Lots On The Line In Final Dempsey Meet
Feb. 28, 2013
SEATTLE - The 2013 Dempsey season comes to a close this Friday evening, but there is still a lot of work to be done for the Dawgs at the UW Final Qualifier. It's the last chance for athletes to break into the track and field version of the sweet-16, as the NCAA Indoor Championships, just over a week away, will take the 16 top marks in every event.
The meet is the shortest of the indoor season, with the smallest fields, as typically only those athletes who are on the NCAA bubble will make the trek to Seattle. Several Huskies are in those bubble spots in their events, but many other Huskies will be in action on Friday looking to compete well, end the indoor season with a personal-best and get ready to head outdoors.
The meet gets underway Friday at 6 p.m. and should be concluded by 9 p.m. There are eight "Final Qualifier" meets around Division-I, most of which take place on Friday, so the athletes in Seattle should have a good sense by the end of the night where they stand.
One of the big races on Friday night will be the men's mile, as the Dempsey looks to produce its 100th sub-four-minute mile. The number currently stands at 99, and one of the main contenders for the No. 100 is Husky senior Joey Bywater, who ran a 4:00.37 at the MPSF Championships last weekend. It will be a Husky-heavy top mile heat, with Brad Whitley, Gareth Gilna, Michael Miller, and Hap Emmons also looking to post some PRs. Also in the field is the first person ever to break four minutes in the Dempsey, former Husky Eric Garner.
The women's mile will be another race to watch, as senior Christine Babcock looks to climb into the top-16 as she is currently ranked 19th nationally at 4:37.57. Katie Flood is also entered in what would be her first open mile of the season, and Maddie Meyers and Joelle Amaral look to push the pace as well. Flood and Babcock will hope that their DMR time from the MPSF meet will also hold up this weekend and qualify for NCAAs.
Another member of that DMR, sophomore Baylee Mires, will look for another PR in the 800-meters, as she is about half a second away from a potential NCAA bid. It should be a fast pace giving the runners in that top heat a great opportunity to get to Fayetteville.
Friday will be the final home appearance for senior Jordan Carlson, who will try to break the school record at 400-meters for what would be a ninth time in her career. Carlson ran through a hamstring injury last week at MPSFs to post a 53.75, the first sub-54-second indoor 400 in school history. But the 16th spot in the 400 is extremely fast this season, down at 53.08, but Carlson can be counted on to give it her all.
Back over to the men's 400-meters, Maurice McNeal should be ready to go after some soreness kept him out of MPSFs last week. He'll be in for a battle in the 400-meters with Oregon's Mike Berry, as the two will look to push each other towards season-best times and hopefully a trip to nationals.
Two-sport standout Greg Ducre will be in action and is within striking distance of an NCAA bid, but will need a big season-best. Ducre, the runner-up in the 60-meters at MPSFs last week, needs to drop a tenth of a second to get in the mix.
After scoring at the MPSF meet with matching times of 8.15 seconds last week, Shayne Moore and Howard Lao look to lower their PRs and crack the Husky top-10 list in the hurdles, and freshman Chris Williams will aim to bounce back after a rough prelim at MPSFs. His 7.92 season-best is 0.16 seconds away from 16th-place.
A.J. Maricich and J.J. Juilfs have not hit the heights they reached last outdoor season, and will look to change that on Friday. Kasen Covington will also go in the triple jump coming off a sixth-place finish at MPSFs.
It will also be a big chance for the young throwers to end the indoor season on a positive note and take some momentum into outdoors. Alyx Toeaina, Bev Coleman, Hannah Sherrill and Carolyn Gravelle will all throw the shot on the women's side, and Jack Scheideman, who has set PR's several meets in a row, will toss the shot on the men's side.