First Pac-12 Championships Bring Teams To Eugene
May 9, 2012
Saturday: Field Events @10:00am, Track Events @1:25pm
ON THE TRACK: One of the most storied track and field meets in the country grows in prestige this weekend, as the first ever Pac-12 Track & Field Championships are set for this Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, at Hayward Field in Eugene. The Washington track teams will be bussing down to Oregon, some for the third time this season, looking to add to UW's tradition in the championship meet for the Conference of Champions.
Saturday's action starts with the women's hammer throw at 10 a.m., then a gap until the women's javelin at 1:15 p.m. and the first track race, the 4x1 relay trials, at 1:25 p.m. The women's discus is early on Sunday at 10:45 a.m., before three more field events start at 12 noon and the first running event goes at 1 p.m.
Colorado and Utah join the mix this season, adding to an already loaded field that features five Top-25 teams on both the men's and women's sides. Oregon is the defending champion for both the men and women, and will look get a boost from its home crowd. The Duck women are the highest-ranked conference team at No. 7, followed by No. 9 Arizona, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 14 Stanford, and No. 16 USC. Arizona State leads the way for the men at No. 5, followed by No. 7 USC, No. 14 Arizona, No. 18 Stanford, and No. 22 Oregon.
In addition to the coveted Pac-10 titles on the line, the meet will be the last chance for any Husky athletes with NCAA aspirations to post qualifying marks for the NCAA prelims at the end of May.
ON THE AIR: ROOT Sports will air a two-hour tape delayed show. The first scheduled broadcast in the Seattle area is next Thursday, May 17, at 1:30 p.m. with replays on the following Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Paul Sunderland will call the action with color commentary provided by Joanna Hayes and Tom Feuer.
PURPLE AND GOLD PERSPECTIVE: PURPLE & GOLD PERSPECTIVE: The Husky men's squad will be led by junior James Alaka, the Pac-10 Athlete of the Meet last year after winning the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, and helping the 4x1 relay to a third-place finish. Alaka does not enter with the fastest times in the conference this season, but he will still have a target on his back as he looks to become the first Pac-12 sprint champ to go along with his last Pac-10 sprint titles. Ryan Hamilton and Matt Anthony will also run in the 100-meters and on the relay, with the final relay spot taken up by either senior Sam Rucker or sophomore Maurice McNeal. Rucker and McNeal will both run in the 400-meters. Rucker had a PR of 48.32 in the WSU dual and McNeal has come back recently after injury, running 47.15 in his return. McNeal was fifth in the 200m and 400m last year at Pac-10s. Junior Shayne Moore has scored in his career in the 110m hurdles and he'll help the Huskies there, with senior Miles Timpe running 400m hurdles in his fourth and final Pac-10 meet.
In the middle distances, Joey Bywater will lead the way, looking for a third finals appearance in the 1,500-meters. Senior Ryan Soberanis, sophomore Kyle Blume, and freshman Meron Simon are also entered at the distance. At 800-meters, the Huskies have senior Charlie Williams and sophomore Brad Whitley looking to break into the finals and post some points.
Michael Miller Jr. scored at Pac-10s last season in the steeplechase and he'll look to improve upon that this weekend. At the 5k distance, Bywater could double and freshman Tyler King will make his conference debut. Sophomore Aaron Beattie will run the 10k for his first time at Pac-12s.
Julian Bardwell and Kasen Covington are both set to go in the long and triple jumps. Covington was sixth in the triple jump last year and is coming off a PR of 50-3 1/4 at the UW-WSU Dual. Sophomoe A.J. Maricich could score in the high jump if he again hits the seven-foot mark. The pole vault will be an exciting event as usual for the Huskies, with Oregon natives J.J. Juilfs and Robby Fegles both among the top seeds and both jumping at a place they're very familiar with. Juilfs won the Pepsi Team Invite at Hayward earlier this season with a season-best 17-4 1/2 jump.
Last year the javelin throwers turned in a fantastic 2-3-4 finish at the conference meet, and Joe Zimmerman, third a year ago, will look to lead another big points haul this year. Jimmy Brookman, fourth a year ago, has just returned from Tommy John surgery and could be a factor, while freshmen Quinn Hale and Curtis Clauson also could be in the mix for points in their first seasons.
Senior Angus Taylor was fifth last year in the hammer and had a big PR throw two weeks back in Pullman. He'll also throw the discus, along with junior Conner Larned. Making his Pac-12 debut in the shot put will be freshman Danny Shelton, fresh off of spring football duty.
The distance crew will be looked to for points on the women's side, as All-Americans Katie Flood and Megan Goethals will be among the athletes to watch this weekend. Flood enters with the top time at 1,500-meters, and she may also double back and run the 5k, where Goethals will look to add to her second-place finish from a year ago. Redshirt freshman Chelsea Orr will also have her sights set on points in the 1,500m and she could come back in the 5k as well. Adding to UW's depth in the 5k is sophomore Liberty Miller, who may also make her first run at 10,000-meters this weekend. Phoebe Merritt is also entered at 5k, as is junior Christine Babcock, who has not run the distance on the track but her cross country prowess could make it a smooth transition.
At 800-meters freshman Baylee Mires, part of UW's DMR NCAA Champs, and redshirt frehsman Chloe Curtis will get their first Pac-12 runs, while sophomore Mackenzie Carter will also make her conference debut in the steeplehcase.
Senior Jordan Carlson has lowered the school record three times this year in the 400-meter dash and will be the one to watch in the sprints. Sophomore Kayla Stueckle will be running the 400m hurdles at her second conference meet while Gianna Woodruff and Skye Atchley make their debuts in that event in an incredibly deep field. UW swept the hurdles in the UW-WSU Dual. Haley Jacobson and Bianca Greene are set to run at 100m and 200m, respectively, and will be big relay factors. Sophomore Michelle Fero will be in her second conference meet, in the 400m and 4x4. Multi athlete Sarah Schireman will look for a PR in the 100m hurdles.
Senior Kelly McNamee, coming off a big season-best 5-8 1/2 high jump clearance, will look to build on that mark, and is joined by Caroline Soules. Junior Logan Miller, eighth a year ago, could post big points in the pole vault, where she ranks 11th in the nation with her 14-foot jump. Redshirt freshman Georgia Reynolds is also in the mix after a PR at Hayward at last week's Twilight Meet. Taylor Nichols (fifth) and Shaniae Lakes (seventh) each scored in the triple jump last year and hope to add to their career points total. Schireman will be back in the long jump for the women.
Heading into her final conference meet, senior Elisa Bryant has scored in every one thus far, scoring in the hammer three times and the discus once. She'll throw both once again. UW has experienced scorers in the javelin, as Brooke Pighin was the Pac-10 runner-up in 2010 and Amanda Peterson was fourth a year ago. Jordin Seekins was one spot from scoring last year, placing ninth, and she'll look to improve upon that this weekend. Shelby Williams will also give depth to the Dawgs in the discus.
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.
LAST YEAR AT PAC-10'S - ALAKA'S ATHLETE OF THE MEET EFFORT LEADS UW: Sophomore James Alaka flashed to some Husky history at the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships, as he captured the 100-meter dash and shortly thereafter came back and powered to the victory in the 200-meter dash as well. Alaka, the London native, stakes his claim now as the fastest man in the Pac-10, becoming the first Husky since Ja'Warren Hooker in 2000 to win both sprint titles. Alaka claimed his first title in the 100-meters in 10.29 seconds, then powered to the 200-meter win in a time of 20.85 seconds. He was also a key part of UW's third-place effort in the 4x100-meter relay, where the Huskies ran a huge season-best of 39.62 seconds, fifth-best in school history. All those points earned Alaka the Pac-10 Athlete of the Meet award for the individual high point scorer. He's the first Husky to win that honor. For a brief moment it looked like the Husky men's javelin crew would make history, as midway through round five the Huskies stood in first, second, and third. But on his fifth throw, USC's Cooper Thompson hit for 238-6, just eight inches farther than Kyle Nielsen's best to that point. Nielsen would take second, his best Pac-10 finish, at 237-10, Joe Zimmerman finished third with a best of 235-8 and sophomore Jimmy Brookman just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish at 226-5, which came on his fifth throw. Highlighting day two for the Husky women was an amazingly gritty effort from freshman Megan Goethals in the women's 5,000-meters. Goethals, took a big lead by herself from the start, holding it for more than half the race, then despite getting caught with four laps to go, she battled back to nearly upset NCAA Indoor Champ Jordan Hasay of Oregon, but Hasay was able to hold on for the win in 16:24.10 with Goethals in second in 16:25.13. Another star of the meet for UW was freshman Maurice McNeal, who rolled to a stunning 45.60 in the prelims of the 400-meter dash, shattering the freshman school record and PR'ing by over a second. McNeal settled for fifth in the final in 46.23, but also took fifth at 200-meters to wrap a great first Pac-10 meet. Additional top-five finishers for the Husky men included senior Scott Roth (4th, Pole Vault), and junior Angus Taylor (5th, Hammer). Top-five finishers for the women included junior Amanda Peterson (4th, Javelin), junior Elisa Bryant (5th, Discus), junior Taylor Nichols (5th, Triple Jump), and sophomore Lindsay Flanagan (5th, 10,000m). The Husky men's team finished seventh with 76 points, but were just 12 points out of third-place. The 76 points was the most since 2007. The UW women were ninth with 37 points. The prior week in the Pac-12 Multi-Events, Jeremy Taiwo won the decathlon title with a career-best 7,742 points, becoming the first Husky in 25 years to achieve that feat.
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. The Husky women's team is ranked 43rd this week, getting the majority of its points from Katie Flood's 4:11.66 time in the 1,500-meters, which ranks second nationally. A big chunk of points are also coming from Logan Miller, who ranks 11th nationally in the pole vault. Megan Goethals is 19th in the 5,000-meters, and Jordan Carlson is 24th in the 400-meters as is Amanda Peterson in the javelin. The Husky men dropped to 85th in the rankings this week. In the Top-25 individually are Joe Zimmerman, 23rd in the nation in the javelin, and J.J. Juilfs in a tie for 25th in the pole vault.
WOMEN GET FIRST DUAL WIN IN PULLMAN SINCE `04: A complete team effort propelled the Husky women's track team to its first road win in the UW-WSU dual meet since 2004, and just the second since 1996. Late sweeps in the 400-meter hurdles and the 3,000-meter run helped lock up the 89-74 win for the Dawgs. On the men's side, the Cougars held home field, though it went down to the wire, with WSU earning the 87-76 over the Huskies. The Husky ladies swept the 800-meters, 1,500-meters, and the 3,000-meters, and capped things off with a 4x400-meter relay win. Dual Meet records were set in the 400-meter dash by senior Jordan Carlson and junior Shaniae Lakes in the triple jump. Carlson once again smashed her school record, the third-straight race she has broken it, this time taking off more than half a second with a time of 53.15. Lakes set a new PR with a jump of 41-4 ½ on her sixth and final attempt, tying for the No. 2 mark in school history. A late upset victory on a sixth and final attempt by sophomore Kasen Covington in the triple jump got the men within striking distance. With his final attempt, Covington flew 50-3 ¼, a new career-best outdoors, and won a tiebreaker. UW had a sweep in the men's javelin, a sweep from junior James Alaka in the 100- and 200-meters plus a win in the 4x1 relay, and big victories from sophomore Maurice McNeal and junior Joey Bywater, both returning from injury in fine form. Senior Elisa Bryant provided the first victory of the day for the Huskies, taking the women's hammer throw for the third time in her career. Bryant threw 177-4 for the win. In the pole vault, junior Logan Miller cleared 13-1 ¾ for the win. When the track events opened up, freshman Eleanor Fulton posted the second-best time in school history, clocking 10:31.07 to win. One of the biggest wins of the day came from senior Kelly McNamee in the high jump with a season-best clearance of 5-8 ½. The women's dual really was broken open in the 400-meter hurdles, as Kayla Stueckle, Gianna Woodruff, and Skye Atchley went 1-2-3. Stueckle led the way with a big PR of 59.37 seconds, which sends her up to No. 6 on the Top-10 list. Woodruff also had a big personal-best, clocking 1:00.81. Atchley did not have her fastest time of the year, but her final burst overtook WSU's Shaquana Logan, earning the third-place point in 1:03.18 to Logan's 1:03.27. In the men's 4x1 relay Matt Anthony led off, passed to James Alaka, who passed the stick to Sam Rucker who got the stick to senior Ryan Hamilton just ahead of the Cougar team, and Hamilton raced away down the stretch to get the win in 40.23 seconds. In the men's hammer throw, senior Angus Taylor stepped up with a new career-best toss of 204-feet, 2-inches. Bywater had not yet competed outdoors this year due to a hip issue, but he showed a great kick to get the win in 3:47.81. Fired up after watching Carlson's record in the women's 400-meters, McNeal went out and fought for the victory in the men's race, clocking 47.15 in his first competition in six weeks. A.J. Maricich got his first dual meet win in the high jump after he was the only competitor up and over 6-11.