Stanford Invitational — Olivia Gruver Soars In The Vault

Emily Sisson pulled away from Molly Huddle for a 30:49.57–30:58.46 win in the best Stanford race. (DON GOSNEY)

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, March 29-30—Stanford’s Angell Field is known for fast distance performances in perfect conditions under the lights. And while that’s certainly still true, Olivia Gruver’s 15-6¼ (4.73) in the vault at the 44th Stanford Invitational served as a good reminder that the infield portion of the Cardinal facility has seen its share of historic performances as well.

Brisk spring afternoon crosswinds can often plague vault competitions at Stanford, but relatively calm Friday afternoon conditions awaited the Washington senior, whose mark eclipsed Sandi Morris’s 15-5¾ (4.72) mark from the ’15 SEC meet as the highest collegiate outdoor vault ever. Gruver entered the competition at 13-10½ (4.23), with the rest of the field having already gone out at 13-6½ (4.13) or lower. She needed two attempts each at 13-10½ and 14-4½ (4.38), and then cleared 14-7¼ (4.45) on first before also needing two tries to get over 15-1½ (4.61), the Pac-12 Conference Record.

Gruver, who had competed just 3 times while redshirting indoors at home meets in Seattle, and then no-heighted at her outdoor opener 2 weeks ago at USC, showed no lack of confidence, requesting the bar to be raised to the outdoor collegiate (and overall low-altitude) best height. On her second attempt, the two-time NCAA Outdoor champ while at Kentucky brushed the crosspiece on her right side on the way down. The bar wobbled, but stayed on, and Gruver ran to embrace coach Toby Stevenson, himself a 2-time NCAA champion at Stanford, who also moved to Washington this year.

Said Gruver, 21, “Coming in today I was very nervous because I’ve never been here and the wind was a little shaky. Coach Stevenson and I wanted to take every bar one step at a time. We didn’t come in thinking, ‘We’ve got to jump high bars.’ Just get consistency and actually get up to the big heights.” Gruver’s next targets? Demi Payne’s 15-7 (4.75) indoors at altitude in Albuquerque from ’15—which reigns as the absolute CR—and a 3-peat of collegiate crowns.

As the sun set Friday night, any afternoon winds that had been present completely dissipated, and the usual perfect conditions were in place for the longer track events. The most anticipated event of the evening was the women’s Invitational 10,000. Training partners Molly Huddle of Saucony and Emily Sisson of New Balance were both in the middle of heavy training for the London Marathon 4 weeks hence, but both were eager to hit not only the World Champs standard (31:50.00) for this year, but also the super-standard (31:25.00) for Tokyo next year.

A rabbit helped set the tempo at 75-second circuits through 2K, at which point Sisson and Huddle took over, and, after dropping 2-time 5000 Olympian Kim Conley a lap later, the duo were on their own, taking turns leading, with the tempo dropping into the 74-second range as they passed halfway in 15:41. The pair had both trained for much of the winter in Arizona, but Huddle, with a trio of 26-milers under her belt, had spent a good portion of the time at altitude in Flagstaff, while Sisson—who will be a débutante over the classic road distance—had stayed down in the Phoenix area, such that they had not run all that much together. One wouldn’t have known that watching them float around the oval, their footfalls barely registering a sound.

After 7K, the circuits dropped into the 73s, and it was apparent that they were champing at the bit to run faster. And as Sisson took her turn at the front after 8K, they certainly did, running 72.7, 71.3 and 71.0 splits. With 2 laps to go, a sub-31 clocking looked likely and Sisson started to open up a slight gap on Huddle, which she would extend with 69.8 and 67.8 closing circuits to win in 30:49.57, making her the third-fastest American ever after Huddle and Shalane Flanagan. Huddle held on well to finish in 30:58.46, her third-fastest ever, and the No. 9 performance ever by an American.

Behind that duo came an onslaught on the collegiate best lists, with Allie Ostrander of Boise State (32:06.71) becoming the tenth fastest collegian, and sixth fastest American collegian, and Syracuse’s Paige Stoner (32:07.36) the 7th fastest American collegian. With her 32:08.09 in 5th, Caroline Kurgat of Alaska took down Sylvia Mosqueda’s Div. II Record of 32:28.57, which had stood since ’88. Conley, who ran much of the race alone before being swallowed up by the pack, came in 9th (32:20.53).

The fastest section of the women’s 5000 featured the first serious attempt at the distance by Oregon’s Jessica Hull, last year’s NCAA 1500 champ, fresh off an Indoor distance medley/3000 double victory just 3 weeks ago. After some up-and-down pacing for the first mile, Makena Morley of Colorado, 7th in both the Indoor 5000 and Cross Country this season, took over, running consistent 75-second circuits through about 4K, at which point Erica Birk of BYU and marathoner Carrie Dimoff took up the reins. But Hull, who had bided her time patiently on the rail for most of the race, took over on the penultimate lap, and stormed away to a comfortable 15:34.93 win, ahead of Shuangshuang Xu of China (15:36.48), Dimoff (15:36.82) and Birk (15:38.12), with Morley 7th in 15:43.37.

Both women’s Olympic hurdle gold medalists from Rio made their seasonal debuts, albeit sans barriers. On Friday, 100H champ Brianna McNeal cruised to a 11.43 (-0.1) flat 100 win, while Olympic 400H titlist Dalilah Muhammad cruised one lap without hurdles in a controlled 52.63. The training partners met up in Saturday’s 200, with Muhammad taking the win in 23.35, into a negligible -0.1 wind. McNeal was edged by Stanford’s Ashlan Best 23.44–23.45.


STANFORD INVITATIONAL MEN’S RESULTS

Stanford, California March 29-30

(3/29—100, 1500, St, 5K, 10K, 110H, 400H, HJ, LJ, DT, JT)

100(2.8): 1. Yuki Koike’ (Jpn) 10.07w.

200(1.3): 1. Robert Ellis (unat) 20.56; 2. Koike’ 20.70.

800: 1. **Yared Nuguse (NDm) 1:48.29; 2. Michael Wilson’ (NM) 1:48.77; 3. *Thomas Staines’ (CoStP) 1:48.96.

1500: 1. William Paulson’ (AzSt) 3:42.53.

St: I–1. Daniel Michalski (In) 8:35.82 (CL);

2. **Matt Owens (BYU) 8:36.00; 3. *Clayson Shumway (BYU) 8:38.62; 4. Jean-Simon Desgagnes’ (Can) 8:39.18; 5. Bailey Roth (Az) 8:40.69; 6. *Samuel Abascal’ (EnKy) 8:42.54; 7. **Harry Ewing’ (Wy) 8:42.72; 8. *Jacob Heslington (BYU) 8:43.84; 9. Emmanuel Rotich’ (Tul) 8:43.96. II–1. Ryan Smeeton’ (OkSt) 8:41.26.

5000: I–1. *Kyle Mau (In) 13:44.43; 2. Jeff Thies (TinE) 13:44.92; 3. **Ben Veatch (In) 13:45.92; 4. Jacob Bilvado (AF) 13:47.65; 5. Chris Olley’ (USF) 13:47.92; 6. *Aidan Tooker (Syr) 13:48.85; 7. Robert Denault’ (Can) 13:49.24; 8. Connor McMillan (BYU) 13:50.37; 9. *David Too’ (IaSt) 13:51.08; 10. Mario Pacay’ (Gua) 13:51.46; 11. Andy Bayer (Nik) 13:51.66; 12. Andrew Gardner (Gonz) 13:52.03; 13. Cole Rockhold (CoSt) 13:53.66.

II–1. ***Theo Quax’ (NnAz) 13:49.38; 2. Brian Zabilski (Col) 13:53.51; 3. *Conor Lundy (Prin) 13:53.98.

10,000: I–1. **Conner Mantz (BYU) 28:18.18 (WL, CL, CL);

2. Clayton Young (BYU) 28:18.50; 3. Gilbert Kigen’ (Al) 28:20.28; 4. Matt Leach (PDC) 28:21.05; 5. Joe Stilin (Zap) 28:21.38; 6. *Blaise Ferro (NnAz) 28:22.76; 7. *Tyler Day (NnAz) 28:24.94; 8. *Gilbert Boit’ (Ar) 28:25.15; 9. *Iliass Aouani’ (Syr) 28:25.36; 10. Andrew Colley (Zap) 28:26.27; 11. Jun Nobuto’ (Jpn) 28:35.55; 12. Shiozawa Kiseki’ (Jpn) 28:37.15; 13. Alfred Chelanga’ (Al) 28:43.71; 14. Daniel Carney (BYU) 28:49.87; 15. Jack Rowe’ (USF) 28:50.22; 16. Dhruvil Patel (NCen) 28:50.87.

II–1. **Tibebu Proctor (Wa) 28:54.33; 2. *Ben Eidenschink (Wi) 28:55.76; 3. **Alek Parsons (Stan) 28:56.01; 4. *Dallin Farnsworth (BYU) 28:56.02; 5. **Matt Young (Ar) 28:56.71; 6. *Michael Ottesen (BYU) 28:58.50.

110H(2.1): 1. Greggmar Swift’ (Bar) 13.72w.

400H: 1. *Paramveer Chohan (Cal) 50.63.

Field Events

HJ: 1. *Darryl Sullivan (Tn) 7-2½ (2.20); 2. Tyler Arroyo (Chico) 7-1½ (2.17).

LJ: 1. **Jalen Tate (Tn) 25-3¼ (7.70).

TJ: 1. Tate 52-9½ (16.09).

SP: 1. **Jonah Wilson (Wa) 64-7¼ (19.69); 2. **Joseph Maxwell’ (Tn) 63-3½ (19.29); 3. *Jonathan Tharaldsen (Mn) 62-7¾ (19.09).

DT: 1. Nathan Dunivan (Web) 187-6 (57.16).

HT: 1. Silviu Bocancea (Cal) 222-10 (67.93); 2. Seth Whitener (Tn) 218-1 (66.48); 3. **Georgios Korakidis’ (Tn) 215-3 (65.62).

JT: 1. Nicholas Howe (unat) 251-8 (76.72).

STANFORD WOMEN’S RESULTS

(3/29—100, 400, 1500, St, 5K, 10K, 100H, HJ, PV, LJ, SP, HT, JT)

100(-0.1): 1. Brianna Rollins-McNeal (Nik) 11.43.

200(-0.1): 1. Dalilah Muhammad (Nik) 23.35; 2. **Ashlan Best’ (Stan) 23.44; 3. Rollins-McNeal 23.45.

400: 1. Dalilah Muhammad (Nik) 52.63.

800: V–1. Jessica Harris (NDm) 2:04.84; 2. *Anna Camp (BYU) 2:04.86. VI–1. Lindsey Butterworth’ (Can) 2:03.39; 2. ***Lena Kandissounon’ (CSN) 2:06.17; 3. ***Aurora Rynda’ (Mi) 2:06.35; 4. **Carolyn Wilson (Stan) 2:06.56; 5. *Sarah Newton (Ut) 2:06.72.

1500: 1. Lindsey Butterworth’ (Can) 4:13.05; 2. *Whittni Orton (BYU) 4:15.44; 3. Millie Paladino (Prov) 4:16.82; 4. **Jessica Lawson (Stan) 4:16.85; 5. Susan Ejore’ (Or) 4:18.11.

St: I–1. Brianna Ilarda’ (Prov) 9:50.42 (CL); 2. Rachel King (SDSt) 9:54.44 (AL);

3. Courtney Barnes (unat) 10:02.20; 4. **Alissa Niggemann (Wi) 10:05.96; 5. Cierra Simmons (UtSt) 10:07.84; 6. *Rebekah Topham (Wich) 10:09.94; 7. Alex Burkhart (RootsRP) 10:10.58; 8. Maddie Cannon (BYU) 10:12.37. II–1. *Jeanette Zambrano (SJSt) 10:10.28; 2. *Emma Gee (BYU) 10:11.04; 3. Lindsey Sickler (Nv) 10:13.85; 4. *Ali Kallner (CoSt) 10:14.13; 5. **Annie Boos (Cal) 10:14.83.

5000: 1. *Jessica Hull’ (Or) 15:34.93; 2. Shuangshuang Xu’ (Chn) 15:36.48; 3. Carrie Dimoff (BowTC) 15:36.82; 4. *Erica Birk (BYU) 15:38.12; 5. **Cailie Logue (IaSt) 15:40.33; 6. *Sarah Feeny (Ut) 15:41.81; 7. *Makena Morley (Co) 15:43.37; 8. **Bethany Hasz (Mn) 15:45.72; 9. Josette Norris (Gtn) 15:46.75; 10. Yuna Wada’ (Jpn) 15:47.04; 11. Jessica Watychowicz (CSTC) 15:47.51; 12. *Clare O’Brien’ (Boise) 15:48.56; 13. *Carina Viljoen’ (Ar) 15:54.02; 14. Katherine Receveur (In) 15:54.78.

10,000: 1. Emily Sisson (NBal) 30:49.57 (WL, AL) (3, 6 A); 2. Molly Huddle (Sauc) 30:58.46 (x, 9 A); 3. *Allie Ostrander (Boise) 32:06.71 (CL) (10, 11 C; 6, 6 AmC); 4. Paige Stoner (Syr) 32:07.36 (7, 7 AmC);

5. Caroline Kurgat’ (Ak) 32:08.09; 6. Ayumi Hagiwara’ (Jpn) 32:09.87; 7. Ednah Kurgat’ (NM) 32:14.27; 8. Mizuki Matsuda’ (Jpn) 32:15.47; 9. Kim Conley (NBal) 32:20.53; 10. Isobel Batt-Doyle’ (Wa) 32:20.84; 11. Danielle Shanahan (NAzE) 32:22.59; 12. **Taylor Werner (Ar) 32:26.38; 13. Grayson Murphy (NAzE) 32:28.09; 14. Hannah Everson (unat) 32:28.35.

100H(1.4): 1. ***Keira Christie-Galloway (IaSt) 13.28; 2. Sasha Wallace (HurdM) 13.31.

4 x 400: 1. Hurdle Mechanic 3:36.48; 2. Stanford 3:38.63.

Field Events

HJ: 1. Vashti Cunningham (Nik) 6-4¼ (1.94); 2. Jelena Rowe (NvG) 6-½ (1.84); 3. Elizabeth Patterson (unat) 5-10¾ (1.80).

PV: 1. Olivia Gruver (Wa) 15-6¼ (4.73) (=7, x A; 2, 2 C) (“out CR”) (13-10½ [2], 14-4½ [2], 14-7¼, 15-1½ [2], 15-6¼ [2], 15-9 [xxx]) (4.23 [2], 4.38 [2], 4.45, 4.61 [2], 4.73 [2], 4.80 [xxx]).

LJ: 1. Malaina Payton (Ois) 20-7¼ (6.28).

TJ: 1. **Aria Small (Stan) 43-5¼ (13.24); 2. LaChyna Roe (Tn) 43-4½ (13.22); 3. ***Alonie Sutton (Tn) 43-2½ (13.17).

SP: 1. ***Tess Keyzers (Mn) 54-2½ (16.52); 2. Kiley Sabin (Mn) 53-10¼ (16.41).

DT: 1. Stamatia Scarvelis’ (Tn) 179-7 (54.74); 2. Kiley Sabin (Mn) 177-11 (54.23).

HT: 1. Scarvelis’ 220-6 (67.21); 2. **Camryn Rogers’ (Cal) 216-2 (65.88).

JT: 1. Mackenzie Little’ (Stan) 192-1 (58.55); 2. *Jenna Gray (Stan) 184-0 (56.09); 3. ***Stella Weinberg (CSN) 178-8 (54.46).