Brookman Leads Eight Huskies Advancing At NCAAs
May 24, 2012
NCAA WEST PRELIMINARIES
AUSTIN, Texas - Jimmy Brookman came into this season expecting to redshirt. Now the junior javelin thrower is on his way to his first NCAA Championships final site, after he threw a career-best 233-feet, 11-inches to finish fifth in the NCAA West Preliminary Championships today. Seven more Husky track athletes moved on past the first round in their events at a sun-baked Mike A. Myers Stadium on the first of the three day meet, moving within one more race of reaching Des Moines.
The NCAA West Prelims, hosted by the University of Texas, take the top 48 athletes from the western half of the country, and cut those fields down to 12 by the end of the weekend. Those 12 move on to Des Moines, Iowa for the semifinals and finals on June 6-9. Field events and all distance races longer than 1,500-meters make the cut to 12 in one fell swoop this weekend, while all shorter track events have two rounds in Austin then two more in Des Moines.
The first part of the day centered around the men's javelin throw, where Washington's four entries were tied for the most of any team. In the second of three flights, junior Jimmy Brookman got ahold of one on his third attempt, breaking the 230 mark for the first time at 233-11. That was the top mark through the first two flights. It also put Brookman into the Husky recordbooks for the first time at No. 8. Freshman Curtis Clauson threw a best of 193-10 in the second flight and finished 32nd.
The third flight featured junior Joe Zimmerman and freshman Quinn Hale. Zimmerman had done well at this meet in his first two seasons, and was coming off a second-place finish at Pac-12s, but he struggled today, throwing just 206-7 and missing out on the top-16 which would have earned him three more attempts. Unfortunately he'll be missing the NCAA finals for the first time. However, Hale squeezed into the final group by one inch, as he went 213-10 on his first try which wound up 16th overall heading into the final three rounds.
Hale improved to 215-1 on his fourth throw, which moved him up to 14th, but he still needed to improve to crack the top-12. On his last try, the Tacoma native threw his whole body into it, and the spear landed past the 220-foot mark by a couple feet. However, Hale's foot had rolled forward and touched over the line for a foul. The 12th and final qualifier had a mark of 222-11, right about where Hale's last throw landed, but the mark was not measured due to the foul. He'd settle for 15th-place overall.
Brookman became UW's first qualifier for Des Moines, as his 233-11 mark stood up for fifth place overall. It will be his first career trip to the final NCAA site. Not bad for an athlete that was planning to redshirt the season until just a month ago. Brookman had Tommy John surgery last year after the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, and expected to use a redshirt this year. But last month he felt strong enough in his rehab to give it a go, and he returned for the UW-WSU Dual on April 28, throwing 216-4 on his first attempt. He then took fifth at the Pac-12 meet two weeks ago, before launching the PR today in just his third meet back.
First on the track today was sophomore Kayla Stueckle, making her second NCAA appearance in the 400-meter hurdles. Last year she did not advance out of the first round, but the past month has seen the Puyallup native take over a second off her old PR. Stueckle was in the second of six heats and got out well, eventually finishing fourth in a time of 58.84 seconds. Only the top three automatically advanced, but Stueckle's time was the best of the nine additional time qualifiers, and was faster than several auto advancers from other heats. She will run in the next round tomorrow evening.
UW had a lot of work to do in the first round of the women's 1,500-meters, with four competitors. Running in the third heat, sophomore Katie Flood left a big pack behind around the final turn and took the win in the fastest time of the day, running 4:22.02 to take her first step back towards her hometown of Des Moines. In the second heat, redshirt frosh Chelsea Orr and junior Christine Babcock worked up near the front together for most of the race, and each earned automatic qualifying spots, with Orr taking second in 4:25.18, and Babcock finishing fourth in 4:26.10. They'll run the quarterfinal round on Saturday. In the final heat, sophomore Mackenzie Carter was 10th in her NCAA prelim debut in 4:44.22 and won't move on.
Senior Ryan Soberanis, a late addition to the 1,500-meters field, ran his final Husky track race today in the first round. A four-time Pac-12 competitor, Soberanis was in the mix until the final lap, when he faded and finished 11th in his heat.
The 100-meter dash kicked off today with six first round heats. Junior James Alaka was in the final heat, and ran a strong final fifty meters to grab third in his heat and automatically move on to the quarters. Alaka's time was 10.34 seconds. It was the first of hopefully six appearances this weekend for Alaka, who also will run the 200-meters, and the 4x1 and 4x4 relays.
Alaka's relay partner, sophomore Maurice McNeal, also moved through the first round, this time in the 400-meter dash. McNeal took third in his heat in a time of 47.02 to head on to the quarters, which will take place tomorrow evening.
Capping off a perfect day for the sprints group was senior Jordan Carlson, who battled hard down the homestretch to pull into third place in her 400-meter heat and get the auto qualifying spot in a time of 53.56, the 12th-fastest time of the evening. The school record-holder will look to earn her first trip to the NCAA final site tomorrow evening.
The women's javelin throw was the last field event to wrap up tonight. Seniors Brooke Pighin and Amanda Peterson were in the second of three flights. Marks were down across the board in the heat. Peterson threw 144-7 on her first throw and ended up 24th out of the 48 athlete field. Pighin went 152-0 on her third attempt, and had to wait a couple hours to see if that would get her into the 16-thrower final. It wound up a couple feet and two spots too short, as she finished 18th overall. Junior Jordin Seekins also threw in the first flight but struggled, getting just one legal mark and a pair of fouls. Pighin was an All-American for UW back in 2009 but after an elbow injury she is still working to get back to her former form, and will continue to do so as a post-collegiate athlete.
Friday begins at 1 p.m. for the Huskies with the women's pole vault. Also in the field for UW will be the men's hammer, women's high jump, and men's triple jump. Then on the track, McNeal, Carlson, Alaka, and Stueckle will try to punch their tickets to Iowa, with Alaka also opening at 200-meters.
Washington Track & Field
Day One of Three
Advances to Iowa