Sunday, August 13, 2017

Howard Lao's photo of the day--August 13th...

LONDON—Throughout the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, former University of Washington hurdler and current photographer Howard Lao will be contributing photos and offering his thoughts on the competition.

As the world championships conclude, wishes to thank Howard for his work over the ten days here in London.

I followed the team around on their victory lap, and caught this photo of Allyson with flag. It's a gamble though because once you are track side you are met with signs, and a distracting background. Luckily there was a gap and with the prime Canon 400 lens I was able to capture this image. It's one of the biggest images from this meet as I was only 15-20 feet away from her with the lens. 

EDITOR'S NOTE:  As we leave London, Howard and I wish to thank both Canon (Howard) and Nikon (Paul) Professional Services for their assistance over the ten days of competition. Both Howard and I were able to use some of their best equipment to supplement our cameras and lenses to bring you these images from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

Bellevue native Katie Burnett finishes fourth in first women's 50k race walk at world championships...

LONDON—Bellevue native Katie Burnett (left/photo by Kim Spir) finished fourth in the first IAAF world championship race walk contested over 50 kilometers Sunday as the IAAF World Track and Field Championships concluded its ten-day run.

Unlike the other events that were contested at London Stadium, the race walk was contested near Buckingham Palace on a clear, sunny day with temperatures cool enough for both the 20 and 50 kilometer walks.

Burnett set an American record of 4:21.51, obliterating her previous mark of 4:26:37 that she set in March in Santee, California.

Burnett, who attended Skyline and Newport High Schools before finishing her senior year in Arizona, walked with the lead group before she lost contact. She was dropped from medal contention at around the 30 kilometer mark.

There were seven starters in this event, which was added to the world championships program four weeks earlier. Erin Talcott of the USA was a late addition after threatening to take the IAAF to arbitration on the basis of her being an area champion, despite not meeting the time qualifying standard of 4:30:00,

Ines Henriques of Portugal won the initial world title in a time of 4:05:56, which also was a new world record. Henriques earned $60,000 for the victory as well as a world record bonus from the IAAF.

Hang Yin (4:08:58) and Shuqing Yang (4:20:49) of China took the silver and bronze medals, with Burnett 62 seconds away from a medal.

Despite the fourth place finish, Burnett, who attended the University of Arizona for one year before transferring to William Penn University in Iowa, will go home with a fourth place check for $15,000.

Afterwards, Burnett told reporters in the mixed zone,  "The crowd was outstanding. This has been such a supportive and incredible opportunity, and I'm just so glad I got to race here. I got a call four weeks ago, ‘would you do this?’ That's all the preparation I had, so to smash my PR and get a new American record, that's all I could ask for. This is just the start of a new trend. This will be the first of many 50 km championships and we're just the first of many athletes who will compete in it.”

On how she felt, she said, “I definitely started hurting after 35 km, my hips and feet were starting to hurt. It's not the softest surface, that road. The finishing carpet felt nice."

Later Sunday night, Team USA’s foursome of Quanera Hayes, Allyson Felix, Shakima Wimbley and Natasha Hastings set a world leading time of 3:19.02 to easily win the women’s 4 x 400 relay, with Great Britain second at 3:25.00, and Poland third in 3:25.41.

In the women’s 800, Ajee Wilson ran towards the front for most of the race, but could not overcome the late charge of Olympic champ Caster Semenya, who won in 1:55.16, with 2016 world indoor champ Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi second at 1:55.92, and Wilson third in 1:56.65.

The final race of the meet found Team USA’s men’s 4 x 400 relay team of Will London III, Gil Roberts Michael Cherry and Fred Kerley, the reigning NCAA champ from Texas A&M the victim of a mild upset, as Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago ran Kerley down in the last 40 meters as the two countries reversed places from the Beijing world championships.

From an American perspective, Team USA set a team record for most medals at the world championships, earning 30, surpassing the previous high of 28 set in Daegu in 2011.

After the squad’s 32 medal performance at last year’s Rio Olympics, the London world championships marked the first time the 1952 & 56 Olympics that a USA track & field squad had won 30+ medals.

Howard Lao's photo of the day--August 12th...

LONDON—Throughout the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, former University of Washington hurdler and current photographer Howard Lao will be contributing photos and offering his thoughts on the competition.

Here’s his take and a salute to the most recognizable track and field athlete of today, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt as he ran the anchor leg for his country’s 4 x 100 meter relay team that did not finish when he pulled up:

I shot this in the morning (back lit the shot / 400mm Canon lens) and created this image of Bolt taking off during his leg of the 4x1. Sadly this was his actual final race as later in the day he pulled up before the finish line and DNF (did not finish).

Here's to you Usain, you are legendary!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The conclusion of the Farah & Bolt farewell tour doesn't end well in London...

LONDON—Saturday night was supposed to be the crowning achievement on the 2017 farewell tour for the two most recognizable people in track and field, Mo Farah and Usain Bolt, but someone forgot to tell the athletes competing against them that they were supposed to be the Washington Generals, while Bolt and Mo were supposed to be the Harlem Globetrotters at the penultimate night of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at London Stadium.

In the script, Mo Farah (center/photo by Paul Merca), who trains most of the year in Beaverton with the Nike Oregon Project, was supposed to win the men’s 5000, while Usain Bolt was supposed to anchor Jamaica to victory in the meet’s final event of the Saturday night session.

The men’s 5000 saw Farah go to the front early and control the pace, slowing it down to 2:48 for the first kilometer, and being content to stay up front but not be at the point.

Occasionally, someone else would try to take the front, but ultimately, the leader would drop it back and blend in with the rest of the pack.

At the 3000 meter mark, Australia’s Patrick Tiernan, the reigning NCAA cross country champion from Villanova who won the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park Golf Course a few years ago, tried to inject some pace, knowing that there was no way he’d survive a fast last 800. 

While he opened up a ten meter gap on the field, he ultimately got swallowed back by the pack with less than two laps to go.

Farah and British teammate Andy Butchart went to the front to run the sting out of the three Ethiopians who were parked behind the two Brits as they came to the bell.

In the action packed last lap, Muktar Edris of Ethiopia and teammate Yomif Kejelcha opened up a slight gap, which they would hold as they exited the final turn, but Farah found some room on the inside to pass Kejelcha, while Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo of Team USA, who was thought to be dropped in the last lap, charged back to get third.

Edris took the win in 13:32.79, with Farah second at 13:33.22, and Chelimo third in 13:33.30.

In the men’s 4 x 100 meter relay, Jamaica was down to both Great Britain and the USA entering the final leg, so Usain Bolt would have had to pull something out of the 2008-09 archives to even have a chance to run down either the Americans or the Brits.

While Bolt pulled up with a hamstring cramp almost halfway down the final straight, a battle royale was going on between Great Britain’s Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake, who ran collegiately at Louisiana State, and reigning NCAA sprint champ Christian Coleman of Tennessee.

Mitchell-Blake, who was fourth in the 200, somehow fought his way to catch Coleman, who had edged to the front halfway down the stretch, giving the Brits the win in a world-leading time of 37.47 to the USA’s 37.52, with Japan third in 38.04.

In what probably was one of the most awkward moments of the meet, Maria (Kuchina) Lasitskene, the reigning champion in the women’s high jump, successfully defended her title, clearing 6-8 (2.03m).

With the Russian Federation still under suspension from the IAAF, Lasitskene had to apply to the IAAF to compete as an authorized neutral athlete. Instead of wearing a national team uniform in competition, she wore the 2017 Nike sponsored athlete kit.

When it came time for her victory ceremony, they played the IAAF anthem instead of the Russian anthem.  The organizers may have been better off playing nothing.

In other finals, the USA women’s team won the 4 x 100 relay in 41.82; Australia’s Sally Pearson took the women’s 100 hurdles (12.59); France’s Kevin Mayer won the decathlon with 8768 points; and Germany’s Johannes Vetter won the javelin at 294-11 (89.89m).

50-kilometer race walker Katie Burnett is the final Washington athlete competing in the meet, going at 7:30 am local time (11:30 pm Saturday night in Seattle).

Friday, August 11, 2017

Howard Lao's photo of the day--August 11th...

LONDON—Throughout the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, former University of Washington hurdler and current photographer Howard Lao will be contributing photos and offering his thoughts on the competition.

Here is his take on last night’s historic women’s 3000 meter steeplechase race, won in an American record 9:02.58 by Colorado grad Emma Coburn, with Bowerman TC’s Courtney Freirichs taking second, also under the former American record, running 9:03.77.

I had some success in the morning session by going up high with my 400mm lens which I decided to try again for the evening session. I narrowed my shooting locations down and decided that a head on location of the steeplechase would make for the cleanest shot. It paid off! This was the last water jump showing the two Americans that went 1-2! A very historical night for track and field indeed!

Colorado grad Emma Coburn wins USA's first women's steeple gold at world champs...

LONDON—With apologies to 70's music icons Kool and the Gang, Friday was ladies’ night, and the feeling was right for the women of Team USA, as they took home two victories in a fairly light night of finals at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at London Stadium.

Depending on how you look at it, Emma Coburn’s (left/photo by Paul Merca) win in the 3000 meter steeplechase can be construed as either an upset or a steady upward progression by the University of Colorado graduate as one of the world’s elite in this event, after winning the event in a new championship and American record time of 9:02.58 on a comfortable night that had a little bit of rain going through the middle of the stadium.

The event had a bit of early drama, as early leader Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya appeared to get bumped from behind approaching the water jump.  

No matter what happened, she ended up running wide of the barrier, and had to go back and clear the barrier before eventually rejoining the lead group.

There were some other athletes who got jostled and bumped around, but in the last lap, it came down to defending champion Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya, Coburn, and surprising Courtney Frerrichs, the former UM/Kansas City and University of New Mexico standout, who competes for the Beaverton-based Bowerman Track Club.

On the final water barrier, Coburn shot on the inside, while Frerichs passed the reigning world champ on the outside.  

Coburn came through to finish in a new American record of 9:02.58, obliterating her previous American record of 9:07.63, set in earning a bronze medal at the Olympics last year in Rio, while Frerichs also ducked under the previous American record, in running 9:03.77 to take the silver medal.

Jepkemoi did well to hang on for third place in 9:04.63, while Chepkoech, who had to go back and clear the water jump early, worked her way to a fourth place finish in 9:10.45.

Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet, the reigning Olympic champion, finished fifth in 9:13.96, after appearing to put pressure on the two Americans entering the final laps.

“I’m so grateful to the support from all the people here,” said Coburn in the immediate aftermath of her bold run. “It felt almost like I was a British athlete, I felt so much energy. This is better than I could ever have imagined.”

“Seeing Emma sprint down the home straight got me going for the silver rather than the bronze,” Frerichs said. “I was just hoping to finish in the top five or six.”

For the Bowerman TC, this marks the third medal won at these world championships by its athletes, as Evan Jager (men’s steeple) and Amy Cragg (women’s marathon) have won medals for coach Jerry Schumacher’s group that trains out of the Nike campus.

Britney Reese, the multi-time world and Olympic champion, who missed some time earlier in the summer due to the death of her grandfather, won her fourth world championship in the long jump, leaping 23-0.5 (7.02m) in the third round, while USA teammate and defending world & Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta was third at 22-10.5 (6.97m), with neutral athlete Darya Klishina second at 22-11.75 (7.00m).

In the mixed zone afterwards, the winner said, “I’m real ecstatic today. I came out here with a mission, that was to get gold for my grandfather, and I’m glad I did that. My grandfather (King David Dunomes) passed away a couple of weeks ago. He’s the reason I’m running track today. It was an emotional time for me. I’m glad I had the opportunity to come out here and get him a gold medal. He was my #1 fan. He was the type of person that will call a whole family to let them know I was on TV. To have him in my heart, I’m glad I came out with the gold. It was tough because I thought that wasn’t going to be enough. I know my competitors, and I know on any given day 7 meters is the mark and that any of them can go 7 meters.”

The only athlete with Washington ties that competed Friday was former Washington State University assistant coach Angela Whyte of Canada in the women’s 100 hurdles.

The veteran was never a factor, running 13.23 to finish sixth in her heat.

The final athlete with Washington ties competing is 50k race walker Katie Burnett, who goes Sunday.

Howard Lao's photo of the day--August 10th...

LONDON—Throughout the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, we will post photos shot by former University of Washington hurdler Howard Lao, who is assisting us here.

Here is his photo of the day from last night’s competition:

Sitting close to the track is a bitter sweet thing. On one hand you get to witness everything up close and in front (like seeing Shannon Rowbury getting spiked in the women’s 5000 heats), however you are bound to the same spot for hours (whole night) as everyone is packed into the area & backgrounds aren't as clean. 

I knew I had to try at least one session in that area, I did - I didn't love it. Moving on.

To see more of Howard's work here at the world championships, don't forget to follow him on Instagram at @howlaophotography.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Team USA's Christian Taylor wins third career world triple jump title...

LONDON--With no Washington athletes competing tonight, day 7 of the 10-day track and field extravaganza known as the IAAF World Track and Field Championships concluded with three finals on the docket, and a few surprises along the way.

In the men’s triple jump, two time world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor (left/photo by Paul Merca) got all that he could handle from fellow University of Florida alum and Team USA member Will Claye, as Taylor won his third career world title with a leap of 58-0.25 (17.68m), topping Claye’s 57-10.25 (17.63m).

Taylor thus became the first man to ever win three career triple jump crowns, having won in Beijing two years ago, and in Daegu in 2011.

In the women’s 400 hurdles, it was a 1-2-6 finish for athletes with Pac-12 ties as Stanford grad Kori Carter, running all by herself in lane 9 to beat USC alum and reigning Olympic champ Delilah Muhammad 53.07 to 53.50.

Canadian Sage Watson, who won the NCAA crown in this event in June for the University of Arizona, was sixth in 54.92.

In the featured men’s 200, Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev pulled off one of the biggest upsets, shooting down South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk’s attempt to win the 200/400 double, running 20.09, with Van Niekirk second at 20.11.

Friday, former Washington State University assistant coach Angela Whyte runs in the first round of the women’s 100 hurdles. Whyte will start out of lane 1 in heat 5, with the semis later Friday at 7:05 pm.

Howard Lao's Photo of the Day--August 9th... is proud to have Howard Lao shooting for us here in London at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

Howard ran the 110 hurdles at the University of Washington, where he ran 14.45 in 2015, his senior year at the Pac-12 Championships, just missing making the finals.

Over his last year at the UW, I noticed him at meets constantly shooting pictures after his races and warmdown of his UW teammates along with other competitors.  As he knew about this blog from my coverage of the Huskies, and the fact that the blog is essentially a one-man operation, he began asking for advice on shooting, and eventually evolved into him shooting meets for various clients, including the Pac-12.

Here's his first post from the world championships:

Ivana Spanovic of Serbia takes off in her one and only jump of the night - 6.62m (21-8.25). She moves onto the next round.

I was approved to set a remote for the qualifying rounds of long jump by the management earlier today. It was my first time setting up pocket wizards for the event - This is something i've always wanted to do but never got the chance to do. Let that be the lack of gear, not knowing how to use it correctly, too many other photographers signing up, or just the weather. 

But i'm glad tonight worked out.

Don't forget to follow Howard on social media @howlaophotography

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Oregon alum Phyllis Francis pulls upset in winning the women's 400 in London...

LONDON—We are at the halfway point of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships here in London, and while there were no athletes with Washington ties competing tonight, 51,130 folks were treated to some fantastic action on a rainy night that resembled a typical April evening in Seattle.

In a bit of a mild upset, University of Oregon alum Phyllis Francis (above/photo by Paul Merca) made a late charge to beat teammate and defending world champion Allyson Felix, and reigning Olympic champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, running a personal best of 49.92 to take the world title.

Francis moved well but may have spotted the field too much ground, when inexplicably with less than 50 meters to go, Miller-Uibo, who competed at the University of Georgia, stumbled and might have misjudged the finish line, or just plain ran out of gas, as Francis, Burundi’s Salwa Did Naser, and Felix all went past the fading Miller-Uibo.

Afterwards, Francis said, “It happened so fast. I told myself, top 3. Whatever happens the last 50 meters happens. I was focusing on my form and I didn't even know I won until one of my friends started screaming, 'You won!' and I was like, 'holy smokes!' I knew [the medal] was gold because they were jumping up and down and I thought, 'oh snap, this must be really serious right now!' 

When asked if she thought she could win tonight, she said, “No, I didn't think I could win this race [coming into it]. I thought I could be top 3. I try not to put too much expectation on myself because I tend to overthink that. I take it day by day and go with the flow. What I tend to do to myself is run other athletes' races so this race, I decided to do my own race and it turned out really well.”

Having gone to school at Eugene may have helped Francis in her race, as she said that the weather didn’t affect her at all. “I actually like this kind of weather, believe it our not.”

In other events, Norway’s Karsten Warholm, a former decathlete, won the 400 meter hurdles in 48.35, as Olympic champ Kerron Clement of Team USA was relegated to third in 48.52.

The only field event final contested Wednesday was the women’s shot put, as Gong Lijiao of China won the title with a toss of 65-5 (19.94m), as reigning Olympic champion Michelle Carter of the USA was third with a best of 62-9.5 (19.14m).

No Washington athletes compete until Friday; however, there are finals in the men’s triple jump, women’s 400 hurdles, and men’s 200 Thursday.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Panama and UW alum Gianna Woodruff's 400 hurdles run ends in semis in London...

LONDON—University of Washington graduate Gianna Woodruff’s (left/photo by Howard Lao) run at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships ended Tuesday night at London Stadium, as the Panamanian 400 meter hurdler finished seventh in her semifinal heat.

Woodruff, who now trains in Northridge, California, was in a stacked field that included her training partner and defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad, along with reigning NCAA champion Sage Watson of Canada via the University of Arizona.

After last night’s first round, the reigning South American champion and national record holder knew that she needed to run as close to a flawless race and set a personal best in order to advance to Thursday’s final.

In the end, Woodruff ran 57.32, as Muhammad won the heat in 55.00, with Watson second in 55.05.Third place finisher Eilidh Doyle of Great Britain got the final non-automatic qualifying spot into the finals, running 55.33. attempted to contact Woodruff in the mixed zone afterwards, but was unsuccessful.

No athletes with Washington ties will compete until Friday when former Washington State assistant coach Angela Whyte runs in the first round of the women’s 100 hurdles at 10:45 am, local time (2:45 am in Seattle).

Monday, August 7, 2017

Washington alum Gianna Woodruff advances to 400 hurdles semis at world championships...

LONDON—University of Washington alum Gianna Woodruff (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished fourth in her first round heat of the women’s 400 meter hurdles at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships Monday night to advance to Tuesday’s semi-final round.

Running in the fourth of five heats, Woodruff, who is competing for Panama at the world championships, ran 56.50 to comfortably get the fourth spot in Tuesday’s semi final round, as Pac-12 rival Kori Carter from Stanford and Team USA won the heat in 54.99.

Like she did Monday, Woodruff will draw lane 2 in Tuesday’s semifinal where she will face fellow Pac-12 competitors Sage Watson (Canada) of Arizona, and reigning Olympic champion Delilah Muhammad (UCLA) of Team USA.

Woodruff, who now trains in Northridge, California with a group that includes Muhammad, said afterwards, said that because she drew lane 2, she was forced to work on her first 200 meters, then concentrate on hurdles 6 and 7.  By doing so, she said it set her up well for the finish.

“This is the biggest setting in track and field that I’ve ever been a part of,” she said about the crowd, which was announced as 49,920 for Monday’s session. 

“(the crowd) gives you a lot of adrenaline, and it makes you want to run faster over the last 100 meters.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

3/1000ths of a second separates Devon Allen from a spot in 110 hurdle finals at worlds...

LONDON—Five athletes with Washington ties were in action Sunday in what was the busiest day of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at London Stadium.

2016 Olympic finalist Devon Allen (above/photo by Howard Lao) was nosed out by 3/1000ths of a second from a spot in Monday’s 110 high hurdles final.

Allen, who was born in Seattle and lived in the Puget Sound area before finishing high school in Arizona, and attending the University of Oregon, started his Sunday by winning heat 2 of the first round in a comfortable 13.26, a full tenth of a second away from runner-up Garfield Darien of France.

In what can be best described as a battle royale, Shane Brathwaite of Barbados won the second of three semifinal races in a blanket finish, running 13.26, with Hansle Parchment of Jamaica second in 13.27 (13.262), and Allen third in 13.27 (13.265), and Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi fourth in 13.28.

Drew Windle of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts ran the fastest second lap of the field in his semi-final heat of the men’s 800 meters, but it was too little too late, as he finished fifth in a time of 1:46.33.

Canada’s Brandon McBride won the heat in 1:45.53, after opening the race with a 50.85 opening 400.

Seven-time US national champion and three-time Olympian Kara Winger, who was looking to make her second straight world championship final, fell short, only throwing 201-0 (61.27m) on her opening attempt.

Federal Way native Jordin Andrade, competing for Cape Verde, finished sixth in his heat in a disappointing 50.32, despite what he described as a strong first 200 meters.

On the streets of London, University of Washington graduate Lindsay Flanagan, who was a late addition to Team USA, was 37th in the marathon in a season best of 2:39:47, as Rose Chelimo of Bahrain defeated two time world champion Edna Kiplagat by seven seconds, 2:27:11 to 2:27:18, with Arizona State alum Amy Cragg snaring the bronze medal in the same time as Kiplagat.

On Monday, University of Washington alum Gianna Woodruff is the only athlete with Washington ties competing, as she runs in the first round of the women’s 400 hurdles for Panama, beginning at 7:30 pm, local time (11:30 am in Seattle).

HOWARD LAO JOINING IN LONDON publisher Paul Merca announced that former University of Washington hurdler Howard Lao will be joining him in London for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships as a contributing photographer.

Lao, who has been a frequent contributor to the blog, is covering his first IAAF world outdoor championships, after having shot the IAAF World Indoor Championships in his hometown of Portland, Oregon last year.

In addition to news photos, Lao will also showcase his perspective of the world championships throughout the duration of the meet.

You can follow him on Instagram at

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Drew Windle advances to semis in 800 meters....

LONDON--On a slightly drizzly afternoon that appears suspiciously like a typical spring day int the Puget Sound area, Drew Windle (left/photo by Paul Merca)  of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts advanced to the semis in the first round of the men's 800 at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at London Stadium.

Windle ran 1:46.08 to take third in heat one to advance to Sunday’s semi-final.  In typical fashion, Windle was seventh at the 400 meter mark, going through in 52.89, 1.28 seconds behind leader Andreas Kramer of Sweden.

He then made up the gap, but was in sixth at the 600 meter mark, but made his charge over the last 200.  

For a brief moment in the final straightaway, Windle, who was on the inside, would get boxed in, but there was a bit of an opening created by winner Kipyegon Best of Kenya and second place finisher Kramer that Windle shot past a group of three to get third and the automatic qualifying spot.

“I felt awful going into it, but these preliminary heats come down to fitness. My fitness is there, and I relied on it to get one of those three spots.  The most important part is that I survived to tomorrow.”

On the last part of the race, Windle said that he anticipated that a gap would open up, but he battled with himself, asking himself if he should go wide or stay to the inside, but there was a gap was there for him to slip past the pack.

“I felt flat, which is typical when you’re racing rounds, so hopefully that sparks the legs up for tomorrow.”

On what to expect tomorrow, he said, “I can’t get gapped like I did today, and I need to be much closer with 300 to go so that I can respond to those moves and be in the mix with 150 to go.”

Sunday will be a busy day for athletes with Washington ties, as Federal Way resident and Bonney Lake HS grad Jordin Andrade goes in the first round of the men’s 400 hurdles for Cape Verde at 11:05 am local time (3:05 am in Seattle). 

Three hours later, University of Washington graduate Lindsay Flanagan will run through the streets of London in the women’s marathon, while Skyview/Vancouver graduate and seven-time US national champion Kara Winger throws in the qualifying round of the women’s javelin.

Windle will run in the semis at 9:15 pm local time (1:15 pm in Seattle).

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hassan Mead sets personal best at world champs, finishes 15th...

LONDON—Former Emerald Ridge/Puyallup standout Hassan Mead (left’photo by Paul Merca) ran a personal best in the 10000 meter run as the first day of the IAAF World Track and Field Championships concluded on the London Stadium oval, in a race in which eleven of the first seventeen finishers across the line set personal bests.

Mead, whose previous personal best was 27:33.04 set two years ago at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, ran 27:32.49, but only managed a 15th place finish, the same as his finish at the world championships two years ago in Beijing.

For the first two miles of the race, he was in the top ten, but could not keep up with the leaders as the pace gradually picked up.

Great Britain’s Mo Farah, a familiar sight to track and field fans from the Pacific Northwest, who trains most of the year on the Nike campus in Beaverton, moved from sixth place over the final kilometer to win yet another world championship in front of 55,100 spectators at the scene of his double Olympic gold medals, breaking the tape in a world leading time of 26:49.51.

Farah’s time was a 2017 world leading mark, in what reportedly is his final 10000 meter track race as he transitions to the marathon moving forward.

Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda was second in 26:49.94, while Kenya’s Paul Tanui was third in 26:50.60.

Oklahoma State alum Shadrack Kipchirchir was the top American in a personal best 27:07.55, while fellow American Leonard Korir was 13th in a personal best 27:20.18, two places ahead of Mead.

Saturday morning, Drew Windle of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts will be the only athlete with Washington ties competing, as he runs in the first heat of the men’s 800 meters at 12:45 pm local time (4:45 am in Seattle).

Day 1 results from the IAAF World Track & Field Championships are available through the IAAF’s dedicated micro-site, which is here.

Former Emerald Ridge standout Hassan Mead kicks off world championships in 10000...

LONDON—We’ve arrived at London Stadium!

We are a few hours away from the start of competition at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at London Stadium, the site of the 2012 Olympic track & field competition, and the site of Mo Farah’s greatest triumph in front of his countrymen.

Among those looking to knock off Farah in tonight’s 10000 meter final is former Emerald Ridge HS/Puyallup standout Hassan Mead (left/photo by Paul Merca), which is the last event of the evening.

Besides the 10000 finals tonight, there’s action in the mens 100, discus, and long jump, while the women’s pole vault and the 1500 qualifying rounds will be contested.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The preview of Washington athletes competing at the London World Champs is now available...'s preview of London 2017--the IAAF World Track & Field Championships--is now ready for viewing.

This document has brief biographical information, along with personal and 2017 season bests of the nine athletes with Washington ties competing in London.  Additionally, both London and Seattle times are listed in the schedule for your convenience.

This document is a .pdf file, which you can view here:

We encourage you to print this page, and have it close to your television set or computer, as you follow Devon Allen, Jordin Andrade, Katie Burnett, Lindsay Flanagan, Hassan Mead, Angela Whyte,  Drew Windle, Kara Winger, and Gianna Woodruff.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Husky alum Aaron Nelson wins steeple in Antwerp Saturday...

University of Washington alum Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the steeplechase Saturday at the Internationaal Antwerps Atletiekgala meeting in Antwerp, Belgium.

Nelson, who runs professionally for the North Carolina-based Zap Fitness/Reebok squad, ran 8:40.56 to set a new meet and stadium record, winning by exactly four seconds over American Jordan Mann, formerly out of Providence College.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Former WSU assistant coach Angela Whyte added to Team Canada for world champs...

Former Washington State University assistant track coach Angela Whyte (left/photo courtesy Athletics Canada) was named Friday by Athletics Canada to its squad that will compete at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in London beginning a week from Friday.

The veteran Whyte, a fixture on national teams since 2001, won the Canadian national championship title in Ottawa earlier this month, but did not have the world championships qualifying standard of 12.98, with her best being 12.99, set in Mesa, Arizona in June.

In the qualifying rounds at the Canadian nationals, she ran 12.95, but with a 2.2 meter per second wind reading, .2 above the allowable for qualifying and record purposes.  She then won with a time of 13.02, just short of the qualifying time.

Whyte was extended an invitation by the IAAF to fill the field to the required field of 40 athletes in the 100 hurdles.

In some results we missed, University of Washington alum Mel Lawrence set a personal best of 9:34.94 in winning the 3000 steeplechase at the Folksam Grand Prix in Folksam, Sweden on Tuesday July 25th.

In her victory, she also set a new meet record, and beat second-place finisher Nataliya Strebkova by a healthy margin, as the Ukrainian crossed the line in 9:59.00.

Camas’ Alexa Efraimson won the women’s 800 in 2:01.39 over Ce’aira Brown of the USA, who ran 2:01.77.

Spokane native Britney Henry was second in the women’s hammer with a mark of 205-6 (62.64m) as Sweden’s Marinda Petersson won with a best of 211-7 (64.51m).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

SeattleU steps up and hires Kelly Sullivan as head track & field/cross country coach...

SEATTLE—Kelly Sullivan’s retirement lasted less than two months.

The 14-year head track and cross country coach at Oregon State (above/photo courtesy Oregon State University) was named the new track and cross country coach at Seattle University on Thursday.

In a release published by the school, SeattleU athletic director Shaney Fink said, “Coach Sullivan’s commitment to the holistic development of student-athletes aligns perfectly with the mission of Seattle University,” said Fink. “He is a proven competitor with tremendous experience and outstanding character, who will immediately propel our programs forward. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Sullivan to the Redhawk family.”

During his tenure at Oregon State, he reestablished the track program after a 16-year hiatus. Beginning in 2004 with just a distance program, one coaching position, one full in-state scholarship and no track and field facility, he departed the program with 21 event areas, 18 full scholarships, three coaching positions and a full-time director of operations.

From 1997-2003, Sullivan served as the head coach at Willamette University where he guided the men's track and field team to a sixth-place finish nationally in 2003, while the men's cross country squad was fifth in 2002. In 2003, his women's cross country team placed eighth nationally – the highest finish in school history – and he guided the Bearcats to their first-ever NWC women's cross country title in 2000.

Before coaching the Bearcats, Sullivan was head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Auburn from 1984-96. During that time, Sullivan's 1985 men's team finished 12th at the NCAA Championships, his female athletes broke every Auburn distance record and earned trips to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1994 and 1995.

Prior to coaching at Auburn, Sullivan headed the cross country program and was the assistant track and field coach at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore., coaching 24 NJCAA All-Americans from 1980-84. His men's cross country teams won four straight Oregon Community College titles and four straight NJCAA West Regional titles. His 1981 and 1983 teams were fourth at the NJCAA Cross Country Nationals while the 1982 team was NJCAA runner-up.

University of Washington head track coach Greg Metcalf, who was mentored by Sullivan when he was a graduate student at Auburn, said “Seattle University just made a terrific hire in Kelly Sullivan. I am incredibly excited for Kelly and this wonderful opportunity to move to the greatest city in the country and work at this fantastic university. It is a perfect fit. He was my coach and is the reason I got into coaching and I know firsthand what he Is capable of.”

“He will positively impact every athlete and every member of the Seattle U family the moment he steps onto campus. Kelly is truly one of the greatest human beings and coaches I have ever been around. He is well respected by his peers, possesses tremendous knowledge, and is filled with passion for the sport and working with young people.”

Former Oregon State athletic director Bob de Carolis said, "Congratulations to Seattle University on a great hire. In Kelly Sullivan you get a very good coach, but also even a better person. Kelly is perfectly aligned with the values of Seattle University and this hire is a great fit for everyone." has tried to reach out to Sullivan via text and hopes to talk to him soon.

In a related note, publisher Paul Merca received a text from field events coach Chad Pharis, who said that he is being retained as an assistant by Sullivan.


Seattle University’s hire of Sullivan is a great move by the school. Sullivan brings instant credibility, particularly with the high school coaches around the state of Washington, some of whom confided to me that they wouldn’t steer their athletes to Seattle University under former coach Trisha Steidl.

It’s a known fact that Seattle University faces major challenges in the area of scholarships, facilities, and recruiting.  It’s also a known fact that SeattleU’s tuition is extremely high compared to other Division I schools in the Northwest, with Gonzaga and Portland being the most comparable. All three of those schools are private Catholic schools.

The most telling fact about how ineffective SeattleU’s program was since it became Division I in 2012 (five years competing as an NCAA Division I program), it was the only school of the five Division I schools in the state not to qualify an athlete for the NCAA national finals in either cross country, indoor, or outdoor track.

Their women’s team won a Western Athletic Conference crown in cross country, and had a male athlete come close to qualifying for the national championship meet in cross country.  They’ve also had several conference champions, including most recently, heptathlete Mandie Maddux.

At the NCAA West Regionals (or what the NCAA calls the preliminary round), the only athletes from SeattleU to even qualify for that meet in the five years since becoming D1 were high jumper Shaddye Melu and javelin thrower Dylan Burnett, both of whom were coached by Chad Pharis. In contrast, no distance runners, which were supposedly the strong suit of the head coach, even sniffed the regional meet.

By the same token, since 2012, Gonzaga qualified a women’s team for the national championships in cross country, and qualified a male and female athlete for the national track and field championships.

In the same five year span (2012-17) since SeattleU became Division I, non Power 5 school Eastern Washington qualified a male hammer thrower and a female steeplechaser for the national finals, as well as a female cross country runner for the NCAA championships.

While the Redhawks have had several outstanding individuals since becoming a D1 program in 2012, the perception—at least according to several knowledgable people in the local track and field community—was that the program overall wasn’t even a decent Division II team, and that perception among coaches around the state is probably what doomed the previous staff.

Unfortunately, perception equals reality in the case of the SeattleU track and cross country program.

In the short term, Sullivan’s challenges are not going away. The Redhawks will still have to train at local high schools or park department tracks around the city. They will still have to compete in the Western Athletic Conference, which is one of the weaker Division I conferences in the country. They will have challenges with scholarships that they can/can't give to prospective athletes.

However, I believe that Sullivan can do a better job in the area of recruiting and reaching out to the high school coaches in the Pacific Northwest. I think, based on his fundraising efforts in getting a new track at Oregon State, he can rally the donors and alumni to help achieve his goals with the program.

Gonzaga has Pat Tyson and Patty Ley, and credibility within the Washington prep coaching community. Eastern just hired legendary coach Dave Nielsen as an assistant. Kudos to SeattleU’s leadership for stepping up. This hire sends a positive message to the track and field community.

Now Sullivan needs the support of his athletic department, alumni and boosters to get SeattleU going and remove the stigma of being a mediocre Division II program in the eyes of the state’s high school coaches.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Team USA announced for world champs, plus other notes and links...

Couple of items to post:

Three men with Washington ties are on Team USA, including former Renton resident Devon Allen (110 hurdles), former Emerald Ridge HS standout and reigning 10000 meter champion Hassan Mead; and the surprise of the 800 meters this season, Drew Windle of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts.

On the Team USA women's roster are three athletes with Washington ties, led by seven-time USA national champion Kara Winger (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Vancouver.

Also on the women’s squad are University of Washington alum Lindsay Flanagan (marathon), and former Bellevue resident Katie Burnett (below/photo courtesy USATF) who will contest the just added 50-kilometer race walk.

Burnett, who was born in Bellevue, and attended high school at Skyline and Newport before finishing her high school career in Arizona, is the current US national record holder in the event, walking 4:26:37 on March 28th in Santee, California.

The IAAF, in a last minute decision “based on its wish to ensure gender equality on the field of play, the IAAF Council has decided to create a new 50km race walk competition for women at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.”

In its release dated Sunday July 23rd, the IAAF set the entry standard at 4:30:00, a mark that only five women have achieved this season, which calls into question the credibility of the event, as Quentin Rew posts.


Tuning up for a run at the IAAF World Championships in London, Federal Way resident Jordin Andrade (above/photo courtesy Getty Images) won the 400 hurdles at the Francophone Games in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Monday.

Andrade, who is competing for Cape Verde, won the race in 49.66, with Amadou Ndiaye of Senegal second at 50.17.


Former Cougar jumper Kayla Warren has been hired as the track and cross country program’s operations coordinator, replacing Andrea Sabbatine, who is pursuing other interests after working for two years at WSU.

"Kayla will be an excellent addition to our track and field program," Phipps said. "Kayla is highly motivated and possesses both a strong work ethic and a strong understanding of the administrative and athletic goals of our track and field and cross country programs. Her role will be a huge benefit to our coaching staff and as well as our student-athletes."

Warren is the daughter of former Seattle Seahawk running back Chris Warren, and graduated from Holy Names Academy. She was a two-time scorer for the Cougs in the triple jump.  At WSU. she earned her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Sciences with a minor in Forestry in December 2016.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Efraimson gets season best; Mel Lawrence PR's in 5000m at Heusden...

In Heusden, Belgium, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Paul Merca) scored a season best in the 1500 meter run Saturday night at the Nacht van de Atletiek meeting.

Efraimson finished sixth in a time of 4:04.63, eclipsing her previous season best of 4:06.12 set six days ago in Padova, Italy.

US Olympian Colleen Quigley of the Portland based Bowerman TC won the race in a time of 4:03.93.

Washington alum Mel Lawrence earned a marginal personal best in the women’s’ 5000, as she finished 18th in a time of 15:40.18, beating her previous PR of 15:40.26 set in April at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Former Florida State All-American Susan Krumins won the race in a time of 14:53.35, with Bowerman TC standouts Emily Infeld (14:56.33) and Shalane Flanagan (14:58.99) also ducked under 15 minutes.

For the second meet in a row, Shaquille Walker of the Brooks Beasts did not run in a meet that he was entered in.

Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey, who is still in Seattle, replied via text that he did not know why Walker was not on the final start list. Walker had an entry issue last week in the Madrid meet. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Drew Windle ties for fourth in 800m at Monaco Diamond League...

In his IAAF Diamond League debut, Drew Windle (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished in a tie for fourth at the Herculis Meeting International d’Athletisme in Monaco Friday night.

Pace setter Bram Som of the Netherlands took the field through the 400 at 49.96, while Windle was tucked away towards the back of the pack in the eleventh stop of the season-long IAAF Diamond League tour.

Once Som finished his pacing chores, NCAA champ Emmanuel Korir took charge with 200 meters to go as Canada’s Brandon McBride gamely tried to hang on.

Meanwhile Windle made his usual later charge from the back, but may have moved too late, as he was outmaneuvered by Burundi’s Antoine Game over the last 50 meters.

Korir won in a world leading time of 1:43.10, with McBride second in 1:44.41, and Gakeme third in 1:44.54.

Windle and Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France tied for fourth in 1:44.72, just 9/100ths of a second off of his personal best of 1:44.63.

In a text sent to publisher Paul Merca, Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey, watching the meet in Seattle, praised Windle’s effort, considering that he was a last minute entry into the meet.

“I liked that given the work and travel, he still ran 1:44.7, which is his second best time, so he’s getting consistent,” said Mackey.

Mackey said that because he got an invite at the last minute, they didn’t back off in his training last week.

Camas’ Alexa Efraimson won the 800 meters Thursday night at the Meeting International d’Athletisme de la Province de Liege in Liege, Belgium.

Efraimson ran 2:01.61 to defeat Noelie Yarigo of Benin, who ran 2:01.89.

Efraimson moves on to Heusden, Belgium to run in Saturday night's Nacht van de Atletiek, where she will run the 1500. Shaq Walker of the Brooks Beasts is also scheduled to run the men's 800 in Heusden.


Linton replaces Allix Potratz-Lee, who left to pursue other interests after three seasons at WSU.

"We are very excited to hire CharLee," WSU head coach Wayne Phipps said. "As a student-athlete at WSU she brought a level of dedication, commitment and passion that is rarely matched, and as a volunteer assistant coach for us last year, she brought that same level. CharLee impressed me right away as an assistant coach as she has a great coaching intuition and a level of understanding of the sport that belies her age.” 

"I am beyond excited to join the staff as an assistant coach," Linton said. "It's really special for me because I'm passionate about Washington State University and I know what it means to be a part this team. To work closely with Coach Phipps means that I get to coach student-athletes through a program that I truly believe in and training that I know produces great results."

The Shorewood HS grad was a walk-on at WSU before earning a scholarship, where she put herself in the top ten on the school’s all-time lists at several distances during her career, before graduating in May 2016 with a B.S. In Psychology. Linton was a volunteer coach at WSU last season while working on a second degree in history.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Windle set for Diamond League debut at Herculis Meeting International d’Athletisme...

Drew Windle (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts makes his IAAF Diamond League debut in Friday’s Herculis Meeting International d’Athletisme in Monaco.

Windle, the third place finisher in the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men’s 800, will compete in his specialty as part of a ten-man field that includes Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, the reigning NCAA indoor and outdoor champion at that distance out of Texas-El Paso.

Korir is currently the third fastest in the world at 800 meters this season, having run 1:43.60, while Windle, who is preparing for the IAAF World Championships, is number 11 with his 1:44.63 run at the TrackTown Summer Series finals in New York two weeks ago.

The 800 meters is the only men’s individual event that is non-scoring for IAAF Diamond League points.

After the Herculis meet, the IAAF Diamond League goes on hiatus until after the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in London conclude. It resumes on August 20th in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  

The meet will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Gold ($) app starting at 10:30 am pacific time on Friday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kidder and Fields win high-performance races at CNW all-comers meet...

SHORELINE—In what was supposed to be an attempt by UCLA alum Daniel Herrera of Mexico to reach the 3:36.00 qualifying time needed to compete in the world championships in two weeks fell flat, as Brannon Kidder (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts won the high performance 1500 meter run Wednesday night at the Club Northwest all-comers meet at Shoreline Stadium.

Herrera and Dan Huling went with pacemaker Shyan Vaziri, but there was a lull at the beginning of the third lap after Vaziri dropped out that doomed any hope of Herrera or anyone else sniffing 3:37 or even 3:38.

Kidder made a late run to win the race in 3:39.39, with Washington alum Izaic Yorks of the Brooks Beasts second in 3:39.75.  

Four-time US world championships team member Dan Huling of the Bowerman TC was third in 3:39.84, with Garrett Heath of the Beasts fourth in 3:40.49.  Herrera, who went into this race with a personal best of 3:39.66, was fifth in 3:44.55.

In the other high performance race of the evening, Hannah Fields (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts took a good shot at breaking 2 minutes, winning the race in 2:00.97, after being towed through the first 400 by pacesetter Anna Connor of the Portland based High Performance West.

Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker was second in 2:03.97, with 2017 world championship team member Sara Vaughn third in 2:04.27.  Washington alum Baylee Mires of the Beasts was fourth in 2:05.42, with teammate and Stanford alum Claudia Saunders fifth in 2:06.37.

A PDF copy of the results is available below.

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