Top Pros Join Huskies At UW Invitational

Jan. 28, 2010

ON THE TRACK: Some of America's brightest professional track and field stars will join a field of more than a thousand collegiate athletes to compete at the UW Invitational this Friday and Saturday in the Dempsey Indoor. Washington has attracted another elite field for one of its two biggest home meets of the year, along with the Husky Classic in two weeks.

One of the biggest indoor track meets in the country, the majority of the meet will take place on Saturday, kicking off at 9 a.m. and running nonstop all the way until 6 p.m. An event schedule will come below. Friday's evening session will feature the 5,000-meter runs, distance medley relays, and the beginning of the pentathlon and heptathlon events. The 5k on the men's side Friday night is one not to miss for local track fans, however, as American 5,000-meter record-holder Dathan Ritzenheim will lead the field. Ritzenheim, ninth in the Beijing Olympics marathon, ran 12:56 last year to set the new American mark. He'll be joined in that race by another 2008 U.S. Olympian, Billy Nelson, who competed in the steeplechase.

Saturday's portion of the meet is structured so that the slower heats will be run in the morning and early afternoon. Then, beginning at approximately 3:15 p.m., the fast heats of each event will go off, making for nearly three solid hours of top notch racing on the track.

In the latest national rankings, the Husky women checked in at 13th, while the men moved up to No. 25. On the team front, joining the Huskies this weekend will be a number of Pac-10 teams and Top-25 groups from farther east. BYU's third-ranked women's team will be on hand, as will 17th-ranked Arizona and 25th-ranked UTEP. 8th-ranked Arizona State leads on the men's side, while Arizona is ranked 20th. Squads from California, USC and UCLA will also make the trip, as will Colorado, Tulsa, Princeton, Cal State Northridge, and Portland to name just a few more.

Saturday will feature several of Washington's top returners getting their 2010 seasons underway. For the 13th-ranked women, senior Katie Follett, a three-time All-American indoors, will compete in the 800-meters. Redshirt freshman Bianca Greene will run the 200-meter dash and sophomore Amber Finley goes in the 400-meters.. In the 3,000-meters, three-time Olympian Jen Rhines highlights a field that will include UW junior Kenna Patrick. 2009 NCAA qualifier Kelly McNamee competes in the high jump, and senior Korede Oyetuga competes in the weight throw.

Senior Jake Schmitt, an All-American in the indoor 5k last year, will open up in the 3,000-meters, as will junior Colton Tully-Doyle, a top contributor to the men's cross country squad in the fall that took 18th at nationals. That field will include U.S. Olympian and American indoor 5k record-holder Galen Rupp, and top pro Scott Bauhs. The men's 800-meters should be especially strong, with noteable professionals Evan Jager, Tim Bayley, and Tyler Mulder all competing. UW's top returner at 800-meters, sophomore Ryan Soberanis, will also be in the field.

Several Husky long distance runners will drop down to run the mile including Max O'Donoghue-McDonald and Cameron Quackenbush. Rupp is also entered in the mile as is Chris Solinsky, the 2009 U.S. runner-up at 5,000-meters and a World Championships participant. The 60-meter dash will be intriguing, as senior Kenjamine Jackson, sophomore Ryan Hamilton, and talented freshman James Alaka all line up on the homestretch.

In the field events for the men, look for senior pole vaulter Ryan Vu to look go after the NCAA qualifying mark two weeks after Scott Roth posted the best vault by an American this year. Senior Zack Midles and sophomore Angus Taylor open up in the weight throw, an event they both rank in the Top-10 in school history. The shot put ring could be of interest with football star Cameron Elisara returning to the track team to throw the shot, as well as sophomore Richard Anderson who could give the Huskies a lift this year.

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