Cougars whip Huskies twice

Anderson’s record in 400 hurdles highlights men’s, women’s wins

PULLMAN – Back when he broke the Mooberry Track record for the 400-meter hurdles at a meet in 1983, Rob Cassleman immediately questioned its veracity.

The clock said one thing, his body told him something else. And as a world-class hurdler – and at the time the assistant women’s track coach at Washington State – Cassleman knew himself well enough to doubt that he’d covered the lap in 49.69 seconds. But that’s what the old Accutrack system in use then registered, although there were other dubious times that day.

Still, the mark held up for 27 years.

So there was a certain justice Saturday when Cassleman – the official starter – pulled the trigger that set WSU’s remarkable Jeshua Anderson on his way to legitimizing that record – his 49.63 clocking being foremost among many highlights as the Cougars blasted rival Washington with both barrels in their annual dual.

Torrential rains, hail, thunder and lightning that caused a half-hour delay in the action – Saturday’s meeting had a little of everything, but nothing pelted the visitors quite the way the Cougars did: 108-55 on the men’s side, 114-49 for the women. That’s the worst combined drubbing since 2001.

Oddly enough, WSU coach Rick Sloan had pessimistically penciled out an 82-81 win for his men, and other than a win in the 4x100 relay things hadn’t changed much by the midway point. Then Anderson used a swift start – OK, probably too swift – to lead a 1-2-3 sweep of the high hurdles, and the Cougars followed with another in the 400, the most startling part being Spokane junior Andre Jennings running 48.70 in second to take more than a second off his lifetime best.

“That’s kind of what the dual meet brings out,” said WSU captain Reny Follett, who led Jennings across the finish line in 48.32. “My freshman year I had a half-second PR in the dual meet.

“It really does change the whole attitude of the team. Even though it’s still just you on the track, suddenly every one of your teammates matters. There’s no, ‘Well, I had a good day but the team didn’t.’ ”

There was a similar tipping point for the women, though the Cougars had been projected to win easily. They suffered an early setback when pole vault favorite Kendall Mays no-heighted, but then long jump winner Candace Missouri bounced a season best 39 feet, 81/2 inches to upset three Huskies in the triple jump, and UW’s heavily favored Falesha Ankton lost her bearings in the high hurdles and surrendered to a WSU sweep.

About all that went right for the Huskies was a 100-200 double by impressive British freshman James Alaka, whose wind-aided 10.22 was actually superior to the existing track record.

Even NCAA 1,500 leader Katie Follett was blanked; running the 800, she was a non-factor as WSU’s Anna Layman ran a relaxed 2:07.06 ahead of UW’s Nikki Codd and Cougar Courtney Zalud – Greater Spokane League alums all.

“The whole game plan was to go off Katie,” said Layman, “but I could hear in her breathing that she didn’t have much left, so that was my cue to just break away.”

There were a handful of other strong WSU efforts – a meet record 11.65 by Princess Joy Griffey in the women’s 100, excellent throws in the hammer by Kjirsten Jensen (192-8) and in the javelin by Marissa Tschida (179-1), and a 51-3 triple jump by freshman Stephan Scott-Ellis that completed his jumps double.

But they all sort of set the stage for Anderson. He was sheepish about what appeared to be a false start in running a lifetime best 14.03 in the highs – “I knew I did it and I felt bad, but I guess all you’ll see is the time,” he said, smiling – and humble about the Mooberry record, which he accomplished by running 13 strides between hurdles all the way around.

“It meant a lot to me,” he said. “Mr. Cassleman is a tremendous person and he’s at every home meet.

“I was a little out on a few hurdles, but I guess I made it up on the end.”

•James Rogan became the first Idaho thrower to top 220 feet in the hammer and Inland Northwest athletes won four events during Saturday’s concluding session of the Oregon Relays in Eugene.

Rogan took his own school record up three feet to 221-7, upsetting hometown favorite Jordan Stray of Oregon in the process. Teammate Jeremy Klas captured the pole vault with a season-best height of 17-0. On the women’s side, Eastern Washington had two winners – Erica Chaney with a lifetime best 49-41/4 in the shot put to lead teammate Mari Bingham in a 1-2 finish, and Sarah Frey with a 1:01.68 clocking in the 400 hurdles.

•Whitworth’s Dusty Caseria got an NCAA Division III qualifying mark with a 1:51.97 win in the 800 meters to highlight the Duane Hartman Invitational at Spokane Falls, while teammate Jeff Kintner’s lifetime best 57-33/4 in the shot put upset Idaho’s Eugenio Mannucci.

Sprinters Nicole Nida and Michael Vetter each won a pair of events for host Community Colleges of Spokane, with Vetter clocking 10.81 in the 100 meters. Idaho’s Mykael Bothum was also a double-winner, taking the shot at 48-113/4 and the discus at 155-9.

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