April 25, 2006 in Sports

Stylishly cloaked in crimson

By The Spokesman-Review
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

Beware: the bathrobe is back.

John Cassleman broke it out Saturday at the Cougar Invitational track and field meet in Pullman – this one a deep crimson number with the Washington State logo and the legend “Pullman Pistol” on the back.

In his Pullman High School days, Cassleman and sprinter Cody Moore donned robes in lieu of track’s traditional warm-ups, the cooked-up rationale being that it perpetuated a boxer’s warrior mentality and possibly a little intimidation. But most it was something different to spice up a meet – never a bad thing.

Ah, but college is a time to put away childish things – unless you can broker a deal.

“The coaches told me if I hit 50-something in the (intermediate) hurdles, which I did last year at Pac-10s, I could wear the robe,” Cassleman said.

So he took it to the NCAA Regionals in Eugene “and got a huge response from the fans. People I didn’t know were cheering for me.”

Saturday, it was more people that he knew. Running the flat 400 meters, Cassleman churned a lifetime best 47.50 seconds, giving birth to the notion that he might double in that and the 400 hurdles when the Cougs meet rival Washington at home Saturday.

“But I don’t know if coach wants to risk me getting tired in the 400,” he said, “when the intermediates are such a crucial event. My competition is Shane Charles – excellent guy, by the way, even if he is a Husky – and last week he ran 50.12, which is a half-second faster than my PR. So it’ll be an excellent race to come and see.”

Even if isn’t in the 400, Cassleman will run one. He concluded his Saturday by doffing his Cougar-issue sweats and anchoring one of WSU’s 4x400 relay teams – and turning in a 46.8 split.

“Maybe you don’t need the bathrobe,” assistant coach Ellannee Richardson advised him.

‘Shirt tales

The redshirt season is a college athletic staple, though few coaches at the community college level employ it with as much regularity as Spokane’s Larry Beatty – with good reason and good timing.

Most of his redshirts are neither injured nor ineligible, but they can use an extra year in school.

“And I’d rather redshirt them as sophomores,” Beatty explained. “Kids, if they need their A.A. (to transfer), can’t always get it done in two years. So if they compete for you those first two years, too many of them just drop off the face of the earth when their eligibility is over.

“Coaching is hard, their interest is done. If you redshirt them the second year, they come back much more motivated.

“I don’t do it unless it’s an academic thing. It’s best for them to leave if they can.”

Among the Sasquatch redshirts this spring are 200-foot javelin thrower Pat McCormick, hurdler Tasheen Garry and middle distance runner Nick Siebert, the NWAACC 1,500 champ. Conference 800 runner-up Erik Walter is redshirting, too – but not for CCS. He had his season delayed by illness and although he’s healthy again “there’s no reason for him to run this year,” Beatty said.

“He’s not going to run as fast as he’d hoped and he’s a 3.7 student with a ride to Sacramento State next year. Now he’ll have an extra year there.”

Last laps

The Sasquatch host the annual Duane Hartman Invitational Saturday at Spokane Falls. … Idaho’s Dee Olson doesn’t just lead the WAC lists in her specialties – she has a three-second edge in the 800 meters (2:08.64) and four seconds in the 1,500 (4:22.52). … EWU’s David Paul won the discus at last weekend’s Oregon Invitational at 174-1. … WSU could have had another regional qualifier out of that Oregon meet, but steeplechaser Alex Grant (9:06.86 to win his section) is redshirting. … Central Valley grad Craig Kent joined the regional qualifying list by winning the shot put (55-9 3/4) and helping Cal win the Big Meet over Stanford. … Whitworth added another provisional national qualifier at the Northwest Conference championships when Angela Florence threw the javelin 132-3.

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