SEATTLE —University of Colorado sophomore Carrie Verdon led the Buffs on Friday night as she raced to a runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter run on the first day of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Verdon ran a solid race, finishing in 16 minutes, 31.69 second, and was just behind Utah’s Rebekah Winterton (16:30.51). The race was Verdon’s first 5k of the season and it was also a personal best as she improved on her time of 16:47.36 from 2013. She wasn’t the only Buff to do well in the race as teammate Abby Levene also placed in the top eight with a sixth-place finish in 16:36.50.
"Carrie and Abby were hoping for faster times in the 5k,” coach Mark Wetmore said. “This meet serves a dual purpose, as do all conferences this year, as both a championship and a last chance qualifying opportunity, so both had hoped to go much closer to 16:00. But the race didn't unfold that way and by even two kilometers they knew it had become a race for points rather than time. I was happy to see them close pretty hard and get us some team points.”
On the men’s side, Morgan Pearson had a gutsy 5k race, finishing third in 13:49.30 to become the eighth fastest CU performer in the event. He finished behind Arizona’s Lawi Lalang, who set the MPSF meet record by clocking in at 13:41.58. Stanford’s Joe Rosa was second overall with a time of 13:44.85, which was also under the former meet record of 13:45.54 from 2005. After competition tonight, Pearson was listed at 16th in the NCAA and 16 advance on to nationals.
"Morgan had a very nice run, which he needed,” Wetmore said. “He had a big disappointment here two weeks ago at the Husky Classic and kind off needed to reaffirm his fitness. His 13:49 makes him eighth all-time at CU, among some pretty good runners. And this puts him in a decent position for going on to the NCAAs. He just needs to have the few remaining conferences to go his way tomorrow.”
The Buffs also picked up points in the field events. In the men’s weight throw, Alex Kizirian, who is currently ranked 15th in the NCAA, recorded a fourth-place finish after launching the weight 66 feet, 2.50 inches on his final attempt of the day. Emily Hunsucker also scored for the Buffs in the weight throw. She recorded a toss of 57-2 on her fifth attempt of the day.
"I thought the weight throwers did pretty well,” Wetmore said. “Emily had a couple of 17-meter throws, both really near her best, and Alex opened up big. It's also good that no one went by him here, so he is still in a good position to continue to nationals.”
Sophomore Brittany Lewis led the Buffs in the pentathlon, placing fifth overall with 3,692 points, bettering her performance from 2012 when she placed seventh (3,644). She started off the day with a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (8.97) before tying for 16th in the high jump (5-1.25). In the shot put, Lewis took seventh with a throw of 35-6 and had an even better performance in the long jump, placing third with a mark of 18-2.50, just 1.25 inches away from BYU’s Elizabeth Wilson who took first (18-3.75). Lewis finished the day running 2:22.59 in the 800, which was seventh.
"We had a very good day here last year in the pentathlon with three placing in the top eight, so maybe we had implausible expectations this time here,” Wetmore said. “Brittany closed well over the final events to get fifth and improved from the last time she was here.”
In preliminary action on the track, the Buffs advanced Shaw Gifford to the 60-meter finals on Saturday after he finished seventh in the prelims. Gifford recorded a time of 6.81 for the seventh of eight positions in the finals. Jaron Thomas advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles after finishing fifth with a personal best of 8.04.
The championship will wrap up Saturday, with the first events of the day starting at 10:30 a.m. PT. Live stats are available at GoHuskies.com and a live stream is available on Flotrack.org with a subscription.
"There were some ups and downs here this first day,” Wetmore said. “We had some people arrive here a little beat up and turn out unable to go at all, but there is a lot to be excited about tomorrow. Mark and Kelsey compete in the high jump, some of the distance runners in the mile and 3k, and the sprinters who advanced today as well as the 400.”
2014 MPSF INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dempsey Indoor (Seattle, Washington)
Women’s Team Scores (Through 7 Events)
1. Arizona, 31; 2. Arizona State, 28; 3. Oregon, 26.50; 4. Washington, 26; 4. UCLA, 26; 6. California, 25, 6. USC, 25; 8. BYU, 24; 9. Colorado, 17; 10. Utah, 16; 11. Washington State, 11; 12. Stanford, 8.5; 13. Cal St. Fullerton, 4; 14; Long Beach State, 3; 15. Cal St. Fullerton, 2.
Men’s Team Scores (Through 6 Events)
1. California, 40; 2. Arizona State, 37; 3. UCLA, 33; 4. Arizona, 28; 5. Stanford, 21; 6. BYU, 16; 7. Washington, 15; 8. Washington State, 14; 9. Oregon, 12.50; 10. Colorado, 11; 11. Cal St. Northridge, 2; 12. Long Beach State, 1.5
Points: (1. Tatum Souza, UCLA, 3,927) 5. Brittany Lewis, 3,692; 15. Ewelina Pena, 3,190; 16. Mariah Slack, 3,145
60-Meter Hurdles: (1. Nicole Laws, BYU, 8.50) 6. Lewis, 8.97; 16. Pena, 9.46; 21. Slack, 10.03
High Jump: (1. Lauren Crockett, UO, 5-10.75) t7. Pena, 5-3.75; t16. Lewis, 5-1.25; t18. Slack, 5-0.25
Shot Put: (1. Elizabeth Wilson, BYU, 40-6.75) 7. Lewis, 35-6; 13. Pena, 32-1.50; 16. Slack, 28-11
Long Jump: (1. Elizabeth Wilson, BYU, 18-3.75) 3. Lewis, 18-2.50; t15. Slack, 16-2.50; 20. Pena, 15-2.75
800-Meters: (1. Tatum Souza, UCLA, 2:18.25) 6. Slack, 2:22.56; 7. Lewis, 2:22:59; 15. Pena, 2:34.74
Points: (1. Pau Tonneson, UA, 3,143) DeWitt, 2,018 (DNF)
60-Meters: (1. Harrison Ivie, UA, 7.09) 7. DeWitt, 7.24
Long Jump: (1. Alex Fellows, UO, 23-4.75) 9. DeWitt, 21-1.25
Shot Put: (1. Marcus Nilsson, UCLA, 50-6.75) 9. DeWitt, 35-7.75
High Jump: (1. . Pau Tonneson, UA, 6-11.50) DeWitt, DNS
Women’s Weight Throw: (1. Chioma Amaechi, Cal, 67-2.75; 7. Emily Hunsucker, 57-2; 22. Sophie Hallam-Eames, 48-3.50
Men’s Weight Throw: (1. Jordan Young, UA, 69-3.25) 4. Alex Kizirian, 66-2.50
Men’s Long Jump: (1. Hammed Suleman, Cal, 24-6.50) 13. Mark Jones, 21-11
Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles (prelims): (1. Milan Ristic, Cal, 7.69q) 5. Jaron Thomas, 8.04q
Men’s 60-Meters (prelims): (1. Ryan Milus, ASU, 6.65q) 7. Shaw Gifford, 6.81q; 14. Austin Mitsch, 6.93; 18. Blake Berens, 7.04
Women’s 5,000-Meters (Finals): (1. Rebekah Winterton, UU, 16:30.51) 2. Carrie Verdon, 16:31.69; 6. Abby Levene, 16:36.50
Men’s 5,000 Meters (Finals): (1. Lawi Lalang, UA, 13:41.58) 3. Morgan Pearson, 13:49.30
Women’s 200-Meter (Finals): (1. Jessica Davis, USC, 23.51) 10. Eileen Gehring, 24.44
Men’s 200-Meters (Finals): (1. Ryan Milus, ASU, 21.29) 10. Shaw Gifford, 21.75; 17. Austin Mitsch, 22.09; 20. Jaylyn Mars, 22.21; 26. Blake Berens, 22.40