Outdoor Season Opener Takes Huskies To USC
March 22, 2012
USC TROJAN INVITATIONAL
ON THE TRACK: The outdoor track and field season is underway for many teams already across the country, and Washington will get into the mix this weekend as it takes a full team down to the Trojan Invitational, hosted by USC at Loker Stadium and Cromwell Field. The Huskies are traveling over fifty athletes to a meet that features a small but elite group of programs, including defending men's and women's NCAA Champion Texas A&M, Michigan, BYU, and Pac-12 rivals USC, Oregon, and Washington State.
The meet begins on Friday afternoon with the men's and women's hammer throws at West L.A. College. Back over at Loker Stadium, the javelin throws start at 6 p.m. Friday evening, and then the distance events will be run on the track starting at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday gets going at 10 a.m. with a number of field events and the women's and men's steeplechases on the track. The last event on the track is the men's 4x400-meter relay set for 3 p.m.
PURPLE AND GOLD PERSPECTIVE: Outdoor season brings a handful of new events into focus and many are right in Washington's wheelhouse. At long last, UW's group of talented javelin throwers will get to shake off the rust this weekend, with the hammer and discus also ready to be tossed for the first time this year. On Friday in the women's javelin, look for senior All-American Brooke Pighin to make her return after redshirting the 2011 season, along with school record-holder senior Amanda Peterson and NCAA Prelim qualifier Jordin Seekins. All-American junior Joe Zimmerman will throw in the top flight on the men's side against Pac-10 Champion Cooper Thompson of USC. Freshman Curtis Clauson will also make his Husky debut.
Prelim qualifiers Angus Taylor and Conner Larned will both throw the discus and the hammer this weekend, and senior Elisa Bryant will throw both after making NCAA prelims in each event last year. Freshman Danny Shelton also makes his first road trip, UW's one entry in the shot put.
The jumpers are ready to take to the winds. Julian Bardwell, Kasen Covington, and Clayton Johnson will long and triple jump for the men, while Taylor Nichols and Shaniae Lakes will focus on the triple for the women. High jumping will be A.J. Maricich, and Kelly McNamee and Caroline Soules on the women's side. In the pole vault, freshman J.J. Juilfs will look to carry his indoor success outside, coming off an All-America honorable mention for his 17th-place finish at NCAA Indoors. Joining him will be Robby Fegles, Logan Miller, and Georgia Reynolds.
One of UW's top groups last season was its men's 4x100-meter relay, which placed 16th at the NCAA Championships. James Alaka, Maurice McNeal, and Ryan Hamilton will be running on that relay to start this season, with sophomore Matt Anthony stepping in for junior Colton Dunn who is recovering from a foot injury. Alaka will also run an open 400m, and McNeal is entered in the top heat of the 200-meter dash against five Aggies from A&M. Anthony and Hamilton will also run the 100-meters. Junior Shayne Moore is entered in the 110-meter hurdles and junior Dan Sanders is in the long hurdles.
Senior Jordan Carlson, coming off winning the NCAA title in the distance medley relay, is the only one of that quartet to get back into action this week. She'll run the 200-meter dash, as will senior Bianca Greene. Freshman Haley Jacobson is in the 100-meter dash, and junior Laura Schmitt runs the 400-meters. Sophomore Kayla Stueckle, an NCAA Prelim competitor last year, leads a trio of Huskies in the 400-meter hurdles. Also running will be junior Skye Atchley and freshman Gianna Woodruff.
In the distance events, the three Huskies on UW's record-setting men's DMR along with McNeal will keep rolling outdoors. Brad Whitley, the 800m leg on the DMR, will step up to 1,500-meters and run in the fast heat there with Charlie Williams and Michael Miller, with Tyler King in section two. Joey Bywater, on the other hand, will drop down to 800-meters after running the 1,600m leg on the relay. He'll be in the second heat along with freshmen Meron Simon and Sean Krinik, while lead-off 1,200m leg runner Ryan Soberanis is in the top 800-meter section. Simon is also entered in the steeplechase.
Southern California natives Christine Babcock and Chloe Curtis will get to run close to home. Both are entered at 800-meters and Babcock is also entered at 1,500-meters. Justine Johnson and Mackenzie Carter will also be in the top 800m heat. Freshman Eleanor Fulton and redshirt frosh Liberty Miller, another SoCal native, will also run at 1,500-meters. The longest distance for a Husky this weekend will be run by sophomore Phoebe Merritt in the 3k Friday night.