May 27, 2011
EUGENE -- Anna Layman, on the No. 14 Washington State women's track and field team, and Joe Abbott and Jeshua Anderson from the No. 24 men's team, qualified for the NCAA finals at the West Preliminary Round Track and Field meet enduring cold but dry conditions at Hayward Field in Eugene Friday.
For the fourth consecutive year, Jeshua Anderson (senior, Woodland Hills, Calif.) had the fastest 400m hurdles time coming out of the West Preliminary Round. Anderson's quarterfinal time of 49.59 sends the four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion to Des Moines for the national meet. Anderson is the national leader with a time of 48.13. The quarterfinals did not end well for two other Cougars. J Hopkins (junior, Everett) ran a time of 51.24, which was 15th overall, and Dana Wells (sophomore, Tieton, Wash.) ran a time of 52.14, 18th overall. Twelve men advanced to the NCAA semifinals next month.
"Today, the first hurdle was all I really wanted to focus on and then each one because I didn't want to clip that and then lose my momentum," Anderson said. "Coach Mac (Mark Macdonald) wanted me to work on my right leg but I came off the eighth hurdle in cruise mode. These past few days I haven't been running like I've been running in practice. I've been cruising through and trying to make it through the rounds and get to the NCs. I learned about racing smart (as opposed to fast) through all these years of running against pros at the Olympic Trials and the USAs. They run a lot smarter and try and conserve as much energy as you can. That's the big plan: to hold onto whatever strength level you have and let loose once you get to the final. I'm sure I'll be running a fast time on that Mondo track in Des Moines."
Running the fourth-best time in school history, junior Joe Abbott (Reno, Nev.) advanced to the Des Moines races with a quarterfinal time of 1:46.84, the fifth-best of the day, and breaking his lifetime-best by a full second. Abbott started to kick with about 100 meters left in the race and made a valiant effort to get into the top three finishers for an automatic berth. He ran the final 20 meters shoulder to shoulder with Minnesota's Harun Abda with both diving at the finish line. Abda was awarded the automatic qualifying third place with a time of 1:46.81.
"Coach Pete (Julian) had a great plan going into the race," Abbott said after the race. "That last stretch I thought about being first guy out last year and not letting it happen again. I trusted my kick and believed."
Two-time All-American Anna Layman (senior, Spokane Valley), the 2011 Pac-10 Champion in the 800m, punched her ticket back to the NCAA Championships with her quarterfinal time of 2:05.86; fourth place in her heat, eighth fastest time of the day, and the second of three qualifiers based on time, not place.
"I think today was everything we realistically thought we'd have accomplished coming into the competition," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "Both J Hopkins and Dana Wells ran well but just not fast enough. Jeshua advanced by leading the field. Anna struggled a little but came through, and Joe had a big lifetime best time. I'm hoping the men's relays have a good day tomorrow but we may have to do some changes in the lineups with Brandon Dawson out and Nate Washington bothered by a sore hamstring."
Ruby Roberts (freshman, Kingston, Wash.) ran the women's 3000m steeplechase in a time of 10:36.89, breaking her own freshman school record by nine seconds and running the fifth-fastest time in WSU history. Roberts was 27th overall and Caroline Austin (sophomore, Chehalis, Wash.) finished 34th with a time of 10:31.14. Andrew Gonzales (redshirt freshman, Kennewick, Wash.) ran a time of 9:03.25 for 25th place in the men's 3000m steeplechase.
Other Cougars competing Friday but not advancing included Brett Blanshan (sophomore, Selah, Wash.) and Nate Washington (senior, Everett) in the 200m first round with Blanshan's time of 21.82 overall, and Washington's time of 22.12 being overall. In the women's 400m hurdles quarterfinals, Shaquana Logan (sophomore, Tacoma) ran a time of 1:02.28 which was 23rd overall, after earlier in the afternoon running a 100m hurdles first round time of 14.02, which was 32nd overall. Ramsey Hopkins (sophomore, San Diego) ran a 110m hurdles time of 15.14, 43rd overall and did not advance.
The NCAA Preliminary Round action continues Saturday, May 28, at Hayward Field with Cougars competing in the men's and women's discus, women's high jump, men's triple jump, men's 1500m and men's and women's 400m and 1600m relays. Live standings and results can be found online at http://www.flashresults.com/2011_Meets/outdoor/05-26-NCAAWest/, and free live webcast is available for viewing at www.goducks.com beginning 1 p.m. Saturday.