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Lopes, Barton Win Titles; Men Maintain Lead

May 15, 2021

2021 Pac-12 Championships
May 14-16 | Loker Stadium (USC)

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LOS ANGELES – Lyndsey Lopes came full circle for a Pac-12 heptathlon win, and Makenna Barton literally vaulted the lights out for her first conference title, as the two led the way for the UW track and field teams on a great second day of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships hosted by USC. The Husky men's team maintained its lead for the second day in a row, with big points in the shot put, decathlon, and steeplechase.
All told there were seven top-three podium finishes for UW including the two titles. The Husky men's squad is up to 68 points heading into the final day on Sunday. Oregon is second with 54 points and Arizona is third with 38. The Husky women's team also had a strong day thanks to big points from the heptathlon, the steeplechase, shot put, and pole vault. Washington sits third in the women's standings with 53 points, just three behind Oregon and Arizona State which are tied with 56.
BARTON TURNS OUT THE LIGHTS ON FIELD: Coming in seeded fifth, just getting into podium position would have been a great day for junior Makenna Barton. But the Woodinville, Wash. native found a groove as the field was whittled down and consecutive lifetime-best clearances suddenly thrust her to the Pac-12 crown.
Barton had cleared a PR indoors of 13-5 ¼ but thus far outdoors her best was 13-2 ½. Today she came in with a first attempt make at 12-7 ½ and cleared the next bar on her second attempt. Another second attempt make at 13-3 ½ had Barton in fifth-place at that point. She faced elimination for the first time at the next height, 13-5 ¼, but came through cleanly on her third try to stay alive.
Jumping first in the order, Barton was the first vaulter to clear the next height at 13-7 ¼, setting a new PR, but two Arizona State vaulters answered and Barton was nudged back down to third-place based on prior attempts going to the next bar.
Up first again at 13-9 ¼, Barton delivered the winner, a second-straight career-best, and it came on her first attempt, her first make on one since 12-7 ½. Barton then had to wait and watch as both Arizona State vaulters missed all three of their tries, and the title was hers.

From there, as the winner, Barton could take the bar as high as she wished, and she raised it to 14-1 ¼, which would have been a stadium record. But after missing her first attempt, the lights went out at Loker Stadium. It took about 20 minutes to get the back on so that Barton could properly finish out her win. After the long delay, she was unable to make on her final two chances, but still enjoyed the best meet of her career.
Her new PR puts her into a tie for No. 8 in school history. It is also the sixth Pac-12 women's pole vault title in Husky history, and the fifth in the past seven meets, as UW won four in a row from 2014-17.
LOPES FIGHTS TO THE FINISH: It was a perfect final Pac-12s for Lopes. The former USC All-American was back on her former home track, finally getting through her first heptathlon as a Husky following two years of work and waiting. Thanks to a clutch last two laps around the Loker Stadium track, Lopes won the conference title by the slimmest of margins.
The Clovis, Calif. native came to UW for grad school in 2020 but had to wait more than a year to finally make her Husky debut this spring. At USC, Lopes won the Pac-12 high jump title in 2018, and in three previous Pac-12 heptathlon competitions, she had finished fifth, third, and fourth. In her first as a Dawg, she put together a two-day score of 5,735 points, a new career-best, and the second-best score in UW history.
Heading into the final event, the 800-meters, Lopes was in second-place behind teammate Ida Eikeng, and just 14 points ahead of Stanford's Allie Jones for third. Lopes knew she couldn't let Jones get more than a second ahead of her, and she did not let the Cardinal athlete shake her. Jones finished the final event in a time of 2:18.62, and Lopes was half a second back in 2:19.05. That kept Lopes in front of Jones in the final standings by a mere eight points.
Eikeng, who ran the final race in 2:36.44, would wind up in third-place overall with 5,659 points. That was her first full collegiate heptathlon and moves the Norway native to No. 3 in UW history, behind Lopes and teammate Hannah Rusnak.
Rusnak was looking to be right in the mix with Lopes and Eikeng, but the 2019 heptathlon champion had three fouls in the long jump to start day two, which took her out of contention. Lopes and Eikeng should be secure in earning spots among the 24 women bound for NCAA Outdoors, while Rusnak will need to see if her score from earlier this season will hold up once results from this final weekend are all in.
The key event today that propelled Lopes to the title was the long jump, which she won in a big new PR of 20-1 ¾ becoming the first Husky to long jump past the 20-foot mark since 2007, and ranking No. 5 now in school history in that event.

FANTASTIC FINISHES IN THE STEEPLE: The only finals on the track on Saturday were the men's and women's steeplechases, and both produced incredible times with Husky runner-up finishes. First up in the men's race, redshirt freshman Joe Waskom smashed his PR by 13 seconds, broke the UW Freshman Record by eight seconds, and ran the fastest steeple by a Husky since 1987. Waskom, the Snoqualmie native, took second in 8:35.71, the new No. 3 time in school history and a top-10 time nationally this season.

Then in the women's race, Katie Rainsberger broke a 12-year-old Husky School Record in just her third time running the event. The 12-time All-American came up just shy of her first individual Pac-12 title, as Oregon's Aneta Konieczek ran 9:36.74 and Rainsberger ran 9:38.84 for second. Both times smashed the previous Pac-12 Meet Record of 9:48.72.
Rainsberger broke former Pac-10 Champion Mel Lawrence's record of 9:40.98 set in 2009. She also now ranks No. 4 in Pac-12 Conference history in the steeplechase, behind Konieczek, and Olympians Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp of Colorado.

THORNER, KENNEDY HANG TEN: The Pac-12 Decathlon also wrapped up this evening and Ollie Thorner and Parker Kennedy came out of it with a second- and fourth-place finish for the Dawgs, tallying 13 points between them.
Thorner completed his first collegiate decathlon in impressive fashion, as he finished lower than fourth in just one out of the ten events. A native of Street, England, Thorner had PRs in four of his five events today. He started with a 110m hurdles best of 15.33 seconds, then threw 123-5 in the discus, just slightly off his PR. He set a big new best in the pole vault, making 15-9 to share the event win with Kennedy, and then had a javelin PR of 172-3. Thorner closed it out with a third-place finish in the 1,500-meters in 4:41.80.
That gave him a total of 7,388 points, putting him at No. 7 in school history and onto the podium in his first Pac-12 Championships.
Kennedy matched his fourth-place finish from 2019 and wound up with a PR total of 6,928 points. His day was highlighted by the pole vault, where he matched his PR and tied Thorner with a make of 15-9. Kennedy then closed things out by sprinting away from the rest of the field down the homestretch of the 1,500-meters to set an eight-second PR and win in a time of 4:34.15.

SHOT PUTTERS MUSCLE UP: Washington's throws group had a huge opening day on Friday and kept that momentum going on Saturday with impressive efforts in the shot put.
Junior Jonah Wilson got his best Pac-12 finish to date as he took third in the shot put with an outdoor season's-best toss of 64-0 ½ which came on his second throw. His sixth and final mark was another strong toss at 63-10 ¼. Wilson will be among the high seeds in Sunday's discus final as well.

In his first Pac-12 meet, redshirt freshman Sam Van Peursem got onto the board, as he went 59-9 ½ on his second attempt to take seventh-place and add two more points for the Dawgs.
In the women's final, sophomore MaKayla Kelby opened with a toss of 50-9 ¼ that got her safely into the top-nine, and after three straight fouls, she hit one big in round five, going 53-8 ½. That was a new lifetime-best and moved Kelby up to fifth-place where she would finish and earn four points. It also moved Kelby up to No. 2 in school history outdoors, as she now ranks second outdoors in both the discus and shot put.

MORE FINALISTS AND TOP-10 TIMES: Washington punched several more tickets to Sunday's final day of action on the track.
In the 110-meter hurdles prelim, senior Julian Body clocked a 14.05 time for the sixth-fastest prelim time to advance, while freshman Jonathan Birchman edged into his second final in his first Pac-12 meet. Birchman ran a new PR of 14.20 to get the final qualifying spot. That also moved him to No. 9 in school history.
In the women's 100-meter hurdles prelims, Aaliyah Wilson ran a PR of 13.86 which moved her to a tie for ninth in school history and was good for 11th-place today. She came back and matched her PR in the 100-meter dash, finishing 10th overall in 11.62.
Senior Mick Stanovsek followed up his 1,500-meter qualifier from Friday with an 800-meter final spot today. He ran 1:49.25 to make the eight-man final. Freshman Cruz Culpepper just barely missed out as he was ninth overall in 1:50.19, just .18 out of the last spot.
In the women's 800-meters, Madison Heisterman became yet another double-finalist, as she ran nearly a three-second PR to come through in 2:05.46 and advance. That jumps her all the way up to No. 4 in UW history. Heisterman also was a 1,500m qualifier on Friday. She'll be joined in the final by redshirt freshman Carley Thomas, who continues her comeback story by dropping a couple seconds off her season-best to run 2:05.57, earning the last spot in the final. Sophomore Marlena Preigh was 10th overall in 2:07.36.