Huskies Add Three More To Iowa NCAA Roster
May 25, 2012
NCAA WEST PRELIMINARIES
AUSTIN, Texas - Another marathon day of intense temperatures and intense competition wrapped up for the Husky track team at NCAA West Preliminaries today. On the second of the three day meet at Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium, Washington picked up three more qualifiers for the NCAA final site in Iowa. Veterans of the NCAA meet, juniors James Alaka and Logan Miller took care of business to get through, and were joined by redshirt freshman Georgia Reynolds, who was a major surprise in the pole vault, qualifying alongside Miller.
The West Prelims are cutting down the fields of 48 qualifiers in every event down to a final 12 that will move on to Drake Stadium in Des Moines from June 6-9 for the NCAA semis and finals. The same process takes place in Florida for the East Prelims, making for fields of 24 in Iowa.
Reynolds simply followed the script of her teammate Miller, who came to Prelims last year with the minimum entry mark only to clear multiple personal-bests and move on to Iowa, earning All-America Second Team honors. Now Miller ranks among the NCAA leaders, and the school record-holder cleared all three of her heights on first tries to finish in the top-12 without much stress. She'll be looking to improve on her 11th-place finish from a year ago.
For Reynolds, a Mount Si High School grad and 2010 Washington State Champion, she would not have been here in Austin if she hadn't cleared a PR of 13-0 ¾ just two weeks ago at the Pac-12 Championships. Peaking at the right time, she got one clearance under her belt at 12-4, then had a first attempt make at 12-10 ½. Moving up to 13-4, Reynolds had a good first try but knocked off the bar, but lined everything on her second attempt for a new career-best. Twenty vaulters remained at that point vying for the top-12, so one more bar would be needed. After a first miss at 13-8, Reynolds got up and just over the bar, without a wobble, and the field would dwindle down at that height to end things.
The clearance is a new freshman school record for Reynolds, surpassing the mark of 13-3 ¾ set by Kelley DiVesta back in 2005. It also moves her up to fifth on the all-time top-10 list, as she has now raised her collegiate best by a foot and a half over the last three weeks. Reynolds continues a recent trend of clutch Regional or Prelim performances from Coach Licari's vaulters. Jared O'Connor in 2008, Andrea Peterson in 2009, and Miller last year all came in seeded near the bottom of the field and after several personal-bests advanced on to the NCAA finals.
The first Husky on the track to run their way to Iowa was junior James Alaka. Last year, the three-time Pac-12 Champion missed out on the final site in the 100-meter dash, but he was not to be denied today. Running out of lane three, the London native had a much better start than his first round yesterday and was immediately at the front of the first quarterfinal heat. He ran through the line smoothly in a wind-aided 10.22 seconds, finishing second in the heat and getting a spot in Iowa.
The best season in school history for a women's quarter-miler ended a bit cruelly today for senior Jordan Carlson. In the final of three quarterfinal heats, Carlson made up ground late and finished in a time of 53.34 seconds. After the nine auto spots, three more athletes qualified for Iowa based on time. The 12th and final qualifier had a time of 53.33 seconds, leaving the Spokane native a heartbreaking .01 seconds short of her first NCAA Outdoor finals. Carlson's time was actually the 11th-fastest time today, but two runners with slower times finished second and third in the second heat and moved on automatically. Carlson could still return for one more indoor season, which could help UW defend its NCAA distance medley relay title.
In the men's 400-meter dash quarters, sophomore Maurice McNeal couldn't quite find the high gear needed to move on, and he placed sixth in his heat and 20th overall in a time of 46.95 seconds. McNeal, a two-time Second Team All-American, still came a long way this season after having surgery for a sports hernia after the outdoor season had already begun. He will be back on UW's 4x100m and 4x400m relays tomorrow.
In the men's hammer throw prelims, senior Angus Taylor got off to a strong start with a throw of 198-feet, 1-inch on his first attempt. But after that he was unable to find the range. He made the top-16, earning three more throws, but two were fouls and he did not improve, winding up 15th overall. Taylor was a four-time postseason qualifier and finishes up a stellar career ranked seventh on the Husky top-10 lists.
Also competing for the final time as a Husky was Kelly McNamee. The Spokane native had a strong last season in the high jump, getting back into the NCAA first round mix after battling injury throughout her career. Today she got over the first bar, 5-5 ¼, on her first attempt, but was unable to make the next bar at 5-7 ¼ despite a couple near misses on her second and third tries.
An excellent sophomore season for Kayla Stueckle wrapped up today in the 400-meter hurdles quarterfinals. Stueckle improved her PR by more than a second this year, made her first Pac-12 final, and advanced a round farther in NCAAs. She went out very aggressively today in the quarters but was unable to hold on, dropping back to eighth in her heat in a time of 1:00.29.
Alaka came back in the evening for the first round of the 200-meters, and backed up his impressive 100-meter run with a victory in the second heat of the 200m. He led through the first half of the race around the turn, then coasted down the stretch, slowing up near the line once it was obvious he was clear of the field. His time was 20.81 seconds, moving on to the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Sophomore Kasen Covington competed in the prelims of the triple jump for the second year in a row. He went 48-5 ½ on his first attempt, but was unable to improve upon that with fouls on his next two tries. That wound up 37th overall.
The meet draws to a close on Saturday with another long day of activity for UW. The men's pole vault starts things off at 1 p.m., followed by the women's hammer, men's high jump, and women's triple jump. The 4x100m relay prelims start the track events at 6 p.m., and UW will have quarterfinal competitors in the women's 1,500m, men's 200m, women's 5,000m, and the men's 4x400m relay to finish up.
Washington Track & Field
Day Two of Three
Advances to Quarterfinals in Austin