May 30, 2009
EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington State hurdler Jeshua Anderson and sprinter Justin Woods won events Saturday at the NCAA West Regional Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus under sunny skies and 90-degree temperatures. Eleven Cougars qualified to compete at the NCAA DI Track & Field Outdoor Championships June 10-13, in Fayetteville, Ark.
Although team scoring is not the main goal of the NCAA Regional competitions, points are accumulated and the Cougar men finished third among the 27 men's teams, with 66 points, behind USC's 97 and Oregon's 80.75. The WSU finished fourth at the 2009 Pacific-10 Championships. The WSU women's team scored 14 points for 16th place among the 27 teams. The Arizona State women had the top score of 95 points.
"I think it was a fantastic day for the Cougs," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "We competed very well and a lot of people got lifetime-bests or seasonal-bests. The important thing was not so much the marks here but how we competed against the competition and I thought we did a great job. This year, the bigger the meet, the more we move up."
Jeshua Anderson successfully defended his NCAA West Regional intermediate hurdles title and Barry Leavitt finished fourth in the final. Both will return to the NCAA Championships. Anderson (sophomore, Woodland Hills, Calif.) won the 400m hurdles final in a time of 50.31 seconds, leading the race from start to finish, and Leavitt (senior, Benton City) took fourth place with a season-best time of 50.97.
"I think the race went well today. It was pretty windy on the backstretch but I just cruised through and tried not to push it so I could get healthy for the NCAAs," Anderson said. "If you don't take these (regional) races seriously, it can be bad. I try to stay hungry, stay humble. I will do my best to defend the NCAA title. The Olympic Trials gave me experience and helped out with the rounds. I'm taking this is in stride, and hopefully I'll run smarter and faster."
"Jeshua is a remarkable talent and he did what he needed to do to go on and compete at the nationals and he won another regional title," Sloan said. "Barry is the bigger story here because he didn't have one of the five fastest times coming into the race. He's strong and smart and competes very, very well every single time. It was within 1/100s of a second between fourth, fifth and sixth places and he just finds a way to get it done all the time."
WSU sprinters Justin Woods and Marlon Murray will be running both the 100m and 200m races at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., next month. In the 100m final, Woods (senior, Buena Vista, Calif.) finished second in a time of 10.33 seconds while Murray (sophomore, Des Moines, Wash.) ran a legal PR time of 10.57 for fifth place. Pac-10 champ Ahmad Rashad (USC) ran a West Regional record time of 10.13 to win the race.
Less than one hour later, Woods came back to win the 200m dash final with a time of 20.90 and Murray finished third with a time of 21.26 but pulled-up abruptly on the track at the finish line with a cramp. Both Woods and Murray had run PR times in the prelims; Woods ran a non-wind-aided time of 20.85, and Murray ran a time of 20.99.
"I felt I ran very well today, which was my main goal for this meet," Woods said. "I want to continue to improve so I can be at my best for nationals."
Sloan was impressed with the Cougar sprinters saying, "Justin and Marlon both looked terrific in the 100m and the 200m." Just as Sloan predicted Friday night, the Cougar men scratched out of the 4x400m relay after Anderson, Leavitt and Woods advanced in their individual events and Reny Follett (junior, Lewiston, Idaho) was at home rehabilitating after an emergency appendectomy after the Pac-10 Championships.
Lisa Egami (junior, Coquitlam, British Columbia) took third place in the women's 1500m final with a time of 4:23.84, the same time as Stanford's Alicia Follmar. Egami ran a Friday prelim time of 4:23.34 to win her heat and has run a PR time of 4:21.25 this season.
"Lisa is amazing with how she has been racing all year long. Any type of race she runs she puts herself in a position to be successful," Sloan said. "She moved up into third place today and she was racing people with faster times coming into the race today. She competed very, very well."
Robert Williams (senior, Riverside, Calif.) ran a wind-aided PR time of 13.71 seconds to finish fourth in the men's 110m high hurdles and advance to the NCAA Championships. Williams' time is seventh-best in school history.
"Given the amount of training Rob has been able to do because of his sore hip, to come out and run 13.71 even with the wind, he had a real solid effort and got fourth place out of it," Sloan said. "It wasn't really a great looking race, he was banging a lot of hurdles, but he had the will to be in that top five and got it done."
Sam Ahlbeck (redshirt junior, Renton) finished fifth in the second section of the men's 3000m steeplechase and his time of 8:58.92 was the fifth-best time run in both sections so he will advance to the national meet.
"Sam competed really hard today. It wasn't his best time but he did a terrific job of competing and holding onto that fifth-place spot and had a real strong finish to the race," Sloan said.
Matt Lamb (redshirt junior, Emmett, Idaho) threw a season-best 190-feet, 11inches (58.20m) in the discus for fifth place and a return to the NCAA Championships for the two-time All-American. His best effort Saturday came on his third throw of the six attempts.
"Matt's starting to put it together again and hopefully he starts getting his throws back out there at the NCAA where he will be competitive. That would really be a welcome sight to have him back up (in distance) to where he belongs," Sloan said.
Marissa Tschida (sophomore, Missoula, Mont.) will return to the NCAA Championships in the javelin after finishing in fifth place with her throw of 159-5 (48.60m). Tschida set the school record earlier this spring with her toss of 181-8 (55.38m). Jennifer Hamilton (freshman, Longview) took seventh place with her toss of 151-8 (46.24m), and Courtney Kirkwood (freshman, Othello) placed 17th with her throw of 137-0 (41.77m).
"Jen Hamilton did a good job and Marissa Tschida is on the verge of throwing a big one out there. I'm excited to see her back in the NCAA Championships," Sloan said.
Lorraine King (senior, Fontana, Calif.), the 2009 Pac-10 intermediate hurdles champion, finished seventh in the final at the NCAA West Regional in a time of 1:00.34, but her season-best time of 57.51 will earn her an at-large bid to the national championships.
It was a heartbreaking day for Moreno Zapata (senior, Lakewood) who finished sixth in the men's triple jump with a Saturday best-leap of 50-8w (15.44m), and just 1 1/2 inches off the fifth-place finish and an NCAA automatic invite. His season-best and PR leap of 51-0 1/4 (15.55m) is not ranked high enough nationally to earn an at-large bid.
Senior Philip MacArthur (Ione) finished eighth in the men's hammer throw with a season-best 201-11 (61.54m), tossed on his first attempt in the competition.
"Phil did a good job and got out near his lifetime best today," Sloan said.
After running an outstanding prelim PR time of 1:48.97 Friday, Cougar freshman Joe Abbott (Reno) finished seventh in the men's 800m final with a time of 1:51.67.
In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Sara Trané (senior, Pixbo, Sweden) finished 18th in a time of 10:49.62, Emily Farrar (freshman, Bainbridge) finished 28th in a time of 11:30.72, and Amanda Andrews (sophomore, Gig Harbor) did not finish the race, having struggled with an injury for several weeks.
Two-time All-American Trent Arrivey (junior, Woodinville) qualified for the NCAA Championships Friday with his fifth-place finish in the men's high jump.
"Our coaches did a really great job this season, from the dual meet with the Huskies on, having people ready to be at their best," Sloan said. "That is when our team really took off; the beginning of that championships season was when everyone really started competing well."