Ten Cougs Advance at NCAA West Regional Track Champs

May 29, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. -- One Washington State field competitor punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships and another 10 advanced from preliminary competition to stay in the hunt to earn their NCAA berths Friday at the NCAA West Regional Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

Pacific-10 Conference high jump champion Trent Arrivey (junior, Woodinville) will return to the NCAA Championships but was not successful in defending his West Regional title. Arrivey finished fifth with a clearance of 6-feet, 10 1/4 inches (2.09m), well-below his personal-best mark of 7-4 1/2 (2.25m) jumped earlier this season, but will go for his third All-America certificate at the national collegiate meet next month in Fayetteville, Ark.

'The Cougars were very prominent at the meet today,' WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. 'We heard Washington State over the loud speakers quite a bit today, winning heats, and that's a good thing. People have put themselves in a good position to succeed tomorrow. Our coaches have done a remarkable job of keeping people sharp and having them ready to race at a very high level. Mark Macdonald and Ellannee Richardson have done a wonderful job with the hurdlers and sprinters.'

Two Cougars advanced to the final in the men's 400m hurdles. Defending NCAA West Region, NCAA and two-time Pac-10 intermediate hurdles champion Jeshua Anderson (sophomore, Woodland Hills, Calif.) won the fourth and final heat in a time of 50.51 seconds, which was second-fastest overall, after Stanford's Amaechi Morton's 50.37. WSU's Barry Leavitt (senior, Benton City) won the first heat in a time of 51.15, fourth-fastest of the 22 men who ran the prelims. Trevor Habberstad (sophomore, Santa Clarita, Calif.) ran a prelim time of 52.96, 18th overall.

'Jeshua was complaining a little about his hamstring and it is a little bit of a concern to Coach Mark Macdonald,' Sloan said. 'Barry did a good job winning his heat today and if he advances to the NCAA meet by finishing in the top five, there is a greater possibility that we may not run the 4x400m relay. We will wait and see.'

WSU sprinters Justin Woods and Marlon Murray advanced into both the 100m and 200m finals. In the 100m prelims, Woods (senior, Buena Vista, Calif.) ran a time of 10.37 to win the second heat and had the second-fastest overall time. Murray (sophomore, Des Moines, Wash.) ran a time of 10.57w for the eighth and final spot in the Saturday afternoon final. Pac-10 champ Ahmad Rashad (USC) ran the top prelim time of 10.16. Woods was the runner-up in both the 100m and 200m to Rashad at the conference meet two weeks ago on this same track.

Both Cougar sprinters came back later, in the early evening hours, to win their heats of the 200m dash prelims and finish one-two in the overall prelim standings. Woods ran a season-best and non-wind-aided PR time of 20.85 to win the third heat while Murray ran a PR time of 20.99 to win the first heat.

'Marlon had an atrocious start in the 100m and was dead last coming out of the blocks but still ran hard and advanced when someone in the next heat ran slower. Only one guy was eliminated in the prelims,' Sloan said. 'Justin ran very well, looked relaxed and looked great doing it. They both came back in the 200m and won their heats so we will be well-represented in the sprints on the men's side.'

Pac-10 champion Lorraine King (senior, Fontana, Calif.) ran a 400m hurdles prelim time of 59.82, second in the fourth heat and seventh-fastest overall. Coach Sloan reported that King struggled with her steps, especially in the second half of the race.

Lisa Egami (junior, Coquitlam, British Columbia) ran a women's 1500m prelim time of 4:23.34 which was the best time in the first heat and the second-best time of the prelims.

'Lisa won her heat and ran a very tactically solid race. She stayed in position, looked nice and relaxed and moved easily. I'm excited about her in the race tomorrow. There are 12 in that final and I think she will do a good job.' Sloan said.

Robert Williams (senior, Riverside, Calif.) and Idaho's Paul Dittmer have raced against each other all year long and in the men's 110m hurdles, both ran a qualifying time of 13.98 in two different heats. Dittmer's time was wind-legal when extended to the 1/1000th was 13.971 for seventh place. Williams ran a wind-aided time that was 13.977 and eighth.

'Big Rob ran a good, solid race and has the nationals in sight now,' Sloan said.

Running in the same 800m heat as Olympian Andrew Wheating (Oregon) was just what Cougar freshman Joe Abbott (Reno) needed to race to a PR and qualifying time of 1:48.97. Abbott's time was the fourth fastest in the first of three heats and the eighth and final qualifying time of the day. Luke Lemenager (junior, Maple Valley) ran a time of 1:50.60 which was 15th overall.

'Joe ran an incredible race, very competitive and he only has to beat three guys tomorrow to go to the NCAA meet. That 1:48.97 was a huge effort by him,' Sloan said. 'Luke ran well, but just faltered in the last 50 meters after being in the lead heading into the home stretch and got passed. Still, he had a decent time.'

Princess Joy Griffey (junior, Federal Way) ran the 100m dash prelim in a time of 11.77 for 13th place, and did not advance to the final. In the women's 5000m final, Michelly Foley (freshman, Prineville, Ore.) ran a time of 17:10.15 for 16th and Isley Gonzalez (senior, Sunnyside) ran a time of 18:06.77 for 23rd.

In Friday field event finals, Alexa Huestis (sophomore, Chehalis) tied for 12th out of 31 competitors in the women's pole vault after clearing a final height of 12-10 (3.91m). Christian Crain (freshman, Seattle) long jumped 23-7 1/4w (7.19m) which was 11th on the day in the men's event. Mark Presby (sophomore, Richland) threw the javelin 182-9 (55.71m) for 24th place. Ashley Kenney (freshman, Spokane Valley) threw the discus 153-2 (46.68m) for 16th.

The meet continues in Eugene Saturday at noon and is scheduled to conclude at 5 p.m.

More quotes from Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan:'Christian Crain did a nice job, had a good series but did not make the final.

'Princess Joy ran a good race but the person next to her in the blocks flinched and then she lost it and it was one of her worst starts of the year. She ran well but got left in the blocks.

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