Track Teams Finish Strong at Pac-10 Champs

May 19, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Duck men's and women's track and field teams finished their conference season with a pair of men's wins and a host of personal and season bests on both sides.

Team-wise, the Duck men finished second with 125 points behind Stanford (151), and ahead of USC (third, 103 1/2), Arizona State (fourth, 103), Arizona (fifth, 99), UCLA (sixth, 91 1/2), Washington State (seventh, 71), Washington (eighth, 49) and California (ninth, 22). The Ducks' placing was its highest since 1996's runner-up finish.

The Duck women added their highest team effort since 1999 with their-sixth-place effort and 67 points. UCLA won the women's team title (160) thanks to a win in the final event the 4x400, and narrowly edged USC (second, 157), Stanford (third, 121), Arizona State (fourth, 89), Washington State (fifth, 85), Oregon (sixth, 67), Arizona (seventh, 59), California (eighth, 44) and Washington (36.).

Individually for the men, top seed and senior Simon Kimata led the Ducks with a victory in the 800 (1:48.35), edging Stanford's Gabe Jennings (second, 1:50.64) and USC's Kevin Elliott (third, 1:50.89). Kimata rolled out to a 10-meter lead by the halfway point, and held on for a 15-meter win, while Jennings moved up in the last 200 meters for runner-up honors. In the same event, senior Ross Krempley held on for fifth place (1:51.81) for his fourth appearance in the league final.

'This was important after being hurt here last year and not being able to help the team,' Kimata said (he dropped out of last year's race with a hamstring injury). 'Today I wanted to get out and make them have to earn it if they wanted to win. This race gives me confidence going into nationals, that I'm on schedule and ready to roll. The team has been so supportive through everything, I wanted to do it for them.'

Sophomore Brandon Holliday helped the Ducks' scoring hopes with a win in the 400 hurdles (50.73) over top-seeded Arizona's Jeff Hunter (second, 50.94) . Holliday's time stood as a personal best by more than a half-second, and also easily met the NCAA provisional standard of 51.20, with last week's national qualifying list placing him 21st.

'Coach told me not to worry about anybody else, just focus on my lane,' Holliday said. 'That was a good thing, because I know I got out slow and was still a few meters behind at the fifth hurdle. I just concentrated on my race and didn't stress and let it come out. And, it happened just like he predicted and I was surprised when I crossed the line that Hunter hadn't passed me. You can't ask for much more than a win for the team and an NCAA provisional mark in the process.'

Senior Micah Harris paced the Ducks in the 110 hurdles with a narrow second-place finish (13.82) behind top seed Ryan Wilson of USC (first, 13.81). Harris's mark was his third-fastest of the season and repeated his league finish from last season. Also in the 110 hurdles, junior Terry Ellis made his third Pac-10 finals appearance notched his highest Pac-10 finish (fifth, 14.22) and best wind-legal mark of the year, even into a -2.2 meters per second headwind.

The Duck sprint corps added points with a fifth-place effort in the 4x100 (41.06) thanks to redshirt sophomore Allan Amundson, Harris, redshirt junior Jason Slye and junior Samie Parker, and the same place in the 4x400 (fifth, 3:10.86) courtesy of Harris, Holliday, Krempley and Kimata.

The Duck distance contingent helped the squad finish strong with 10 points in the 5,000 courtesy of redshirt freshman Eric Logsdon (fourth, 14:28.30), redshirt sophomore Jason Hartmann (fifth, 14:30.01) and redshirt senior Adam Bergquist (eighth, 14:36.17). Logsdon and Hartmann entered the meet seeded eighth and ninth, and Bergquist was 14th.

In the field events, Grants Pass, Ore., native and redshirt senior high jumper Kyley Johnson claimed his fourth scoring honor in the league final (third, 7-0 1/2). Sunday's mark exactly equaled his personal best that he initially set as a freshman in his Pac-10 win in 1998. Also in that event, redshirt junior Jake Horner added 10th (6-8 3/4), and senior Jason Boness failed to overcome a hamstring injury and no-heighted Sunday. Overall in the event, Stanford's Michael Ponikvar (first, 7-0 1/2) edged USC's David Jaworksi (second, 7-0 1/2) and Oregon's Johnson at the same height but with fewer misses.

In the triple jump, junior Foluso Akinradewo improved one spot from his pre-meet seeding and landed his highest Pac-10 finish ever (second, 50-10 3/4w, +2.2 wind mps). Duck freshman Derek Strubel just missed a point himself by two inches (ninth, 49-0 1/4) and was less than two inches from his personal best, while top seed Julian Kapek of USC won the event (55-3w, 3.4 mps).

On the women's side, the Duck women also notched a strong finish Sunday with a host of first-time Pac-10 scorers.

All-America pole vaulter and redshirt junior Becky Holliday claimed her third highest mark of the 2002 outdoor season (second, NCAA auto. 13-9 3/4) and edged national leader Tracy O'Hara of UCLA (third, 13-9 3/4) on fewer misses, while Arizona's Amy Linnen won the event (14-1 3/4). Duck sophomore and Eugene native Kirsten Riley tied his personal best from last year's Pac-10 meet (sixth, NCAA prov. 12-10).

In the triple jump, junior Amanda Brown picked an opportune for her personal best and took sixth (40-2 3/4). The Eugene native entered the meet ranked 14th in the conference and without a conference qualifying mark, earning her spot in the order based on the Ducks' right of entry position. USC's Tatyana Obukhova won the event (43-0 1/2).

In the discus, junior Mary Etter added third (169-1) for her second top-three conference honor after a similar place as a freshman. Duck junior Jordan Sauvage and freshman Katie McKeever followed in 11th and 12th places with marks of 146-4 and 144-2, respectively, and UCLA's Chaniqua Ross won the event (180-8).

Also in the throws, junior hammer thrower Jordan Sauvage added her first conference point with an eighth-place finish (183-9) and six-inch personal best. Cal's Jennifer Joyce won the event by just over a foot (first, 204-1).

In the sprints, junior Janette Davis earned her first league points with her sixth-place finish (54.35), while USC's Nakiya Johnson won the event (52.29). The Ducks' also got a point in the 100 hurdles from senior Jenny Kenyon who clocked her second-fastest time of the year (14.23).

In the 800, junior Eri Macdonald took eighth (2:19.76), while UCLA's Lena Nilsson (2:03.88) and Tiffany Burgess (2:03.91) took first and second. In the 1,500, Oregon freshman Laura Harmon made her Pac-10 debut (12th, 4:32.84) and was less than than three seconds shy of her season best, while UCLA's Nilsson added her second win of the day (4:20.81).

- www.goducks.com -

(*Note Full Results are at www.wsucougars.com).

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