Feb. 24, 2011
Stanford, Calif. - The Stanford track and field teams will be back in action this weekend at the MPSF Championships. The conference meet for the indoor season will take place at Dempsey Indoor Stadium on the campus of the University of Washington on Friday and Saturday.
Last season both the men and the women placed second in the highly competitive conference. UCLA took the title on the men's side, while Oregon won the women's meet. Individually, the Cardinal had five conference champions with Griffin Matthew (200 meters), Katerina Stefanidi (pole vault) and Whitney Liehr (triple jump) winning titles for the women and Elliott Heath (5,000 meters) and Carter Wells (weight throw) winning titles for the men. Of the Stanford individual title winners, only Matthew will not be back to defend her title this season.
This season, the Stanford men enter this weekend as the top-ranked team in the conference with a national ranking of No. 6. No. 12 Oregon, No. 14 Arizona and No. 21 Washington are also ranked in the top-25. The Cardinal women are one of four top-25 teams in the MPSF, including top-ranked Oregon. No. 12 Arizona, No. 21 Stanford and No. 25 Arizona State are the other ranked teams.
Amaechi Morton and Elliott Heath have led the Cardinal men so far this season. Morton is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in the 400 meters (46.23) and No. 40 in the 60-meter hurdles (7.94). Heath has already earned NCAA auto qualifiers in the 3,000 (7.52.27) and 5,000 meters (13:37.77) where he ranks No. 7 and No. 2, respectively. In addition, the two combined with Dylan Ferris and JT Sullivan to run the fastest DMR in the nation this year with a time of 9:29.22.
Other top-20 ranked men so far this season are Ferris who is ranked No. 19 in the 800 (1:49.11), Andrew Berberick is ranked No. 20 in the mile (4:00.78), and Jules Sharpe who is ranked No. 10 in the high jump (7-3). Several others are ranked in the top-50 and will look to improve their marks in attempt to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Additionally, All-Americans Chris Derrick and Jake Riley are expected to make their season debut this weekend.
The women's team has been much more balanced with Katerina Stefanidi the only NCAA auto qualifier so far this year. She is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in the pole vault (14-5 ½). The Cardinal women have only one other inside the top-10, Whitney Liehr who is No. 7 in the triple jump (42-11 ¾).
The Cardinal women do have some good depth with nine others inside the top-25. This includes Liehr who is also ranked No. 20 in the long jump. Others include Brittni Dixon-Smith who is No. 15 in the long jump, Justine Fedronic who is No. 23 in the 800 meters, Jessica Tonn who is No. 23 in the 3,000 meters, and Stephanie Marcy who is No. 25 in the 5,000 meters. Both Cardinal relays also rank in the top-25.