UW Invitational Kicks Indoor Season To High Gear
Jan. 26, 2012
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ON THE TRACK: Judging by the number of Olympians, World Championship medalists and NCAA Champions heading to Seatle this weekend, the Dempsey Indoor season must be ratcheting up. Over a thousand entrants will be on hand this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, as Washington hosts the UW Invitational, one of the most anticipated meets of the year, which always manages to live up to expectations.
The action begins Friday afternoon with the start of the women's pentathlon and the men's heptathlon. Junior Sarah Schireman leads four Husky women in the pentathlon. They will get to compete against 2008 Olympian and 2011 U.S. Champion Sharon Day, competing for Asics. Freshmen Joseph Aubert and Chase Walker will compete in their first collegiate heptathons among a field of 16.
On the track Friday evening will be the 200-meter dashes, 5,000-meter runs, and the distance medley relays. The 5k runs will be highlighted by Lisa Uhl, the college record-holder at 10,000-meters, and U.S. Indoor 3k Champ Renee Metivier Baillie on the women's side, and meet record-holder and former U.S. Olympian Bolota Asmerom on the men's side. The DMRs should be a focal point of the weekend, as Washington will assemble some strong teams. The women are planning to run junior Christine Babcock, senior Jordan Carlson, freshman Baylee Mires, and junior Justine Johnson. Babcock led off UW's school-record DMR in 2009, but has not run an indoor track race in the past two years. The men will run an experienced group of senior Charlie Williams, sophomore Maurice McNeal, junior Brad Whitley, and junior Joey Bywater.
Saturday gets underway at 10 a.m. and will continue through until 5 p.m. with action all day. The top heats of each track event are grouped together from 2:45 until the end of the meet, ensuring one big race after another late in the afternoon.
The 3,000-meter runs on Saturday will be among the best in the country this year. On the women's side, 2011 World Championship silver medalist Sally Kipyego, who trains with the Oregon Track Club, will return to the Dempsey. She will be joined by nine-time UW All-American Katie Follett, now running for Brooks, and her Brooks teammate Angela Bizzarri, a recent NCAA cross country and 5k champion, along with Canadian Olympian Malindi Elmore. Joining that fray will be current UW All-Americans Katie Flood and Megan Goethals, competing for the first time since earning top-20 finishes at the NCAA cross country meet this past fall.
The men's 3k features 2009 and 2010 NCAA cross country champ Sam Chelanga, now running professionally, along with last year's NCAA mile champ, Miles Batty of BYU. A number of Husky men will open up in the 3k, led by junior Rob Webster Jr., sophomore Aaron Beattie, and several first year Dawgs making their Dempsey debuts.
U.S. Olympian Matt Tegenkamp, one of the American distance greats of the last ten years, and fellow Olympian Ian Dobson is entered in the men's mile, along with 2011 World Championships competitor Andrew Bumbalough. A number of Huskies will roll in the mile, including returners Gareth Gilna, Michael Miller, and Whitley. The women's mile features World Championship competitor Geena Gall and Lauren Johnson, who ran 4:33 at this meet a year ago. Sophomore Chelsea Orr leads the UW contingent; she ran a 4:44 mile a year ago.
The 800-meters brings more U.S. standouts, with 2008 Olympian Lopez Lomong starring. Lomong was the flag bearer for Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Games, and won the U.S. title at 1,500-meters in 2009 and 2010. Husky senior Ryan Soberanis will be one to watch, along with Bywater, Charlie Williams, and freshman Derrick Daigre. The defending NCAA Champion Lacey Bleazard of BYU runs in the women's 800-meters, with Babcock, Johnson, and Mires coming back off Friday's DMR to run.
In the springs, UW will put together some strong 4x400m relay teams to end the meet. The top men's team will see the season debut of Pac-10 sprint champ James Alaka, along with Colton Dunn, NCAA 400m qualifier McNeal, and Dan Sanders. The women go with freshman Gianna Woodruff, sophomores Kayla Stueckle and Alisha Oden, and the senior Carlson. Many will also run the open 400m.
Looking at the field events, senior Kelly McNamee and junior Caroline Soules lead UW in the women's high jump, with sophomore A.J. Maricich looking to chase seven-feet on the men's side. All-American Logan Miller went over 13-1 in the pole vault two weeks ago and will look to build on that.
Julian Bardwell had an indoor PR in the long jump at the UW Indoor Preview of 23-7 1/4 and will look to extend that this week. Sophomore Kasen Covington on the men's side, and senior Taylor Nichols and junior Shaniae Lakes on the women's side will be ones to watch as usual in the triple jumps.
Senior Elisa Bryant won the women's weight throw two weeks back and has a stronger field to battle this week. Senior Angus Taylor and junior Conner Larned are looking strong early in the men's weight. A new addition to the throws group this week is freshman Danny Shelton from the football team, who won the Washington state title last spring.