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Cougars sweep UW in track

Phil MacArthur helped WSU upset UW by placing third in his first collegiate discus competition. WSU photo
 (WSU photo / The Spokesman-Review)
Phil MacArthur helped WSU upset UW by placing third in his first collegiate discus competition. WSU photo (WSU photo / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Phil MacArthur was handed a discus Saturday afternoon and pointed toward the ring, and damned if he didn’t produce a little sliver of history.

And not just MacArthur, but others like Luke Lemenager, Dominic Smargiassi, Barry Leavitt and Nathan Bache – not the most prominent names on Washington State’s track and field team, but among those who helped piece together a 93-70 upset of Washington to end the longest losing streak for WSU’s men in the series since World War II.

WSU’s women, jump-started by a meet and school record in the hammer throw by McKenzie Garberg, made it a sweep by doing pretty much what was expected – blowing away the Huskies for the fourth straight year and 11th time in the past 12 meets, 116-47.

But it’s the men who had to refute the notion that this dual rivalry had gone dead in the water.

“It was a big thing for us,” said Smargiassi, whose late-kick win in the 3,000 meters was about a minute too late to serve as the actual clinching points. “Our captain, (javelin thrower) Jon Jeffreys, got up at our meeting Thursday and said, ‘I’ve lost to the Huskies all three years and it’s changing this time.’

“Sure enough, it did.”

Jeffreys did his part with a lifetime-best throw of 237 feet, 4 inches, and Bache followed suit at 213-5 to beat UW’s Kyle Nielsen by a foot and the Cougs were off – though they still trailed 35-33 eight events in when things got interesting.

MacArthur, a junior from Selkirk High, had struggled in his specialty, the hammer, but PRed by nearly 5 feet to lead decathlete Rickey Moody in a 1-2 finish in a depleted shot put field. Lemenager – just 22nd on the Pac-10 seasonal list behind three Huskies, including NCAA placer Austin Abbott – held all of them off to win the 800. As freshman sensation Jeshua Anderson won his second hurdles race of the day, teammate Barry Leavitt nipped Pac-10 runner-up James Fredrickson for second in the intermediates – and suddenly the Cougs had a 20-point lead.

“Last year they outcompeted us and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with me,” said WSU coach Rick Sloan. “I love the way all our kids responded today.”

It didn’t have to be with a monster mark. MacArthur only horsed the discus out 135 feet for third place, but that point put WSU over the top – never mind that he’d never thrown it in a college meet.

“The last time was in high school four years ago,” he said. “I practiced about 30 minutes before we threw, hoping it was just like riding a bike. They ask you to do something for the team – and hopefully, you don’t fall over.”

Even when the Cougars lost, they won.

High jumper Trent Arrivey cleared an outdoor best 7-21/2 and had three agonizingly close misses at 7-41/2 that would have beaten long-time rival Norris Frederick in a tense competition. Instead, Frederick won a jumpoff at 7-31/4 – which gave him the last word in trash talk with a group of shirtless WSU fans across the fence.

“They were booing me – big time,” laughed Frederick, who flexed his guns after his clearance. “But it’s all love.”

“I really wanted to beat Norris today,” Arrivey said. “I’ve been jumping against him since I was a sophomore in high school – we were about 20 minutes away from each other. He was my host on my visit to UW, so I wanted to get him here.”

The Huskies missed out on some points that could have changed the meet’s tenor. Some throwers stayed behind in Seattle, Fredrickson didn’t high hurdle and favored Jared O’Connor no-heighted in the pole vault. The nation’s new 400-meter surprise, Jordan Boase (44.82), didn’t run that event, but blazed a meet-record 20.37 in the 200.

On the women’s side, Garberg had lifetime bests on all six of her hammer throws, topping out at 204-9 – her first of more than 200 feet. She doubled back to win the discus, while teammate Princess Joy Griffey looked smooth in winning the 100 and 200.

•Idaho’s Elvie Williams uncorked a long jump of 26-03/4 – second among all collegians this season and a lifetime best by 2 feet – to highlight the Bronco Twilight meet in Boise on Friday night. The wind-legal jump also met the B qualifying standard for July’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

Among the meet’s other highlights was a victory by Community Colleges of Spokane’s 4x100 relay team of Nicole Nida, Taylor Cook, Stephanie Hill and Chanel James in a 47.24 – breaking a 23-year-old school record while beating three NCAA Division I schools.