Men's Track & Field 2001 Season Outlook
Jan. 25, 2001
Stanford Excellence Continues
NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Champions! It's a title the Stanford men have been vying adamantly for over the last few years and in the spring of 2000 the Cardinal attained its goal with a dominating, championship performance in Durham, North Carolina on the campus of Duke University. Stanford tallied 72 points to handily defeat defending eight-time champion Arkansas. The NCAA title marked the first time in 66 years that Stanford has won a men's track and field team championship.
In 2001, despite losing 46 of last year's 72 points, the Cardinal has set its sight on a fourth consecutive appearance on the awards podium at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Returning to lead the way in 2001 is a group of student-athletes with accolades such as All-America, NCAA Champion, U.S. National Champion, World Record Holder, and 2000 Sydney Olympian.
Stanford returns all of its top sprinters and hurdlers from a year ago, including two Pac-10 scorers in senior Michael Harte and junior Evan Kelty. Harte set a personal best of 14.19 in the 110 meter High Hurdles while finishing fourth at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, OR. Harte's performance places him at No. 5 on the all-time Stanford list. Sophomore Justin Williams saw limited action during an injury plagued freshmen campaign in 2000, but recorded a Pac-10 qualifying time of 14.52 in the 110 meter High Hurdles. Look for Williams to have an impact in the sprints this year as he returns with high school bests of 10.40 and 21.39 in the 100 and 200 meters.
Kelty, a member of Stanford's World Record Distance Medley Relay Team at the 2000 NCAA Indoor National Championships, placed seventh in the 200 meters at last year's Pac-10 Championships. Kelty is back on the Farm with personal bests of 21.42 in the 200 meters and 48.66 in the 400 meters. Senior Leroy Sims is the top returning 100 meter runner for Stanford after turning in a career-best 10.61w last season. Sims has also run 21.48 for 200 meters and is a mainstay on the Cardinal 400 meter relay. All-American Mark Hassell should add depth in the 400 meters after running 49.10 in the 2000 Big Meet.
Perhaps never has one school amassed as dominant a group of middle distance runners as Stanford has in 2001. In fact, the Cardinal will have the opportunity to place on the starting line the most talented and accomplished group of 1500 meter runners ever assembled at one University. No other collegiate team this year or in the history of intercollegiate track and field can boast of the extraordinary talent the Cardinal will have in this area. The core of the group is Gabe Jennings and Michael Stember, both semifinalists in the 1500 meters at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Jennings, just a junior, is the defending 1500/mile champion at the USATF Nationals, NCAA Outdoor Championships and the NCAA Indoor Championships. With all three titles under his belt, Jennings becomes just the third athlete in U.S. history (Marty Liqouri and Jim Ryan are the others) to complete the 1500 meter/mile triple in a single year. Jennings enters the 2001 season with a career best of 3:35.21.
Stember, a senior from Fair Oaks, CA is the school record holder in the 800 (1:46.20) and 1500 meters (3:35.11). After runner-up finishes in the NCAA Indoor Mile and Outdoor 1500 meters, Stember finished third at the Olympic Trials in Sacramento to gain a berth on the United States team. Stember was instrumental in Stanford's 2000 NCAA Championship title when he raced four times in four days finishing fourth in the 800 meters and second in the 1500 meters.
Junior Jonathon Riley is the third of Stanford's sub-4:00 minute milers and last year ran a career best 3:38.90 in the 1500 meters. During the 2000 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Riley, Stember and Jennings combined with Evan Kelty to set a World Record in the Distance Medley Relay in a time of 9:28.83.
Andy Powell returns for his sophomore season after qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a freshman in 2000. Powell was the number one ranked freshmen in the U.S. last year after running a personal best 3:40.65 at the GMC Envoy Open.
Providing additional depth to Stanford's middle distance crew will be freshman Donald Sage. Sage, from Elmhurst, IL was the top-ranked high school miler in 2000 and fourth fastest in U.S. history with a best time of 4:00.29.
Stanford must fill a void in the distances in 2001 with the loss of multi-time All-Americans Brad and Brent Hauser. For the past four years, the Hausers' were mainstays at the front of the pack in the NCAA 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. However, accomplished runners are in place in 2001 to help assure the Stanford uniform remains prominently present in the distance events.
Leading the way in the 5,000 meters is Jonathon Riley who finished eighth at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials at this distance. A nine-time All-American, Riley finished fifth in the 5,000 meters at last year's NCAA Championships and has a career best of 13:42.96, the third fastest time in school history.
Right behind Riley in the 5,000 meters will be Gabe Jennings, Stanford's fourth fastest 5,000 meter runner ever at 13:44.60. Senior Thomas Murley is Stanford's top returning runner in the 10,000 meters. Murley finished 17th at the 2000 NCAA 10,000 meters and his career best of 28:53.70 is the fifth fastest time in school history.
Additional strength will be provided by a few very talented underclassmen. Sophomore Louis Luchini won the 2000 U.S. Junior National Championships in the 5000 meters to earn a berth at the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile. Just as accomplished in the 10,000 meters, Luchini's time of 28:54.30 is the third fastest ever by an American Junior and ranks seventh all-time at Stanford. Luchini finished the 2000 season as the NCAA's number one ranked freshman over 10,000 meters. Redshirt freshman Andrew Hill won the 2000 U.S. Junior National Championships in the 10,000 meters and finished second behind Luchini in the 5,000 meters. Hill, has a personal best of 14:19.68 for 5,000 meters. Adam Tenforde returns for his sophomore year after posting an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 29:38.95 in the 10,000 meters as a freshman.
Senior Jamey Gifford, sophomore Jesse Thomas and Rice University transfer Tyson Hendricksen will handle steeplechase duties for the Cardinal in 2001. Gifford is a two-time Pac-10 qualifier in the event.
Newcomers expected to contribute in the distance events in 2001 include Donald Sage, whose 3200 meter time of 8:42.90 was the second fastest high school time in 2000 and Oregon native Ian Dobson. Dobson finished third at the 1999 Footlocker National Cross Country Championships and was ranked in the high school top ten for 3,200 meters.
In only his third year at Stanford, Associate Head Coach Edrick Floreal has the Stanford jumpers poised for a tremendous year in 2001. The Cardinal return a number of solid performers in the vertical and horizontal jumps, including a pair of seven-foot high jumpers. Senior Todd Beyerlein is a three-time Pac-10 finalist in the high jump and has a personal best of 7-0 1/4. Sophomore Michael Ponikvar, the 1999 Pac-10 Champion, returns to Stanford after sitting out the 2000 season while training for the Canadian Olympic Team. Ponikvar's career best of 7-3 is the fourth highest jump in school history. Senior Ray Bergstrom cleared 6-8 3/4 last year to gain entry into the Pac-10 Championships.
Two Pac-10 qualifiers return in the triple jump in junior Warrick McDowell and sophomore Milton Little. McDowell finished ninth at last year's Pac-10 Championships and has a career best of 49-8 1/4. Little steadily progressed throughout the 2000 season setting a personal best of 48-6 3/4 at the Big Meet. Little and McDowell are also the top returning long jumpers for the Cardinal with best of 23-2 3/4 and 22-9, respectively.
Stanford will be hard-pressed to replace Pac-10 record holder and six-time All-American Toby Stevenson in the Pole Vault who graduated last spring. Freshman vaulter Tyler Gray arrives on The Farm with a high school best of 15-6 and will assume the vaulting duties.
Under the direction of three-time Olympian Robert Weir, Stanford will again be strong in the throwing events. Although young, the Cardinal throwing contingent should make an impact at the Pac-10 and NCAA level in 2001.
In the shot put, Junior Chris Sprague is set to challenge the 60 foot barrier this year after throwing a lifetime best 58-0 1/2 in 2000. Junior George Curts and sophomores Omer Inan and Nick Welihozkiy will provide additional depth in the shot put.
Inan and Welihozkiy will also score points in the discus after both competed in the event at last year's Pac-10 Championships. Inan finished fourth at the Pac-10 meet and qualified for the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile with a PR of 188-3, a new Stanford freshman record. At last year's Pac-10 Championships, Welihozkiy finished 13th in the discus and seventh in the hammer throw. Last fall, Welihozkiy traveled to South America to compete for the United States at the World Junior Championships. Welihozkiy has a personal best of 200-4 feet in the hammer.
The Cardinal will look toward Chad Wassink for points in the javelin. Last year, Wassink was a NCAA qualifier in the javelin where he placed 17th. Wassink's career best of 226-7 is the third farthest throw in school history. Decathlete Jay Goff has thrown the javelin over 200 feet and will provide depth in the event.
Sophomore Jay Goff set a freshman school record last year in the Decathlon with a score of 7,007 points. Goff's record breaking point total is the fifth best in school history and was a Pac-10 qualifying mark. Joining Goff in the multi event competition is sophomore John Darcy who has a career best of 6,138 points.