This weekend the Washington track and field team will compete in what head coach Greg Metcalf described as “The Holy Grail” for distance runners and sprinters during the outdoor season, the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
Several events that were not a part of indoor season will take place this weekend. Metcalf cited the javelin throw and the steeplechase as events he is excited to see now that the outdoor season has begun.
“We have a nice crew of potential steeplechasers,” Metcalf said. “I’m excited for the [javelin], and then the long throws. … It’s always fun to see people get in a new event and see how they rise to the challenge.”
The upcoming meet is more focused on track rather than field events, and one of the more intriguing stories to watch is how junior Izaic Yorks performs in the 800-meter run.
Yorks had a spectacular indoor season, twice breaking the four-minute-mile barrier and setting the UW’s all-time record in the mile run. Though he had a bit of a disappointing day at the indoor championships, Yorks is not letting that day linger or affect his preparation or mindset as the outdoor season gets underway.
“I’m looking forward to trying different things,” Yorks said. “It’s a totally different feeling … there’s a little more room, so that’s nice.”
Yorks will compete in a multitude of events this season. He discussed running a 1500-meter run at some point, and possibly doing a longer distance race, such as a 3000 at the UW-Washington State University dual meet later on this year.
“Right now, I enjoy the shorter distance races more,” Yorks said. “… I just have to be more patient. It is a different mindset, but I don’t find it all that hard to get into it.”
Metcalf expressed confidence that his squad can translate their success from the indoor season to solid performances in the months leading up to the outdoor championships in June.
“Now we’re gearing up for the stretch run,” Metcalf said. “Outdoor season, we go every weekend, but I think our team is excited.”
Last weekend, several UW athletes shone at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., including junior Kristina Owsinski, junior hurdler Kimberly Stueckle, and sophomore long jumper Kennadi Bouyer, who all won their events, helping the UW women finish first overall at the competition.
The men’s track team goes into the weekend ranked 21st in the country, while the women’s team currently comes in at 40th overall.
The Stanford Invitational will go for two days, Friday and Saturday. The entire team, minus the pole vaulters and jumpers, will travel to the meet.
Reach reporter Shane Lantz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Shane_Lantz93