FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Over three quick heats all in a row, the Huskies added three more NCAA final site qualifiers, bringing their three-day total to thirteen. Nick Harris and Izaic Yorks both moved on to their first NCAA Outdoor Championships in the men’s 1,500-meters, and then Katie Flood earned her third trip to the national meet in the women’s 1,500m as the NCAA West Preliminary Championships came to a close at the University of Arkansas.
The thirteen Dawgs who finished in the top-12 of the West this week will now pay a visit to Eugene and Hayward Field, meeting up with the top-12 qualifiers from the East Region, to settle the NCAA Championships from June 11-14.
“This meet is one of the ultimate challenges in our sport, so I’m incredibly proud of the way every one of our athletes competed this week,” said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. “We come out with thirteen qualifiers, and every one of them should feel extremely confident about what they can go and do in a week and a half at Hayward Field. We also had a few seniors who were hoping to extend their careers and it just didn’t come together, but I’m incredibly appreciative of all the work they put in over the last four or five years and what they’ve added to our program.”
Flood turned in perhaps her best run on the track since the 2012 Olympic Trials which came shortly after her NCAA title win. Running in the first of the two quarterfinal heats, Flood showed that she did not want to lay in wait, as she moved to the front just 100 meters in and led the field through the first three laps. Her junior teammate Eleanor Fulton was right next to her during that stretch, as the Husky duo was one-two for much of the race.
Going into the bell lap, Fulton dropped back a few spots as the pace picked up. NCAA leader Stephanie Brown of Arkansas passed Flood but Flood went behind her and maintained a big cushion over third, all but assured of the top-five spot. Brown got the win in 4:15.94 and Flood was right behind in 4:17.76, a season-best. Fulton came across eighth in 4:26.09, out of the mix. But Flood will head back to NCAAs for the first time since that 2012 victory, as she redshirted last spring. She also advanced to the final site as a freshman in 2011, going out in the semis.
Right before Flood and Fulton took the track, the great season for the men’s mid-distance crew continued with Harris and Yorks taking two of the 12 spots to Eugene in the men’s 1,500m. Harris, the redshirt freshman from Niwot, Colorado, was in the first of the two heats. As he did in the first round, he sat right behind the leader for most of the race. On the last lap, Harris countered the move of the leaders to stay up front, and he sprinted to the line fourth overall in 3:45.71 with the top-five automatically moving on.
In the next heat, the leaders took it out quicker, with Yorks tucked into the top-five. The pace continued to move, and Yorks dropped a few spots but remained in the thick of things into the bell lap. Around eighth place coming into the final 200-meters, Yorks made a late charge to pass a couple runners and he leaned for sixth-place in 3:42.29, a new career-best. The heat being much faster than the previous one, Yorks’ time was the first of the two additional time qualifiers, earning him his first spot at NCAA Outdoors. The time also moved Yorks up to No. 4 on the UW top-10 list, bumping Harris to No. 6 after his PR of 3:42.84 on Thursday.
In the men’s triple jump, senior Kasen Covington came up short of his goal, as he got just one legal mark, his third and final one, going 49-3 ½. That tied for 28th-place overall for the indoor school record-holder and 2013 Pac-12 Champion. Covington ran through on his first attempt, then had his best mark on his second, but just barely touched over the line. He got the legal mark on his third, but jumped from well behind the board, losing some distance.
The last two events of the weekend for the Huskies were the women’s 5,000-meters and the women’s 4x400-meter relay. In the 5k, freshman Katie Knight out of Spokane hung with the lead pack for the first three quarters of the race, but fell off the lead pack with three laps to go, and wound up 15th in the heat in 16:48.75.
In the relay, Krista Armstead led off, passing to 400m hurdles qualifier Kayla Stueckle, who gave to Haley Jacobson in her West Prelims debut. Another 400m hurdles qualifier, Gianna Woodruff, anchored for UW, finishing in 3:44.04, but that was good just for eighth in their heat.
2014 NCAA West Preliminary Championships
May 31, 2014 – Day 3 of 3
Fayetteville, Ark. – John McDonnell Field
Husky Men’s Results
1,500m (Quarterfinal 1 of 2): 4. Nick Harris, 3:45.71 (Advances to Eugene); (Quarterfinal 2 of 2): 6. Izaic Yorks, 3:42.29 (Advances to Eugene); Triple Jump (Top-12 to Eugene): 28 (tie). Kasen Covington, 49-3 ½.
Husky Women’s Results
1,500m (Quarterfinal 1 of 2): 2. Katie Flood, 4:17.76 (Advances to Eugene); 8. Eleanor Fulton, 4:26.09 (does not advance); 5,000m (Heat 2 of 2): 15. Katie Knight, 16:48.75 (does not advance); 4x400m Relay (Heat 2 of 3): 8. Armstead/Kay. Stueckle/Jacobson/Woodruff, 3:44.04 (does not advance).
Advancing to Eugene (13 total)
Nick Harris, RS Fr., 1,500m
Izaic Yorks, So., 1,500m
Katie Flood, Jr., 1,500m
Derrick Daigre, Jr., 800m
Gianna Woodruff, Jr., 400m Hurdles
Kayla Stueckle, Sr., 400m Hurdles
Liberty Miller, Jr., 3,000m Steeplechase
Jax Thoirs, So., Pole Vault
Diamara Planell Cruz, Jr., Pole Vault
Quinn Hale, Jr., Javelin
Carson Fuller, So., Javelin
Megan Goethals, Sr., 10,000m
Lindsay Flanagan, Sr., 10,000m