Freshman Juilfs Wins Pac-12 Pole Vault Title
May 12, 2012
Saturday: Field Events @10:00am, Track Events @1:25pm
EUGENE, Ore. - Washington's great pole vault tradition added another big chapter today, as freshman J.J. Juilfs became the first ever Pac-12 Champion in the event, giving UW its third different conference winner in the past four years in the vault. Juilfs, a Eugene, Ore. native, cleared a lifetime-best 17-10 ¼ at Hayward Field in front of his hometown fans for the upset win. His victory highlighted a big first day for the Husky men at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships.
The men currently sit in fourth-place with 41 points, but just four points out of first. UCLA is on top with 45, followed by Oregon with 44 and Arizona with 43. The Husky women are ninth right now with 9 points but many opportunities coming on Sunday.
Juilfs, from Eugene's Sheldon High School and the 2011 U.S. Junior Champ, already had the title locked up with his second attempt clearance of 17-6 ¼ after Arizona State's Derek Hinch was unable to get over 17-10 ¼. With one attempt remaining at that height, Juilfs rallied the spectators, and soared up and over the lifetime best, following that with a backflip and pumping his fists to the crowd. That mark ranks eighth outdoors in school history and is just a quarter-inch off Scott Roth's freshman record. Juilfs had three attempts at 18-2 ½ but was unable to make that bar.
"It feels great, it's such a blessing. A lot of friends, family, the people that I grew up with, friends that I played basketball in the streets with, they came and cheered, so it's a special day," Juilfs said afterwards. "I didn't watch any of the competitors. I didn't watch a single jump. I knew the height I thought it would take to win, so I said I'm going to go try and jump that height, and that was 17-9, and that's about what it took."
Assistant Coach Pat Licari got his sixth career conference vault title from five different athletes. The previous three men included Ryan Vu (2010), Scott Roth (2009), and Brad Walker (2003 and 2002), while Kate Soma won the women's title in 2005.
At last year's conference meet, the Husky javelin crew went 2-3-4 to put up 19 points. Despite the loss of All-American Kyle Nielsen to graduation, the Huskies added two more freshmen to the mix and today duplicated that 19 point output, led by junior Joe Zimmerman's runner-up finish. Freshman Quinn Hale of Tacoma placed fourth, junior Jimmy Brookman of Redmond was fifth, and freshman Curtis Clauson of Edmonds was seventh.
Zimmerman, a Spokane native, has now placed fifth, third, and second in his three Pac-12 meets. He opened up with a toss of 227-10, which put him in first through two rounds. Oregon's Sam Crouser took the lead with a big toss of 250-10 in round three. Zimmerman was close to several big tosses, and on his sixth throw he got one out to 231-10, maintaining his second-place standing. Hale threw a best of 218-5, Brookman went 217-11 to move up one key spot in round five, and Clauson had a best of 208-3.
"I thought the guys did a great job of competing together as a unit and taking care of business," said Assistant Coach T.J. Crater. "I thought one or two places here and there got away from us but it was a good day and we'll get them ready to throw far in Austin at Prelims."
After J.J.'s big day in the pole vault, it was time for A.J. in the high jump. Sophomore A.J. Maricich cleared a lifetime-best of 7-1 ½ in the high jump to tie for second-place, a huge addition of seven points for the Dawgs. Maricich, a Spokane product, came in with just the No. 8 seed mark, but he was confident after clearing 7-0 ¼ for the first time earlier this year, and winning the UW-WSU Dual two weeks ago.
Maricich delivered first attempt clearances on four of the five bars he cleared, which kept him up top. He cleared 6-7, 6-9, and 6-11 on his first tries, then took two attempts to go over the seven-foot mark for the second time in his career, going 7-0 ¼. Six vaulters then made it over 7-1 ½, but Maricich soared over that new career-best on just one try, keeping him in a tie for second overall. Nick Ross of Arizona went 7-2 ½ to win. The clearance moves Maricich to No. 3 on the Husky Top-10 lists, behind only Rick Noji and Norris Frederick.
The first points for the Husky women came in the javelin this afternoon as seniors Amanda Peterson and Brooke Pighin both scored in their final conference meets. Peterson went from sixth-place to fourth on her fourth attempt, sending the spear 156-1. Pighin also had her best toss of 154-10 on her fourth attempt, moving from eighth to fifth, before winding up sixth. Junior Jordin Seekins just missed the final by one spot, finishing 10th with a best of 136-2 that was tops in the first flight.
Several Huskies successfully navigated the prelims to advance to Sunday's final heats. Defending conference champion James Alaka will be looking to defend his titles in the 100-meters and 200-meters after he advanced today. Alaka ran 10.34 in the 100m prelim and a season-best 20.72 in the 200m prelim to move on.
At 400-meters, sophomore Maurice McNeal looks to be getting back into form after missing several weeks due to injury. He won his heat in a season-best 46.78. In the women's 400-meters, school record-holder Jordan Carlson advanced into her first final with a prelim heat victory timed at 53.92 seconds.
A big PR was turned in by sophomore Kayla Stueckle, who shoved her way into the finals of the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.52 seconds, which is 0.85 seconds faster than her previous best of 59.37 seconds set just two weeks ago in Pullman. The Puyallup native becomes the sixth Husky under the 59-second mark, ranking sixth all-time. Freshman Gianna Woodruff was 13th in her first conference meet, running 1:01.00 while Skye Atchley was 21st overall in 1:03.98. In the men's 400m hurdles, senior Miles Timpe took 11th in his fourth and final conference meet, running 53.49.
In the women's 1,500-meters, sophomore Katie Flood and redshirt freshman Chelsea Orr each had no problems nabbing finals spots for Sunday. They ran smart up front together to get in the top-four auto qualifying spots. Flood was second in the heat in 4:21.47, and Orr was fourth in 4:21.80.
In the men's 1,500-meters, junior Joey Bywater qualified for the finals for the third time in his career. He led several laps of the second heat before dropping back to fifth, but then he kicked back into second place, running 3:47.31. Ryan Soberanis was 14th overall in 3:52.16 in what could be his final race, while Kyle Blume and Meron Simon were 17th and 20th, respectively.
The first event on the track was the men's 4x100m relay trials, and the Husky quartet of Sam Rucker, James Alaka, Maurice McNeal, and Ryan Hamilton got the stick around in 40.30 to move on to the final. There was no prelims on the women's side.
There were only a couple finals on the track today, the last being the 10,000-meter runs. Redshirt freshman Liberty Miller ran the distance for the first time in her career tonight, and she navigated through a field of 23 athletes to finish seventh in 35:07.97, scoring her first Pac-12 points. Sophomore Aaron Beattie placed 11th in the men's 10k in 31:12.12.
The first track final was the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the men's race, Michael Miller Jr. was in the mix for most of the race but ran out of gas late and just missed scoring as he placed ninth in 9:09.03. In the women's race, sophomore Mackenzie Carter placed 17th in 10:58.24.
Back in the field events, Julian Bardwell and Sarah Schireman each finished 13th in the long jumps. Bardwell had a solid jump of 23-8 ¾ but it took 24-9 just to score a point today. Schireman had a nice mark of 18-7 on her second attempt. Kasen Covington was 20th a 22-5 but will look to score in the triple jump tomorrow.
Freshman Danny Shelton made the final in his first career Pac-12 shot put, but was unable to move up from ninth to eight, finishing with a best of 49-5 ¾.
At 800-meters, sophomore Brad Whitley just missed out on the final, as he had the ninth-fastest time overall at 1:51.77, just a couple tenths out of the last spot. Charlie Williams was 13th in 1:52.87. Freshman Baylee Mires was 14th in the women's 800m in 2:11.44, and redshirt frosh Chloe Curtis was 19th in 2:12.76.
In other sprints action, freshman Haley Jacobson had a season-best 11.95 in the 100-meter dash, just slightly wind-aided. Senior Bianca Greene also ran a season-best 24.80 in the 200-meters and Michelle Fero ran 57.62 at 400-meters. For the men, Rucker clocked a 48.50 to take 12th in the 400m, and junior Shayne Moore finished 13th in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.82 seconds. Hamilton came back after the relay and ran 10.67 in the 100m and 21.83 in the 200m but won't be moving on to the finals there.
Action resumes tomorrow with the women's discus at 10:45 a.m. and the 4x100m relay finals start the track events at 1 p.m.
Washington Track & Field
Day One of Two
Husky Men's Point Scorers (Top-Eight)