Taiwo Wraps Historic Hep While Dawgs Close Classic
Feb. 9, 2013
A day after setting a heptathlon high jump world record, Husky senior Jeremy Taiwo wrapped up one of the best overall heptathlon scores in U.S. history this afternoon in Nampa, Idaho at the Boise State Team Classic. Taiwo's total of 6,156 points ranks him third in NCAA history and seventh in U.S. history. Meanwhile in the Dempsey, the Husky Classic provided its own array of fantastic performances, highlighted by a pair of excellent mid-distance runs by Christine Babcock and Baylee Mires, and strong men's sprints.
Taiwo headed to the Boise State meet this weekend to participate in his first multi-event since the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He was out of action last year with elbow and hip injuries, but has proven to be back and better than ever in the first few weeks of this season. Yesterday Taiwo ticked off a series of personal-bests in the first four events, culminating in the high jump where he sailed over 7-4 ½, the best mark ever cleared in a heptathlon.
Coming back this morning, the Renton native started off with yet another personal-best, as he ran 8.08 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. The first and only subpar event on the weekend for Taiwo came next in the pole vault, but he was able to clear 13-11 ¼ to add nearly 700 points to his total. In the final event, the 1,000-meter run, Taiwo was well in front and had to do most of the work on his own, but he still was less than a tenth of a second off his PR, as he ran 2:34.44.
The 6,156 points is the fifth-best performance in NCAA history, trailing three marks posted by Ashton Eaton, and one by Trey Hardee. Eaton and Hardee are not bad company to keep, as the two won Gold and Silver, respectively, in the decathlon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The score ranks Taiwo No. 1 in the world so far in 2013. It was also a Jackson Track facility record, and needless to say Taiwo shattered his own Washington school record, which previously was 5,780 from the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships.
"It is simply one of the greatest performances in the history of Washington track and field," said Husky Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "The scary thing is that Jeremy can be even better. For all the amazing things that were happening here in the Dempsey this weekend, Jeremy Taiwo had all of us waiting anxiously to see that next mark pop up from Nampa. It's going to be a lot of fun watching him at the NCAA Championships one month from now."
At home in the Husky Classic, the invitational sections in the afternoon burned up the purple oval. In the top heat of the women's mile run, senior Christine Babcock earned a long-awaited career-best, as she ran 4:37.57, improving on the 4:38.00 time she ran back as a freshman in 2009. "It's been four years in the making," Babcock said. That should place her in the top-15 nationally after the weekend, and improves her standing at No. 3 on the Husky top-10. Freshman Maddie Meyers also had a personal-best in the mile and took over the No. 10 spot on the top-10 list with a time of 4:41.72.
In perhaps the surprise of the day, sophomore Baylee Mires came just four hundredths of a second away from the school record in the 800-meters. The sophomore from Spokane was the 800m leg of UW's national championship DMR last year, but had yet to run under 2:09 in an open 800-meters. She did that and more in the first invite section this afternoon, attacking and taking the lead over the final turn, before finishing second in 2:06.73. She's the second Husky ever to go under 2:07 indoors, just missing Amanda Miller's record of 2:06.69 from 2008. That will likely place Mires into the top-20 nationally.
"It is simply one of the best performances in the history of Washington track and field," said Metcalf.
The 60 dashes and hurdles drew a lot of interested spectators today, as the Huskies ran All-American James Alaka in his first open race of the season, and suited up footballer Greg Ducre for the first time after his speedy unattached run two weeks ago. Alaka, Ducre, and freshman Quadelle Satterwhite all reached the two-heat final, with Satterwhite running a PR of 6.87 in the first flight. In the second flight, Ducre just nipped Alaka, 6.80 to 6.81, but both were edged by Chaz Butler of Adams State who ran 6.79 to win. With his first official Husky time, Ducre moves into a tie for ninth on the UW top-10, even with another two-sport star, Isaiah Stanback.
In the 60-meter hurdles final, freshman Chris Williams just continues to make this college hurdles thing look like no big deal. He reached the final and then dropped another PR, running 7.92 seconds to finish second overall to Dempsey record-holder Ronald Brookins, now a professional. Williams becomes just the fourth Husky to break eight seconds in the 60m hurdles, moving up to No. 3 all-time. It was the fastest run by a Dawg since Skip Moody in 1998 ran 7.90 converted from 55-meters. Also grabbing a PR in the first heat of the final was Howard Lao, who clocked 8.29 to take eighth overall.
Junior Maurice McNeal cruised to a pair of victories tonight, first winning the open 400-meter invitational in 47.12 seconds, as he led from wire to wire. He then anchored the 4x400m relay, which led off with Satterwhite, then passed to Alaka and Dan Sanders before McNeal took the stick around to close in 3:11.50. Sanders had also run a 400m best of 48.43 earlier in the day.
In the men's 3,000-meters, sophomore Tyler King gritted out a PR of 8:07.38 in the final section of the invite. Another personal-best came from Aaron Beattie in the earlier sections, as he hit the line in 8:13.21.
In the men's mile, freshman Nick Harris sliced a few more seconds off his personal-best, running 4:09.81. Gareth Gilna had the top time of the day for the Dawgs at 4:09.08, and Michael Miller was strong as well at 4:10.45. All told today there were eight new four-minute miles run, bringing the Dempsey's all-time total to 95. Brad Whitley posted the best 800m of the season for UW, running 1:51.96.
A.J. Maricich got the victory in the men's high jump, clearing a season-best and indoor career-best of 6-11 ¾, missing a trio of tries at 7-feet-1. Chase Walker also had a nice day, going over 6-6. In the women's high jump, Jaleecia Roland edged her season-best up to 5-feet-6, clearing that on her third try. She came back to jump 38-6 in the triple jump on her final attempt, a new season-best.
In the long jump, senior Julian Bardwell got a season-best 23-2 ½ on his fifth attempt to take fifth. Senior Sarah Schireman did the same on the women's side, going a season-best 18-1 to finish seventh overall. Kasen Williams focused solely on the triple jump this weekend, and got out to 47-1 ¾ on his fourth attempt to finish sixth.
A young women's 4x4 made up of two freshmen and two sophomores came away with the victory in the top flight, holding off teams from Utah, California, Wyoming, and Oregon. Krista Armstead, Kayla Stueckle, Alexis Ford, and Gianna Woodruff combined to run 3:45.63, good for the No. 8 spot in school history. All ran open 400s earlier in the day, with Stueckle running 56.27, third out of the 60 entrants in the early heats. In the hurdles, Naivasha Sophusson Smith ran a big season-best of 9.00 in the women's hurdles.
The Huskies now get their first championship challenge of the season, and the only one at home, as they host the MPSF Championships in two weeks, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23.