PULLMAN, Wash. -- Stanford seeks to continue its streak of individual Pac-12 women’s track and field championships to 18 consecutive years, the longest such streak in the conference, the Cardinal competes at the Pac-12 Championships Saturday and Sunday at Washington State. The last time the meet was in Pullman, the Cardinal men earned the second of back-to-back conference outdoor championships, in 2002.
In this 120th season of Stanford track and field, the Cardinal brings 40 athletes -- 20 women and 20 men. Among them are two-time defending women’s javelin champ Brianna Bain, No. 3 all-time women’s 5,000-meter collegian Aisling Cuffe, first-team women’s outdoor 800 All-America Amy Weissenbach, and 2012 Olympic men’s 400 finalist Steven Solomon.
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What: Pac-12 Championships
Where: Pullman, Wash.
Site: Mooberry Track and Field Complex
Saturday: Field, noon; Running, 1 p.m.
Sunday: Field, 11 a.m.: Running, 1 p.m.
Forecast: Saturday, partly sunny, hi 68; Sunday, chance of showers, hi 62.
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Follow the Action:
TV: Pac-12 Networks -- Tape delayed, Sunday, May 25, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
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Some Stanford Storylines:
Stanford sophomore Steven Solomon is a 2012 Olympic finalist from Australia, who ran his personal record of 44.97 in the London semifinals. As a Stanford freshman last year, Solomon had an early season back injury that hampered him throughout the season. This year, Solomon is healthy and won the Australian national championship in Melbourne on April 5 in 45.36, a Stanford school record, and secured a spot on Australia’s Commonwealth Games team. Solomon is coached by Jody Stewart, who coached Kori Carter to a collegiate record while winning the women’s NCAA 400 hurdles title last year.
Luke Lefebure is expected to be a finalist. He majors in math and computational science, and carries a cumulative GPA of 3.84. He was the Elite 89 winner for having the highest GPA among competitors at the 2013 NCAA indoor championships.
Michael Atchoo anchored Stanford to the NCAA indoor distance medley relay title in March and joins Tyler Stutzman as Stanford sub-4 milers expected to contend against Oregon’s Edward Cheserek and Arizona’s Lawi Lalang.
Jim and Joe Rosa have emerged this year as two of the top runners in the country. In the fall, Jim finished fifth at the NCAA cross country championships and was second in the Pac-12s. He was the top American-born finisher at the NCAAs. Joe had a great indoor season, finishing fifth in the NCAA indoor 5,000.
Erik Olson, who earned first-team All-America honors with his seventh-place finish in the NCAA indoor 3,000 in March, has overcome skin cancer. Olson discovered he had melanoma and had a mass removed from his back, along with two lymph nodes. Now, he advocates for SunSport, a group of Stanford student-athletes who partner with Stanford medical personnel to promote the need for skin protection.
Amy Weissenbach reached the NCAA outdoor final as a freshman (she was sixth), and advanced to the U.S. Championships final, placing seventh. To get there, Weissenbach ran 2:00.98 in the semifinals. It was the fastest ever run by a college freshman, breaking the national freshman record set in 1967 of 2:01.6 by Tennessee State’s Madeline Manning.
Sophomore Claudia Saunders was an Ohio state high school champion in the 100 hurdles and in cross country in Cincinnati and ran only a handful of 800s with a best of 2:16. However, in two years of 800 training, her time has dropped to 2:03.44, No. 3 on the Stanford all-time list.
Aisling Cuffe, the 2013 Pac-12 cross country champion, became the third-fastest collegian of all-time, and the second-fastest American collegian, when she ran a 15:11.13 for 5,000 meters at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 4. That time broke a school record held by three-time NCAA outdoor 5,000 champion Lauren Fleshman, and was a Pac-12 record.
In her first collegiate meet, Valarie Allman broke the Stanford freshman record with a discus toss of 187-7, which has held as the No. 1 mark in the Pac-12 and continues to rank No. 5 among NCAA Division I throwers.
Stanford junior Brianna Bain is seeking her third consecutive championship, which would match her with two others in conference history. Bain, coached by Michelle Eisenreich, leads the conference with a throw of 180-5.
Women’s Shot Put:
Alyssa Wisdom arrived at Stanford as a sprinter, but was diagnosed with a rare condition called congenital hypertrophic cardiac myopathy, and had to give up sprinting for fear of stroke or heart attack.
Wisdom, however, reinvented herself as a shot putter -- she dabbled in it in high school -- and earned second-team All-America honors. She has a best of 55-8 ¼ and won the Jamaican national championship last year (her mother is from Jamaica).
The next step in the collegiate season is the NCAA Championships. The only way to get there for Stanford is through the NCAA West Prelims on May 29-31 in Fayetteville, Ark. The top 48 individuals and top 24 relay teams in each of the nation’s two regions by the end of competition May 18 advance to the NCAA West Prelims. There, the top 12 advance to the NCAA Championships on June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.