SEATTLE – A large collection of Olympians could have formed a de facto Team USA in the Dempsey today as some of the greatest athletes in American track history delivered record-setting performances at the UW Invitational. Washington athletes also contributed six new indoor top-10 marks as the second big meet of the indoor season concluded.
Six meet records were set today and two Dempsey facility records were broken, both by 2012 U.S. Olympians. Decathlon World Record-holder Ashton Eaton smashed the 60-meter hurdles record and graciously saluted the crowd along the straightaway after clocking a 7.61-second time that ranks as the fastest time in the U.S. this year. Later in the day, Tia Brooks showed off her Olympic-caliber strength by becoming the first woman to surpass the 60-foot mark in the Dempsey, as she threw 60-8 ¾ to move to No. 4 in the world this year.
Another UW Invitational meet record came from Ryan Bailey, fifth in the 100m dash final in the London Olympics, as he won the 60-meter dash in 6.62 seconds.
The top section of the men’s mile run provided four more sub-four-minute miles, the 101st through 104th in Dempsey history, including one from 2012 Olympian and American steeplechase record-holder Evan Jager. The heat also featured a pair of big Husky highlights, as Blake Nelson broke the freshman mile record and ran the No. 7 time in school history at 4:01.72, and sophomore Meron Simon added the No. 9 mark with a 4:02.95. Nelson, a redshirt freshman, broke the mark of 4:02.25 set by All-American Austin Abbott in 2005.
“These are the types of track meets we love to host in the Dempsey,” said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. “We had probably a dozen U.S. National Team athletes competing in her today, and our athletes get to see how they operate and carry themselves and compete. I thought there were some impressive performances from our milers today, and I liked how our young multis group competed. A.J. Maricich and Kasen Covington gave us some top-10 performances in their events, but we need to have more individuals and units hitting as we head into the Husky Classic and MPSF Championships.”
The pace of the top women’s mile was not quite as aggressive as the men’s, but junior Eleanor Fulton was still able to run a PR and finish third overall in 4:43.95. Freshman Amy-Eloise Neale was sixth overall in 4:46.36.
Senior A.J. Maricich has cleared the seven-foot barrier several times outdoors in the high jump, but until today he had yet to reach that height during an indoor meet. At long last, the Spokane native made it over 7-0 ¼ on his third attempt to move into a tie for fourth on the Husky top-10 list.
Another new top-10 mark came from senior Kasen Covington. Already second on the triple jump top-10 list, Covington had the best long jump of his career indoors or out, as he went 23-feet, 9-inches, moving to a tie for ninth in school history.
The two-day, seven-event men’s heptathlon concluded today, with sophomore Nick Pfeiffer collecting 4,807 points for sixth-place. He’s also now officially sixth on the school’s top-10 list, though he has a higher score from an unattached competition last season. Freshman Cole Jensen, competing unattached, finished seventh with a promising 4,731 points in his first career heptathlon, a score that would have put him seventh in school history were he in uniform.
In the sprints, junior Gianna Woodruff made a strong season debut, running a 7.76 60m dash and splitting 55-seconds on the 4x400m relay. Sophomore Kimberly Stueckle made the 60m hurdles final and whittled her PR down to 8.80 seconds. Howard Lao got to line up alongside Eaton in the men’s hurdle finals, and he finished third overall in 8.19 seconds, while Quadelle Satterwhite was seventh in the 60m dash finals in 6.86.
Sophomore Izaic Yorks was just barely out of the Husky top-10 at 800-meters, as he took fifth overall in the top section in 1:51.27. Junior Derrick Daigre also took second out of 42 runners in the early mile heats as he set a big PR of 4:08.41. On the women’s side, C.J. Smith ran her fastest-ever 800-meters by more than two seconds, finishing in 2:13.09.
Freshmen Katie Knight and Kaylee Flanagan finished well in their first career 3,000-meters in the Dempsey, as they placed 13th and 14th, respectively, in 9:35.22 and 9:37.27, just a few seconds from the top-10 threshold.
After a great start to the season two weeks ago, the pole vault crew had a tough day collectively this afternoon, but still it was a one-two finish in the women’s vault, as Logan Miller and Kristina Owsinski both cleared 12-11 ¾, that mark a very slight indoor PR for Owsinski that gives her 10th-place alone on the top-10. Ashley Schnapp had a big career-best clearance of 12-6 to finish fourth. Freshman Elizabeth Quick had another solid day, going 12-6 in the vault and leading UW in the high jump again at 5-5.
Leading the way in the throws were Brian Hutchison and Jack Scheideman in the shot put. Hutchison tossed 52-8 ¼ on his third attempt to take ninth, and Scheideman was 10th with a mark of 51-9 ¾, almost three-feet better than his season opener.
The UW Invitational has one more day to go, but it will be high school athletes only on Super Bowl Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.