meter relay then came through with the win to close out the day and leave the one point deficit, the closest finish on either side since 2009, when the Husky women won by just 1/3 of a point in Seattle.
“The Dual is one of the highlights of our schedule every year,” said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. “We were hoping to get two wins today, but our women were incredibly close. We can look at a lot of places where we could have stolen another point. But our group really competed. It was great to have Shaniae Lakes back and healthy and jumping 42-feet. Gianna Woodruff had a meet record, we had sweeps in the hammer and vault, and Katie Flood looked great with a couple wins.
“Our men had a great start but then we lost Quadelle Satterwhite after the 4x1, and to weather that setback and make up for that was awesome,” said Metcalf. “Our middle distance guys did a fantastic job today. Aaron Nelson gave us a big boost with the steeplechase win early, and Izaic Yorks and Derrick Daigre gave a huge boost of momentum in the 800, then Meron to close the door in the 3k was a really nice performance for him.”
One of the day’s marquee races was the men’s 800-meters, a battle between UW’s Izaic Yorks and Derrick Daigre, coming off a great week at the Drake Relays, and WSU’s All-American Jesse Jorgensen, who was eighth at the recent NCAA Indoor Championships. Yorks made a decisive move with 200-meters to go, and Daigre came behind him, as they edged Jorgensen and both ran big PRs. Yorks clocked 1:48.15, the new No. 6 mark in school history, just .01-seconds behind multiple All-American Austin Abbott. And Daigre’s time of 1:48.49 now puts him ninth in school history.
The Husky men picked up wins in three of the first four events to start the meet. Senior Kasen Covington won the long jump, junior Quinn Hale took a back-and-forth javelin, and Jax Thoirs won the pole vault.
In the long jump, Covington went 23-6 on his third attempt, just a couple inches past WSU’s P.J. Benedictus. That mark would hold up for the win, with senior Julian Barwell taking third with a 23-0 ½ jump on his fourth try. Covington would come out on top later in the day in the triple jump as well, going 49-11 to win the triple for the second time in Pullman. Covington was the only multiple winner on the men’s side for either team.
The men’s javelin had four different leaders until Hale clinched it on his sixth and final throw. WSU’s Sam Ferenchak took the lead with a big toss of 220-9, but Husky sophomore Carson Fuller answered in the same round with a mark of 225-9. Hale moved up to second-place with a throw of 221-4 on his fourth attempt, and then on his sixth he jumped Fuller for the win with a best of 226-4.
Thoirs picked up his second-straight Dual win in the vault by virtue of winning a jump-off against junior teammate J.J. Juilfs at 16-9 ½, after both cleared 16-5 ½ earlier in the competition to tie for first.
One of the most pressure-packed moments came in the men’s high jump, where senior A.J. Maricich was looking to win his third straight Dual. WSU’s Thane Pierson took the lead with a make at 6-11, and Maricich passed to the next height after he missed his first try. He then had a miss at 7-0 ¼, so he had just one attempt left. But the Spokane native stepped up and got up and over on his last try, and Pierson couldn’t keep up.
First on the track were the steeplechases, and the Huskies got off on the right foot. All-American Aaron Nelson won a great men’s race with a perfectly timed kick to cross the line in 8:56.71, just off his PR, and a couple seconds ahead of WSU’s Andrew Gonzales. Tim Cummings also held off WSU’s Forrest Shaffer by one second for third-place in 9:09.68. In the women’s race, junior Liberty Miller ran off to a thirty meter lead after one lap and cruised to the win in 10:45.15, and UW completed the sweep with Annie Moore taking second in 11:22.16 in her first ever steeple, and freshman Grace Hodge taking third in 11:24.10.
Another sweep came from the men’s 1,500-meter crew. A tight race at a slower pace turned into a landslide of purple down the stretch, as Nick Harris, Blake Nelson, and Meron Simon all crossed first through third all within 4:02, and Brad Whitley was fourth in 4:03.47.
The women’s 1,500-meters pitted two runners ranked in the top-10 nationally, in Flood and Roberts. Both had season-bests of 4:18 coming in. Flood led from the outset, and controlled the pace, then made a move on the bell lap and Roberts was unable to hang with her, as the reigning Pac-12 Women’s Track Athlete of the Week won by two seconds at 4:28.12.
The women’s competition opened up with the hammer throw, and the Huskies posted a convincing sweep, with all three of their competitors tossing career-bests. Sophomore Bev Coleman got the win with a best of 166-6, sophomore Carolyn Gravelle was second at 158-10, and sophomore Alyx Toeaina went 155-4, a PR by 13 feet, which moves her into the top-10 list along with her two teammates.
Toeaina would go on to take second-place in the shot put at 44-6 ¼, and also was second in the discus with a best of 135-6, giving her a total of seven points on the day. Coleman also was third in the shot at 41-10 ½. In the women’s javelin, freshman Ashley Alexander took third with a toss of 142-feet, 4-inches, on her third throw.
The Husky women’s vaulters got a big sweep, considering defending Pac-12 Champion Kristine Felix calls WSU home. But Elizabeth Quick, Diamara Planell Cruz, and Kristina Owsinski all cleared 13-1 ¾ then passed to different heights, none of which were clearances. Quick was the winner based on a first-attempt make at 13-1 ¾ with Planell Cruz second and Owsinski third, with Ashley Schnapp also clearing 12-8 to tie for fourth.
Woodruff continued her recent hot streak in the hurdles, as she lowered her season-best for a third-straight race, and this time set a new career-best, as she went 57.72 to finish just ahead of senior teammate Kayla Stueckle who ran 58.73 for second.
Woodruff also anchored the women’s 4x400m to the win, the only relay win of the day for UW. The Husky women’s 4x100-meter relay took second, but still ran its fastest time since 2004, clocking 45.82 seconds, with Haley Jacobson leading off, handing to Stueckle, then her younger sister Kimberly Stueckle, and to Woodruff.
Jacobson scored a second-place finish in the 100-meters in 11.92 seconds, and also took third in 24.59 in the 200-meters, just .04 seconds out of second-place. Kimberly Stueckle added three points with a runner-up 100m hurdles finish in 14.05.
The men’s sprinters took a hit when Quadelle Satterwhite strained his hamstring on his leg of the relay, but sophomore Travis Marshall stepped up with some solid races, as he just missed a win in the 100-meters, going 10.72 to the 10.70 of Andre McBride. Marshall also was third in the 200-meters, and freshman Andrew Brown was third in the 400m in 48.22. Chris Williams and Kaid Tipton also picked up points with third-place finishes in the 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles, respectively.
Nearly two years removed from shattering the Husky school record in the women’s triple jump, Shaniae Lakes proved she can still be a big factor at the Pac-12 meet in two weeks, as she connected for a winning jump of 42-1 ¼ today, though the +4.2 tailwind means she won’t officially break her own meet record from 2012. But the jump was her farthest this year by more than a foot, after she missed all of 2013 due to hip surgery.
The Huskies looked to some unlikely sources to try and steal some points in the women’s long jump, and that wound up turning into one of the events of the day. Kimberly Stueckle and Planell Cruz both entered the event for the first time in college, and for Stueckle it was her first time long jumping since middle school. Both showed an instant knack for it, as Planell Cruz leaped to a mark of 18-11 ¼ on her fifth attempt, and Stueckle went 18-7. The top three marks were all separated by half an inch, with WSU’s Shantae Young winning at 18-11 ¾, and Planell Cruz having to settle for third after WSU won a tiebreak for second with the same mark. Stueckle settled for fourth, while freshman Kate Adler also had the first 18-foot mark of her career taking sixth at 18-1 ¾.
Another critical win for the men came from Brian Hutchison in the men’s shot put. The Cal Poly transfer threw a season-best 54-1 on his fourth throw to jump to the lead and hold it. Redshirt freshman Jack Scheideman edged WSU’s Matt Wardell for second by two inches, throwing 52-8.
WSU’s Travis Pickett won the men’s hammer but Scheideman threw a PR of 178-11 to take second and sophomore Kyle White got the third-place point with a toss of 176-7. In the men’s discus, freshman Dan Boyden took second at 153-5 and Hutchison was third at 151-6.
Washington will be returning to Pullman in just two weeks for the Pac-12 Championships, but before that UW will host the Ken Shannon Invitational at the Husky Outdoor Track next Saturday.