Baker, Dressel, And Other Highlights From The 2017 MPSF Championships

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The MPSF Indoor Championships begin on Friday as top collegians from the West Coast will meet at the Dempsey Indoor in Seattle to try and earn qualifying marks for the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships. Before we get into the previews and breakdowns, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of last year’s meet.

Watch the 2018 MPSF Indoor Championships Live on FloTrack

To take a deeper dive into the archives, check out the list of best races from the 2008-2016 editions of the meet

Women’s 800m: Olivia Baker Gets Her Qualifying Mark With An Assist From Raevyn Rogers

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Women's 800m, Heat 5 - Olivia Baker punches NCAA ticket

Entering the MPSF Championships, Olivia Baker's best mark of 2:05.00 wasn’t going to get her into the NCAA indoor championships. The Stanford junior was looking for something around 2:04 to feel comfortable that she could make the team. 

Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers went to the front of the race and Baker was able to lock in behind her. Unbeknownst to Baker, Rogers was only rabbiting the race. Rogers stepped off the track on the final curve, leaving Baker to close the remaining 100 meters. She held her form and posted a 2:03.41, comfortably qualifying for the NCAA championships. Later on in meet, Baker came back to split a 52-second leg on the 4x400m relay.  

Men’s 3000: John Dressel Erases Huge Deficit To Win 

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Men's 3k, Heat 2 - John Dressel lays down the hammer!

The top three finishers — John Dressel, Garrett Corcoran, and Matthew Maton — all ran under 7:53 and earned their qualifying marks for the NCAA indoor championships. But even if qualifying marks weren’t on the line, this would have been a great race. 

Maton of Oregon opened up a gap with 600 meters remaining. It was a bold move and it looked like it might just take him to victory. In the final lap Dressel and Corcoran noticeably cut into Maton’s lead as they chased him down the back stretch. Dressel flew down the final straightaway to take the win in 7:51.44. Garrett Corcoran also closed hard to take second in 7:52.10. Matthew Maton held on for third in 7:52.51.

Women’s 60m: Hannah Cunliffe Ties Dempsey Record

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Women's 60m, Final 2 - Hannah Cunliffe runs 7.15

Two weeks before she became an NCAA champion, and two weeks after she set the collegiate record, Hannah Cunliffe laid down a 7.15 at the MPSF Championships. The mark tied the facility record and earned her a comfortable victory over her sprint standout teammates Arianna Washington, Deajah Stevens, and Makenzie Dunmore.

Women’s DMR: Dani Jones Outkicks Elise Cranny 

In what foreshadowed her performance at the NCAA indoor championships, Colorado’s Dani Jones ran a scintillating 1600m anchor leg to bring Colorado back from third place in the final laps. Entering the meet, the bubble time was 11:02.60 for a trip to the NCAA indoor championships. Washington was in command for most of the race after a strong opening leg from Amy-Eloise Neale. The Huskies held their lead into the anchor leg as Stanford and Colorado trailed in second and third. 

Entering the final 1600m leg, Washington’s Emily Hamlin had a sizable lead over Stanford’s Elise Cranny with an equally large gap back to Dani Jones of Colorado. With three laps remaining, Cranny overtook Hamlin and looked poised to take Stanford to victory. But Jones kept coming and with 150 remaining, she swept past Cranny to take the Buffaloes to victory in 10:58.69. Stanford took second in 10:59.82 as both schools earn spots in the NCAA indoor championships. Two weeks later, Jones displayed that same finishing speed as she again anchored the Buffaloes to victory in the distance medley relay and also won the 3000m.   

USA Outdoor Champs: Confidence Picks Featuring Iowans Returning to Iowa

When it comes to Championship events, anything can happen. Just last year, we saw Sara Vaughn drop a 61-second last lap to make her first-ever world team, Robby Andrews kick down Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz, and Ryan Crouser throw a shot farther than any human ever since 2003.

Sure, there isn't a world team to make this year, but there is plenty on the line in Des Moines. These are the things we are most confident about.

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Kirby Lee/USA Today
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FloTrack's USATF Championships Predictions

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USATF Women's Sprint Preview: Watch Out For The College Kids

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The sprint and hurdle events at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships represent a changing of the guard as many top-ranked veterans are opting to skip the event entirely to rehabilitate injuries, or simply prep for the European summer circuit. Expect Des Moines to produce a slew of fresh-faced champions, many of whom we predict will be showing out straight from the college ranks. 

USATF Men's Distance Preview: Don't Tell This 800m Field It's An Off Year

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Let’s acknowledge something up top. U.S. championships in a non-World Championship/Olympic years aren’t the same. 

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Caster Semenya Is Taking The IAAF To Court

Kirby Lee/USA Today

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USATF Women's Distance Preview: All The Big Names Will Be In Des Moines

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be an Olympic Games or World Championships this summer, but there is still a USATF Championship to be contested—which means we get an interesting twist in terms of athletes dabbling in new events, doubling in multiple races, or, inevitably, scratching from the competition mid-meet (cross your fingers we don't get too many of those). 

Katelyn Tuohy Breaks National High School Record For Outdoor Mile In 4:33

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