Freshman Throwers Steal Show In Track’s Return
UW Indoor Preview
Friday-Saturday, January 29-30
Silver State Collegiate Challenge
Monday, February 1
North Las Vegas, Nevada | Craig Ranch Regional Park
SEATTLE – Deprived his high school senior season, it's not surprising that freshman Jayden White was ready to get the competitive juices flowing again in his collegiate debut. But launching the second-best weight throw in Washington Track & Field history in his first meet? Apparently that wasn't that big of a surprise either.
"I was looking for 21-meters today," White said, which he just barely missed with his mark of 20.97-meters, or 68-feet, 9.75-inches. "Practice we've been trying to get in a lot of consistent reps, and once I get to a meet I can usually compete pretty well."
White, the Everett High School grad, turned in the best weight throw in 42 years, since seven-time NCAA Champion (three in the indoor weight throw, four in the outdoor hammer throw) and Husky Hall of Famer Scott Neilson established the still-standing school record of 71-5 ½. It's unclear if White's mark is a Freshman Record, as records do not indicate if Neilson threw the weight as a freshman, the only year he did not go to nationals in the event. At any rate, White thinks the school record can be had.
"I'm coming for it, I'm trying to work towards it for sure," he said.
?? One event info the season and we have our first HUGE new entry on the Top-10 lists!
Freshman Jayden White gets the best weight throw mark by a Husky since 1979, when 7??x NCAA Champ Scott Neilson set the record.
— Washington Track & Field (@UWTrack) January 29, 2021
One Freshman Record did go down, in the men's shot put, where redshirt freshman Sam Van Peursem tossed 62-10 ¾ on his very first attempt. Van Peursem, a native of Bothell, had an injury during his 2020 freshman indoor season and did not compete, so the 62-10 ¾ mark was his first attempt in his first meet as a Dawg. That shattered the old freshman mark of 59-11 set by Russ Vincent in 1974, and puts Van Peursem at No. 5 in the overall Husky top-10 list. Van Peursem also now ranked 8th in the NCAA this year and White ranks 13th.
The two throw debuts were the big highlights in the field today as the Dempsey Indoor returned to competition mode, in a much smaller way than normal. The UW Indoor Preview this year features just three teams, the Huskies, Washington State, and the BYU women. Field events were all held today, with track events coming on Saturday, with a couple exceptions.
The big exception was the women's distance medley relay that closed out the night. Washington and BYU went stride for stride for the full race, looking to help push each other to NCAA qualifying times for the second year in a row. The Husky group of Madi Heisterman, Marlena Preigh, Kelly Makin, and Allie Schadler came through in 11:06.66, with BYU just three seconds ahead, as the teams posted the two fastest DMR times of the NCAA season thus far.
"They just stepped out of their training block and lined up, and I thought they did great," said Director Maurica Powell. "Just getting these guys back and in a situation where they need to deliver was new and fun to watch. Because we're trying to do cross country and indoor, we're putting kids in positions they haven't been in before, and today they delivered."
Back in the field, the Huskies also won both women's throws events today. Sophomore Makayla Kelby went 51-0 ¼ for the win in the shot put, just four inches off her personal-best. Sophomore Beatrice Asomaning then added over two feet to her PR in the weight throw as she went 57-2 ¾ to climb from sixth up to No. 4 on the Husky top-10 list.
Senior Connor Jost also moved up the men's weight throw top-10 as he threw a PR of his own, going 61-8 ½ to take second behind White and move to No. 9 all-time.
Assistant throws coach Andrew Ninow couldn't have been more pleased with the first meet in nearly a full calendar year.
"It was a fantastic meet. I think almost everyone PR'd at least once today," said Ninow. "We've been blessed by our administration's handling of Covid protocols, because we've had consistent training. That's been a really big plus for us, and having this facility to practice in, and knowing we were going to have a meet helped people prepare for this. They've worked hard and been consistent, then having some other jerseys around I think helped with the adrenaline."
White and Van Peursem could be major additions to the men's throws unit that will also soon feature All-Americans Jonah Wilson and Elijah Mason.
"Jayden, with what we'd seen from him in training, and knowing his history and how he practices versus how he competes, we saw that coming for sure. But he's definitely progressed more than we thought he would right out of high school," Ninow said. "Sam I knew we'd have some meet pickup, but I didn't know we'd have that much meet pickup, so over 19-meters was not expected. I thought if he threw 18.50 that would be an amazing day. So for Jayden and Sam to both be ranked top-12 in the country, one's a redshirt and one's a true freshman, that's a very exciting base for the future."
In other field events, the Dempsey got a new facility record in its first day back, as NCAA outdoor record-holder Olivia Gruver, training with Husky Associate Head Coach Toby Stevenson, broke her own Dempsey record by a quarter of an inch, as she cleared 15-3 3/4 in the women's pole vault. Makenna Barton also had a strong start to her season with a make of 13-2 1/4.
The Huskies saw more impressive season and in some cases collegiate debuts. True freshman Lauren Heggen got into the top-10 list in the women's triple jump with a mark of 40-feet even, putting her No. 8 all-time. Jelani Heath went 18-9 3/4 in the women's long jump, and Jaylen Taylor posted a best of 46-8 3/4 in the men's triple jump. Ida Eikeng finally got to officially compete as a Husky, starting out in the high jump with a make of 5-3.
Day two of the UW Indoor Preview starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday.