Three Cougars Claim Titles at MPSF Indoor Track Championships
Feb. 28, 2004
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Washington State's Nicole Hatcher, Blessing Ufodiama and Matt Mason won titles Saturday at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at the Dempsey Indoor Facility on the UW campus.
Hatcher's 200m dash win and Ufodiama's triple jump win helped the Cougar women to 73 points and fourth place in the final team standings. Stanford's women won with 148 points followed by UCLA (109) and host Washington (83). Twelve women's teams competed in the three-day meet.
Mason won his second title of the meet with his 60m hurdles victory and contributed 20 points as the WSU men's team finished seventh with 50 points. The UCLA men won the team title with 127 points, followed by California in second place (108), and Stanford third (82.5) out of the eleven men's teams.
The double-win for Mason, a junior semester transfer from Marietta, Ga., came as he edged out Oregon's Eric Mitchum in the 60m hurdles. Mason's 7.80 time equaled his season-best time which is an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark. After reacting well to the start, Mason was last over the first hurdle and had to race hard to keep Mitchum out of the victory circle with his time of 7.81.
"It was almost a fist-fight all the way down the 60 meters," Sloan said. "I thought Mitchum might have shouldered out Matt at the finish line."
Mason won the long jump Friday with a school and MPSF record leap of 26-feet, 6 1/4 inches (8.08m). In addition to running the hurdles Saturday, Mason also anchored the Cougar men's 4x400m relay team of Lamarr Kirk (Los Angeles), Qieed Ishmael (Richmond, Va.) and Eric Nygard (Wenatchee, Wash.) to a school indoor record time of 3:11.24 and third place in the race.
Hatcher, a sophomore from Kennewick, Wash., won the women's 200m dash with a PR time of 24.66 and teammate Nicole McClendon (freshman, Granada Hills, Calif.) finished sixth with a time of 25.66.
"It was a great job by Nicole Hatcher to win this race after her prelim time (25.29) stuck her in the consolation heat," Cougar Coach Rick Sloan said. "To win the whole race out of this slower heat is really terrific."
Ufodiama (senior, Long Beach, Calif.) won the women's triple jump with an NCAA PQ distance of 41-9 3/4 (12.74m), just six inches less than her PR of 42-3 1/2 (12.89m). Ufodiama also scored in the long jump with a Friday leap of 18-9 3/4 for seventh place.
"Blessing did a great job today," Sloan said. "She had a very good series with some very long jumps of 43-feet to 43-6 only with little toe fouls. If we just keep it rolling, she has some big jumps coming her way."
Two freshmen scored for the Cougars in the women's 400m dash. Brandi Probasco-Canda (Portland, Ore.) finished fourth with a time of 55.60 while Kameko Wilson (Spanaway, Wash.) finished seventh in a PR time of 57.63. Senior Monique Jessie (Compton, Calif.) was disqualified for running out of her lane on a turn, robbing WSU of at least one more point from this event. Jessie did anchor the 4x400m relay squad of Probasco-Canda, Angelita Green and Diana Pickler to second place with a season-best time of 3:42.00.
Green (senior, Long Beach, Calif.) also ran a PR time of 2:10.31 in the 800m for fourth place.
Pickler (sophomore, Sachse, Texas) was fifth in the 60m hurdles with a PR time of 8.44, just .01 seconds off an NCAA PQ time. Pickler also finished second in the women's pentathlon held Thursday.
"I was really pleased with Diana's performance across the board - in the pentathlon and then the 60m hurdles and then to come back on the relay and give us a strong leg like that, she competed really well," Sloan said.
Molly Bull (junior, Oak Harbor, Wash.) finished 12th in the mile run with a time of 5:02.35, after running a PR of 5:00.06 in the prelims. Bull also ran on the women's distance medley relay team which finished sixth with a time of 12:03.30. Other relay runners were freshmen Katie Troy (Bellevue, Wash.), Kayle Peterson (Port Orchard, Wash.), and Wilson.
In the women's pole vault, Tamara Diles (sophomore, Bellevue, Wash. ) finished tied for fourth with a clearance of 12-8 3/4 (3.88m) while Karla McGee (senior, Lethbridge, Alb., Canada) tied for 10th after clearing the bar at 12-2 3/4.
The Cougar men sprinters were nearly shut out of the finals with the only hope for points coming after Dione Cason (redshirt sophomore, Long Beach, Calif.) ran the second fastest 400m dash time in the prelims, a PR of 47.59. But Saturday afternoon, Cason was 100m into the final race when he got a cramp in his hamstring and dropped to the track.
"I would have liked to have seen Dione race in that final and see how he would have done," Sloan said. "The men's team lost out on some points without Dione."
Senior transfer Steve Barrus (Clovis, Calif./BYU) ran a PR time of 4:07.90 for eighth place in the men's mile.
In the distance medley relay, the Cougar team of Chris Concha (freshman, Reno, Nev.), Barry Leavitt (freshman, Benton City, Wash.), Jon Manthey (junior, Federal Way, Wash.), and Danny Wolf (redshirt sophomore, Reno, Nev.) finished fifth with a time of 9:56.75.
Jamil Smith (junior, Palmdale, Calif.) took seventh place in the men's triple jump with a PR leap of 49-3 1/2 (15.02m). Ben Hampton (sophomore, Kennewick, Wash.) was 12th with a mark of 47-5 3/4 (14.47m).
Thad Cullinan (redshirt junior, Mukilteo, Wash.) was 15th in the weight throw after a toss of 52-2 (15.90m).
Next weekend, a limited number of Cougars will compete at the McDonald's Last Chance Meet at the Kibbie Dome. The NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships is set for March 12-13, at Fayetteville, Ark.
"We'll use the open meet at Moscow as a tune-up for the people competing at the NCAAs and as a final evaluation for the outdoor season, to see what people will be competing in what events and who we'll be taking on the trips," Sloan said.
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