Track and field heads to Regionals

The Stanford women finished second and the men fifth at the recent Pac-10 Championships in Tempe, Ariz. Now, they move on to the NCAA West Regionals in Northridge, Calif. this Friday and Saturday. The top five finishers in each individual event, and the top three teams in each relay advance to the NCAA Finals in Des Moines, Iowa, June 11 to June 14. Bob Kinder looks at who might make that cut.

All told, Stanford will have 39 athletes at the Northridge Regional, with five others having already advanced to the NCAA Finals in the Multis and 10K. Let's break it down further by event type.

The Sprints:

Wopamo Osaisai qualified third in his 100 heat and then blew the field away for a victory in the final. His winning time was 10.47, a seasonal best. Osaisai broke away from the field at the 70-meter mark and crossed the line with his arm raised. None of the Stanford track nuts present could remember a Cardinal runner winning the 100 at Pac-10s. (Larry Questad might have in the old Pac-8, and he did win the NCAA 100-yard dash in the mid-60's.)

Osaisai was the seventh-fastest qualifier in the 200, with a season-best 21.33. That's also where he finished in the final, with a time of 21.51.

In the 400, freshman Andrew Dargie was the fifth-fastest qualifier in 46.62, and he finished seventh in the final, just a tenth of a second slower.

Stanford ran seasonal bests in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. In the shorter race, Stanford's Daniel Belch, Dargie, Tyrone McGraw and Osaisai ran 40.24, good enough for third place and fourth-fastest in school history. Durell Coleman, Zach Chandy, Michael Garcia and Dargie ran the 4x400 in 3:09.50 for sixth place, the eighth-fastest time in school history.

Advancing to the Regional will be Osaisai in both the 100 and 200, Dargie in the 400, and both relay teams. Osaisai in the 100 and maybe the 4x100 relay team have the best chance of advancing to the Finals. However, if Wopamo is also in the 200 that would be six races for him in two days. We'll see if he runs the 200, as his best this season is just .02 better than the qualifying standard.

On the women's side, Griffin (her given name is Sarah but she prefers Griffin, her middle name) Matthew, was the seventh-fastest 100 qualifier, and finished seventh in the final, with a season-best 11.66, the sixth-fastest time in school history. In the 4x100 relay, Stanford's Whitney Liehr, Arantxa King, Brittni Dixon-Smith and Griffin Matthew placed third with a 45.73. Stanford did not advance a 200 or 400 runner to the finals, and did not enter a 4x400 relay team.

The only female Stanford sprinter to advance to Northridge will be Griffin Matthew in the 100.

The Hurdles:

Myles Bradley, school-record holder in the 110 highs, ran 14.01 to finish fourth. Deborah Akinniyi was seventh for the women in 14.12. Neither the men nor the women advanced a 400 intermediate-hurdle runner.

Bradley has a best of 13.78w and the school record of 13.80, while Akinniyi's bests are 13.79w and 14.12. Both advance to Regionals.

The Middle Distances:

In the Men's 1500, Russell Brown, Garrett Heath and Hakon DeVries all qualified for the Pac-10 finals in about 3:49. In the 800, Brown and Michael Garcia qualified, with Brown having the second-fastest time of 1:48.72. In the 1500 final, it was Garrett Heath with a big kick and the victory with a 3:42.02, with Brown fourth in 3:43.81 and DeVries fifth in 3:43.18. Garcia finished sixth in the 800 with a fast 1:49.17. Brown didn't run the 800.

Brown and Garcia have qualified in the 800, as has Heath, although it will only be Garcia in this event in Northridge. In the 1500, Brown, Heath and Devries have all qualified, as have Jacob Evans, Justin Marpole-Bird and freshman JT Sullivan. Sullivan will run only the steeplechase.

Alicia Follmar qualified for the Pac-10 Finals in both the 800 and 1500. Lauren Centrowitz and Madeline Duhon joined Follmar in the 1500.

The 1500 was a good event to Stanford's women, who tallied 16 points. Centrowitz placed second, less than a second behind the winner. Follmar followed in third, with Duhon seventh. Follmar was also seventh in the 800 final.

Follmar is the only 800 Regional qualifier. However, she will concentrate on the 1500, joining Centrowitz. They are both very likely to advance, and both could score big in Iowa.

The Distances:

Lots of points for the Stanford women at Pac-10s, as frosh Alex Gits ran away with the 10K crown. In the steeplechase, Lindsay Allen finished second in a close race. Finally, Teresa McWalters narrowly finished second in the 5K, in her first race of the season. Centrowitz came back to finish third.

Allen and Katie Harrington both advance to the Regional in the steeplechase. In the 5K, McWalters, Gits, Allen and Katie Niehaus all advance, although Gits, Stanford's lone 10K qualifier, and Allen will concentrate on the 10K and steeplechase respectively. Niehaus is not entered in the 5K. The 10K is not a Regional event, with qualifiers advancing directly to the NCAA Finals. Gits will be there.

The news for the men was not good. First, Hari Mix, Stanford's top 5K and 10K runner, was injured and couldn't run. He was at worst a co-favorite in both races. Then, top steeplechaser Chris Mocko finished well back.

Stanford's top performer in the steeplechase, freshman JT Sullivan, was 10th, but with a personal-best 9:05.76, becoming the Card's third-fastest freshman ever. Sullivan and Mocko will both advance to Northridge.

Fifth-year senior Nef Araia has been injured much of the past two seasons, but really pushed the pace in the 5K before fading over the last few laps. 1500 winner Garrett Heath finished seventh.

Freshman Jake Riley finished eighth in the 10K.

Freshman Elliot Heath will advance to Regionals in the 5K. Mix will not run the 5K at Regionals, and I don't know if he will be able to run the 10K at the Nationals.

The Multi Events:

There is no Regional qualifying, so advancing to NCAAs are Josh Hustedt in the decathlon and Lauren Stewart and Whitney Liehr in the heptathlon.

The Weight Events:

In the men's shot put, Mike Marcellari finished eighth, but the big news was his PR 58-1 ¼, which passes the famed Otis Chandler for eighth all-time at Stanford. (Chandler became the publisher of the L.A. Times after his Stanford track career.) Stanford did not score a point in the hammer, discus or javelin.

Advancing to the Regional will be Marcellari in the shot put and discus, and Kyle Davis-Hammerquist, appropriately enough in the hammer.

The picture's much brighter for the women. Melissa Yunghans had a personal-best 53-10 to finish third in the Shot Put, and improve on her third-best all-time at Stanford. Jaynie Goodbody was seventh in the hammer. School-record holder Dani Maier was the runner-up in the javelin. All three will advance to the Regional, along with Michaela Wallerstedt in both shot put and discus. Yunghans also advances in the Hammer. Maier and Yunghans have good chances of advancing to NCAAs, as does Goodbody in hammer.

The Jumps:

Erica McLain. Will we ever miss her when she graduates next month? McLain won both the long and triple jump for the second time at Pac-10s. Her long jump of 21-4 was near her PR, while her triple jump of 44-6 was rather average, but an easy winner nonetheless. Stanford did well in the long jump, with frosh Arantxa King in fourth place, equaling Stanford's second best frosh jump ever at 20-1 ½, and Griffin Matthew eighth. In the triple, frosh Sabrina Nettey finished fourth with a PR of 41-5, third-best ever by a frosh.

Stanford didn't have a placer in the high jump or pole vault, but Caitlin Hewitt advances in the pole vault.

In the men's long jump, Myles Bradley took a surprise fifth with a PR 24-3. Bradley jumped 24-2 several years ago, but was not favored to place this year. Tunji Munabi was seventh in the triple jump. I don't know why, but neither is entered this weekend.

In the pole vault, Graeme Hoste was the runner-up and frosh Casey Roche finished fourth. They and Ben Dickens advance to Northridge.

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