Huskies Head To Prestigious Sun Angel Classic
April 9, 2009
ON THE TRACK: Washington track and field returns to Arizona for the second straight weekend, this time heading to Tempe for the Sun Angel Classic. The meet, hosted by Arizona State, is one of the biggest and best of the outdoor season and several Huskies will be making their outdoor season debuts at their main events on Saturday. The meet features just one event this Friday, the men's and women's hammer throw, then picks up Saturday, April 11, with the headlining heats beginning at 6:30 p.m.
In addition to the group in the desert, Washington will also be sending approximately 30 athletes up to Bellingham for the Ralph Vernacchia Meet hosted by Western Washington on Friday night at Civic Stadium. Action gets underway at Western at 3 p.m.
Last year at this same meet, All-American sprinter Jordan Boase opened up in the 400-meter dash, and made a name for himself with a Sun Angel meet record run of 44.82 seconds which remains his PR. Boase will look to follow the same script this season, as he is set to compete in the premiere heat of the 400 Saturday night. Boase should be helped along by a strong field that includes LSU's Robert Simmons, who finished just behind Boase in fourth-place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Competing in the premiere heat of the 800-meters is five-time All-American Austin Abbott. The Chehalis, Wash. senior will be running for the first time since winning the 1,500-meters at the Stanford Invitational in 3:41.62, the second-fastest time in UW history and the fastest in the NCAA this year. Abbott will now turn his focus to the 800m, where he has earned two of his All-America honors.
All-American pole vaulters Scott Roth and Jared O'Connor will head UW's efforts in the field events. Both are in the top flight of the pole vault, and Roth is coming off back-to-back wins at Stanford and at last week's Jim Click Shootout, where he cleared 18-1 to set a new personal outdoor best. Junior Zack Midles will also throw the hammer on Friday for the first time this season. Midles is the fifth-ranked hammer thrower in school history and took seventh at West Regionals last season.
For the women, the mid-distance events will be the ones to watch, as no Huskies will run anything longer than 1,500-meters. In the premiere heat of the 800-meters, freshman Christine Babcock will compete for the first time at a distance shorter than her usual mile/1,500-meter focus.
Washington will have a total of seven women running in the 1,500-meters on Saturday, including freshman Kendra Schaaf, who is slated to make her collegiate debut on the track after leading the Husky cross country team to the NCAA title in the fall. She will be joined in the top heat by junior All-American Katie Follett, running the 1,500-meters for the first time since the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer. Also in the top heat is redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence, and Anita Campbell, Kenna Patrick, and Bailey Schutte will all run in the second heat.
In the sprints, junior Falesha Ankton will look to continue improving her season-best in the 100m hurdles. Ankton is already qualified for Regionals with a time of 13.55 seconds that ranks 15th in the nation. Freshmen Bianca Greene, Amber Finley, and Jordan Carlson will also continue gaining experience and picking up speed in the short sprints, while Syreeta Martin and Joi Glass will run the 400m hurdles.
Regional and NCAA Indoor qualifier Kelly McNamee will ocmpete in the women's high jump, as will Regional qualifiers Lara Jones and Andrea Peterson in the premiere section of the pole vault. In the throws, look for big marks from Elisa Bryant in the discus and hammer throws, and Brooke Pighin in the javelin. A transfer from Fresno State, Pighin already ranks fourth on the UW Top-10 javelin list after one competition.
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