This Week in Husky Cross-Country

Oct. 10, 2001

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Oct. 13: Pre-National Meet, Furman University Course, Greenville, S.C.

On the Course: Washington's cross-country squads will run this weekend in perhaps the nation's most prestigious regular-season meet, the Pre-National Meet in Grenville, S.C., on the same course which will host the 2001 NCAA Championships on Nov. 19. On the women's side, 21 of the top-25 teams in this week's FinishLynx Women's Cross-Country Rankings will be in attendance, including all of the top five. The stellar field will be the stiffest test for a dangerous Husky women's team that boasts one of the nation's top runners, senior Sabrina Monro, the 2000 NCAA runner-up. The Husky men will test their mettle against a similarly elite field, highlighted by No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 Stanford.

Poll Patter: The Husky women's team remained at 16th in this week's FinishLynx Women's Cross-Country Rankings. Washington totaled 121 points from the 13-member voting panel, which selected Colorado its' No. 1 team by a near-unanimous vote. The Buffaloes earned 12 first-place votes to take the top spot for the fifth-consecutive week. UW is the fourth-highest ranked team in the Pac-10, as well as No. 4 overall in the West Region. The Husky men earned one vote in the MONDO Men's Cross-Country Rankings to place 35th overall. Colorado, with 14 of 16 first-place votes, took the top spot again, followed by Stanford and Arkansas. Only four Pac-10 teams placed ahead of the Huskies, including No. 2 Stanford, No. 15 Arizona State, No. 18 Oregon and No. 24 Arizona.

Griak Recap: Washington's women's squad rode a pair of top-10 individual placings by senior Sabrina Monro and freshman Lisa Gibbs to a seventh-place finish against an elite field at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. on Sept. 29. Monro dominated the 6,000-meter course, winning in 20:13 for her third victory in three races this season. Gibbs placed sixth overall in 20:54, her third-consecutive top-10 finish this season. On the men's side, Washington earned a 19th-place finish on the strength of sophomore Dustin Duke's 62nd-overall placing. Duke traversed the 8,000-meter course in 25:06 to lead all Husky finishers, the second time he has done so this season.

Coming 'Round the Mountain: In three races as a Husky, senior Sabrina Monro has earned three victories by an average of 32 seconds each. After an early-season win at the low-key Emerald City Invitational in Seattle's Woodland Park, Monro burst into the Husky spotlight with a breathtaking 54-second victory at the Sundodger Invitational, shattering the meet record by nearly 48 seconds. She then officially became one to watch at this year's NCAA Championships with another win the following week, at the elite Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. A native of Montana City, Mont., Monro placed second at last year's NCAA meet for Montana. She is in her last season of collegiate cross-country, but has two years of eligibility remaining in track.

Duke-ing it Out: When the 2001 season opened, it seemed apparent that seniors Jason Fayant and Mike Hill would be key to the Husky mens' success. Fayant and Hill have both been on top of their game, amassing a pair of top-10 finishes and finishing out of the Huskies' top-3 just once, but it is sophomore Dustin Duke who has emerged as the UW's pace-setter. Duke, the two-time state champion while prepping at Jackson High School on Mill Creek, Wash., redshirted the 2000 cross-country season but posted career-highs at every distance from 5,000 to 8,000 meters on the track. This year, he has led the Huskies at two of three meets, including the elite Roy Griak Invitational, and posted a career-best 24:35 in the third.

Youth Movement: The success of Washington's women's program in 2001, ranked 16th in the nation, is remarkable considering that more than half of the 13 runners who competed for the Huskies in 2000 are no longer on the roster this season. The Huskies have remained at the top due in large part to a stellar class of freshmen, four of whom were among the seven runners to help Washington to a seventh-place finish at September's Roy Griak Invitational. Chief among the young faces has been Lisa Gibbs, a native of Arvada, Colo. Gibbs, the 2001 Simplot Indoor Games champion, has failed to place below sixth in any race this season, and shattered her 5,000-meter personal best by over a minute at the Sundodger Invitational with a time of 16:58, the fourth-fastest time in meet history. With Gibbs, her twin sister Jamie Gibbs, and fellow frosh Camille Connelly and Laura Halvorsen, the Huskies have a nucleus of young talent to remain among the nation's best for the forseeable future.

Meet the Coaches: Husky cross-country and track and field head coach Orin Richburg was elected by fellow coaches and U.S.A. Track and Field administrators to head the U.S. National Team at the 2001 World Championships, the most prestigious honor for a track-and-field coach in a non-Olympic year. In his 17th year at UW, Richburg is responsible for molding the Husky track squad into one of the nation's elite dual-meet teams. Fellow cross-country coach Greg Metcalf, in his fifth year at UW, has led the Husky women's squad to five-conseutive NCAA Championships, including a ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf is a former UW All-American in the steeplechase.

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