May 16, 2009
Eugene, Ore. - The Stanford track and field teams are underway at the Pac-10 Championships from historic Hayward Field. The Stanford women had an impressive day to sit in second place with 58 points, while the men are tied for third with 39 points. Most of the finals will be contested on Sunday as the Cardinal teams look to capture the conference titles.
The Stanford women trail Oregon who leads with 67 points. Arizona sits in third place with 32 points. The Oregon men also lead on the men's side with 88 points. UCLA is second with 45 points, while Arizona is tied with the Cardinal in third with 39 points.
The women climbed up the scoreboard with big results in both the long jump and the 10,000 meters.
Arantxa King led the Stanford jumpers, finishing as the Pac-10 runner-up. King, who was a 2008 Olympian for her native Bermuda in the event, leaped 20-8.
Stanford showed impressive depth in the long jump with four women scoring points. Griffin Matthew placed fourth with a mark of 20-4 ¼, while Whitney Liehr was fifth with a jump of 20-3. Placing seventh was Brittni Dixon-Smith with a leap of 19-11 ½. The mark for Liehr was a career best, while Matthew and Dixon Smith leaped to season bests.
In the 10,000 meters, Kate Niehaus led Stanford as the Pac-10 runner-up. Niehaus ran a time of 35:14.24 to continue her strong season where she was also the MPSF Champion in the 5,000 meters during the indoor season. Right behind Niehaus were Georgia Griffin who was third with a time of 35:14.46 and Stephanie Marcy who was fourth with a time of 35:20.01. Last season's Pac-10 Champion at 10,000 meters Alexandra Gits finished eighth with a time of 36:00.28.
Also scoring points in the distances was Emilie Amaro who finished as the Pac-10 runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Stanford freshman was just off her best time, finishing in 10:15.18.
The final point scorer of the day was Michaela Wallerstedt in the shot put. Her toss of 51-6 ¼ was good enough for second place.
Also contested on Saturday were the prelims of the sprinting and middle-distance running events. The Cardinal had several athletes go through to tomorrow's finals, particularly in the middle distances.
In the 1,500 meters the Cardinal had a trio of athletes move through to the finals. Alicia Follmar (4:26.51), Lauren Centrowitz (4:26.56) and Madeline Duhon (4:26.87) all advanced.
The 800 meters also proved successful for Stanford with Claire Cormier Thielke (2:09.77) and Kaylin Pennington (2:11.07) each advancing to tomorrow's final.
Also advancing to finals were Mathew in the 100 meters (11.45) and Idara Otu in the 400-meter hurdles (59.11). The times for Matthew and Otu were both career bests.
Finally, in the 4x100-meter relay, the Cardinal advanced to the final with a time of 45.60. Running the relay for Stanford were Shataya Hendricks, King, Dixon-Smith and Matthew.
The Stanford men were led by some strong performances in the distances. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Chris Mocko raced to a Pac-10 runner-up finish, while teammate JT Sullivan was third. Mocko (8:53.60) and Sullivan (8:54.58) both just missed personal bests set earlier this year at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. Also scoring for Stanford in the event was Benjamin Johnson who placed seventh with a career-best time of 9:05.93.
In the 10,000 meters, Chris Derrick made his debut at the distance and finished third with a time of 29:08.33. Jake Riley also scored points by finishing fifth with a time of 29:30.93. The race crawled to an early slow place, leaving fast times out of the question for many of the athletes who will double back in the 5,000 meters on Sunday.
The Cardinal also got some strong performances in the field events to climb to near the top of the team standings.
Freshman Geoffrey Tabor led the throwers in the shot put with a toss of 55-8 ¼. The mark was a career best for Tabor and good enough for fifth place. In the hammer throw, Kyle Davis-Hammerquist finished eighth with a toss of 195-0.
Also scoring points were Casey Roche in the pole vault and Myles Bradley in the long jump. Roche tied his season best with a vault of 17-0 ¾ to finish sixth, while Bradley placed eighth with a leap of 24-1 ½.
In the prelims, the top events for Stanford were the 1,500 meters and 110-meter hurdles where two athletes advanced to tomorrow's final. Garrett Heath advanced as the top qualifier with a mark of 3:43.00, while his brother Elliott Heath (3:47.02) also advanced.
In the hurdles, Bradley advanced with the second fastest time of 13.75. He will be joined by J.J. Jackson who ran a career best time of 14.29.
Other qualifiers for Sunday's finals were Amaechi Morton in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.47 and Andrew Dargie in the 400 meters with a time of 47.24.
The Cardinal also ran their top 4x100-meter relay of the season to finish as the third qualifier. Daniel Belch, Tyrone McGraw, Zach Chandy and Ryan Fisicaro ran a time of 40.27, which also established the regional standard for Stanford.
Stanford will return to Hayward Field on Sunday for the completion of the Pac-10 Championships. The Cardinal women will be looking for their first title since 2005, while the men will be looking for their best finish since 2003, when they finished second.