Home | Contact Us | IAAF World Championships | U.S. Track & Field | Community News, Features & Profiles | Links | About Steve
U.S. TRACK & FIELD

2016
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Huddle Gets the Double at the Olympic Trials
OLYMPIC TIRALS - Coach Gags Last Go-round at the Trials
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Favorites Survive Semis in 1500
Olympic Hopefuls Turn to New Ways of Fundraising for Support
OLYMPIC TRIALS - A Short Day for Orji in the Triple Jump
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Merritt Ready for Double after Impressive 400 Win
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Men’s 400
OLYMPIC TRIALS - Trials Race Walk Ends in Disappointment for Gray
OLYMPIC TRIALS - 20K Race Walk Takes Center Stage on June 30 in Salem
PRE CLASSIC - Flawless Harrison Leaves Hayward with an American Record
PRE CLASSIC - Prefontaine Field Events Follow Form Chart


NCAA Preliminary Round Off and Running at Hayward
By Steve Ritchie
May 26, 2011

University of Oregon's Jordan Hasay and Brianne Theisen
EUGENE - The NCAA West Preliminary got underway at Hayward Field on Thursday. With its gargantuan fields of 48 athletes per event, perhaps it’s fitting that the NCAA has adopted the title “West Preliminary” and dropped the West Regional moniker. This meet is all about qualifying, and saving something, if possible, for the NCAA Finals in exactly two weeks.

While the qualifying process of using two regional preliminary meets has been much-maligned, there is a certain pleasing symmetry to the method. 48 competitors at each site, 96 in all. Most running events move the top 24 from the first round to the quarterfinal round, also held at the regional site. Then, that field is halved again and the top 12 from each preliminary site move to the NCAA Finals, where the 24 is winnowed again in the semifinals to 8 or 12, depending on whether the race is run in lanes or not. So, 96 to 48 to 24 to 8 (or 12 or 24).

Do we really need to have 96 qualifiers per event nationally? That does seem like a big number. But, I have to admit that watching 48 10,000 meter runners on the track together on Thursday night was a lot of fun. The massive peloton very gradually spread out, then split apart. I was watching places 10-15 as runners gave their all to get in the top 12 who would move ahead to the NCAA finals in Des Moines.

University of Oregon's Jamesha Youngblood

Drama on the first day of the meet was in rather short supply, though. Particularly in the field events, where it was difficult to know who stood where without a laptop. Some performers, like Oregon’s Jamesha Youngblood, got a good mark early in the competition and retired early. Youngblood took one jump and her 20-09.25 held up for third place, safely moving her through to Des Moines.

The third flight of the men’s javelin created some excitement for a time. Oregon’s Alex Wolff unleashed a 241’-11” throw on his second attempt, a 10’ season PR for Wolff. It moved him into second for a time, and he ended up in 4th, after passing his three throws in finals. Several other 240+’ throws followed, as the athletes seemed to be energized by the crowd’s attention.

The men’s 800 also proved to be intriguing. With the top three in each heat automatically qualifying for the next round, along with the next six fastest times, every heat was very competitive. Each of the six heats, until the last, was faster than the heat before, as runners pushed the pace, hoping to qualify by time if they couldn’t advance by place.

In the day’s final event, the men’s 10K, Luke Puskedra of Oregon decided to break the mold of runners just trying to safely qualify. He took off on the 4th lap (of 25) and built a huge lead of 100 meters by the mid-point of the the race. Then, it was just a matter of seeing if he could hold off the peloton. The pack really started to close on him in the fifth mile.

Puskedra looked like toast, barely holding on with a mile to go. The pack caught him, passed him and left him for dead. Somehow, he rallied over the last lap, passed a couple runners and held off his teammates, finishing 11th and punching his ticket for the NCAA Finals. Finally, some drama!

By the end of the men’s 10,000, nearly an hour later than scheduled, it felt more like January than May outside.

 
 

Featured archived articles:
Nick Symmonds Takes 6th Place in Berlin 800 Final

Nick Symmonds was in perfect position with 100 meters to go in Sunday's 800 meter final at the World Track & Field Championships... (more)

Mt. Angel Woman Helps Keep Olympic Hopefuls On Track in Eugene

What does it take to be an
Olympic athlete? For most
athletes who reach that elite
level, it takes years ...
(more)

More Women Running - Going the Distance

No one participating in or
cheering on runners at the
Homer's Classic 8K on August
8, will be surprised that there are women running in the ...
(more)

Ian Dobson Races to Third Place at Trials and Makes U.S. Olympic Team

Pacific University Library Director Marita Kunkel was in the stands
at Hayward Field in Eugene last Monday night... (more)

Nick Symmonds Advances to 800 Final at World Championships

A major deluge hit Olympic Stadium in Berlin an hour before Nick Symmonds was scheduled to run his semi-fina... (more)


©2015. All Rights Reserved . No part of this site may be reproduced without express written permission. Web design by IrishLemons.com

create counter