By Taylor Dutch
Powerhouse teams from the Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences come together this weekend to compete at the 2018 MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships, which you can catch LIVE on FloTrack.
Note: all start times are Pacific Standard.
Who: No. 7 Vanessa Fraser, No. 11 Christina Aragon, No. 15 Makena Morley, No. 17 Fiona O'Keeffe, No. 18 Dani Jones, No. 20 Erin Clark, No. 21 Elise Cranny, NT Marie Bouchard, NT Grayson Murphy, NT Brie Oakley
When: Saturday, 1:20 PM
Why: The women's 3K is led by NCAA indoor 3K champion Dani Jones, who enters MPSF with a season best of 9:05.23, a time she ran against a stacked professional field at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Jones also threw down a 4:29.32 mile at altitude at the Colorado Invitational. Jones may not have the fastest season best in the MPSF field, but all eyes will be on the Colorado standout who won the NCAA indoor 3K and DMR last year with a lethal kick. Her All-American teammates Makena Morley and Erin Clark also join her up front.
The Stanford women's team is bringing top talent with All-Americans Vanessa Fraser, Christina Aragon, Fiona O'Keeffe, and Elise Cranny. All five women contributed to the team that finished fourth at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Two weeks ago, Fraser threw down the seventh-fastest time so far this season when she finished fourth (8:59.23) at the Husky Classic. In the same race, Aragon placed right behind her in 9:01.86, O'Keeffe followed in 9:05.22, and Cranny closed in 9:06.24. O'Keeffe and Cranny are currently outside of the qualifying list for NCAA indoors and will likely try to lower their season bests in order to make the championship.
All-Americans Grayson Murphy of Utah and Brie Oakley of California are also athletes to watch up front. In the fall, Murphy finished eighth at the NCAA XC championships, and recently posted the 10th fastest 5K (15:44) so far this season. Oakley, a standout freshman, placed 38th in cross country and debuted in the indoor 5K with a season best of 16:02. Marie Bouchard of San Francisco will be contending after running 9:10 at the Husky Classic. Bouchard helped contribute to USF's runner-up team finish at the NCAA XC championships.
Who: NT Clayton Young, No. 22 Rory Linkletter, No. 10 James West, No. 17 Cooper Teare, NT Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse, NT Steven Fahy, NT Alex Ostberg
When: Saturday, 1:45 PM
Why: Several top contributors to the best cross country teams in the nation square off in the 3K at the MPSF Championships. NCAA runner-up Portland, third-place BYU, fourth-place Stanford, and sixth-place Oregon will run some of their best in Seattle.
BYU brings the heat with All-Americans Clayton Young and Rory Linkletter. Young hasn't completed a race on the track this year, but holds a 3K personal best of 7:49, which he ran at the 2017 UW Invitational. Linkletter is fresh off of a 13:41 personal best in the 5K at the Iowa State Classic. The performance ranks him No. 5 on the indoor 5K list.
Following the Cougars is a pair of Ducks from Oregon. James West enters the championship with a 7:51 season best which puts him No. 10 on the national list. His teammate Cooper Teare, a freshman, just ran 7:53 at the Husky Classic.
All-American Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse of Portland doesn't have a mark in the 3K, but he recently finished 13th at the Great Edinburgh cross country meet and returned to the track to run a 13:57 PR in the 5K.
Stanford will be running All-Americans Steven Fahy and Alex Ostberg. Fahy recently ran a 13:44 5K best at Iowa State, which puts him No. 14 on the indoor list. Ostberg hasn't competed on the track yet this season, but contributed to Stanford's team performance with a 16th-place individual finish in cross country last fall.
Who: No. 13 Ben Saarel, NT Jeff Thies, No. 22 Blake Haney
When: Saturday, 11:15 AM
Why: Several athletes will be attempting to crack the top 16 marks in the NCAA. The athlete with the fastest time in the field this season is Ben Saarel, who recently ran an altitude-converted 3:57 at the Colorado Invitational. Last year, the Colorado All-American finished eighth in the indoor mile and outdoor 1500m at the NCAA championships. Saarel should be safe when it comes to qualifying for NCAAs, but Jeff Thies of Portland and Blake Haney of Oregon will be looking to run a mark under the current 16th-fastest time of 3:57.90.
Thies hasn't run an indoor mile yet this season, but boasts a 3:40 1500m personal best which he ran at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Haney is currently sitting at No. 22 on the NCAA indoor list after running 3:59.01 at the Husky Classic. He ran 3:56 two years ago at the Millrose Games.
Who: NT Elise Cranny, NT Christina Aragon, No. 8 Lilli Burdon, NT Vanessa Fraser, No. 22 Susan Ejore, No. 25 Maddie Meyers, No. 32 Amy-Eloise Neale, No. 39 Jessica Hull
When: Saturday, 11 AM
Why: In addition to the 3K, Stanford All-Americans Cranny, Aragon, and Fraser are competing in the mile. The mile/1500m is Cranny's specialty. In 2016, she finished runner-up in the 1500m at the NCAA outdoor championships, but walked away with a personal best of 4:09.54. Her freshman teammate Aragon is also known for her middle distance speed after earning a bronze medal at the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships in a blazing time of 4:08.71. Fraser is known more for her endurance, but she also holds speedy career bests of 4:15 in the 1500m and 4:42 in the mile.
Among the depth of the field, Oregon's Lilli Burdon boasts the fastest season best after throwing down a 4:35 personal best at the Dr. Sander Invitational in New York. Last year, Burdon helped the Ducks finish third in the distance medley relay at NCAAs.
Who: No. 1 USC
When: Saturday, 2:40 PM
Why: Two weeks ago, USC set the track on fire when the quartet of Zach Shinnick, Rai Benjamin, Ricky Morgan Jr., and Michael Norman unleashed an NCAA indoor and IAAF world record time of 3:01.98 at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational. The jaw-dropping splits of the team were 46.28, 44.63, 45.72, and 45.25.
The Trojans won't be running the same lineup they showcased at Clemson, but Norman is scheduled to run the anchor leg for the team aiming to win an MPSF title this Saturday.
Who: No. 59 Ariana Washington, No. 6 Makenzie Dunmore, No. 9 Twanisha Terry, No. 12 Ky Westbrook
When: Prelims are on Friday at 5 PM
Why: NCAA champion Ariana Washington aims to run a time fast enough to qualify for the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships. In 2016, Washington emerged as the double NCAA champion when she won the 100m and 200m at the NCAA outdoor championships, but she hasn't run faster than 7.38 in the 60m so far this season. She will have to run faster than the current No. 16 time of 7.27 in order to make it to the NCAA championship.
Washington's teammate Makenzie Dunmore is in the middle of a breakthrough season. She just ran a personal best of 7.18 in Albuquerque, which puts her No. 6 on the indoor list.
While Washington attempts to run an NCAA qualifying time and Dunmore attempts to win an MPSF title, the USC Trojans will be gunning for points. Twanisha Terry and Ky Westbrook are currently sitting at No. 9 and No. 12 in the NCAA after running season's bests at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational.
Women's 60m Hurdles
Who: No. 2 Dior Hall, No. 2 Anna Cockrell, No. 7 Chanel Brissett, No. 11 Alaysha Johnson
When: Prelims are on Friday at 4:30 PM
Why: Four of the top hurdlers in the country face off to claim an MPSF Indoor Championship crown. The USC Trojans are running All-Americans Dior Hall and Anna Cockrell, who are both tied at No. 2 in the NCAA. Their teammate Chanel Brissett will also be looking to contribute in her MPSF debut. Hall unleashed a personal best of 7.96 (altitude converted) at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational.
Last year, Hall finished seventh in the 100m hurdles final at the NCAA outdoor championships. Her teammate Cockrell finished fourth at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships as a college freshman. This season, she already posted a personal best of 7.96 at Clemson. Brissett came to USC after finishing second at New Balance Nationals and has already posted a personal best of 8.09.
Behind the USC trio, Oregon will be gunning for a top finish from Alaysha Johnson. Last year, Johnson finished fourth in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA outdoor championships. She went on to place seventh at the USATF outdoor championships. So far this year, Johnson has run a season's best of 8.10 which puts her No. 11 on the NCAA indoor list.
Watch the MPSF Indoor Championships LIVE on FloTrack this Friday and Saturday!