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Track opens season at home with WSU Open meet

A+WSU+hurdler+races+during+the+Cougar+Invitational+at+Mooberry+Track%2C+April+25%2C+2015.
A WSU hurdler races during the Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track, April 25, 2015.

A WSU hurdler races during the Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track, April 25, 2015.

A WSU hurdler races during the Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track, April 25, 2015.

CASIE MOE | Evergreen track and field reporter

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‘Go big and go home’ is the new track and field motto.

Becoming the biggest indoor track and field event ever held at WSU, the Cougars have the home field advantage for the two-day open meet this Friday and Saturday.

WSU’s 14th Annual Open meet also brings together the surrounding colleges so it makes for a close-knit group competing. It is partially due to this being a meet where anyone from the community, often from high schools, can compete against college athletes.

Held in the indoor facility, or what the students know it as, ‘the bubble,’ it features a track that is about half the size of the outdoor one not more than a street away. A 60-meter straightaway and 200-meter oval, the Mondo track demands a lot on the legs so they do not have more than a 60-meter hurdles event on the track. This means that athletes like junior CJ Allen, who typically competes in the 400-meter hurdles, he gets to take a break. Instead, Allen can help out and support the team alongside the home crowd.

“We always have a lot of freshman that come in and it’s exciting to run at home,” Allen said. “It’s exciting to have the home crowd; it always is. There’s usually a good amount of people that come out and support so it’s definitely cool to see people on their A game. They want to perform in front of their home crowd.”

With athletes returning to stretch out their legs from last week’s meets at the University of Washington and Idaho Invitational, there will be standouts in this meet planning to bring their top game.

Standouts like junior Liz Harper, who won the high jump competition at UW last week and was in the top seven for hurdles, will be changing up her events for this week. She is entered into three events: 60-meter hurdles, long jump and shot put. Competing on both days, Harper has a different feel about these indoor meets than most.

“Indoor is not really a lot of people’s favorite just because we only go to a couple different places but I’m more excited for this year because I will be doing a variety of different events,” Harper said. “I’m a lot more excited. I’m glad that I chose to do the pent this year.”

The ‘pent’ Harper is referring to is the pentathlon which is officially her event for this season. It includes 10 different running and field events which is why Harper is able to switch up her events for each meet.

For this meet, the multiple event athletes like Harper get more experience with a large audience. Only in his second year, but head coach Wayne Phipps knows the importance of the Pullman community adding to the crowd and being a part of the track and field season.

“We had such a great turnout last year that we needed to just kind of modify that a little bit because we almost had too many people coming to our meets,” Phipps said. “We thought it was important to still have that open one on the first (home) one and it really promotes our sport really, really well so that the community can get involved.”

The community will have an opportunity to show their support since admission is free of charge for WSU track and field home meets this year. They can come watch the field events such as women’s pole vault, triple jump, discus and weight throw starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22 at the WSU Indoor Facility.

The remaining field events begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23; these being long jump, men’s pole vault, high jump and shot put. The running events are set to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, beginning with the men’s mile. The results will be posted at www.wsucougars.com, following the meet’s completion.

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Track opens season at home with WSU Open meet