Fierce Competition Awaits At Pepsi Team Invite
April 5, 2012
PEPSI TEAM INVITATIONAL
ON THE TRACK: The Husky track and field squad heads to one of the early season highlights this weekend, as UW pays a visit to Oregon's Hayward Field for the annual Pepsi Team Invitational. The scored meet sets the Huskies against Pac-12 rivals Oregon and UCLA, along with Texas A&M, the three-time defending NCAA Champions on both the men's and women's sides.
This is the 23rd year of the Pepsi Team Invitational, and it will be the 14th appearance for Washington. The javelin competitions, which will be one of the marquee events of the meet, go off at 10:15 a.m., with the first track events set for 12:35 p.m. and the next group of field events starting at 12:20. The meet should be finished around 4 p.m.
The Oregon Sports Network will webcast the Pepsi Team Invitational live in HD for free on www.goducks.com beginning at noon.
The international scoring system will be in place for the Pepsi Team Invitational, which allows schools to score a maximum of two competitors in each event (one team per relay). Individual event scoring is 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Relays will be 9-7-6-5.
PURPLE AND GOLD PERSPECTIVE: Coming off the season opener two weeks ago at the Trojan Invite, many Huskies now have a good feel for outdoor competition and will look to step it up and make a few tweaks this Saturday. Also rounding out the full team will be several distance runners that did not run at USC but will open up this weekend.
Three of the four members of UW's NCAA Champion distance medley relay will compete for the first time outdoors on Saturday. Sophomore Katie Flood starts out at a shorter distance, as she'll run the 800-meters for the first time in college. Freshman Baylee Mires, the 800m leg on the DMR, will also run the 800-meters in a very strong field. Chelsea Orr, a sophomore indoors but a redshirt freshman outdoors, steps up in distance and she'll run the 5,000-meters. The fourth DMR member, sprinter Jordan Carlson, competed at USC but she'll run her 400-meter dash for the first time outdoors.
Starting at 100-meters and moving up, senior Bianca Greene and freshman Haley Jacobson will run both the 100- and 200-meters. Jacobson opened with a 12.03 in the 100m at USC, already just short of the Husky Top-10. Joining Carlson in the 400m will be sophomore Michelle Fero. In the 100m hurdles, freshman Naivasha Sophusson Smith will run along with junior Sarah Schireman. Kayla Stueckle, Gianna Woodruff, and Skye Atchley will all tackle the 400-meter hurdles.
Along with Flood and Mires, freshman Eleanor Fulton and junior Laura Schmitt will run 800-meters, and Fulton is also entered at 1,500-meters. Fulton already ranks eighth nationally in the early going at 1,500-meters after she opened with a 4:22.26 at USC. Juniors Christine Babcock and Justine Johnson and redshirt freshman Chloe Curtis make the 1,500 a big event for the Dawgs.
At 5k, Orr will be joined by redshirt freshman Liberty Miller, who ran a nice 1,500m at USC two weeks back, and sophomore Phoebe Merritt. Sophomore Mackenzie Carter also opens up in the steeplechase on Saturday.
In the field, Caroline Soules and Kelly McNamee look to post some points and PRs in the high jump. Junior Logan Miller got the win at USC with a pole vault clearance of 13-2 1/4, and she'll have another tough field to contend with this week, with redshirt frosh Georgia Reynolds also in the mix.
Senior Taylor Nichols will both triple and long jump, as will sophomore Alana Alexander. Junior Shaniae Lakes surpassed 40-feet in her triple jump opener at USC and she'll focus on that event. Schireman will add her long jump skills as well.
Sophomore Shelby Williams will be in the open shot put as well as the 200m dash. Erica Huse will be UW's other shot putter, and she will also throw discus and hammer. Senior Elisa Bryant is the top seed in the discus, and second seed in the hammer.
Four Dawgs are in a competitive javelin competition, with seniors Amanda Peterson and Brooke Pighin leading the way, and juniors Jordin Seekins and Ally Mueller looking to push their way up the national lists as well. Peterson set the school record at this meet a year ago, throwing 174-feet.
Saturday will mark the first outdoor 100- and 200-meter dashes for junior James Alaka since he ran PRs last summer at the European Championships and World University Games. The Pac-10 Champion in both short sprints a year ago, Alaka won't be the favorite as Texas A&M brings a number of speedsters that could push Alaka to some fast times if conditions are favorable. Senior Ryan Hamilton and sophomore Matt Anthony will also run both short sprints. Hamilton matched his PR at 100-meters at USC, running 10.68. Senior Sam Rucker is the lone Husky entered at 400-meters.
At 800-meters, junior Brad Whitley leads a group of five Huskies who could all contend for points. Sophomore Gareth Gilna, sophomore Kyle Blume, redshirt frosh Sean Krinik, and freshman Derrick Daigre are all in the mix. Veterans Joey Bywater, Ryan Soberanis, and Charlie Williams lead the way at 1,500-meters in another strong field.
Junior Rob Webster Jr. will open up in the 5k on Saturday, joined by Aaron Beattie, Taylor Carlson, and Tyler King. In the steeplechase, Pac-10 point scorer Michael Miller runs for the first time this season, joined by freshman Meron Simon, who ran a solid 9:12 in his first collegiate steeplechase at USC. Carlson may also steeple for the first time.
Coming off a victory at USC and his first seven-foot clearance in college, sophomore A.J. Maricich looks to build on that momentum as one of four jumpers with a PR over seven feet in Saturday's high jump. Freshman Chase Walker and junior Clayton Johnson add to the depth there.
NCAA Indoor qualifier J.J. Juilfs returns to his hometown of Eugene to compete in the pole vault, along with senior Robby Fegles and redshirt frosh Alex Neshyba. Junior Julian Bardwell and sophomore Kasen Covington will have stiff competition in the long and triple jumps, but if they improve on their season-openers at USC, they could both get into NCAA Prelim qualifying range.
In the throws, freshman Danny Shelton is entered in the shot, heading down after some spring football practice. Javelin standout Joe Zimmerman will take up the needed second spot in the shot put. In the discus, junior Conner Larned and senior Angus Taylor are set to go, and both will also toss the hammer.
The men's javelin features an NCAA finals-caliber field, with Zimmerman and freshmen Curtis Clauson and Quinn Hale competing against current NCAA leader Sam Humphreys of A&M, and some other Pac-12 talents. Ten competitors have seed marks over 200-feet, with seven over 220.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO IOWA: For the second straight year, the outdoor track season heads towards Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Championships from June 6-9. Athletes will reach the final site by qualifying through the preliminary rounds, held at two different locations. The western half of the country will be in Austin, Texas for the West Prelims on May 24-26, and the eastern half will meet in Jacksonville, Florida. There are no set NCAA qualifying standards anymore; athletes will qualify for the prelims by ranking in the top 48 in their event in their respective region. For relay teams it will be the top 24. The top-12 finishers from each regional meet then advance to Des Moines. Therefore most events will feature initial fields of 96 athletes over the two sites, that will be whittled down to 24 that advance to Iowa.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: A new set of team rankings came out this Tuesday from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, factoring in this year's outdoor results for the first time. But at the moment, the majority of the rankings are still based on last year's marks, so not much can be learned yet. The Husky men are ranked 44th this week, getting their largest amount of points from the 2011 marks of Maurice McNeal at 400-meters and Jeremy Taiwo in the decathlon. Taiwo has yet to compete in 2012 as he rehabs from hip surgery. The women's team is ranked 33rd, based entirely on 2011 data. Megan Goethals in the 5k and Amanda Peterson in the javelin are providing the most points, though Goethals has yet to open up outdoors, and Peterson threw a solid 159-feet in her javelin opener, short of the 174-feet she threw last year that is currently counting in the team rankings.
DMR BRINGS HOME THE TITLE AT NCAA INDOORS: The women's distance medley relay brought home the first indoor track title in the history of the Husky women's track program, providing the high point of UW's trip to Nampa, Idaho for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9-10. On the first night of the two-day meet, the Husky foursome of Chelsea Orr, Jordan Carlson, Baylee Mires, and Katie Flood got the win in the 4,000-meter race in a time of 11:05.20, holding off Oregon, Dartmouth, and Georgetown. The Huskies were in eighth-place when Flood got the stick for the final 1,600-meters, but the pace slowed up front and Flood got right back in the mix, eventually pulling away on the final lap for the win. It was the first NCAA title for Washington in a relay event since the men's 1,600m relay win in 1975. The men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley, and Joey Bywater met with some misfortune before the women's race, as Soberanis was tripped and fell on the opening leg, and the Huskies had to settle for 10th-place. Sophomore Megan Goethals ran in the 5,000-meters on night one, placing ninth, to just miss a podium spot. She then came back on Saturday to finish 11th in the 3,000-meter final, with Flood also coming back to run the 3k, finishing 9th. Freshman J.J. Juilfs made his NCAA debut in the pole vault, clearing his opening height of 17-0 3/4 but then bowing out in 17th-place. The 10 points scored by the women's team was good for a tie for 23rd-place in the final standings.
NCAA INDOORS IN REVIEW: The indoor track season came to a close in early March, with the University of Washington having made its mark on the national scene and rewritten its own recordbooks once again. The Dempsey Indoor facility welcomed thousands of the NCAA's top athletes through its doors, producing dozens of NCAA Indoor qualifiers, as the UW was a constant focal point of the indoor season. Stepping into the spotlight in a big way was sophomore Katie Flood, as she smashed a school record each of the first three times she took to the track. Flood's records in the mile (4:28.48), the 3,000-meters (8:55.31), and as the anchor on the distance medley relay (10:55.01) all rank among the top-10 indoor times in NCAA history, and all led the NCAA. She then led the DMR to the first ever NCAA title for the Husky women indoors, as Chelsea Orr, Jordan Carlson, Baylee Mires, and Flood got the win in Nampa, Idaho. It was the first NCAA title in a running event for UW since 2007. With the win, the UW women finished tied for 23rd at NCAAs with 10 points. Additional school records were set by Carlson in the women's 400-meters (54.67), sophomore Megan Goethals at 5,000-meters (15:54.89), and the men's distance medley relay of Ryan Soberanis, Maurice McNeal, Brad Whitley, and Joey Bywater (9:31.68). The men's DMR joined the women at nationals, Goethals ran in both the 3k and 5k, and freshman J.J. Juilfs advanced in the pole vault. The women's DMR earned First Team All-America honors for its national title, while the men's DMR and Goethals earned Second Team All-America honors, and Juilfs was honorable mention. The Huskies once again hosted the MPSF Championships, which this year added full teams from BYU and Colorado, and the Utah women. The Husky women finished fifth overall at MPSFs with 56 points while the men placed eighth with 37.5 points. The women's DMR that would go on to win at NCAAs also took the MPSF title in a Dempsey and MPSF Record time. An impressive 11 facility records were set in 2012, with four produced by high school athletes at the Brooks PR Invite. As has become tradition, athletes in the long distance races came to the Dempsey to run fast, and were rewarded. A look at the descending order lists prior to NCAAs shows that 15 of the top-25 men's times at 3,000-meters, and 14 of the top-25 5,000-meter times were run in the Dempsey. On the women's side, 10 of 25 in the 3k and 12 of 25 in the 5k came from the Dempsey, plus seven of the 25 fastest miles.