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Fay Wins Pac-12 Steeple, White Second In Hammer

May 14, 2022

2022 Pac-12 Championships
May 13-15
Eugene, Ore. | Hayward Field

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EUGENE, Ore. – Add steeplechase champion to Brian Fay's ever-expanding Husky accolades. The Dublin, Ireland transfer ran his first steeplechase of the season, and produced a Pac-12 title, barely missing another UW school record by two-tenths of a second. Fay's first conference crown capped a great second day for the Huskies at the Pac-12 Championships at Hayward Field.
 
With one day remaining on Sunday, and the majority of the finals on the track still to come, Washington has done great work to position itself near the top of the team race. The Oregon men lead with 67 points but the Huskies sit second with 60 points, while Cal is third with 40. Washington's women are third with 40 points, behind Oregon with 60 and Colorado with 44.

 
FAY FLIES TO FIRST: Although he had yet to run a 3,000m steeplechase in the NCAA, Brian Fay was a national champion in the event in his native Ireland. So despite no seed time, and given his record-breaking runs in the 5k and 10k this season, Fay had to be considered a contender. But the Pac-12 steeple field was one of its best ever this year, including Husky teammates Joe Waskom and Sam Affolder.
 
Waskom led for much of the race, with Fay moving around between 5th through 8th places. When things got serious late, Stanford's Ky Robinson took a lead with two laps to go and Fay moved up to stay on his heels. Washington State's Colton Johnsen also moved up to make it a three-man race.
 
Fay pulled even with Robinson with about 200-meters to go and fully kicked around the final water jump, and he quickly pulled away from the other two to ultimately win by a second-and-a-half, crossing in 8:32.47, the seventh-fastest time in the NCAA this season. Fay's time was barely off another school record, as Dan Bell's 1987 mark of 8:32.27 survived.
 
The Huskies would get 17 points out of the event, as Waskom would come through in fourth in a big season-best of 8:41.72, one day after qualifying for the 1,500-meter final, as did Fay. Affolder also took seventh in 8:44.54, his first time scoring at Pac-12s.
 
"The pace was okay, and it kind of suited me there with the hard close," said Fay. "I'm not used to steepling with loads of bodies, so that was kind of new, not to be able to sight the barriers until late, so my jumping was not too clean the first 2k, but I managed to get it under control and rally the last (kilomenter) and last 400, so it worked out well."
 
"It's a nice experience, and to win a race no matter how big or small I'm delighted with it."
 
WHITE, JOST DROP THE HAMMER: The first big points of the day came outside the stadium in the hammer ring, where Jayden White and Connor Jost both launched career-bests and two of the best marks in UW history.
 
Jost came in seeded just 10th and was in the first of the two flights, but he PR'd on all three of his throws, going 212-8 on his first, then 213-3 on his second, and finally 218-0 on his third attempt, which led after flight one. The top-nine men were then up in flight two, including White, who came in seeded second.
 
White got a throw of 22-8 on his third attempt to go safely into the finals in second-place, and Jost went into the finals in fifth. Jost would not improve, despite yet another great mark of 215-11 in round five, now the second-beset toss of his career, and he placed fifth to earn four team points. Jost now climbs up to No. 4 in school history.
 
White spun and launched his best of the day, and new best of his career, in round five, going 230-4, which solidified his hold on second-place, but was about five feet away from the winner. Still, White moves up from fourth last season to second this year, and he improved his own No. 2 mark in school history.

 
MORE SUNDAY QUALIFIERS: Several more Huskies moved through the prelims into Sunday finals today. First to go through was sophomore Jonathan Birchman. After advancing on Friday to the 400m hurdles final, Birchman got through in the shorter race, running a season-best 14.43 to qualify sixth overall. It's the second year in a row that Birchman has made the final in both hurdles events.
 
In the women's 800-meters, Anna Gibson started things off with a heat victory, pulling away impressively down the homestretch to win in a time of 2:06.34. Gibson already advanced to the 1,500m final yesterday, so her Sunday will be an eventful one.
 
Joining her in the final will be Carley Thomas, as the sophomore blazed to a 2:03.55 time in her prelim, and that was in spite of easing up late in the race when her qualifying spot was secure.
 
Sophie O'Sullivan, a 1,500-meter finalist already, just missed adding the 800m final by one spot. She ran a collegiate-best time of 2:06.63 to finish 10th. Madison Heisterman also came up just short of reaching another final, as she ran 2:07.64 to place 13th.

 
MULTIS REACH THE FINISH LINE: The two-day grind in the decathlon and heptathlon finished this evening, with UW scoring big points on the men's side and Hannah Rusnak chipping in a pair of points on the women's side.
 
Freshman Jami Schlueter was in third-place for the entire day, and he would finish in that spot to get up onto the podium at his first conference meet. He opened his day two with a second-place finish in the 110m hurdles in 14.86. He threw the discus 109-8. Schlueter cleared 14-1 ¾ in the pole vault to remain in third-place. He had a PR in the javelin, throwing 164-5 and finished with a 1,500m run of 4:40.37. That gave him a grand total of 6,887 points.
 
Junior Ollie Thorner continued to persevered and work his way up despite no-heighting in the high jump yesterday, which cost him a chance at setting a PR this week. But Thorner kept working for the most team points he could get, starting with running a 15.65 in the 110m hurdles, then taking second in the discus at 135-6. Thorner then tied for the win in the pole vault, making 15-1 ½. He then was third in the javelin at 176-0. Thorner took second in the final 1,500-meters, getting up into the fourth position in the final rankings with 6,715 points.
 
The three-four finish in the decathlon netted the Huskies 11 points.
 
Hannah Rusnak was battling a hamstring issue today that caused her to take just one attempt in the long jump, going 18-1 ¾. She then took just one throw in the women's javelin, but it was a big one, and a winning one. She threw 155-8, a PR by over five feet, and the new No. 8 mark in school history. Rusnak gritted out the final 800-meters in 2:42.89, and came away in seventh with 5,291 points. That would have been the school record just three years ago, when Rusnak first shattered the record.
 
MORE PURPLE POINTS: Junior MaKayla Kelby took fifth in a loaded women's shot put field today, making her first throw her best throw. She went 54-4 ¾ in the first round, earning four team points. She'll look to add to that total on Sunday in the discus.
 
Jelani Heath upset the seedings to make the final in the women's long jump, and come away with two big points and a seventh-place finish. Heath had a mark of 19-5 ½ in the second round, a wind-legal PR for the senior.
 
Sam Van Peursem got into the finals of the shot put for the second year in a row, but he couldn't get into scoring position, finishing ninth overall at 57-8 ½.
 
In the sprints, Victoria Gersch returned to action after an injury layoff but the break unfortunately kept her from her best today in the 400m prelims as she ran 56.85.
 
Aaliyah Wilson was 17th in the 100m in 11.86 seconds, and on the men's side, Anthony Smith finished 15th overall in 10.68
 
Tim Luebbert finished 15th in the men's long jump at 22-1. He will give the triple jump a go on Sunday.