SEATTLE -Joe Morris, a University of Colorado senior, completed his perfect double-double by winning the 60-meter dash title on Saturday after taking the 200 title on Friday night at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Track and Field Championships.
Morris ran away with the 60 title by crossing the line in 6.72 seconds; .09 seconds in front of the runner-up, Washington's Greg Ducre (6.81).
"It's just good to be back on track," Morris said. "It was a relief and felt right to win these races."
Morris was ranked first in both events entering the meet and was able to live up to the expectations of those rankings which pleased head coach Mark Wetmore.
"This is as good of a weekend as we could have hoped for from him," Wetmore said. "There are formidable sprints schools in this conference, so for him to get two wins and 20 points is a pretty good weekend."
Just a few hours after winning the 60, Morris was back on the track as a member of the men's 4x400-meter relay. The team, which consisted of Morris, Shaw Gifford, Tyler Baker and Kyle MacIntosh, placed seventh overall in 3:15.37.
In the 3,000, Aric Van Halen earned a runner-up finish, finishing in 8:02.33. He was just behind Washington State's Todd Wakefield who crossed the finish line in 8:02.06. Wakefield pulled ahead of the field with about 400 meters left in the race. Van Halen started to give chase shortly after, but it wasn't in enough time as Wakefield managed to hold off Van Halen's kick.
"Honestly he should have kept the race a little closer and counted less on his kick," Wetmore said. "It almost worked; he fell a quarter of a second short of winning the race, but he could have won the race if he were a little more aggressive and a little less careful in the middle. But it's relative; two years ago he was an 8:18 guy and last year he wasn't even at this meet. He's having an excellent year after his cross country season and his 7:53 earlier this season."
The men's mile run was also exciting and the Buffs picked up another point with Blake Theroux coming in eighth place (4:01.64). He finished just .05 seconds in front of teammate Connor Winter, who finished in 4:01.69 for ninth overall.
"They [Blake and Connor] had both run between 4:04.50 and 4:05 this year and we were sure there was a step coming for each of them," Wetmore said. "That was probably the biggest step that we could have reasonably hoped for. I think that if one were to look across the country at the conference championships this weekend, you wouldn't find ninth-place finisher running 4:01 anywhere else in the country."
With those times, Theroux and Winter became two of the fastest milers in CU history. Theroux's mark moved him to second all-time behind Stephen Pifer (3:59.55) and Winter moved into third-place on the all-time performers list. The duo jumped over a group of very talented former Buffs, including Olympians Adam Goucher (4:02.52) and Alan Culpepper (4:03.50). Overall the times rank fifth and sixth all-time, respectively.
In the women's mile, Staci Foster added a point to the Buffs' total with her eighth-place finish. Foster also ran a personal best in the meet, crossing the finish in 4:49.52.
"She ran 4:53 a couple of weeks ago and we were hoping for 4:51 or 51.5 this year; so for her to nip under 50 and pick up a point while beating some good people, this was a nice weekend for her," Wetmore explained.
Kelsey English picked up three points for the Buffs in the women's high jump after clearing 5-7.25. She tied with four other women as they all cleared on their first attempt at that height. Arizona's Brigetta Barrett, the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist, won the high jump at 6-2. On the men's side, Mark Jones came away with a sixth-place finish after he jumped 6-11.
"It always helps to contribute to the score," Wetmore said. "Neither jumped their very best, but it was just below that. They are young so as long as they keep taking their steps they will be at the top soon."
The action in the men's heptathlon wrapped up on Saturday and Brock Emory finished ninth overall, just 20 points out of the team scoring, with a lifetime best of 4,990 points. Emory started the day running 8.66 in the 60-meter hurdles and then cleared 13-05.25 in the pole vault. He finished the heptathlon with a time of 2:57.59 in the 1,000.
"We measure success here mostly by improvement, so for him to take a big step in his points score and jump over a few people was everything we hoped for. I hope he is excited," Wetmore said.
The men's team finished the meet 10th overall with 34 points and the women were 11th overall. Arizona State won the men's team title with 125.50 points and Oregon was the women's team winner with 112 points.
The Buffs will have one more chance to earn a mark to qualify for nationals next weekend, March 1-2, at a variety of last chance meets. The NCAA Indoor Championships are March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark.
2013 MPSF INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dempsey Indoor (Seattle, Washington)
Women's Team Scores
1. Oregon, 112; 2. Arizona State, 96; 3. Arizona, 92; 4. Stanford, 82; 5. UCLA, 67.5; 6. Washington, 48; 7. Washington State, 34; 8. Calfornia, 31; 9. BYU, 24; 10. Utah, 21.5; 11. Colorado, 19; 12. Hawai'i, 18; 13. Cal State Northridge, 15; 14. Long Beach State, 2.
Men's Team Scores
1. Arizona State, 125.50; 2. Oregon, 102; 3. California, 73.50; 4. Washington State, 70; 5. Stanford, 66; 6. BYU, 46; 7. UCLA, 39; 8. Washington, 37; 9. Arizona, 36; 10. Colorado, 34; 11. Long Beach State, 16; 12. Cal State Northridge, 15.
Points: (1. Dakotah Keys, OU, 5,753) 9. Brock Emory, 4,990
60-Meter Hurdles: (1. Donovan Toban, CSUN, 8.29) 8. Emory, 8.66
Pole Vault: (1. Dakotah Keys, UO, 16-0.75) t9. Emory, 13-5.25
1,000-Meter: (1. Isaac Robinson, BYU, 2:35.52) Emory, 2:57.59
Women's High Jump: (1. Brigetta Barrett, UA, 6-2) t4. Kelsey English, 5-7.25
Men's High Jump: (1. Edgar Rivera-Morales, UA, 7-3) 6. Mark Jones, 6-11
Track Events (All Events Are Finals)
Women's Mile: (1. Shelby Houlihan, ASU, 4:42.32) 8. Staci Foster, 4:49.52
Men's Mile: (1. Michael Atchoo, SU) 8. Blake Theroux, 4:01.64; 9. Connor Winter, 4:01.69; 13. Matt Biegner, 4:04.86; 15. Hugh Dowdy, 4:07.08
Women's 400-Meters: (1. Phyllis Francis, UO, 52.03) 12. Eileen Gehring, 55.24; 17. Lindsy Mattson, 56.26; 42. Bridget Sweeney, 59.35
Men's 400-Meters: (1. Mike Berry, UO, 46.86) 16. Tyler Baker, 48.92; 28. Kyle MacIntosh, 50.00
Men's 60-Meters: 1. Joe Morris, 6.72
Women's 800-Meters: (1. Anne Kesselring, UO, 2:05.29) 16. Liz Tremblay, 2:14.59
Women's 3,000-Meters: (1. Alexi Pappas, UO, 9:07.97) 12. Courtney Bouchet, 9:36.37; 17. Carrie Verdon (9:42.17)
Men's 3,000-Meters: (1. Todd Wakefield, WSU, 8:02.06) 2. Aric Van Halen, 8:02.33; 10. Ammar Moussa, 8:11.20; 25. David Kilgore, 8:23.08
Men's 4x400-Meter Relay: (1. Oregon, 3:10.34) 7. Morris/Gifford/MacIntosh/Baker, 3:15.37